Thought I might share some pictures from projects I did in the last year, kinda bring you up to date on all the things I've tried since I started sewing a a year ago. It all began with a half-yard of dark green cotton velveteen bought from a yard sale for fifty cents.
Let me say that price again, beca-- oh, hell. You know the drill by now: Crazy good price.
What inspired me to make a top hat, I could not say. Actually, I could say, but it's not very interesting and really wouldn't explain anything very well unless you knew me really well. But there I was at a neighbor's yard sale, and I picked up the velveteen and was all like "Whoa, this would make a wicked top hat. ...I bet I could make one!" And the rest is historical fashion ...history. Or something. Anyway, here:
Lesson learned? Besides a seam allowance, you need to start with your hat form slightly too big, so when you add the lining and everything it's not too small for your head. Also, cut the cloth on the bias, but make your frame on grain. To do otherwise is asking for a hat that will willingly crumple when the least amount of tension is put on it, making it impossible to make the velvet cover nice and smooth. This looks like something out of Emmett_Kelly's wardrobe.
After the disappointment of the hat, I decided that what I really needed to do was make a corset. Again, I can't explain what made me think that a corset was any way to start fresh on my sewing career, but there ya go. So I hauled out the ol' Singer, bought a yard of green damask upholstery fabric and two 12-packs of inexpensive hacksaw blades for stays, and got crazy. Something about working the anglegrinder in the garage to smooth the sawblades made me feel all steampunk-y. Here's a pic.
For a first timer, I think I did very well. I used the by-now famous Custom Corset Pattern Generator (http://elizabethancostume.net/custompat/) with a few adjustments, and I'm basically pleased with the results.
I used green velveteen left over from the hat fiasco to bind the edges. That's recycling, kids!
I have the best posture in the world with this thing on. I used part of a heavy wooden yardstick from Home Depot for a busk. It laces up the back through brass grommets, in a criss-cross style that I learned from a burlesque website. *blush*
Now that I've become a bit more edumicated on proper Elizabethan corsetry, I'm making a proper one based on E's effigy corset. Woot!