My projects,  Sewing

A Romantic Era Corset from Old Curtains

Every historical period has its own charm. I have been watching some historical dramas placed in the 1830s and 1840s and this inspired me to venture into a new era in my historical costuming. Naturally, I had to start with the basic underwear in order to get the right period silhouette. Black Snail Patterns had a nice pattern set with a romantic era corset, a corded petticoat, and a chemise, so I decided to use that.

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I came across a white cotton twill curtain at a thrift store. It had a good amount of fabric with perfect stiffness for my corset project! The fabric was, in fact, almost identical to the fabric I used in my previous corset project.

Watch the video on the corset project here:

I first made two mock-ups to get the basic shape right. I had to add room to the sides and take some width away from the back. Luckily, I had saved the lacing strips from my previous corset mock-up projects and that made the job much easier!

I sewed the regular seams with a machine but made all the top layer gussets and the cording channels by hand to get that authentic hand-sewn 1830s and 1840s look. This was still a bit before sewing machines! I could have used metal eyelets, though, as those had already been invented. However, I had got so used to hand-sewing that I did all the eyelets by hand as well. Due to the fit adjustments, the back pieces ended up so narrow that I decided to leave out the cording in them.

I had over 10 meters of ribbon but I still couldn’t slip into the corset without taking the ribbon out from the bottommost eyelets. Even then, putting this garment on took ages. Even though it meant using much more ribbon, I decided to figure out how to do fan-lacing for the corset. Fan lacing makes it much easier to put the corset on although getting all the ribbons to the right lengths took some trial and error.

Black Snail Patterns 1830s-1840s corset from the back.
The fan-lacing from the back.
My romantic era 1830s-1840s corset.
My 1830s-1840s corset.

I also made a corded petticoat that you can see in the video. It was basically just a rectangular skirt with cording sewn between two layers of fabric. Now I have the basis to make myself a nice 1830s or 1840s dress. However, that project will have to wait as I have so many projects I want to complete before that.

I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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