New underbust corset

Remember how my last underbust corset started out as a mock-up? When I started the mock-up I already had the fabric I wanted to make the corset in. Those plans got delayed though, as I decided to just fully finish the mock-up. I’ve now finally finished the underbust it was supposed to be!

This was the fabric that inspired me:

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I slightly adapted the pattern from the last fit, making it a little smaller in the lower front section. Next was cutting out the fabric. This actually took quite some time, as I had a printed cotton I wanted to use, and I wanted to keep the image intact. It took some laying out (and laying out, and laying out), but I think it worked (after shifting everything about 5 times) and I even have quite some fabric left. Not knowing how I’d need to space the pieces I made sure to get enough. The final lay-out:

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As you can see in the image, both the left & right side are layed out here. I used the pattern pieces from the original underbust to fill the other side, the differences were quite small and this allowed me to see if I had enough fabric. Obviously, I used the correct ones for cutting out.

I didn’t take any pictures during construction this time, but I did try something new! (aside from the pattern-matching, because doing that for the first time was a perfect moment to try a new technique…). Previously I’ve used the ‘stitch-in-the-ditch’ method, using very wide seam allowances and folding them back on both sides to create channels, using bone-casings on the inside not following the seams and using bone-casings on the outside following the seams. For this corset, I used the welt-seam method, constructing it both layers at the same time front to back while enclosing the seam allowances between them. I think it worked okay, and I quite like the technique, although I’m not sure it’s best for pattern matching. It requires you to pin both the strength layer and the fashion layer at separate sides to the previous panel, which makes it a bit fiddly. It gives a very nice finish though! I used coutil (also a first, it’s a lot sturdier than previous corsets now!), and I didn’t line the corset as all the seams are nicely hidden.

I’m not 100% happy with how the pattern-matching turned out, but for a first try I think it worked okay. I was also too lazy to un-pick anything, as it’s only noticeable from up close where the matching is not perfect, so it’s entirely my own fault.

I do still really like the fabric for corsetry, and it was another good learning experience doing new things! Some images of the finished corset.

The front:

& the back:

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And laying flat (sort off). As you can see, it’s a lot smoother on me, but this shows off the pattern.

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New skirts

Every single time I make modern skirt after finishing a historical project, I’m surprised by how quick it is. It might also help that I’ve done skirts a lot of times, while every historical project is full with new things. But it always feels good to finish a project in just a couple of hours, very fulfilling.

The first skirt is 50’s style. It consists of 8 triangle-shaped panels, gathered at the top to fit a waistband and closes with an invisible zipper in the back. I just barely managed to get this out of 1,5 m of 1,5 m wide fabric, by cutting off-grain. Maybe next time I’ll get a little bit more, but for now it worked!

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The hem is the lazy version, zig-zagged and then just turned once.

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The zipper goes up to the waistband, which is kept close by a little hook and eye. Because sewing a blind zipper into a stiffened waistband is a pain, and this works just as well.

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The panels are tapered, but still too wide at the top to fit my measurement, so they’re gathered onto the waistband.

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The other skirt is made with fabric I ordered from Spoonflower back in December. The fabric is an adaptation of the painting ‘the Swing’, by Fragonard. The fabric just shows the lady on the swing losing her shoe, but the original painting includes a gentleman perfectly positioned to look under her skirts. Which becomes even more meaningful if one knows that ankles were considered more risque than a decollete, and that ladies at the time didn’t wear drawers.

The fabric is a repeat of this part. It’s not quite as sharp as I’d hoped, but still a nice fabric. I got the cheapest cotton, as it was a bit of a try out. Next time I’ll probably get one a little thicker, because it’s very crispy and thin, and wrinkles quickly.

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The skirt is a rectangle, pleated to a waistband:

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I used two strips for the rectangle, and I think I managed to pattern-match the front quite well!

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The closure is again an invisible zipper and a hook and eye to close the waistband. (Forgive the wrinkling, I’d been wearing the skirt right before the picture, and as this is the part I sit on…)

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I finished the hem with a little strip of antique lace I got a while ago. It’s really small and delicate, but I think it suits the skirt.

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Sewing – modern with a classic twist

There’s a bi-yearly fabric market which also stops in the town where I live, and I always try to make time to go. This year, there were a lot of digitally printed fabrics. Not very suitable for historical sewing, but they do come in some great prints. I saw a couple which I just couldn’t resist and bought them. Only problem; they were jersey fabrics, which I hadn’t got a lot of experience with. So I sought a sewing magazine with some suitable patterns in it (also on the market), checked the yardage and bought the fabric. My goal was to make 2 jersey dresses which would be suitable for work and wearing in winter. Most of my dresses are summer dresses (i.e. don’t have sleeves or only very short ones), or are either too short or too fancy to wear to work. So I figured they’d make a good addition to my wardrobe. The patterns were published in the Dutch Knipmode magazine of November 2014. The only change I made was to lengthen the 3/4 sleeves to long ones.

Given that this was the first time working with a pattern for stretch fabric, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

The first fabric is a greyscale compilation of what looks like vintage children’s advertisements. I combined it with black jersey for the skirt. (The dress sits a lot better over my hips than those of my dummy by the way, the weird shape is gone if I wear it).

The full dress:

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A close-up of the neckline:

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A detail of the fabric: (pattern-matched at the back). I loved these little girls!

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The back of the bodice:

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The second fabric was the one which originally cought my eye. It’s a mix of an antique corset, roses, thread scissors, sewing machine charms and sewing dummy advertisements. I abselutely couln’t resist. This time I used only the print fabric. This dress has the same skirt pattern as the first one, but a slightly different bodice and neckline.

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A close-up of the pleating in the bodice and skirt.

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Close-up of the neckline.

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A close-up of the corset on the print.

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And another close-up of the fabric.

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Additionally, I also made myself 2 new belts recently. I own one black elastic belt, which I wear all the time. It’s also perfect for these dresses, to break-up the look a bit. I wanted more belt like this, but it was difficult finding non-plain black wide elastic which would suit. Luckily, there’s a store in Utrecht which carries absolutely everything considering lace, ribbon, elastic, buttons and closures you could ever want, so I found 2 lovely elastics and closures there.

There’s one with a silver closure:

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And one with a gold one:

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And a quick peek at what it looks like with the dress:

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