Corset help needed

Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
10
#1
This is my first corset. I've made 3 mock ups so far.
I bought a kit.
Past patterns by Saundra Altman.
708 in a kit.
I'm a large woman and it seems the sizes run small, so the largest size is about 4 inches too small in the bust, and about 8 inches too small in the waist and hips. But the breast gores are too big. (If I could get a picture on here, I'd show you how literally it just flops down.)
So I altered the pattern a little bit to make it wider around and used smallest gores.
Then when putting the bones and busk in, I discovered that they were measured for the size 8 pattern and are 2 inches too short for my size. So I go back to James County mercantile to trade for longer bones and busk. Which she does, no problem
Now I have the mock up done and discovering that's not enough bones for support. So ok, I put nylon zip ties in there where it's falling. (In the back)
Now I'm done. Going to put the thing on. I might add this is also the first time I've ever worn a corset too.
First time I had help. Hubby tightens the laces for me. So I take it off and try to put it on myself. But now it is too tight to fasten the front! I loosen the laces until I can fasten the front, but now I can't reach the laces to tighten them in back by myself. (I do have fibromyalgia and arthritis)
What am I doing wrong? Is there a trick to this I don't know about?
 

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#2
Yes, the back lacings need to be loose before fastening and unfastening the busk in front. Otherwise you risk damaging the busk (or other front fastenings) or, as you found out, can't fasten/unfasten the front at all. I can't wear a front busk (I have a bum knee so have to bend over to pick things up) so I use hook-and-eye tape, which has the same issues.

There really should be two sets of lacings: The first from the top to the waist, the second from the hips to the waist, both fastening at the waist. This allows you to adjust the tightness of each section to your comfort level. Can you reach the back of your waist?

If this doesn't work with your physical problems, you definitely will need a helper to tighten/loosen the lacings. "Back in the day," there was usually someone available (husband, child, other relative, servant). I'm sure that at most reenactments you can enlist a helper--I'm sure you are not the only woman who needs one!

The alternative is to keep the corset lacings just barely loose enough so you can fasten/unfasten the busk. That may be a lot looser than you want, though.

It may not be period correct (who's going to look under your dress?) but it should be possible to design a very narrow lacing system to fasten the front which would be adjustable. Before going to all that work, though, I'd start with seeking a helper.
 
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Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
10
#3
Thank you for your input. I do have the laces (just 1 lace) arranged so that it can be pulled from the middle, but when I pull the middle, it doesn't tighten the very top or bottom of laces. I'm wondering if it's because I have just a stitched button hole for now and not a metal eyelet? I hate to waste my metal eyelets on a mockup, but may have too, just to see if this will work. I also see that thereis still 2 inch space at top, bit 10 inch space at hip. Its twisting the bone at the laces, I'm sure that won't be comfortable, And may also be preventing my laces from sliding easily. So back to the drawing board and another mock up. Sigh I'm sick of looking at corset patterns.
 
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#4
Try a cheap eyelet kit from your local JoAnn or similar fabric store for your mockup. Easier to put in than threaded holes, the laces slide better, and cheaper than your good eyelets in the corset kits.

Rather than begin over, try inserting hip gussets, or, if you're like me, tummy gussets, or both, into your mockup to reduce that ten inch gap. Cut and pin or baste as needed to make them smooth. IMHO, if the top half fits, you shouldn't have to start over. I've found, as you did, that it's the bust that's hard to fit (I'm still working on mine). If you have that, the rest shouldn't be a problem.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
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#5
Evidently I squish a lot more than the dress form of me does.
I decided to have hubby and son help me lace it up to take my real measurements. Of course they were giggling the entire time while doing a Hollywood version of lacing it up. "Tighter! "
He got the top closed completely, and it was comfortable. Waist was at 1 inch and could have been at 2 for comfort of breathing Hip was at about 4 or 5. So, I'm going to take 2 inches off the top. Try to level it out a bit. It has gussets in hip and belly, but I think too low.
I really wanted to make this pattern work, but I don't think it works for larger women. I made one mock up of duct tape, home made 10 panel and it worked perfect first time, even though the duct tape wrap was sloppy.
This one is slowly taking shape, but its been several tries and 3 mock ups.
 
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#6
I like to loosen up so I can fasten in front then take the two laces on the left in my left hand and the two on my right in my right hand then PULL outwards away from your body to tighten . If not tight enough then work hands down the laces towards your body by wrapping them around your hands and pull again. I keep them wrapped around my hands until I can tie them in front. The first time I tried I actually loosely knotted the two on each side together to get a good grip. Of course my hubby can help but I preferred to learn to do it myself. If all else fails:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/49033008/civil-war-era-corset-with-busk-and?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=Civil War Era Corset&ref=sr_gallery-1-1
AND-https://www.etsy.com/listing/49035638/extra-boning-for-formal-corset-1-set-of?ref=related-1
SUPER Conscientious and SUPER fast too! Worth every penny! I even sent her a photo to help her to see my shape. The extra boning is suggested for certain women with bigger builds and it works! :wink: She also makes "working" corsets and offers extra boning for them too.
 
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Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
10
#7
Thanks, I'm seeing that I do needed more boning than the kit provided. I'm using nylon ties, to check placement, then buy sizes I need.
I think I have it about ready to finish. Then i want to wear the mockup for a little while too see if other adjustments are needed.
I can reach my waist in back, but briefly. It does strain my shoulders to reach very long behind my back.
I'll try again tomorrow and see if new adjustments fix it.
 
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