Or "The gap makes the corset."
This challenge was meant to be something else, but I never got round to it, and then I found myself signed up for the November run of Fairweather Manor
and other projects were due. Since I was to play the same character again, I didn't necessarily have to make a new outfit. However, last time I borrowed a corset, which was handed back after the event and was a tad to big to start with. I took the pattern from it beforehand, adjusting the pieces a bit to fit me better, and then tried the pattern for the white party outfit
. I should therefore be good to go, but this time I wanted a busk and steel boning. A busk more than anything. If you were supposed to be up until late at night and then be the most awake for morning service at 7.30 the next morning, you'd want to be able to dress as quickly as possible, too. I promise.
I ordered from Vena Cava Design
and was very pleased, both with the supplies and the service - I managed to order the wrong colour of coutil, and they even sorted that out for me before sending my package. That's actually kinder than they'd had to be!
Nevertheless, this was a somewhat frustrating project. Coutil was harder to work with than I expected, and I ended up doing far more machine-sewing than I normally do. I also failed the 3D geometry twice when inserting the busk and the metal eyelets acted up, so in the end I cut a new back panel and added a ready-made lacing strip. I much prefer hand-sewn eyelets, but it's not the thing for 19th century, and to work eyelets in the coutil... I shudder to think of it.
In the end, the corset worked if not great, so alright.
The lacing is a mess, but it's a lot easier to handle than without a busk!
Detail of the busk/inside of the corset. The boning is inserted in channels made of attached twill tape. So far it has worked as expected.
The attached lacing strip. It may be cheating, but it's very neat. As you might be able to make out, I added a bone by the lacing in between the lacing strip and the coutil. The lacing is ordinary cotton tape, I know there is corset lacing stuff out there, but I find it a bit bulky.
The finished corset on my mannequin. As my upper part squish a lot more than the mannequin, and is smaller in measurement too, the gap is a lot more even when I wear the corset.
As you can see, there are some issues. For some reason, the busk twist sideways. Likely it's small difference in seam allowance making the corset smaller on the upper left than bottom right. Not as visible when I wear it as here, since I'm a bit lopsided, too (I've noticed it before, trims straight down the front on a renaissance garment tend to tilt a bit when I wear it!), but still visible enough to bug me. It also turns out that I'm not as straight-shaped as I imagine. A bit more room for the hips would have made for a nicer shape, but alas: it worked just fine for what I needed at Fairweather, which was more of a posture, stiffness and "have outer garments stay put" thing than a wasp-waist thing.
What the item is: A 19th century corset (a bit too early for Fairweather manor, really, but I played a character who didn't need to be top modern in that regard).
The Challenge: 5, holes (the gap)
Fabric/Materials: Cotton coutil
Pattern: Stolen from an existing garment, but I'm fairly confident that -that- garment was made from the Truly Victorian 1880's corset pattern.
Year: Late 19th century
Notions: Cotton twill tape, eyelet tape, cotton ribbon for lacing, bias strip for binding edges
How historically accurate is it? 75% or so, I'd guess
Hours to complete: With all the mistakes, about 20.
First worn: 3rd November 2016 for photos, then "properly" for larping 4-5th of November. Finished mid September, though, for once I planned.
Total cost: about 30 euros
Running awfully late with the challenges, and even later with the blog posts. As I still haven't done all challenges, I will update in the order of garments, rather than in the challenge order - if I don't know, it will become confused anyway if I am able to go back and finish some more before the end of the year..
First out, therefore: challenge 7, monochrome. And as I'm not terribly inventive, monochrome = white = underwear and the like. This time, I needed (I know, "needed") a pair of reasonably period drawers. I say reasonably period, because as far as I gather, there's little evidence of them being common in the 16th century - but there are examples in pictures, extant garments and accounts from both Venice (mostly coutesans) and from mainland Italy. And I needed them for shift-related reasons, so googling I went.
I found several. Many of them more elaborate than you'd think - even if I think the "sexy underwear" factor needs a rather trained period eye to manifest itself.
Like this gorgeous pair with ties in the end of the legs, a button for the waistband and blue-work all over. From Venice, second half of 15th century, and the beauty of preserved garments is the measurements: The waist is 78 cm and the length of the leg is 68 cm.
Or this, with open crotch in front (or back, there's discussion on the subject, though I think I'd like to think that 'front' is correct) from about 1600. Again, a "fitted" waistband, with holes for ties if I see correctly.
Since I (as per usual) as a bit short of time, I found that the Patterns of fasion pattern was closer to the second pair and since both was equally (un)flattering I decided to go with those. The pattern was simple enough, one piece per leg and wedges for the crotch area.
To piece the crotch gusset seems a bit odd, since a seam kind of destroys the stretch - but so far it seems to work. I handstitched the whole thing, running stitch for the long seams, with occasional backstitches for strength - and then felled the the seams, which makes all the seams double and more durable. Also, I really hate zigzaged edges next to my skin. Flat-felled seams are the way forward for undergarments!
The finished drawers, everything done except the lining. As you can see, I left the front open but closed the gusset all the way up. Some kind of middle ground between the blue-worked ones and the slightly later ones.
I then added the waistband, knife-pleating the drawers to it, and added a button. The button's not terribly period, it was the one I had and since I don't have any good idea of what a period 16th century button for drawers would look like, I use this one for now.
It's not the most flattering garment I own, but it filled it's purpose for now. No fancy embroidery either. If I make a more researched pair to be used with an outfit where drawers are more documented - then maybe.
What the item is: A pair of Venetian drawers
The Challenge: 7, Monochrome
Fabric/Materials: White linen
Pattern: Adapted from Patterns of fashion, scaled up a bit ad hoc
Year: Last part of the 16th century
Notions: Linen thread, button
How historically accurate is it?: Reasonably, there are extant examples but I combined a few and am not sure of everything I did - 90% from a distance. The linen is, as usual, not nearly "good enough".
Hours to complete: Can't remember, about 10
First worn: 7th July, 2016
Total cost: About 12 euros