Saturday, March 29, 2014


I have made my first petticoat. It isn't super great, but it's fluffy and fits and I'm digging it. I didn't use a pattern, but based it off of this image:
I divided the back and side back pieces and added wto tiers of ruffles. I also haphazardly threw in two rows of cording, to help it stand out and prevent me tripping on it. The result:

I don't like how obvious the outline of my top bustle bone is, but when I add the skirt and over skirt it should disappear. If not, I'll add a ruffle on the bustle itself to hide it. Either way, I'll not worried.

The petticoat has a placket onto which I'm going to put hook and eye closures (it's only pinned on in this picture), as well as a drawstring since it has a tendency to pull away from my back due to the bustle. I also added another button to my bustle since I was having an issue with it shifting once the petticoat was on.

The second fitting of Castiel's corset went beautifully, and I'm ready to start working on it. I still don't have a busk, but I can do everything else up to that point.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Everyday I'm Bustlin'

My bustle is basically done. I still have to stitch the buttonholes, but otherwise it's all good. The pattern was drafted using American Duchess' Lobster Tail Bustle tutorial. The fabric is muslin, the bones are buckram-covered hoop wire, the ties are grosgrain ribbon, and I used some pre-packaged grey bias tape and some grey buttons I got in a sewing kit years ago.
This is before the top of the waistband was bias bound and the buttons were added.
Back view.
Collapsed on the table. The wires stack on top of each other and it folds down pretty flat.
I'm happy with the size of it. Once I make a petticoat my foundation garments will be done. I also did a mock-up fitting of Castiel's corset. It needs enough modification that I'll be doing a second mock-up, but all in all it was pretty good. Just need to adjust some curves, but adjusting curves is what a corset is all about.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Wild Corset Appears

Sorry for the disappearance, I've been busy of late. (Busy watching Haven on Netflix, but who's counting.) I wasn't able to do the latest HSF challenge, because I already was busy with the second corset, which is now finished.

The corset before binding. The blue fabric is a silk dress I purchased for $3 at Goodwill. My phone isn't good with details, but it has a floral and paisley design to it. There wasn't enough to do boning channels as well (it was only a size 4, and knee length, but it had a wrap-front skirt which yielded almost half of the corset pieces on its own), so after conferring with Samifer, black silk was chosen. It is stitched with white silk thread.

Samifer in her finished corset, also wearing her chemise and drawers . . . which I'm now realizing she had her chemise inside out since that's not what the embroidery is supposed to look like. Anywho, she likes it. It's a good fit, though the bust could have been tighter, and she hourglasses well. I may need to pick up more lacing, as it's more difficult than it should be to get the busk closed, but otherwise I'm happy. (The fact that Samifer's corset is in TARDIS colors is completely coincidental. Also, awesome.)

Next up on the list is Castiel, but since I'm going to have to order more busks (when I went to Richard the Thread they only two busks in the size I need), I may start intermittently working on my bustle.

I'm going to try for the next HSF challenge, but I honestly cannot think of a favorite fairy tale, so I may skip it due to creativity block.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Corset Update

In knitting, particularly colorwork, there's a trick if you screw up and use the wrong colors in the pattern. You simply make the same mistake for the rest of the project, and then it's no longer wrong but an 'interpretation of the pattern.' In sewing, some trim or decorative embroidery turns a flaw into a 'design feature.' I didn't like the space between my busk and the first bone. (About 1/8th of an inch.) I seemed a tip off that it was my first corset. But now?

Herringbone stitch down the length of the corset and it's a pretty design element.

Even though I said this corset was more me than my character, I couldn't help doing a little Supernatural-theme flossing.

D.W. on the inside lacing bones (My character is Dean Winchester.) The Aquarian Star, symbol of the Men of Letters, and a pentagram.

The little triangles on all of the other bones were inspired by the center of this sigil:

used to open Purgatory.

And for those of you reading this who don't watch the show and are wondering about the strange symbols and giving me suspicious glances,

I don't have a good answer.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sew Historical Fortnightly #4

For this fortnightly challenge, I made a corset. Like a real, actual, using a Victorian pattern and corset fabric and metal bones corset.

Dude, you guys, I made a corset.

Technically, it is not yet finished as I still need to floss it, but my back has been hurting me for weeks so I was in a hurry to finish it on the thought that maybe the extra back support would help. It does, a little. The compression and trapped body heat stopped the muscle spasms, but I think it's more a situation of it giving me new sensations to concentrate on rather than an actual lessening of pain.

The pattern that I used was this one, from Waugh's "Corsets and Crinolines":

I resized it to fit my measurements, made a mock-up of duck canvas, made alterations, and then made my final corset. It is in no way perfect, my stitches are wonky and there's little frayed bits where the pretty fabric frayed too much (the coutil was all sewn through, though, so there's no structural instability.) However, what my corset lacks in a clean finish it more than makes up for by being so very pretty.

The corset is a lovely silver/grey stitched with teal thread and bound in teal ribbon and white lace.

I bought some matching teal cord to use as lacing, but I was apparently unable to brain this morning as I bought a laughably insufficient length. Right now I have it laced with this black shoelace-style cord that came with a store bought corset.

It gives a nice nipped waist without being too restrictive. It also has great bust support, though if I were to make it again I would make the sides of the breast section higher, so I don't have so much side spill.

Close-up. You can see the grey has different shades depending on the lighting.

And the back. You can see I still have a gap, so I could lace it tighter if I so wished. Also, the things in my hair are beads.

Lastly, a close-up of the bust. The diagonal lines at the bottom of the picture are the stitching lines of the cording. Hey bro, I heard you like lace, so I got you some lace to go with your lace.

These colors aren't really Dean, but I figured that since I'll no doubt be using this corset for other costuming adventures I should make in 'me' colors, not character colors.

As this was my first true corsetry adventure, things I thought would be hard (exterior boning channels, installing the spoon busk, sewing the binding once the boning was in) really wasn't. It took me a while to figure out exactly how to put the damn thing together since I wanted a single layer instead of an easier to sew sandwich. I went slow (hand turning the drive wheel on my machine to make each stitch as I did the binding instead of using the petal so I wouldn't hit a steel and damage Edith (Yes, I named my sewing machine. Edith is a classy lady and deserved a proper name.)), took the easier path when able (such as removing a few bones that weren't necessary to the fit), and generally enjoyed the experience. The worst part is that SoCal is currently experiencing weather, which messed with my Wifi and made it hard to re-watch Ripper Street while hand-stitching the inside of the binding. I learned a lot, and I think each consecutive corset I make will be that much better. Until then, the breakdown:

The Challenge:  #4, Under it All

Fabric:  Undyed coutil, flatlined with silk dupioni and treated as a single layer.

Pattern: Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines


Notions:  Spiral and spring steel, spoon busk, grommets, silk thread for sewing, and cotton yarn for cording.

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty dang. The pattern is accurate, and while I haven't seen this color combination in a corset before, the 1880s did have some pretty wild color schemes. The spoon busk is right for the time period, as are the fabrics and thread. Same with metal grommets and steel boning, though I personally don't know whether spring steels were in use then. The major issues are that the ribbon for binding is polyester, and the lace is rayon.

Hours to complete: About 18-20, broken up over three days.

First worn:  Right now.

Total cost:  $80-100. I didn't own any of the bits for making corsets, but since I'm going to be making so many I bought what I could in gross so it was cheaper per corset than if I had just bought enough supplies for one.