Friday, 29 March 2013

A Matter of Corsets

So, since defrosting from the Vintage fair, which was outside, (dozy me- didn't register that the cloisters in a cathedral would be out in the open) I haven't ventured into my work space much apart from to tackle essential woodwind repairs; ie, earn some money. The main reason being, well, I've gone on about the weather enough I feel, and at the risk of becoming a bore, its just too damn cold. Wind blowing from the wrong direction, a draught through the door and a tiled floor make it prohibitive for a wuss such as myself to want to enter.

Anyway, to corsets. I don't know why I feel the desire to make one of these things. I've only made a couple of dresses and skirts in my time and there's a lot more, as I am discovering, that goes into the building of these things. A corset is made to your exact measurements, not just bust, waist and hips, but also the distance in between. You can buy commercial patterns, but I (perhaps foolishly) went with drawing one up myself, armed with the sources of 'The Express Corsettry Course' DVD and Julia Bremble's 'Corset Making' ebook. The Express Corsettry Course comes with a CD ROM which has twenty patterns to use and details of how to make it up to fit your measurements. There is some calculation involved, but if I can manage it, anyone can!

I decided to make a long line under bust corset. Two reasons. An over bust corset looked more complicated, and long line avoids any muffin top style spill over- the Zumba classes are working but its steady progress!
The first thing to do is make up a draught from calico. With this you can test the fit, make any adjustments and it also gives you practise at putting in the busk which is the fastening at the front.
I am making a very simple one layer corset. The boning will be held in place with boning tape. Julia Bremble's ebook takes you through some very detailed procedures and both are excellent for showing you videos of how to do certain things which as much more explanatory than just words. For a first shot, however, I wanted it to be as simple as possible. The way I am making mine, I can always unpick and resew a section if the fit isn't quite right.
I made this a couple of months ago. I usually like to crack on with something once I start it, but for some reason I've been stalling on this. I got bogged down in the details. There are so many different ways to make one and choices of fabrics to use. For this first one I am using a black coutil which is a herringbone weave that doesn't give. So this is where I'm at now.
The pieces are sewn together and the busk is in. The next step is to fit the eyelets at the back and lace it up, then I can check the fit on myself properly. After that, sew in the boning tape, cut the bones to length then bind the top and bottom. Simples.

In a less complicated project, I made some hand warmers/fingerless gloves to match my Ruffled Steampunk scarf. These are just a rectangle of fleece sewn up the sides, leaving a gap for the thumb after decorating as you wish.

If only it wasn't so cold I don't want to expose my fingers to it just yet!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Hey, come back Spring...

And that is why I don't make New Years Resolutions. I don't normally make a list of things to do without putting at least a couple at the top that are already done. It's a psychological thing. So the moment I resolve to spend more time on my blog/ Folksy site etc... Nothing! Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. I have got myself more organised in regards to home and children but at the obvious detriment to other things. Must try harder.
So this evening I am preparing for the first craft show of the year. It's a Vintage Fair and I have high hopes. Moderately high hopes. Thing is with these things you never can tell how they'll go and external influences like THE SNOW can have a big effect. Earlier this week we were out in the garden. I was contemplating things horticultural, which for me is going it some; we had got the girls toys out and they had spent two afternoons straight from school into the garden.
Now the cold, white stuff has returned and I have no desire to go anywhere closer to the garden than just looking at it through the back door.
And I'm writing this on the iPhone app and wondering again how to insert pictures into the text. Hmm. Another fail. Oh well, can only get better from here on in! So I'll leave you with some photos of what I've made for the Vintage fair. I'm launching into project corset next week, so I'll try and keep you updated on progress. (May have bitten off more than I can chew there!)