Friday, February 3, 2012

16th Century Reed Corset

It was time for a new 16th c. corset. My last one was boned with flat steel, and I use spiral and flat steel in my Victorian/fashion corsets, but I hadn't used reed before.

I wanted one corset that has a completely period look about, i.e. no visible machine stitching. This turns a corset into a very time-consuming project, and I know that no one will ever see it under my clothes, but I wanted just one. This is a note of importance, as it governed the way I chose to do things.

I decided to go strapless with this one, mainly because it's so much easier to hide under gowns that may have slender straps or almost off the shoulder cuts, and I wanted it to be very versatile.
I started by drafting a whole new pattern - two fronts and a center back. The tabs are placed so that they will distribute weight over my hips without digging in.
The corset is made of 4 layers - the lining is linen, interlining is cotton canvas, and the fashion fabric is silk backed with linen, in order to ensure lack of see-through-ness with the white.

The boning channels...I really went all out for this one...they're all hand stitched. About halfway through, I think I decided I was completely insane. I also became very thankful that I am small.

So, once that was all done, I made bias tape from my white silk and applied it to the bottom hem. Then it was time for boning. This was very difficult at first because I kept snapping reeds. Eventually, I got the feel for it, and things went much more smoothly after that point.

Next, I cut the reeds down, added bias tape to the top, and then applied grommets to the front of my corset. In many cases, this would be the last step. However, in this case, I was going all out. Time to cover the grommets! I stitched over every single one by hand and once again questioned my sanity. However, it was all worth it in the end when I had the following result. My perfect corset! It is my precious!
I will also note that the reeds are amazing! I think I like reed better than flat steel for this silhouette. It's so comfortable.

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