Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Corset-a-Long: Patterns

So now that we've looked at historical examples where do we get appropriate patterns?  There are quite a few out there, here are a few:

Big 3

Butterick 4254:
C and D would be appropriate for this project.  I haven't made this up, so I can't say much about it, but here's Pattern Review and The Great Pattern Review's comments.

Simplicity 2890:
Also appropriate for this project, although the model is wearing it with quite a large spring which gives me hesitation.  I haven't made this up, so I can't say much about it, but here's Pattern Review's comments.

Simplicity 5006:
 More of a fashion corset instead of a historical one, this pattern would still work well for the techniques we're using.  You can easily alter the pattern front to include a busk.  Here's Pattern Review's comments.

 Simplicity 9769:
This is the pattern I used for the corset that goes under my Historical Cinderella dress, and I'm very happy with it.  Here's Pattern Review and The Great Pattern Review's comments, and Farthingales'.

Discontinued Big 3

 Simplicity 5726:
Haven't made, but I have done the chemise and it ran a bit big.  It looks very similar to 9769, though, it may be the same pattern in a different package (I won't guarantee it though).  Here's Pattern Review and The Great Pattern Review's comments.

 Simplicity 7215:
I made this up for my first corset under my Historical Cinderella, but it ran really big and I eventually made a different one.  Not a bad pattern in general, just be sure to measure the pieces and not just trust the measurements to cut your size.  Has variable bust cup size gores, which is nice in getting it to fit without a lot of mockups.  Here's Pattern Review and The Great Pattern Review's comments.

McCalls 3609 :
Another one I haven't made up, but I've heard works well.  Here's Pattern Review and The Great Pattern Review's comments.

 McCalls 4109:
While not a historical pattern view C should work with the techniques we're using, and it can be easily modified to have a busk in front.  I've not made this one up myself.  Here's Pattern Review's comments.

 Butterick 5662:
Like the last one, this isn't historical but should work out fine.  We can modify the front to have a busk easily.  It looks a little tubular, but if you desire something less reducing it might be a good choice.  I've not made this one up myself, and I couldn't find any reviews, so buyer beware.

Other Companies

Laughing Moon

Laughing Moon 100:
This is a highly recommended pattern that works up really well.  I've made the Dore a few times, most recently for my 1872 Bustle Dress.  If I had to name a drawback it's that this corset is a little less curvy than others I've made up, with less taking in the waist and more smoothing everything out.  I know it seems a little backward, but the Silverado is better for small busts, while the Dore is better for large.  Here's Pattern Review and The Great Pattern Review's comments.

Reconstructing History

Reconstructing History 944:
A nice later pattern made for a spoon busk, so if that's what you're looking for this might be your pattern.  I've never made it up, but I have made other Reconstructing History patterns with good results.  Others don't have such good results, though, and I couldn't find any reviews on this particular pattern, but the company does have a great customer service history of helping out inquiries if you want to give it a go anyway.

Past Patterns

Past Patterns 703:
It appears from the picture that "skirt supporting" means there is a small roll to keep your skirts from slipping down.  I haven't made this, and I couldn't find any reviews.

Past Patterns 708:
May be a bit difficult because of the slit gores, but still doable for a corset beginner.  Review from The Great Pattern Review.

Past Patterns 213:
Looks like a good basic pattern with good recommendations.  Review from The Great Pattern Review.

 Past Patterns 106:
These later period patterns are going to be a bit more difficult for a complete newbie, but since the techniques are the same I'm including them in case someone wants a challenge or has made corsets but wants to play along.  What makes this pattern difficult is the inset gores, the fitting (the posture and shape it gives is really different from modern sensibilities, so you have to have a good touch on Edwardian S-curve shapes), the pattern pieces will include a lot more extreme curves, and the boning lines won't follow the seam lines.  Review from The Great Pattern Review.

 Truly Victorian

Truly Victorian 110:
Another pattern that I've heard wonderful things about but haven't made myself.  I have made other Truly Victorian patterns, though, and they were wonderful.  Here's Pattern Review's comments, and Farthingales'.

Truly Victorian E01:
Another advanced pattern that has the same problems as Past Patterns 106 and thus should only be tried by someone who is experienced or really wants a challenge.  No reviews that I could find, and only these comments from Farthingales, but I'm going to try it out based on my history with Truly Victorian's patterns.

Harlots and Angels

 Victorian Corset:
 I've never heard of it, but they've got some beautiful work, and might be a good fashion alternative for Brits.

Mantua Maker

 Mantua Maker 1870-1:
I love Mantua Maker's Regency corset pattern, but it did need some alteration.  Here's Farthingales' comments.  Since we'll be working through the process together their instruction hesitations don't bother me.  Am a little hesitant because of the gores, but otherwise it should work out ok if you want a bit of a challenge.

Mantua Maker 1880-12:
Another one I don't have experience with but, again, I like the company.  Here's Farthingales' comments. 

Not Recommended


 Books like Nora Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines and Robert Doyle's Waisted Efforts have good information about corsets and corset history, but they only contain one size of pattern that must be enlarged and then altered to fit the wearer.  We're not going to cover the massive amount of flat pattern re-drafting that these patterns require.

Ageless Patterns

 Not recommended because their patterns are only one size and require re-drafting for most sizes.

Atelier Sylphe

Not recommended because their corset patterns are only one size and require re-drafting for most sizes.

Where to get patterns:

 Start out googling the pattern company.  For discontinued big 3 patterns there are still places out there on etsy and elsewhere that have them.  The non-big 3 each has their own pattern website you can order from.  Many patterns are also sold by corset-supply places like Farthingales, Corsetmaking, Vogue Fabrics, Vena Cava (in England), or Lacis.

What I'll be Using:

I'm probably going to make a few corsets for this class.  I really want to try both Truly Victorian 110 and the Laughing Moon Silverado, so I'll probably make up both of those.  I need to finish an Edwardian corset, too, so I'll make up Truly Victorian E01 for the advanced class examples.

What have you made up, and did you like it or no?  What do you plan on using for the sew-a-long?


  1. Thank you for mentioning my patterns!

    I've updated the Regency pattern, and I think I've fixed the problems.

    #1870-1 does have gores, which can be tricky, but #1880-12 doesn't - it's shaped with curved pieces next to straight panels, so it's a little easier.

    I'm working on other projects, but I'm looking forward to watching and promoting your corset-along!

    1. Thanks for that catch, I must have transposed them in my mind while writing. And thanks for your wonderful patterns, my Regency is one of my faves!

  2. I made up the D/C Simplicity 7215 many many many years ago, more just to say that I had made it. When I cut it, I'd used a size much larger than I normally made up from their patterns, but by the time I wore it (6 years later...) and I now make up their patterns in the same size, it was WAY too small for me. I bought a kit from Farthingales for the boning/busk parts and managed to give myself a nice cut (and subsequent) scar opening it up :D

    I'm going to use the TV 110 for this one :3 I made a mock-up before but I gained 30 lbs or so since then. Time for a new one!

  3. Last year I did a 1876 corset from a pattern published in "La moda elegante ilustrada", an Spanish publication of the time. It was my first boned corset (before I had made a pair of regency short stays) and I love it although it is boned with cable ties and instead of a busk I had to use a zipper.

    This time I'm using Simplicity 2890 and I hope that it will be easier to fit.

  4. The TV 110 is a GREAT pattern. i got to make this one BEFORE the pattern was being sold, I find it easy to make and comfortable to wear. I have minimal "squish" and it gives me a waist. Good one to make.

  5. I'm thinking of doing the Laughing Moon underbust pattern that's not on your list. I could cut down one of the buttericks or simplicity ones I have but given this is my first corset I think Laughing Moon might be more advisable. I need an underbust

    Now that I've finally managed to get an openid to work (I really need to sort my proper one) I'm catching up on comments I've been trying to make since this started.