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Unread 06-14-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
Kuchikichan
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Corsets, Crinolines, and Trinity Blood

I am considering doing a Queen Esther gown for Fanime next year and I have some questions about historical corsets and hoop-skirts (specifically civil war crinolines).
Here is a reference of the two gowns I am considering:
(white gown) http://www.animepaper.net/download/11790/original/1
(black gown) http://www.animepaper.net/download/6395/original/1
Note: A google image search of Queen Esther Trinity Blood will also bring up images.

The shape on the bodice of both of them (square neckline) suggests that they are vaguely tudor or elizabethan based. I am planning on making a tudor or elizabethan corset to use under the gown.
1. Does any one know the difference between the two corsets and which one would be better?
2. Are there any good patterns out there or can I draft my own pattern? If so are there any good tutorials?
3. What type of boning would be best?
4. What fabrics would be best?
5. Are there any good books out there on this subject?

The skirt seems larger and wider to me than a tudor skirt and I want to use a civil war style crinoline with one or two petticoats over it to hide the hoops.
1. Would this work or would it just look silly?
2. Any good patterns?
3. What type of boning? hoops? should I use?
4. Approximately how wide should it be ?
5. Are there any good books out there on this subject?
6. What kind of materials work for civil war petticoats? Or petticoats in general?

Any help is extremely appreciated.
Kuchiki

Last edited by Kuchikichan : 06-14-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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Unread 06-15-2011, 08:47 AM   #2
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Firstly; Elizabeth I was a Tudor. Therefore, 'Elizabethan' IS 'Tudor' but not all Tudor is Elizabethan. The earlier styles of 16th century clothing are usually referred to as 'Henrician' as neither Edward nor Mary were on the throne long enough to mark a major shift in fashion.

Okay, nit-picking over. The links don't work for me but I'm fairly familiar with Esther's royal dresses, particularly the very famous white one with the red roses and the back hoops.

If you're interested in doing a very accurate 16th Century dress I can firmly recommend 'The Tudor Tailor', which is a very helpful book - although the patterns are fairly limited, they do include a good pattern for Elizabethan 'bodies'. I'd say look into using that with two caveats - one, they are late Elizabethan in style, with the long pointed front designed for use with the French farthingale - which you don't need or want, and I have found very restrictive - and secondly that I have no idea how they'll work with a crinoline hoop. You may have to play around to see it will sit where it's supposed to and that they protect your hips enough from the weight of the skirts being distributed differently to what it's designed to deal with. There are also some commercial patterns available both from big pattern companies and smaller ones like Reconstructing History. My pair-in-progress are being boned with reeds, which is historically accurate, but they're a complete and total pain to work with - I'm regretting it a little now. If historical accuracy is not an issue for you then I would try plastic.

You don't necessarily need a Tudor pair of bodies, however - it's not as though the Victorians never wore square necked dresses. In fact, these were particularly popular in the 1870's and 1880's. However these styles of corset tend to be smooth much further over the hips (Which I find means that skirts, particularly hoops, can slowly edge their way down your waist until they sit far too low, and as well as spoiling the silhouette will put pressure on your hipbones) and/or have waists that are tilted, not straight (which can throw your crinoline out of whack, instead of being even all the way around). Depending on how in-depth you want to get with your corset-making, an 1860's corset or a combination of an 1880's corset from the waist up and an 1860's from the waist down might be a better choice.

I can also recommend the Laughing Moon pattern for crinolines and bustles, which is very straightforward and easy to follow, and has loads of information to help you decide what kind of boning you want to use and what size will suit your needs. There's also a book, 'Corsets and Crinolines' by Norah Waugh, which is fascinating but honestly outside of hardcore historical costuming geeks, of debatable use. There is a crinoline pattern in it, but it's ENORMOUS, and I've never, ever decided I would rather use that than my Laughing Moon. Definitely worth a look if you can get it in the library, but not something I would recommend buying unless you decide you want to seriously research the history of the corset.

I always make my petticoats out of cotton sheeting - and most Victorian petticoats seem to be cotton too. Remember - more is more!
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Unread 06-16-2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post
If you're interested in doing a very accurate 16th Century dress I can firmly recommend 'The Tudor Tailor', which is a very helpful book - although the patterns are fairly limited, they do include a good pattern for Elizabethan 'bodies'. I'd say look into using that with two caveats - one, they are late Elizabethan in style, with the long pointed front designed for use with the French farthingale - which you don't need or want, and I have found very restrictive - and secondly that I have no idea how they'll work with a crinoline hoop. You may have to play around to see it will sit where it's supposed to and that they protect your hips enough from the weight of the skirts being distributed differently to what it's designed to deal with. There are also some commercial patterns available both from big pattern companies and smaller ones like Reconstructing History. My pair-in-progress are being boned with reeds, which is historically accurate, but they're a complete and total pain to work with - I'm regretting it a little now. If historical accuracy is not an issue for you then I would try plastic.
To support some of what Brsis said, and some extra info to help:

I second the pair of bodies from Tudor Tailor. My friend used that one for her Elizabethan gown, and it worked very nicely. It actually does work nicely with the crinoline hoop, as my friend had to borrow my crinoline because she hadn't finished making her's in time for the event. For her pair of bodies, we used steel boning in a few key supportive locations, and then boned the heck out of the rest of it using heavy duty zip ties. No, its not accurate. But its cheap, and believe it or not, they support her just fine, and she is by no means a small girl. It also makes the corset less restrictive and easier to move about it. Fabric wise she made hers out of cotton canvas. You'll want something tough that's strong enough to help support you.

Another option you have is boning the bodice of the dress itself. And this would also be historically accurate. I used this method for my florentine gown (roughly same era / bodice shape). Again, we used a heavy cotton canvas as the inner lining, then used steel boning in key supportive places and heavy duty zip ties in the rest of it. It supportive (I'm also not a small girl) and gives a nice shape (example here: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2823651/) This also works nicely with having hoops and petticoats under it.

As far as hoops go, you might be better off buying that online and then making additional petticoats to go over it than trying to make the hoop yourself. The only reason I suggest this is because again, during the course of making her own hoops, my friend had a hell of a time working with the hoop steel. In the end it took a hammer, a chisel, and an anvil in order to cut it down to size. The hoop steel comes in long rolls, not individually sized pieces, unfortunately.

However, if you're really all in for making your own hoops, Truly Victorian has some good hoop and petti patterns. It might be cheaper to get your boning from Corsetmaking.com Their hoop steel comes in twelve foot rolls as well (the same as TV) but the three rolls necessary for the TV pattern comes to only $54 as opposed to the $72 that TV wants. The shipping from corsetmaking.com is also reasonable and quick. Fabric wise for these, you could get away with muslin or cotton.

I don't know if any of this helps, but I hope it does.
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Unread 06-17-2011, 05:30 AM   #4
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$72 for hoop steel @.@ Unfortunately my supplier is UK based and probably not any good for you, but I get my 13mm for skirts for about $1.60 a metre (Less if you buy in bulk) and it's cuttable with a pair of heavy duty shears even for a tiny fragile thing like me :/

That is one other thing I forgot to say, though - you don't need 'strong' fabric for a crinoline hoop, especially if you're using pre-made boning tape, it'll just weigh you down. I often use quilting cotton because I like to have a pattern.
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Unread 06-17-2011, 09:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuchikichan View Post
The shape on the bodice of both of them (square neckline) suggests that they are vaguely tudor or elizabethan based. I am planning on making a tudor or elizabethan corset to use under the gown.

Skip a bit...

Any help is extremely appreciated.
Kuchiki
It sounds like your starting off in the right direction and asking good questions. When doing a costume like this you have to weight historical with costume, how much in either direction are you willing to go.
1. There is a huge difference between the two corsets. Unfortunately most books that would have examples of both are just overviews and provide little detail. Try The History of Underclothes by C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington and Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques by Jill Salen (this has patterns but the oldest corset is 1750). There are also patterns out there. Simplicy and McCalls will have a few on the costume rather then historical side. For Historical tryhttp://amazondrygoods.com/ they have historical and theather grade patterns from the skin out. The dress looks Elizabethian so go with that for undergarments.
2.Boning depends on you size and shape. If your a 100 pounds with a small chest then plastic boning will be quick and easy. You can even use modified tie wraps. If, however you are on the heavy side with a large chest then the modern version of whale boning may not be unheard of. For material, heavy and stiff is the way to go. Ticking, canvas, jean, patterns will also give suggestions.
3. A Crinoline or hoop will work with this dress. The whole point of hoops was to give the wearing the same shape as petticoats without all the fabric and weight. One modisty petticoat, one hoop, and one over petticoat rather then five to seven of the buggers, one being horsehair or wool. I'd suggest buy a hoop if your never make one. It will prove to be cheaper and easier. You can get them at civil war sulters(just type that in google or visit a reenactment) they go for $30 on up and are mostly correct. You can also get them from a bridal shop if your not going historical and I've seen them in my local Salvation Army. Just make sure you get a circular hoop rather then epliptical (oval) hoop. If you must make your own try this placehttp://www.pastpatterns.com/ they may still sell kits. The patterns are made from actual pieces.
4.For undergarements go cotton. Use modern muslin, it's cheap. In addition to the petticoat to go over the hoop I'd suggest a chemise (long under shirt) and pantelets (long drawers with slit crotch). There is nothing naughty about the drawers. It just helps to go to the bathroom because the corset goes over the waistline. If you feel uncomfortable about the pantelets then go with a pair of boxers. That way if something happens all anyone sees is the boxers.
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Unread 06-17-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ororo Monroe View Post
Simplicy and McCalls will have a few on the costume rather then historical side. For Historical tryhttp://amazondrygoods.com/ they have historical and theather grade patterns from the skin out. The dress looks Elizabethian so go with that for undergarments.
Simplicity has a new(ish) pattern out for Elizabethan undergarments, corset included, that actually comes out rather well, though you need someone to help with fitting, since its simplicity and therefore a rather generalized fit.

Quote:
2.Boning depends on you size and shape. If your a 100 pounds with a small chest then plastic boning will be quick and easy. You can even use modified tie wraps. If, however you are on the heavy side with a large chest then the modern version of whale boning may not be unheard of. For material, heavy and stiff is the way to go. Ticking, canvas, jean, patterns will also give suggestions.
Actually, I'm a D cup and the heavy duty zip ties worked great for me. Friend is a DD and the zip ties worked fine for her too. I think as long as you use enough (and lord knows they're cheap enough to bone the crap out of the corset) you're fine. Again, if you're worried, put a few pieces of steel in the front, especially where its going to lace (Elizabethan corsets laced in the front, with spiral lacing). Sorry, just felt the need to point out that the ties will work, even if you have a larger bust.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 06:45 AM   #7
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Just to chime in as well - for bodies/stays, as opposed to 'corsets' (1840's to modern day) the weight of the fabric is not nearly so much of an issue. You definitely don't need denim jean, which is far too thick for that amount of boning (Aside from being incredibly bulky, non-stretch denim is the WORST in my experience for 'creeping' when sewing boning channels, so that in the end the top and bottom layers don't match up) and I wouldn't put out the money on coutil, which is very expensive, when you don't need it. They normally end up being three or four layer beasts anyway (Lining, base fabric, outer fabric, optional 'decorative' outer), and they're so heavily boned, a very thick heavy fabric will actually work against you - not to mention the fact these aren't cinchers, they should be *moulding* your figure, not reducing it. You need coutil in a Victorian steel boned corset because the fabric does comparatively more of the work.

Past Patterns has a mixed reputation, btw - I've heard from some people who've got really good results from their patterns, but overall the consensus seems to be that they're great for very experienced seamstresses but the patterns often just don't work properly straight out of the packet. I've not used them myself so I can't weight in personally.

Also; Zipties FTW
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Unread 06-18-2011, 08:09 AM   #8
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Thank you all for another view point. You can propably guess that I've not had a positive experience with support garments (corsets and stays). To keep the post short I will not go into details, but I've experienced a wide variety good, cheap, and homemade.

I am glad to hear that the zip ties will work for a D and DD cup especially if put in the right places. For a mid nineteenth century corset that would be at both the openings, and throughout the back, sides, and front (usually near seams). But we are looking at Elizabethian corsets...

I would suggest a busk or boning on either side of the gromets. Many poor quality corsets skip or skimp on that.

Zip ties are cheaper and easier to get then boning and you don't have to try to remember all the different kinds.

I thought we where talking about corsets not stays. There are many differences between the two. Corsets are more unyeilding and unflexable; stays allow you to bend and twist. Stays are for work and are the harbinger to the bra. Stays rely on the cut of the fabric and the cording to support the body. They provide a more natural shape. And has much more sewing involved...

Past Patterns can be difficult because it is different. The manufactures use period methods. So it's like reading Chancer, Shakespeare, Jane Austin or heck even Mickey Spillane verse modern plain english. Translation is needed but the pattern assumes you know the differences and doesn't take the time to explain. It is getting better and the manufactures are starting to add historical notes.

Last edited by Ororo Monroe : 06-18-2011 at 08:12 AM. Reason: small mistakes
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Unread 06-18-2011, 08:17 AM   #9
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I am glad to hear that the zip ties will work for a D and DD cup especially if the if put in the right places. For a mid nineteenth century corset that would be at both the openings, and throughout the back, sides, and front (usually near seams). But we are looking at Elizabethian corsets...
I've never tried zip ties in anything beyond the pair of bodies. Anything more modern, like the Victorian corsets I haven't gotten around to, but those don't have nearly as many bones in them as the pair of bodies, so I just use the spiral steel. Maybe one of these days I'll try a Victorian corset with a mix of ties and steel and see how it works.

Quote:
I would suggest a busk or boning on either side of the gromets. Many poor quality corsets skip or skimp on that.
I second this for sure. You'll definitely want at least one piece of steel boning on either side of the grommets, as this will help keep them in place for when you're lacing up.


Quote:
Past Patterns can be difficult because it is different. The manufactures use period methods. So it's like reading Chancer, Shakespeare, Jane Austin or heck even Mickey Spillane verse modern english. Translation is needed but the pattern assumes you know the differences and doesn't take the time to explain. It is getting better and the manufactures are starting to add historical notes.
Is Past Patterns different from the Tudor Tailor patterns? I've never heard of them, so I'm sort of curious as to what they have to offer (sorry to slightly hijack the thread OP ^^; ) My friend and I are always looking for other pattern sources for our SCA garb.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 08:38 AM   #10
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All the stays I've seen have cording like what you see in corded pettycoats. I think the confusion here is the use of the word "stays". I use the word to mean "work stays". In Victorian times it is a support garment of cheap, sturdy, fabric that uses cording, layers and cut to shape the body. It allowed women to bend and work relatively un hithered.

Here are some examples. The site in question has both corsets and stays.http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/article.php?article=11

I've mainly focused on Victorian-era historical costume and I'm not familiar with Tudor Tailor. The few SCA type dresses I've made were simplicity patterns modified. I haven't had a chance to make others.

Last edited by Ororo Monroe : 06-18-2011 at 09:31 AM. Reason: problems with links
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Unread 06-18-2011, 08:47 AM   #11
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I thought we where talking about corsets not stays. There are many differences between the two. Corsets are more unyeilding and unflexable; stays allow you to bend and twist. Stays are for work and are the harbinger to the bra. Stays rely on the cut of the fabric and the cording to support the body. They provide a more natural shape. And has much more sewing involved...

Past Patterns can be difficult because it is different. The manufactures use period methods. So it's like reading Chancer, Shakespeare, Jane Austin or heck even Mickey Spillane verse modern plain english. Translation is needed but the pattern assumes you know the differences and doesn't take the time to explain. It is getting better and the manufactures are starting to add historical notes.
I'm really not sure what you mean by the first bit, Ororo - I'm using 'bodies' to mean 16th Century aka the Effigy Bodies from the Tudor Tailor, 'stays' to mean 18th Century aka to be worn with a Robe a la Francais/L'Anglais, and 'corset' to mean 19th Century from 1840's onwards, being the time the word came into usage. I prefer to call things by what they were called at the time they were worn, so I'm sorry if that was confusing!

"Corsets are more unyeilding and unflexable; stays allow you to bend and twist. Stays are for work and are the harbinger to the bra. Stays rely on the cut of the fabric and the cording to support the body. They provide a more natural shape." has not been my experience at all. Firstly Victorian and Edwardian patterns rely far more heavily on curving and angling on-and-off grain to give shape than Regency or 18th Century patterns, which are generally speaking dead-on or cross-grain. I'm a habitual corset wearer and tight-lacer - like as not I'll be in a corset four days out of seven if not more at the moment - and I find the Victorian style of corset infinitely more comfortable and manoeuvrable than fully boned or even half-bond 18thC stays. I think we've got another terminology clash and are not actually talking about the same *objects* - could you maybe provide some pictures of what you're talking about?

The problems I heard of from Past Patterns were actually more technical than that - as in, patterns that hadn't been properly trued, balance marks that simply would not match, button-buttonhole guides that didn't match up, in one case wildly inaccurate yardages. I'm not totally sure that it's the same 'Past Patterns', though - seems like there is/have been at least two companies using that name @.@
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Unread 06-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #12
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All the stays I've seen have cording like what you see in corded pettycoats. I think the confusion here is the use of the word "stays". I use the word to mean "work stays". In Victorian times it is support garment of cheap, sturdy, fabric that uses cording, layers and cut to shape the body. It allowed women to bend and work relatively un hithered.

Here are some examples. The site in questions uses stays to mean all corsetry.http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/...php?article=11
http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/article.php?article=28
Ah okay, I see what you mean. Those are both still pre-'corset', actually - first one is Regency, second one is transitional - 'Stays' stayed in common usage until the mid 1840's and was gone by 1850-ish, to be replaced by 'corset'. A corset is virtually always strapless, stays nearly always have straps. (With a few exceptions, obviously)

Corded corsets are a different kettle of fish, but if they still have metal front busks and metal bones either side of the lacing (as they should) I've not found them significantly more flexible... just more work o.o;;
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Unread 06-18-2011, 09:28 AM   #13
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I'm having trouble with the links and my computer. Please bear with me.

The site I'm trying to draw from is: http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com, I've just found it but I think I'm going to like it.

http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/...php?article=11
http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/...php?article=28
http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/...php?article=12
http://www.antiquecorsetgallery.com/...php?article=38
There should be four links displayed.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 09:40 AM   #14
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Firstly Victorian and Edwardian patterns rely far more heavily on curving and angling on-and-off grain to give shape than Regency or 18th Century patterns, which are generally speaking dead-on or cross-grain. I'm a habitual corset wearer and tight-lacer - like as not I'll be in a corset four days out of seven if not more at the moment - and I find the Victorian style of corset infinitely more comfortable and manoeuvrable than fully boned or even half-bond 18thC stays.

The problems I heard of from Past Patterns were actually more technical than that - as in, patterns that hadn't been properly trued, balance marks that simply would not match, button-buttonhole guides that didn't match up, in one case wildly inaccurate yardages. I'm not totally sure that it's the same 'Past Patterns', though - seems like there is/have been at least two companies using that name @.@
I agree Victorian and Edwardian corsets with there more natural shape are more comfortable to wear then the conical forms of the 1700's. But I still can't bend down and tie my boots in one.

As to Past Patterns I've never had good luck with patterns of any line. It doesn't fix, the little triangles don't match up, where are my guides...I've always thought it was me.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 09:42 AM   #15
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Poor Kuchikichan her thread has been hijacked by a couple of stitch Nazis. Please laugh, I ment it as a joke.
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