Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Elizabethan Corset, part one

I deliberately saved the corset make till the weekend.  I don't think it will take too long to make and I wanted to be able to properly focus and savour the experience, with lots of tea and good music etc.  I was also hoping that the bones would have arrived, which would mean that I could complete it in one go... there is impatience in my patience!

As with all good plans, the bones and busk arrived in time and I have had a clear Saturday in which I can knuckle down and get sewing (once I'd done the shopping, painted more of the dog kennel and supervised Megs with the chooks for an hour or so!)... here's how it went:

I pinned the pattern to the coutil and cut around it.  Then I paired the cotton twill top layer and the cotton drill lining, before pinning and cutting out the pattern again.  I matched all three together, making sure that the more flexible top fabrics matched the coutil and pinned them together.  The busk that arrived in the post was slightly wider than the measurements given at elizabethancostume.net so I laid it on the coutil side of the fabrics and marked the new measurements.  From there I marked each bone width individually (I had allowed for some excess on my original pattern, so could still fit them all in as planned), sewed the line, checked the bone for fit and continued from there.

All set and ready to go..
Cutting out the coutil 
Cutting out the top and middle fabrics
Pinning the three layers together
Checking the bones for fit
It's a lot of bones! and it looks a little like a skeleton..
Sewing the channels in place
Half done, now to finish it...

Once I had sewn in all the bones, I tried a quick fit and panicked, I was certain that it was far too small!  Before I went any further, I cut some gosgrain ribbon into 15" strips, tacked them onto the corset, dragged the boyf upstairs and mock laced it for a more proper fitting.  It does fit, and is surprisingly comfortable but if these measurements are correct, then I underestimated the Elizabethans, this is one tough cookie of a corset!

I thought that I had enough gosgrain ribbon to bind it, but I don't - quick shopping trip tomorrow - and I need the boyf's help to trim the busk to size and hammer in the eyelets.  Today was sewing, tomorrow we're back to corset building.
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