"Becoming Victoria"

I am honoured and excited to have been invited by the Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival committee to appear as a young Queen Victoria at this year's festival from 22nd-28th August 2016. In preparation for this role I will be designing and making the costumes for the young queen over the coming months. These will be authentic reproductions of the fashions of the early years of Victoria's reign and will include a range of 1840s women's garments from corsets and petticoats to day dresses, ball gowns and bonnets. This blog will document and share my progress as I research, design and stitch each element to reveal the secrets of "Becoming Victoria".

Monday, 13 June 2016

Corset Inspirations

69 days to go...

Work has begun on Queen Victoria's corset. After a test run with some scrap material to test the fit of the pattern, the pieces have been cut out from coutil, a stiff cotton fabric with a strong weave that doesn't stretch under tension, with a firm white cotton fabric for the lining. I have chosen a buff-coloured fabric as this was very popular for corsets during the early Victorian period, although white was considered to be more ladylike. To make this corset fit for a queen, I have therefore decided to embroider the corset. Corsets early in the nineteenth century, when underwear was still a taboo subject, tended to be very plain; it was not until later in the 1870s and 1880s that bright coloured silks, elaborate embroidery and lace trimmings became the fashion. Nevertheless, I have been inspired by these original examples:

MET_2000.479_F_1820-39 embroidered cotton corset
Hip detail of the corset shown above - the space created by the hip gore is cleverly used to delineate a basket and tree motif .

The origins and date of this corset (which I found at https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/8233211795878013/)are unknown - the shape of the front and the tabs on the shoulders suggest an earlier 18th century design but the bust gores are not a feature usually associated with this period. It could be an example of 1840s does 1700s fancy dress, but in any case the colour scheme and embroidering does seem to be in harmony with the other corset shown above.
Internet searches would seem to suggest that embroidered corsets like this were few and far between as not many have survived. But something a little rare and special seems appropriate for a queen - especially given the extra time and cost of intricate hand embroidery.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to share your comments and questions here