"Ease" in corset patterns

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Andrea L
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"Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Andrea L » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:06 pm

This is a bit of an odd question, but it's been on my mind for a few days. Is there ease in corset patterns? It's weird thinking of probably the most form fitting garment you can make having ease (unless it's negative ease). But I'm talking about from a pattern drafting standpoint. For instance, if my bust is 36, with a two inch gap for the back, would the pattern pieces, minus seam allowances, total to 34in? Or would it be bigger, say an inch? You do still have to breathe in this thing after all. And what about the waist and hip? Assuming the waist is the corseted size. Is the ease different?

This all pretty much stems from pattern sizing paranoia. It seems like the only patterns, commercial or independent, that have worked well and the sizing made sense are the TV bodices (I'm mostly talking about upper body patterns in this regard). Even when using the same measurement instructions for the bust and hips for TV110, the bust was too big and the hip was too small to the point that I had to add in an inch hip gore on each side. So I'd rather deal with numbers than pattern sizes (or maybe I just failed at following directions someplace, but still).

So for those of you who have had experience drafting your own patterns or have taken on the task of altering those one-size historical patterns, what's your rule of thumb here for this? Or if not a rule, a starting point?
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Heather » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:07 pm

In corsets, you have negative ease. Unless you are talking about Simplicity patterns, where they add 4" of ease to everything.

At the bust and hip, you start with the actual bust measure, and then you need to have a 2" gap, but you also have to deal with the fact the fabric stretches. I figure the stretch to be 1/16" per 1" of fabric. (unless you are using silk, which does not stretch at all. My number one reason for not liking silk corsets.) So, if you have a 36" bust, you need 34" of fabric, and you have to subtract 2 1/8" for stretch, or the pattern needs to be just under 32" at the bust.

For the waist, you need to start with the corseted waist measure, and then you do the same math. If you do not know you corseted waist, then you need to subtract 2-4" from the waist measure only. A 24" waist needs 22" of fabric, less 1 1/2" for stretch, or 20 1/2" pattern waist.

This is what the TV110 corset is based on. And because the stretch is being relied on, when you first make up your corset, it should be too small. If it has a perfect 2" gap, then after about 10 hours of wear and it stretches to size, it will be too big.

When looking at the TV110 size chart, use your full bust and hip measure as measured. Do not subtract anything. Use your corseted waist measure, or subtract 2-4" from you natural waist measure and compare to the size chart. If you want to let me know your measures, I will be happy to help you select sizes.
Andrea L
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Andrea L » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:57 pm

Ah, okay. The stretch of the fabric, is this based off of coutil or just most fabric in general that you would make a corset out of, like cotton twill and duck and the like?

My measurements are 36 bust (I wear a 34B bra), 26 or 27 waist (uncorseted it's 28, but I don't squish very much, so my downsizing is conservative), hip 34 (at least where the pattern said to measure). I don't quite remember what I ended up with pattern size wise. I know it was in the D/E size area and a B cup front, so probably did D for the bust and waist, E for the hip (since I assumed that the numbers must be for the full hip for it to be off that much). Other than shortening it and adding the hip gores (pretty sure I used the A cup gore from the LM corset) I think I just used it straight like that, other than shortening it (but I have to shorten all but the skirt patterns).

I wish I had some pictures of the back. I might pull out my corset later and see if I can get a few decent shots.
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Heather » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:25 pm

I find the cotton twill, coutil, and duck all stretch about the same. The coutil takes a little longer to get there, but it stretches in the end the same as the rest.

Well, hmm, the D sizing sounds pretty good with your measurements. Going out the E for the hip should have given you quite a large hip, as the hip is pretty large to begin with. If anything, I would think the hip would need to be smaller, a size C. I would love to see pics if you get them.

Unless you started with the size E bust and waist? in which case you would need to cut the A cup, rather than the B cup. And then gone down the D for the hip? Interesting.
Andrea L
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Andrea L » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:58 am

I thought I'd lost the pattern I had, but I found it. Turns out it was size D with a C cup, E waist, D hip with the added hip gores, which I think added 3/4 to 1 inch on each side (it's the bottom part of the two bones that are very close together in the side picture). This was the second mockup. The first one everything was way too small because I had thought I was supposed to subtract 2-4 inches from all my measurements, not just my uncorseted waist measurement. Way to read the directions.

Here are the pictures of the back, front, and side.

Image

Image

Image

I had to work pretty hard to get the hip to be that tight. Same for the waist (but I'm not uncomfortable. It just takes time to get my unsquishable body to cooperate). The top I could have probably tightened even more, which as you can see doesn't need it. So now you see why I'm confused. The bust can be cut to a B cup and might solve some problems (or really it needs to be taken from the back since it's already pretty fitted in the bust area, so I'd rather not mess with the first two pieces). But I don't understand why the waist and hip would need to be bigger according to the chart. So you see why I'd rather deal with numbers. Takes out a lot of the guess work.
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Frank815 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:40 pm

Helpful tip: Cross your laces at the waist before you bring them around front. If not, the tension is moving the opposite way than it should. Beautiful corset BTW! :D
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Heather
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Heather » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:42 pm

For a first run, it doesn't look that bad. It is certainly wearable as is. I think some changes in how you lace up the corset will help too. As was mentioned already, before you bring the laces around the front, cross them first. This will keep tension on the middle holes, tightening up the waist. Also, I think you have the bust pulled a little bit too tight. When corseting, you want the waist tight, and then the tension should taper off slowly as you get to the bust and hip. You bust should sit in the corset and not be pushed up out of it.

As for the sizing, I think you just were working it too hard. I think if you decide to try it all again, you can just go with a straight size E bust, waist, hip, and the A cup. I guess your hip measure is just off or something, cause you have nice hips and need the room of the size E. Think of your body as a tube of toothpaste, if you squeeze the middle, the ends get bigger. Same with your corset, if you pull in the waist, you need room in the hip and bust to accommodate the moving tissue.

I think the E bust A cup will be better too, as you really do need the room more in the back. If you look at your side view, all the seams start to lean backwards at the top quite a bit. The A cup will shift that extra from the front to the sides and back more, while keeping the same amount of fabric overall.
Andrea L
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Andrea L » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:03 pm

Hm, I think this is the first time I've ever had a pattern that was just one size (and what do you know, I always have to make the hips bigger). If I get around to it, I'll make another mockup and see how it goes.

Yeah, the lacing makes sense. But of course the laces are just a bit too short for me to cross in the back and bring to the front. So I guess I'll just have to deal with the excess hanging in the back.

Thank you so much for your help! Seriously, I probably would have given up on Victorian stuff if it wasn't for the help I've gotten here. You're awesome!
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Re: "Ease" in corset patterns

Postby Bookwyrm » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:23 pm

I always tie my corsets in back. It takes some getting used to, tying a bow backwards under tension, but it's definitely doable.

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