Sunday, April 10, 2011

Corded Corset

A very simply constructed garment which helps to smooth out and lift the figure under those unforgiving muslin gowns of the early 19th century.
The exterior is a mid-weight cream cotton.  The channels for the cording are back-stitched just like they are for stays.  Gussets are inserted into the bust and top-stitched around (with a spaced stitch).  The binding is of the same fabric, cut on the bias.  There are bones in the very back to keep the lacing from contracting and a removable wood busk in the front.  The embroidery is just a chain stitch.

The interior layer is linen.  The cording is inserted with a large blunt needle (tapestry).  It emerges from the channel every couple of inches, the length of one stitch essentially.  Since the cotton cord I used was fairly small, there are two lengths per channel.  You can see the slit for the busk to be inserted, raw edges just folded back.  There is a drawstring along the top of the bust, although I haven't needed it.  A higher bust line would need it to curve over.

The pattern is extremely simple, consisting of two pieces, with added gores in the bust later.  The side seams mirror each other, with plenty of seam allowance for the first fitting.  The center back curves in to snug up the figure, but the measurements are still what mine naturally are.  No reduction.  There is a 2" space accounted for in the back, since the lacings should not meet.  The pattern I designed for the cording is loosely based on a pair from the Kyoto Museum, along with a few other inspirations.  You can do as much or as little cording as you like.  While it adds thickness, and therefore some structure, it's not integral like boning in stays.  Mine are heavily corded and embroidered, but I chose to do that for visual reasons.


fullfathom said...

Thank you! Beautiful work.

ZipZip said...

Dear Nicole,

What a super alternative to the stays currently out there. The simplicity of the thing is part of its joy.

Do you find the cording to buckle at all, or is it quite smooth?

How long is it?

Very much enjoying this Regency series of posts!

Very best,


ColeV said...

It does give and move with the body, but the structure front and back keeps it from folding up when worn. It's much like wearing a quilted garment.
The length is just above the "break" at the front of the hips, so it isn't pushed up or folded when I sit.