Caroline's corset blog

Musings and progress from Caroline - projects she's working on, tips and tricks, and thoughts on corsetry

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  1. 20210826_170532

    The 1830's were at the very end of the Georgian period and the decade when Queen Victoria was born. The corsets of the time were gusseted, corded and with minimal whalebone - very much a transition between the soft non-boned stays of the Regency and the more heavily boned shaping of the later Victorian styles. Breasts were separated but not as uplifted as designs earlier in the century, straps were wide-set, wooden busks were used at the front, and lacing was used in the spiral configuation.

    This is not an exact reproduction of an example held at the V&A in London but I used this as my inspiration; Corset | Unknown | V&A Explore The Collections (

    You certainly need to set aside a few weeks for this one! I used two layers of fine wool suiting which worked really well - there is a lot of piercing, pulling and tugging required to create and insert cording and the fabric held up quite well to this abuse!


    I basted two layers of the panels together and transferred the cording design to the wrong side with carbon paper and a tracing wheel - there was perfect symmetry across the entire front panel as I had printed the panel out 'mirrored' so that a flipping exercise wasn't necessary. In the making of the pattern I have also offered the panel to makers in this format to make it easier for them. 

    There are three main panels - I corded the front and back before assembly, sewed them together and then corded the mid panel to ensure the cording design ran seamlessly across the corset. A third liner layer was handstitched to the finished corset (after binding) to hide the messy interior (of the same suiting material). For the cording I used a double layer of string and pulled it through the channels with a blunt darning needle, using an awl to part the fibres of the inner fabric layer. The ends stop just shy of the end of the channels.



    This graded pattern has been published to the my Etsy shop and will be offered to my Patreon patrons as my design for September 2021.


  2. It's summer here in the northern hemisphere so what better design to work on than a 'ventilated', or cage, corset. I love anything with a peep hole in fashion - a sensual and interesting addition to any garment - and in this lattice design there are many!


    One thing that became apparent whilst pattern cutting and grading this one is that the lengths and angles of the horizontal and vertical strips (panels) are incredibly subtle to the wearer. The way a horizontal strip will hug the curves of the body greatly affects how it butts against the centre front (CF) and centre back (CB), and how it aligns neatly against the vertical strips. It is for this reason that I realised I couldn't be too prescriptive and needed to create more of a template that makers can use to get started, rather than a more exacting pattern that I am used to making. It is therefore more of a tutorial this month.

    I have detailed two variations - fabric strips (see photo below) and Petersham tape (see photo above). There are no curves to the strips (the only curve in the template is the one seam on the CB panel that interfaces with the horizontals) - they are all straight. To achieve a flatness to the fabric/tape in the hip area, a bend is introduced in the fabric, and darts are shown in the tape. To create the same flatness in the rib area, the horizontals are angled. I have done a lot of horizontal and ribbon type designs and getting non-curved strips of fabric on to a curved body with a perfect flatness is the challenge.


    This template and tutorial will be published for $5 patrons on the 31st July and remain live until the end of August.

  3. I like to create non-corset patterns on occasion - they never sell in my Etsy shop (millions of patterns out there!) but there are a few 'fallow' months per year in my Patreon offer as I publish a pattern every 6 weeks  - I don't like the idea of patrons not receiving anything so like to issue some different things; articles, hints and tips, and patterns like this tunic top. It is based on the Worth bodice method whereby the bust dart is drafted wide to force the front side panel on the bias - it allows the fabric to skim the hips utilising the slight bias stretch for added flow.


    As usual I thought it might be a quick design/grading exercise, but it never is!! The listing can be found here;