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.]
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)
- A fashionable corset (This corset has 6 panels, and is an underbust corset, which comes down over the hips.)
- 2 different style corsets for a girl aged 11-15
- Child’s corset for age 4-7
- 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)
- Sports corset (4 panel corset, with elastic top panel)
- Corset for a stout figure, with elastic around the top edge (6 panel corset, with top bands of elastic)
- Short corset, with a shaped bottom edge (5 panel corset)
- Corsets for a stout figure (6 panel 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"
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.
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.
- 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)
How Will the Money be Used?
- 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.
- 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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)