Here we are then! Week 1 of a series of posts on corsets and we're starting with an overbust corset that I have called Edelweiss.
I went shopping for fabric for this corset in a drapery store. Drapery fabric, as long as it's not too heavy or thick, and with an appropriately sized pattern, works really well when making corsets. As I was perusing the fabrics I started humming a song from the Sound of Music, thinking of the scene where our plucky nun fashions new clothes for the children from the chateau's drapery, including these rather fetching lederhosen.
Apparently these costumes really were made of curtain fabric and they were sold, along with a number of others from the movie, at auction in 2013 selling for an amazing $1.3 million. I don't know if I would get that kind of money for my corset, but I certainly feel like a million dollars when I'm wearing it!
This six panel corset is made using Beverly Johnsons Freedom Corset pattern. Prior to starting you need to take a number of measurements - bust, waist and bust to hip - and use these measurements to select the right pattern pieces. What's wonderful about this pattern is that it's easily modified to accommodate my less than standard measurements.
My bust measures 37", my waist 26" and my hips are 35". I could easily trace the lines on the pattern to the right measurements for me. Once traced, I cut out my outer fabric - this lovely white floral fabric - and the lining fabric. Coutil is the lining fabric of choice for corsets, an incredibly strong herringbone weave ensures no stretch and superlative support, and is especially recommended when using lightweight or flimsy fabrics. Twill is another good option when your outer fabric is a little sturdier. Anything less is not going to give you the strength that is required to hold you firmly in place.
White doesn't look particularly good on me, so I chose to add ribbon along the boning lines on the exterior in the taupe colour of the floral outlines. This meant that I had to stitch the boning to the coutil lining only, then add the ribbon to the floral fabric, being very careful to ensure the ribbon was stitched to exactly the same spot on the fabric as the boning - if it was off, you'd be able to see it.
Once the ribbon and boning was put into place, I chose an antique bronze finish for my busk and grommets for a good colour match. Then, it was simply a case of sewing all the panels together and adding bone casing to the seams.
On this corset I used a combination of boning. The different types of boning affect the ability of the finished item to hold you in as well as your ability to move. I used spiral steel bones in the bust area, heavyweight metal bones along the back and plastic bones elsewhere.
I added my grommets using a grommet press and laced her up using more of the taupe ribbon that I'd used elsewhere.
Finally, the binding was added using the same fabric. I love it! And while it's not practical for skipping up an alpine meadow, it'll look fabulous at this year's Calgary Stampede!