Thursday, February 26, 2015

1776 Stays from Corsets and Crinolines - Construction

I'm extremely excited about my 1776 stays. I have finished the construction with the exception of binding them and I love the way they look. So feminine! I made them front-lacing and back-lacing. I laced them up with some leftover ribbon just so I could slip them over my head and check the fit. I haven't laced them up yet because I need help with that, but so far I think they're going to fit perfectly. I'm really proud of myself!

I boned them throughout with 3/16" half oval reed, two per channel with flat sides together. For the cross-wise boning in the bust area I just used 1/4" cable ties because I couldn't get the reed through the twill tape that I used for the horizontal boning channels, and when I trimmed it down to slide through more easily it kept breaking. The center front lacing channels are boned with heavy-duty 1/4" spring steel (to hold the tummy in), the back boning channels with one reed and one regular 1/4" spring steel in each channel, and the curved side channels with spiral steel.

To trace the boning channels, I took a tip from my sister, who practices Sashiko embroidery, and traced the pattern onto very lightweight, sheer interfacing, then ironed the interfacing onto the fabric that was going to be on the innermost part of the stays. I traced only the outside line of each boning channel and drew an arrow in the direction of where the other line should be sewn. Then I used my sewing machine foot to gauge the depth of the channels. Measuring stuff gives me anxiety and nothing ever turns out right when I measure, so this was the easiest way for me to figure out how thick to make the boning channels and took the stress right out of tracing them to the fabric.

I didn't really intend to make these front lacing, but I had to because I'd cut out all the pattern pieces before I realized I meant to put the center front on a fold. So I had to add an extra boning channel on the edge of the center front of each piece to accommodate the grommets. This added an extra inch to the girth of the stays. When I slipped them over my head to briefly check the fit, I noticed that the center back edges will meet more closely than I had anticipated, and I think this is why. It's still going to fit just fine, and I don't mind if the center back edges meet because my silhouette is still going to look awesome even if I don't lace super tightly.

I've got 1/2 of my skirt pleated up and should finish pleating the other half tonight. Then I'll sew it up the sides and be done with it. I'm expecting a nice big piece of super soft, thin leather in the mail today to use for binding the corset. I'm almost done! Then I have to start on Melissa's costume. I think I'm going to have to teach her how to sew the binding on her stays because I may not have time to do ALL of that plus my own before the end of March when we go to Sherwood.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Victorian corset part 3: I think this will do

Over Christmas break, I decided to give Simplicity 2890 one last try, and I think this one will work. I meant to raise the upper edge of the corset to give my bust a little more coverage but I forgot. I think it'll still be okay even though I really wanted a corset that cupped my bust more than this. I might try another Victorian corset pattern, but definitely not doing one with gussets again no matter how pretty I think they are.

I had a sobering realization some time after making the pink corset of doom that I needed to lose some weight. That perhaps the corset wasn't working because I was no longer the pattern size I'd always been. I looked at the pictures, and I took a good hard look at myself in the mirror. I started counting calories on Feb. 7 and I've since lost 6 pounds (though I gained back two pounds last week after too many indulgences). Hooray for me! These pictures were taken after I'd lost about four pounds. It doesn't sound like much, but I'm short, so five pounds is an entire clothing size on me. Five pounds makes a huge difference in how my clothes fit.

Without further ado, here is my latest corset. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

I wonder if anyone can weigh in to let me know if my bust looks right in this? Is it too much like shelf-boob? My bust gets pushed up when I sit unless I'm sitting stick straight. Is that normal? I'm sure the bust fit will improve as I lose weight. I don't tighten the laces much on top, to avoid squishing my bust.

I didn't really try for any waist reduction. I just wanted my waist measurement when laced up to be the same as when it's unlaced, which required enough tightening to make me uncomfortable because the corset adds girth. I'm happy with the way my waist looks in the pics. I don't know how people can stand lacing tight enough for waist reduction of the standard 2 inches, but maybe I'm being a wimp.

I probably should just get one made by Kay Gnagey while she's still doing custom corsets, but I don't have the money for it right now and I'd already spent the money on the supplies for this pattern so I felt like I had to keep trying to get it right. Boning and busks are expensive, mainly because of shipping costs. I didn't want to have thrown my money away.