Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #4 - Under It All

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
Year: 1844
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?


  1. The bubbling can probably be helped a bit by ending the bust gussets a couple of centimeters higher. You may need to shave a bit off the side of the piece at underbust level, as well.

    I'm impressed that you can do flips and rolls in a corset!

  2. The staff at is glad to know you are a Fosshaper.