Everyone else is working on Victorian stuff lately and so I have been working on a corset as an “easy” break from my Florentine sottana. Turns out, it’s not easy or quick at all. I bought both Simplicity 9769 and Simplicity 2890 recently when Joann’s was having one of their $1.99 pattern sales. I’m using Simplicity 9769 because I like the lines of it. Since I wasn’t sure what size I needed, I got 9769 in the larger sizes, where my measurements put me. After putting together a mockup in size 14, attempting to modify and take it in with a wing and a prayer, I became utterly frustrated and acknowledged the need for the smaller pattern. After a trip to Joann’s, I came home ready to work on my :easy” project again. I was able to cut down the size 14 pieces to size 12, stitched it up and tried it on.

Amongst my frustrated googling, I found this awesome blog post: How to fit a Simplicity 9769 corset. Though I did not do mine the same way, I did pick up some great hints. Namely, instead of safety pinning my lacing strips on, I sewed them on and drastically improved the fitting process. I also LOVED her idea of masking taping my boning on for the fitting – a huge improvement over trying on my mockup without boning.

So the size 12 was not going to close around my hips, but the bust was great. Artemisia found her best fit by using different sizes of each piece, but I didn’t think that was going to give me as much room as I needed in my hips. Instead, I drew out the pattern pieces and merged larger sizes at the bottom with the smaller sizes at the top. This involved NOT mixing up the two different patterns and a lot of freehand drawing. I actually prick holes in the pattern and then use a marker to dot that hole, then freehand the lines and check it against my patterns. I have used this method for a while now because I didn’t like cutting the pattern out in one size, nor did I like placing the pattern on and trying to keep it from shifting while cutting. Fortunately, I have a good sense of shape and spacing, so my pattern drawings are very close to exact. I then rotary cut everything freehand. I recently heard of a french curve and would have picked one up at Joann’s but they didn’t have one, so I’m gonna stick with my sense of proportion.

My measurements are: bust 36″ (squished to 34″), waist 32″, and hips 40″. In the end, I used the following sizes for my pattern:

  • piece 14 – size 10 top, size 12 bottom
  • piece 15 – size 10 top, size 14 bottom
  • piece 16 – size 14
  • piece 17 – size 12 top, size 14 bottom
  • piece 18 – size 12 top, size 14 bottom
  • pieces 13 and 19 were one size

I’m ripping my mockup apart to save as pattern pieces and I will be cutting my fabrics shortly: mint green satin, white cotton duck, and cream cotton. The satin is something I picked up for no reason and noticed when I started thinking about corsets a week or two ago. The cotton duck is my go to for mockups and bodice strength fabric. The cream lining  I got at Joann’s today for $2.50/yard (ish). I wanted something all natural for my lining but couldn’t find anything with a shine, so I decided on a 1 inch cream satin ribbon for the bindings with the cotton lining. I also got a yard of a lace material for decoration inspired by this corset: http://corsetmakers.livejournal.com/1743590.html. I plan to drape the lace similar to a Victorian bustled apron.