Author Archives: floralmenagerie

Up Next…

Since I can never work on one thing at a time, here is a sneak peak of my next corset project:

This is the “Celine” underbust corset from King & Co.

This is going to be a simple two layer corset, constructed using the sandwich method. Most bones will go within the seam allowances and I think I will sew an additional strip of twill inside the strength layer for the mid panel bone casings. That way they wont be seen on the inside, or rub me raw on the inside! The outer layer is going to be a pretty floral/tree upholstery fabric that I think will work well for a corset. Hopefully I will get all the pieces cut out in the next few days. I will probably work on this one in class this week, as the TV110 I am working on is delicate due to the nature of polyester brocade and I don’t really want to cart it around with me.


Truly Victorian 110

Last night I spent a lot of time working on corset related projects. I do not know why I thought it was a good idea to make my first Victorian corset with an outer fashion layer of polyester brocade. The whole process is a nightmare. I assumed that since I am using a strength layer of coutil, with internal bone casing and a floating liner the poly brocade would not cause many problems. I was very very wrong. I only interfaced the front panel time I will interface ALL pieces or flat-line them to cotton. After everything was cut and methodically layed out, I installed the hook part of the busk. It looked great, I was quite proud of the even stitching and everything. I then went to install the knob side of the busk, and realized I had installed the hook side upside down.

I cried a little bit inside.

Upside down

I didn’t feel like cutting new panels (I have very little usable interfacing left) so I carefully took the trusty seam ripper to the seams and got the busk installed properly. Of course it does not looks as nice as it did originally! Installing the knob side was a nightmare. Every hole I poked with my awl split the brocade horribly, and I noticed matching lines on both of my side front panels where the fabric is distorted.  I am assuming it was like that when I cut out the pieces and I just didn’t notice. Oh well, lesson learned. Cheap materials = bad results! I think the finished corset will look rather nice, so I am going to keep on with it. If anything I will wear at work during Halloween (one of the benefits to working at a place with a costume mansion).


Here is the complete busk inserted, properly this time.

This is where I ended my work last night, with the two side front panels attached:

I can always gut it for its insides at a future date!

Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Titanic Sewing Project

The Vintage Pattern Lending Library has put together a fantastic sewing project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

I sent my request to join the 1912 Titanic Sewing Project  and forwarded the required information, now I am waiting on tenterhooks to begin!

I feel like this will be a great opportunity to expand my sewing skills. I am quite interested in historical sewing techniques and I love seeing things people create.

Here is an additional  blog about the project

I really hope to be included, I would love to make a few things to wear over my teens era corsets!


Work(s) in Progress

I generally spend way too much time looking online for things to make than I do actually making anything.

That being said, I actually have been working on a few corsets, one Victorian and the other two from the Titanic-1910’s-Teens era.

If I ever plan on making a  Downton Abbey-esque type of outfit I will need the proper undergarments! I decided to try out two different teens era corset patterns I found online. Both of the pattern makers/creators/geniuses used vintage corsets to draft the patterns.

The first corset pattern I am using is from the Bridges on the Body blog. The author hosted a  1911 Corset Sew Along that just ended recently. I was too late to join the sew along so I decided to go at it alone.

This is a five panel corset pattern with separate font and back facings. The front facing is part of the center front panel in the original, I changed it because I didn’t want to cut slits in the fabric for the busk. I love the system of notches used in this pattern.

Putting the pattern together involved enlarging the original pattern to fit the scale, and then making adjustments to  fit my personal measurements.   This is my second or third version of the pattern and it is still a work in progress. I had enlarged it originally, to better fit my measurements, only to have it come out too big when I sewed the first mock up. This version is smaller, close to the original size of the scaled up pattern. I sewed the second mock up last night but when I put it on without any bones  it just didn’t sit right. I can’t tell if the sizing is still off or if it just needs to be boned and made out of a firmer material than a light weight cotton. Today I plan to insert some bones in order to better check the fit.

This is the rear view of my second mock up. The only bones I have inserted are in the lacing strips.

Lacing it up by myself was almost comedic, as the front is sewn shut. Frustration may have adversely affected fit!!

I already  think I want to extend the length of this pattern a bit.  I didn’t include a seam allowance on the top and bottom edges and it sits higher on my thighs then I think it should.

The second corset pattern I am working on is from the Festive Attyre  Historic Costuming blog. The author’s article, Reconstructing a Teens Era Corset was originally published on Foundations Revealed*, (as I believe was the original pattern for the Bridges on the Body sew along).

I haven’t made a mock up of this pattern yet. I think I may work on this in class this week. I need to get over to a fabric store and purchase a heavier weight cotton for mock ups.

*Once I finish my first few corsets I am gong to treat myself to a subscription!

corsets corsets corsets!

Corset class is starting to pick up. We’ve turned in our first two draped corset/bodice mock ups and are getting closer and closer to working on our final project.

I’ve managed to trace off both the Laughing Moon Dore corset and the Truly Victorian 1880’s late Victorian corset patterns and will likely build two corsets, as each has a different shape and differing construction instructions.

I am leaning more towards the TV pattern at this point, but I also have a strong desire to build a teens era corset as well (thanks Downton Abbey, for making the world obsessed with Titanic era clothing!).

I found this wonderful 1911 Corset Sew Along on this amazing blog:  Bridges on the Body. I of course MISSED the sew along and am now working my through it at my own pace. My first mock up ended up being too big, so I fixed the pattern pieces and am planning on having another go at it today in between working on my lacing strips.

I cannot say enough about this blog. I believe I am on my 3rd or 4th read through of all the posts, it is that good!


Lady Sybil and the Turkish Trousers

I confess, I finally watched Downton Abbey after hearing people talk about it for ages. When Lady Sybil walked into the room wearing  pantaloons at the end of the 4th episode I immediately fell in love with the design.

I decided I would really like to re-create this outfit, and after looking at pictures, pausing the episode a million times (not fun to do when watching Netflix through a Wii!) I think I have it partially figured out. To me it looks like a set of harem style pants with an overlay on one leg in a lighter color that crosses over the front. I am pretty confident I can pull something off. The top of the outfit is what will give me all of the trouble, as it was created from a large embroidered panel. I do not embroider, so I hope I will be able to find a large piece if trim to do something with.

While doing research I came across this lovely article with the Downton Abbey costume designer Susanah Buxton. She actually mentions the outfit!

I also started a board on pinterest for the project.

I found some pretty crinkled georgette on sale at Fashion Fabric Club site (my first foray into ordering fabric online) and am patiently waiting for it to arrive. The fabric in the original pants is smooth, but I think what I picked out will suffice.


The gift shop I work at sells a large variety of inexpensive masquerade masks. As I was straightening the other evening I came across the perfect mask to match the bee and fleur de lis fabric I found at school last week.  I love the colors in the mask so much I want to mimic them on a corset.

Our final project in the class is to turn in one completed corset. We are allowed to use the patterns we drafted or a commercial pattern. I am leaning towards the Truly Victorian TV110 as it is a straight forward late Victorian pattern with minimal fussiness. I would love to pattern match the front corset panels brocade in the picture above, and alternate gold and rust panels for the rest of the corset. I didn’t have any luck finding matching fabric at Jo-Ann, fortunately there are a few other places around for me to check out.

At this rate I am going to have to build multiple corsets in order to incorporate all of my ideas. I am already torn between building a Victorian corset and  18th century stays. I would also like to add an underbust corset to the mix!