January 19th, 2011
I discovered a few days ago that I’d made the stomach gores on my new stays too short by almost half. I first noticed the discrepancy while staring (for the 100th time) at the pattern illustration. Then, when I tried the half-finished pieces yet again on my own body, it occurred to me that all of the remaining fitting problems would likely be solved by beginning the stomach gores exactly at my waist, rather than over my hip bones.
Look at the difference in size between the old and new gores:
It’s perhaps telling that the only corsets I have made or worn with any success in the past have been in the Grecian Bend model. I used to volunteer at an Edwardian era house museum in northern Delaware (that’s a long story for another day) and so possessed a few appropriate outfits, plus the required undergarments.
The photo on the left was taken in Brooklyn, not so long ago. I was attending a Neo-Victorian Brunch in full-Edwardian attire with the marvelous Zoh. Photographer Anna Fischer snapped a picture of us standing on the stoop.
According to Wikipedia, the Grecian Bend (originally a dance step) goes back to the late 1860s, when fashionable women began to wear seriously projecting bustles, making them appear to lean forward and stick out their rears. It was also used to describe the posture of people with certain ailments as well as divers who came to the surface too quickly; in their case, the term was later shorted to “the bends.”
I have heard a song whose lyrics repeat “doing the Grecian Bend” on Radio Dismuke, but can’t seem to find the lyrics online. Not surprising, considering how rare most of Dismuke’s playlist is. You will just have to listen to his radio stream for a while and see if you come across it too.