Monday, July 28, 2014

Early 20th century bodice

This is the second antique bodice that I found at the City Wide Garage sale back in June. It's tattered all to hell but I still had to have it. I've had it gracing my vintage Dritz My Double dress form for a while now. I squished the dress form down as small as I could and I could barely hook the waist closed.

It's pretty obviously a pigeon-front waist from the early 1900s. The sleeve style is so distinctive to me, with the fullness gathered at the cuff, and I knew I'd seen examples of that somewhere--probably on Isabella's blog. I managed to find this image from 1904 that is just exactly the style of my red plaid waist:

Every time I look at it I wonder who wore it. How old was the original owner when she wore this? Was she a young teen or a lady of a certain age? Was she a young mother? A wife? What was she like? I'd like to think this bold red plaid with the jaunty black buttons reflected the vivacious spirit of its owner.

That's why I love these things. I'll never make a pattern from it, because I think the pigeon-breasted styles were ugly to the extreme--who ever thought it would be a good idea to purposefully try to look sway-backed and pot-bellied??? But I just love to imagine who might have worn it. I don't feel like it's haunted, but I do feel like I get a little bit of a feeling of its previous owner. I also like to think that it was handed down in her family through the decades as a treasured reminder of her. I don't know how it ended up in the rag seller's hands but I'm glad it got into my hands after that. I don't care that it's shattered and torn to shreds in places. I just love the fact that 110 years later, this former beauty is still hanging around.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1911 Edwardian corset properly photographed and sewing woes

Lots of uneventful things have happened in my life lately. I'd hoped to have my 18th century stays completed by now and the Larkin & Smith English Gown pattern in my hands, but for some reason I just can't figure the stays out. This confuses me. I know how to make a corset. I know how to make an Elizabethan corset. This should not be a problem for me.

But it's the boning channels. I get massive anxiety any time I have to transfer pattern markings to fabric. I've traced the pattern out four times and thrown it away in a fit of rage every time because I always mess up drawing the boning channels.

Like this:

I thought last night that I was drawing the boning channels in wrong compared to its mirror image piece. now I'm not sure. Part of my problem is that I have trouble with spatially imagining it or viewing it backwards in my head or however you would word that.

So after my fit of rage, I taped the remaining pattern pieces to my window and drew the boning channels in from the back side so I would have something physically in front of me to guide me, rather than in my head. Yes, I know I marked the top and bottom of the channels on the piece shown, but that didn't help me.

Instead of dwelling on the lack of progress I've made in sewing anything, I'm going to post pics of my 1911 corset, which I was able to finally photograph properly because I got a new dress form.

Here she is:

I LOVE HER. I am so happy with the way she looks. The gap in the back is slightly bigger than it is on my body, since I have lots of squish and m'lady is firmer of flesh than I am. It's still a bigger gap than I wanted it to be, but lots of costumers have made this corset and many of them have a comparably large gap in the back, so I'm just going to go with it.

The only thing I don't like about this corset is that I get major back fat muffin top when she's laced tightly. That's why I didn't have my corset lacing pal take pics of the corset on my body. And which makes me think she's not meant to be laced as tightly as she was when I was trying her on properly.