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Permalink 10:55:00 am, by Heather McNaughton Email , 1382 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Working with patterns, This and That

First, let me say that this pattern is one of the best corset pattern available today. I love this pattern and can fit any size and shape with relative ease. However, is does have a few quirks and can require a few tweeks to get the most benefit out of it.
The following suggestions are little tricks and quips about my experiences with this pattern. I am listing them here to give beginners a guiding hand.

A. Which to choose, the Dore style or the Silverado?

These two styles are both used from 1860 until 1898, so you want to pick the style that is most appropriate to your body type. Basically, the Dore style with the straight seam construction will tend to de-accentuate a full bustline. The Silverado will tend to emphasize the bustline. In my experience, smaller busted figures will greatly improve their figure with the Silverado style. Larger busted figures will generally have a more pleasing appearance with the Dore style. My general rule of thumb: A-cup, B-cup, and C-cup figures should wear the Silverado, while D-cup and larger figures should wear the Dore. The D-cup figure in the Silverado will have the bustline lifted and presented in an unglamorous position below the chin, which is not the proper look for the Victorian Era.

Another consideration for which corset to style to choose would be your level of sewing skills. The Dore style is much easier to put together, while the Silverado requires a little more effort. A person making a corset for the first time, who does not have access to assistance, may wish to try the Dore first in order to get a feel for what corset making entails. Corset are not difficult to make, but they are intimidating, and require precision sewing.


B. How do I choose which size I need?

This is the hardest part about making a corset, finding the proper size. Once again, for this corset, I have a few basic rules:


1. You need to pick a cup size.

For this pattern, the cup sizes run somewhat large. The choice of cup size may be altered by the next step, but this will give you a place to start.

If you are a very small A-cup, you should choose the A cup pattern.
If you are a moderate A-cup, B-cup, or small C-cup size, you should cut the B cup pattern.
If you are a larger C-cup or D-cup, you should choose the C cup pattern
If you are a DD-cup or DDD-cup, you should choose the D-cup pattern.
I have not yet found a person who needed a larger than D-cup pattern. And I have fit many large figures. You will have to possess an extreme figure to require the DD and DDD cup patterns.


2. Looking at the size chart.

The size chart as given on the envelope is basically for the B cup size patterns only. If in step A above, you chose a different cup size, you will need to make adjustments to the measurements on the charts. The reason for this is that the A cup pattern will remove 2" of fabric from the standard B cup size. The C cup pattern will add 2" of fabric to the standard size. The D cup pattern will add 4" to the standard size. These changes are not reflected on the single size chart provided in this pattern.

Below, I have created the separate size charts needed for each cup size.



A-cup Size Adjusted Chart

Size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust 28 1/2 29 1/2 30 1/2 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Waist 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Hip 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50


B-cup Size Adujusted Chart

Size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust 30 1/2 31 1/2 32 1/2 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
Waist 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Hip 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50


C-cup Size Adujusted Chart

Size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50
Waist 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Hip 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50


D-cup Size Adujusted Chart

Size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust 34 1/2 35 1/2 36 1/2 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52
Waist 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Hip 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50


3. Finding your size on the size chart.

Now it is time to compare your personal body measurments, non-corseted, to the charts to select a size. Looking at the size chart for your cup size, follow the general rules below:
  • You want to select an individual size for each part of your body to acheive a good fit. The corset should conform to your body, not conform your body to a corset. You may be a size 18 bust, a size 16 waist and a size 20 hip. That is fine. You should trace your pattern out on a new peice of paper, fading in and out to the various size lines as needed.
    If you need to enlarge the hip area to a bigger size, change only the seams at the side and back of the corset. Do Not enlarge the front seams below the waist, as this will cause the tummy part of the corset to swell outwards.
  • This pattern generally runs large. This is caused by streatch of the fabric, and compaction of the body by the corset. As result, if you need a size 14 or larger, reduce the pattern by one size automatically. For example, If you you match the size 18 on the chart, cut out a size 16 instead. Very large sizes may need to reduce the pattern by 2 sizes.
  • If at any time, your chosen waist size is larger than your chosen bust size, reduce the cup size to the next smaller size and start the selection proccess over. A D-cup figure combined with a large waist will require a smaller pattern cup size.
  • If you want to be able to tight lace and reduce your waistline, be sure that the hip area is large enough to allow for the change. When tight lacing, the waist is compacted, which will relocate the body both up into the chest area, and down into the hip area. If the top and bottom of your corset do not allow for this expansion, you will not be able to pull in the waist.
  • The top of the corset should come up to mid-nipple level. If you corset is too short, lengthen the pattern by cutting and spreading the pattern where marked to the needed length. If the corset come up too high, I like to shorten the pattern by simply cutting the top to the desired height. The reason is I find that the point at which the corset begins to expand for the bust is somewhat low. If you cut and shorten the pattern in the middle, this will drop the bust area to near the waist.
  • The bottom of the corset should end high enough so that it does not dig into your legs or pelvis when you sit down. Shorten the corset by cutting it off at the hem as needed for a good fit.

C. Other general fitting notes.

  • The corset should have a 2"-3" gap at the center back when laced. If you have too small of a gap, you should make the corset one size smaller next time. If you have over 4" gap, you should make the corset bigger next time.


  • When laced, the center back edges of the corset should be fairly straight, top to bottom. If you have wide differences in the gap, the corset will tend to pinch and be very uncomfortable. For example, If you have a 3" gap at the top, 1" gap at the waist, and 5" gap at the bottom, you will be miserable. In this case the waist needs to be made a smaller size and the hips a larger size, to accheive an even 3" gap top to bottom.


  • The more bones that are in your corset, the more confortable the coset will be to wear. The bones should be placed at every seam, and between the seams as needed to make the distance between the bones to less than 3". Larger figures may require more bones than smaller figures.


  • Spiral steel boning should be used in the front of the Silverado corset, to curve around the cup gores. You can use the spiral boning everywhere else as well, EXCEPT at the center back on either side of the grommets, which must be spring steel.


  • Use only 1/4" wide steel boning. Anything less will not hold properly. Using wider boning will not add support but will be unconfortable. The largest figures will have full support with the 1/4" wide bones.


  • I personally like to use the 00 size of gormmets. These are smaller than the normal size, which allows the fabric to be stretched, rather than cut, to make a hole. This will give a stronger grip on the grommet.


Permalink 12:39:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 593 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Working with patterns

I would like to talk about a couple issues that have popped up with 1903 Trumpet Skirt - TVE21 skirt pattern.    One which is entirely my fault, and the other is one which I have seen pop up a few times when alterations to this pattern go wrong. 

First up, the problem of.....  What the heck to I do with the Placket Facing piece?  I can't find it mentioned in the instructions anywhere, what did I miss?  Well, you didn't miss anything.  This pattern piece should not be on this pattern.  The long story is that I was mulling over two different means of finishing this skirt;  one way was with the lining skirt attached to the skirt proper, and the other way was to have a separate lining.   In the end, I went with the attached lining, in which case, you do not need the facing piece for the placket.   If you choose to make the lining skirt up as a separate petticoat, then you will need the placket facing.  I should have deleted the extra piece, but left it on there.    I am very sorry for the confusion this has caused so many people.  I really need to delete that piece.

Ok, so now to the fun part.   On this pattern, I have two back options, a pleated short back, or a long habit (plain) back.  Usually, when I give options like this, I like the cover the bases and draw things so it will all mix-n-match with all the option combinations.  Unfortunately, in this case,  the pattern ran off the edge of the paper, so I couldn't do that, and instead of offering pleated back in long or short, I just have the short version.  And this has lead to people asking, "can I combine the two and make the long pleated back?"  I answer with a simple yes, and leave it at that, thinking what could possibly go wrong?  And then I saw the results, and smacked my head on the wall.  I never even saw it coming. 

At right,  is the pattern piece I am talking about, and you can see the two options as drawn.  The blue lines are the short pleated back, and the orange line is the long habit back.

So when people asked if they could combine the two, apparently this is what they were thinking was the correct way to do it.  At right, the red line is where they just extended each of the lines they wanted to follow.  The problem is, that this creates a skirt that curved up  shorter in the center back.  Ooops!  How did that happen?  In short, do not lengthen it this way!!!

This is all my fault, of course. I didn't clarify, and I should have. The next diagram at the right, with the green lines, shows how to properly lengthen the pleated back to the longer length. Start by extending the first pleat line to the longer length line. Then from that point, run the new hem lines parallel to the original hem line. 

Oddly enough, no one has ever asked about making the habit back in the short length.  But just in case, here is how to do it.  Starting with the short hemline at the first pleat line, continue with a line parellel to the long hemline until you get to the Habit back line.

Ok, I think those are all the quirks in this pattern.  Hopefully, this will help people get through the pattern without tearing thier hair out over either of these problems.


Permalink 05:42:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 538 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Excerps from The Delineator


The Delineator magazine was a monthly periodical sponsored by the Butterick Pattern Company.  The main focus was to be a selling tool for the patterns, by providing illustrations and lengthy descriptions of the new patterns as they came out.

The following is one of the listings:


The skirt is fashioned in the round, four-gored style, and has two tiny knife-plaitings about its foot; the plaitings upon the gores being surmounted by a deep, bagging puff, which is itself headed by a narrow plaiting sewed on across the top of the puff to form a self-heading. The draperies on the skirt are conspicuous for the novel effect produced by very simple drapings; the back and front draperies being arranged to produce contrasting effects at the sides.  The gores and skirt trimmings are of the plain goods, and so is the front-drapery, while the back breadth and back drapery are of the figured goods, the contrast thus developed being very pleasing.  The front-drapery is raised quite high at the left side by three deep folds, which are laid close together at this side and cross the drapery to the right side in diverging outline, giving a graceful, sweeping curve to the lower part of the drapery, which is cut in deep tabs that are lined with the figured goods and then upturned to produce a most charming effect.  The back-drapery falls in a long point, and is very full and stylish in appearance. Its edges are plainly finished.  Two varieties of silk or velvet combine elegantly in a skirt of this style, and so do velvet and cloth, silk and cashmere, and plain and figured fabrics of all kinds.

The basque has looped tabs attached in regular succession to its lower edge to harmonize in disposal with the front-drapery. The tabs are of the figured goods lined with the plain, and are thus made to present a very pretty contrast with the front-drapery. The basque is of the figured goods, and is elegantly fitted by double bust darts, narrow under-arm gores, low side-back gores and a well curved center seam. It is quite short, but the addition of the tabs produces a pretty and stylish depth. The coat sleeves have looped tabs like those on the lower edge of the basque attached to them, the tabs on each being underlaid with a frill of deep lace, and the seam attaching them being covered by a fold of the plain goods pulled  through an oval slide to wrinkle it softly.  A standing collar encircles the neck, and inside it is worn a lace frill, while outside it is arranged a ribbon that has one end sloped off in a point and pulled through a slide at the throat.  Basques of this style are appropriately made of all varieties of dress goods, and the contrast of the tab-linings may be in color, texture or design, as preferred. Such dress-bodies are very stylish in effect, and require little or no decoration. Just now there is a decided fancy for developing rich contrasts by the introduction of vivid or deep tones in the facings, etc. - for instance: ruby-colored velvet is united with gray or brown cashmere, camel's-hair or other fine dress goods.

Permalink 05:29:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 498 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Excerps from The Delineator


The Delineator magazine was a monthly periodical sponsored by the Butterick Pattern Company.  The main focus was to be a selling tool for the patterns, by providing illustrations and lengthy descriptions of the new patterns as they came out.

The following is one of the listings:


One of the prettiest costumes of the Fall season. Camel's-hair and velvet were united in making it, and lace and appliqué or hand-embroidery are used in trimming it.

The skirt is of the usual shape, and its front and side gores may be cut from lining material only, as they are covered for two-thirds of their depth with shirred fabric. Above the shirring the goods may be flatly laid over the gores in the ordinary manner, if considered necessary. The back-breadth is of the goods, and is trimmed with a flounce cut by the lower part of the shirring pattern and arranged to correspond by directions found in the label to the model, so as to match the front decoration. When the back-draperies, which consist of two, straight, hemmed or lined widths of velvet are added, the skirt appears as if shirred all around, as seen in the engraving. A satin skirt, arranged in this manner, is very dressy indeed. The top of the back-drapery is shirred for quite a distance downward, and is then attached to the belt with the rest of the skirt.

The waist-portion is cut with a deep, double breasted vest of velvet, with an extended skirt, which reaches to the middle of the back, where it is laid in upward-turning plaits and the two sides are joined under the back by a center seam. The front is in short jacket shape and is fitted by a bust dart that confines the back edge of the body portion of the vest, which is curved to the figure without darts, except a short one over the hip, An under-arm gore adjusts the remainder of the jacket-portion, being joined to the side-back, except along its skirt edge. This leaves the side-back skirt loose at its front edge, and its back edge is joined to the back, while the center seam is left open below the waist-line, thus producing a broad tab at each side, each tab-end being gathered and tipped with a tassel or drop-ornament, as preferred. The jacket edges are bordered with narrow ecru lace and have a band of appliqué or, if preferred, a design in hand-embroidery as a heading to the lace. A velvet lapel-collar is about the neck, giving the latter a very jaunty finish. The sleeves are very novel in construction, and, with the waist, are intended to convey the effect of a jacket slipped on over a velvet polonaise. They are of "three-quarter" length and are finished to correspond with the rest of the jacket-, and under their lower edges are slipped and fastened deep, velvet cuff-sections, cut like the lower part of a sleeve and finished plainly at the wrists.


Permalink 11:06:00 am, by Heather McNaughton Email , 260 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: What is the Edwardian Sihouette?

The 1890's saw the introduction of the Blousewaist and Shirtwaist, but the Edwardian Era saw them reign supreme. As the new century unfolds, the fitted bodice looses favor. The new style becomes full through the lower ribs and the bust shifts to a lower position, otherwise knows as the Pigeon Breast. Made of light or fine fabric or lace, these waists were either tucked into the dress skirt, or ended at the waist with a band. They could be unlined, or have a fitted lining.

at right  - 1903

Below - 1904






In the early years of the decade, the sleeves are slim at the shoulder, and full at the wrist. By 1904, the fullness had moved up to the elbow, with tall fitted cuffs to the wrist. By 1906, the fullness is at the shoulder.

Necklines are typically very high, with decorated, detachable stock collars. But you could also have short sleeves with a conservative open neckline, as well. The Duchess Square, Duchess Round, and Jewel necklines all become popular, with or without a gimp to fill in the neckline.

Below - 1905






As the skirts gain pleats and fullness, so do the blouses. Tucks, and pleats are added to the shoulders and sleeves. Or fullness is gathered onto yokes.



By 1905, a slimmer look through the ribs is desired, and tall, shaped belts are added to emphasize a small waistline. By 1907, the Jumper made it's debut, as a loose overblouse, typically of the same fabric as the skirt, and with an open neckline and sleeves to show a gimp or fitted blouse underneath.


Below left - 1906                                                       Below right - 1907

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