I'm a very experienced seamstress, and I've made a variety of stays for earlier periods (1690s - 1810s). I have not actually made a mid-Victorian corset for myself yet (although I've altered one I already had). This one definitely needs work - but I'm not sure where to start. That's what I'd really like help with.
First, I already have a corset from Kay that is quite comfortable for my regular corseted waist of 28". I would like another corset for a very fashionable impression, though, going to 27" or 26". My Kay corset won't do that, since there's not enough room in the hip - which is 43".
So this is the corset from the Mme. Sebille patent, from 1863
. Its major distinguishing characteristic is the flared hip gore. Just from the first mockup I'm sure it will work great! There's plenty of flare and ease even as it's fitting right now (which is not ideal).
Confessions: I used a wooden busk for the center front.
My lacing strips have only one piece of boning at the edge; I should have used two, and I should have secured the ends of the boning (duh).
The angled boning at the sides of the bust gussets is straight steel, so it's not flexing as is ideal. (I'm planning to use the German plastic/artificial whalebone in the actual one.)
Also, the gussets are a Hot Mess.
I was teaching myself a machine-sewing technique, and the gussets as provided in the patent totally don't fit right. I also managed to put in two the wrong way around (including cutting the tip) before I fixed it, so they're pretty wonky at the points. Seam allowances there are pretty approximate.
The biggest issues that I see:
1. Waist too big.
The diagram was scaled up to give a 26" waist with a 2" spring (i.e. 24" across). When assembled, it measured about 25.5" without spring. As worn, the waist is 28" and barely 1" of spring.
--> Best way to narrow? I was hoping not to have to mess with the overall size too much, because I want to leave the hip gore as originally proportioned. Maybe just adjusting at the side, and taking an equal-sized cut or pattern dart out of the gore at that point?
Granted, the insertion was pretty sloppy. But I really don't think the shape as-is will work. The overall width at the top is okay, but they definitely are either too long or too wide. There's a lot of buckling, partly from my non-flexible boning, but there really is excess material.
--> Should I re-draw these gores according to the pattern piece? I can try a shape similar to the ones that work in the Kay corset.
Again, I'm an experienced seamstress, and I know I can figure this out eventually. But I admit I HATE mockups, especially fiddly and time-consuming ones like these. So I would greatly appreciate advice on the way to approach this! Thank you!