Instructions for Simplicity Corset 9769

Simplicity Corset Pattern #9769
Authentic Civil War Corset, Chemise and Drawers

The Simplicity Chemise is not a simple garment to construct. The pieces have been drafted with attention to historic details and it is a complex garment. Sewing time required was 10 hours. The time is worth the end result as the chemise is beautifully finished with flat felled seams and not a serged or raw edge beautiful inside as it is outside. The fit was great but may need adjustment depending on the width and slope of the shoulders it is to rest on. I was concerned that the sleeve cuffs would be too tight as they often are in contemporary patterns, at least for me. But they fit comfortably and with enough ease for movement. If you're thinking of making an heirloom quality nightgown this may be a pattern to consider: comfortable, pretty and unique with lots of decorating potential. Make it in our Egyptian cotton for a super soft yet long wearing garment.

Chemise only

When constructing the chemise we did not make any shortcuts to the pattern instructions. Something not mentioned but that does help, is pressing after each sewing step. The details around the neck and sleeve bands come from the addition of cotton lace in the same width as the bands, the top edge of this lace has a tiny ribbon threaded though it. There is a gusset in the underarm and a facing under the arm as well, both are a bit tricky for a novice sewer and even an experienced sewer will need to take a bit more time on this to get it right. Please note that there is some controversy about the chemise being tucked into the drawers in the top photo. In my thinking it would be rather uncomfortable but authorities say it was done by some and not by others… or at least authorities argue the point. So do what works for you and know that either way was acceptable and neither way was likely ever discussed by the ladies of the time anyway. After all do your friends really know if you wear control panties or a thong?!

All items mentioned within this text will be listed at the bottom of the page for prices and addition to your shopping cart.

Our finished corset, size 20

The first photo is the Simplicity Corset in the largest size available, size 20. I used our brocade coutil # 74-1144-01 to get a similar look as in the pattern photo and bone casing tape rather than Twill or Prussian tape. Bone casing tape is a flattened tube and encases the bone on all sides which keeps the risk of bones working holes through the fabric to a minimum. Coutil is fabric that has been designed for corset making, it is tightly woven, not inclined to stretch and is made of natural fibers.

Rather than steel boning I used plastic whale bone # 91-8140-07 for all except the centre back bones as this makes a lighter weight corset and the lengths can be cut to fit the casings with scissors. If you wear a C cup bra or larger, steel is recommended over plastic in order to get the support required. In the center back we did use steel, #50-8308-28 a 3/8" steel rather than ½" as that is what we stock. White eyelets were set using #00 size eyelets #54-8600-01 and set with kit #54-8600-kit.

In all photos that include the hoop petticoat, and at right, the corset is a size 14 and made of our most basic coutil # 74-1141-01. The grommets used were size #0 as they are available in an inexpensive kit we sell # 60-8810-kit. The lacing is our flat, cotton, lacing item # 18-7178-01 with tips #20-7070-00 added to the ends. The silk trim was scrap I had in my sewing box.

The corset went together fairly easily although I did not flat fell the seams as suggested. My reason for omitting this step was the fact that the seams all get covered by bone casing tape and flat felling curved seams is not only difficult but often results in puckers (at least when I do it). I did press the seams in the direction suggested and I did trim the seam allowances to ¼" and ½". I placed the bone casing tape along the stitching of the seam so that my stitching of the bone casing tape would always be equal distance from the seam, which provides a neater appearance from the outside.

One thing that is important and you should watch for is the fact that the pattern pieces are not marked "top" and "bottom" and it is very important to ascertain which is which before you get started. To do this, cut the pieces of the pattern out of the tissue, lay them on a table in front of you starting with the #19 on your left, note that it has a "waist" marking on it and the piece number is at the top of the pattern piece. Now put the pieces in sequence with all piece numbers at the top. When you pin the pattern pieces to the fabric mark the number and "T" for top in the seam allowance at the top of each piece, it will help you to keep track of the pieces as they are not easily identifiable. I find it best if I can leave the pieces in order on the table, remove the pattern pieces and pin the pieces together in order right then. I was given a "tip" after I was done and that was to stitch the seams alternating from top to bottom and bottom to top to "Keep the garment true." Be sure to read all instructions.

If you are wondering how this corset pattern compares with that of Laughing Moon, they are quite different. This pattern is for a single layer corset and is quite short in length while the Laughing Moon pattern offers two styles in double or single layers of coutil. The Laughing Moon pattern is drafted to accommodate varying breast size/ cup size as we know it today.

Our version, size 14

back view

To make your access to appropriate products for use in the Simplicity Corset as easy as possible we have created 3 different kits with acceptance from Simplicity Patterns.

We Suggest the Following Products For This Project - there are many items to choose from, follow the links to make your choices

Links to product pages to order these items
00-SCPB-01 Corset kit for Simplicity #9769 coutil & plastic whale bone white corset 1 EA
00-SCSS-01 Corset kit for Simplicity #9769 coutil & spring steel bones white corset 1 EA
00-SSSB-01 Corset kit for Simplicity #9769 no fabric, spring steel bones white corset 1 EA
00-SSSB-90 Corset kit for Simplicity #9769 no fabric, spring steel bones black corset 1 EA
60-8810-KIT grommet setting kit w. 4 doz. grommets, size #0 brass (domestic) corset 1 EA
74-1144-01 coutil, brocade white cotton/viscose 55" (140 cm) corset 0.75 M
74-1141-01 coutil English, white Soft 55" fine herringbone (140 cm) corset 0.75 M
34-7212-01 bone casing 1/2" (13 mm) white (fits 8 mm bones) corset 6.5 M
34-7212-90 bone casing 1/2" (13 mm) black (fits 8 mm bones) corset 6.5 M
91-8140-07 bones plastic/whale 7 mm x 1 mm by the M corset 6 M
50-8308-28 bones spring steel/pc 8 mm x .4 mm x 28 cm (11") corset 2 PC
91-8550-12 busk 12" 6 knob plastic coated (12 mm 1/2" wide) corset 1 PR
50-8206-28 bones spring steel/pc. 6mm x .6 mm x 28 cm (11") corset 8 PC
50-8206-26 bones spring steel/pc. 6mm x.6 mm x 26 cm (10 1/4") corset 2 PC
50-8206-24 bones spring steel/pc. 6 mm x .6 mm x 24 cm (9 7/16") corset 4 PC
50-8206-22 bones spring steel/pc. 6 mm x .6 mm x 22 cm (8 5/8") corset 4 PC

Reading next

Silverado and Dore Corsets & Chemise circa 1837-1839
Instructions for Panniers 1720 - 1780

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