Project Journal: 1880s Steam Molded Corset: The Plan

I have a number of corsets, some made for me specifically and some made for other ladies but which I wear, but there are still periods for which I don’t have any corsets that are really perfect. When it comes to the later 19th century, I’ve got a corset intended for the 1860s, whose style continues to be seen through the 1890s, and a corset from the 1890s that wasn’t made for me and doesn’t fit as well as I would like it to, despite the fact that I wear it rather regularly. The 1890s corset is being worn under most of the 1890s/turn of the 20th century garments shown here on my blog, but I’ve never shared pictures of the corset itself here before.

1890s corset on the body it was constructed for in 2009. The pattern is from Corsets and Crinolines and has 4 elastic panels in the front.

Someday, I’ll make a new 1890s corset that is fitted for me using the features I like from the current one, such as the very comfortable elastic panels, but changing things such as the busk length (the current one is too long and pokes me in the legs when I sit or bend… it’s ok if I get it just between my legs, but has caused bruises when I’ve bent over unexpectedly in the past and dug the busk into my leg…) and creating more room the bust area. But I digress, because an 1890s corset is not on my to-do list for this summer.

What is on my to-do list is completing a summer dress from the 1880s (that I started back in 2013, yay for super overdue UFOs!). The skirt is pretty close to completion, but I’d been holding off on the bodice not only because the project has been generally on hold, which is most of the reason, but also because I really wanted to fit the mockup over the corset I planned to wear with the dress. The plan was to have a new specifically 1880s corset to wear. And now that the dress is on my to-do list again, the corset has joined in as well!

I’ll be doing a Project Journal series on this corset, because in addition to showing in progress pictures, I also plan to attempt to steam mold this new corset, so there will be lots of interesting information and success or failure updates. Next post in this series will be about my inspiration!

9 thoughts on “Project Journal: 1880s Steam Molded Corset: The Plan

  1. Looking forward to following this blog on making this corset. I have to ask now (because I can’t wait) where would you get the elastic for those gores? I could see that would transform a corset pattern.

    1. The 1890s corset with the elastic is one I made years ago (the new 1880s corset won’t have elastic panels). I know I had to look pretty hard to find the wide elastic (I believe I bought 6″ wide elastic), but unfortunately I don’t remember exactly where I purchased it. I know I found it online somewhere, but that’s not much help!

  2. This will be fun to watch progress! Corsets/stays are the bane of my existence. Even after taking a class with the Colonial Williamsburg tailor and him passing me on my completed stays…they still hurt! ouch

  3. I also need to work on a basic corset for underneath, right now I just add enough bones to the tailles that I don’t need to wear a corset underneath. I’m just so lazy…

    1. I find that wearing a corset really helps me feel that I can step into the past, which is important to me, so therefore creating corsets is important. It’s all about finding out what parts are really important to you.

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