Sunday, October 17, 2010

Regency Corset

Before I left California, I completed the mockup for my regency corset. I had decided to use the 1800-1820 Regency Corset pattern by Mantua-Maker , but knew from reading about other people's experiences that it was probably going to need some alterations.

I knew that in order to create an accurate corset mockup, I would need to practically create an entire corset. You can't really know how a corset will fit until it is boned and laced. So, I used old scraps of ribbon to create boning channels, and punched holes in the back panels to lace it up. Thankfully, my cotton canvas held up and none of my holes ripped out.

Back panel with pink cotton velvet boning channels

If I remember correctly, the next two photos are of mockup one. As you can see, I still needed to adjust the bust gussets, and the hip gussets. The Mantua-Maker pattern calls for two hip gussets on each side, but I found that the corset fit much better when I made them smaller and added a third gusset along the back seam.

In the end I was really glad that I took the time to make my mockup as "real" as possible. I think the corset is going to fit a lot better because of it, and I knew I wouldn't need to worry so much about fit when I was working on my actual corset.

From my mockup pieces I drafted new pattern pieces, and from there cut out my beautiful white coutil from Lacis. Then I stopped sewing for three months while my sewing machine made its way to Australia.

Two weeks ago I got my machine back and was finallly able to start sewing again. After taking a day to get back into my mindset of three months ago, not the easiest task, I put together a corset. I'd like to think it would be done by now, except I seemingly forgot to buy an awl on that last Britex spree, so I couldn't make the holes for my eyelets. Also, with all my alterations to the original pattern, a couple of my bones needed to be an inch shorter than the ones I had. Other than the binding along the bottom and my eyelets, though, the corset is complete.

I was able to use a "fancy" triangle stitch on my new machine to reinforce the base of my gussets.

Regarding my new sewing machine--the best possible graduation gift from my parents--It's fantastic! I was incredibly fond of my previous machine, but there's no way it could have handled eight layers of coutil. This one punched right through with no complaints. My only problem is the technology. There are too many buttons, and too many options, neither of which are well explained in the instruction book. But it's made for some fun experiments.

Early this week I hope to receive my new bones and the awl so I can start handsewing--what I'm sure will feel like--a billion eyelets.

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