1912 corset cover

Earlier this year, I discovered The 1912 Project. This is a project created by the Vintage Pattern Lending Library, where I signed up to be a volunteer sewer for patterns from the year 1912, as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. Being in love with clothes from eras not my own, and loving any excuse to have them, I immediately joined up. So begins my first project, #E0176, the corset cover.

My Skill Level: Advanced Beginner (contradiction?)
Rating: 5  I loved it!
Why: This is my introduction to vintage sewing, and it was easy to make a pretty garment with minimal instructions and basic skills. Plus, it’s got this wonderful shape, very romantic and a lot of trim possibilities. On the practical side, modern undergarments work well with this antique design, so it’s wearable.
The pattern is certainly ok for a beginner- there’s some basic instructions, though I found I didn’t really need them. They were pretty easy to follow. There were a small number of parts and it was pretty obvious what went where. The instructions on inserting the lace would be helpful, if I had made mine that way, and when I do a future version I will definitely try it out.

Ricky, Mama’s little helper, makes sure I can’t do anything with my newly cut fabric.

Materials: I used about a yard and a half of rose linen. The original might actually have been of something much heavier, and I could see using a silk material or possibly a cotton, too. I bought about 3 yards of eyelet lace to make my corset cover, but didn’t use nearly that much. I actually cut it in half lengthwise and used the different sections for different areas. I found some metal buttons that looked about right for the period and I used six, but I think I’d use seven next time. I cheated, also- the buttons are for decoration, I used snaps underneath because truthfully, button holes scare me. I’m getting better at them, though. I just wasn’t confident enough to try this time around with so little exra fabric to cover my mistakes. I’d suggest using some bias tape to bind your armholes, too, I learned that on another garment I made and I think I’d do that next time.

testing the fit

The fit is pretty good- it was sized for a 36″ bust. Lucky me, that means I didn’t have to change that at all. The corseted middle was looking a bit tight, so I cut my pattern with about an extra inch in the waist, just to be safe. It’s still a tiny bit snug there, so when I make this one again, I think I’ll adjust it slightly larger. I also only did two darts at the waist, instead of the four indicated in the pattern, to make up for not wearing a corset under my corset cover. I enlarged the back section in particular, because it seemed so tiny, and since I’m not a very big girl to begin with, that’s really saying something! I also noted that when I cut my pieces, the peplum was the one part I forgot to adjust to fit! Woops. This is why I’m a beginner. So, to save myself from having a gap I cut a small section about 4″ long to add to the peplum’s length so I wouldn’t have this huge gap on the finished garment. I incorporated it into the design in a way it wouldn’t be terribly obvious. I also found, once I got it together, that I’d like to add a couple of snaps- one at the top of the bodice and one below the last button at the bottom, because the corset cover has a way of opening up a bit there to give unintended glimpses of skin, as you can see from the photo.

I modernized the corset cover for daily wear- the snaps for convenience and the less formal trim dresses it down enough to wear with jeans. I’d like to make another one later and maybe lose the peplum or make it flare less, and I want to try out insertion lace because it’s very pretty. Overall, though, I feel it looks quite a lot like the pattern photo. I added some rows of stitching on either side of the buttons because it needed something interesting there and I just didn’t want more trim because I was trying to simplify the garment so it could be a more casual summer top.
I would recommend this one for sure, it’s easy and cute. Not to mention perfectly good for a summer top if you’re not going to cover your corset with it!

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