Corsets and unmentionables

Last month I attended a course on corset making at re-dress on Hatch Street, I've been wanting to try out one of their courses for a while and their one day course on the making and history of corsets appealed to me.

The course was taught by the Irish designer Sinead Doyle who uses her training in tailoring and corsetry to design some amazing clothes. I got to try on one of the jackets from her next collection, which was beautiful, and with all the corsetry elements included made me stand up very straight!

Anyway back to the course. Corsets, as I learnt, take a huge amount of work to produce properly, and there was no way we could have made one in a one day course. Instead we started by looking at the history of corsets from their earliest origins up to the present. There is a huge range of different corset shapes and designs, used to create different body shapes depending on the fashions of the moment.

We then learnt about some of the techniques needed to make corsets. These included pattern drafting, the method of construction of corsets and flossing. No not cleaning your teeth, flossing in this context is a decorative stitch used to keep the boning in a corset in place.

Flossing how it should look and my first attempt  

I really enjoyed the course and I learnt loads, and soon I might just be brave enough to have a go at designing and making my own corset. Although nothing quite as complex as these examples I think :)

While we are looking at historic underwear it seems a good time to show off these bad boys ...

I found them in my local antique (or perhaps more accurately junk shop) in my home town a couple of years ago. My dad was selling some old prints to the shop and I got these thrown in as part of the deal. The owner, always one for a tall story, told me that they had been worn by an important Victorian lady who lived at Windsor!  They are pretty fine though, and the lace trim on the bottom is lovely.

Not very practical for everyday wear I admit, but if you do fancy a pair of modern day bloomers Collette Patterns have a free pattern for this cute modern version ... not modelled by me ;o)


  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I'll be watching out for pics of your first corset.

  2. Ha, that last pic really reminded me of GAMS!

  3. GAMS? What are they? I tried googling it but came up with General Algebraic Modeling System, which I don't think is what you are talking about?

  4. Gams are on Knitty:


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