Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SPP 2009 Patterning the Corset

I love making doll corsets, properly boned doll corsets that is. I have a big pet peeve of unboned doll "corsets" fashion dolls have been around for centuries, and when they got corsets, they got miniature versions of the real deal. there are even Victorian doll corsets complete with scaled down opening busks!

Lot 722 Three Doll Corsets commercially made doll size corsets. Largest 7" H. Via Live Auctioneers, sold by Dan Morphy Auctions LLC in October 2008.

Now while I had attempted to make a doll sized corset busk before, I was not feeling up to it this time, In period the size of doll corset I would be making was most often found buskless.

I had already found my pattern,  Us Patent 79647 by Lavinia Foy in 1868, I chose it because it didn't have gussets, and was not a straight seamed corset with vertical panels only. It was interesting, I have found that when dealing with a hard bodied doll, the seam placement has a lot to do with giving the right period corset look, since you can not change the actual shape of the body.

Source: google.com via Corsetra on Pinterest

Old patents Rock for finding corset patterns, but check to see if they include seam allowance before you use them! I took a screen capture of the PDF, and put that picture as a background in CAD, traced the pattern lines and adjusted them so that they actually matched up.
 You see my red lines are a bit different, but they all match up. (yay CAD for being able to measure lines!)
Using the measurements that I took off Elphaba, I scaled the pattern so that it was the proper front length, and printed it out!

The corset was the proper length but it was too big around! 
 The first thing I did was bring in the front. you want that first seam to be either right on or just inside the apex of the bust.
Elphie's apex to apex is 1 1/8" the pattern is about 2" so I took off 1/4" from each side of the front, it is still a bit to the outside, but I couldn't take any more off or I wouldn't have enough room to put in a bone.
Next I fitted the back
I folded over 3/8" off the center back
 Because I need room for the back boning, I decided to alter the back hip piece, swinging the seam straight down from the waist. this is a really simple switch.
Now it was time to fit the side piece. I wrapped the corset around the waist and made a not of how much it overlapped, this would be the amount I needed to take off the sides.
I taped the back shut and to the doll at the proper waist height, and turned my attention to fitting the side pieces.
I pinched the side at the convenient grain marking I had made and took out the excess. I took it straight down through the hip piece.
Now the waist was perfectly fitted. I decided to leave the hips a bit "free" as I found she needed this extra when I sat her down.
But the bust was still a bit too big.

This is partly due to the fact that Elphaba is made of plastic and her boobs do not have side spill. I just folded the excess to the side, and it was all good.
I then took my paper pattern back to the computer and made the changes to my CAD file.
 On the left is the original pattern with the changes marked in purple, on the right is the finished pattern all ready for printing. Notice the waist balance marks?

 Boy this post was longer than I remembered! I think I will put the actual sewing into another post.

Another method for making a doll pattern is to make a duct tape double using saran wrap and masking tape, then draw the seams on the tape.

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