Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Pair of Bodies

Lately I have been going through all my projects and stash, trying to clear things out a little. I have lots of small pieces of patterned fabric in the stash. At one stage I thought I might take up quilting, but I changed my mind after I finished my first quilt.

I need a new pair of bodies. My current one has intermediate boning and is generally very comfortable, except that the front of the armhole nips quite a bit at long events. I adjusted my current pattern and made some changes after looking at The Tudor Tailor and Janet Arnold's pamphlet on Queen Elizabeth I's effigy bodies.

I hope that this new version works, because I really hate doing eyelets and I don't want to have to make another corset for at least eighteen months.

I have decided to do something very different - mainly because I was feeling guilty about the amount of fabric in my stash! I have cut out the outer layer and inner layer in modern print fabrics. All my past bodies/stays/corsets have been linen or plain cotton, and honestly, I am really bored with them! So this time I am doing something completely different. After all, no-one ever sees my underwear, and I won't shock you with a photo of me wearing the completed corset!

The fashion fabrics for front and back

I really like the front fabric, with it's vaguely Elizabethan flowers. I don't like the lining much (which is why it is lining,) but no-one will see it and it is very stiff.

I think that the finished corset would look quite nice with a bold edging like bright pink or purple. (Unfortunately the colour didn't show true in this photo; the purple binding is less blue and is  more purple.)

I did see a lovely bright hot pink and purple stripe taffeta type-fabric on the sale table at my local fabric shop, but I decided not to get it because my boning lines would probably ruin the stripey pattern, and I am supposed to be NOT buying fabric, but using stash instead.

The inner lining of the corset is two layers of a strong cotton canvas type fabric. It actually was a panel for a strong beach bag which I got on sale for less than $2.50. No-one will ever know!

I am not sure if this new style of bodies will be comfortable for me. I have a DD-E bust and have always had a fixed strap on my corsets before. Perhaps the tied-style strap will cut in around my armpit? I will have to wait and see. Here is the rough sketch I put on the pattern envelope, to give you an idea of the style:

And here is a picture of the effigy stays from

Clearly, there are some differences between my pattern and the effigy stays. I have opted for unboned tabs because I have done them before and also because my version of the corset is shorter. Elizabeth I was clearly a very svelte lady, and I am more (hmmm..) rotund. Hence the wider stays. Plus, I don't wear low or pointed bodices (as they just make me look fatter), so a shorter corset was a more practical option for driving etc. I like the side seam too, because I change shape a lot and altering a side seam doesn't affect the armholes like altering a side-back seam does.

I have made a pair of bodies completely by hand before, but it took a long time. My next big decision will be whether to sew the boning casings by hand or not. My machine is not too good with thick fabrics, and I just got it back from the shop. On the other hand, do I really need another incomplete project sitting around, waiting to be finished? I really don't know what to do, so I will give it some more thought. Let's face it, we all know that I have dozens of other things to finish, so I won't be bored while waiting for inspiration to strike! 

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