January 31, 2010

elastic gores in

The elastic hunt ended in spandex. After a great tip on where to find 12 inch elastic, (Thanks imblebee.) I realized the gores measured almost 12 1/2 inches long, before adding any seam allowance. Only after going with the spandex back up did I see the comment about sewing pieces of elastic together, (Thanks again imblebee!) which I really wish I would have done. Very Herve Leger. Much nicer than than what I ended up with, though what I ended up with isn't horribly bad. 

I made each gore two layers of spandex, and basted the layers together. I attached one side of the gore to the back of the corsetlet, seam allowance to the outside, trimmed, folded, and pressed just like the other flat felled seams. I pinned the folded edge in place, leaving the tail I patterned hanging out. The tail is there to give me something to work with, something to grip  when when working on this finicky area.

I sewed 1/16 from the fold just like before to make a flat felled seam on one side of the gore. Then I pinned the back piece with the gore to the side piece and treated them as one piece. One long seam was sewn to attach them, then I trimmed the seam allowance on the one side.

After the usual folding and pressing I pinned like crazy to hold everything in place for the last pass.

And here is a close up of join.

Not bad at all. I should say it took me an entire day to sew both gores in. I had to psyche myself up before each step. Once, I realized I was actually pacing back and forth thinking about the sewing involved, and I'm normally not a pacer. Here's a shot of the corselet so far.

Hook and eye time!

January 29, 2010

a more difficult flat felled seam

The first seam sewn on the 1925 corselet was the center back. There was a curve, but the pieces mirrored each other so they were easy to line up. But the front and side pieces have opposing curves that had to be lined up. Time to baste. 

I pinned like crazy and used silk thread to baste the pieces together. Then I followed the same steps I did for the last seam and it worked. The seam came together just like it was supposed to.

That is a curved seam over the hip. Whew. And look at that, the pattern matches up too. When cutting the fabric I laid the front and side pieces out, eyeballing the placement on the design, to make it flow between pieces. It had been so long between cutting and sewing I'd forgotten I'd done that, what a pleasant surprise.

On to the elastic gores. I'm gritting my teeth as I type, a little stressed just thinking about them.

January 28, 2010

first seam sewn, first seam ripped out

The surest way to learn that flat felled seams start with the allowance to the outside, face side, of the garment, is to sew a seam and see that you've got it backwards. After carefully picking out tiny stitches from silk brocade I started again.

So, I laid the pieces together, face sides out, sewed a seam with a 1/2 inch allowance, and trimmed one side of the allowance to just under 1/4 inch.

Then I folded the larger allowance over the trimmed side and pressed. I did this before pressing the seam open because I figured it would be less fiddly. 

After pressing the pieces open I stitched 1/16 from the edge of the fold.

Here's the seam from the back.

And from the front.

A very pretty seam! 

January 22, 2010

what I aspire to

I received the nicest gift today. A first edition copy of Paris Frocks at Home, published in 1930 by Butterick Publishing. This is what I want to be.

Elegant, calmly sewing as the scent of orange blossom drifts in on a light breeze. Notice the lack of clutter. Do I hear the sounds of Vivaldi coming from a nearby string quartet? I think I do. And such dainty feet. I will refrain from rambling about the realities of sewing, and space, and cats that attack patterns, and simply be inspired to tidy myself and my workspace up a bit.  

January 15, 2010

the official 1780 stays photograph

While I sort out the elastic issues for the corselet I thought I'd use the time to take better pictures of the garments I've made. Here is a much (much!) better photograph of Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines 1780 stays. 

Even I can find nothing to complain about. 

January 14, 2010

gore elastic

The elastic issues. I could not find elastic wide enough to stretch in the proper direction, meaning when sewn it would stretch side to side instead of up and down. But I could find a poly/spandex blend stretch fabric. 

Yes, it's already hemmed. That's because it's from an all-in-one body shaper. Am I cheating?

January 13, 2010

second guessing my fabric

Was silk brocade the wisest choice? It's very slippery. I've got to work with it sooner or later and I'm thinking maybe it should have been later. I decided to fuse it to the batiste so it would stabilize everything while I cut. Also I thought it might reduce fraying. You can see the black cotton on the underside of one of the pieces here.

Here is the finished pattern.

During all the tests I did with various fusing methods nothing really held the cotton to the brocade well. Steam/no steam, longer time under the iron, High heat settings, more pressure, Wonder Under, basting spray, pre-adhesived fusing, everything peeled away from the silk/rayon blend relatively easily. The black cotton fusible seemed the easiest to work with so that's what I went went. I'll cut the elastic tonight, even though I'm second guessing that fabric too, then it will be time to start sewing.

January 9, 2010

adding seam allowance

I normally add seam allowance on the fabric, but since I had to fiddle with the pattern anyway to adjust the gores I thought I'd go ahead and add it to the pattern.

Plus the pattern is such a mass of small taped together bits it will be nice to have one smooth piece of paper, not to mention that it clearly also suffered from cat damage. Next up, cutting. Finally.

January 8, 2010

corset cleaning weather

72ยบ and sunny. A perfect day for cleaning the summer corset. I started by sudsing some liquid Tide up in a bowl with lukewarm water, then putting the foam on the dirty spots. Here's a shot after the bubbles broke down.

I tapped what I could out with a soft toothbrush, added more foam, then gently scrubbed what remained with the toothbrush. Then I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.

I patted the corset halves with towels to soak up as much water as possible, sprayed starch on the inside, then put the soggy corset on. Once it was laced I sprayed starch on the outside too. I figured I'd give the softened cane boning some time to take shape so I walked around in the sunshine for 45 minutes. The adia cloth dried completely and the bone casings were just damp.  Here it is after I took it off.

Look at it holding that shape! Home made steam molding! I never would have thought of adding starch, so thank you Jenny for the tip. Here it is laid out in the sun to finish drying.

Clean and crisp. It actually looks better than when it was just made. The corset looked unfinished in the original shot compared to now. Should I thank my cat for mussing it up? 

January 4, 2010

corselet construction issues

After one more fitting of the 1925 corselet to fine tune the gores I'm finally ready to move forward. Before I start cutting the fabric I have to figure out what type of seams to I'll be using so I can allot the right amount of seam allowance. I've never seen an actual foundation garment from this era,  but I'm thinking a flat felled seam, which I've never used, is the right one for the job. Also, the pattern shows three bones running horizontally across the waist area. I can't figure out what purpose these serve. It makes sense that vertical boning is needed to hold the fabric in place so it doesn't collapse downwards, or ride up, so it maintains it's shape. But horizontal boning? Does the fabric need to be held so it doesn't squeeze inward at the belly? It doesn't seem to be doing that in any of the mock-ups. There must be some reason. It's not for me to start declaring designated materials unnecessary, so I'll put a panel behind the silk for the bones. Spirals seem like the way to go, but again, I'm guessing.