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Tag: corset

Homework 20: Fixing the split corset seam

Last month I mentioned I got in a bind when my unfinished corset split during a fitting.  It was on one of the seams which was stitched in the ditch during step J of making an 18th century corset. It split because I had not sewn far enough down the seam to the waistline, put in enough securing stitches, nor finished putting bias binding on the tassets round the bottom edge.

The split seam on my stays

The split seam on my stays.

As I needed to get some strong thread and I have been so busy on my petticoat, I didn’t have the chance till now to fix it. Claire had recommended button hole thread, but I was unable  to find any at John Lewis in Milton Keynes, so ended up getting cotton darning thread.

I had also been waiting for the thimbles I ordered for quilting, which had arrived now, so my fingers would be saved from pushing and pulling the needle through the stiff thick layers.

My thimbles: 3 x rubber, 2 x metal, and a leather thimble.

Thimbles: 3 x rubber, 2 x metal, and a leather thimble.

Repairing a split stay seam

Starting at the apex of the tear, I buried the thread knot so it would not be seen or rub against the skin of the wearer. Starting at this end, I was able to pull the thread tightly together and get in to the seam right up until the edge.

Starting to sew up the split on the inside of the stays

Repairing the split: Starting to sew up the split on the inside of the stays starting at the apex

To help strengthen the repair, Claire recommended that I catch the tread around the bone.  I sewed in between the bone and the inside/base fabric layers on one side of the bone, and then sewed between the bone and the outer/top fabric layers. Each time, I went back in the same hole the needle came out of, so that the stitches will not be seen when the repair is finished.

Repairing the split: invisible stitching, wraping the thread round the bone

Repairing the split: invisible stitching, wrapping the thread round the bone.

With all the layers of fabric, occasionally having to go through one of the Rigiline bones, I had to use a metal thimble to push the needle through, and use the rubber thimbles to pull the needle out. I wouldn’t have had the grip to finish the job without the rubber thimbles, I am really glad I bought them.

Repairing the split: rubber thimbles were required to pull out the really stiff needle

Repairing the split: rubber thimbles were required to pull out the really stiff needle.

Sewing all the way down was quite an effort, but the seam is now very strong. I am sure it would be the last to go now, but I think all the rest will be strong enough, especially when the bias has been added on the bottom.

Repaired split - on the inside

Repairing the split: on the inside - not as neat as before, but much stronger.

Once I had finished the structural repairs on the inside, I had to sew together the layers on the outside too.

The split can still be seen on the outside. You can see the stitches from the repair on the inside

Repairing the split: The split can still be seen on the outside. You can see the stitches from the repair on the inside.

Again I started at the apex of the split, but did not go around the bone. I just made sure I caught enough of the top fabric to make it secure and hold together firmly.

Repairing the split: binding the seam of the top layers.

Repairing the split: binding the seam of the top layers.

The seam is not perfectly straight unlike the machine stitched seams. This is because I pulled a little too tight and it has made it pucker very slightly, but overall it is not noticeable. I made sure I sewed down to the waistline this time and put quite a few reinforcing stitches as the bottom, which you can see at the bottom in the picture below. These stitches will be covered by the bias binding.

The repaired split: outside of the stays.

The repaired split: outside of the stays.

Just the binding and the straps left to do on the corset and I will be able to wear it out.

Class 18: Working out overskirt yardages

Today Claire got us to work out yardages for the overskirt, gave us some instructions for the quilted petticoat, and I helped to fit Ann’s bodice.

In a bind – corset splitting

I wanted to double check the fitting of the period bodice from last week, but disaster struck when one of my over enthusiastic class mates pulled my corset laces too tightly and one of the seams on the unbound side split at the back. This is one of the seams I so carefully lined up and sink stitched in step J of making an 18th century corset.

My poor split corset

My poor split corset

Claire said I should get some button hole thread (very strong), and starting from the top of the tear, bind the seam back together. Will let you know how I get on.

Overskirt draping and working out yardages

Claire said that we needed to drape the overskirt fabric to see how it would hang, then we would be able to work out how much we would need and a layplan.

Unfortunately, I only had a couple of meters of my top fabric, so I was only able to do a quarter of the waist.

Draping overskirt fabric over petticoat to work out yardages

Draping overskirt fabric over petticoat to work out yardages

Draping overskirt fabric over bumpads and petticoat

Draping overskirt fabric over bumpads and petticoat

I originally worked out that I would need about 7 meters of fabric for the overskirt, but after speaking with Claire, revised this to 3 drops (150cm wide), so would probably need only 4.5 meters. Additional material would be required for the bodice and sleeves to match.

Class 13: Corset construction – eyelets, fitting, side seams and strap explanation

During the week, I had finished all the topstitching and satin stitched around the tassets. As my tassets were quite small, I found going round the corners quite difficult and hard to make look even. I ended up redoing this several times on one of the smaller tassets.

Satin stitching around the tassets

Satin stitching around the tassets. You can see I had a lot of trouble to get it even.

I needed to add the eyelets in class today, so the corset could be fitted before I sew up the side seams and start the bias binding. I found using the punch for the eyelets very difficult and in the end I just used an awl to make big enough holes to push the eyelets through. In the afternoon Claire went over finishing the seams, adding the neck straps and bias binding.

Using an awl to make holes for eyelets

Using an awl to make holes for eyelets

Fitting went quite well for me, and although the stays would have to be quite tightly laced, I did not need to make any alternations. I did forget to snip between the tassets before I put the corset on, so this caused a little confusion about the fit until Eileen realised. Luckly, everyone is very profficent with scissors, so we didn’t have to unlace the whole thing to cut them.

In the later half of the afternoon Claire gave a handout about Unit 8: Developing sewing skills for costumes, which will cover the outerwear for the polonaise.  We had a look at our dress designs we given an explanation how to work out the amount of material to buy for our outerwear petticoats and dresses (will post about this soon).

Hand outs:

Project brief: Unit 8: Developing sewing skills for costumes – Polonaise outerwear 1770-1785.

Homework:

  • Finish the side seams
  • Bias bind the bottom of the corset.
  • Finish the stomacher and hand stitch in place
  • Prepare logbook for units 7 and 9

Class 12: corset – top stitching, tassets, eyelets

With the Rigiline boning applied, and the base and top layers sewn together, I continued with the top stitching along the bone lines which took most of the lesson.

Close up of topstitching around tasset on the outside of the stays

Close up of top stitching around tasset on the outside of the stays

Close up of topstitching threads pulled through so they can be knotted on the inside of stays

Close up of top stitching threads pulled through so they can be knotted on the inside of stays

Eileen explained about satin stitching around the tassets, as this would give them more strength and hold the layers together better; and the formula to work out where the eyelets should be placed.

Homework:

  • finish top stitching, get until the point of so we can add the eyelets next week.

Shopping: Ikea fabrics

Finally got some top fabric for the corset.

Fabric from Ikea - Berta rand red/white

Last week I told a friend at work that I had been looking at Ikea fabrics online, but hadn’t had a chance to go my local shop in Wembley as they don’t sell the fabrics online. They have quite a few 100% cotton or linen mixes to be used for bedding, draping, and light upolstery, and they seemed to have stripes which I would really like to use.

Luckily a few days ago my friend went to the Ikea in Edmonton as he needed a few things for his new flat. He got me a meter long remnant of the Berta rand red/white 100% cotton for 99p (normally £5.99 per meter). It is fairly heavy and has 5 mm thin woven yarn-dyed red and white stripes.

Class 9: corset boning, cutting out and mounting top fabric, tutorial, designs.

A lot of use were still applying rigiline to our base layers, but we went over mounting top fabric and sewing it to the base layer.

I still wasn’t much closer on the design and didn’t have the top fabric for the corset, but there was still some boning to do, so I still had a little time.

Tutorial

Elaine sat in on the tutorial while Claire and I discussed how things were going, what my plans were, and what I wanted to get out of the course. I said I wanted to apply to do BA (Hons) Theatre: Costume Interpretation at Wimbledon College of Arts . Claire told me about 2 of her other students who are studying there, and advised me about the UCAS process and that I should sign up to attend an open day asap.

Design

I am not so confident in this bit. I find it hard to get my ideas illustrated on paper, there are so many things I could do, but also I am finding it really hard to find fabrics I would like to use.

I am really smitten by stripes, but wide ones and the only ones I can find look like deck chairs as they are printed cotton.

I need to spend more time on this.

Class 8: Corset – cutting out and marking the drill. Start to apply boning.

The aim for today were to start construction on the stays. Claire taught us in the morning explaining the construction methods for the corset up to sewing the base and top layers together.

Cutting out and mounting the base and the top layers should be done at the same time, but I still had not yet  finalised my design or settled on what top fabric to use.

The order of work was laid out, and by the end of the class most of us were well in to applying the rigilne boning which is really quite time consuming.

Homework

  • Continue with boning
  • Start pleating petticoat
  • Continue with logbook

Class 7: Corset – adjusting the pattern size

Unfortunately I missed this week, but I was able to look at a few of my class mates notes to come up with adjusting an 18th century corset pattern.

18th Century Corset Pattern

The base pattern we are using is the ’18th Century Corset Pattern’ from ‘Period Costume for Stage and Screen‘.

The pattern when scaled up to full size will fit a size 12 model with the following measurements:

Bust 89 cm
Under bust 76 cm
Waist 66   cm
Hip 91.5 cm
High hip 87.5 cm
Nape to Waist Back 40.5 cm
18th Centruy stays pattern from 'Period costume for stage and screen'

18th Century stays pattern from the book 'Period costume for stage and screen'

At the end of last weeks lesson, we started to scale up the pattern and add the seam allowances.

Scaled up 18th Century stays pattern from 'Period costume for Stage and Screen'

Scaled up 18th Century stays pattern from 'Period costume for Stage and Screen'

Panel C (front side panel) pattern peice showing seam allowance, boning and hatch stitching placement

Panel C (front side panel) pattern piece showing seam allowance, boning and hatch stitching placement

Needed for next week:

  • corsetry fabrics
  • corsetry habby and notions
  • candle, jar and lighter/matches.
  • tracing paper and wheel.

Fabric, trimming and haberdashery suppliers

Design considerations for the corset

  • bias binding
  • hand worked eyelets/grommets
  • top stitching/hatching stitches/contrasting by hand
  • contrasting ribbon for straps
  • work on assumption that the corset will be seen and and plan fabrics and trims accordingly.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KqKmrRL_ZEU/SwBl-8QV9tI/AAAAAAAAGUk/4MfmcCJRsYs/s800/IMG_0869.JPG

Scaled up 18th Century stays pattern from 'Period costume for Stage and Screen'

Scaled up 18th Century stays pattern from 'Period costume for Stage and Screen'

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