1830s corset/stays

March 21, 2017

Hello lovelies,

the past months I worked on a 1830s corset/stays for my costume. I faced a lot of problems with the project because there was not a lot of source material and patterns. And I love to work with fixed patterns rather than creating my own.
In the end I based the corset on this corset/stays:

Corset, 1830–35, American cotton, bone, metal, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2009.300.3031
 The corset, from what I could see, had gussets at the hips and two gussets on each side at the bust. It has shoulder straps tied to the corset with beige ribbon. The front has thread going diagonally going down from the sides to the middle. Additionally it has a busk in the middle.

With these information I did the pattern and in hindsight I failed so hard (again).

 This was the first pattern I did. It looks very long and indeed, it was.
The mock up looked good and even though my doll wore 2 bras it still didn't fit perfectly at the bust. For me, alas, it did.

So with the mock up looking fine I transferred the pattern to my linen and my satin fabric. No idea why all my corsets are pink but..they are...
I used thick linen for the inner lining. 

I hand stitched the gussets before sewing them with the machine. I tried to make it look really good at first.
Not sure if the hand stitched seams are visible but for the linen this method worked pretty well.

 This is how it looked like when all the parts were sewn together.
I inserted all the gussets and went to do the satin fabric.
The fabric was flat lined to another layer of linen.

So this was the corset with the double bra and all the gussets. I really had difficulties with the gussets.


I made the tunnels and as in the corset I  based this upon I wanted to do some diagonal casings. But they turned really bad so I only made two.

Then I stitched everything together with a running stitch.

I tried on the corset so many times and slowly I realized it was too long for me (and the gussets therefore not wide enough).

 Ignore my cute cupcake pyjama pants.

 I cut the corset for the last time and took away quite a few centimetres.
Afterwards all that was left was to put in the metal grommets, the binding and the corset spiral.

I used the pink satin material for the binding.

Here is the shorter version of the corset with a camisole underneath the top. I already did the binding for the bottom part. 
After inserting the corset spiral I did the top part, which was honestly a pain in the ass to do. 

My cat found my lap the perfect place to rest. They really don't fear needles.

To be honest at this point I was already so pissed off at the corset because so many things didn't work out that I was just like, whatever and didn't really care about wrinkles. I still don't. Nobody will see it anyway.

And this is how the finished corset looks like. I am wearing it again over a camisole but I remembered I still didn't have a fitting chemise....
So I guess I will do better pictures when I finally did a chemise for that era.
On the pictures it doesn't look bad but trust me, it does. All the corners of the gusset fray and the corset in general doesn't fit well. But I finished it and that counts, I guess?

Cost: I had all the fabric at home, I just paid about 4€ for the grommets.
Time needed: It took me about two months but it felt much longer...
 Satisfaction: 1/5

All the best,

Auris Lothol

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