Caroline's corset blog

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

 RSS Feed

» Listings for November 2020

  1. regency transitional stays front view

    I've been eyeing up the Regency period for a while, lining it up for a rainy day, but the catalyst came a few weeks ago from Jema Hewitt of Foundations Revealed. I write about one article a year for Foundations (I absolutely love writing articles by the way) - usually about drafting or anything to do with design using CAD. 'We have gaps in our library regarding Regency short stays' she said....'right, I said - I'll do it'.

    One thing about focusing upon a particular era is that the research is incredibly interesting. It's not just about the fashion I want to uncover, but a feel for the entire 'zeitgeist'. I want to know about the movers and shakers of the time, what they were writing, painting, and talking about. Not so long ago I wrote here about Mary Wollstonecraft (my muse for this article) which was odd because not long after this blog a memorial was erected in a park where I live in her memory (it has proved controversial but that's another story). 

    Blythe House is a V&A storage facility where you can request to see exhibits for research. I would have loved to have seen the famous transitional stays and interrogated them properly, but during this horrendous pandemic visiting this facility just isn't possible. The next best thing is to simply use the photos and come up with my own interpretation of them. I'll be describing this in more detail in the article but essentially I import the pics into CAD and look at  proportions by drawing lines all over them. Perspective gets in the way of course but testing my shapes on the form as I go along gets me there in the end.

    I'd like the article to be more general than a step by step this-is-how-you-make-it kind of thing so would like to weave a bit of history into it and cover the late eighteenth century 'transitional' stays as well. Here are the pics of my first attempt at these;

    side view resaved

    Quite a bit of pattern matching was involved and I used chamois leather to bind those fiddly tabs (the 'skirt' as it is technically known).

  2. jesy nelson in heart corset

    I didn't intend on creating this design to be honest, but whilst creating the petal corset for Foundations Revealed, the shape popped out at me and as it was coming up to Feb 14th I thought why not. It worked out well and I punted out the pics - it garnered a lot of interest and was featured by the Daily Corset on Instagram. They are followed by Little Mix's stylist who wanted it for Jesy Nelson so I sold it to her. Their stylist said it would be used for publicity material for the next album 'Confetti', then Lockdown happened delaying the release and I almost forgot about it. This photo was released yesterday. It's weird to see something I have created on somebody followed by millions of people! They have 13.3 million followers on Instagram and more than 200,000 people have liked this photo - I can't get my head around these sorts of numbers!

    It's in all the press too - so chuffed!

    Pattern available through this website or in my Etsy shop

  3. 20201110_074517

    Mary Wollstonecraft wrote ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ – one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy and a powerful case for the liberation and education of women. She was one of Britain’s most important radicals; a free thinker of the enlightenment and a human rights campaigner. I have lived in an area of London called Newington Green for the best part of my life and it is here that Mary established a school for girls and gained inspiration and support from activists and intellectuals who settled in the neighbourhood (including the dissenting luminaires Richard Price and Anna Letitia Barbauld). I’m proud of my hood and today a statue at Newington Green will be unveiled. It's been 10 long years of fund-raising - at last, a fitting memorial to this incredible woman.


    © National Portrait Gallery, London

    ‘I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves’

    She was born on 27th April 1759 in Spitalfields, London and had two children, one of whom was Mary Shelley who wrote the famous gothic novel Frankenstein - probably one of the first works of science fiction. She died very young at aged 38 on 10th September 1797 only 10 days after giving birth to Mary. 

    The next article that I'm writing for Foundations Revealed is about the shorter Regency stays - the kind worn under the Empire line dresses of the time. In this portrait by John Opie in 1897 she's wearing a typical white muslin chemise gown that was gathered under the bust. With the higher waist came a new form of shorter stays that were initially similar-shaped to the stays of the eighteenth century but then developed to give the bust an uplifted and separated profile (rather then the mono shape than had gone before).


    © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

    As part of my research I wanted to visit Blythe House (part of the V&A where the fashion collection is stored) to interrogate these 'transitional' stays but alas whilst this pandemic rages, that avenue of pleasure is closed to me for now.