Edwardian corset progress

A while without any sewing posts, but I have been, I promise! My 1860’s ballgown bodice is almost done (a post will follow when it’s complete), and I’ve been working on my Edwardian corset. In this post some progress on the latter. All photo’s were taken with my phone, and sometimes in bad light, but I wanted to register progress closely this time and this was the easiest way.

I started with tracing the pattern and cutting the pattern pieces (I’m using Truly Victorian E01). After this, it was mock-up time!


I’m always a bit lazy, so while I wouldn’t skip a mock-up of such a close fitting garment, I usually just pin it together to check for fit. I also included a panel at the center-back because I don’t have lacing yet. The mock-up fitted all-right. It seemed a bit loose at the top, but Edwardian corsets aren’t really meant to support much anyways. I figured that if it would turn out too loose, I’d just stuff in extra padding, because that’s what they did back then as well. Next step was cutting the fabric!



The strength-layer.



And the silk. This was really scary! Next to cutting was marking all the pieces. This is especially important in corset patterns, because it isn’t always obvious which piece is which at first glance.



Marking always takes so much longer than I initially think… Next up was flatlining the strength-layer to the silk. The pattern I’m using calls for a single-layer corset, so I sewed the strength-fabric to the silk around the edges.


Flat-lined pieces. It’s already pretty! The construction was next, and started with inserting the busk at the center-front. My busk was slightly too long, so I needed to shorten it first.


After cutting it off, I filed the edges to be smooth and used plumbers-tape to protect it further. (I wouldn’t recommend the cutter I’m using by the way, I need to get a new one).


For the loop side, I sewed the facing to the center-front piece, leaving gaps at inter falls for the loops to fit through. This is what it looked like right sides together.


And right side. Next I put the busk in between the seam allowences, with the loops sticking through the holes. I then sewed the facing in place next to the loops. The other side was similar, but here I sewed the facing on normally, and then poked holes through the Center-front piece to fit the knobs through. Next up, construction time!



This is always the stage I like most, because you can see the corset coming alive. This photo is of all but the center-front piece sewn together.



After sewing and pressing open the seams, some of the curved seams were ironed to one side and top-stitched to secure them more. This was scary, because I’m using slightly contrasting thread and I wanted it to look pretty on the outside as well.



I think it turned out pretty nice! These are the seams at the frond of the corset.



Time for the eyelets! At the center back, I attached the facing and sewed 3 lines of stitching. The first to form the first boning channel, a gap for the eyelets, and then another 2 lines for the second boning channel. I initially wanted to use an awl to poke the holes for the eyelets as the silk frays, but I couldn’t get the hole big enough. I ended up cutting the holes with the eyelet-tong, and using fray-check to keep the fabric under control. I tested it on a scrap, and it looked pretty sturdy, so hopefully it’ll hold. And then I put in all the eyelets! They’re 5 mm prym eyelets.


Next is planning the boning channels. They’re internal tubes, and I sewed together 3 cm biasbinding to create the channels as I couldn’t find pre-made anywhere. The pattern called for 4 channels in the front, but I could only fit 3.


Sewing the channels in. I also added a waist-tape. The pattern doesn’t call for it, but it’s supposed to increase sturdyness.


And then, cutting the boning! Cutting, filing and taping the bones.

This is where I’m at now. I’m having a slight delay, because after sewing on the boning channels, this happened:


Wrinkles! It’s not entirely avoidable because of the thin silk, but it’s not very pretty either. I strongly suspect that using a special sewing foot will help decrease this. It happens because the top fabric and bottom fabric are moving at different speeds through the machine, and there are foots which help getting things aligned again. As turns out, the machine I’m using comes with such a foot, but it’s at my mother’s, so I don’t have it yet. I’ll probably unpick some of the boning channels and test re-stitching them very carefully to see if I can decrease the wrinkles. It’s a bit of a set-back, but I really want this corset to turn out really nice. I already invested in the fabric and lace, and I’m planning on spending even more time on flossing and I’d hate to end up thinking I could’ve done more to make it as nice as I can. It will probably always have some wrinkles, but I want to have at least tried.

So I’m now waiting for when I can get the foot, and then I’ll be able to continue! Meanwhile I’ve been working on other stuff, so my ball-gown bodice is now nearly done and should be posted about in a couple of weeks.