Monday, November 17, 2014

HSF '14: Purple and Cream Corset


And I couldn't be more happy with it (well, maybe I'm only 98% happy with it, but hardly anything is perfect).

A bit of a reminder, in case you haven't read this post or this post in awhile. I've made my first duct tape corset, my first corset without a pattern, my first corset using spiral steel boning, and my second 1880's corset (and it's leaps and bounds better than the first).

It took about two months to make, and I'm very glad to enter it into the HSF challenge: Re-Do (re-doing one of the 50 or so challenges that have come before).

Last night, when I put it on for photos, I also put on my corset from last year (which was made from a pattern) for comparison purposes.  I thought it would be interesting to see how the same body looks very different in different corsets.

I don't have a ton of photos, I always feel very awkward in photo shoots, especially when I'm in my 'underwear'.  But my blessed husband kept at it, and we got some good shots in the end.

A  note on the side shots: I'm not standing any differently, the purple one just controls my belly much better.

I can't get over the extreme curve the purple one produces at the waist.  I've always felt like I'm shaped more like the brown--much more boxy.  It's amazing what you discover when you duct tape yourself up.

Up close of the flossing:  I love the pairing of purple and cream.

Dan thought the flossing was white, and when I held up something white next to the cream, he said, "yeah, white that's been sitting next to my dad for five years while he's been smoking". Somehow I don't think naming colors at Sherwin Williams will ever be his back-up job.

Oh, and the tutorials here are excellent for beginners to flossing.

Obviously I learned a lot from my brown corset (I should really come up with names for these, instead of calling them by their colors), or I wouldn't have wanted to try again.  So what did I learn from this one?

  • I started by taking into account something Merja of Before the Automobile (at least I think it was her) wrote at one point: She doesn't try to compress either her bust or hips at all in her corsets, just her waist to get as curvy a shape as possible.  Turns out that works really well.
  • Next time, I plan to treat my top layer (the purple) and the inter layer (coutil) as one piece.  I think trying to match up two layers instead of three will go much easier when I'm putting it together, and it will hopefully eliminate much of the small wrinkles I ended up with on the purple layer (the 2% I'm dissatisfied with that I mentioned earlier. There was much shaking of fists and gnashing of teeth before I had to give up on that fight).
  • Spiral steel, while helping with the added curves, needs a wider boning channel than flat steel. Learned that one the hard way.  Definitely give yourself a couple extra millimeters/an extra 1/8" when planning your channels.  It took several hours to get the bones into mine, and my fingers are still sore.

I've got one more comparison for you.  On the left is my reaction to the purple corset photo shoot.  Not terribly enthused, but not too bad either.  On the right, is my realization that the tightness at the top of the brown corset was giving me 'armpit muffin top', otherwise known as 'chicken wing'. 

The Challenge: Re-Do

Fabric: Purple cotton I picked up awhile ago, inter layer of white coutil left over from a Regency corset, brown twill for lining that was left over from the brown corset.

Pattern: I drafted (draped?) (duct taped?) my own

Year: mid 1880's

Notions: Tons!  Spiral steel boning, flat steel boning, busk, 4mm grommets, lacing cord (which I need to replace with something better), DMC embroidery floss in ecru for the flossing.

How historically accurate is it? Thumbs up on that one.

Hours to complete: Tons! 58.25 hours if I added it up correctly.

First worn: Last night for photos.  Hopefully a lot in the future.

Total cost: Coutil and lining were budget into earlier projects, so those were "free". The amount I used of the purple, probably $2.  Bones and busk were $40.  Grommets were probably $1.50, and embroidery floss was too.  So $45 in total.  Not too bad for a corset actually.


  1. Wow, it looks amazing!! Great work!!

  2. Your corset looks great, I'm totally impressed by how smooth the hip gores look (and personally I think that "smoking dad white" would make an excellent name for a paint colour).