October 15, 2016

lingerie, bras and shapewear

Last weekend, I spent a couple of hours asking the same question on three different Facebook groups of which I am a member (We Sew Retro Sew & Tell, Learn how to make Corsets like a pro and a Dutch group about corset making, to be precise). I got a lot of kind comments and good advice but nothing like a single solution emerged. 
I was looking for advice on how to improve on this thing which I made last year. 

My lingerie corset isn't bad but it is not flawless either. I'm sure I can fix the minor fit issues it has but I really need to find a good fabric for it. The opaque stuff I used here is a bit too stiff and doesn't breathe. And I was also not happy with the way this garment creates more tummy than I actually have. One of the people who commented on my question mentioned something important about that though: Flat stomachs are a modern obsession, a fit like this would have been completely fine in the 1950's (which tends to be the era I look at for this kind of thing).
I also spent some time looking at repro patterns for shapewear (I know Mrs. Depew has a few, if you have other recommendations, please comment). 

I really should try and order some samples of the fabrics which were suggested to me (and some more lingerie supplies besides that) and experiment with the pattern or try a repro one. Instead, I started with supplies from stash and a design which is between normal bra a retro shapewear: A longline bra.


It is strapless for now but I plan on adding straps. I put ribbons in the cup seam to allow for that but I am all out of rings and sliders. 
I made it using non-stretch silk (for the upper cups and the center front), that mesh I also used for my body suits and some beige/pink lingerie foam for the cups. And I used my usual underwires and polyester boing covered in velvet ribbon along the bodice seams. Unfortunately, I only had fairly wide boning in black and proper bone casings would have been better with this sheer fabric... 

And the use of interlocking rigid pieces like the bones and the underwires means the fabric between those pieces has to fit perfectly. The center front is just a tiny bit off in its center, below the underwires. It is nothing that can't be fixed in a new version but it would be much more trouble than it is worth to try and fix it in this finished product. 
In a new version, I would also slightly change the angle of the cups, put a tiny bit more room in the upper edge of the cups and use wider elastic at the bottom edge of the bodice (note to self: Buy such elastic...) and probably lengthen the bodice  by 1 to 1.5 cm to make it reach my waist.
Despite all that, I like this for a first try. 

5 comments:

  1. I can offer nothing in fit, fabrics, hardware etc, but I can say that that is gorgeous and your sewing is impeccable.

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  2. I agree with that line of thinking about the tummy. I find it very aesthetically pleasing. Spoon busk corsets are curved to give that flattering shape.

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  3. I think that corset is so sexy, women are supposed to have a curve at the belly you know. It's only recently (20 years) that we are supposed to be so skinny.

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  4. Maybe the extra tummy room in the corset pattern is there to enable a woman to eat a little? Impeccable sewing by the way!

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  5. Since you mentioned you were looking for other fabric options, I may have a suggestion for you. I used to work in a well-respected costume shop where we made custom corsets for many opera singers. We used several different types of coutil, and they all have their best uses. But the one I have found most applicable for modern undergarments is satin-face coutil. It is mostly cotton fiber, very densely woven, and the "fashion" side has a soft satin weave that is not too shiny. It is rather stiff straight off the bolt, which can be an asset, but it also washes up much softer, which can be useful as well, depending on the style and shaping you are after. We liked it for less rigid or historical styles of corsets, because it would relax with wear, and more quickly conform to the wearer's body, (which helped our singers complain less as well!). The next weight up from satin-face coutil, is one called belleflower, which was a jacquard-weave, slightly more dense and crisp. We ordered ours from Whaley's which, I believe, is based in the UK. I hope this is helpful or at least interesting to you, if you didn't already know about it. Your corsets are lovely, regardless.

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