Late Victorian Corset

This is the second corset I’ve made from this pattern, Past Patterns #213 Late Victorian Corset. The first was both too big and not curvy enough, so this time I dropped a couple of sizes overall, and dropped an extra size for the waist. And I’m really happy with it!

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Curviness achieved! The bust might actually be a bit small (it’s giving me back muffin top when I tighten it too much), but I think it should be fine for now since I don’t plan to lace it down much further than what you see in these photos. (I’m not a tightlacer; this is to give Victorian costumes the right shape.) Fun fact: I laced this using the “inverted bunny ears” technique (instructions here)–I have no idea if this is historically accurate, but I find it makes it easier to tighten by yourself.

Departures from the pattern: I skipped making boning casing this time and instead just sewed boning channels between the two layers of fabric. It’s soooo much faster that way, haha. (The fabric, btw, is one layer of coutil and one layer of cotton broadcloth.) I also used less boning than the pattern called for, instead just placing two bones per seam and adding an extra where there are wide gaps between seams. I used spiral steel for the curviest parts (sides) instead of flat white steel. And, finally, the top and bottom are bound with bias tape made from the lining fabric.

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I don’t know if it’s because of the single strength layer or the sizing, but this corset is SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE than the other corsets I own (all underbusts, and two of which are custom, so it’s not just off-the-rack vs. custom!).

I cannibalized two old corsets for all the hardware, one of which was the last incarnation of this pattern, made from the Past Patterns kit. So I assume the busk is right for my size, but I do think it’s a little odd that there’s a good 2.5 inches of floppiness at the bottom of the center front. I can’t help but wonder if I should be using a longer busk? Or maybe trimming it shorter (it does hit the tops of my thighs when I sit)? Regardless, this will be worn as underwear under full skirts, so no big deal!

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As you can see, I also added flossing and some lace with purple ribbon and a matching ribbon bow at the center front. I highly recommend Sidney Eileen’s post on how to floss a corset. I know, I know, this is underwear so decoration doesn’t really matter, but I just think flossing makes it look 10000% more authentic and the ribbon is so cute!

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Side note: I’m wearing this over a combination made form Truly Victorian’s TV105. I made it a few years ago, so I’m not going to blog about it, but as I recall it was a pretty good pattern. I think I made it out of broadcloth, though, which might be a bit heavy.

Anyway, the Past Patterns instructions for the corset are great, as usual. My first version of this corset was the first corset I ever made, and it was much easier than I feared. So don’t be afraid to dive in if you’ve been wanting to make one and have been put off by warnings that it’s really difficult! I did totally cheat on the eyelets, though–I’ve never been able to hammer them in (at all, not just ones that don’t turn out great) and I realllly didn’t feel like sewing them by hand (which is what I did last time), so I took this to Star Snaps and had them set the grommets. It was $14 for 22 grommets–worth it, in my opinion, if you’re only making one corset every few years.

P.S. Check out the blog’s new header image. The ornaments have been shamelessly stolen from a 1906 Butterick book called Masquerades, Tableaux and DrillsRead the whole thing at the LOC!

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