Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Steampunk Corsetry

Did everyone have a super Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Festivus/other December holiday occurrence? I did!

I was especially pleased to finish my trial corset in time to wear it to a few parties. I learned a few things about corsetry at the same time. For example, when they say "Boots first, then corset" they're not kidding. I had to have Dave tie my shoes! And that it's really best to believe yourself when you take measurements. 

When I drafted my corset pattern, my waist to hip measurement was something like three inches. (I have a really short torso; my height is all in the legs.) I compared that to the six inches that the sample pattern showed and thought I must have measured wrong. Thinking that perhaps it would be nice to have a little more length on the hip to really smooth my figure, I added a few inches. 

I used a brown wool for the front and sides, and a brown satin for the back panels, to give the look of a vest. I used interfacing to bond the fashion fabric to the brown duck cloth I used for the lining, which reduced fraying significantly and  made sewing the panels together much easier.  I got that idea from Cathrin Åhlén's corset-sewing tutorial . That girl is one smart cookie! 

Cotton duckcloth lining. Sturdy, inexpensive, and kind of boring. 

The fun side! 
I stitched three channels of boning into the front panel instead of using a busk. Next time I think I will use a busk to make it easier to put on/take off, but this worked out fine and really, it is just a practice corset.  I used 1/4" cable ties for boning, and along with the seams, that makes for a fairly supportive garment. Steel boning would be fantastic but I'll save that for when I'm making a really professional model. 

Seal brown half-inch double-fold bias tape finished the top and bottom, and I set in eleven grommets on either side of the back panels, and then I laced it up and took it for a test drive.

It's hard to take a good picture of oneself. Plus the lighting was an issue.
You see what the problem is there? Yeah. It's about three inches too long at the bottom. 

My dog can shoot lasers from her eyes.
We were heading out to a party that night, so there was no time for me to reshape the bottom line. I wore it as it was and decided I'd just not sit down. Who needs to sit down at a holiday cocktail party, right? Turns out it was a dinner party and chairs were kind of a big part of the experience. I discovered the cable ties allowed me to fold the bottom up a bit, thus preventing the topline from rocketing up and forcing my boobs into my neck, but like I said at the beginning -- lesson learned! This is why making a practice garment is an important step, and trusting your measurements, even if they aren't the same as somebody else's.

Oh, and the parrot?  That's Mossberg. He's animatronic, kind of hilarious (the fez was my own touch of fancy) and was only $5 at a thrift shop. Want one of your own? Try Amazon. 

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