Purfylle: HSM Foundations Challenge

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Monday, 2 February 2015

HSM Foundations Challenge

Stays / Corset 


corset / stays



The Challenge:


Foundations: make complete something that is the foundation of a period outfit.

Red Renaissance Corset / Stays

Fabric:

interlining - denim
shell fabric - 100% cotton
bias binding - light weight furnishing cotton damask

Pattern:

Adapted from the 1562 Eleanora di Toledo Gown bodice.

Year:

After 1562

Notions:

3 colours of thread from the thread stash one of which was a pretty embroidery thread. 
1 x 40 mtr reel of 2.4mm nylon trimmer line - red (used to make  2 corsets)

I wanted to use red trimmer line because my fabrics were all red/pink shades and it was a fairly common practice during the 16th C to use materials of the same shade as the outer fabric for all of the construction materials. I have personally learnt the benefits of doing just that and do so whenever possible.
 

How historically accurate is it?

Not very. This was an experimental piece. There is no proof any such garment existed. 

Hours to complete:

I can't remember how much time I had spent on it initially. However to get it from the state it was in to actually finished took about three hours which includes hunting for the bias binding. 

First worn:

For the challenge photos.

Total cost:

Stash materials & notions - approximate replacement value $20-$30
Trimmer line approx $15

Construction Process

I started making this pre-blog I think. Certainly long enough ago that I've forgotten stuff, like how long it took to make, why I did things one way and not the other. Why I didn't take more notes or if I did where I put them. I certainly didn't take construction photos for the blog, sorry about that.

Regardless, I have written about them previously and you can read my earlier posts on these stays here and here. I also went hunting in my pattern stashes and found my pattern drafts and I can show you those.

Until I dug out the patterns I couldn't remember if it was the Eleanora or the Pisa gown that I used as the base for this pattern. It's based off the Eleanora di Toledo gown bodice, not the bodies/stays but the actual bodice.

Here is the front of the bodice pattern laid on top of the first draft of the corset pattern.

The back of the corset pattern on top of the back of the bodice pattern. 

This is the first mock-up. 

After trying it on, I cut the tabs into it, which improved the fit immeasurably however it also highlighted that the tab positions would need to be lowered at the back and that they need to be planned from the start.

If you try to cut tabs in after already stitching in boning and the boning was not positioned with cutting tabs in mind you get crazy stuff like this bit sticking out. This is just one of the reasons this piece remains a UFO (unfinished object).

I should try and finish it I suppose, I've even picked it up a few times to give it a go but I just have no idea how to tackle the binding which is a satin ribbon that is not suitable for going around tabs.

I zig zagged the edges to stop fraying while I had a think about what to do and you can see on the left that I trialled a machine stitched button hole finish for the tabs.That wasn't terribly successful either. 

I used the first mock-up to come up with a new draft.

I kept the length the same at the front, but moved the tabs down so they would sit at the waist which would keep the corset positioned correctly and stop it from slipping down. 


What I find interesting is how very quickly it started to look 17thC just through trying to achieve a better fit and more comfort.

I need to make a camica (shift) to go with these stays so I can take photos so you can see what they look like on.

The best part is that is one more item that is no longer a UFO or WIP!

2 comments:

  1. Your stitching is beautiful - those eyelets…! Lovely…

    But… I hope you don't mind a bit of constructive criticism, genuinely trying to be helpful because you do say at the top that the challenge was to make something that could be the foundation of a period garment…

    the thing is, I fear you would find that wearing these a) would be very uncomfortable and b) would look oddly not-right under period clothing (I'm afraid I would say they don't look quite right now, sorry…).

    If you look at the pic of them laid out, the two lacing-edges are parallel - it looks like the upper width is about the same as the lower width, so the stays make a tube when laced up.

    If you look at all the period stays I'm aware of, they ALL form a cone-shape, not a tube-shape. Laid flat, the two lacing-edges are not parallel, but splay out to widen at the top compared to the bottom. They may look, in pictures, like straight-sided tubes, but they are all cones, not tubes.

    Have a look at the Effigy Stays of 1603 http://www.elizabethancostume.net/effigy.htm

    This picture http://www.elizabethancostume.net/images/westminster-corset.jpg shows what I mean, and it's similar to every other set of stays I've ever seen pics of from the 16th or 17th century, and on into the 18th too.

    I hope that helps - it's just that, as they are, they make a beautiful piece of display work, lovely stitching and finishing - but they really won't work as stays to wear under a garment… I'm sorry…

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    Replies
    1. I love constructive criticism. This was purely an experimental piece that was never intended to be worn other then to see how the experiment turned out. at best this could be called a toile. Another way to look at how it fits into the theme 'foundations' is that it is reverse engineering the development of the corset as a garment in its own right. Exploring the 'foundation' of the corset's development.

      Regardless, I am not interested in 'competing' so much as using the themes and the challenges to inspire me to finish stuff (usually stuff that isn't finished because I'm not happy with it for some reason or another). I may be stretching the concept of the themes a lot throughout the year so as to fit my UFO's into them.

      The perspective in the photographs don't clearly show the difference between bust and waist however there is a 4 inch difference. The measurements are proportionate to Eleanora di Toledo's measurements. She was flat chested and thick waisted after birthing all her children.
      There are no extant garments of this type from the 1560's the effigy corset being 40 years later so I wanted to throw all preconceptions based off later garments out of the window and simply stiffen a garment that already existed and see what the result was. I agree it does not look right.

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