Wednesday, 6 May 2015

1911 Corset Cover

Now in my search for patterns for an Edwardian blouse I happened to stumble upon this little gem.
Text-Book on Domestic Art by Carrie Crane Ingalls. (Carrie Ingalls is not the Carrie Ingalls from The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I had to look it up when I saw the name). The book was first published in 1911 it goes through all the basic sewing that a young girl of the time should know. It also contains a lot of instructions on how to draft a pattern. I was really happy when I discovered that it had a pattern for a shirtwaist, and since it's a very educational book it first had instructions for how to make a corset cover out of the same pattern. Or rather it's the other way around, since it's one pattern and first you practice the general fit on the corset cover, then you should go on and make a nightgown to practice sleeves before actually making a shirtwaist.

The instructions were actually quite easy to follow, and didn't use up as much paper as when I've done patterns from Creating Historical Clothes. The only thing that was a bit hard was that you need to measure yourself on a lot of points, and I failed taking the correct measurements on my back. The result was that the back of the pattern was 5 cm too short, but it was easily fixed.
I used around 1 m of cotton voile that I had in my stash. I followed the instructions in the book, so I would say that this is quite historically accurate. I even made the button holes by hand, that wasn't my plan but my sewing machine refused to do them as I wanted so in the end it was actually easier to make them by hand. 

I'm really happy with the lace around the neck opening. It's actually two pieces of antique lace, probably from my paternal great grandmother, so it's accurate for the time period. It's handmade, but I don't know if it's crocheted or bobbin lace. I have a few pieces of lace in my stash from her, but it's not really my style. I felt though that this was a perfect way to use it. I didn't want to cut he lace though, so I had the two pieces overlap in the back so I could use their full length. The lace is offwhite, so I dunked the whole corset cover in a quick teabath to make it less bright before adding the lace.

The pattern worked nicely, the armholes are comfortable, so I'm definitely ready to make a shirtwaist from the same basic pattern. For a shirtwaist I want to add more fabric to the front, so I can gather or pleat it nicely, and I would also lengthen the skirt portions, under the waistband, to make sure that they don't come untucked when wearing it.

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