Monday, May 30, 2011

A proper Lady doesn't talk about this...

Hello fans ;)

I'm right back again, this time with victorian underwear (again somehow).
During the last weeks and last weekend I made an underwear corset and a set of another chemise and drawers (called unmentionables, as you wouldn't speak about it openly- which might be the cause why I'm still wondering how they tended to/managed certain "natural business" back then...-.-')

Thinking about the possible weather/temperature at Whitsun, I decided that I needed a more lightweight, comfortable "summer corset". There's no way I will be wearing the *wool* corset under the *wool* jacket and *wool* skirt... in June!
So a simple underwear corset was in order. I chose a medium weight cotton twill as fabric for both layers (to not make the mistake of getting rubbing bones again), which is not as sturdy as coutil, but it has a nice structure and is sturdy enough to hold my small form. Also I thought that the minimal stretch is working towards comfort.

I had been thinking alot about how to construct it... single layer, double layer, what kind of bone casings, cording or not, embroidery or not, etc etc.
Also I had two patterns to choose from: the Truly Victorian 110 corset, which I would have needed to shorten abit at the top to get it back to semibust or a semibust corset pattern based on the late 1880s corset from Norah Waugh's "Corsets and Crinolines", mixed with a bit of the "black with yellow flossing" corset (1890-1900) from Jill Salen's book "Corsets". The latter was neccessary as the C&C corset uses a spoon busk, while the other has a straight busk, just like I was going to use. So I adjusted the front panels a bit.
Both corset patterns had some cording at the bust and I thought a lot time about doing it, too and even made a few testers with different cords, but then decided against it. I will do it on another corset, that's for sure, but I will need to change the construction and pattern a bit for it first...

So as my new shiny sewing machine has some nice flowery decor stitches, I decided that I would "embroider" the boning channels at the seams with them, using a glossy silk thread.

Thinking about how the bones would be put in later, I had to "embroider" the panels already before topstitching, to keep them open for the bones. So I atteched the boning channel tape to the panels, as they shouldn't show on the outside, joinded the pieces, pressed and "embroidered" next to the seamlines. Then added the waist tape, put in the busk and pinned the two layers together at the seams. Only then I could topstitch the fashion layer to build the bone casings along the seams. I'm really happy it stayed also neat on the inside, even without basting the seams first.
After that, I cut the bones, put them in, and closed the top and bottom. Then I had to tea-dye the cotton bias tape and corset lace to match the off white color of the twill. Depending on the light, the color of the bias tape is very close to the twill color, maybe a bit darker (after having it in the tea only for like 5 seconds), but still lighter than a cream colored tape.

Gah, I'm rambling are the pictures:
Isn't that an awesome shape? And it's really comfortable. Back then they really knew how to shape corsets to be worn all day.
On my adjustable dress form. I set it to the smallest size possible and the corset doesn't fit perfect (dolly is not squishable), but fairly well to give a nice victorian look combined with the other garments.

Also here are some detail shots:

So in conclusion, I'm very happy with this corset. It has it's flaws but it is much better than my last one. There's still some digging in the back, but I bent the CB-bones over the edge of the table outwards a bit and it feels much better. Next time I will try and add a little room to the CB edge, so it won't be straight but going outwards abit from the waist down. That's what you would do with regular body blocks to accomodate a hollow back.
Also next time I will try less bones... this one has really many (like in C&C) and a different placement of the internal channels, as some interfered a bit with the seam lines and the boning channels there. And of course I will try the cording.
The only other thing that I'm abit unhappy about is that the, so far awesomely even, feed of my machine messed up a bit and dragged some of the flowers really long. I don't know how this happened, but it did quite a few times... I didn't pull or push the fabric, just guided it. I need to figure this out, too, as the testers went well.

Okay, I  said enough about the corset, so I will cut the other garments shorter... there's not so much to tell about them anyway.
Chemise and Drawers are both made from two old bedsheets from my grandma and I tried to keep her initials in. The patterns are from "Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol.1" both.
For the drawers I used the rest of the lace from the other undergarments, for the chemise some bobbinlace I had bought also years ago already and never used so far (I'm really bad in using/cutting up nice stuff ^^, I keep and keep it for a really good/big project and never dare to use it - stupid I know). Add some dark red poly-ribbon and you're ready to go.
This chemise has a smaller sleeve and narrow shoulders, still there's much fabric bunching under my arms when the drawstring is pulled tight. I need to cut the armcycle lower next time I think... or I need to fix the gathers in front and back and keep the shoulders/sleeve portion straight. Any advice on that matter?

Then the drawers, I made a set of pictures with the chemise tucked in and one without the chemise.

 The kneeband sits just above the knee now, it actually should sit below. I'm not sure about letting the tucks out again to lengthen it or leave it this short. It's not uncomfortable to wear like this as the kneeband can't drift upwards when moving or sitting down.
The hem is done with a scalloped machine stitch and the excess fabric cut off (what a task, to cut out those tiny curves^^)
Oh and in case you didn't notice, the drawers are open ones.
What I really like about them is that you don't have to worry about your ass looking big... it will no matter what *lol*, but you can hide it and just blame the drawers *muahaha*

Okay, so if you want to know anymore details, just ask. Also tell me how you like my "Unmentionables", constructive critique is welcome as well.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stripey intermezzo

Hello my dears!

I'm sorry I have been mia so much again here recently, I just didn't get around to work on the pictures and post them here. Still I haven't been lazy these last 4 weeks.

Three weekends ago I decided to make a little "side project". The hat was done so far, I had to wait for the wigblock (I still do btw...argh) and my sister's birthday was ahead.

Some while ago she had asked me to make her a striped jacket like the one Rihanna wore in her "What's my name" video.
While she had visited in February, I already had ordered the fabric, so all I needed to do was making a pattern.

At first I wanted to draft it entirely myself, but then decided against it as I wasn't in the mood to draft a two piece sleeve with my pattern system. This is really annoying ^^. So thanks to Mommy, I now own two "old" (something early 2000ish) issues of Burda for petite sizes (sisterli and I run rather short, while Mommy needs the tall sizes -.-). She had sent them some weeks ago, when she went through her stack of magazines and sorted out what she wanted to keep and what to throw or give away. Thinking that I have the best use for short size patterns she send me three mags.

I looked through them and luckily found a blazer pattern that had a cut on standing collar and two piece sleeve. So I traced this and altered it to the desired shape and proportions.

The construction was rather simple, as the striped twill was sturdy enough to not needing any interfacings. Also there are no fancy details like pockets or a lapel collar, you know, stuff that isn't difficult but takes a lot of time ^^. The lining is made of left over fabric of Mommy's wedding dress (don't worry I didn't cut up the dress, the fabric is still left from when she made it... so it's older than me)

So the whole thing was done between Friday night (pattern making) and Sunday afternoon.
And this is what I got then:

Except from the basic torso shape and the sleeve there's not much left of the original blazer pattern. The waist was shortened in the back and sides, the front edge shaped in this huge "lapel". When sewing it up and trying it on inbetween I needed to make a few alterations. The shoulder was way too wide and the sleeve cap too high. So I put it on the dolly and pinned it the right way, cut the excess off and sewed it in again. Also I had to reshape the back bottom edge a bit as it sloped downwards at the center back... I made it straight, cut a new facing and adjusted the lining.
But I also learned something new: With the cut on standing collar there is a dart following the line of the colloar downwards to where usually the lapels turn. I had made such a dart before but different. The instructions of Burda said to sew the whole thing, dart-collar-dart, in one go. I was a bit sceptical if this would work, but with a little clipping of seam allowances it worked very well... Awesome, I will keep that in mind.

I'm really happy with the result and the best thing is- it fit's *yay*. I was afraid that it might not fit her, as she has a rather broad back an much more chest than I've got.

Still Burda won't be my most favourite pattern companion I'm afraid. I haven't made overly bad experiences so far, but there are always things that confuse me and make me doubting the fit. Here it was the arm cycle. The front was really hollow and rounded while the back was rather flat and making a wide back. The shape was kind of reverse to what I'm used to from my pattern system, where the back arm cycle is bigger and more rounded than the front cycle. When trying it on at the end it felt pretty tight around the back when moving my arms forward. So I was afraid that it might be too tight for sisterli's broader back.
Also I had to think alot about what size to trace... Usually Burda (the pattern in magazines, not the ones to buy extra) runs rather big, so I traced two sizes smaller than the size chart told me and added a bit width in the center back and at the sides right under the arms, to meet my sister's chest measurement better and leave enough ease.

I'm really glad that sisterli likes it and it fits, I hope to get a pic of her wearing it soon. So far it had been too cold up there in Finland...maybe when she moves to Spain in August she'll be able to wear it *lol*

Okay that was my little "stripey intermezzo". Stay tuned for something unmentionable victorian soon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Off with the head... erm hat, I mean

Hey guys!

Here I am again and I can announce that the hat is done (well except for a hat elastic which will be attached after I'm more sure about how I will wear my hair).
I spent the last days decorating it, staring Sunday with shaping and curling the ostrich feathers, pleating the 1" wide red satin ribbon with my ruffler (yes I used the machine here, I hope you can forgive me ^^) and draping and pinning the flowers in place. Oh and I also changed the shape again, with both sides going down now, giving it a bonnet like shape.

Front, back, left side, right side.
I wasn't sure about this design, so I asked Snowlady and KleineFrau for their opinion and they both said there were too many feathers on it.
Hmpf and here I spent half the day shaping them and making them looking nice and fluffy, what a shame.
I de-feathered the hat anyway which looked like this:
I tried a version with the grey feathers and one without. Snowlady agreed that the one with grey feathers looks better. So my design was done *yay*
So on Monday night I started with sewing the ribbon together in the back, fixing the feathers to each other by sewing them and securing the threads with some glue. It's the only spot on the hat where I used glue!!
Tuesday morning I continued sewing on the flowers and green stuff. I attached everything only to the ribbon, so I can take it of at once and redecorate the hat if I wish.
Halfway though:
And done:
Tuesday night I sewed on the last two flowers and secured the ribbon bows in the back. Also I fixed the ribbon to the hat with a few stitches at four points to keep it in place.
I'm pretty happy with the result, now I only need to make some proper hair to go with it *lol*
I also ordered a wig stand, so I hope I can show you better pics of the hat soon and with a closer "on the head" feeling ^^ Until it arrives the milk pot has to do.
How do you like the hat??

Oh and before I forget it, I wanna show you the carpet bag. I made it on Saturday afternoon and evening.

I even found two matching buttons in my statsh. I got them from a family friend back home, who had me going through her sewing stuff some time ago and take what I needed, cool huh? 
I'm really happy that the bag handles match so great in colour. It's always hard to tell when you're ordering online. I put two flatsteel bones in the top to keep the edges straight. Ordering a real bag frame would have taken too long and cost too much (one in the right size was only available in the US - yikes, shipping costs).

Okay, that's it for tonight. I'm not sure what I will be working on next... there are quite a few things on my table that want/need to be made... but for some I need to wait for supplies to arrive first. Decisions, decisions...

Thanks for reading, see ya soon