Saturday, February 05, 2011

Corset bits

Corsets are really interesting items of clothing. It's underwear but they are really complicated underwear. I guess a bra is kind of complicated as well, but the corset creates the framework upon which the rest of your clothing is designed.

They are also supportive. They support the back when doing heavy lifting (carrying water buckets, jugs of wine, shocks of hay, bricks, what have you... They support the breasts so they don't hang down, are stretched out of shape and flop about. They support the gut and keep it from stretching out over time and sagging. I don't think they necessary support muscle development in these areas, but women often aren't developed in these areas anyway. Nowadays, we just sort of sag and flap and roll and let it all hang out. But this can lead to back and neck problems (ask me how I know this). Bras dig deep into your shoulders and can actually deform the bones after a while.

The work that goes into building a corset (note I said building and not sewing) does require some research. It also requires an investment of time and equipment and supplies. I"m hoping the resulting garment is worth every penny and minute I put into it.

For help with all the technical details and actual, hands-on work; a few of us have banded together for a Corset/Bodies/Stays Study Group which meets on the Fourth Sunday of each month in the Yellow Cat Saloon above the Heathsville Tavern Restaurant at the RHHT. We meet from 1 to 3 p.m.

So far, there are three of us, but folks interested in this sort of thing are welcomed to join us at any point. The goal is for each of us to make at least one set of stays, corsets or bodies.

I am working on two versions. The first is from this pattern: 18th Century Strapless Stays by J. P. Ryan. My second is from Elizabethan Costume.

The second is from a different era altogether but with some adaptations, I may be able to make it work (or save it for a Ren Period outfit).

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