This adventure isn’t complete yet, but since life is preventing me from working on my costuming as much, I thought I would share what I have.
I’ve already completed my bloomers and chemise, which means it’s time for the corset.
Step one was to get my measurements while wearing the under garments. I enlisted my husband to assist in the task. Next was to trace out the pattern using my measurements.
I am using Truly Victorian pattern TV110 - 1880 Late Victorian Corset, which is a pattern that I had bought several years ago and just set aside, as I knew my sewing skills weren’t up to it yet.
It’s a beautiful pattern, and the directions are very clear. The only issue I have with it is my own common on - I am a very plus sized woman with a small bosom. In this case, it meant that my waist and hip measurements were literally off the chart. So, I figured out what “letter” my size would be, based on the intervals between the sizes. I should be an “O” in waist and a “P” in hips, whereas the pattern stopped at M.
I pulled out my pattern and my handy-dandy roll of wax paper, and traced out the size I needed. It was easy enough to use the existing markings to calculate what size I needed by marking the largest size, then figuring out how many “pips” out I needed to go. For example, in the waist, I needed to be two sizes larger, so I marked the point for the largest size, then moved that mark to the third line in (two sizes smaller than the largest), and then re-marked the largest size again.
I cut my wax paper pattern, traced them on to some denim I had in stash, and cut out the pieces. Next I sewed them all together using the half inch seam allowance suggested by the pattern. One of the things I did, after having to rip out a half dozen seams, was to stick down a piece of masking tape with a line drawn a half inch in. This gives me a guide to keep my seams in the right spot.
I had decided on a three inch gap in the back, so I sewed a center strip four inches wide between the two center-back pieces (3 inch gap plus ½ seam allowance either side), and used an old non-stretchy ribbon I had in my stash to spiral sew up the center front.
Here is the result.
It wasn’t until this point that I realized I had completely mischosen the size I needed for my bust. I had chosen size “B”, with my brain automatically thinking it was referring to B-cup.
I also need to take the waist in 4 inches, and the hips in by 6, so I will definitely need to make a second mock up. But that’s why we make the mock ups rather than just going ahead and cutting out our main fabric (which I still need to buy).