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19 unique corset pattern drafts, dating 1900-1922, with background research, historical context, and tested patterns.
19 unique corset pattern drafts, dating 1900-1922, with background research, historical context, and tested patterns.
19 unique corset pattern drafts, dating 1900-1922, with background research, historical context, and tested patterns.
250 backers pledged $13,920 to help bring this project to life.

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Corset Cutting & Making (1924): The Annotated Edition

$13,920

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From the beginning of my tenure as the editor of Foundations Revealed in 2009, my goal has been to bridge the eras, and bring back the knowledge of corsetmaking hidden in historical patents, books, and extant items in museum collections. I want modern corsetmakers to be exposed to and impacted by the beauty of the historical cuts, and methods, not merely copying the same modern styles popular in the larger community, or the same four patterns out of "Corsets and Crinolines". 

Because to this long term goal, I am always on the hunt for new sources of historical inspiration. One book I happened upon a few years ago was “A practical guide to corset cutting and making” by W.D.F. Vincent, published in 1924. This rare book is listed in the collections of only a few libraries around the world, and is in the public domain.   

The book itself is quite small, paper covered and stapled, and only 40 pages long.  Inside the book, there are 19 corset pattern drafts laid out in the text, as well as two additional patterns for abdominal and supporting belts, and a corset cover, which is very similar to the early type of brassiere.    

These patterns vary in date; about half are dated post-WWI to early 1920s, the remainder date to 1900-1910. None of these patterns are in any other book currently on the market. The corset pattern drafts are as follows:  

[Note: The word stout in the following patterns does not mean fat, but rather a figure with a larger bust to waist ratio, or larger hip spring.]

1900-1905  

These corsets are all mid-bust corsets, and come down to at least the mid-hip

  • A Parisian one piece corset (corset is one piece, shaped with darts)
  • A corset with horizontal seams (5 horizontal bands, read more here)
  • A gusseted corset for a stout figure, 36” chest, 22” waist, 40” hips 
  • A gusseted corset for a stout figure, with a flat front 40” chest, 24” waist, 40” hips 
  • Belted corset for a larger figure (five panel corset, with a horizontal hip band)
  • An athletic corset (6 panels, one which is elastic)
  • An equestrienne corset (3 panels, one which is elastic, shaped with gussets)
  • A maternity corset (6 panels, with a laced section to allow for expansion)
  • A nursing corset (6 panels, with a laced bust section)
1910-1914  

  • A fashionable corset (This corset has 6 panels, and is an underbust corset, which comes down over the hips.)
There are three different patterns of corset vests for children and young women, which are very rare, and date from 1910-1924  
  • 2 different style corsets for a girl aged 11-15  
  •  Child’s corset for age 4-7
Maids corset
Maids corset
1914-1919 World War 1  
  • Corset for a working woman (4 panel underbust corset, and the notes for this corset specifically mentions that it is to be made without metal components so as to be safe for dangerous factory work)
1920-1924  
At the start of the 1920's, the corsets were firmly below the bust, in many cases, barely reaching above the waist. All of these corsets are underbust corsets, which come down over the hips.

  • Sports corset (4 panel corset, with elastic top panel)
Sports corset
Sports corset
  • Corset for a stout figure, with elastic around the top edge (6 panel corset, with top bands of elastic)
Stout corset with elastic
Stout corset with elastic
  • Short corset, with a shaped bottom edge (5 panel corset)
Short corset with shaped lower edge
Short corset with shaped lower edge
  • Corsets for a stout figure (6 panel corset)
Stout corset
Stout corset
  • Corset for a stout figure, with hip bands  (6 panel corset, with 3 horizontal hip bands)

 

Here is a sample pattern from the original book, "A corset with horizontal seams"

A corset pattern with horizontal seams, from Corset Cutting and Making
A corset pattern with horizontal seams, from Corset Cutting and Making

Sounds wonderful, right? However, the book is a disorganized mess, with the oldest corset styles at the back of the book, and the newest styles at the front.

Project Goal

My goal for this project is simple: Publish an annotated version of the book with tested patterns. I want re-organize the text into a more coherent order and user-friendly order, adding additional information alongside the original text, enabling the book to be truly useful to modern makers, reenactors and researchers.

Specific Goals for the Project

  • Reorganize the book contents into a more understandable order, while keeping all original text.
  • Add an introduction for each corset pattern, including the date, construction information, advertising images and possible extant examples from museum collections.  ( Example of a case study)
  • Add other information needed to help the modern reader understand the text. 
  • Create new drawings for each corset pattern draft in the book. The old drawings are not completely accurate and the numbers are very hard to read. 
  • Create digital patterns in PDF format for easy printing and use.
  • Test each new pattern drawing to ensure that it works 
  • Commission the construction of several corsets and have them professionally photographed on models to show how they actually look.

Rewards

To keep things very simple, there are only four reward levels: 
Level 1: One digital pattern, chosen by the team.
Level 2:  The book
Level 3: The book and all the digital patterns
Level 4: The book, all the digital patterns, and one of the corsets made for the book. Waist measurement of the corset will be between 22-24 inches. The corsets planned for the book are:  
  • Parisian one piece corset (1900-1904)
  • Corset with horizontal seams (1900-1904)
  • A fashionable corset (1910-1914)
  • Short corset, with a shaped bottom edge (1920-1924)
  • Corset with hip bands (1920-1924)

The finished book will be 8 x 11 inches, about 110 pages long, and printed in full color. 

Each level will get access to a special behind the scenes blog which will only be available for backers.

The digital patterns will come as individual PDFs, ready to print out and use. They will be drafted to the same size as used in the book, not graded to larger sizes.

A sample of one of the digital corset pattern rewards
A sample of one of the digital corset pattern rewards



How Will the Money be Used?

To achieve all of the goals listed above, I am working with a team of professionals:
  • Caroline Woolin of Corsets by Caroline, an experienced corsetmaker and corset pattern maker. Caroline will be preparing the pattern drafts and printable patterns for the book. 
  • Nikki Swift, of Narrowed Visions Corsets, an experienced corsetmaker with lots of experience working with historical patterns. Nikki will be testing out the patterns and creating several sample corsets for the book.
  • Tina Hain, a skilled graphic designer who also has decades of sewing experience.
Here's how the project funding will be spent:

 

  • 57% for the printing and shipping of the reward books
  • 32% for creating and testing the patterns in the book
  • 11% for book layout

Risks and challenges

This is my second Kickstarter to publish a book, and boy did I learn a lot from the completion of the first one in 2015! I feel the biggest risk for any project is picking too large of a scope for the project, and then being unable to complete it by the promised date. This is not a risk with this project as I've taken the time for this project to define the scope and plan the project in greater detail, so I am confident of being able to meet the deadline easily. I have also pulled together a great team of professionals, who have the time to do the work to reach the goals of this project.
The risk is very small of this project not being completed with such a strong team.

We hope you share our enthusiasm about this project and will make this dream a reality!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    One digital corset pattern

    1 digital corset pattern in PDF format.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Book

    One copy of the book Corset Cutting & Making: Annotated Edition

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    94 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Book + Digital Patterns

    One copy of the book Corset Cutting & Making: Annotated Edition plus all 19 corset patterns from the book in PDF format.

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    144 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Book + Digital Patterns + Corset

    One copy of the book Corset Cutting & Making: Annotated Edition plus all 19 corset patterns from the book in PDF format, plus one of the finished corsets created for the book.

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Funding period

- (21 days)