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Studying Theatrical Costume and other adventures in London - sewing, fabrics and events.

Month: May 2010

Homework 29: Quilted petticoat – binding the hem

Yeay for another sewing intensive bank holiday weekend. Today I will apply to the hem the bias binding I made yesterday.

As I have grown sew attached to hand sewing since starting the quilt, I think it would be sacrilege at this point to let my lovely quilt go anywhere near a machine, so on with the hand sewing.

Cutting off excess seam allowance using pinking sheers

Cutting off excess seam allowance using pinking sheers

The bias strips I had cut had several joins as the piece of fabric I had used was only so wide. I wanted to make sure that the joins would not be too noticeable and were placed symmetrically on the petticoat. I took this in to account when pinning the bias in place before sewing.

Centre mark on the bias binding is lined up with the centre front of the petticoat

Centre mark on the bias binding is lined up with the centre front of the petticoat

Here you can see the bias joins, just before the left quarter line. The other join is in the same place on the other side.

Here you can see the bias joins, just before the left quarter line. The other join is in the same place on the other side.

Hand sewing on the bias along the fold line

Hand sewing on the bias along the fold line

Where the bias is meeting at centre back. I trimmed the excess to avoid bulk when folding over.

Where the bias is meeting at centre back. I trimmed the excess to avoid bulk when folding over.

Binding at the centre back. I didn't want to join it at an angle like at the sides  because of the centre back seam of the petticoat

Binding at the centre back. I didn't want to join it at an angle like at the sides because of the centre back seam of the petticoat

Folding over the binding - Almost done!

Folding over the binding - Almost done!

See tomorrows post for pictures of the binding and quilting finished.

Homework 29: Quilted Petticoat – making bias strips

I had bought some velvet bias binding off ebay, but when it turned up it was the cheap looking polyester type and wasn’t quite the right shade of blue, so I thought as I was running out of time I better make some in the same as the cotton petticoat top fabric.

I got out everything I needed:

  • pattermaster
  • quilting pencil
  • pins
  • scissors
  • fabric
  • 25mm bias maker
  • iron and ironing board
Some of the tools I used to make the bias binding

Some of the tools I used to make the bias binding

Fabric folded at 45 degrees to the grain, ready to mark out

Fabric folded at 45 degrees to the grain, ready to mark out

A few bias strips marked out. Pins are used to make cutting easier.

A few bias strips marked out. Pins are used to make cutting easier.

The strips cut out, still with pins holding the 2 layers together

The strips cut out, still with pins holding the 2 layers together

Stringing the strips together

Stringing the strips together

Two strips sewn together

Two strips sewn together

Using the 25 mm bias maker. I pin the strip to the ironing board to stop it from slipping.

Using the 25 mm bias maker. I pin the strip to the ironing board to stop it from slipping.

pressing the strips to make binding

Pressing the strips to make binding

I knew I had to make enough to go round 240cm circumference of the hem and to bind the 2 x 30cm pocket slits. It didn’t take too long to knock up the 3 meters. Tomorrow on with the binding (by hand).

Homework 29: Cockade experiment

Petersham from Ribbons2U on ebay

Petersham from Ribbons2U on ebay

One of the requirements for our costume is that it has red, white and blue. So far I am doing quite well with this as my corset is red and white, and my top fabrics is blue and white. However, ever since seeing rosettes and cockades I really wanted to use them to decorate my costume.

I was even more inspired when I saw these sites:

So I thought I would start to make one myself.  Using petersham or grossgrain seemed to be good to use and so I ordered a 25mm  mixed colour selection and 5 meters of red, white and blue from Ribbons2U on ebay (good service, arrived quickly).

Looking at the sites above, especially the American Duchess, I thought about using the pin method, but in the end I decided to just start pleating in a straight line, stab stitching through in a similar colour thread. I made sure there was enough fabric in the fold so that I would be able to curve around the centre when I had made enough pleats.

First attempt at making an outer tier of a cockade

First attempt at making an outer tier of a cockade - front

Close up of the pleats on the first tier of cockade

Close up of the pleats on the first tier of cockade

Back of tier showing the stitching

Back of tier showing the stitching

As it was my first attempt, I thought I would use a colour I was less likely to use, but the tier didn’t turn out too bad.  I didn’t measure the the intervals for the pleats, I think if I did it would make it look more regular. I would have to add another one or 2 tiers and maybe a button in the centre. Quite happy as a first effort.

Class 29: Period bodice fitting

I had sewn up the the bodice pieces over the weekend so was able to do a fitting  when I got in to class.

First fitting on bodice

First fitting of period bodice

I shouldn’t have had my top on underneath, but it was a very warm morning and I didn’t want to perspire all over my corset.

You could see from the fitting that the lines were fairly good, but there some noticeable problems which need to be addressed:

  • the centre front lines did not meet by 20mm on each side
  • the neckline was much lower than intended
centre line markings are out by 20mm on each side

Centre line markings are out by 20mm on each side

I could have just used the extra seam allowance on the stomacher to correct the width problem, but that would have made the stomacher look wide. Instead, I had to undo the side seams and use the seam allowance there.  10mm on each side (left and right) to add 20mm to the overall measurement.

Letting out the side seam - yellow basting shows the original line, blue dots show the new line.

Letting out the side seam - yellow basting shows the original line, blue dots show the new line.

I rebasted this seam before machine stitching as one side was very curved and I was worried it would slip under the machine foot.

Basting the let out the side seam before machine stitching

Basting the let out the side seam before machine stitching

There was enough seam allowance on the neckline so that I wouldn’t have to redo the stomacher.

Time for a second fitting – the centre front lines now met up, but the shoulders had to be reset.

Shoulder seams let out

Shoulder seams let out

By the end of the day, we got it so the bodice sat right and did some draping on the stand.

Unfinished garments on the stand

Unfinished garments on the stand with overskirt quickly hitched up

Class 28: Period bodice – mounting the layers

The aim today was to mount all the layers altogether, so that they can be sewn together ready for fitting.

As my top fabric was quite thin, Claire recommended that I should use domette on every panel so the bones would not show. For thicker fabrics, domette might only be required on the front stomacher panel.

First I cut out the domette and top fabric layers, then hand basted those to the drill and lawn layer.

Hand basting together all the layers on the side front bodice panel

Hand basting together all the layers on the side front bodice panel

Tips for hand basting:

  • do not knot – use a back stitch and cross at corners
  • mark breast, waist and other lines by basting. This will help you match the pieces up later and make sure everything it level.
  • if there are boning channels make sure you do not stitch though them
  • keep flat. This may be hard to do because the multiple layers can be thick, but if you bend the layers the holes the needle make will be offset from each other.
  • do a line and then cut the thread. This is because you usually take off lines at different times.
Shoulder showing marking lines basted and crossed corners

Shoulder showing marking lines basted and crossed corners

Next week bring:

  • basic sleeve block toile
  • lawn
  • piping
  • hooks & bars  -size 4 or 5
Hook, bar, and eye - size 4

Hook, bar, and eye - size 4

Homework 27: Period bodice boning channels

In the last class I had managed to cut out and mark the lawn layer with the bone placement, so now all I had to do was cut out the drill, mount it and sew the bone channels.

Cutting out the drill

Cutting out the drill

It was the first time I had got my sewing machine out in weeks as I had been hand sewing the quilt. I wish I had a quieter machine.

Sewing the bone channels on the stomacher

Sewing the bone channels on the stomacher

Anyway, I managed to get it all done in about 3 hours. I wasn’t working too quickly and I was pulling through the treads and knotting them on lawn side so they would not be seen on the (drill) inside of the bodice, similar to what I was doing for the topstitching for the corset .

Class 27: Period bodice construction

Today we were going to start construction of the period bodice. We were meant to have finished our petticoats, but I still had quite a bit to do.

In the morning, I had a fitting so that Claire could see how far I had got. I still hadn’t quite finished the ovals, a few missing at the top centre back, but these would be covered by the overskirt. More importantly, I had not got the petticoat on to a waistband yet or sewn the bias binding round the hem.

Fitting the quilted petticoat

Fitting the quilted petticoat. You can see the excess wadding needs to be removed at waistline

Clare said that I should just make a centre back placket opening at the back, which would be simpler and correct for ‘theatrical costume’ to allow the actress to easily get in and out of it, but I ☆.•really•.☆ want to finish the petticoat by hand  - 90+ hours so far hand stitching,  what is another few hours? I also would really like to use ties and have pocket slits. I always have to much bumph on me I need pockets.

Still to do on petticoat:

  • take out excess wadding round waistline
  • sew on to petersham
  • add pocket slits and bias bind
  • finish waistband
  • add hook and bar fastenings at front
  • bias bind the hem

Period bodice construction

In the afternoon we started on the bodice construction. Clare had given us a boned bodice overview at the end of last term, partly to explain what materials we would need to get during the holidays:

  • cotton drill – 1m
  • cotton lawn – 1m
  • domette – 1m
  • top fabric – 1m (more if matching pattern lines)
  • steel boning 8mm – 10mm (no rigiline)

The main aim today were:

  • to understand the construction of the bodicebo
  • adding boning positions
  • adding seam allowances
  • cutting out and marking up lawn layer
  • machine basting lawn to drill

Boning

We will be using  flat steels (not rigiline) for the bodice boning, even though the corset will be providing a good foundation to the shape.

The steels tend to placed in the centre of each panel, usually sloping towards the centre front or back, along straight seams, and either side of centre front and centre back. For more support,  such as on the side front panel, 2 bones can be placed next to each other. If boning is required down a seam,  channel tape can be used. If the seam is curved used spiral sprung boning.

The boning on the back only goes as high as the shoulder blade, except on a laced back opening where the bone go all the way to the top on the opening. At the sides, the bones tend to stop at the breastline, but at the front they are full length as the stomacher tends to stop quite low.

Period bodice pattern pieces with bone placement

Period bodice pattern pieces with bone placement and standard seam allowances (before changing them depending on the openings/design)

The bones on the stomacher in 18th century styles tend to fan out being wider at the top than at the bottom, rather than being straight which was characteristic in Tudor stomachers. Even though my stomacher was not very wide, I used 4 bones on each side.   If there is no CF opening, place two bones straight down the center front. If there is an opening, place a bone down each side leaving space for fastenings.

You can add channels down the seam allowance, just in case the bodice is too tight.

Seam Allowances

Generally before for the first fitting it is good to leave at least 25mm seam allowance, but more in some cases:

  • CF opening – add at least 50mm
  • CB opening –  add 100mm if it is to be turned back and eyeleted
  • CB/CF without opening – 50mm unless cut on the fold
  • front side opening/stomacher – add 50mm on each side
  • top/bottom – 25mm, more at neckline if you think it might need adjusting.
  • side back – 25mm, or more if very curved.
  • shoulders – 40mm

Starting the construction

Once the pattern was all drawn out, I started on the construction.

  1. Press lawn
  2. Cut out lawn and drill
  3. mark out with bone placement
  4. machine mount drill on to lawn (drill – good side faces the body)
  5. machine sew  bone channels (all the way down to bottom edge in to the seam allowance)

The drill and lawn should be mounted ready for next week.

Homework

  • Bodice: mount drill and lawn layers and sew boning channels
  • Overskirt: gather on to waistband
  • Quilted petticoat: remove bulk wadding at top, pleat on to waistband, add placket, biasbind the bottom, finish quilting, add pockets.

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