Light French Corset - 1860

My corset adventure fizzled.  I decided to go back to an old favorite.  This is the first corset I ever tried when I started reenacting.  But this one is way better than that first try.  It fits!  It's pretty!  Yay me!  Drinks all around!

This is the "Light French Corset (1860) from CORSETS & CRINOLINES by Norah Waugh.  I digitized it, graded it up to full size (it had a waist measure of like 20"!), then graded it to my measurements, which -- in large part -- were fairly proportionate to the original.  I did tweak the very top of the bust seam to curve in slightly to give me a smoother line across the top.  I also deviated from the original by adding a drawstring in the bust, which I saw in this corset from the V&A using a narrow linen tape, and flossed it with a plain flossing style rather than the chevron flossing shown in the illustration.

All in all, I'm fairly proud of it!  I get an hourglass shape (which makes me even more excited about the white body and black silk waist that's coming up on my to-do list).  I don't know why I ever mess with other types of corsets.  This "short" corset is really the very best thing for those with few curves.  It's one of the few articles of clothing that ended up fitting quite well for me, plus it's also one of the few that I've actually finished, even with the decorative bits.  And if you know me, you know that almost everything I wear has something unfinished or mocked-up or rigged in some form or fashion so that it gets the job done for the event.  It's very nice to have a new, pretty article to wear.

Because I did all of this digitally, I do have a pattern made up, and I'm happy to allow it's use for my readers as a starting point for your own corset.  Just let me know if you would like it by commenting or writing me at amy{at}

Here are the finished measures:
Waist: 30" (back opening can close to 26")
Bust: 40" (back opening can close to 36")
Front Length: 13"

Some photos!

Look, ma!  A back opening that is actually parallel!


Virginia said...


Krafty Girl said...

Your work is amazing!!

I re-enact in the Regency era. I do think a corset like this one would still work. Could I get a copy of your pattern? I would be very appreciative. My e-mail:
Thank you,

Scene in the Past said...

Wow! That looks amazing! You're right, the fit looks perfect and I love the shape it gives. May I have a copy of the pattern as well? I've got one corset now, but it's a bit of a frankencorset. If/when I try 1860s corseting, this looks like a better one to try!

lahbluebonnet said...

That is gorgeous. I recently tried making one for me. I've had trouble, I think, because I am small busted. I feel that it flattens my bust and I lose the silhouette.

Amy said...

Bluebonnet, I am rather small as well...but I do add a wee bit of wadding in there to help things out, but I can't ever add too much or I'll be uncomfortable. This corset should actually work with smaller busted women, though, if the bust curves were altered. Before I got married (and had a baby) I was a AA and was able to get this corset to work fairly well, but I did have to alter it some.

The Merry Thimble said...

Your corset is gorgeous!!! Could I get a copy of your pattern? I just started working as a civil war inteperator. I'd love to sew an authentic costume from the undergarments out! Thank you!

Robin said...

Hi! A really amazing gorgeous corset, maybe this is a little to late, but i wonder if its still possible to get a copy of this pattern? I would really appreciate it. Please let me know. Thank you!

Grey said...

Fantastic Corset! Would it be possible for you to send me the pattern as well?

Agatka said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences... I would love to have a copy of the pattern you used. Email: agatka.chmelar(at)

Molly P said...

Hi! I know it’s many years later but could I possibly have this pattern if I email you? I am reconstructing an 1860s outfit for a school project :)

Mika R. said...

Wow, you nailed it! Such a gorgeous corset. I'm really fascinated about corsets and once tried making it but then gave up because I can't make it fit my waist perfectly. Now that I've time to make one, I searched for a pattern and I stumble upon your post. I would really love to have a copy of the pattern you used for this corset. This is my email: (