Sunday, February 22, 2009

In My Happy Place: Making A Corset

READERS NOTE: This post is about things that some people might find to be TMI. If you are one such, please skip this post.

I am in my happy place now. I am making a Renaissance corset. There's nothing more "uplifting" than looking down and seeing the two "girls" smiling at you in true 15th century fashion.

I drafted the pattern and I have all the materials except the boning. I decided to bone it with basket reed, because I just didn't think dress boning, hemp cord, or heavy duty tie wraps were up to the job. Anyone who's ever seen me from the waist up knows that this corset is going to have to be a major feat of engineering, on a par with a suspension bridge. Whatever I bone it with has got to be able to take the weight and remain stiff enough to keep the bust suspended in mid-air.

I made a 19th century corset before, and it was great, but I made a few mistakes. First, I was extremely poor and so I boned it with scraps of plexiglass that I got for free at Home Depot. Plexiglass is too brittle to use as corset boning, and the first time I bent over to pat a kid on the head it snapped at the waist. Second, I was in a hurry and I didn't fit it very well to my short waist, so it dug in whenever I sat down. But other than that, it was great! I got uplift and separation superior to any modern bra. Separation is kind of important to me because most bras nowadays for my size achieve a "uniboob" effect-- one large mass with two little bulges in front.

Renaissance corsets don't do separation, they do extreme uplift. Any separation you get comes well above the top of the corset, where everyone can see it. I know, I know, I shouldn't go pointing those things at people. It makes women jealous of me and men jealous of FH. It spreads marital discord by reminding everyone that they are NOT married to me and thus this tempting glimpse is all they're ever going to see. But I justify it all by saying that it is for the sake of Historical Accuracy. I do it purely as an academic exercise. Yeah, that's it. It's for Science. And The Children.