Historical Sew Fortnightly #12: Shape and Support

Make a garment that changes the silhouette of the human form through shaping and support.


The Challenge: #12 Shape and Support.

Fabric: Less than a yard each coutil and sateen.

Pattern: Bijoux Patterns by Laughing Moon Mercantile #1, Ladies Victorian Corset 1840s to 1890s.

Year: 1840s to 1890s.

Notions: Metal boning, busk, grommets, bias binding, lacing cord, waist stay (wide twill tape, I believe)

How historically accurate is it?  Aside from the fact that it has blue dragons embroidered (I didn’t do it)  on the front and the boning is metal and not baleen, I’d say pretty accurate. Do take that with a grain of salt as I am a Victorian complete newbie.

Hours to complete: Approximately 14 hours.

First worn: I haven’t worn it yet as I just finished it and I have nothing Victorian to wear.

Total cost:  $100 USD but that included the class and all the materials, including the pattern.



I am SO late with this challenge.  It was due on July 1st but I knew I’d complete it late because I was waiting for my corset class.  I have also fallen off the HSF wagon, as my lack of posts can attest to, and it’s difficult to get back on; but I digress. This corset is the product of the Victorian Corset Workshop at Costume College. The workshop wasn’t exactly what I expected but it was good nonetheless and I learned quite a bit that I can apply to future corsets, stays, etc.

As for the corset itself, I love it, but it may be because it’s my first-born 😉  We were fitted the night before the class and I was told the combination of sizes I had to cut and make and I did just that.  However, now that it’s finished and I’ve tried it on, I see that it is too big.  The gap in the back is barely 1 to 1.5 inches.  I think I could, and should, go down at least one size throughout, and maybe one cup size down for a better fit with the next one.  But it is functional and it will do for now.  I am not sure whether this is common or not but the top front of the corset is not snug, rather it is drawn in by drawstrings sewn into the binding.  Another flaw that I noticed looking at the pictures is how the top of the center back gapes.  The reason for this is that the bones there don’t reach all the way up.  I think when I wear it I’m going to push the bones since the bottom of the center back doesn’t have as much stress and can spare it.  Then again, I’m picky.



After all is said and done, I love the corset.  I love the silhouette; as laced, the corset reduced my waist measurement by about 4 inches.  I am not sure how long I can wear it though, it was hhmm…tight.  I have never worn a corset before so I may have to find out a way to ease into it. Or maybe I’ll just like of one those crazy Victorians and faint from lack of oxygen.


3 Responses

  1. Allie Flanary

    Oh, it’s lovely! Corsets take some easing into. It’s good that this one is a bit roomy so you can get used to breathing differently (it’s amazing how much you didn’t know you loved deep breaths until you can’t take one). Wear it for an hour or two here and there at home while you do other things (with an apron on top!), it’s sort of like practicing walking in new heels.

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