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

Tag: basting

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 .

Homework 19: Preparing petticoat for quilting

I haven’t bothered to enter homework much on the blog. It is not that I haven’t been doing any, more that I have just been doing bits and pieces most nights each week. However this weekend I ended up on a mammoth task of preparing my fabric and wadding ready for quilting.

As I have not quilted before, earlier in the week I spent a fair amount of my evenings researching quilting techniques (hand and machine), types of quilt wadding (or batting), and how to tack the quilt layers.

Quilt wadding or batting

Historically a quilted petticoat would have most likely been padded with cotton or possibly wool flocking, but not many woollen ones have survived because of moths (quilt history).

Most of the class have bought polyester wadding, but I’m not keen on this idea as I would rather use something natural. The problem is polyester is so much cheaper than the natural alternatives.

I decided to research various paddings and found these links very helpful:

I was worried that polyester would be difficult to quilt, but I discovered that actually cotton is quite hard to push the needle through, wool is easier, and polyester is not too bad. I also remembered I had a old duvet which was looking rather ratty and taking up space in the cupboard.

Very old polyester double duvet.

A rather stained, old polyester double duvet.

Once I unpicked the seams and took the cover off, the wadding didn’t look so bad. It was thin and worn in places, but overall it was too thick, so I had to separate it in to layers. It was quite difficult to do this evenly.

Separating the layers of the wadding

Laid out on the living room floor so I could separate it in to thinner layers .

After I separated the duvet in to two layers, I put it round my dressform to see how it looked and if the hem circumference was wide enough.  The duvet is 2 meters x 2 meters, but to fit over my under petticoat which has a hem of 2.5 meters plus a frill, the quilted petticoat will have to be over 2.6 meters, so I will have to use more than one drop.

Duvet wadding on bluebell (my dressform)

Duvet wadding on bluebell (my dressform). You can see I will need to extend the drop to get the desired hem circumference.

Tacking the layers of the quilted petticoat


I found Sharon Schamber’s videos very helpful, especially her one on hoopless hand quilting. The video below is Sharon explaining her method of tacking (or basting depending on which side of the pond you are on).

On Saturday morning I went up to B&Q to try and get a couple of bits of wood as Sharon describes in her video. I thought I was going to have to buy a £9 pine shelf and cut it in half, but luckily in the end I managed to get two MDF offcuts for 20 pence. The MDF pieces were slightly larger than needed and quite dense, so heavy, but I couldn’t argue with the price.

After sewing together two drops of the muslin base fabric together, pressing both the muslin and the blue cotton top fabric, putting both fabrics on the MDF boards, and placing the wadding between them, it was on with the tacking. Easy really (just time consuming).

Starting with the herringbone tacking

Starting with the herringbone tacking

This is how it looked at the end of the extended version of Gladiator.

Herringbone quilt tacking - 3 and a bit hours in.

Herringbone quilt tacking - 3 and a bit hours in.

Taking on the underside of the quilt

Taking on the underside of the quilt

As the blue cotton top fabric I am using is 2.6 meters wide, I realised rather than making another panel, I could just extend the wadding in between the muslin and cotton layers.

Only a bit more tacking to go. YOu can see the MDF boards I am using.

Only a bit more tacking to go. You can see the MDF boards, thimbles and basting thread I used.

And after all 5 episodes of Kirstie’s Homemade Home, it was done…

All the basting done - 3 meters x 1.2 meters in just 9 hours

All the basting done - 3 meters x 1.2 meters in just 9 hours

Basted fabric draped on Bluebell

The basted petticoat fabric draped on Bluebell

Now I just need to sort out the quilting design.

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