Friday, 14 March 2014

Pattern review: Reconstrucing History 833

I have used this pattern twice now and since it is one of the easiest commercial patterns to obtain I thought that I would make a kind of review of the pattern.

Why did I choose this pattern? As I said it was easy to find, in a good price range. I also liked the fact that it included four different corsets, so that I could make a pair of stays that fitted different time periods.

Paper quality: The pattern is made on a quite sturdy sheet of paper, there are no problems trying to fold it back into the envelope. All the pieces are on just one sheet. I have noticed that the ink has started to fade though after a couple of times being taken up and folded back again.

Instructions: Now I have made my fair share of 19th century corsets, and I have also tried to make my own pair of stays, as such I maybe didn't read the instructions as thoroughly as someone who's more new to sewing might do. In the end I didn't find them quite clear, and they are mostly instructions for how to handsew the garment, so I didn't follow that at all. One thing they are definitely lacking are instructions for boning placements. There are a couple of drawings on different kind of boning and some written explanation, but nothing is marked on the pattern pieces. My first pair of stays ended up in an earlier style than I had planned, just because I put the boning in the wrong place, for my second pair I looked at a lot of pictures from other places and just took a chance with the boning placement. I would also have liked to have the use or non-use of seam allowances clearly stated.

Pattern pieces: The pattern pieces are easy to trace, there are no markings except for "on fold" and grainline. I would have like to get some more information on where the pattern pieces should be attached to each other, especially since it's quite a big difference in length between them. I tried to figure out where the waist was on all pieces and tried to get those to match each other at least. The pattern also runs large. Since there are no markings on the pattern pieces for seam allowance I added seam allowance for my first pair, and it was not easy to alter that. For my second pair I had found a byline in the instructions about a seam allowance of 3/8" (0,95 cm), still I had to take them in any way and ended up using a 2 cm seam allowance and they still lace up fully closed in the back.

The pattern also calls for a mockup in cardboard or paper, where all alterations and markings should be done before cutting the fabric. I skipped this step, but I still think some more markings would have been good.

All in all I think the pattern is a good base. If you don't want to draft your own or enlarge something for a book this pattern will give you a good basic shape. It's not a pattern that you can just cut out and use though.

RH 833, wide front, wide side an regular back

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