I’ve always been fascinated with Victorian maternity and pregnancy corsets, so last year during my pregnancy I finally had the opportunity to experiment and make one for myself. Whilst I looked to history for inspiration (click here for my Pinterest board), I decided to design my own “modern hybrid” interpretation (rather than make a replica of any existing extant design). Using a self drafted pattern, spot broche coutil, German synthetic whalebone, elastic and lots of adjustable lacing I was able to create a comfortable, supportive corset that fit throughout the entirety of my pregnancy.
Unlike regular corsets, pregnancy corsets must not constrict the waist or reshape the torso in any way. It’s important that the corset only provides support to the pregnant body and does not impact the growing baby as doing so would not be safe. This pregnancy corset gave me much needed support to the back, hips, belly and bust and I personally found it incredibly comfortable.
During my pregnancy I experienced incredible back pain which I managed with frequent visits to an osteopath and massage therapist. It was recommended to me that I buy and wear a “sacro belt” to help support my back and hips and manage the pain. Upon researching these [generic] belts I decided to make myself a bespoke pregnancy corset instead (with approval and support from my osteopath). After all, why make do with something “standard” when I could have something exactly right for me? The Sacro Belt would only serve to support my hips and lower back, but a custom pregnancy corset would also add support to my belly, bust and upper back.
I started the project when I was 19 weeks pregnant and was delighted to discover that the corset fit comfortably for the entirety of my pregnancy. The many lacing panels allowed my belly and body to grow, and the elastic panels and inserts provided flexible support. These beautiful photos by Yvonne Liew were taken at 38 weeks pregnant. We took them at the end of the day at Princess Bay in Wellington, as part of a maternity photoshoot. I can’t tell you how delighted I am with how they turned out as I’m really proud of this pregnancy corset and feel that it’s some of my best work to date.