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Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques [Paperback]

Jill Salen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 13.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2008
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.

Frequently Bought Together

Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques + The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners + Vintage Lingerie: Historical Patterns and Techniques
Price For All Three: 42.19

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Batsford Ltd (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906388016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906388010
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

From the Author

The description of the book on your Amazon page is wrongcan it be ammended please

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome addition to corset making 17 Sep 2008
Corset making is a suprisingly large subject, and this book is a welcome addition to the range.
It opens with some thoughtful comments about dating corsets and how typical are surviving examples, among other subjects.
The main body is devoted to an interesting selection of corsets, including finely boned and half-boned stays, hand stitched corded corsets, and later ones with a 'zone' waist band or gussets as well as the usual vertical panels - not forgetting the underbust and ribboned. Each corset features a full page colour photo, half a page or more commentary, and two page pattern. The patterns are generally to half scale, and all on graph paper with balance marks, grain lines and boning etc. indicated.
There follows a section on corset construction, including step-by-step guides for two corsets and how to insert gussets, floss and cord as well as the usual binding and busk insertion etc.
The book ends with lists of references, museums and suppliers.
If you know nothing about sewing but want to knock up a fashion corset, then this book is probably not for you - until you've got the bug! However, if you can follow a sewing pattern and want to recreate a period corset, this is the best single book available due to the large patterns and colour photos and the wide range of construction tips, including some not published elsewhere. Yes, more could be written about construction (where does one stop?), the 'close-up' photos touted in the blurb do not zoom in on any unusual feature, and the photos of the black corsets could be clearer, but I am happy to recommend this book: it is a steal at full price. 4+ stars
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great detail 7 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a profesional corsetiere and I found this book inspiring. This is less a book about how to make corsets, although that is covered, instead, it's a much more valuable deconstruction of several historical corsets. Each corset is dissected and presented piece by piece, so that we can recreate each one. Fantastic!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical guide to corsets 9 Sep 2009
This book has an introduction to the history of the corset, many historical examples with complete patterns (these require scaling up) and complete instructions for making two styles of corset. There is also a section of technical tips and instructions. Excellent range of patterns and comprehensive instructions; however, unless you have made corsets before and know how to fit them, these instructions alone may not be sufficient if you want to create a perfectly fitting corset. Also if you are a complete beginner to dressmaking this may be a little beyond you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great starting point 13 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a costume degree student I have used several examples from this book to make period undergarments to help give my costumes the correct foundation.

The examples are dated and cover the changes in style over 200+ years. You get a photograph, working drawing, description and a pattern to work from, though this is scaled down and will need to be transferred to pattern paper to be able to use. This does give you the opportunity to alter the pieces to fit different sizes.

A useful book for anyone interested in fashion history, but for anyone with an interest in making period examples it should be a staple reference. It was always in such high demand at the library that I ordered my own copy. I have not regretted it and know I will use it again once my course has finished.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice pictures, but thats about it... 15 Feb 2009
I was really looking forward to getting this book as I thought I would be getting a book with valuble information and tips on how to make a corset-as suggested by the blurb. However, the instructions are basic at best and the patterns are not that helpfull-for example there is no proper explanation as to how to enlarge the patterns to fit a modern woman. The projects at the end are just not detailed enough to enable a really good corset to be made from them, and I really am not sure why the childs corset project is included-I don't think many children would want one! The photos are lovely, clear and large, so you can see lots of detail. However, overall I was dissapointed at the quality and amount of the text, does not really do what it says on the tin....
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars patterns for corsets 14 Jun 2009
By Bonnie
This is a very good book for patterns and how to make corsets, it has the picture of the corset and then the patterns (which is useful to make your own from, as it has a 1 inch scale). Then at the back it has steps on the techniques and embroidery etc. which is again helpful. This book is most helpful for those who have an understanding of pattern cutting and construction already.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money and borrow it from the library 18 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques

I'd heard some good things about it and managed to get a copy several months in advance of its release date.

Alas, for me it turned out to be a big disappointment!

For someone claiming to be a lecturer in historical clothing, Ms Salen appears to be lacking in both knowledge and the ability to reasonably hypothesise. What she does seem to be good at is hyperbole regarding her own talents. I'm actually wondering whether this was self-published because given that there are several excellent books on the subject, I can see no reason for a publisher to take this one on.

I'm not sure what this book actually has to offer beyond a handful of nice photographs (which can be found online or purchased from various museums). For the beginner the information is far too basic, and for the experienced it offers nothing new. In addition, certain information is missing from the 'patterns', e.g. grainlines on some pieces, tabs or straps on others. For the experienced sempstress or corsetiere this isn't a problem but a person with limited or no experience could well be left scratching their head.

The photographs, whilst clear and generally well presented, are selective at best. Some of the corsets aren't shown on mannequins, and almost all of them show only one view. Given that the accompanying copy in some cases describes certain design elements (one being that the left and right busts are different on a particular corset), one would expect the imagery to reflect and compliment the text. Certainly there ought to be close-up photographs of details.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars happy sister
part of my sisters Christmas present she is setting up heavenly bodice her own company and used this for design guidelines very happy
Published 2 months ago by michael littlewood
5.0 out of 5 stars very very good
i never come a cross with a book like this so espesific and clear to undertand.some of them can be difilcult for me but I will try to se if i can make one the easy one good good
Published 15 months ago by m e acevedo
3.0 out of 5 stars Its great. But, is for the more progressed builder.
This book is very nicely put together. Its gives you the history of each corset in the book as well as a picture. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2012 by BenJae
5.0 out of 5 stars best book
This book is an absolute gem, if anyone is intrested in corsets from days gone by. loads of information, pictures and diagrams. What next? - get sewing :-)
Published on 15 Jan 2012 by linda
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect but close!
As an art and design student with a strong interest in historical fashion and costumen I have found this book both interesting and helpful. Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2011 by Sean A. Massey
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating corsets
A great book, but definitely not for the beginner. In the book, the author goes through corsets from museum collections and sets out detailed patterns as to how those corsets were... Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2011 by Freya
1.0 out of 5 stars Bought this for my gf - she took it back
Bought this as my girlfriends into corsetry - she was unimpressed, not as good as her other books apparently, so she took it back n used the money to buy fabric to make a corset -... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2011 by P. Bridges
4.0 out of 5 stars Value for money
A great book for the money. Nice clear pictures and diagrams, but brief on the written details. Glad I purchased it, good value for money.
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Jacque69
2.0 out of 5 stars not a how to book - a fashion history book
If you want a book which will give detailed info on how to make a traditional corset this is not the book for you. Read more
Published on 2 April 2011 by April
5.0 out of 5 stars simply wonderful!
As a corset fascinated stage designer, I really was looking for such a book! every corset has a short text description a good large colour photo and a wonderfully accurate pattern. Read more
Published on 13 Jan 2010 by zubmum
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