Saturday, July 30, 2016

1860's Light French Corset - Finished!

I plowed through the construction on this thing over the last couple of days. I'll be travelling soon to pick up my four oldest children and I was determined to not leave this unfinished. Actually, it went together pretty fast with only a few mishaps.

Mainly, I freaked out about half way through putting it together. I thought I forgot to add seam allowances to the pattern pieces and I was afraid it would turn out too small. So I sewed the remaining seams with the smallest allowance possible and hoped to God it would somewhat fit at the end.

Well, I shouldn't have done that. I now have a smaller than desirable lacing gap. So, if it stretches much with wear I may have to start anew. But I hope this works for a while because I really love it!

I wore my old corset to Perryville last week for one last hurrah and at the end of the day thought that it really hadn't been too terrible and maybe I was stupid for wanting to make a new one. But after I finished the new corset I tried the old one on to compare and there is just no comparison.

The new corset is much more curvy with a much higher and smaller waistline. It just fits. The last one did fit. Or I thought it did, when I made it. I mean, it did?! Right? It looked okay. I loved it last year when I made it. But I guess a few pounds weight loss can radically change things? I haven't even lost all that much but whatever. I love the new one. I've loved gussets for a long time but now I'm loving gores again.

It's small and lightweight and the shape is much better for the 1860's. I probably will have to refit my dress bodice but that's not a big deal. Plus that gives me an excuse for a new dress!

My other reason for wanting to finish this corset today is so I can submit it for the July challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly. This months challenge is monochrome. Below are the details:

Challenge #7: Monochrome.

What the item is: 1860's Light French Corset from Corsets and Crinolines

The Challenge: Monochrome

Fabric/Materials: White cotton twill, steel busk and zip ties for boning. Long cotton skate laces for lacing.

Pattern: Light French Corset from C&C

Year: 1860

Notions: Thread, busk, zip ties, laces, lace for trim

How historically accurate is it? As best as I could make it. It is mostly machine sewn with some hand finishing. The zip ties are obviously inaccurate but are a substitute for whalebone.

Hours to complete: About 8

First worn: Today for pictures. Next week for a living history.

Total cost: Fabric: about $1 worth. Busk: $6. Zip ties: $5 Laces: $3


  1. It looks *great*! I've wondered what this corset could look like if made up properly and 1860's-like. I always feel like a lot of corsets 'we' make these days for 1860's clothing don't quite look right. This one even looks like the illustration; without much of a hip, and that 'wide'-chested look that gives the right 1860's silhouette. I anticipate seeing how it looks under a dress!

    1. Thanks! This is definitely my favorite corset so far, for 1860's use. I think the original pattern as given in C&C is for someone who has more of an hourglass figure with a smaller waist and larger hips and bust. It still adapted pretty well for me. I'm interested to see how it works after a full day of wear.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!