Bodice overview

In the first few weeks of this term we fitted a period bodice toile. Today Claire explained the different layers needed for a period bodice, the materials we would need, and an overview of the processes and techniques which we will be using next term.

The bodice will be boned using flat steels which will be encased within the 4 layers of fabric:

  • Drill  – to go against the skin
  • Cotton lawn
  • Domette (light-weight flat domette)
  • Top fabric

We will need 1 meter of each layer which we should buy ready for the start of next term (19April2010).

Domette is a interlining fleece often used in curtain making to add weight and warmth to curtains.  You can get it in cotton or synthetic materials and it can be flat or fluffy. In the bodice, domette is used to stop the boning from showing, so may not be required if the top fabric is bulky.

There will be more bones on the stomacher than the rest of the bodice, but they are there to act as a stiffener to stop the bodice wrinkling rather than to manipulate the body. We will be making channels in the fabric layers to slide in the bones, but tapes on the drill layer could be used to hold the bones in place.

We will draft our own bodice patterns based on our individual designs and sizes.

1780's Polonaise Design

Draft design for my 1780's polonaise with quilted petticoat

My notes from class were incomplete, but the first few steps of construction are:

  1. Cut out the pattern pieces for all layers.
  2. Mark  bone positions on to cotton lawn layer. The markings will not show as they will be covered by the outer layers.
  3. Mount lawn on to drill by tacking.
  4. Machine stitch to make bone channels.
  5. … more to come.


Patsy, Mathilde and I had our group tutorial today with Claire. We are all at quite different stages, are doing quite different costumes, and came to the course with quite different skills – but that makes it good as we can help each other. It also means we can hear about problems and solutions the others encounter, but we may have not in our own costumes – it is a great way to learn.

Because Mathilde is using a much heavier fabric, she will need to use netting sewn in to her skirt and maybe on the bumpads to help get the period shape. She is also using cartridge pleats along the waistband, which I will be using on my skirt.

For the moment, I just have to concentrate on quilting so I can complete my petticoat. I am the only one in my class who is completely hand quilting. Patsy who is very experienced with textiles is completely machine quilting. Lorna and Eva are doing a combination of hand and machine.

Next term I will have to complete the bodice, overskirt and a fishou to go around the neck.

More quilting

I finished the tree design on the centre front of the petticoat. It felt like quite an accomplishment, but I still have a lot to do.  It has made me think that I would like to only use hand stitching on the petticoat, but I may falter and machine stitch the seams that are not seen.

Hand quilted tree on front panel.

Hand quilted tree on front panel.