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Yet more corset opinions!

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  • Julia Logan Trimarco
    Corsets seem to be a hotbed of controversy - not surprising, since they are literally, such an intimate piece of clothing. I do have a book to recommend:
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 25, 2002
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      Corsets seem to be a hotbed of controversy - not surprising, since they are
      literally, such an intimate piece of clothing.
      I do have a book to recommend: Corsets and Crinolines, by Nora Waugh. When
      my draping class in grad school were assigned corsets, several of us made
      enlarged photocopies of the patterns in this book, as initial patterns to
      start from, for our muslin fittings (by the way, for musling fittings,
      taping bones where they will go with masking tape on the outside works well,
      so that they can be moved in the fitting). But whether you are making your
      own, or going to a seamstress, this book is a great resource, great pictures
      to illustrate to someone what you are looking for and to give you ideas.
      I have to respond to the ideas about waist reduction. I have been working
      with corsets in theater, including opera, for ten years, and I have never
      been anywhere where the goal wasn't, at least, to reduce a little. When you
      take "around" measurements (ie. bust, waist, hip) you should take a snug,
      regular measurement, and a measurement of the person's inhaled, or expanded
      size. The difference can be up to two inches. With corsets, it can also be
      helpful to take a measurement with an exhale, just to know the limits of how
      small that person can go. I find that if a corset is not very snug, then it
      is MORE UNcomfortable, because it moves around too much as you move.
      Another good guess at how much a person can be compressed safely, it to
      press with your hands (gently) at the sides of the ribs. Some people have
      rib cages with more give than others.
      Remember: BREATHING is a good thing! Never compromise anyone's ability to
      breathe! If you have asthsma, or a cold, or for any reason have poor
      breathing, do not wear a boned corset! From dealing with trained singers, I
      know that the healthiest way to breathe is from the diaphragm, which is a
      kind of trampoline between the ribs and abdomen. Basically, this means that
      the majority of expansion when you breathe, if you are breathing correctly,
      should be BELOW the ribs. This way, you get a longer, fuller breath.
      In relation to corsets, this means that short corsets (not more than a few
      inches below the waist) can still reduce the waist a few inches without
      impeding breathing. Of course, I don't mean to say that you should wear a
      tightly laced corset all day, for a few hours at most, then losen the
      lacings. Longer corsets should include elastic gussets in the sections
      around the hips, and not be too tight.
      FYI : corsets were worn before the fitness trends, before epidemic anorexia
      and bulimia. What I mean to say is that if you have a few extra pounds,
      they will make the corset much more comfy. If not, put some padding in the
      corset. Thin women can achieve a period look easier by padding the bust and
      hips, and leaving the waist where it is. Those bones can really jab at your
      bones without padding! Also, padding insures that the top of the corset is
      rounded out at the bust, and doesn't show under the dresss as a concave line
      at the decollete.
      As to short versus long stays, I side with the short. One way to avoid
      buckling up at the bottom, is to pipe the edges of your corset, careful not
      to sew through the cord within the piping. That cord can be drawn at the
      ends like a drawstring, to prevent the corset top or bottom from sticking
      out from the body too far.
      Posture: Of course the type of corset is going to depend on what you are
      using it for. Actors rarely have to wear one for more than a few hours at a
      time. Also, after you wear a corset for 20 minutes, most people will relax
      into them, and may want them re-tightened at that point. Never try to go to
      the tightest immediately.
      Learning to walk and sit in a corset can be challenging, just as walking or
      sitting in a hoop or bustle or train. Put your shoes on BEFORE your corset,
      perch on the edge of chairs, and if you have any athletic movements to do,
      look into the many stretch fabric possibilities, and gentler stays.

      Sorry to have rambled so much! Corsets probably coulde fill a whole separate
      chatgroup!


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    • Stacey Dunleavy
      I figured out what I did wrong with my Simplicity pattern. Since I was used to using Laughing Moon, which is designed with the same outer pattern pieces
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 29, 2002
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        I figured out what I did wrong with my Simplicity
        pattern. Since I was used to using Laughing Moon,
        which is designed with the same outer pattern pieces
        doubling as lining, I expected the Simplicity version
        to be the same. I didn't realize that one straight
        piece in the back was a self facing, since it is a
        single layer design. Living proof that no matter how
        advanced a seamstress you can be, you have to read the
        directions!

        Also, I have a question about modern corsetry. I may
        be costuming some local rock singers with some of my
        corset-based designs. These women have to MOVE. I'd
        like to use stretch fabrics, but I don't know what
        bones are flexible. I obviously can't use straight
        steel or Rigilene, but can spring steel give a person
        flexibility while keeping a bodice up?

        Thanks in advance.

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      • Terri Lee
        I have a corset that moves with me here. it is made from a corset coutil on the inside, instead of boning, it has a piping where all of the stay s would be,
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 29, 2002
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          I have a "corset that moves" with me here.
          it is made from a corset coutil on the inside, instead
          of boning, it has a piping where all of the stay's
          would be, and rigaline. The rigaline is flexable
          enough for me to do cartwheels in.

          As far as the spring steel... You have me there...
          Terri Lee

          I'd
          like to use stretch fabrics, but I don't know what
          bones are flexible. I obviously can't use straight
          steel or Rigilene, but can spring steel give a
          person
          flexibility while keeping a bodice up?

          Thanks in advance.
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        • sylvia
          on 3/29/02 6:56 AM, Stacey Dunleavy at anastasi5@yahoo.com wrote: Also, I have a question about modern corsetry. I may be costuming some local rock singers
          Message 4 of 15 , Mar 30, 2002
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            Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Yet more corset discussion on 3/29/02 6:56 AM, Stacey Dunleavy at anastasi5@... wrote:



            Also, I have a question about modern corsetry.  I may
            be costuming some local rock singers with some of my
            corset-based designs.  These women have to MOVE.  I'd
            like to use stretch fabrics, but I don't know what
            bones are flexible.  I obviously can't use straight
            steel or Rigilene, but can spring steel give a person
            flexibility while keeping a bodice up?

            Not sure what kind of flexibility you mean, but spring steel is flexible itself in all directions.

            Sylvia Rognstad

          • Julia Logan Trimarco
            Hi. Just curious, but why do you say you obviously can t use Rigilene? Rigilene is generally MORE flexible than flexi spring steel bones, and it has the added
            Message 5 of 15 , Apr 15, 2002
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              Hi. Just curious, but why do you say you obviously can't use Rigilene?
              Rigilene is generally MORE flexible than flexi spring steel bones, and it
              has the added advantage that it can be machine sewn through. It's generally
              what the industry uses in prom and bridesmaid gowns.

              -jypsie


              >From: sylvia <sylvia@...>
              >Reply-To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
              >To: <TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com>
              >Subject: Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Yet more corset discussion
              >Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 11:08:00 -0700
              >
              >on 3/29/02 6:56 AM, Stacey Dunleavy at anastasi5@... wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              >Also, I have a question about modern corsetry. I may
              >be costuming some local rock singers with some of my
              >corset-based designs. These women have to MOVE. I'd
              >like to use stretch fabrics, but I don't know what
              >bones are flexible. I obviously can't use straight
              >steel or Rigilene, but can spring steel give a person
              >flexibility while keeping a bodice up?
              >
              >Not sure what kind of flexibility you mean, but spring steel is flexible
              >itself in all directions.
              >
              >Sylvia Rognstad
              >
              >




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            • Sarah P
              Which won t give the stiffness needed in a period corset. I m all for spring steel and solid steel bones, although I d like to try something more akin to
              Message 6 of 15 , Apr 15, 2002
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                Which won't give the stiffness needed in a period corset. I'm all for
                spring steel and solid steel bones, although I'd like to try something more
                akin to baleen or whalebone. Come to think of it...those are two VERY
                different substances, so depending on What was used When, you'd go for the
                boning that matches the stiffness of the period.

                And here's a note from a bad corset experience I saw this weekend:

                It's absolutely IMPORTANT that an actor wears a corset sized lengthwise for
                them!! And actor who wears a corset too high or one that is simply too long
                both ways is WRONG!! I wanted to smack some sense into the wardrobe crew's
                heads, but since I had nothing to do with the costumes this time, I just had
                to grin and bear it.


                >From: "Julia Logan Trimarco" <jypsiedesign@...>
                >Reply-To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                >To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Yet more corset discussion
                >Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 16:28:56 -0400
                >
                >Hi. Just curious, but why do you say you obviously can't use Rigilene?
                >Rigilene is generally MORE flexible than flexi spring steel bones, and it
                >has the added advantage that it can be machine sewn through. It's generally
                >what the industry uses in prom and bridesmaid gowns.
                >
                >-jypsie
                >
                >
                > >From: sylvia <sylvia@...>
                > >Reply-To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                > >To: <TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com>
                > >Subject: Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Yet more corset discussion
                > >Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 11:08:00 -0700
                > >
                > >on 3/29/02 6:56 AM, Stacey Dunleavy at anastasi5@... wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >Also, I have a question about modern corsetry. I may
                > >be costuming some local rock singers with some of my
                > >corset-based designs. These women have to MOVE. I'd
                > >like to use stretch fabrics, but I don't know what
                > >bones are flexible. I obviously can't use straight
                > >steel or Rigilene, but can spring steel give a person
                > >flexibility while keeping a bodice up?
                > >
                > >Not sure what kind of flexibility you mean, but spring steel is flexible
                > >itself in all directions.
                > >
                > >Sylvia Rognstad
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >_________________________________________________________________
                >MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:
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              • Stacey Dunleavy
                ... wrote: From personal experience in my own corsets, I have a hard time moving with Rigilene. I want to use a boning that can let a woman do yoga but still
                Message 7 of 15 , Apr 15, 2002
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                  --- Julia Logan Trimarco <jypsiedesign@...>
                  wrote:
                  From personal experience in my own corsets, I have a
                  hard time moving with Rigilene. I want to use a
                  boning that can let a woman do yoga but still not let
                  her fall out of her bodice.


                  P.S. to all New Jersey residents: Grannd Garb is
                  having a live sale this weekend. Go to their website
                  for more info.

                  Stacey

                  Hi. Just curious, but why do you say you obviously
                  > can't use Rigilene?
                  > Rigilene is generally MORE flexible than flexi
                  > spring steel bones, and it
                  > has the added advantage that it can be machine sewn
                  > through. It's generally
                  > what the industry uses in prom and bridesmaid gowns.
                  >
                  > -jypsie
                  >
                  >
                  > >From: sylvia <sylvia@...>
                  > >Reply-To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                  > >To: <TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com>
                  > >Subject: Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Yet more
                  > corset discussion
                  > >Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 11:08:00 -0700
                  > >
                  > >on 3/29/02 6:56 AM, Stacey Dunleavy at
                  > anastasi5@... wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >Also, I have a question about modern corsetry. I
                  > may
                  > >be costuming some local rock singers with some of
                  > my
                  > >corset-based designs. These women have to MOVE.
                  > I'd
                  > >like to use stretch fabrics, but I don't know what
                  > >bones are flexible. I obviously can't use straight
                  > >steel or Rigilene, but can spring steel give a
                  > person
                  > >flexibility while keeping a bodice up?
                  > >
                  > >Not sure what kind of flexibility you mean, but
                  > spring steel is flexible
                  > >itself in all directions.
                  > >
                  > >Sylvia Rognstad
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  _________________________________________________________________
                  > MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print
                  > your photos:
                  > http://photos.msn.com/support/worldwide.aspx
                  >
                  >


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                • neimhaille
                  ... Rigilene? Long term it s hopeless stuff for corsets that are longer than waist length, ie that have to follow the curves of the body above and below the
                  Message 8 of 15 , Apr 16, 2002
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                    > Hi. Just curious, but why do you say you obviously can't use
                    Rigilene?

                    Long term it's hopeless stuff for corsets that are longer than waist
                    length, ie that have to follow the curves of the body above and below
                    the waist. I wore one for a my role in a musical, and it was really
                    horribly deformed, having been in use prior to the show. And in the
                    last show I was in I had to rework a corset *twice* for another cast
                    member. The rigiline is too easily distorted because of the way it's
                    made: woven relatively fine strands. They warp after even mild use.

                    I've only seen it used effectively when only short pieces were used,
                    like in the bodice of an old ball dress. It wasn't actually being
                    used to support the body, but just the bodice itself.. it that makes
                    sense. Just to keep the line of the bodice, but without taking any
                    strain of the body.

                    Not quite sure what the original poster was wanting from their
                    boning, but if it was for any long term use with even moderate
                    support it's really not suitable.

                    I can access two types of solid plastic bony, one is transparent and
                    ridged, and comes in it's own casing, the other is opaque and flat
                    and quite light weight. I prefer the second but it is more difficult
                    to aqquire. And of course with the warmth of the body will eventually
                    mould to the curves of the body. But doesn't actually warp like
                    rigiline does.

                    michaela
                  • Julia Logan Trimarco
                    The plastic bonings you mentioned sound interesting, where do you get them? I actually don t really like rigilene myself, but the original poster was looking
                    Message 9 of 15 , Apr 18, 2002
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                      The plastic bonings you mentioned sound interesting, where do you get them?
                      I actually don't really like rigilene myself, but the original poster was
                      looking for something flexible enough for dancing. Of course, in all of the
                      musicals I have worked on, real corsets were not used at all. The actresses
                      wore merry widows or all-in-ones that had been purchased, underneath the
                      costume. That way the costume itself did not have to take as much of the
                      stress, and the underwear serves as a sweat barrier, too. Sometimes piping
                      is used in the seams of the bodices to give extra body, but as you said, not
                      to mold the actor, but to stiffen the costume a little.

                      >From: "neimhaille" <vcairistiona@...>
                      >Reply-To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                      >To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                      >Subject: [TheCostumersManifesto] Re: Yet more corset discussion
                      >Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 00:11:13 -0000
                      >
                      > > Hi. Just curious, but why do you say you obviously can't use
                      >Rigilene?
                      >
                      >Long term it's hopeless stuff for corsets that are longer than waist
                      >length, ie that have to follow the curves of the body above and below
                      >the waist. I wore one for a my role in a musical, and it was really
                      >horribly deformed, having been in use prior to the show. And in the
                      >last show I was in I had to rework a corset *twice* for another cast
                      >member. The rigiline is too easily distorted because of the way it's
                      >made: woven relatively fine strands. They warp after even mild use.
                      >
                      >I've only seen it used effectively when only short pieces were used,
                      >like in the bodice of an old ball dress. It wasn't actually being
                      >used to support the body, but just the bodice itself.. it that makes
                      >sense. Just to keep the line of the bodice, but without taking any
                      >strain of the body.
                      >
                      >Not quite sure what the original poster was wanting from their
                      >boning, but if it was for any long term use with even moderate
                      >support it's really not suitable.
                      >
                      >I can access two types of solid plastic bony, one is transparent and
                      >ridged, and comes in it's own casing, the other is opaque and flat
                      >and quite light weight. I prefer the second but it is more difficult
                      >to aqquire. And of course with the warmth of the body will eventually
                      >mould to the curves of the body. But doesn't actually warp like
                      >rigiline does.
                      >
                      >michaela
                      >


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                    • neimhaille
                      ... get them? I can get the clear stuff from the local Bernina store, not sure if they are elsewhere in the world (I m in NZ) and the opaque is only from a
                      Message 10 of 15 , Apr 18, 2002
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                        > The plastic bonings you mentioned sound interesting, where do you
                        get them?

                        I can get the clear stuff from the local Bernina store, not sure if
                        they are elsewhere in the world (I'm in NZ) and the opaque is only
                        from a specialty store, which is most annoying. But it does come in
                        wide widths for making crins (I wore one recently with each channel
                        having a double layer of it:
                        http://recital.tripod.com/costume/margaret.htm )
                        Hated the thing thoug it has to be said. The corset was boned with
                        single bones of a narrower width.

                        I't about $NZ3 per metre, and you need about 10m for a solidish
                        corset. Mine could have done with more actually.

                        But I think you can get the same stuff from websites dealing in
                        corsetry supplies.

                        Someone elsewhere I think said how much they hate the plastic stuff
                        and you "should only" use steel stays. Well no, because baleen forms
                        to the body in much the same way. And steel was only used on parts to
                        reinforce the line (Waughs C&C shows this I think.)
                        And of course reeds and cord would have been as maleable... reeds I'm
                        not too sure on having not handled any.

                        Sorry to not be much help;)

                        michaela
                      • thecostumersmanifesto
                        ... All sorts of corset supplies, including German plastic boning are available at Farthingales in Canada (which has a most agreeable exchange rate for US $)
                        Message 11 of 15 , Apr 19, 2002
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                          --- In TheCostumersManifesto@y..., "neimhaille" <vcairistiona@h...>
                          wrote:
                          > > The plastic bonings you mentioned sound interesting, where do you
                          > get them?

                          All sorts of corset supplies, including German plastic boning are
                          available at Farthingales in Canada (which has a most agreeable
                          exchange rate for US $) http://www.farthingales.on.ca/

                          The super thick, long nylon cable ties that I swear by can be had at
                          any large hardware store.
                        • love3angle
                          I dig the steel and only use it, but I most do Elizabethan and the sillouette is very strict. For dancing or show costumes I prefer spiral steel boning. It s
                          Message 12 of 15 , Apr 19, 2002
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                            I dig the steel and only use it, but I most do Elizabethan and the
                            sillouette is very strict. For dancing or show costumes I prefer
                            spiral steel boning. It's flexible side to side, back & forth, but
                            doesn't compress top to bottom. Very comfortable but doesn't distort
                            like plastic can. I confess I've never tried the nylon ties... If I
                            have a need to make a non-Elizabethan, I may give it a whack.

                            Sprial steel boning is availble at any of the corset suppliers lisetd
                            before... Alteryears, Amazon Dry Goods, Farthingales, etc. Or,
                            sometimes you can pirate it out of old merry widows from the second
                            hand shop. :-)

                            Alyxx
                          • neimhaille
                            ... And of course the elizabethan silhouette was created using reeds and such;). Seriously though, I managed to procure for free some steel taping from bundles
                            Message 13 of 15 , Apr 19, 2002
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                              > I dig the steel and only use it, but I most do Elizabethan and the
                              > sillouette is very strict. For dancing or show costumes I prefer
                              > spiral steel boning.

                              And of course the elizabethan silhouette was created using reeds and
                              such;). Seriously though, I managed to procure for free some steel
                              taping from bundles of wood planking that will become some
                              reinforcement for a corset and a bustle if I can get some tin snips.
                              It's about 1/2 inch wide so will be perfect for the bustle, and only
                              used for the fronts of the corset.

                              I'm planning on making a corded body for my german renn wear. Seeing
                              as some portraits show ribbing down the plaston, but the shape
                              remains more curvy and not at all rigid like tudor/some italian and
                              later spanish. Supported but not forced.

                              Actually, that *should* be my next project, but I just bought myself
                              a pink curly wig that cries out for some fairy/fantasy costume with
                              lots of sparkle and prettyness.

                              michaela
                              http://frazzledfrau.tripod.com updated last night in a few hours of
                              frustration.
                              http://recital.tripod.com/costume/index.htm my personal costume work
                            • love3angle
                              ... and ... snips. ... only ... Of course it was. ;-) I never said it was period, just preferable to me. The steel strapping works well, too, but be sure to
                              Message 14 of 15 , Apr 22, 2002
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                                > And of course the elizabethan silhouette was created using reeds
                                and
                                > such;). Seriously though, I managed to procure for free some steel
                                > taping from bundles of wood planking that will become some
                                > reinforcement for a corset and a bustle if I can get some tin
                                snips.
                                > It's about 1/2 inch wide so will be perfect for the bustle, and
                                only
                                > used for the fronts of the corset.

                                Of course it was. ;-) I never said it was period, just preferable to
                                me. The steel strapping works well, too, but be sure to file your
                                ends really well. I'd also HIGHLY recommend going to the hardware
                                store and getting a can of tool dip. It will coat your strips so
                                they don't rust on your fabric, and if you dobble dip the ends they
                                won't cut through.

                                Say, how do you think the nylon strapping would work for a hoop
                                slip? I'm sick of having to pull the steel strapping out to wash
                                it...

                                Alyxx
                              • neimhaille
                                ... Well I wore that horrible crin for a four week season.. and I was active in it. It had a previous life in a show that ran for longer than mine, and had
                                Message 15 of 15 , Apr 25, 2002
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                                  > Say, how do you think the nylon strapping would work for a hoop
                                  > slip? I'm sick of having to pull the steel strapping out to wash
                                  > it...


                                  Well I wore that horrible crin for a four week season.. and I was
                                  active in it. It had a previous life in a show that ran for longer
                                  than mine, and had been rented out at least once (someone had put
                                  several deep tucks to make it conciderably shorter) and was only
                                  just showing signs of wear as far as the strapping was concerned..
                                  the chanels are a different matter...

                                  That stuff was quite thick though and designed for skirt support. If
                                  I was to use that nyalon strapping I would use multiple layers of
                                  it.

                                  I use it for boning quite frequently. Right now I'm using it with
                                  some rigiline: as the rigiline was culled from another item and the
                                  nylon stuff with support the rigiline.. it should work for what I
                                  need.

                                  michaela
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