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reddragonfly | Posted in General Sewing Info on

     I’m getting married Sunday and made my own wedding dress.  It’s a 17th century style full body corset with an off the shoulder chemise and a full gathered skirt.  The chemise is an ivory silk broadcloth, the corset is a light gold silk shantung with embroidered flowers and the skirt is the same gold silk shantung just plain. 

     When I was getting ready to make the corset I visited a number of web sites and tried to learn something about corset making.  I also learned that the corset I decided to make was definitely not recommended as a first corset project.  It took me about a month to make the whole corset and the worst part was the 36 grommets I had to install in the back to lace it up with.  It turned out fantastic but I was wearing it for practice today and I don’t see how women used to get anything done wearing a corset.  No wonder they were always faint.

     Has anyone else had any experience making corsets and how did it go for you?


  1. rjf | | #1

    Your dress sounds beautiful; please post a picture so we can see it.  Was the corset boned? as well as laced?  It reminds me of a "merry widow",  a corset with garters attached to hold up your stockings.  Very uncomfortable, but ooh! that little teeny waist!  Grace Kelly, eat your heart out.             rjf

    1. reddragonfly | | #2

      Yes, it was extremely boned.  At least 25 bones in the whole thing.  I've only seen anything like it in a period movie.  The tiny waist looks great but what a sacrifice of comfort.  When I get the wedding pics back I'll try to scan one in so you can see it.  Unfortunately I don't have a digital camera yet.  I hope I'll be able to stand to wear it through the whole ceremony and picture taking deal.  I had it on for about half an hour the other day and that was plenty!

      1. Crafty_Manx | | #3

        I've actually made a 40+ boned corset for Renaissance period acting and yes, it takes a bit to get used to wearing!!  Try for a little bit each day, and start with the lacing looser than you'd ideally like...this way you can work up to your "ideal fit" gradually.

        One detail that helped my corset was that I added two extensions..."flaps"...to the back, on either side of my spine (so the back bottom edge looks like the lower half of an "H").  This helps you to keep your torso errect and aids in support and breathing...you don't feel like you're being cut in half at the waist!  I also made it in two pieces...it fastens at the side fronts...so that as I gain or lose weight, all I'd have to do is remake the front portion to adjust for size.  This also helps in the winter when I want to layer long underwear under my outfit.

        Under all my Renaissance garb, you couldn't see these details but you could definately feel the difference they made!


      2. carolfresia | | #4

        I think Cat is correct, that you need to wear the corset a bit before the even to get used to it. A lady I know how makes custom corsets (decorative, beautiful ones) suggests the same. You might as well--that way you'll have a nicer time on the big day, or discover before the big day that you just can't stand it, and find another option! I wore one of those long-line/merry-widow bras with my wedding dress, and although it felt just fine in the a.m., but the end of the day I was pretty tired of various wires and bones poking me in the ribs.


        1. rjf | | #5

          On the other hand, it's a way to insure that the dress will fit when the bride is not around for 6 months before the wedding.   Well, maybe.    rjf

          1. carolfresia | | #6

            OK, I get the point! The story behind that, folks, is that when rjf was making my wedding dress, I was living abroad. So there was a muslin fitting before I left, and the dress being made when I got back, and then I must have shrunk some time before the wedding. So the dress ended up fitting the undergarment fine, even though the undergarment punished me! Sadly, I doubt I could squeeze into the dress now, even though it was too big then. And since my daughter seems to be leaning in the Brook Delorme direction stylistically (well, she's not quite 3 so it's hard to tell where that will go!), I don't expect her to want to wear my old wedding dress...


        2. reddragonfly | | #7

               Well the big day has come and gone and the corset wearing went better than I had expected.  I had brought an outfit to change into right after the ceremony but I ended up being comfortable enough to wear the corset dress the whole time.  When I took it off at home I took some really deep breaths and realized just how restricting it had been.  I also ended up standing almost the whole time because it was so uncomfortable to sit down. 

               I had several requests from other people to make them wedding dresses because they were so impressed by mine.  That was nice. 

          1. rjf | | #8

            I'm glad that the corset worked for you and that you had a happy day.  Brides don't get to sit very much anyway.  I hope you[ve got some pictures to post.      rjf

  2. Corset_Training_Girl | | #9

    Bodice Pattern

    It sounds amazing, yes I'd love to see photos too. Theres never any information on how to make these more advanced corsets, thats a lot of bones for a beginner, well done you! I have made a fully boned Elizabethan bodice myself, over 50 bones! Had to cut them all myself too. I made up a how-to video and pattern actually (I make them for a living) but besides my guide, I haven't seen anything else either in the shops or online that goes into these types of corsets. Theres some photos of it (and the pattern/video for sale if your interested) at this how to make a bodice corset page.

    Heres a pic of it, n yes thats me wearing it :) a head turner at parties I can tell you! -

    View Image

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