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Author Topic: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...  (Read 4155 times)

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Online gem

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Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« on: February 09, 2010, 03:25:11 PM »
I am making a hemp-corded version of the Simplicity corset I made last fall, and I'm pondering some variables at the moment. Anyone up for musing with me?  :D

First, as you can kind of see from this tiny pattern line drawing, this corset is designed to be heavily boned in front, and only lightly boned on the sides and back.  I think most of the corded corsets I've seen are fully boned, and I'm wondering if I should add more boning channels (I'm at a stage in the construction where that would be easy).  Thoughts?

Second... lets talk about gowns to wear *over* the corded corset. I've been reading dress diaries for years, and I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure how to go about the fitting. Am I going to have to draft a pattern from scratch, or can I adapt one of the good patterns to work with the more rounded/Italianesque silhouette? (I know people have done corded effigy corsets, but that's not the shape I'm going for here).  Does anyone have suggestions?

Ideally/eventually, I'd love to make a version of St. Catherine's gown (and I've *just* realized she's covering her entire bodice with her arm!). But I really just started this because I've been wanting a corded corset forever, and hadn't given a lot of thought to what I was going to do with it once I had it!  So, shower me with tips and ideas!

Gramercy!

Offline operafantomet

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 05:02:03 PM »
You could go for one of the bodices of Eleonora di Toledo, and make the front and/or general waistline shorter than her bodice. That fit will be good for earlier Italian style, and it's this more informal style that prevailed in "general" Lazio dresses of the late 16th and early 17th century (much of what appears in Caravaggio's paintings).

The always-excellent Jennifer Thompson has a simplified diagram which is based on the Eleonora bodices, but adapted to earlier Florentine style (you've probably seen it already):
http://www.festiveattyre.com/research/diary/images/florpat1.gif

The finished dress can be seen here: http://www.festiveattyre.com/gallery/florentine/earlyflor.html

The normal thing would be to have lacing at the sides, but you can also put it in front as seen in some portraits from the same time. My "Maddalena Doni" dress is front laced.

St. Catherine might be covering her bodice in that painting you posted a link to, but that dress, or variants of it, keep appearing in other Caravaggio paintings (so is the lady...). Here's more dresses of this style:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v31/operafantomet/renaissanceportraits/roma/caravaggioroma1598b.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v31/operafantomet/renaissanceportraits/roma/caravaggioroma1596.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v31/operafantomet/renaissanceportraits/roma/zuccariloretomassilla2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v31/operafantomet/renaissanceportraits/roma/ogentileschi1620s.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v31/operafantomet/renaissanceportraits/roma/ogentileschi1630.jpg

(the latter is a tad different, with a softer bodice and an open skirt, but I still found it right to add it here)

As for corded corsets and/or bodices... I would add more cording to the sides and back than the boning channels suggests. The idea is to make a shell, a second skin, so to speak, without wrinkles. I don't think single cord rows is sturdy enough to keep large areas free of wrinkles. You don't need to cord every inch of the surface, though.

Looking forward to follow this project!!

Offline Mythrin

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 07:06:36 PM »
I love the hemp corded bodices and have posted on them several times.  I have made several for my self and more than I can count for clients. 

Wind shield wiper blade steel is great for making a tool to push the hemp into the channel.  That way you only have to sew it into the channel at one end.  Gives a nice finished edge look.

Here is a hemp boned bodice and some details about the mix of soft (hemp) and hard (zip tie) boning. http://picasaweb.google.com/MythrinFarm/Boning#. Also a set of photos about how I push vs pull the hemp into the channel if interested.  http://picasaweb.google.com/MythrinFarm/HempBodice#

  This garb is a bit unique in that it has a hemp boned under layer that is actually attached to the bodice portion of the under-dress.  What this does is guarantee that the lacing is smooth and flat without looking stiff.

You can build a corset that has the channels on a diagonal along with straight up and down, but it takes more thought.  I would post on that if there is interest.
Chris
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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 07:41:24 PM »
Thanks, you two!  ;D

Anea, that Caravaggio Mary Magdalene you posted *is* the exact same dress from St. Catherine! I was thrilled when I first found that painting (both because I could see the front, and because I love that they re-used garments and models in their artwork).

Here's a progress shot that shows the configuration of the boning, as per the pattern instructions. I'm sorry the seams and boning channels aren't showing up as well as I'd like; Photoshop was not cooperating.

ETA 4/23/10: I deleted the original image from my Picturetrail account, and I can't even recall what it looked like, but here is the fully corded corset:


Original post resumes below:
You can see I've started in on the sides (side-fronts, technically), and Chris, your windshield wiper steel worked like a *charm!!*  (I found a stash of old wiper blades in my garage a couple of months ago, and sent Mythrin a giddy email about them!).  There's also a single boning channel near the side-back seam (marked on the right with that long silver thing--actually the wiper steel), but it doesn't have the cord in it yet.

Modified Eleanora bodice is a great starting place, thanks! I might also see how this fits, and then use it as the basis for a gown pattern (which is what I usually end up doing anyway).

Largely, this entire thing is experimental, so I have no idea how it's going to turn out, but I wanted to try.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 04:55:13 PM by gem »

Offline operafantomet

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 05:00:56 AM »
Looks very good so far!

A bit annoying that the EdT (Eleonora di Toledo, not Eau de Toilette...  ;D ) dress is the only Italian renaissance pattern we have... I mean, cool dress, sure, and it's also cool to have two almost identical ones existing (Eleonora + Pisa dress). But the slightly ironic thing here is that the burial dress of EdT is most likely a spare dress she had hanging in the closet in Palazzo Reale in Pisa, and not a dress of particular significance (as far as we know).

The velvet underbodice (sometimes referred to as "stays", but without boning and closed in front) were clearly too large for her (as it was just wrapped over the chest, the sides overlapping quite a bit). It might have been put on just to "fill in" the overbodice, as the Duchess has become radically thinner the last years of her life. She suffered from tuberculosis and whatnot, and is said to have thrown up her food every morning because her body couldn't handle it. Quite impressive then that she led such an active life, accompanying her husband everywhere. I guess that's what true love does to you...

But I'm rambling... what I wanted to say, was that I visited Pisa before Christmas. I stopped by the Palazzo Reale to see the Pisa dress, which is wonderfully displayed in one of the large rooms in the "piano nobile". And to my big surprise there were two other dresses there too; one from the late 16th century, and one from the early 17th century. I have seen pictures of them previously, after the Florence Costume Colloquium, but I had no idea they were on display! Here's some pics I took:



(please don't re-post this pictures elsewhere without asking)

The greyish blue one has just been conservated, with plain fabric filling in for missing parts, and is as of now considered a house dress of either an upper middle class or noble lady. It's a bit peculiar in the bodice, with a seam in the front and with very short straps. The greenish Baroque one also had plain fabric filling in for missing parts. I think both of them came from the same convent as the crimson Pisa one, and all of them had been modified from noble garb to "dressing religious statues" robes (which is why chunks were missing).

The lady working on the two "new" dresses was, as far as I understood, planning to release general pattern and info later on. Which means that we'll at least have TWO Italian renaissance dresses to work from; one court dress an one everyday/house dress. I'm highly anticipating that! :D

Back to EdT, an excellent book on EdT was released some years ago, and it contains rather new research on her burial dress. Most of that chapter is available through Google books, alas without pictures but an interesting read nonetheless:

http://books.google.no/books?id=85dDMWfok7IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22the+cultural+world+of+eleanora%22&source=bl&ots=l4JAHwyE2B&sig=4b9aKT5kgPh3l7QA3qD-8po9QBA&hl=no&ei=oDRXS5aoI8fm-QbUxtSDBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 05:04:23 AM by operafantomet »

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 05:09:19 AM »
Thank you for these pix and notes.  Very useful.  I do love the crimson dress.

Offline operafantomet

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 05:24:30 AM »
Thanks, you two!  ;D

Anea, that Caravaggio Mary Magdalene you posted *is* the exact same dress from St. Catherine! I was thrilled when I first found that painting (both because I could see the front, and because I love that they re-used garments and models in their artwork).

It's understandable about the dress, as Caravaggio probably went to a pawner and got hold of a noble dress to use in his studio. He's painted the exact same dress a couple of times, and also seems to have variants of it. The paintings in which the dress occurs all seems to be from his early Roman period (1598, when he first painted a woman, and until 1606, when he fled the city after a murder).

I doubt the dress belonged to the sitter, because she (Fillide Melandroni, if she is correctly identified) wasn't a noble woman. It wasn't uncommon to get either garbs of pieces of rich fabric from a pawner and use it as a basis for art works. And that's great for us who wants to see a dress from several angles, he-he!

It's also understandable it doesn't appear after he fled the city, as his things probably was sold...
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 05:27:25 AM by operafantomet »

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 07:08:18 AM »
It would seem that the artistic temperament is not new...   ;D

I have to admit it's another gown I'd love to make some day...

Offline Adriana Rose

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 11:33:29 AM »
Just a note.

I have never tried to make a hemp boned bodice BUT do keep in mind that hemp does NOT like water and if its exposed to water or moisture too many times it starts to break down. And when it does it gets mushy and smelly.


just my 2cents.

I do love reading about the history of the gowns!

Offline Mythrin

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 12:08:17 PM »
Those photos are great!  Thanks

Huh, I have not had any problems with my hemp bodices/corsets breaking down when wet.  I am on my 4th season with the one in the photo and I am on cast in a hot/humid area so it gets a lot of wear.  I wash mine in the washing machine, turn it in side out and hang it to dry in the sun. So far no one seems to step away from me due to a funky smell.   Maybe good luck?  But I am not arguing with it.
Chris
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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 12:12:09 PM »
So... do you guys think I need more boning channels, or should I be fine with the ones that are there?

Mythrin, I was wondering about the moisture, too, since sailing vessels were rigged with hemp rope... but I wasn't planning on making a hemp-corded swimsuit, and being the lady that I am (snork) try to perspire only *lightly* in my garb.  :D

Offline Adriana Rose

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 02:46:10 PM »
Ok thats a good thing to know, I just have had somw hemp necklaces get all funky on me... maybe it was the guy I swiped it from lol.


As always I love the amount of knowlage that is here!

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2010, 03:03:20 PM »
You have me curious, now.  I think I'll plunge a spare scrap of the hemp cord into some water for a couple of days and see what happens...

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 05:16:07 PM »
It'll get wet...   :-*

Offline Mythrin

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Re: Corded corsets and the things we wear over them...
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 10:48:43 AM »
Kate's succinct answer is right. 

Hemp is a great fiber. It was used for rigging ships because it was strong and could take getting wet without rotting for quite a while.  Hemp is also become one of the wonder-fibers for new fabrics because it is so durable, comfortable and takes up a lot of moisture without feeling wet.  Horse people love hemp bedding because of the shear amount of ***** it can hold.  However due to the silly drug policies here, we have to import this bedding from Canada. But that is another story.
Chris
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