Well, I finally did it! I made a single layer Victorian corset.
I'm taking a pattern and drafting class at Temple University. Hey, I might as well take advantage of the costume/theatre department and learn sewing skills while I get my degree. Where else can I learn from professionals twice a week and have access to amazing tools and supplies? It's like Project Runway in there!
Anyway, our latest project was to draft and build a corset from scratch. We could pick any era we wanted from the 1500s to the 1950s. I went with 1890s. I picked a pattern I liked from Robert Doyle's Waisted Efforts: an 1892 corset with hip gores. I chose a fancy white coutil for my fabric.
First I had to grid out the pattern because it wasn't printed on a grid. I measured the corset pattern front and back length and measured my own front and back length. When I scaled up the pattern, it had to match my measurements, not the ones on the original, which is too small. With the help of my classmates who have taken math classes much more recently than I have, we figured out the grid so the pattern would draft up closer to my measurements. No, I couldn't repeat that process again if you put a gun to my head.
Once the grid was figured out, I grabbed real life grid paper and started drawing. By hand I drew out each piece in life size, cut them out, transferred them to muslin (with a generous 1 inch seam allowance), cut out the muslin, sewed them together, cut spiral steel, taped them to the places I wanted boning with masking tape, basted on pre-made boned lacing panels, and tried it on.
From there, my professor marked where I needed changes. The bust and hips were too big and the curve from my rib cage to my bust needed to be sharper. It was also longer than I felt was comfortable, so we marked where I wanted the bottom hem to sit (so I could sit without getting poked in the no-no place).
I went back to my paper pattern and, using the "slash and spread" method (or in my case, "slash and squish"), made changes to the pattern pieces that needed them and trued up my edges.
Then I transferred my new pattern to the coutil, sewed them up, put on the boning channels using boning tape, set the busk, altered the previous boning to fit and tipped the bones, made and sewed on self fabric bias binding (by hand inside and outside), and hammered on nearly 3 dozen size 00 two piece grommets. At this point my hands were throbbing!!
and here she is! Of course she fits me better than my dress form, so ignore the fit.( see more here )