Dabbling in victorian style - Unmentionables

So I love historic fashion. And somehow I always wanted to have a try at recreating it, simply as a challenge. Oh and because I think it would be awesome to have it on display in my room :)
Because everything with a hoop skirt takes up enormous amounts of space (which I don't have), I decided to go with a late victorian ensemble with a bustle.
In my head I have designed it for a character I played in our movie "The Picture Of Dorian Gray", which should have been set in the victorian period, but unfortunately we didn't have the money for the proper costumes. So my character will be getting her dress now, a few years late, but better late then never.
I decided to start from the bottom so to say, with the "unmentionables", so I can make the real dress with the right measurements to fit over the corset.

So this is it, the chemise with the corset.
I made the pattern for the corset myself and it actually was pretty easy. The chemise started off as two fabric squares and then I just worked out the pattern as I went along.

I still find it very weird to wear a corset. Not exactly unpleasant, but well, I wouldn't want to do it every day. And mine isn't even that tight. It still forms a nice silhoutte I think.

And here's a back view. As you can see I could lace it a little tighter at the top and bottom, but I like breathing ;)

Another back view. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have in which one can see the whole length of the chemise...
The chemise is very thin cotton, the corset is cotton satin on the outside and a denim weave on the inside to give it stability. After all, there is a lot of pull on the panels.
I used spring steel boning, because it's strong and still flexible at the same time.

The front panels of my corset are hand embroidered and I made up the pattern by combining several Photoshop Brushes.

And last but not least a close-up of the lace I used for the neckline and sleeves of the chemise.

This project is so much fun! I really enjoy working on it and can't wait to continue!
Today I got the fabric for the "real" dress and am so exited to get started!

The colours aren't completely right, especially the one on the far left... it's somehow darker in real life.
By the way, I'm actually done with the bustle and the petticoat as well, but I don't have pictures of that yet.


  1. You have done such a beautiful job! I love the attention to detail on this piece. Looking forward to seeing the 'real' dress when it is finished! Sam :-)

  2. Such beautiful work! I saw it on Burda and had to follow the rabbit trail. Certainly would be interested in patterns if you do end up posting them.

  3. I also saw this on Burda and wondered if you would share the patterns. The corset is just BEAUTIFUL!

  4. the embroidery on the corset is so lovely! it would be awesome if you could post the pattern for the corset, as ive been considering making one for a while and yours looks so simple and beautiful!

  5. Your corset is BEAUTIFUL, I loved the embroidery. I made one myself, but, since I can't find a front busk where I live, I had to do it closed in the fronnt, just as the older corsets. I also used denim on the inside, it's funny how people get to the same ideas without any contact... I used steel wire to do the boning, I would like to see how does it look the "spring" steel boning. I bought my steel wire at a hardware store... then I had a hard time cutting the wire with a hammer an some pliers... but finally, I could cut them in the right size.
    One more thing... I don't think your corset is the right size, it should be more opened at your waist... I read once that if the sides of your corset can get together, then the corset is too big for you. But I KNOW how hard is to make your own corset, so, I think you have done an excellent job anyway.

  6. Your corset is beautiful and I love the embroidery, but I don't think that it closes the way it should. The two sides should be parallel at the back. Maybe that's why you find it uncomfortable to wear.


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