Friday, January 30, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly # 1

I took the Foundations challenge to mean underclothes, the foundation upon which the outer garments are built. For my upcoming 1915 outfit, this means a combination and corset.

The combination was pretty simple. I combined the drawers pattern from here and here into something I liked, and then added to the waist a tube 14 inches long and the width of the fabric. A couple of strips make up the shoulder straps, and then eyelet lace was added to the waist and neck to draw it up.
Embroidered lace was added to legs. I also added some iron-on embroidery; not period but oh so nice.
The eyelet lace originally came with white ribbon, but white with white on white was too bland so purple was added. The butt is still too saggy for the period, I think I shouldn't have curved the waist as much; it concentrated too much fabric towards the back. I also could have made the bust area longer, for more blousing with the corset. Speaking of the corset . . .

Last year a friend gave me this fabric:
It a cotton/poly blend, black and white stripe with pink dots interspersed, with a painted-style floral design at the bottom. And it needed to be a corset. However, most corsets concentrate the design along the top, which wouldn't work with this fabric. However, when grabbing stash fabric to make my outer garments, I saw the bolt and realized it would be perfect for a long line corset. I made sure the main floral design would hit along the same spot on the waist, but otherwise didn't try to match the design. The result:
The corset has some black lace along the top, and is edged in store bought blue bias tape.
The inside. You can see the two colors of twill tape I used as boning channels. I ran out of the natural color, and when I went to get more all they had was white.
Here it is on. I love the smooth line it gives. It's super comfy, and since the top edge curves around my bust it gives me a bit of support.
What I don't like is the pooch it gives me. The front busk could have been an inch longer; as it is it ends at the low stomach so there's some squish that sneaks out of the bottom. I'm also going to have to add flossing as the bones have a tendency to shift. However, that ended up being a good thing since the under the armpit bones are a half inch too high and poke me. So I'll just slide them down and secure them in place. I'm undecided about adding garters. I may also add a hook and eye or some grommets to lace the lower stomach closed. I'm going to think about it.

The Breakdown for the Combination

The Challenge: #1 Foundations

Fabric: Cotton lawn

Pattern: Self drafted based on patterns and sales ads from the time

Year: Aiming for 1915, but could have hit anywhere between 1907 and 1919

Notions: White silk thread, eyelet lace, ribbon, embroidered lace, iron on embroidery appliques.

How historically accurate is it? The techniques are good, as is the fabric and the embroidered lace. The eyelet lace is similar to what appears in images, but the iron-ons are right out. I just really liked them. I'm going to say 90%.

Hours to complete: Maybe 6, including pattern drafting

First worn: The moment I finished it because cotton lawn is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced and now I need it for everything.

Total cost: $45. A lot for underwear, but I wanted it to be super nice.

And the Corset

The Challenge: #1 Foundations

Fabric: Coutil and a Cotton/Poly blend

Pattern: Bridges on the Body's 1911 corset pattern

Year: 1911, but it is stated this style can be worn through 1915

Notions: Silk thread, purchased bias tape, cotton twill tape, black lace, busk, bones, grommets, and lacing

How historically accurate is it? Most surviving corsets of this era were buff or natural colored, with the occasional black or brocade. So stripey floral print is unlikely, as is cotton/poly blends. But the construction techniques are solid and based on a surviving garment, so I'm going to go with 80%. If I'd left off the fashion fabric and made my own bias tape it'd be close to perfect.

Hours to complete: From 7pm till 1am on Wednesday, and then noon till 8pm Thursday, with a couple hours break. So in total 12 hours. A fact I am super proud of, considering my very first corset took a solid week of 2 - 6 hour days.

First worn: For the photos on Thursday.

Total cost: $6 for the coutil, fashion fabric was free, thread was $4, $2 for bias tape, $6 for twill tape, $4 for lace, $4 for lacing, $15 for the busk, $10 for boning, $3 for grommets (For the coutil, boning, and grommets, the price reflects buying in quantity and estimating for the portion used)
Total: $54

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I've Been A Bad, Bad Girl

I've been careless with a delicate man . . .

 So last post, I realized that my long line corset needs to be longer. So I redrew the pattern, adding more length both at the waist and at the bottom. And then I . . . did nothing.

I mean, I worked on other projects. Sewing things were happening, just not that corset. I've had time, but whenever I considered working on it, I simply decided to work on something else instead. But I still had the intention to finish it for the Foundations Challenge at the end of the month. Finally today I realized I'd been avoiding it. When I considered why, it dawn on me: I don't want to do another mock-up. I know I should, since lengthening the waist changed the curve of some of the pieces, I should I do another mock-up to make sure it fits okay over the ribcage. But as long as I keep planning to do a mock-up, that corset was going to keep getting put at the bottom of the list.

Corset mock-ups aren't like other mock-ups. You basically have to do 75% percent of the work for a full corset, and then spend a solid 15 minutes lacing yourself into the thing only to go "yeah, that works." And unlike tops or skirts which have 4-6 seams to worry about, corsets have in the ballpark of 10. Mocking-up a corset is a day's work, and I didn't wanna.

So I didn't.

I decided screw it. The pattern was nearly my size anyways, and worst case scenario I'll have the tighten the lacing unevenly. So I cut my coutil and my fashion fabric with an extra inch at the top and bottom just in case, and started sewing. I did check the fit after all the pieces were together, but before I top-stitched the seams, just to make sure I was all good. The extra inch at the bottom was unnecessary, but after curving the top edge around my breasts I kept the rest of the extra.

Now the seams are finished, and once I pick up more cotton twill tape I can finish the last four boning channels. (Yes, I ran out part way through.) Then I just need to install the busk, cut and insert my bones, then add the grommets and binding.

Sometimes it's good to be bad.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I need a longer line corset

Did my fitting for my teens era corset and realized something. Bridges on the Body has a much shorter torso than I. She has a pattern for a 1910 - 1914 corset on her website, and since it was the subject of a sew-a-long, all the steps for making it are laid out on the site. So I printed the pattern, scaled it up, and added some extra width to the waist to make it fit (my hip and underbust measurements are the same as the corset's, but my waist is not that tiny). Try it on and wow, the top edge of the corset is a solid 3 inches from my underbust. The back bones need to be shorter than the actual length of the corset so that you don't sit on them, however with me the back edge of the corset didn't even touch the chair. So for my long line corset I need a longer line pattern.

The only real frustration is the fact the genius idea of making the mock-up with one inch seam allowances and trying it on inside out so you can adjust the seams without having to cut new pieces is all for not, since I'm going to have to draft new, longer pieces. Stupid long torso.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A New Year . . .

. . . A new line of challenges.

My failed attempt to make the Mary of Hapsburg hemd in time for the last Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge was partly due to the fact it needed full concentration and thus couldn't be combined with Netflix, and partly because I came up with a couple of awesome present ideas so they took priority. I still have presents to finish, but here are my current plans for 2015.

1915 outfit. There's a centennial celebration in San Diego in April, which will be enough time to put together a lovely outfit. I almost have the combination done.

Steampunk Wood Elf, for no particular reason. I just got the urge one day.

Gambeson, for my friend. It is more or less assembled, but I still need to quilt the bastard.

Mary of Hapsburg hemd, since I didn't get it done last year.

Costumes for Pasadena Con. This year I'm going easier, possibly 1950s. There will also be a skit to go with the outfits instead of just straight costumes.

18th Century stays. I started on a 1780s pair, but I may switch to 1740s for no reason *cough* Outlander *cough*.

No other plans at the moment, but I'm sure other things will get tacked on as time goes by.