Making folded piping

First I had to cut out the bias strips and make the piping. Claire had suggested for fabrics that were not too thick, we should make the bias double width and fold in half to make the piping. Using the folded edge on the inside looks better.

12cm bias strips joined and folded ready to make in to piping

12cm wide bias strips joined and folded ready to make in to piping with a 3cm wide edge.

I then marked where I wanted the cord to sit, and pinned the bias round the cord. I made sure the folded side was slightly longer than the open edge so the open edge would not been seen later.

Placing and pinning the cord in to the bias

Placing and pinning the cord in to the bias

Once it had all been pinned in place, it was quite quick to sew in to piping. I was careful to make sure I didn’t catch the piping as we need it to be able to slip so it can be pulled tight.

Using a zipper foot to sew close to the cord

Using a zipper foot to sew close to the cord

Placing the bones

It is really important to put in the bodice bones in before sewing the piping as the piping will close the channels. I had measured the bone channels and ordered pre-finished lengths from Vena Cava earlier in the week. Unfortunately, I had forgotten one pair, so I had to cut two from a left over continuous length I had from a previous project.

 2 steel bones. The top is cut from a continuous length and finished with zinc tape. The bottom is precut and finished.

2 steel bones. The top is cut from a continuous length and finished with zinc tape. The bottom is precut and finished.

Be careful when cutting the steels as they tend to be very tough and unless you have some serious metal cutters, it will take a fair amount of effort. I need both hands to cut, and the loose piece tends to spring off at some rate, so make sure no one is  in the firing path.

To finish the ends so they would not be sharp or cut through the materials, I used zinc tape,  like a roll of fabric plaster,  you can get from the chemists. Zinc tape helps to stop the steel from rusting and is fairly sticky, but make sure it is securely stuck so that it does not come out in the channel when you are placing the bone.

Smoothing the stomacher line

I decided that the stomacher point stuck down too low, so I decided to smooth the line from the side front to the stomacher. I will follow the grey line when applying the piping.

Smoothing out the stomacher line

Smoothing front lines - side panel

Smoothing front lines - Stomacher

Smoothing front lines - stomacher

Applying the piping

On to the piping on the bottom edge. I pinned the piping place and used a zipper foot to machine stitch as close to the piping edge as possible. I took the pins out as I went along with the machine.

Using the zipper foot to sew the piping on to the bottom of the bodice

Using the zipper foot to sew the piping on to the bottom of the bodice

The tricky part was the point at centre back as the fabric was quite taught and it was hard to get the foot to follow the line. Claire had said that if you had a lot of trouble with it you could snip in to the bias seam allowance, but you shouldn’t really. I didn’t have to in the end.

Centre back point. Bias pinned in place ready to be sewn.

Centre back point. Bias pinned in place ready to be sewn.

In some places, I had not gone close enough to the edge, so I had to sew again. I didn’t have to unpick, as the second line would cover the first.

Where the stitch line was not close enough to edge

Where the stitchline was not close enough to edge

Once I was happy with the stitching, I cut back all the excess seam allowances so that I could turn the folded bias edge back.

Seam allowances cut back

Seam allowances cut back to reduce bulk

Seams graded (cut back) at the centre back

Seams graded (cut back) at the centre back

After doing the bottom, the top edge was much easier and quicker.  I now had to finish the front opening edges before I could slip stitch the bias on the inside.  I knew Claire had said we should leave long cords, but I couldn’t quite remember how we were meant to finish the piping at the centre front, so I did the best I could and would ask on Monday.

Top and bottom piping applied, but not yet slip stitched.

Top and bottom piping applied, but not yet slip stitched.

Front opening and fastenings

The front opening hem was done in a similar way to the vertical seams with the under layers cut back and the top fabric seam allowance folded under and slip stitched. This should have been pretty straight forward, except I ended up snipping the top fabric a bit before I had realised it had been caught. It was too much of a problem and I just hand stitched it closed.

Opps! Repairing an accidental snip

Opps! Repairing an accidental snip

After neatening the front opening, I slip stitched the piping in place on the inside of the bodice.

Next I worked out how many hooks I would need if they were to be spaced 20-25mm apart with the top one and the bottom hooks placed next to the piping. I ended up using 11 with 22mm spacing. I used pins to mark where the centre of each hook should be placed.  Hooks should go on the left side, eyes on the right.

First hook in place, and pins used to mark where the others should be placed.

First hook in place, and pins used to mark where the others should be placed.

Although I was fairly sure that these would be in the right place, I only sewed 5 stitches around each loop and the hook neck in case they would have to be moved. Doing 11 sets of the hooks and the eyes still took about 5 hours of hand stitching.

On the eye side, I made sure the pin was correctly positioned for the corresponding hook when attaching each eye. The eyes should be set back slightly so that when the fabric gives when fastend they do not show.

Eyes set slightly back. Pins marking the eye spacing

Eyes set slightly back. Pins marking the eye spacing

I didn’t have a chance to stab stitch, but thought I would do that after the next class when I would know for sure that the hooks and eyeswere in the right place.