Some of you may have read my prior post on my Edwardian Ensemble? In it I talked about making a few different belts. Well, I got started, and just kept going. The first belt is a vintage rust silk w/handmade lace. The second is a vintage chemical lace. The third is the Truly Victorian TVE55 Edwardian Dip-Waist Belt; and the fourth is the Truly Victorian TV495 1890's Victorian Corselet.
The TVE55 Dip Belt was pretty easy. Start to finish was probably about an hour. Keep in mind that when you purchase this pattern, you are paying for the instructions on how to construct this belt just as they did in that time period. When I make the next one, I will be using fusible Iron-on Interfacing, and working with a little more machine sewing to make it go a little faster.
For the TV492 Corselet, that one took a little longer to construct. I think this "Short" Corselet belt would be a great "starter" pre-project for a corset. Get a feel for how to sew in channels for boning, work w/multiple layers, and set grommets. Something fun and easy, not as serious as full scale corset construction. Start to finish probably took me around three hours, and the next one will certainly go faster. A side note, you can plan fabric colors for both sides, so you can reverse for different looks. I went with a heavy white sueded cotton on one side, and my matching fashion fabric on the other. I also used 1/4" Rigilene for boning as this was my first ever attempt at setting channels, and I had worked w/Rigilene before. Now some of you are going to gasp, "OMG! Not spiral steel stays!" But, I went with what I had on hand, and this certainly worked for me.
A few notes on the Corselet instructions. The pattern comes with cutting lines for two different lengths ie: Short at 8", and Tall at 9.5". You can certainly trace out a pattern for the Tall on separate paper and then cut to the short, or what I ended up doing was just bending the pattern pieces along the lines for the short. That way, I have the future option of constructing a Tall Corselet as well. Secondly, the pattern calls for a 1/2" to turn under and hand-sew to finish (#10 - page 2), I might cut the bottom edge just a little bit longer. Even a 1/4 will make a difference. I did not have enough fabric left to wrap around the outside as illustrated, and ended up pressing the 1/2" up inside and hand sewing the edge closed. I did a 1/4" running whip stitch, as I really do not like hand sewing. Lastly, when measuring to cut, do not cut to your waist size if you are going to be wearing a corset. Beginner miscalculation, I admit it! I would minus out two inches to give it a tighter fit.
I like all four belts, but my favorite is the Dip-belt. It just gives the overall ensemble that little something extra. The corselet can run from 1860s to Early 1900's, so it has a lot of diversity as well. Belts are always a great accessory, but are very rarely utilized. Next time you find yourself with some leftover fabric, go ahead and make up a great little belt to match!