Art Nouveau Corset… kind of…

I’d like to continue in the mood of historical clothes for another moment and share something else I’ve made some time ago. In a time when I was still young, thin and beautiful, haha…

Fate smiled upon me and for a few days I got a true original Art Nouveau Corset into my hands… and was able to take it home with me. I love historical clothing. It is one of my passions. So to be able to hold- and take home!- a piece was… awesome. Anyway. While I had it, I drafted its pattern, and tried to reconstruct it later. Of course, with alterations to fit it to my body. And this is what came out.

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I chose a classic look for my corset. I used white cotton, though it had a little bit of stretch, so it must have had something added. As an embellishment I took a dark brown lace, bias tape for the hems, and lacing.

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I was so happy how it turned out. Like the nice, clean look and the contrasting details…

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Fun fact. The whole corset was actually meant to be exactly reverse. It had garters instead of straps. After I made my pattern and returned the original corset it took a little while until I sat down to make my corset. I have NO idea why I turned it the other way round… Somehow I remembered it that way… And I realized what I was doing only later, once I was already almost finished. So I just went with it. How silly of me. But it works this way just as well :-)

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I am actually preparing to make another- Victorian- corset soon… Hopefully I won’t be delaying it for too long because of other projects, so you might read about that some time soon. I wish I could post other corsets I’ve made… for example a nice gothic underbust corset I’ve made for a friend. But she never gave me those promised photos of her in it… :-/

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Regency style Spencer (jacket)

Part of that Empire-slash-Regency-slash-Jane-Austen-inspired-outfit I made for my friend was also a Spencer. A spencer is a short, fitted jacket worn by women around 1790-1820.

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The one I made was out of green manchester with a brown ribbon, cute green flower-y lining, beautiful buttons and a wide neckline.

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I used parts of a spencer-pattern out of Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1, Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c.1660-1860, but not the whole, because it did not quite match my design. So the rest I adjusted and improvised and made my own.

The lining.
The lining.

Empire Dress… with a modern twist

Since I wrote in the beginning of this blog, that I sew also historical clothes, I thought I might catch up with that part a bit. At least those few that I have (good) pictures of.

A friend of mine loves Jane Austen and the Empire-era. Well, so do I, but that’s another story. One day she asked me to make her an empire dress, which I was more than happy about. Also, since I had the opportunity to study the details of an empire dress in a deposit of a museum while writing an analysis of this era for university, I was glad I could apply my new-gained expertise on them.

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One new-gained and applied knowledge I used right away in the design of the dress, was that the actual historical versions of the dresses had often one skirt and more than one top you could attach to it. This way they wouldn’t have to have a thousand different dresses (you have probably no idea how much fabric would go into one such… and also where would one store so many big dresses), but they also had more variety in what they wore. Smart, I’d say.

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So, in my design for my friend, I made her a dress with 3 different tops, that she could attach to the skirt, depending on what she wanted at the moment. One was a sleevles top with buttons in the front. The second was with short sleeves with hidden closing in the back. The third one was a greek-style top out of a different -green- fabric with 3/4 sleeves and a V-neck.

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It was her wish to make the dress short. And to make it wearable in our modern world. So I did. I hope.

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The dress was out of this beautiful flower-y cotton with lining inside the tops and the green top was out of a very nice and soft viscose, if I remember correctly.

The pattern was inspired by real empire dresses, out of Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1, Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c 1660-1860. But I had to modify them to my friend’s size and to our design.

To the first and second top you could attach a thin white chiffon into the neckline.

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