Avoiding corset-maker's thumb!

Trying to hand-stitch a corset is tough! I now understand why most stay-makers were men. Pulling a needle with heavy linen thread through two layers of heavyweight calico and one of linen is hard work. I've never got on with thimbles very well, but I've found the problem isn't pushing the needle, it's PULLING it. The first couple of panels gave me a case of corset-maker's thumb, which I have decided is a new type of repetitive strain injury. My hand ached for a good couple of days!

So I have modified my system, and now I am stitching only a bit at a time, so my hand doesn't ache too much. Also, my friend Rosemary gave me a good tip. She suggested stitching in gloves, the thin rubber disposable ones you can buy for mucky jobs. That works a treat! The gloves give you much more grip on the needle when you are pulling it through. Try it next time you are hand-stitching a corset - if you are as daft as me! Why am I so determined on authenticity? I blame my mum - she's a historian.

However, I am now making much better progress. Five panels out of eight completed. I'm working on lucetting the lacing cord as well, and that is growing too.