Sunday, January 30, 2011

18th Century Stays - Take One


Well....turns out that making this one size smaller wasn't small enough to get the cinched in look I like.  The next time will require me to make a bit of cusom alterations to whittle my waist more, at least another 1.5 inches smaller, the goal is 26", but if I cut the pattern size for that goal of a waist size the bust will be unwearable.  I hate having to do the scaling to fit, but now I wonder if I should build a dress around this corset or just give it to a friend.

I will have to make some adjustments to one armpit as well but that should involve only some hand stiching.  All in all I'm not displeased for a first attempt.  Although the next one may just have a zipper in the front (saw this today at the GBACG open house and it was BRILLIANT!).  As long as it looks period overall I'm not above some costuming tricks for comfort and easy access.

I may also use a metal busk next time, just to get the ramrod straight front piece.  I think I will do another one of these for a pirate to be worn out rather than hidden.  This could not have been possible without the grommet press...way better than hammering in all those puppies....and these projects eat up so many grommets, I thought by buying a gross (144) at a time I'd be ahead....not a chance...

I seriously need some sun on my arms....ach....
and a whole lot of tricep curls....ach again....

01/01/11 The two sides are almost done.  I misjudged the amount of bias tape I needed and ran out.  Of course nobody has any of that colour in stock so I am left with special ordering it.  Twice as expensive but it will come to the house and I can save a gallon of gas.  Now I have to decide what to do about the grommets/eyelets.  Will post photos soon.

This was a test run with the heavy duty boning and multiple layers of fabric on my super cheapie machine -- whoo hoo! seems to work.  Machine sewed through all the layers and didn't explode.

Step one -- all the pieces sewn together, you can see the poor fit/match of the pattern on the sides.....bla.  This is with the back side in the center.

Sewed and boned.

With the hand applied bias tape that I then ran out of.

This is the front which didn't turn out too badly in terms of having things match.


After spending more than two hours marking my pattern pieces with a special marker that disappears when water is spritzed on it I realized that apparently the purple markings decided to evaporate into thin air! What??!!  Only to be horrified later that when I remarked everything now the marks don't really want to come off at all.  Good thing this is a test garment and it is worn UNDER clothing because I'm ticked off now.  Not really sure why this is all happening.  Please feel free to share why my water soluble marker is evaporating into thin air then becoming somewhat permanent after I do a second application (even thought the first is gone).

I have half the corset boned.  The heavy duty zip ties are working well.  I borrowed the candle idea to sear the ends, i snip them into a "u" shape then heat them to soften any hard points.  Seems to work.  It all seems that one package (15/36" zip ties) will work out just fine. 


Day one of the project and I'm already thinking that maybe I should just save for a year or two and buy one....but I trudge on.

* Washed and dried the canvas.  Turns out it is some sort of extraterrestrial material and required some serious ironing which really didn't get all the dents out but will work well enough.
*  I completely regret my fashion fabric choice.  Spent way too much time trying to get the front and rear to look good (forget matching up). I cut the sides completely randomly.  I should have gone with a yard of cheap Dupioni.
*  The pattern seems to be missing marking s which almost doesn't matter since several reviews have stated that one should consider boning the pattern altogether differently.  The blogs also suggest cutting it one size smaller if you want it to cinch.
*  I noticed that the lacing holes are not for spiral lacings which is period correct.
*  I am (gasp) not making a mock-up this time.  I'm just going to wing it and see how it turns out.  The investment is not large at this point -- $20 worth of fabric and pattern.
*  Since this is a first run I did not spend the money on spring steel boning.  For $7.99 at Lowes I found a package of 15 - 36" heavy duty zip ties.  So that is eight bucks for fifteen yards of boning.  I'll invest in the good stuff if this is worth repeating.

The evil fabrics...

...Butterick Patterns of History.....maybe next time I'll get the J.P. Ryan pattern.

Day two of the project resulted in all the pieces being cut out and basted to the canvas.  I was worried that my cheap machine wouldn't sew through all the layers but doing a test bit found the results to be satisfactory.  I also test sewed some channels and treaded the boning through them.  Again, it looks like it will work ok for this first attempt.

I decided that I will add more bones to the pattern.  Reading various reviews it was suggested not to bone every horizontal channel because you get an odd rolling to the bodice.  I will probably add a channel or two and then do every other one.

Update: apparently I bought a two pack of marking pens -- one water disappearing ink the other air....guess which one I used and ended up with the headache above....bla!

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