Now, the obvious questions: why on earth would I decide to make a net corset? Don't corsets need to be made of strong fabric?
|Not pictured: strong fabric.|
Pinterest-based research on mesh/net/"ventilated"/etc. corsets before diving in, and from a casual survey, I made the following generalizations:
- Seem to date from approximately 1870 through the 19-teens, though there seem to be more examples from the later half of that date range, at least that were easily findable on Pinterest.
- While they are obviously far less common than your "normal" type of corset, there seem to be enough surviving examples and adverts for them that this wouldn't have been a total luxury available to very few people. Is that a bit of an inference? Sure. But as someone who tends to prefer to make costume that doesn't represent the outliers on the spectrum, I felt justified in not considering a net corset a total outlier. (And on the other hand, not too many people seem to have reproduced them, and sometimes I like to make things not everyone and their dog has made yet!)
- It's difficult to tell exactly what the net or mesh fabric of these corsets was like, just from photos. Sure, museum listings say "cotton". Yes, very helpful, thank you. What was the hand like, how stiff was it? That kind of thing.
- While my pattern doesn't show a waist tape, it's a very very small minority there. I believe all the extants on that Pinterest board have waist tapes...which makes sense when you think about it! Even a pretty sturdy mesh is probably going to want some reinforcement there. (Pay attention; we will revisit this plot point later.)
|These pictures were from the first try-on of the completed corset; the ones taken over a black shirt and leggings are so you can see a little more detail than you get from white on white on white...|
|Yes, that's a hole next to the bone at the back hip.|
|Definitely the work of a professional, here.|
|I mentioned this was an experiment, right?|
|That has always been my approach to sewing, in case you couldn't tell. Bumblebee doesn't know it can't fly sort of thing.|
And another sidebar: yes, I don't have much in the way of assets to contain, but I think anyone of any size could successfully make a summer corset. You might want to use a different pattern or a more substantial material (SewLoud used cotton crinoline for hers; I'm not sure she's going to post about it but she did make one!), but I firmly believe it's doable! The original bust measurement was 6" bigger than mine, after all.
And finally, I took a few pictures of All The Ridiculous Things You Can Still Do In A Corset! Provided, of course, you can do them before you put the corset on... My friends could tell you about my proclivity for running up and down hills while in costume, just to prove I still can, and these silly pictures are along those lines.
|Touch your toes! Or...try to touch your toes, anyway. Ahem.|
|Grab your foot and try not to fall over!|
|Grab your foot and yoink, part 2. Ridiculous expression and fuzzy socks optional.|
So, all in all, while this corset wasn't my best work, it was definitely successful as the test piece it was. Net corsets are doable, wearable, and quite comfortable!
|With one more "please don't hurt yourself doing that" for good measure! It's actually a very satisfying stretch though.|