Now that I have been given the blessing of carrying a new little life inside of me, one of the things I've always been interested in making has been a maternity or gestational corset. Research on this project has been difficult, since there are very few extant gestational corsets out there, and most of the reproductions are based on later models -- from the 1870s. I discovered an 1877 patent for a laced corset that looks very much like a gestational corset, and interestingly also has a very similar shape to the 1860s. Since I can't imagine that maternity corsets sprung instantly into fashion in the 1870s, I can only presume that gestational corsets did, in fact, exist in the 1860s, and that they would look similar to the one in the patent drawing.
So I set to work, drafting a corset that will be lightly boned (with spring steel for added flexibility) and possibly corded, buttoned down the front and laced in the back, sides, and front sides for belly growth. I'll also be changing the laced bust with hook-and-eye bust openings for nursing, as I hope to wear this after birth as well.
I went ahead and cut the slits for the laced opening and for the bust (but the bust seam will actually be curved -- like a "U" shape). Don't laugh at my makeshift belly. :) I'm only 13 weeks right now and I imagine I'll get even bigger than I've represented here. But I wanted to see what the corset looked like when the belly began to grow. I did make the stomach slits higher than the corset in the patent as well -- as I presume my belly will eventually grow right up under my bosom. At any rate, here's to a new adventure! God Bless!