The beauty of antique corsetry is often in its delicacy. Late-Victorian and early-Edwardian in particular, often seems impossibly light, petite and dare I say flimsy in comparison to most contemporary offerings.
There are myriad possible reasons for this, but the reasons don’t interest me as much as what we can do with that information. So a wish I have with my corsetry is to make it as delicate as possible (as practical) in reference to what I have seen amongst antique corsetry.
For example, I mentioned on the private blog (coming soon), that every time I’ve moved down in width of spiral steel I’ve been delighted with the results. Everything else seems hefty and inelegant by comparison. Each material has its uses, naturally, so it’s just about finding what works for any given aesthetic/purpose. As I love delicacy in materials, it was a treat seeing where the bones had worn through on the antique corset below…
Everything was so delicate about this piece that I first assumed it to be mostly corded with a few bones at the seams. But then I spotted this. I am unsure of the interior (perhaps cane?), but it was been wrapped in paper or fabric (it was hard to tell with gloves on) as there is a seam down the back (unseen in this photo). The ends are dipped in something. These super-skinny steels were a mere 3mm wide, weren’t even in channels that were really tight enough for them (an issue that many contemporary makers get excessively worried about), but were enough en mass to provide the needed support. That’s the thing, it’s often about the combination of type, width, and number of bones. It is a fine balancing act which the good corsetmaker knows how to utilise, push and exploit.