Saturday, December 20, 2014

Corset # 2

My second attempt at the same pattern as last time (because that's the point, getting a pattern that fits) took a little more work in the alteration sense and so I decided to just make it complicated all over. I use my window as a light source for tracing new lines, however it also shows the additions and subtractions I've made. This pattern has been trying, but this is how I'll learn so I'm not complaining,  I needed to fix the hip curve on the old pattern and there was a pressure point on my left rib that needed addressed.

I made the alterations and cut out my fabrics. I'm sorry if you're expecting more of a tutorial post, unfortunately I'm still learning and don't know very much yet, so we're just stuck in story telling mode for now. But who knows, maybe in the future this blog will be a little more teaching based.

I absolutely love dying fabrics, so I decided that the white table cloth I was using for this mock up would undergo a colorful transformation. I used an easy batik method with a product I got from Dharma Trading Co. and then prepared my yellow color. When I washed the batik and yellow out, I sprinkled purple and orange in strategic places . I turns out that the color stains even with out the mordant. I rinsed it out after about ten minutes and hung it up to dry, pretty pleased with the experiment to that point.

When it was dry I had to steam it back into shape. The fabric was rather shifty. I put some stabilizer on the back and got to work on putting the thing together.

Right now the method that's easiest for me is to sandwich the boning channels between the layers. This corset has four, well five if you count the interfacing. In this order....Fashion fabric backed with interfacing, cotton sateen, coutil sewn to sateen and fashion fabric to create channels and act as a strength layer, and then cotton sateen as the lining to cover up the mess inside. 

Once I got it mostly sewn up I started adding embellishments. I wanted to use what I had on hand, I don't like spending extra money on things that are meant as practice. I had a whole pack of glitter and so I mixed colors to make something that would match. Did you know you can mix glitter to make other colors? It's something I never thought about before, but I discovered that in this process. So I painted a flower with it because I tend to just put flowers everywhere.

I also added sequins. Why not? If it's going to be sparkly, shiny, obnoxious why not go over the top?

After the bones where put in and I was all ready to close it up, I decided to to put it on just in case I didn't have reason to be as confident about the pattern as I was. Blahhhhhhh! What's this weird bulgy hip thing? One more adjustment to do, but this is why it's just practice. I took the top stitching out and pinched in some of the fabric in the hopes that it would smooth out. Then I top stitched it again and closed it up with binding,

The hips are still misshapen, but I would wear this with a costume or for a performance. I put squiggly lines of sequins in places with flaws that needed covered up. There were more then I'd like to admit. No worries, practice practice practice right?

I got to work with fabric glue and I got to see if the materials I used where actually appropriate for the task I was asking them to do. 

I don't ever believe that any effort is wasted, so even though it's not perfect, it was worth the work. 
It was also a chance to show my niece some crazy art. I don't know if you notice her in the background of my pictures, but she is always wanting to be in my workshop. Apparently for her magic happens there. Yay! Maybe I'll have someone to pass this on to.

Here it is in motion. I love how it sparkles and I'll probably use glitter again on something. Please excuse the noise, i left the fan on while filming. Oops.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Corset #1

This is my first real attempt at a bona fide corset. Since this is a mock up, I decided to play with some surface design. I got some laser cut scrap-booking paper on sale (bought it just because). I never intended to use it as a stencil, but as I was brainstorming for ideas, there it was. I have fabric paints that needed used as well, so the idea naturally came together.

I thought that blocking it in here and there would be more esthetically pleasing then an all over design.

After it dried I roll pinned and stitched the finished outer fabric to the strength layer of coutil. I'm using the cheapie stuff from Richard the Thread until I get this right. I've been using old sheets as mock up material too, I used it to create the boning channels.  I decided since this is still experimental, I'd use industrial ties again. Of course the mistakes just happen. I made the channels too big, so the bones twist in the them. Lesson learned, I won't do that again.

I also cut the blue sheet out with out seam allowance, it shifted and bubbled, so haha there's another one. I sewed the waist tape in by top stitching the seam allowances down on each side.

I decided to line this because I'm not quite sure how to finish the seam allowances (and make them smooth and look nice) yet. I put the bones in and finished the CB with grommets. I placed the grommets closer together at the waist line and spread them out a little more as they approached the upper and lower edges. I tried to make the modesty panel as much of a match as possible. My grommet and boning placement didn't work out the way I wanted, so I've got that too work on as well. You can see that I put two at the top position when I should have placed them one more position down where the laces cross over.

 I put the laces in and attempted to put it on (comical to say the least). I need to use at least 10 yards of lacing to get it over my bum.

Once I changed the lacing and tightened it up I got to see and feel the other  problems. Your waist will either squish up or down when reduction is incorporated into the corset. Mine apparently is a down squisher and the corset didn't have enough room to accommodate the extra bulk. It pulled the seam out just under the waist tape. I sewed it up with a whip stitch and painted over it to try to remedy the problem. (a bubble gum fix). The problem starts in the pattern, so back to the drawing board on that one. I had some pressure on my ribs as well, which is also a pattern issue.

I think, with all it's faults and mistakes, it turned out cute. I love the shape and waist definition.  I'd definitely do the painting technique again. I've learned a lot from this and my next attempt should be much better.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Beginning

I've always loved corsets, in fact I'd watch those hokey westerns with my dad just for the corsets on the saloon girls. I've been sewing all my life and I've tried to make them multiple times. Honestly there isn't a lot of How to information out there and my attempts were mostly trial and error. I used the a vogue pattern a couple of times and that turned out ok, but the fit was never right on me. It squeezed my ribs and was painful to wear.

As you can see it's wrinkly and the boning I found was insufficient. What I ended up doing was paring rigilene and plastic boning. This made it some what supportive, but not what it should be.  And of course the fit was still the biggest issue. I'm lucky to have a figure unlike any other. sigh. One day I was googling ideas for costumes and one of the blogs I ran across had an ad for Foundations Revealed. What's that I wondered, so I clicked on it. It opened up a whole new world for me. I got a subscription and went to town. I first focused on my construction technique. Because of my sewing experience this was a no brainer. The corset below is the result of my practice. However, there are still problems. I used duct tape to drape the pattern and because my body isn't curvy, unfortunately niether is the corset. I still love this tough, look at how smooth it is.
The materials I used weren't correct. I used drop cloth as my strength fabric (it's stretchy), and the boning is industrial strength zip ties (they're bulky). I made this corset for a demonstration at a cosplay seminar. I was using cheapie supplies to save money. It turned out good enough for cosplay, but it's definitely not a REAL corset!

The next phase of my education was Pattern Drafting. I wanted to make an under bust that would fit and flatter my not so perfect figure. I used the Foundations Revealed tutorial at first, and getting the general drift of it, set out to do it my own way. I think I did rather well, but things always have to be tweaked. I joined an incredible discussion group on Face Book (Learn to make Corsets like a Pro) and got some of my fitting questions answered. My finished pattern still has some bugs in it. Because of the short distance between my ribs and hip bones, I'm running into some strange shapes at the waist line. I'm still working on this and will probably be harassing the group members for more advice.

This is what the final mock up looks like..... there where three before this one! Ugh! Yes, sometimes it takes that many and more to get it right. But I am determined, cause goodness gracious you can actually see a waistline there!

So the next step on this journey is to make it up for real and see what I come up with. I'm excited!