VPLL 1912 Project: Corset Cover E0176

A birthday earlier this week, along with a busy work schedule has kept me from getting much writing done, but in an effort to get back in the habit, here are some of my notes and photos from making up the Corset Cover as part of the Vintage Pattern Lending Library (VPLL) 1912 Project. I was so sad to see that the project has closed down but I thoroughly applaud the ambition of the organizers and only wish I had had more time to get to the many wonderful patterns that were available.

In working up some of my circa 1911 clothing over the last few years, I figured it only made sense to start with some of the lingerie. Well that and the simple fact that those pieces tend to require less fabric!

I never did get around to finding silk ribbon to replace what is shown here, but I so still love the red!

I never did get around to finding silk ribbon to replace what is shown here, but I do still love the red!

I got exceptionally lucky with this pattern in that I made it exactly as drafted (or as exact as I could manage) and it was a very close fit for me. Whenever possible, when using vintage patterns, I like to make it up as drafted to get a sense of the proportions before I go ahead and start making changes to suit me. If and when I get around to making another one of these, I’d give myself another 1″ or so of ease around the bust and waist, and add 1″ or so of length above the peplum. That being said, with a corset on this was a pretty nice fit, as is! (And if I could pull my corset tighter, it would fit even better!)

The cotton lace (insertion, beading, and trimming) was sourced from a lovely little shop in Salem, NH: The Victorian Cupboard. I’ve also purchased gorgeous heirloom quality batiste there but in this case I used some handkerchief weight linen for the body of the corset cover.


Each of the insertion lace sections was handsewn to form the mitered point at the point at the bottom.


It’s tough to see the white on white detail, but once the lace was mitered and finished, it was pinned in place according to the pattern. I used a Frixion pen to mark placement, knowing that iron would make it all disappear later.


And here is the top edge of the bodice with the linen trimmed and turned away from the insertion on the back to give the delicate look so typical of trimmed lingerie of the period.

This whole project probably went together in under four hours – it’s a nice change to be able to machine sew almost everything after so many years of 18th century handsewing! There’s are two dart for shaping in each front piece, and a center back is cut on the fold. A two piece peplum (Seamed at the center back) completes the pattern. Again, since I was doing the exact pattern size, all the seams matched up pretty perfectly. I’m not sure I’d get as lucky once it’s redrafted with my slight sizing tweaks…

IMG_5183 IMG_5184

I did have to fudge the top edge just a little bit. You’ll notice in the photos above that one of the lace insertion lengths stops short of the top edge… oops! When I sewed the beading lace to the top edge to create a drawstring area, there are parts where it’s not really attached to anything as a result. Luckily this garment doesn’t have much stress placed on it so no harm done there.


The peplum attached cleanly to the bodice and then it was felled to create a finished edge.

The buttons and buttonholes are nothing exciting. I raided my stash and found some mother of pearl buttons that all matched – each was about 3/8″ in diameter. A narrow hem completed the rest of the raw edges (at least that’s my best memory, I may need to update that the next time I take a closer look!) and then a flat lace was added to the neckline and armhole openings. The red ribbon was a last minute touch because I just couldn’t stand looking at any more white!

It was wonderful to wear for the few times that went out and about in my 1911 finery and it also laundered quite well. After having a chance to remember this project and going back to look at some of the old photos, I’ll definitely be hunting down more La Mode Illustree patterns to try my hand at more projects from that series!


Update! I meant to include an image of the pattern but my midnight brain power was not at it’s highest last night. So belatedly, here’s what the pattern said it should be looking like!



4 thoughts on “VPLL 1912 Project: Corset Cover E0176

    • Me too! It’s one of the few pieces that I leave out on display in my sewing studio. I still need a better chemise but otherwise I’m pretty well set for the unmentionable side of my 1911 wardrobe. There are other dresses to make but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

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