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How to Measure for a Victorian Corset by Sidney Eileen on 11-12-2009

Victorian corsets
Want a Victorian style corset or Edwardian Corset for re-enactment?

Let me introduce myself...I am Sidney Eileen, an experienced corsetiere with historic re-enactment experience, and can recreate Victorian reproduction corsets to match the Victorian and Edwardian styles and visual profiles required for accurate costuming for docents, movie and theater actresses plus re-enactors. Provide me with the decade or era, country, and segment of society, or photos of the kind of costume the corset will be worn with, and I can create the appropriate Victorian underpinnings and unmentionables. The prices listed on my selling pages are for modern construction materials and methods, but if you want true historic accuracy in your corset, I will be more than happy to make a custom quote for a truly authentic looking reproduction corset. I'm an expert at making hand-sewn eyelets, embroidered casing flossings, working with linen canvas core fabric, and even hand-stitching are among the historic details that can be included.

How to Measure for a Victorian Corset:

Victorian style corsetsVictorian style corsetsVictorian style corsets
Measuring accurately is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of ordering your Victorian corset.

Even if you have never taken your measurements before, all that is required is a little time and care, and a friend who is willing to help. When in doubt, double-check, or even triple-check. Take the extra time to be certain of measurements, because if the measurements you take are inaccurate, your corset won't fit correctly when it arrives.

Preparing for corset measuring:

I suggest wearing clothing that is skin-tight, so the measurements will match your body, not your clothes. If your wardrobe includes bras, wear one that is as naturally shaped as possible, without padding, bust enhancement, or bust reduction. When you are taking the measurements, be prepared to stand with your feet square to your body and in a straight, relaxed posture. Posture does change your measurements, as does twisting the torso. This is why it is critical that a second person take your measurements.

You will need a measuring tape for sewing or tailoring, available at any fabric or craft store, and most drug stores. If you wish to mark the locations where you take the measurements, masking tape usually works best. You'll also need a pen and paper to write down the measurements.

Not all measurements are required for every kind of corset, but it never hurts to provide all of them. I will keep them on file, but every time you order a corset I will ask for confirmation of the measurements as they can change over time.

Taking corset measurements:

It doesn't really matter in which order you take the measurements, but I do recommend starting with the circumference measurements. That way you will know exactly where to take the vertical measurements.

For all measurements, the tape should be held barely snug, not tight. When you've taken all the measurements, I recommend re-taking them and checking to make sure you get the same numbers. If they differ in any way, take the measurements again until you get consistent numbers. This might take some extra time, but it's worth the effort to have a corset that fits correctly.

Bust Circumference:

This measurement should be taken at the fullest area of the bustline, which is usually across the nipples. (Note: This measurement is only used on overbust style corsets).

Underbust Circumference:

This measurement should be taken directly under the bust. If your bra has an underwire, you may want to remove the bra for this measurement.

Lowest Rib Circumference:

This measurement should be taken at the height of the lowest part of your rib cage. To find the bottom of your rib cage, run your hand down your side and follow your ribs down towards your kidneys. If you are plus-sized, it might be difficult to find, so take the measurement roughly where you think it is. This measurement is most important on thinner individuals, because it helps prevent any uncomfortable pinching of the rib cage.

Natural Waist Circumference:

To find your natural waistline stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean to the side and put your finger where your torso bends. Do the same to the other side, and repeat until you are certain of the location. (Note: It is possible that the natural waist will be at the same point as the lowest rib.)

Point of Hip Circumference:

This the highest point at the front of the pelvis. Feel for the bony top of the pelvis on either side of the abdomen, and take the measurement there.

Hip Circumference:

This is not necessarily your full hip measurement. When standing, lift your leg and place your finger just above where the leg articulates into the pelvis. Take the hip measurement at this height.

Bust-to-Underbust Distance:

This is the vertical distance from the bust to underbust, taken to the side of the bust, or under the armpit. (Note: This measurement is only used for overbust style corsets.)

Underbust-to-Rib Distance:

This is the vertical distance from the underbust to where the lowest rib measurement was taken. Along the side is usually the easiest place to take an accurate measurement.

Underbust-to-Waist Distance:

This is the vertical distance from the underbust to natural waist.

Underbust-to-Point-of-Hip Distance:

This is the vertical distance from the underbust to the highest part of the pelvis.

Underbust-to-Hip Distance

This is the vertical distance from the underbust to the articulation point of the hip joint.

Back Length:

This is the vertical distance from the nape of the neck to the natural waist. (Note: This measurement is only used for very high-backed corsets, and corsets with shoulder straps.)

Additional information:

Different people cinch into corsets differently, so if you have worn a corset or bodice before, please indicate your comfortable waistline reduction. Otherwise, I will reduce the waist measurement by 2"-4", depending upon your natural measurements. If you absolutely do not want any waist reduction, please specify, but I strongly recommend a small amount of waist reduction to help prevent shifting and chafing during wear. (Note: For a bra-top corset, I will also need your cup size.)

Other special embellishments or corset styles might require additional measurements. When you submit your inquiry, I'll discuss with you any special requirements to create your ideal Victorian reproduction corset.

Edwardian style corsetsOrdering your corset:

Every corset I make is custom created, from design, then drafting, to finishing details. The corset options are practically limitless, which makes it impossible for me to create an online ordering form. Please submit your inquiry via email, and provide as much information as you can about what kind of corset you are looking for. If you're not exactly sure, let me know, and we can discuss the possibilities. As we converse, I will provide detailed price quotes along with the options, so there are never any surprises.

If you are nervous about ordering a custom corset over the internet, I'll be happy to provide a mock-up. It is usually just $30 by mail. When it arrives, it only requires a little time with a friend's help to lace it up and mark any places that don't fit exactly perfectly.

Want to buy a less expensive version of your corset before investing in expensive options and fabrics? I keep every pattern I make, so if you love the fit of your corset and want another from the same pattern, I give a $30 discount because I can get right to work without needing to re-draft. Don't need something fancy? Wondering what my lowest prices are? I will make corsets for the listed base price of each style. At that price, the corset is just the two core layers of coutil in white, black, or tea-stain. There is no front opening, and no lacing panel. Even at the base price, the corset will be fully functional and wearable. Add just a front opening, and it's even suitable for tight-lacing.

Sidney Eileen CorsetsLive in the Sacramento area, San Francisco, northern East Bay, or North Bay Area of California?

I live in Davis, California, and will be happy to meet you in person for measurements and fittings. If you come to me, all measurements and mock-up fittings are free. If you're within the listed areas, I'll come to you, but I may ask $10 or $20 per trip for my gas and time, depending upon how far away your located.

I guarantee full satisfaction with my work, so if you have any problems with one of my corsets at any time, just let me know and we can discuss what needs to be done to solve the concern.

Have other questions that aren't answered here? Just email me, and I'll be happy to answer them.

I look forward to hearing from you! www.sidneyeileen.com

Sidney Eileen

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