I recently started working on an 1820s/1830s/early 1840s style corset/stays using Past Patterns 001 Corded Stays Pattern. This is a simple, straightforward style of corset/stays that looks remarkably similar to the stays in the 1840 edition of the Workwoman's Guide. Both View A and View B of the pattern consist of a front body piece, two back pieces, and gores* to add shaping to the bust and hip areas.
*Please note that I use the term "gore" throughout this post to describe the triangular pieces inserted between slits of fabric to add shape to the garment. Both PP 001 and the Workwoman's Guide refer to these pieces as gores. Some other sources call them gussets.
This was my first time using this pattern, and since it was so easy to put together, I made several mockups - I think my final mockup count was 4! The experience of putting together the different mockups and inserting dozens of gores as I experimented with the gore shapes led to a few observations that I want to share with you.
This certainly isn't the "be all - end all" of corset/stays gore descriptions, but I hope it's helpful!
Bust Gore Shape #1
Narrow Triangle with Straight Sides
This gore shape...wasn't great. I found that it flattened my bust, and ultimately pushed my bust to under my armpits instead of comfortably lifting it. I felt compressed and disheartened at the shape it produced.
However, it's important to note that the pattern for View A was taken directly from an original 1840 wedding stay of a young woman. I think the slender shape of the bust gores (and the overall corset/stays) makes sense for this. I'm not sure how the larger sizes of this pattern scale up this slim silhouette of View A, so something to keep in mind.
Bust Gore Shape #2
Wide Triangle with Straight Sides
|View A gore vs. View B gore|
Bust Gore Shape #3
Triangles with 1 Straight Side + 1 Curved Side
|Past Patterns View B gores are on the viewer's left; Simplicity 7215 gores are on the viewer's right.|
Bust Gore Shape Comparison
Do you have a favorite or go-to bust gore shape? Have you ever sewn a corset/stays with bust gores? Let me know in the comments below!