Historical Sew Monthly – Victorian (1860s) Corded Corset

corded corset

For challenge 6 of the Historical Sew Monthly, I’ve made a Victorian corded corset. It’s the first corded corset I’ve made.

Victorian women’s stays are ‘supported with more or less bones or runners of cotton, according to the age, strength, or constitution of the wearer […] If for ladies, they are made of sattine, or best French jean […] if of an inferior quality, they are made of white, brown, grey, or nankeen jean […] and lined with calico between the doubles. […] It is as well to observe that unless particularly feeble, or otherwise an invalid, it is most desirable to wear as few bones as possible; and that for healthy persons, the two back bones [to protect the lacing eyelets] with the steel in front, are quite sufficient. The casing of the steel in front is sometimes made elastic to the depth of four nails from the top, by means of Indian rubber runners.’ (The Workwoman’s Guide, 1840)

Historical Sew Monthly - Victorian (1860s) Corded Corset

My corded stays are made from two layers of cotton twill, and corded with cotton string.

corded stays

I’ve used an antique corset pattern from 1868. Here’s the pattern.

paper corset mockup

I’ve made small paper corset mockup from various victorian corset patterns, before I’ve decided to make this 1868 corset (the one at the bottom on the right).

1868 corded corset

Here’s an 1860s corded corset, and another corded corset with front button closure (ca. in the middle of the page).

1860s corded corset

I’ve sewn the channels with my sewing machine. In Corsets – Historical Patterns & Techniques, Salen (2008) describes an antique 1860 corded corset, which is also machine stitched. The pattern I’ve used says that ‘all the edges of the [corset] pieces so nearly match that the work can be done by machinery’ (source).

regency corded corset

My corset doesn’t have a front opening (as the 1860 corset in Corsets – Historical Patterns & Techniques); it’s laced in the back.

back lacing corset

The corset laces have to be much longer than in front-opening corset in order to put on the corset.

back laced corset

I’ve used the same cotton string for the corset laces which I’ve used for the cording of my corset.

hand sewn eyelets corset

The eyelets I’ve sewn by hand. The binding at the top and bottom of the corset is made with the same cotton twill fabric.

inside of corded corset

On the inside, all raw edges are finished.

1850s corded corset

The corset can be easily folded together.

 

 

Challenge: 6 – Out of Your Comfort Zone

Fabric: white 100% cotton twill

Pattern: antique 1868 corset pattern

Year: 1868

Notions: white cotton cord, cotton sewing thread

How historically accurate is it? Very accurate

Hours to complete: two days

First worn: today

Total cost: I’ve used fabric and thread from my stash

 

victorian corded corset

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