May. 30th, 2007 02:41 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue linen)
Man, this project is taking forever!  I feel like I've been working on this for years.  But today I finished the binding (finally!) and now I just need to do buttons and buttonholes on the straps and I think they will be done.  

I couldn't resist putting them on and checking them out.

Those tabs were really a pain, and I don't think I see much point to them anyway; they don't really spread out as I thought they would.  Oh well.  I'm pretty pleased with them, my first 18th c. project!
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)

I got tired of doing the tabs so I started on the armholes and neckline.

binding F 5 28 07  binding B 5 28 07

I really had no idea when I started how I ought to attach the shoulder straps, and somehow I thought they should be lined and turned.  Now I think the break in the binding line looks funny, but oh well.  The extra bit on binding on the inside just below the strap is there to cover the seam allowances.

Now I'm scared to finish them and find out something is wrong with them, after I've done all the binding, etc.  Obviously if something is wrong, it will be wrong whether or not I finish the binding, but these are the silly tricks my mind plays on me.

elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)
I finally overcame the fear and started my stays binding yesterday.  I'm using doubled bias strips of white cotton broadcloth.  It's very nice, tight and fine.  I got it at Treadle Yard Goods. 

I had a little trouble getting it to ease around the tabs at first; the first two tabs I bound had big ugly folds in the binding, the third tab I did looked a little better, with a few smaller folds, then by the time I got to the fourth tab, I had figured out the easing and stretching idea, and I did a couple more tabs that looked okay.  I didn't want to rip the binding off the first few tabs, but it bugged me so much I did anyway.

I'm also making progress in chopping up summer dresses.  Still trying to be prodcutive!
elizabeth_mn: (telescope)
It's garden-planting time here in MN, so I've been spending a lot of my time and energy outside starting all the little vegetable babies and taking care of them instead of sewing.  I'm kind of freaking out, though, because May is more than half over and I haven't really completed much on my (completely overambitious) list of projects, and their (admittedly arbitrary) deadlines are looming.  Sometimes I really wonder why I'm freaking out, though, because since I am essentially unemployed right now, I don't really need to be doing anything.  I just feel kind of worthless when I loaf, though.

Anyway, stuff:

The stays: I think the fear of a new, unexplored costume territory (for me, I mean) has been keeping me from working on this much.  I couldn't find any leather binding in the width/color I wanted, and whole skins cost too much, so I got some nice tight broadcloth to cut bias strips from to use for binding.  I need to wash that today, then I can finish the stays, hopefully this weekend.

Embroidery: I started a new piece (alas, also destined for the couch) on a great nubbly handwoven silk in blues and white.  I'm doing a single, large dragonfly in bright green, orange, light blue, and yellow cotton.

Mending/alterations:  (Pretty ho-hum.)  I started the "old summer dresses salvage project."  I cut one dress off and made a skirt, mended holes in another, remade an old printed T-shirt, and I have a few more old pieces that I think can have new life breathed into them for summer. (Unemployed = trying to be frugal!)

And the most exciting, the Minnesota State Fair!  (If you don't live here, it might seem odd that I'm so excited about this, but in MN, people take the State Fair very seriously!)  I pre-registered for all my Creative Activities competition categories the other day, including small stuffed toys, historical reproduction garments, and embroidery.  I also registered in some baking lots. Last year I only entered baked goods, but I won a third place ribbon for my zucchini-carrot-walnut-banana-bran muffins in the muffin with vegetable category.   The Fair is in late August, so I'll be working on my submissions between now and then.  And honestly, some of the submissions are stuff I was going to make anyway; for the historical clothing category, I'm planning on entering the lobster bustle (which is on the to-do list - extra motivation!)

I hope I can manage to stay busy and productive!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Yesterday I finished sewing all the boning channels and set the grommets (size 00).  Yes, I know I should hand sew the eyelets, but last time I did that it took about a week! Besides, I've never made a (successful) corset from this period before, and I was worried that if it didn't fit, all my effort would be wasted.  I offset the grommets for a spiral lacing.

Then I inserted all the reeds in front and on the sides, then got impatient to do a fitting, so I just put in the reeds at the lacing edges and laced up to see how it was coming along.  It fits really well!  I'm so glad I trimmed a bit off the pattern at the CB because there is only about a 1 inch gap, and I imagine that will become even less as the fabric stretches during wear.   It felt pretty supportive, but I think I may add a few more reeds in front anyway; there are a couple open spaces that could be filled in.  I'm planning on binding it with leather after all the reeds are in.  They're a little sharp and poke-y at the ends and I don't want them working their way through a fabric binding.

I didn't take pictures yesterday, but once I get the straps on and the rest of the reeds in, I will!

elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

I got about 2/3 of the boning channels sewn this morning:

1776 stays 5 2 07

I took the boning diagram from the illustration in Corsets and Crinolines, but I added a few more channels to make the boning a little denser. 
There's a little bit of wrinkling where the vertical channels meet the diagonal channel because the layers shifted a little, but I don't really mind too much because my corsets always do that (I'm hopeless at keeping layers from shifting!).  These stays will certainly never win any Pretty Stays awards, but as long as they fit well enough and are comfortable and give me the right silhouette under dresses, I'm satisfied.  

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I haven't forgotten about my poor little stays!  Today I finally managed to pick them up and work on them.  I started marking and sewing the boning channels. I'm machine stitching them with white silk thread (mostly because I had it on hand, partly because I like the strong line it makes, partly because it's period, and a little bit because I just like saying "silk thread." Mmmmm. . . silk thread. . .)

 I inserted the reeds in a couple of them to test the channel width and they just barely fit, so now I'm going to make the rest of them a little bigger.  The thickness of the reeds really takes up a lot of space!  I'm putting two in each channel as [profile] tessalinah suggested to me.  They looked so big and durable when I first got them, but now that I am putting them in the stays, they feel kind of small and flimsy.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to finish all the boning channels and then take pictures.
elizabeth_mn: (socks)

On Monday evening I finished the floral-y cotton skirt, and yesterday I did the next mock-up for the stays, and I managed to take pictures of both.  (I really need a tripod; it's hard trying to find something to rest the camera on that points in the right direction, etc.)


elizabeth_mn: (Default)

A couple weeks ago I decided I need a new corset.  Not "I need a new corset because my other one is worn out/doesn't fit anymore/is ugly and I can't wear my dresses without one," but more like "I need a new corset because I need to do something creative and pretty that is just for me, and, well, I just need it!"

I decided on the 1776 corset on page 40 of Corsets and Crinolines.  I'm a little worried because I've only attempted pre-Victorian corsetry twice, and both attempts were basically disasters.  I think I have a better idea of the whole theory now, though, especailly about the idea of the boning placement - not the piecing - creating the shape of the corset.

I enlarged the pattern and did a mock-up yesterday.  The front was way, way too high (or maybe my breasts are too low, either way. . . ) and the neckline opening seemed to be too narrow in front.  I made the front lower and wider and I'm going to do another mock-up.  I'm just trying to get a general idea because I hate doing boned mock-ups.  I just kind of wonder what's the point?  By the time you bone a mock-up, you are only a couple steps away from actually having a completed corset, and I'm going to do this one in plain fabric anyway.  I'm thinking of using reed boning because steel just doesn't feel right to me with this era, even though I've never been a 100% accurate costumer, and the whole plastic and/or cable ties thing just kind of grosses me out (I realize that cable ties work and give the right support, etc. I just don't like the idea of plastic being all over me.)  The last time I used reed, I used 1/4" oval and it ended up being way too thck.  [profile] swordlady  still teases me about this corset.  
I think this time, I might try 3/16" flat reed, like this:

Or maybe this teeny (3/64") round one:

I guess I could do the round in bundles if I needed to.  If anybody has experince boning with reed, do you have any thoughts to share?  Or any thoughts about corsets from this period?



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