Following on from my Regency Short Stays instructional, and subsequent post about altering the straps, for the third and final post in this mini series I thought I'd share how to make a short stays mockup.
You may be asking yourself: but why do I need to make a mockup? Let me tell you something, my dears, as someone who wears her own clothing and attends costumed events for long periods of time, a mockup is always worth it. I know it feels like a waste of time. I felt the same way initially; still sometimes do. However, if you want a piece of clothing that will last you and will be comfortable to wear, then you simply must start getting into the habit of making mockups.
But mockups can be a little tricky, especially for a beginner, because how much do you do? Do you pretty much make the whole thing? What parts are you allowed to skip? So to help clear these muddy waters a little, I thought I'd share how I, personally, would go about making a mockup of short stays to fit to myself.
Making a Mockup
You will need:
1m fabric (see below)
Short bones (preferably metal)
For a mockup, it's recommended that you use the same weight fabric as your final so it'll behave in the same way. If it's a really important project then you'll probably want to abide by this rule, but for most projects a calico or sturdy cotton will do the job (I like to purchase old bedsheets/curtains from charity shops- lots of fabric for very little money!).
1. Cut out all the pieces.
I'm just going to do a single layer, so I cut everything on the fold. When making a mockup it's still important to follow grain lines so pieces don't warp out of shape while you're fitting them. You'll also notice that I've added a lot of seam allowance to the CF; I'll explain why that is in a moment.
2. Trace around everything.
To save time and energy, I've traced around all of the pieces with a sharpie. Depending on how confident you are, you can just trace around one half of the mockup- I find with the construction of short stays, however, that simply tracing around everything simplifies the whole process and is a nice little time saver.
You can also flat tack around the pieces if you'd prefer, or use chalk or carbon paper.
3. Assemble the mockup.
When constructing a mockup, use the most simplistic construction methods. No finishing seams, just simple straight stitches with perhaps a backstitch at either seam allowance just to stop the stitches from unravelling as you fit it. It may be tempting to use longer stitches, but I would recommend using your normal stitch length in order to not mess with the integrity of the stitching (unless for long skirt pieces that don't come under any strain, but we don't have to worry about that here).
I would urge you to still press everything even though this is a mockup, just because it makes it easier to work with and see all of the alterations you're making.
You'll notice that the CF is simply turned back once, with the bone channels stitched. I've used bones that don't quite fit but happened to be in my stash; it's better to have some boning than no boning at all, especially when it comes to corsets.
The holes have simply been punched through the double layered cotton. They have been put in the same position as I intend to have my final eyelets, but I haven't finished them in any way. They should last long enough to survive the fitting; if you want a sturdier option, you can make separate lacing panels; these are panels constructed in the way that you would make a corset back, with boning and finished eyelets, but they can be removed and re-used for various mockups. This isn't massively helpful for short stays as the eyelet panel is so short, but if you intend to go on and make more corsets, it's a useful trick to bear in mind!
Fitting the Mockup
(Bear in mind, I have deliberately chosen a pattern that it too big on me for me to demonstrate, you may not have to make so many adjustments!)
The big thing that I wanted to mention when fitting short stays, or any Regency-style corset, is how massively important the bust gussets are in order to get the right shape.
In order to get the 'shelf-like' shape for the bust, the gussets must begin exactly where the swell of the bust begins. I'm afraid I don't have much to demonstrate with, but even so you can definitely see the difference in where my bust sits before and after fitting.
This is achieved simply by pinching the bottom of the gusset!
The strap placement and length is also very important, especially for long-term wear; too long and they'll constantly slip from your shoulders, too tight and they'll be very uncomfortable. Too short is preferable as you can always loosen the ties holding them to the front.
Also, it's worth nothing that for this mockup I haven't done anything to the back. However, the straps do sit quite close so if you have a dress with a super wide backed scooped neckline, you might want to extend the back panel to make the straps sit further apart. Remember that if you do this, you need to take away what you added to the back from the sides or front- I would recommend the sides if possible as messing around with the front panel only further complicates gusset placement and eyelet placement.
I've added the changes in red just to make them super obvious. You'll probably want to do the same, depending on what transfer method you used!
Sometimes with mockups, I like to add the alterations to the mockup and fit it again, just to make sure that every change that I made works in the way that I wanted it to. If I'm not as bothered, I simply take one half and transfer the alterations onto the paper pattern, ready to be cut out from my top fabric.
I do hope that someone found this helpful! Would any of you like more tutorials on how to make mockups for other garments, perhaps more complicated corsets? Let me know!
Until next time,