Challenge #14 “UNDER IT ALL” was about the foundation garments whose greatness is usually hidden under other layers: corsets, chemises, petticoats, bloomers, and more!
The entries for this challenge were all fabulous, displaying creativity, research, and clever problem-solving!
Without further ado, here are the winners of Challenge #14:
Third Place: “Edwardian Horizontal Seamed Corset” by Sara Huebschen
“I made this corset from a historical patent that I scaled up to create the pattern. The really neat thing about it, and the part that was a fun challenge, was that it has all horizontal seams. The only vertical stitching on it is three small darts at the waist and the applied boning channels. In order to accent the seaming, I decided to pipe the seamlines in a contrast fabric. The body of the corset is a single layer of brocade coutil, and the piping is a purple taffeta.”
“The boning channels are prussian tape applied on the inside of the corset, and the boning is a combination of flat steel and synthetic whalebone. I wanted to go more traditional with this piece since it was more of a historical reproduction than most of the corsets I make, so I went with the synthetic whalebone and single layer construction.”
“The fit model is my wonderful friend Jackie Moore, who not only let me use her for fitting but also went out in the cold in January to take some lovely pictures. Outdoor photos are by Birdskull Photography.”
“The purple piping really sets off the panels and looks fab in the black coutil.“
“It’s so fun to see that crazy pattern made up, and the color choices and use of the contrasting trim makes it look so modern and edgy. Plus, it gives a really fantastic shape too!“
“A really attractive piece, the colors are wonderful“
Second Place: “My 18th Century Sewing Adventure” by Marika Brimacombe!
“I started this project as a video series back in May of 2015 but after a surprise pregnancy had to put it on hold for a while. After giving birth to my daughter I started the project up again and after 2 years I finally finished the Undergarments!!
First Place: “Symington Corset” by Michelle Fitzgerald!
“I’ve been working with this antique corset pattern (Symington #31300) for a few years now, and have been playing with finding the ideal Victorian shape that still works on my modern, swaybacked, not very squishy body. After trying the pattern totally un-altered, and altered almost beyond recognition, I really like this 3rd version which has very minor alterations from the original.”
“I’ve taken in the back a bit to account for my swayback, and trimmed the front hip edge a bit (it was super long and poked my legs!). That’s all.”
“I also wanted to try out paper-cord in those corded panels at bust and side for the first time–huge difference from the 2mm window cord I had been using! The paper cord really is wonderful to shape and mould, and it holds the shape very well. It’s what was used in many of the 1880s factory-made corsets. Unfortunately it’s still too short in the ribcage for my tall body, but my mannequin models it well. :)”
“Absolutely fantastic!! You can see the skill that went into this with the fine cording channels and top-applied strips for the boning. Even the closer grommets at the waist area is period correct. A reproduction worthy of looking like it stepped out of time.”
“I’m fascinated by her use of paper cord and I’d love to know more about what she used and how she inserted it. The details and shape on this corset are truly spot on, and to my eyes, it looks like it could be an actual historical garment. I’m incredibly impressed!”
The judges also decided to award the following entries Honorable Mentions
Honorable Mentions for Creating a Complete Under It All Ensemble:
“Frontier Whites” by Samantha Benton and “Edwardian Underthings” by Melissa Sowers
Excerpt from Samantha’s “Frontier Whites” entry description:
“I began this ensemble in 2002, after first watching the PBS series Frontier House which is set in 1883. The scene where the bride’s trousseau is laid out just captured my imagination, and I knew, even if it was completely impractical, that was something I wanted to make, have, and maybe even wear…I imagine this set of whites as belonging to someone who hadn’t quite finished her trousseau (totally me), and years later after a few babies, needing something new in the new silhouette, decided to make use of the bridal whites she had left in her trunk, unfinished and therefore unused. It was as much fun remaking them as it was starting them years ago. Thank you for the deadline!”
“I am pleased with the entirety of this project, all of the elements included...I appreciate all of the information given [in the entry’s full description], it really adds to the understanding of the size and complexity of the collection.“
“Ingenious use of piecing to get the petticoat to the correct shape. Nice, functional shaping of the corset as well. Beautiful, if simple, ensemble.“
Excerpt from Melissa’s “Edwardian Underthings” entry description:
“I made these Edwardian Underthings for Costume Con 34, held in May of 2016. These include a chemise, bust padding, bum padding, corset, combination, and petticoat. The combination included the corset cover and split bloomers. The chemise, combination, and petticoat where constructed from lightweight cotton. The corset is heavy cotton canvas with cotton outer layer. And the padding was constructed from a cotton blend with poly filling. The chemise, combination, corset, bust padding, and petticoat where decorated similarly to historical garments I found in my research. I was a little concerned that I was not going to be able to achieve the desired Edwardian shape without some extreme corseting, but found that with the padding it did not need to be as tightly laced as I thought.”
“Corset is lovely with good starter-shaping before adding the separate padding. Fun fabric for the hip and bust pads! This is a great initial look for the Edwardian S-bend silhouette.”
Honorable Mention for Creative Trimming!
“Steampunk Slytherin Corset and Petticoat” by Nancy Tozier Sieling
Excerpt from Nancy’s entry description:
“I started with the corset from Simplicity’s Tardis pattern, shortening and modifying it to meet my needs…It is embellished with lace and metal, including a serpentine zipper pull. I used black fringed lace for the upper and lower trim. I was able to machine sew the upper and lower edges of the trim, but all the long fringe pieces had to be sewn in place by hand. The trim on the center front and the straps is the same lace with the fringe removed. The corset shoulder straps hold hardware that is both decorative and practical, as it allows for the costume cape to be worn back on the shoulders as an alternative to wearing it closed at the neck. It also sports a metal swivel hook hanging just below the right hip of the corset to attach a bag to.
“I love the creative touches that convey the Slytherin theme, and it’s fun to see undergarments that work so well as outerwear. It really makes quite an adorable dress, and I like that it doesn’t come across as ‘sexy’ even though it’s a corset. And the use of that fringed lace around the edges was brilliant!“
Honorable Mention for Unique Engineering!
“Steampunk Crinoline” by Sara Örn Tengstrand
Excerpt from Sara’s entry description:
“My entry for challenge #14 is a steampunk crinoline. It is based on an 1850s/1860s cage crinoline, and is meant to be partly seen under the skirt of the dress it will be worn with. My idea was to have a marked contrast between the green and “living” feeling of the dress, and a crinoline with a distinctly mechanical, metallic and man-made feeling. It is decorated at the part where the skirt will be raised to show the crinoline…The construction of the crinoline took some considering. Drafting it was quite easy, as I based the measurements on my 1860s hoop, but made it shorter and slightly wider at the top, to get a more pronounced skirt shape. Figuring out how to make it hold together was harder. Most crinolines I see made today either have the steel hoops coated in fabric and then sewn to the vertical bands, or is made of fabric with the steel hoops sewn in. I wanted the steel hoops to be seen, so covering them in fabric was not an option. I was not able to find a description of how to make it like I wanted, so I had to make something up myself.”
“Resourceful and innovative on her construction of various metal bits and steel wire. The metallic faux leather adds to the depth of the Steampunk garment while also being functional.“
“Good thought processes and solutions to the unique challenges presented by a ‘metal-only’ crinoline.“
A big thanks to our panel of Challenge #14 Judges as well!
Teacher to hundreds of sewing and costuming students since 2004 both online and in workshops and conferences, Jennifer dreams of the nostalgia of the past and brings it into her modern life through creating costume ensembles spanning 1780 to 1920. She is a dark chocolate, Jane Austen and bustle dress fanatic. Find her at her blog, HistoricalSewing.com and enroll in her classes at OldPetticoatShop.com
Jennifer is an artist and seamstress who is obsessed with fashion history. She tends to focus on the Renaissance through the mid-20th century styles, but sometimes dabbles in fantasy costuming and modern sewing as well. You can see many of her fabulous costumes on her blog, Festive Attyre!
Leah Lloyd has been making costumes since the ripe young age of 4, when she wrapped a bunch of scarves around herself and shuffled out to the living room where her mother was watching the classic Mummy. It’s been downhill since then, including receiving a degree in Costume Design, and a Clothing/Headwear Laurel in the SCA. And someday she will cull the fabric hoard in the attic. Really.