This challenge was an easy one, as I knew I'd be needing a new corset this year for faire. I went without one last year, because my old one was too uncomfortable. It was a thick, heavy, store-bought one that didn't breathe at all. So I set about making a new, one-layer corset.
I am most certainly aware that a Victorian corset is the wrong period for wearing under a Renaissance gown. But I don't find Elizabethan corsets nearly as comfortable, especially when I'm fighting. My number one concern with my costumes is safety first. So I stick with the longer lines and less boning of the 19th century. I make sure to still bone the bodice of my gowns, so they hold a proper Elizabethan shape, despite my choice of undergarment.
I have had a lot of luck with the late 1880's corset in Corsets and Crinolines. But I I decided to experiment with a new pattern, and selected the 1844 for this project. It went together with very little alteration, and I highly recommend it. I did the center front on the fold, because I prefer not to have the stiffness of a busk in the front. It inhibits rolls and flips. I boned only the seams and on either side of the grommets. I forgot to put in the waist stay, so I had to seam rip some of the bone casings and slide it through.Whoops.
Dress rehearsal was the first day I wore it, and it immediately presented problems. Fortnightliers, this corset is loooooooong. When I bent, sat, or rolled, the bottom poked right into my crotch. It also turned out to be a bit big in the hips when fully laced. Aaaaand it seemed I had put the waist stay in a little high. But that's what dress rehearsals are for, right? That week, I pulled out the bias tape, shortened the length considerably, and did some nipping and tucking across the hip region. I added an addtional waist stay for support in the correct area as well. By opening weekend, it was fitting much better, and I kept singing the praises of how lightweight it was compared to the crappy old one I'd worn in previous years.
I will say it's not the most aesthetic thing I've ever made, and has some slight bubbling beneath the bust gores. But this is a combat corset, and pretty isn't my first concern. Sigh. Only two more challenges of dealing with faire costumes, and then I finally get to branch out into a) other time periods, and b) no more worrying about fighting!
The Challenge: Under It All
Fabric: Black cotton duck (obligatory quacking noise)
Pattern: 1844 Corset from Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines
Notions: Black bias tape, black boning channels, grosgrain ribbon, metal grommets, industrial cable ties.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is very historically accurate; the materials not so much. Also, I should point out that I'm wearing a Victorian corset under a Renaissance costume. There's a reason for that though.
Hours to complete: No idea.
First worn: February 15th, at dress rehearsal.
Total cost: Maybe $20
The sized up pattern from Corsets and Crinolines
One of the only shots I got of the corset in progress. Trying to add the waist stay about two steps late.
The finished corset
Clearly, I could adjust the measurements a bit next time
There's a little bit of weird bubbling under the bust. Thoughts, anyone?