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The Bodice Workshop - Case No. 1.1

Pattern used: The Tudor Tailor Tudor Bodies Pattern, Effigy version

Alterations needed:

  1. Narrower shoulders
  2. Thicker waist
  3. High back hip
  4. Corset/bodice gapping at upper back

As always, click on thumbnail to see larger image.

Scroll down for more information and pictures.

  The first step is measuring.

This measuring tape has a built-in slot on the side of the case which secures the tape for accurate measuring. When the red button is pushed, the tape snugs up a consistent amount every time.

Here is a list of the measurements that are needed and guidelines on how to take those measurements. The only thing I do differently from this list is to start the underarm measurement 1 inch above the top edge of the side of the bra.

The other measurement that is needed when working with Margo's patterns is the front shoulder-point-to-shoulder-point measurement.

  The measurements are input into the Custom Corset Pattern Generator (CCPG) and the pattern instructions are printed out. The pattern instructions are used to draw the pattern on a cut-up brown paper bag. This photo shows the pattern.


  Since I know, from past experience, that the pattern produced by the CCPG does not match my waist measurement, less 2 inches of squish, exactly, I make the necessary adjustments to the pattern. The specific alteration is 1/2 inch off of the waist. See the new center back line which starts at the upper left corner of the pattern and is 1/2 inch to the right of the lower left corner of the pattern?


  Here is the altered pattern with the excess paper removed.



Attention U.S. pattern users: patterns from The Tudor Tailor are in UK sizes. Here are some really helpful size charts for figuring out sizes when using patterns from The Tudor Tailor.

Based on the bust measurement, the appropriate size pattern pieces are chosen and traced out on True-Grid. This photo shows the traced pattern pieces, based on the bust measurement, laid over the CCPG pattern. Since the only change needed to the pattern was an extremely minor change to the bust, this also has been done.



The back of the pattern is sort of a racer back styling. This should solve the problem of narrower shoulders and the corset gapping at the upper back.. For extra insurance, I decide to cut the straps on the bias. I have also decided to cut the pattern with a center back seam so that the corset could be converted to a back lacing corset at some point in the future.


  The altered pattern tracing is cut out of a double layer of linen canvas. The boning placement is calculated and the boning channels are sewn. The front and back pattern pieces are sewn together. The corset is boned and grommeted. Only then should slash for the tab at the side be cut. (I confess that I got antsy with the first corset and cut the slash when I cut the corset out. The slash ended up being at the wrong place for the boning channels. So, I cut off the tabs all together and made a Vernon corset.)


  The design of the pattern produced by the CCPG is such that the finished bottom edge of the corset, without tabs, should be 1/2 inch above the natural waist. In boned tabbed corsets, the slash should also end at that point to allow for spread of the tabs. The CCPG laid over the corset showing where the side slash needs to end. The end of the slash is marked with a pin for easier viewing.

  Machine bound Vernon bodies. The method for machine binding a corset can be found here.


  Machine bound Effigy bodies.


  Vernon bodies- front


  Vernon bodies- side



Vernon bodies- back

An analysis of the pattern, the fit, and what I intend to do differently next time can be found here.


  Effigy bodies- front


  Effigy bodies- side



Effigy bodies- back

An analysis of the pattern, the fit, and what I intend to do differently next time can be found here.


The location of the bust points and the strap attachment at the front of the Effigy bodies (and the Vernon bodies, too) bugged me because they were obviously too close to the center front of the corset. They also made drafting a bodice pattern to fit over the top of this corset a real PITA. I had thought the only solution was to change the location of the bust points on the original corset pattern and cut a new corset. Instead, a comment made on an 18th century list that front of this corset appeared to be too high, made me take another look at this corset. I decided to lower the front by one inch. This also moved the point of attachment of the straps out by one inch on either side. The appearance of the Effigy bodies is ever so much better now. And the fit is better, too.

Sorta Side


Sorta Side

Now I need to remodel the Vernon bodies to match.

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