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Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques [Paperback]

Jill Salen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 35.00
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Book Description

Aug. 7 2007
Progressing through almost two centuries of corset-making, this fascinating collection showcases an astonishing range of period pieces, from the 1750 whale-boned corsets, through the invention of the sewing machine and mass-produced corsets of the 1850s to the makeshift corsets of World War I. Reflecting the changing fashions and attitudes of women throughout the centuries, the collection includes corsets for pregnancy, riding corsets for sportswomen and hard-wearing corsets for housemaids. There are even corsets for small children and their dolls. The book is packed with practical information on how to recreate these stunning period pieces for yourself. Each corset features an annotated pattern, a detailed drawing and close-up photography so any historical detail can be captured accurately by the maker. A brief overview places the corset within its historical context and explains any features or alterations necessary for making up the patterns. For those new to dressmaking there are two step-by-step projects - one for a hand-stitched, pre-1850 corset and one for a post-1850 corset made using the sewing machine. There is also invaluable advice on a range of corset-making techniques, from cutting and fitting the patterns to adding historical detail. Information on lacing the corsets, inserting eyelets, gussets and split busks and on stitching and flossing is all included.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Frequently Bought Together

Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques + The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners + Corsets: A Modern Girl's Guide
Price For All Three: CDN$ 55.65

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Product Description


"Although aimed firmly at costume makers, there is still much to interest the historian, textile connoisseur, or indeed, closet corset-wearer." Embroidery magazine, Jan/Feb 2009 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jill Salen is a freelance costume maker, and is widely employed in the theatrical costume industry. She has made costumes for many clients, including The Globe theatre. She is a lecturer in costume on the BA (Hons) theatre design course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Jill is the author of Corsets, also published by Batsford. Jill lives in Cardiff. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected. Oct. 30 2009
It's not a step by step instruction book for making corset,that is what I wanted to say.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeded my Expectations Jan. 5 2014
By Berta
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has gone into every little detail applied to the various corset styles.
It details the stitching and boning required.
The fact that the corset patterns are extremely well illustrated is a must have for anyone who would like to produce a well constructed corset.
I have enjoyed learning all the intricate detail that this book offers.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Covering stays from 1750, up to late Victorian corsets, the author shows a beautiful photo of the actual historical artifact, then lays out in diagrams the patterns and stitching to re-create it. A marvelous combination of the "Fashion in Detail" books with Janet Arnolds, "Patterns of Fashion" focusing on corsets and stays.
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I am fascinated by corsets and corset-making and found this book to be a fine introduction.

The patterns are useful and this is the strength of the book (if you know how to transfer a pattern to a useable size, that is). The text, however, could use some real editing; the text is not the strength of the book. So if you're looking for instructions and accurate and complete historical descriptions, you may be disappointed. There is an awful lot of supposition, which is, I suppose, ok on some level. But if you know anything about costume design, you will be scratching your head periodically.

For instance, the "Swiss Riding Corset 1890" on pages 54-55 is utterly and obviously a boudoir corset - made of "one layer of sprigged jacquard silk" with "eyelets on the edge of the garment". I dare anyone to ride in this and not find themselves wearing shreds after an hour. The author actually states she has a doubt as to whether it was a riding or boudoir corset, but it seems "riding corset" won the day even if it is merely a suggestion in the body of the text accompanying the photo.

While that makes it sound like I hate this book, I most certainly do not! It is beautiful, useful, and interesting. Just don't expect to read it too closely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patternmaking June 7 2011
Good reference book on corsets.
Gives a good background as well as some solid foundation on historical corset building.
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