The corset was often worn over a cotton princess seamed slip, or combinations.
Overbust corsets were available, but were not the norm, the bust often being supported by the slip.
There were also corset covers and petticoats worn over this first layer.
The aim of the corset was to achieve a straight somewhat tubular appearance, that was in contrast to the earlier S curve. It also sculpted the flesh and allowed the skirts to be tight fitting.
Corsets were made of cotton coutil, and by this time were generally boned with steel rather than whalebone, unless one was very rich, or had an older corset to unpick. Sometimes a conical busk seems to have been used. The frou frou Edwardian style was not entirely lost, the strip of wide lace at the top of the corset seems to have been often retained.
Page 94 of 'Talks on Succesful Gowning' by Elizabeth Lee has some advice on corsets, including how to put them on (p.102-3), and corsets for the stout figure (p.99) and full busted(p.100),
Stockings were attached to suspenders(garters) sewn onto the bottom of the corset. One of the books has some good advice for the efficient attachment of stocking to suspender.( p. 102 Talk in Gowning) Lee also sugests stockings for evening should be black white or match the colour of the gown. For afternoons they should be black and silk.
Sanitary Belts were wore during menstruation - there is an advert for one on page n65 of the Coates Sewing Guide in the post below.
Vintage Victorian also has an article on 1910s underwear with illustrations.
Patterns and Materials
Patterns for 1910s Corsets are out there, but most need scaling up or resizing, metric gridded paper is available on ebay and imperial can be found at Staples and some stationers in the UK.
Corsets and Crinolines- Nora Waugh, 1911 pattern
Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques- Jill Salen, I believe there are at least 2 or three suitable.
Ageless Patterns has facsimiles of original french patterns, including corset covers, princess slips, petticoats and a corset. These are all original size, and may need adjusting.
Princess Slip pattern & Instructions
Pattern (in German) c. 1913
La Couturiere Parisienne
In the UK Vena Cava are the best for a wide range of lengths for boning and busks
In Canada and the US I have heard Farthingales are good.
Making the Corset
Jill Salen's book 'Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques' has a section on making up corsets, and 'Foundations Revealed' has a PDF with tips on enlarging to size and fitting.
Of course there is much much more to say about corsets, and I will at some point gather my links to original pieces & adverts if people would like.
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