“Toile” You Were Waiting

Corset a la Ninon, 1810, Costumes Parisiens

Corset a la Ninon, 1810, Costumes Parisiens

As unbelievable as it may seem, I’ve actually managed to start hand sewing the toile for my Regency long stays. As I’ve mentioned before, I know that the Regency stays are all about “up and out” and nothing else; they are not meant to shape anything, only provide a fabric display shelf for the girls. I know it’s early in the game, one I’ve not played before, but I am already concerned.

Victorian corset bust gusset

Victorian corset bust gusset

For my first corset I used The Laughing Moon Silverado pattern. I knew that I would need gussets out the kazoo to accommodate this body. There were fits and starts and more fits. I even learned that, under the right circumstances, corsets can fly across an entire room.

Oops!!

Oops!!

“Someone” also discovered if an otherwise (mostly) competent seamstress accidentally makes a huge snag in very nice corset brocade after the corset is completed, hiding the flaw under a dragonfly applique works wonders, even if it looks like the dragonfly is trying to hold the left boob aloft. But I was pleased with the final outcome.

Not too bad for a first try, in my (ahem) humble opinion.

Left demi-cup, toile

Left demi-cup, toile

Both demi-cups, toile

Both demi-cups, toile

But that was then and this is today so I need to get going. Working with unbleached muslin, I cut the front and added the bust gussets. The pattern suggested going down a cup size to start, so I did, from DD to D. After snipping and basting, the demi-cups don’t look right. I am endowed somewhat like the woman in the 1810 illustration above. This is how the demi-cups look at the moment.

Or, as seen by My Lord, Your Grace, Pervical Haversham Fitzroy Lusty-Breeches…

Scoping out the toile

Scoping out the toile

The Victorian corset, a comparative view.

Victorian corset, a comparative view.

The Victorian corset fits quite well. As you can see, the corset half-cups are larger than the Regency version. Yet when I held the front of the toile up to get a baseline, the girls basically disappeared…much like watching a Florida sinkhole in action. This is supposed to be the Regency, for heaven’s sake, and sinkholes will not do. Additionally, there is the risk of severely disappointing Lord Lusty-Breeches and I would be in remiss to offend him thusly. (And who knows? There could be a lovely title and a fine estate riding on these four little pieces of muslin!)

So, I may have to go down another cup size. (“C is for Constricting.”) I’m afraid the girls will be at my throat, and I am fairly certain the “snorkle-busk” had not yet been invented.

I can only take my time and get the toile to fit as best I can. Today I’ll be working on the sides, back and hip gussets. Perhaps when it is all together it will make more sense and I won’t have to issue the girls flashlights. On second thought, Lord You-Know-Who might find such a thing rather marvelous and entertaining.

PS – Sorry about the “punny” title: once it was in my head there was no getting rid of it so you get to share my pain.

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