Progress of the Regency Corset

Some ladies doing my hair in preparation for my Civil War coming out ball.
Who needs prom when you can go to a ball?!
That particular Victorian corset I'm wearing was made by my mentor Suzanne.
It is currently on exhibit at the USU Museum of Anthropology in their  Body Modification exhibit! 

The past couple days I have been working hard on my Regency 1810s corset. Yippee! Having a double of myself would have come in handy, but my husband was able to help hold the corset in the back so I could see how it was fitting. It has been years since I've made a corset for myself, so I don't expect this corset to be perfect.

I've been pleased with how it's turned out so far! I impressed myself by how quickly I learned how to properly put gussets in, which was strangely satisfying. I had 24 to put in altogether, so I am quite the expert now! Ha! My corset is composed of 3 layers - gold silk cover, a thick and sturdy cotton drill for the inner lining, and a white linen for the outer lining. I was worried about the linen. It is very strong, but also very flexible. I think the other stiffer layers should keep it in check though.

Right now, however, I'm at a stand still. I need metal boning to put in at the seams and center back. It's nothing a trip to Gettysburg again wouldn't cure! haha! I could have used cording instead, but I didn't plan for that when I cut out my silk. (I would have needed to make it one size bigger.)

I did end up altering the back by cutting off 1" off the center back pieces. The previous version of this corset didn't have the extra width because that was period correct, but I guess a lot of customers wanted the extra width. Now, I sure hope there won't be too huge of a gap in the back! The instructions said to expect between 2" -6" gap in the back, which is quite a lot compared to my Victorian corset. I'm guessing I'll be borderline 6" which makes me a little nervous. We'll see when I lace it up! That's the hard part of corsets. It's so hard to tell how well it actually fits until it's all done. It doesn't matter how many people are holding and pulling the mock-up corset in the back for you, you need to be able to lace it with all the boning and the busk in to see how well it fits and supports.

Anyway, enough talk. Here are some pictures!

Here is my horrible mock up. I used a hideous homespun that was much too stretchy . It used to be an apron.
If you look closely you can see how horrible my gussets are and that I got the right and wrong sides confused, so a few seams are facing the wrong way. Oops!

Cotton drill inner lining - a much, much better execution than my mock-up!

One gusset done, the other not. It's a beautiful thing to behold!

My silk corset cover. Man, that silk was hard to get to submit to gussets!
Not to mention it defied the iron, as you can see.

Close up of incomplete gussets

All the layers put together, with the shoulder straps and the layers basted down.
I think the gold silk worked out rather well, which I am so glad about! I even have a little left over. Yippee!

Now all I need is the busk and the boning put in!
I sure hope it fits well enough...


  1. I absolutely love that photo of you getting your hair done. That ball is a golden memory for me. How lovely it would be to take our girls to something like that (hint hint).

  2. Ooh, I like that idea! Right now she's into trains, but I'm hoping someday she'll be more into dress up. :-)

  3. Oh, and I am fond of this picture as well. It holds good memories. I'm glad you like it too and that you have good memories of that ball as well. It was fun to have you there with me! :-)


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