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Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:35 pm
by britgeekgrrl
Hello, everyone!

I’ve been making and wearing corsets for *mumble* years as my weight slides up and down the scale, and I’ve run into a recurrent problem, over several corsets: the bottom front of the corset (below the waist) is permanently bent to quite an angle, after a few wearings. (I've been making a mix of Laughing Moon's and TV110, depending on which pattern I could find in my stash on a given day...)

I understand that the busk and steel take on a shape over time, but it’s quite extreme – like I can see the busk “tenting” my skirt and petticoats when I sit down.

I’ve definitely got a stomach that’s fluffier than average for someone of my rib/bust size. My high bust is 32”, overbust is 36”, my rib cage immediately below the bust is 28”, waist is 30”, full hip is 36”. I’m 5’2” and (currently) weigh 118lbs. I often grumble that the front of my waist is 34” and the back of it is 28” (seams on trouser patterns definitely land in odd places!)

It’s been suggested that I’ve been cutting my corsets too small in the front, below my waist, which is definitely plausible given my build. What’s the best solution for tackling this? Adding some skinny gores below the waist, and only in front? Or simply cutting the CF and adjacent pieces a skosh wider below the waist?

And is it possible that I’m cutting my corsets a bit too long? Despite an overall height of 5’ 2”, I’m NOT petite-proportioned. I essentially have the torso of someone 5” 5’ on the legs of someone 4’ 10” (the legacy of being a preemie – I typically take at least 6" off any trouser or long-skirt pattern I use) so I can usually get by without altering the torso length on most patterns - but I know the rules are different for TV patterns.

Anyways, I’m curious to hear y’all’s thoughts.


Re: Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:11 pm
by Heather
Sorry to take so long to see your post. I really need to check here more often. It's also funny that I have just spent the last hour mulling over wanting to write a blog post about a similar problem/solution that I came upon when making my own corset last fall. I have a feeling our 2 issues are similar and my solution might help you.

I don't want to get into a full research paper here, but the jist of my dilemma was this - Victorian corsets as a general rule, don't control the tummy region, they just pull in the waist and support the bust line by pulling the front waist area towards the spine. Which means the tummy has to go back out again below the waist. My current TV110 pattern doesn't allow this happen. Modern people are more concerned about pulling in the tummy, but that means that the front waist can't be pulled in, due to the tummy holding that area forwards with the straight cut from waist down. For me, this was causing my posture to lean back, and stick my waist forwards, which is what I didn't like at all. This also caused the point of the corset to stick out a tad, as the whole thing is angling from top-back to bottom front. The point was not that dramatic on me, but I am guessing that you are suffering from an exaggerated version of my problem.

My fix was to add a curve outwards below the waist, but then to bring it back in again a couple inches above the hem edge, to get the point facing downwards again. It was a super easy change to just one one pattern piece - Piece 3, the side front. On the front edge of Piece 3, I curved out below the waistline about 1/4". Then starting about 2" from the bottom, curved back in again about 5/8" - 3/4". (I think that was the amount. At first, I only brought it back in the same 1/4", but after a fitting took in an additional 3/8" or so. I also went up 1 cup size overall, which expanded the ribs a bit, which I figured would help change the angling of the upper part of the corset, and allow the lower section to go out more over the tummy. I'm not sure if the cup size made much difference, and now I think the corset is a tad big on top. But at least it keeps the top from getting too tight?

End result: the change in my silhouette was amazing!! I stood straight, not leaning back. I looked bustier, as the front waistline was shaped more, rather than just shaping the sides and back, and the point curved back in a vertical line - not sticking out. Yes, I had a rounder belly out the front, but it just looked more historically accurate.

Just before seeing your post, I was mulling over the idea of adding a new pattern piece for "full figure Piece 3" with this small change to the front hip area. Your post makes me think this would be a very good idea.

Re: Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:35 am
by Lardpig
Hi Heather, I would be very interested in the extra pattern piece as I have a small waist for my hips but a very rounded belly. The bottom of my busk was poking out too and creating a noticeable bump even under my skirts and petticoats. To combat this I bent the bottom of my busk gently to give it a more rounded and historically accurate shape but I would love to be able to shape the waist more at the front to accentuate the difference between Bust, waist and Hips.


Re: Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:10 pm
by britgeekgrrl
Thanks for the reply, Heather - and no worries re: timing. You've got a lot on your plate. ;)

Ah, it's the ol' "the fluff has got to go somewhere" problem. Makes sense!

I'll try adjusting my pattern as you describe. I'm totes okay with my belly being a belly, because that won't mess with the line of my skirts when I sit down!

Thanks again!

Re: Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:48 pm
by britgeekgrrl
So, er, like this? - that link should take you to a publicly shared photo...

(Don't mind how I've traced the piece - I've a size E waist on a size C torso in all other respects, so there's a lot of fiddling about by default...)

- JM

Re: Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:02 am
by Heather
Yes, like that. I think I would lower the fullest part a bit, so that the curve in is more dramatic. You want it wrap in a bit below your belly. You might even want to bring it in 1/4" past the original bottom point.

I just looked at my corset, and I forgot that what I really did was put in a 2" long dart in the side piece, near the front/side front seam. This might be something you can try on your existing corset, putting in a temporary dart, and see how it changes the fit. Then you can later take out that amount at the seam, instead of the dart in future corsets. And you can still wear your corset with the dart in, and that might solve your problem without having to make a new corset.

Re: Fitting below the waist in front

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:34 pm
by Quallus
Great info!!! Thank you!!! :)