Thursday, November 18, 2010

Corsets of the 1950s

Image from Bazaar magazine, 1951
My draping teacher and I have decided to take a little detour in our studies and venture into corsetry, which is another area of her expertise. Even though I love making inner corselettes and boned dresses, it took me a little while to come around to the idea of a full-on corset, I must admit. Though their intricate construction is right up my alley, I've been so focused on mid-Century fashion and I always (wrongly) think of corsetry as purely Victorian. But my very preliminary research has unearthed some very interesting examples of 1950s corsetry.

While I plan to start out with a traditional Victorian-style overbust corset, these examples of mid-century corsetry have gotten me all excited about the possibilities! As far as I can tell, corsets of the 1950s fall into the following four categories:

1. New Look Waspies

If you've been reading this site for a while, you know I'm a huge fan of Dior's New Look (blogged here), which was introduced in 1947, and had its heyday in the 50s. The hourglass silhouette was striking: sloped shoulders, full skirts, and a teeny tiny waist. The waist was cinched with the aid of a "waspie:" a narrow underbust corset. The V&A has a couple in its collection, including this one from 1948:
2. Merry Widows

Slate just published the article "A Short History of the Corset" this week, coinciding happily with my corset research. The author includes this 1950s undergarment, writing,
The advent of new highly tensile nylon elastic nets in the 1950s brought about a revolution in underwear design and manufacture, offering powerful control without the need for much boning. It allowed underwear designers to use a lace effect not only as a decorative trim, but as the garment's primary material. This is a version of the "merry widow" corset, named for the 1952 film of the same name starring Lana Turner. The 'Merry Widow' name was registered by Warner's, which timed the launch of the range with that of the film and extensively advertised the brand from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.
Vintage merry widows are quite beautiful to look at, but I wouldn't have previously thought of them as examples of corsetry since they don't lace up at all. Any thoughts on this, readers?

3. Girdle-Corset Hybrids

With the advent of these synthetic fabrics, girdles became the norm. But I have come across some interesting garments that appear to be mash-ups of girdles and corsets. Made of more modern power net, these foundation garments do have lacing up the back, hearkening back to corsets of yore. (They're actually still sold here, but beware: the pics are quite fetish-y.)

From the Corsetry Museum site
4. Pin-up/Burlesque

Corsets have been a fetish item for a long time! Pin-up girls and burlesque performers of the 1950s sometimes wore very traditional Victorian-style corsets. These glam get-ups were even featured in special corset-fetish girly magazines.

So that's my recent dorky foray into fashion history. I know we have a lot of corset experts in the sewing world, and I'd love to hear from you! Are my assessments correct? Does a true corset need to have laces, or would you consider a merry widow to be a corset? Also, there seems to be a return to wearing corsets as everyday undergarments. Anyone in this camp?

Also, please share any recommended reading on the subject! I'm just dipping into The Basics of Corset Building, but I can tell I'm going to be looking for some more in-depth books soon.


  1. Wow! I have always thought of corset making to be the most one of the most intense garments to make in terms of skill. I never really thought to make one myself. By the way, wikipedia has a couple interesting articles on the corset.

  2. Nice! Thanks for posting this. I actually started sewing because I wanted to make corsets. This website isn't free but it looks great.

  3. I imagine the merry widow gets termed a corset because, though it is functionally more of a girdle - who ever paired girdle and sexy in the same sentence? The good thing about making corsets is if you have any errors, who is to see? Unless you make a merry widow which appears to be made specifically for viewing pleasure.

  4. I love making corsets!!! I haven't made one in years, but they are a lot of fun (though frustrating at times--just because of the precise fit you need). Looking at this post is tempting me to make a waspie, but alas, I shouldn't just run off and start another project. haha.

    I would say that the Merry Widow style is a crossover between corsets (which you are correct in that they are typically associated with the lace-up foundations) and lighter girdles. Corsets and MW both have structure and are meant to shape and such, but the corset is a lot more of a cincher in that it can dramatically alter your figure (especially with training. Even without it's amazing how small you can lace your waist down to! ;). Just my two thoughts--I've been so out of the "corset world" for awhile that I'm sure someone else can say more on this topic!

    Can't wait to see where you go with all this, Gertie! ;)

    ♥ Casey | blog

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  6. Ooh, this is fascinating, thanks. Most of my information about corsets comes from Sew Curvy (, a corset-maker who's local to me and definitely an expert - she did a fascinating piece recently about making a corset for those of us who are a bit 'wonky'! I was gutted not to be able to do her course recently, and am currently saving up for the next.

    Hope you enjoy the process as much as the research :)

  7. Hiya Gertie, One of my two favourite items to make as a costumer are hats and corsets. I have only made an Elizabethan and 18th Century corset, both very similar in the way they are made. I hope to make and Edwardian corset with cording next in my own time for my own interest next year.

    I follow a site after it was suggested to me. It brings the great book Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh alive.

    Can't wait to see what corset/s you make :)

  8. Corset-making is a fascinating process. You might want to check out the blog House of Marmelade, and the book Underwear in Detail, from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Well worth it!

  9. For your first one I'd stick with a more underbust/waspie shape. Corsets are difficult to fit, and going with a merry widow type means you'd have to deal with fitting and constructing bra cups. A ton of work and really not necessary for the shape you're after. As far as lacing, I think that yeah, a corset has to have lacing. But that means a bulky knot at your waist, which you may not want. If you go with a few rows of hooks and eyes anchored on to strong elastic you'll have a smoother line and you can go through a similar process to lacing in. Hook on the widest eyes, wait 15 or 20 minutes, hook on the next row, wait some more, hook and the tightest row. If you put the hooks in the front you can do it yourself, if you put them in back you may need a helpful friend. You don't have to kill yourself to create a nice silhouette, a little shaping goes a long way. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  10. I know also that there was a sort of sub-group of corsets that were really what we'd think of as medical or orthopedic corsets. There were corsets set up to help support pregnant tummies and backs; my mom wore a special heavy duty corset that went from under her bust about halfway down her thighs to support her back (she had a herniated disc and in those days back surgery success rates were poor). Her corset did not have bones in it; hers had pieces of flat metal, called 'steels' that were about an inch wide. My memory of hugging her was like hugging a suit of armor. It weighed a ton and during the summer was very hot. It had laces and straps which buckled on it in the front and she wore a long line bra over the entire thing. Nothing moved between her shoulders down. How she sat in the thing is still beyond me.

  11. This is the sort of thing that seems WAY out of my sewing league! I love the educational posts! I'm glad you and Sharon (it's sharon, right?) are going down corset lane!

  12. as the proud owner of eight (or nine) corsets - off the rack and custom, overbust and underbust - and a vintage boned powernet girdle, I have to say, I love this post! :)

    I could direct you to ALL KINDS of corset making information, but the majority of my sources have a DEFINITE fetish slant to them. If you're nto offended by that kind of thing, let me know and I can flood you with links...however, there are some great non fetishy resources as well. Apparently the corset group on livejournal is huge, and I think someone already mentioned Also, since you do have a sewing teacher who specializes in corsets, you're one step ahead of most people!

    In the circles I travel in, there are definite lines drawn between tightlacing corsetry and fashion corsetry. Either way, to be considered "real", most people feel that a corset should have steel boning (either spring or spiral), laces and multiple layers of fabric, one of them preferably coutil. Most people consider anything that has stretch material to NOT be a corset (though I have seen a few exceptions in a "sport" corset style, and of course, latex stretches...)

    My own foray into corset making will start as soon as I'm done with my Lady Grey (and the five other small projects that need to get wrapped up!)

    I could go on for pages and pages and pages about corsets and wearing them, but it all gets rather boring rather fast for those who aren't interested - feel free to email me if you have any questions!

  13. I made a corset or two back in the day, but frankly I think they are part of the "binding up women" thing and I wouldn't do that to myself now. I think they are fetish-y because subjugating women is "sexy" in our twisted world. I don't want to subjugate myself. And corsets for pregnant women! Don't get me started on medical follies associated with birth and breastfeeding, but that has to come high on the list.

  14. Corsets and Crinolines is a great book if you're looking for information about the history and changing styles. She's got lots of diagrams from original pieces for the various time periods she covers, but there's a lot of scaling and resizing involved there. I haven't made anything from it yet, since I haven't had time since I bought it, but it's definitely worth a look. There's also another book that was just recently released called Underwear: Fashion in Detail. It's from a series of books that the V & A has published and while they don't have patterns and things, they're really great for studying the detailing on various garments. This one is on my Christmas list!

  15. I don't know very much about corsets, but what I do know comes out of women's studies courses. I'm probably missing some of the story, but corsets have always seemed symbolic of women's repression through fashion. I love your blog because you do such a great job talking about (beautiful!) vintage fashion and feminism. So, where do you fall on this issue? Have corsets changed since the Victorian Era so that they're not so restricting? Are corsets just another foundation garment?

  16. Hello Gertie
    I sell Corset Kits .. I would be happy to send you one to try out - and write about - if you care to pick one from my website here: I will send it airmail. There are various different types to choose from - overbust or underbust, but I would recommend one with a Laughing Moon pattern (the Dore/Silverado if you want over bust) .. OR, I am just about to put another kit on the site which uses a very popular Truly Victorian pattern, which is a bit more over bust than the LM patterns, and has slanted seams. All options are the Victorian style which are designed to give you a small waist, while enhancing bust and hips.

    There is information on asymetric corset fitting on my blog (along with other corsetty stuff) here:

    Hope this info is of help to you.


    ps: if you would like to take me up on my offer, please mail via my website if my email address doesn't show up on this comment

  17. I make corsets mostly. They are involved, but it's more a series of processes rather than complicated sewing. Although the fitting can be tricky.

    I'd definitely suggest the waspie type for you. Great for giving a real New Look line under dresses. It's the lack of one that often means modern dresses in that style don't quite recreate the intended look.

    They Merry Widow would be a whole other level of compicated. It wouldn't be classed as a corset in the modern definition or one, yet it would be classed as vintage corsetry. Confusing? Yes it can be.

    I'd echo the recommendation of There are few reliable resources for actually making a corset. That's one of them.

  18. Like Minnietheminks, I follow
    Jo is sewing her way through Norah Waugh's book, in some ways like your VNBSS project.

    I have also heard good things about, and was very impressed when I looked at it, but I won't sign up until I'm ready to actually start making a corset.

    I agree to a large extent with Binkydoll; it is the stiffness of the fabric and the presence of boning that makes it a corset, not the presence of laces. Steel boning is not necessary. It can be synthetic or cane boning as well. Still, the main point is that there is minimal flexibility in the garment. Laces are normally needed to achieve this, bit I'm not convinced they are the defining feature, especially given that renaissance bodices are not corsets.

    A well-fitted corset should be comfortable to wear, despite the fact that it limits movement to a certain extent. As some people mentioned, a corset can essentially act as a back brace. People often lace their corsets extremely tight, and obviously corsets were used for waist training at certain time periods; however, it is easy to achieve a slimming effect with a corset without going to that extreme level. I believe that one should be able to bend over in a corset and take a decent sized breath in a corset.

    As far as what cameron said about corsets symbolizing women's oppression through fashion, I am not entirely convinced. First of all, men wore a type of corset in the Victorian era, at least. Also, I don't believe that stays would have filtered down so far and so completely into poor society if it was simply about fashion. Still, I agree that the corset has come to be very associated with waist training, and therefor with oppression. On the other hand, the fact that dominatrixes typically wear corsets indicates that corsets are not simply associated with oppression.

  19. If it's intended to hold in and reshape the body, it's corsetry. Yes, I think Spanx count.

    I've had people comment on my Flickr images that the pattern illustrations have amazing/bizarre figures. I always tell them it's all about artistic license and architectural undergarments.

  20. I wear a corset almost daily -- generally a Victorian overbust with gores in the bust area (which makes me look like I'm wearing a bra, rather than the flattened bust look some corsets can give you). I'm quite busty, and find that corsets are far, far more comfortable than regular bras because they support from below, rather than hanging all the weight from the shoulders. Its also hard to find bras in my size -- 32DD -- and I know my corsets are going to fit well, because I make them. I don't tend to use them to cinch in my waist because at 25", I'm already enough of an hourglass that more looks positively weird, but they do smooth out curves quite nicely.

    As for sewing, if you're starting from a pattern rather than drafting your own, I'd suggest Laughing Moon's Silverado/Dore pattern or Truly Victorian's mid-Victorian pattern. Both are very well drafted and (relatively) easy to modify. Just be aware that making a corset, especially for the first time, takes several mock-ups -- and that it's important to bone your mock-ups! I'm sure Sharon will tell you all of this.

    As for the corset/Merry Widow dichotomy, I know a lot of people consider a "corset" to be anything that can't stretch, and a "girdle" to be anything that does. So a typical Merry Widow, made out of powermesh, would be a girdle, but if it, say, had a waist tape in that couldn't stretch, it would become a corset, even if everything else was the same!

    1. Bess, that's interesting. I recently happened upon an article about Sarah Chrisman's preference for Victorian clothing that really started with a corset, and I've been contemplating how well it would lend itself to support. Corsetry, I mean. I remember fondly being a 32DD. I had something of a growth spurt in my early 30's, and find myself in a 32G. They're tricky to find, and I'm developing gullies across my shoulders. But I tend to bend and twist quite a lot (retail job, gardener, engineering student...we're a surprisingly active type, we engineering students); so I'm curious about physical movement in them, assuming that the fit is accurate of course.

  21. I'm another costumer who loves making corsets. I've made a few Victorians ( I'm thinking of getting into '50's corsets because a local club has a 1950's costume night every Friday. (Yay!)

    I have the book you mentioned and it is great. I also own and recommend " Corsets: Historical patterns and techniques" by Jill Salen. Excellent photos and sketched patterns though the corsets covered are 1750-1917.

  22. I've just started thinking about making a corset, a Tudor one. Maybe next fall... (why stress?).
    While I wouldn't wear a corset daily, I do find a well-fitted corset comfortable, actually more comfortable than some spanx-shapewear.
    As for the corset vs Merry Widow vs renaissance bodices mentioned above in the comments: the difference I've noticed between them is simply that MW and the laced bodice has a softness the corset just doesn't have. The lines get softer with a MW or for ex an Italian 15th c bodice, and no matter how well constructed and strengthened the bodice is anelizabethan gown not worn over a corset it will look strange.

    Not having made a corset, I have just one tip: make one you can at least get out of on your own. Way more practical =) Learned it the hard way when making medieval clothes...

  23. I'm fairly new to corsets myself, as I'm still in the process of getting to a stable weight. Why do all that fitting work, if I'm constantly changing, right?

    I found this link for a corsetry eBook on facebook, surprisingly.

    I figured for the price she was charging, it covered the price for the 20 patterns alone. And that, along with some online tutorials and blogs, would be more than enough to get me started on corsets.

    Of course, you have someone in person to help you--lucky girl.

    I plan to get started once the mad christmas sewing frenzy and the Crepe are done. :D Let us know what you decide to do, and I would LOVE to see progress shots if you decide on one.

  24. Here in St. Louis we have a wonderful couture-quality corsetiere whose business is called The Other Woman. She has recently started a blog, but does not have a commercial website. I wish she did, because I would love for you to see her incredible workmanship. She can do everything from fashion to full-on historical--and it's all beautiful.

    To quote liberally from her comments on "Why Make Corsets?":

    "I think of my pieces as fashion rather than fetish. Being based on ideas that start out kinky just gives them a little more style. After all, a subversive undercurrent is what keeps fashion interesting. I like the idea of people responding to the beauty and elegance of a garment before they realize that it breaks one of their taboos."

    "I also love the idea of temporary beauty. I’m a relaxed-fit kind of gal, with two kids and a passion for cake. But I have another woman, and she lives in my closet. She’s hourglass-shaped, removable, and much simpler to deal with than the high-maintenance body she replaces."

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  26. Hi Gertie, I'm another corset making here in the UK. I make for myself and customers and we wear them as both lingerie and outerwear. Mine are typically based on the Victorian overbust shape, but I love to make them with a twist so they are a cross between corset and girdle (oh, I make 1950/1960's girldes and bras too!) I'm just about to blog a tutorial on making a strapless top with built-in corset, which is another technique altogether.
    Make sure you use proper spiral boning and not too much flexi steel as the spiral boning will move with your body whilst keeping the rigidity. BE WARNED. CORSET MAKING IS ADDICTIVE!!!

  27. Re: The bodice question -- a bodice isn't considered a corset because it's worn on the outside, yes? My understanding is that the general definition of a corset involves it being underwear. As in, a middle- or upper-class Elizabethan outfit will involve both a corset (or rather, stays, but the distinction between stays and corsets is even fuzzier), which can't be seen, and a bodice, which can. (Hence why the cover-the-torso part of a dress is still called the "bodice" of the dress despite having little in common with historical bodices.)

    PS One thing I forgot to mention above, but another commenter has noted -- use spiral steel in all the boning channels that have to bend, and only use spring steel (the solid stuff) around the lacing holes in the back (which doesn't have to bend, because your back is straight up and down, and because you need the extra strength there). Spiral steel is your friend!

    PPS Also, I assume you're going to do this anyway, but do choose a pattern that involves a busk (the hookable front closure) because that will allow you to get in and out of it yourself.

    PPPS I realize you probably don't need all this advice, as Sharon will know it all, but it might be helpful to other readers who are thinking of delving into corsetry themselves.

  28. My grandmother would shudder if she read this post! Last year she recalled to me the horror of having to wear a girdle, which was all the time, including in the summer. She said they were made of a rubber-like material that did not breathe, and that she consequently smelled rather unpleasant at the end of the day. She was so happy when the 60's and 70's came along and it became accpetable for women not to have to force themselves into uncomrtable foundation garments everyday.

    It's interesting that we see corsets as sexy today, when in the 1950's, for many women, they were pure drudgery.

  29. no. no NO NO NO. not wearing a corset every day. our mothers and grandmothers worked too hard to make sure we didn't have to.

  30. LOL Your post inspired a lot of discussion and long comments. I have made one corset already Victorian style, but the foundations garments of the 50's is something I'm even more interested in. Problem is that you can't make these garments without the right fabrics and good knowledge of these styles. In books I haven't found it discussed yet and the one course where I live that teaches it is to expensive and time consuming right now. I think you're really in a great position to be able to learn this one on one.

    Linden blossoms in my tea

  31. To FITZ and all the others who object to corsets because of some feminist ideal: I find corsets to be far more comfortable than bras. Should I condemn myself to pain because the world views certain articles of clothing in a certain way? Isn't that what feminism has always been working against -- the denial of freedom by the imposition of outside ideals?

    It is true that our grandmothers worked hard to make sure we didn't have to. I don't have to. I choose to. Feminism is about choice. It's not your place to tell me I'm choosing incorrectly because the choice doesn't live up to your feminist standard in exactly the same way it wasn't the place of our ancestors to tell women they had to wear corsets.

    I know this is something that comes up every time Gertie talks about undergarments, but, well, it seems to need repeating. It's about choice.

  32. Brava, Bess! Well put.

    The intersection of foundation garments and feminism comes up a lot, and here's a post I've written on the matter:

    Underwear: What's Feminism Got to Do with It?

    Thanks to all for the great resources listed! I look forward to showing you my progress. :)

  33. I am so glad you posted this. I am experienced in sewing but have never sewn a corset before. My daughter wanted me to sew Taylor Swift's Love Story dress, the top of which looks like a corset. I have just bought two Simplicity corset patterns for a start. I find all the comments here so interesting and informative. Thanks!

  34. You've already been given lots of *great* links for corsetmaking resources that I think you'll have a lot of fun with. There is obviously a lot of misinformation out there, but some real gems amongst it.

    I will also say, be prepared and happy to test the received wisdom. There are as many definitions of "corset" as there are ways of constructing one, and really whether something is or isn't a corset isn't even the most interesting question. To me, the most interesting aspect of it is this: "how can I refine and explore the process of building a garment that shapes the body". For me, the archetypal shape is an hourglass, so I focus on Victorian corsetry. And "the proof is in the pudding"! If it works, it works. One woman's heaven is another woman's hell, right?! I'm still a very "new" corsetmaker, but honestly... I could be doing this full time for 50 years without exhausting all the possibilities. It's a hugely interesting topic.

    I'm always slightly amazed that there's still some animosity towards corsets, though I do understand where it comes from. What people forget, is that the corset (right up until Edwardian times) also functioned as bust support. People talk about the corset's tight waist as oppressive or anti-woman (largely because we've been fed a lot of nonsense in terms of bogus scientific "fact": see Valerie Steele's "The Corset" for an impartial and informed view). But anyone with a moderate to large bust knows that to go without bust support can be rather uncomfortable! We have bras now, but corsets were/are a perfectly valid option and do not deserve to be demonised. I certainly find a corset more comfortable than a bra (damn underwires!). And if I want to smooth down my waist, I find a corset *far* more comfortable than a pair of high waist lycra pants (on account of the fact that the corset won't roll, bunch up, dig in, or make me overheat).

    Best of luck with your studies, I hope you come to love corsetry :-D

  35. I used to wear a corset when going to goth clubs (as outer wear, not as a support garment). I recommend the underbust 'waspie' style - they're much more comfortable, especially if you're not using to wearing a corset.

  36. oh, bridges on the body is a fantastic blog! I forgot all about her 'cause she hasn't been popping up in my feed lately....

    Without starting too much of a something, I'd like to make two points.

    1) Spanx, girdles, corsets and the like all fall under the umbrella of foundation garments. However, Spanx and girdles are NOT corsets. One smooths out lumps and imperfections, the other provides structural support and (if one chooses) long term body shaping.

    2) Our mothers and grandmothers worked hard to give us options. If some of us choose to stay home and wear corsets there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's about CHOICE ladies, and having the individuals freedoms to make the ones that are right for each of us personally.

    (another minor note or two: It's my understanding that bodices and early Elizabethan stays were stiffened with cording and/or reeds and that is what differentiates them from corsets. I'll have to check into the under/outer being a qualifier. Also, garments boned in plastic or rigilene are generally referred to as 'corselettes' as they simply do not have the strength that spiral and spring steel do.)

    Finally, one of my custom overbusts is from The Other Woman. She does A-MAZING work.

    Will stop hijacking your blog now :)

  37. oooh I love Girdlebound, check out their specials area from time to time and you might get one cheap ;)

  38. I am so glad corsets were not in style in my days. I am sure I would not have worn one.

  39. I wear a "Squeem" every day. it's a bit like a girdle and a bit like a corset. It helps my posture and keeps me from overeating! what I love the most about it is that it's comfortable and my back pain as stopped. and my waist? tiny!

  40. Ha! I just had the discussion with my draping teacher that I need to make a corset! i have wanted to make one for years but just never got around to it. I have the Basics of Corset Building books and a bunch of notes from a workshop/lecture with Linda Sparks. I have the laughing moon Siverado/dore pattern and was just recently looking up supplies so I could actually get around to it! Sew along #3??

    Also, the next exhibit at the Chicago History Museum is all about Charles James! I almost fell out of my chair when I heard but it doesn't open until October. Plenty of time to plan another meet up!

  41. Hold up, Amy. Did you just say CHARLES JAMES EXHIBIT???

    Time to start planning a trip to Chicago!

  42. Oh yes! I did. I don't know exact dates but it opens some time in October. I will keep you posted!

  43. ooo... and they had the butterfly dress on exhibit a couple years ago and they had made a 1/4 size reproduction of the foundations for it. So you could see all the under structure. Hopefully they will have that again!

  44. I am new to sewing, and vintage fashion. Your post has inspired me to want a corset. I chose an underbust waspie because they seem less constricting around the ribcage, which is good since I enjoy breathing. While I am not ready to make one myself, I found a corset maker in the UK on etsy with some reasonably priced and beautiful work:

  45. I meant to say in my previous comment that I LOVE vintage fashion, not that I'm new to it. I am fairly new to sewing though, and will be doing your sew along for the crepe dress.

    Btw, I must thank you all the time and effort you spend on this very informative blog. I learn lot and have passed it along to several people, one or two of which will also do the sew-along.

  46. WOW...this post brought back some fond memories. Not of my wearing a waspie or other 50s corset, my mom and dad were barely alive in the 50's so I was not even on this earth, yet...but of me spending many many many late nights working and researching on my senior costume history thesis. I need to dig that back out and take another read. Thanks for such a well done post. I enjoyed reading it.

  47. I've done some corset-making and quite a bit of corsetry research, and I've not found the book you mentioned to be top-notch. It's mostly about the materials you can use - which is useful, but limited. I would recommend in addition Norah Waugh's classic "Corsets and Crinolines" and especially "Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques" by Jill Salen. The latter author is associated with the site, which comes highly recommended but which I haven't been able to afford so far! Robert Doyle's "Waisted Efforts: An Illustrated Guide to Corset-Making" is sometimes recommended, but I didn't find it to be terribly useful - I don't think that his drafting technique works very well for corsetry, which has negative ease. However, it does have some great reference pictures, which actually go into the 20th century. Sorry about the source overload - I'm actually teaching a workshop/class at my college on corset-making in January, and writing a paper on the historiography of the corset, so I'm knee-deep in supportive undergarments. ;)

  48. A corset is a thingy that takes your measurements down more than two inches. A bodice is one that is about your own size- taking in up to two inches.

    There is an entire world when it comes to corsetry. If you intended this to be a little path aside, be prepared to go around whole another world.
    I used to wear corsets on daily basis back in the days when I was young and I´ve sewed corsets and collected vintage corsets and studied making them for decades already. And I´m still learning.
    A blog you MUST dwell into is
    There are corset making forums, blogs, museums, name it. Go take a look, study them. It truly is a whole other world. Enjoy it, embrace it, nurse the bruises on your ribs as a result. It´s all worth it and much more.

  49. Hi Gertie I have just started reading your blog and I love it. I live in New Zealand but would love to join your sewing group. I love to blog too, and have just done a post on corsets in the 1950's. Please come and visit and tell me what you think. xx Zho Zho

  50. I'm building my second corset for a big add campagn today. Your blog inspired me and kicked me to a start!
    I'll post some pictures of the making on my blog.
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  51. Great blog...thanks for all the info.

  52. Corsets blogs is more important for us and we have also think of new fashion cloths and market is full of corsets.

  53. Great blog .....

    We have also think of new fashion corsets.
    Biggest sale in corsets
    At more info visit :

  54. I am seventy and remember my mother wearing them I had to help do up the zip after the under fastenings were done. My sister was over weight and when she grew up decided to not wear them it was seen by my mother as immoral to have all the fat free to wobble.

    I have recently done a series of prints taking in the style of corsets every 10 years, along with this portrayed the popular shoe of the time. Did you realise the slilletto heel with pointed toe was worn at the same time I wore pointed whirl stitched bras. It is amazing the similarities to foundation garments shoe design was.

  55. This is the first time I have visited this blog and I love it. I love the topic you have chosen. Really interesting. Keep it up!


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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