A very well written article, a lot of effort, beautiful from the front - but, but, but...
I am not sure I share your conclusions or lessons because this art is more lost than you think! This corset was in production for 25+ years (1879 patent to 1904 advert), and I think that success was based on more than a sales gimmick.
To see why, we need to go back to the original patent, which is not online, and therefore would be very troublesome (I know) for you to get hold of.
British patent 116 was granted to Robert Alfred Young and Robert Neilson (Y&N) on 10th January 1879. It was for a "more durable and yielding" corset, and it answers most of your original questions:
1) What does the diagonal cut do? - Strain is no longer at right angles to the seams, and therefore they should be less liable to split.
2) Does it make a corset more comfortable? - It should be, as this corset is supposed to be cut on the bias to be more yielding.
3) Does it give softer curves to the body? - Pass. Probably, since the fabic is on the bias.
4) Does it stretch more than corsets usually do? - Yes and no! The diagonal seams were clearly designed to be stronger, and it was noted external bone casings would strengthen the seams further at the weakest points. However, the bias cut fabric would yield more elsewhere.
5) Is it purely decorative, or was it a marketing trick of the time that sells an exotic look? - Clearly it was not purely decorative, and the strong contrasting panels draw attention to the corset's unique selling point in a very bold way that still appeals to us 100 years later.
Rather than being drafted, it may have been cut on the stand. Similar USA patents show the pattern pieces for diagonals running either way:
Some other interesting details from the original patent drawings: a) 2 bones are placed on one side of the eyelets only, away from the spine; b) the lines of the shoulder boning channels run parallel to the neighbouring seam line; c) uneven eyelet spacing is period correct.
IF you fancy making another, I am very curious how a bias cut version with a few external bone casings would compare with yours. I hope I have not discouraged you...
I congratulate you .... is a wonderful project. I mean something that said a great designer ... if no rules in fashion. must be broken. the limit of our imagination will get of hand with the construction of a garment must take risks and learn to do so. I really congratulate you and the patterns created are valuable. and again congratulations .:-D:-D:-D
While making the pattern I was sure that the diagonal seams will make a huge change since a lot of pattern pieces will be cut on bias and that is the only way every fabric stretches but I didn't feel or see it while the corset was on. It may be because I made the corset in double layer of coutil and the boning channels are cut on true grain (herringbone coutil) so that didn't allow the corset to stretch. A single layer corset with less boning would probably stretch a bit more. Cutting pattern pieces on true bias instead of true grain would most likely give more stretchiness but I have no idea why would anyone want a corset to stretch.
It may be more durable but I can't really say that for a corset I wore for a very short time so that it is a guess. I did plan on updating if anything changes. ...
... This corset is comfortable but stiffer than any vertical seamed corset I have ever made. I really didn't feel anything outstanding in terms of comfort.
The main difference is the look of the corset, it is very exotic and that look did/would sell. Advertising is just that, advertising. All the antique (and modern) adds represent the product as the best and different from all the others. Patents are not so different, some are genius and some are not so lucky.
For a better understanding of the diagonal seamed corset it is necessary to make more than one corset by more than one corset maker. This article is a tree, not a forest.
Don't worry, you didn't discourage me...on the contrary, you confirmed my lack of knowledge on the subject and made me crave more. :-D
Thank you all for warm words, it really means a lot to me ;-)
back and say. This project is wonderful. is not to get discouraged ... to anything .... encourages this before but to understand and better understand the corsets. you have amazing hands. and best of all is that you have vision and believe it. that's a pretty strong weapon when created. and beyond comfort. I think all of comfort that was in the corsets, corsets were ventilated. met as the same as the corset, to adjust and press the waist up. but they were decorated or embroidered holes for the skin to breathe. but the function remained the same. a very tight corset. personally. a corset should always ripping the fabric. in some cases can only be undercut. it is the gore. or stuck there on the bust in a diagonal brace. in this case meets the corset you made the same as the corset, in press .. what makes it look comfortable and pleasing to the eye are the courts. which obviously is a highly engineered corset. congrats again ...:-D8-);-)
'Highly engineered' thats the words im looking for! I really enjoyed the complexity of this project and swooned when at last it was revealed on the body and compared with an original straight seamed corset. I also enjoyed the extra info that d_gold shared in the comments
so beautiful..... very impressive!!!
Torture, pure torture. I used laser to cut fabric, but it was a hard take. It does not have laces as long I am still considering which lace to put on, but on the other hand, completed one here https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=382808201857329&set=a.104067696398049.5674.100003844560088&type=1&theater Anyway, thank for inspiration and challenge!