Hussar style corset

 

 

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 The inspiration struck  when I was making a Napoleonic set  for a client –  a thing with loads of braiding, military lace etc. Against all odds, I enjoyed making it ( and a post on that one can be found here) and thought that it would be nice to have something like that for myself….  And then I remembered artwork of a Polish artist, Bartek Drejewicz and his Napoleonic pin up girls ( do check his facebook page out,  – not only Napoleonic but different armies through the centuries, beautifully rendered!). And yes, there are Steampunk corsets with military styling etc available – but non actually using the ‘proper’ military lace or specific historical styling… So I wanted to have a go….

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The final design was actually worked out one evening when I was clearing my offcuts and left overs bits – and noticed narrow scraps of the broadcloth i used for the jacket.  Not good for much more, but  just enough for corset panels…  I quickly adapted an overbust pattern to work as a waistcoat – with  a black busk in front and lacing in the back. It did come out a tad short ( not enough fabric) but the first step was done – a waistcoat in broadcloth, cotton twill being used as the strength layer.  I opted for a slight curve and not much of a reduction – so that  I would be able to wear it at work at the markets- but also because it was the trial version:-)

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I ordered more military lace and braid and once it arrived i started putting the lace on – it took me a few months as was working on it  in between commissions….

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So even with help ( ahem…) it took some time….

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Once the frogging was on, I could put some silver soutache on the borders and the collar….

 

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Then it was only getting some buttons ( beads….) and we were ready for shooting!

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I tried the corset first with my Regency chemisette and plain black leggings….

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Then I had an epiphany and fished out Lucas’s  dancing breeches  – in lovely white superfine. The just about fitted too! Then e had some fun with my old cavalry sabre as a prop:-)

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The chemissette, in case anyone asks :

 

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The conclusions – well, loved wearing it ( and wore it to markets since) but a few improvements will be needed for the next  ones –  longer in front, more hip spring, and probably not using busks and frogging together – it is a pain to do it all up! Still, I think it is a success – and  more corsets in the style are planned, in different colours – already have a small stash of silver and gold military lace and braid, and am slowly collecting fabrics and props – I suspect we will have a bigger photoshoot with  more models ( and hopefully horses) just before Waterloo 🙂 Once the next models are done, will post a link here – including a link to the shop as they will be offered  on sale….

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Hope you liked this  experiment!

 

Credits:

Clothes, as always, Prior Attire

photography Pitcheresque Imagery

 

 

1815 Redingote a la Hussarde

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For our  Regency stay in Bath I needed something for daywear. I had the evening attire, but apart from my riding habit, I didn’t have anything suitable. I had limited financial resources, but was able to put aside a few days for stitching – so the idea was to invest more in time rather than in the materials per se.  For Regency that simply meant using cotton:-) A quick browse though the costume books and boards, and I set my heart on that lovely redingote from the Kyoto Institute of Fashion, all in white cotton, with pom poms and insane amounts of piping.  Cotton fabric is cheap, so most of the expense would be the pompoms and the accessories – and so a decision has been made.

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Materials:

6m of plain cotton ( for top layer and lining) ( approximately £45)

66 pompoms ( all handmade in cotton by Gina B) ( £120)

piping materials – cord and bias cotton tape – 36 metres ( !!!) ( £20)

10 pairs of hooks and eyes ( £2.00)

cotton lace ( broderie anglaise) – £12

calico for patterning

 

Time – about  20 hours

I experimented with the patterning first, to create the collar and upper bodice pieces. I used first the dummy and once I had the basics in place, I put it on myself, wearing stays ( modern dummies have  their busts in a very different position!)

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The skirts and sleeves were easy, didn’t have to do mock ups from them but used my blocks – so far so good!

The tricky part was the piped elements – I have never done piping before, and although it is strange to embark on a heavily piped garment without prior experience, I do Like a challenge. So I read some instructions  ( very good introduction on Historical Sewing!)practiced  on a bit of spare cotton,  and then whizzed all 36 metres of it.

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that’s the first batch…

Then it was time to apply it onto the  tabs…

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tabs on the front panel of the skirts

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took a few hours, that did, very boring hours… first the sirs, then the bodice, oversleeves and  and cuffs…

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It was at that point that I noticed that the slits on the hem, oversleeves and collar are well, let us say, distinctively feminine looking, and from that point on the redingote got a working name – The Pussy Frock….:-)

Next stage was to mount  the piped elements onto the proper pieces… this stage had to be done all by hand, and it took forever. to sweeten the labour, a suitable viewing was required…. 🙂

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2 episodes later, one side is done…

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the oversleeves

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the cuff

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bodice piping mounted

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The pussies on the hem….

 

Once all the piping was sorted and on, the redingote was assembled, lined, hooks and eyes added, belt added – and then the pompoms were sewn on:-)

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all ready!

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and then it struck me – I might actually need  a walking dress  to go on top of my petticoat….. we planned to do some  dance practice and redingote, lovely as it is, may not be the best choice to prance around the dancefloor…

a 4 metres of self striped cotton and 5 hours later I had a simple day dress sorted…

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The proper hat was almost ready for Bath – almost, I had trouble with the cockerel feathers mounting so in the end I decided go go for a different bonnet – straw base decorated with ribbon s and flowers. I finished it later on – but still not happy with it, I am not re-thinking the feathers mount options….

still, for the time being we got this:-)

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   As for the layers – I am wearing a linen chemise, a long line corset,  a petticoat,  a day dress, stockings, shoes, hats etc…. quite a lot.

  The whole outfit is surprisingly comfortable and the piping makes it quite heavy too.  the best things is, when it gets dirty, you just wash it  with no special care – after all, it is all cotton!

 What I need now is a spencer, I think…. and a woolen pelisse for colder days.. .and another ball gown….. 🙂

 Credits:

 clothes – Prior Attire;

 boots – unbelievably comfy ones from American Duchess – when they arrived I suspected the heel will chafe – but after 3 hours of walking and 2 hours of dancing, my feet were snug and comfy – so a great buy!

 umbrella – Sherri Light; I supplied the silk, Sherri covered an antique frame and added antique silk fringe. Love it!

 stockings, ribbons and  straw hat base – Dressing History

 pompoms – Gina B Silkworks

 photography –Pitcheresque Imagery

Officer’s jacket, Napoleonic era – Military bling galore!

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I do not do men’s garments after 1800.  But some people are very persuasive ( or simply very stubborn)…

In this case one of my existing customers ( I made a whole set of Regency wardrobe for his lovely lady last winter) managed to persuade me that I wanted nothing more than to make his new gear. A consensus was made, I gave under pressure and agreed to making shirts, waistcoats and the blingy coat, but drew a line at pantaloons. I shouldn’t have bothered at that line as it later turned out that since another tailor was a bit behind and wouldn’t be able to do the pantaloons – and  so I ended up making 2 pairs of the trousers. And a nice redingote for the lady…

The inspiration was the dress jacket from the National Army Museum 

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Over July measurements were made, toiles were fitted and all the ingredients were assembled – and there was a lot to assemble!

The cloth ( broadcloth) came from Historical Textiles,  silly amount of military lace and braid from Hand&Lock, and some more braid and buttons were provided by the customer.

I started with the waistcoat….

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pockets!

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eyelets at the back

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the waistcoat closes with hooks and eyes

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ready!

Time for the jacket….

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lace was applied and i started applying the trim….

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all the wriggly bits ( official term!) in place

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time to play with the front decoration…..

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the innards showing the stitches – the braid was attached with a strong linen thread.  The whole jacket was later lined in red light woolen cloth ( shalloon)

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sleeves ready!

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and the result:-)

the pantaloons were next – and they worked surprisingly well! 2 pairs were maid, one on navy broadcloth, one in white one…

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back waist detail

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done!

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front detail

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and the navy pair

The whole set was worn at Bath during the Jane Austen festival – and as we were there for the Ball,  Lucas took some pictures of it all being worn together:-)

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very dapper….

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back view

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undressed…

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and chatting with the ladies….

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At the ball with his lay wife, who is also sporting a Prior Attire kit:-)

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and if you are wondering about the prices…

well, the blingy bits ( lace, braids, buttons) were well over £200,

fabric – broadcloth is at around £50 a metre ( and worth every penny!) –  6m were used.

1m of shallon for jacket lining, – £21

shirts, lining and neckclothes –  linen – 3m – £26

calico for toiles and interlining – £10

altogether the materials cost more or less around £400

Labour for it all – roughly £1000…..  it took altogether about 60 hours to complete….more or less.

Not a cheap  set – and obviously the accessories  were of fantastic quality and also , I imagine, rather dear. But gosh, doesn’t it all look fantastic! 🙂

And surprisingly – I really enjoyed making it, so watch this space, I don’t think it is the end of military bling for me!

May 2015 update –  and indeed it wasn’t….. since then I have made a corsetted waistcoat  and another set of a waistcoat and dolman, even blingier than this one:-)

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Credits

Cloth and help with patterning – Sean Phillips from Historical Textiles

Military lace:Hand&Lock

braid and buttons and the barrel sash:Stitch in Time

leatherwork – Peter Stroud – Menagerie Leatherwork

Photography – Pitcheresque Imagery

and all of this has been brought together by Prior Attire

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