Mar. 17th, 2013 02:29 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I finished these this afternoon.

green stays 002

Edit: They are WAY better than my blue pair.  I can't believe I felt so nitpicky earlier.  All I had to do was go back and look at a photo of the blue pair from 6 years ago to notice the difference.  Sometimes comparison is a good thing because I think these look freakin' gorgeous now. Yes, the support could be a little better, but it feels good enough now.  I think I set my standards way too high for my skill level and set myself up for disappointment. But I like these and that's enough.  No more griping.

They fit better than my last pair, the binding is loads improved, and I'm giving myself extra accuracy points for handsewn eyelets and not using bias.  They are much prettier!  But the main thing: I can put them on by myself.  That is crucial.  I get so sick of having to find someone to dress me, both for events and just for fittings.  I guess I could have just done a front lacing and skipped the back, but I like the sizing flexibility without sacrificing a smooth front. The neckline gapes a little but I can work an extra eyelet so I can tie the straps tighter.  The shape is nice and smooth enough.

More pictures! )

stays, etc.

Mar. 9th, 2013 03:54 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Finished binding the top edge of the other half of the stays, and I'm maybe a quarter of the way through the tabs.

I've been hoping to do more, but we all have a cold and everybody in the house is sick and crabby.  Ok, maybe I am crabbiest, but anyway, even if II had no other responsibilities, I'm just not able to be sitting up sewing all day.  So it's been 30 minutes here and there between bouts of laying on the couch.

Still, once the stays are done I'm going to shift gears a bit and start my HB's new suit.  I guess this makes try #3?  Or is it #4?  Trying very hard not to screw up again.  I have some dark blue wool, some nice coat and breeches patterns, and enough time to make mistakes (won't need it until May/June-ish?) as long as I don't dawdle.  Then if needed I can go a little faster on my own thing for the picnic without feeling crazy.  And of course, F's costume comes last and will probably get sewn in very badly and in a hurry, too.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Finally, some tangible progress on these!

stays (2)

These are being modeled on my lovely and oh-so classy faux wood grain worktable.

Inside and detail views )

One half the stays is bound, I'm starting the other half this afternoon.  The only thing left to do to this half is work the eyelets in the straps.

My binding isn't super-tidy.  It's lumpy in some places, but still, I'm pretty pleased with it.  Once again, I was amazed that doing the tabs wasn't harder, especially with the twill tape instead of bias.  It's slow and fiddly, but not really that hard.  I used 1/2" tape for a scant 1/4" visible on either side.

It still feels slightly bulky to me (especially coupled with the 1/4" boning channels that look HUGE here) but if I were to go any narrower, I'd need fabric that frayed even less.  The fact that it's a contrast color probably emphasizes this.


Mar. 5th, 2013 03:48 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Binding the stays tabs.  Using straight (twill) tape is nowhere near as tricky as I had imagined!  I frankly don't see that bias tape would have much advantage here.  I think the narrowness is more crucial.  Last time I used wide bias and it was a huge drag.  Somehow I thought wider = easier, but I really wasn't thinking, because if you look at the geometry it's obvious that wider = harder!

Ok, less blogging, more sewing. 

less whiny

Feb. 26th, 2013 08:43 am
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Stays again: I trimmed the boning down 1/2" at the armholes and 1" at the front neckline.  It was way less of a drag than I had anticipated, and doing it reminded me why I sew: for fun!  It's my hobby and I constantly lose sight of that.  I only do a few events a year so it's not just the dress-up part that I enjoy; it's the making.

I spent yesterday sewing some new couch pillows.  My floral embroidered pillow deteriorated long ago, and I've been unwilling to part with the shreds for emotional reasons. The orange dupioni one was in bad shape, too.  It was getting me down, and now the room looks tidier and fresher.  I used this blue stylized floral fabric and one of it's brown coordinates, and I made a third pillow with a piece of vintage table runner I've had for ages.

Also, I am so over feather/down inserts.  I got sick of the feathers always poking through (and I lined with feather-proof cotton, but they still came through the seams).  The poly ones are so springy and nice!  I know polyester is forever, and my inner environmentalist-guilt is taking a hit, but they just work better.

Today I really need to get back to the stays binding.  No more distractions!


Feb. 22nd, 2013 11:18 am
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I started binding and then got bogged down in worry.  I think the underarm is a little too high and I'm afraid it will be pokey.  I don't want to have to rip the binding out later to cut it down.  So today I need to cut the tabs apart, put on my shift, and try the stays on for real.  It would probably also help to measure them against my old stays.

I want to get it right, but I'm also sick of all the delays.  I really wanted to have these done at the end of January, but family tragedies happened instead.  So I really need to finish them by the end of this month 'cause I'm sick of hearing myself whine.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
No, I haven't totally abandoned them in favor of mittens.

The boning is all cut and inserted, except for the tabs, which I'll do as I'm binding them.  I'm always afraid those little short bones will fall out and I'll lose them on the floor.  I haven't cut the tabs apart yet either.

The short tab bones were a bit of a mystery last time for me.  The boning diagram in Corsets & Crinolines makes it look like the edges butt up together, but it seemed to me that you'd end up with one little floppy bone that does nothing.  So I overlapped the ends of the short bone with the adjacent long bone and it seemed to give the whole thing more structure.  I'm doing the same thing this time.

I also added a couple additional bones at the sides; the diagonal side/front and side/back areas seemed a little sparse once I got them in.

I did swap out the beige twill tape binding for white.  Why I'm not using bias I have no idea, but I'm hoping this will work.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Finished the last few eyelets last night.  I've already cut and inserted most of the bones on one half, and today I will bone the second half.

I bought some 1/2" twill tape in a taupe-y/beige color, but now I think I might want white.  Anyway, hopefully I can start the binding tomorrow.

The other thing on the agenda for today is even more hacking up of my Uniquely You.  I put a dress on her yesterday and I could not even get it zipped.  Then I put the dress on me and it was perfect.  So.  More fun with knives!  And probably taking in the cover a bit more as well.

Then I can move on with picnic costumes. The order should go something like:

- finish stays
- enlarge/draft jacket pattern
- fussy cut jacket from curtains
- use what's left for petticoat
- use dress form to set sleeve pleats

Then, work on HB's new suit.  Eeek!


Feb. 14th, 2013 07:32 am
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Eyelets are finished on both sides of CB and one side of CF, so only 15 left to go!

The stays are looking okay and seem to fit right (though before boning it's still a lot of guesswork) but these eyelets are killing me.  They're not hard to do, but there are a lot of them and I think I have some kind of Eyelet Curse.  This is like the Boyfriend Sweater Curse that knitters talk about: if you make him a sweater, the relationship is doomed.  If I handsew that many eyelets, there is no way the garment will fit.  But only time will tell.

Then boning needs to be cut and inserted and the edges bound.  I've only ever used bias for binding, but I want something slightly more accurate this time.  I don't like working with leather, and I don't think the woven tapes I have are strong enough to prevent boning poke-through.  So maybe I just make binding from strips of fabric cut on the straight?


Jan. 27th, 2013 02:48 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I've been sewing too much to blog this past week.  I had another sewing day on tuesday (I think. . . it all kind of runs together) during which I made 3 slips and some jammies, then cut out some pants for F.  Easy modern time-filling stuff.

Then my boning arrived!  Hooray!  So I started in on the stays.  About 2/3 of the channels are sewn.  I'm making it from two layers of cotton twill, seamed first, then laid wrong sides together to stitch the channels.  I realize this is technically the wrong way, but it's what I'm used to and I just want a useful foundation, not necessarily showpiece undies.

I've done about 1/4 of the eyelets, or one side of the back.  Here's the center back on the right, right side up, next to the front on the left, upside down.


I'm using silk buttonhole twist for the eyelets, and I am in love.  The right thread just makes everything easier.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
How often does this happen: I'm trying to work on the new stays yesterday, and I figure I can do a bit of sewing even though I don't have the boning yet, but I realized I don't know how wide to make the channels, and I need to sew in sequence (channels first, then eyelets, and so on) so I can't sew it at all.

Then I figure I can move on to my Curtain-Along petticoat, but when I go to cut it, I notice that the print is big enough I'll want to fussy-cut the bodice (even if I don't match) so I can't just start hacking into the fabric haphazardly until I have the bodice pattern.

So: Can't cut the petticoat until I cut the bodice.  Can't cut the bodice until I have the stays to fit it over.  Can't make the stays until the boning arrives.

Normally, I'd be happy to fill in the time with a small, instant-gratification project, but right now, I am just in the mood for sinking my teeth into something complex and long-term.  I've been fiddling with the stays pattern for a couple days, so I don't really want to shift gears right now, and besides, the curtain dress is the next one I will need for an event.

So I am halfheartedly working on an apron, and darning some socks, for at least the next week.  I know there are so many better things I could be doing with my time, but I just can't think what they are!  I definitely don't want to be stuck in the middle of another project that I don't want to abandon when the boning arrives.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I'm starting my new stays today; I've tweaked the pattern from the old stays a little and today I'll have some time to cut them out.  I found some green twill in the stash that will do.  The pattern is the diderot stays from Corsets & Crinolines.  I could have started from scratch with something fancier, but I just want functional.  Plus just having a front and back pattern piece is easier in so many ways.

I used reed last time; I plan to use the Wissner German plastic this time.  I have half a coil of 7mm but I might just buy a coil of the tiny stuff (5mm) since for this I think tinier is better. 

My question for this is how do you apply those crossing horizontal bones in front?  Do you make a separate tape casing?  I can't find the answer to this in any of my books.

The next corset I need to do is Regency.  I plan to try the Laughing Moon pattern, unless I find some really great reviews of the Past Patterns or Mantua Maker ones.
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