C 1878 coutil cotton corset
I fancied getting back onto the sewing machine this week. This corset can be found in Jean Hunnisetts' fantastic book Period Costume For Stage And Screen 1800 - 1909. I made a toile in medium weight calico before attempting the real thing. On fitting always check the silhouette and seam lines and remember that a corset was originally made to alter your body shape and not the body altering the pattern - only so much can be done if you want to stay comfortable though!! It looks like its not lying flat around the boobs, this lady is a different shape to me!
My watch points for future reference:
1 Be organised with the pieces, label and be very accurate in marking, cutting and stitching. Think and think again before you cut.
2 Use as finer machine needle as you dare when sewing the coutil as any seams will have punched holes on the reverse (the top looks nicer than the back of the stitch) and pin and stitch very carefully as it marks badly.
3 On fell seams check the width of the fabric that is trimmed and placed inside the seam as the steels will reveal any untidy trimming and be visible.
4 Do not be tempted to use cheap eyelets or thread to your peril. These garments are under alot of pressure! You can see here where the back of the eyelet has split and one has even dropped off. (This is not because I banged to hard with the hammer)
5 On the top and bottom hem edges leave at least 5/6 mm of space away from the boning, eg if boning channel is 30cm the boning will be 29 cm.
6 Match seam widths, tape widths and bias binding widths as this makes a more professional finish and narrow bindings look more delicate.
7 When machining always leave the needle down in the fabric when stopping and moving as the fabric is so stiff it jumps and slides underneath the presser foot and the stitching goes wobbly.
8 Check lacing styles and how it is laced. I am still puzzling this out. Different people say different things but I think I am sort of there.