Late Victorian Corset Cover

First project for the blog!  Very exciting.  The project itself is not as exciting as the shiny new blog, but it will still be useful.

This is a corset cover with late Victorian styling.  It’s inspired by a range of late-Victorian corset covers, like these from the 1890s:

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Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/charmainezoe/5540175157/in/photostream/lightbox/

It’s pretty basic compared with some of the elaborate corset covers I’ve seen recreated elsewhere, but it should do the job of breaking up the corset-line when I’m wearing mid to late Victorian outfits, and it will fit over either of my current corsets.

It also qualifies for the Historical Sew Monthly challenge for February 2016, Tucks and Pleating, as there are two pleated panels in the front.  They provide an additional layer of protection right where the top of the corset hits without adding bulk or warmth through the rest of the corset.  Not adding bulk or warmth to the already-complex layers of Victorian costuming was a definite priority!  The bottom edge of the corset cover hits a little shy of the bottom edge of the corset with the corset pictured, but it’s meant to work with another corset as well.

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleating (Feb 2016)

Material: 100% cotton sheeting

Pattern: None.  I looked at various inspiration images (the page linked above, a couple of examples in a book I own and will find the information for sometime soon, and this one from http://realhistoricalpatterns.tumblr.com/), and then threw cloth at my dressmaker’s dummy

Year: approximately 1890s, but without following either a specific example or a historical pattern I can’t claim that’s exact

Notions: about a yard and a half of cotton lace, about a yard of satin ribbon, white thread, 4 etched pearl buttons

How historically accurate is it? Moderately.  The materials are correct except for the satin ribbon, which is polyester, but it passes pretty well.  The materials I saw listed in my reading as suitable for corset covers were a little thinner and fancier than this basic cotton (cotton batiste, for example), but this looks close to some of the surviving examples I saw on Pinterest.  In terms of design, I don’t think the way the pleated panels sit on top of the main corset cover without anything to tie them visually to the rest of the corset is particularly accurate, but I do really like the pleated panels for breaking up the corset line, and the basic shape of the garment is good.  It would be recognizable if unfashionable in period: I’ll call that a 75%

Hours to complete: Um.  I’m terrible at tracking time for sewing; I sew a little, read a little, stop and work on some other project, etc.  It was a fast project, though: I started this second weekend of February and it was substantially done by the end of the third weekend.

First worn:  Not yet worn except for fittings.

Total cost:  The cloth was free (old bedsheet).  The lace and ribbon were from stash, so I’m not certain of the exact cost.  I’m going to estimate the lace at $3 yard and the ribbon at $.50 a yard,  so $4.50 in lace and $.50 in ribbon.  The buttons were $.25 each from the big button bin at one of the local stores, so $1 in buttons.  Total: $5.00.