Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Pretty Housemaid - construction notes

This corset is a labour of love, honestly...if you don't have patience this one is going to be a chore!

Being unfamiliar with this construction of corset I am constantly referring to my notes and photo's.

My initial research into construction led me to a problem with cording. I had initially used the smallest piping cord I could buy to do the cording, but after doing some sampling I realised that it is far too crude to be appear like the cording on the original corset. When I measured the width of the cording it was only about 3-4mm wide, almost half what I had been trying...and the results look less refined compared to the real thing. So - start again, this time using Russian Braid and sewing either side of it and in it's ditch...this is about right now, but still not entirely satisfactory. If I attempt to do this corset again I will be trying it with austrian blind cord which is very dense and very thin because the russian braid is making the cording look too flat. I am going to finish this corset as is and have a good look at it's shape before I think about starting the next one.

Just completed the hip section, which is the heaviest corded piece.Now I know why they had machines with  multiple rows of needles to do all this blasted cording! It is taking an age! They had special machines that did the cording all in one shot with some machines with up to 12 rows of needles all going at it. I really like the look of cording, but with only normal sewing machines it is very time consuming. I told ya....a labour of love it is!

It's starting to really come together now. The seams that contain the bones look as if they are jean seamed on top and lining fabrics so I'm now wondering if each piece was corded after being stitched to the last seam as the corset was being made. Maybe I will try that next time I give it a go also. Although on the real thing the evidence is that the boned seams are made from french seaming I will have to use casings on the inside as the corset is getting pretty difficult to manipulate with all the hessian interlining and piping to contend with. Although now historically inaccurate I feel that I am willing to accept the compromise. The good news is that it's going to be incredibly strong.

I have also decided that upon my attempt to dye cotton lace it is nigh on impossible to get a good colour match, so instead of it looking a bit off I am instead going to use black, and continue to use black as the detailing colour rather than the original blue, another deviation from the original.

The flossing now done, and cotton lace procured, albeit narrow, here are the results of the pretty housemaid...




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