Ohh La La Pin Up Sew Along... Adding your boning.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yesterday, Anna put together a great post on how to bone the seams of your corset. Like Anna, I am only boning the Side Front, Side Back, and on either side of my eyelets - giving me a total of 8 bones in total. You can add more if you like!

This corset sits fairly low over the hips. Because of this, I am not boning the entire length of my seams. Prior to adding my contrasting bone channels, I made small "tacks" where I want the bone to stop. You can choose to bone the entire length.

Anna and I are both using plastic boning - Anna is using this amazing vintage Featherbone and I am using modern plastic boning. Both come in a casing, that will be removed.

Round off the end of your boning with scissors. Smooth off any rough edges with a file.

Insert your bone into your french seam "Casing". It's pretty tight, but you should have just enough room to squeeze the bone through the case.

Next we're onto binding and eyelets! How is everyone progressing? Have you hit any road blocks?

My Favourite Yet!

I'm really excited about the new pieces I've just finished drafting.  For this bra, I was inspired by the amazing lines in this 1930's strapless bra from the Victoria and Albert Museum. It's hard to believe this piece is nearly 80 years old.  It looks so modern in its construction.  I wanted to draft something similar, with the mesh panels and sweeping lines, but in a less structured style, and with straps.  This is what I came up with:

The cup is lined in soft beige lining, and the centre panel and upper left panel are self lined in satin. I bound the upper edge in bias binding, eased on with elastic to help give it stretch and support.  The bottom band is trimmed with plush elastic. It's a very comfortable, supportive bra for something so light weight and with no wires or padding!

My dress form doesn't quite "fill out" the cups the way a real body does.  It really creates a nice shape.  I am so happy with how this pattern turned out.  It needs just a few more tweaks and will be ready to go! I sewed my sample in a stretch polyester satin and stretch lace.  The nice thing about these fabrics is they are easy to wash and care for... but it could be made in nearly any fabric imaginable! I think it would look cute in a floral.  What do you think?

New Patterns and Pieces

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aside from the Sew Along, I've been busy drafting new patterns for a new collection of pieces, more 40's and 40's inspired, more utilitarian and less ruffled. I'll still have some ruffles, but just a little less. These pieces will have lots of stretch mesh, interesting lines, appliquéd lace bows and hearts, and will involve classic prints like polka dot, leopard print, and some unique, large florals. It is pretty different from my ruffle bloomers... and I hope people will like it!

I've been obsessing over Pinterest lately, and have created a board almost entirely of vintage lingerie and swim suits. I've been drawing a lot of inspiration from the stitching lines used in retro lingerie, as well as the insertion lace & appliqués, and bubble hip bathing suits of the '50s. The flounce top with the scalloped edge is going to have insertion sequin mesh, if I can figure out how to make it look just right. For now, I've just pinned on the rough design I'd like to use.

I have also been toying with the idea of selling patterns, but I don't know whether I would be shooting myself in the foot, or if people would even be interested!

Ohh La La Pin Up Sew Along... Add Contrasting Bone Casings

Sunday, February 26, 2012

If you want to add some contrast to your corset, adding contrasting boning channels is an easy way to do it. You will need a yard of contrasting fabric - any type will do, but avoid knits. I'm working with a pale pink charmeuse.

Before adding these contrasting bands, make small tacks where the boning is to end on your bone channels. I am not boning the entire length of my seams in this corset. The pattern is marked where the bones are to stop.

Because I am working with a flimsy fabric, I am cutting my bias strips quite wide, at 1 ½” - bias strips are made by cutting the fabric on a 45 degree angle. If you are using an easier to manage fabric, you may want to cut your strips narrower, by about 1/4". We're going to end up with a strip that is 1/2" wide.

Fold your raw edges in and press with a hot iron, so you end up with a ½” wide strip of bias - I trimmed off excess as I folded. Wider strips of flimsy fabric like charmeuse are easier to work with, and cut down as you go.

If it is easier for you, pin your bias strip over your seam, or simply hold as you go. Your bias strip should be just a “smidge” wider than your top stitched seam. Stitch it down, as close to the edges as you can! You should be just about stitching over your to stitching.

So, Why can’t you just stitch on a bone casing line this to put your bone under? Well, you can - if you are using something like a twill tape casing, or a sturdier fabric. With a single layer of charmeuse, your bone will quickly, and I mean quickly work its way through these bias strips. Your bone needs a couple of layers to sit in between, in order to have a garment that will last.

And there you are - contrasting bone channels!

What kind of embellishments have you added so far? 

Ohh La La Pin Up Sew Along... Preparing Your Center Back Pieces - Eyelet Version

For Corsets that will lace, iron your interfacing on the wrong side of your self fabric. If you are not using a lining of any sort trim back your interfacing piece by 1/2".

Place your lining over top, and fold your facing over approximately ½”, and again 1 ½”, so you have something that looks like this. Press into place!

Stitch along the edge of your facing. Stitch another row ⅜” in from that (towards the center back), and a 3rd row of stitching ⅜” in from your center back line. You will now have 2 casings for bones, on either side where your eyelets will go. This will reinforce your eyelets and prevent them from pulling or popping out.

You should now have a something that looks like a corset. Here's what the inside of mine looks like, flat lined. Neat and tidy!

Ohh La La Pin Up Sew Along... Sewing your French seams.

There is no one “Right” way to sew a garment. This corset can be finished any number of ways - lined, flat lined, sewn in bone casings, flat felled seams... What ever works for you.

My Cotton, flat lined corset is sewn with stitched down french seams, which form the bone casings. I stitched decorative strips of bias cut satin over my casings for some contrast.

The width of seam you use will depend on the amount of seam allowance you added to your pattern and the width of your boning. I am using ¼” boning, and have drafted ⅝” seam allowances. Here is how I am sewing my seams:

If you are flat lining your corset, Treat your lining and your self piece as 1 piece of fabric.

Wrong sides together, pin your seams in place, stitch ¼” in from raw edge.

If you are flat lining your corset, to prevent too much bulk in your seams, trim back the excess, staggering the layers.

Press, and fold right sides together so your first seam is encased. Stitch ⅜” in, and press to one side. Stitching as close to the edge of your seam as you can, top stitch the seam down.

There are lots of layers in there! The boning will get inserted right into these channels. Be precise with your stitching, or it will get tight to put your boning in!

Ohh La La Pin Up Sew Along... Sewing your Muslin.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I have to admit... I can be a lazy sewist, when I am sewing for myself, but lingerie muslins take no time to sew, because they are so small! No need to worry about interfacings or linings for your mock-up -You just need something to test your fit!

For my muslin, I did not worry about sewing flat felled seams, like I will be sewing in my finished garment. I stitched regular seams, 5/8" in from the raw edge and pressed flat. The pieces fit together perfectly - great work on Anna's part!

For the laced corset - On the centre back pannel, fold your 2" extension flap over (towards the inside), press, and stitch 3/8" in from the centre back edge to form a bone casing, and again 1 1/2" in from the center back. We will add 2 bones to the mock up corset to test the fit. Insert a bone along the centre back, beside where the corset will lace. Always round off the edges of your boning, to prevent the bone from wearing through your fabric.

Instead of using eyelets on your mock-up, make a mark every 1 1/2" down where your lacing will go and make a small button hole - this will allow you to lace up your corset to test the fit, without any waste of precious eyelets!

You now have a corset that laces up the back! Try it on and see how it fits.

Mine looked good from the front, but didn't quite do up all the way in the back. I added 1/8" of an inch to the side front and side back seam, which corrected the fit.

Oooo... Curvy! Va va va voom!

For those of you making a hook and eye corset, if you have extra hook and eye tape, you can add some to your muslin to test your fit.

Remember to transfer any changes you made to your muslin, over to your pattern.

So, how did your muslins fit? Did you need to make a lot of adjustment?

Ooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along... Grading Your Pattern Up Or Down.

Anna wrote an amazing post on grading your corset pattern up or down. You can easily apply her method to any pattern that you are looking to resize.

Following Anna's directions, you can also easily extend the length of your corset for those with long or short waists (like little ol' me!) by cutting and extending, or shortening your pattern up or down, and re-curving your lines.

Head on over to A Few Threads Loose to read Anna's instructions on Grading your pattern, or read on below...

Ooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along... Corset boning and why you need it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are you stumped as to what kind of boning to use in your corset? Read about Anna's awesome vintage find, and different boning types below:

When to Use Boning, and What Kind
The question is, are you wearing it to the bedroom or the boardroom?
Boning your corset is always best, to be honest. In my experience, unless it’s hiding under a dress, bedroom lingerie has a shelf life of about 2.5 minutes before it lands on the floor. That 2.5 minutes doesn’t require too much support. The main point of the side boning in this corset is to keep it from folding and bunching up on you when you bend over.
(I’m sorry, I’m immature, and I’m giggling at all the double entendres as I write this.)

There are several kinds of boning that you can use both new and vintage.

Vintage Notions:
My mother, the fantastic vintage dealer and former custom corset-maker literally has buildings full of vintage clothing, patterns, ribbon, fabric, notions and a million other things. Last summer on a visit home she and I dug through boxes and boxes and I stumbled across more than one large box that was overflowing with old bias tape, rick rack, needles, ribbons, spools of thread, and to my delight, a box of Warren’s Featherbone.

Needless to say, I bought an extra suitcase to drag the contents of the box home with me.

Since I’m using vintage satin and lace, it’s obvious I need to throw some vintage boning in the mix.
The Featherbone seams to be a somewhat flexible fiber and plastic composite material already covered in a neatly stitched casing.

It’s not too easy to find but so far I love working with it. There’s a box of it for sale here.

I'm so excited about Anna's Vintage Boning Find, and can't wait to see her finished corset! It sounds like it will be a beautiful reproduction piece.

Here is a rundown of common types of boning that you might want to use in your corset:

Most corsets of the 1940’s and 1950’s would have used flexible plastic boning but there are several kinds of boning you can choose from. Throughout time, people have used everything from baleine (whale bone) to reeds to stiffen their undergarments. Here is a run down of some relatively easy to find boning.

Spiral steel boning is made of a flattened, coiled metal. It is very flexible, and can be purchased by the yard or in pre-cut lengths. Spiral boning comes in different widths - the wider the bone, the more supportive. Spiral boning works nicely to shape the sides of corsets. When buying yardage of this type of boning, you will need to purchase bone tips to cover the raw ends of the bones.

Spring steel bones are very rigid, plastic coated metal bones. These are are very strong bones that are somewhat flexible, but do not easily bend. Spring steel bones come in differing widths and thickness. The thicker the bone, the less flexible it will be. Spring steel bones are great for putting on either side of your lacing, to help reinforce your eyelets, or down a flat front corset.

Plastic boning is the most common type of boning. It comes in different densities and thicknesses. Regular Plastic boning (sometimes called featherweight) is a thicker boning, that generally comes in ¼” widths. Rigilene boning is a lighter weight boning that can be easily sewn through, and tacked into place. Either type of boning is suitable for the corset girdle. Plastic boning is quite flexible, but can retain bends, unlike spiral steel boning. Most plastic boning is sold in a casing.
A combination of Spring and Spiral Steel bones will make for a more durable corset that will take off more inches. Plastic boning is quite comfortable, easy to care for, and good for every day wear.

http://www.farthingales.on.ca/ Canadia corsetry and costuming supplies.
http://www.corsetmaking.com/ a US Based corset supply retailer.
http://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/ a UK Based corset supply retailer.

More on your muslin next.

Ooh La La Pin Up Sew Along: Printing Your Pattern & Adding Seam Allowances

Monday, February 20, 2012

Anna has posted a similar post on how to print and use your pdf pattern - Please follow Anna's instructions if you plan on using hook and eye tape to close your corset. If you are planning on using eyelets to lace your corset close, follow my instructions below!

Print out your corset garter belt pattern on regular, letter size paper, making sure the printer scaling is at 100%. Arrange each piece on a large work space. Cut and tape each corresponding piece together, like so:

Using tracing paper, trace each piece in your size. I am adding my seam allowance to my traced pattern pieces.
Once you have carefully traced each piece and all markings, add your seam allowance. I am using flat felled seams to encase my 1/4" boning. I am adding a total of 5/8" to each side of each panel, except for the centre front panel, which is to be cut on the fold. I have not added seam allowance to the top or bottom, because I plan on binding my edges.

For corsets that will lace - add 2" to the centre back seam. This will form a facing. We will also need to draft an interfacing piece to reinforce this section.

Why do you need to face and interface this section? There will be a lot of pull on the grommets - if they are set through 1 layer of fabric they are going to work their way through in no time. You will also want to add boning along either side of the eyelets to prevent "scrunching" (ick!), and the facing will form your bone casing.

Measuring in 2" from the centre back line, draw a line straight up (parallel to the centre back line).
Extend the interfacing pattern piece all the way along the 2" extension so you get a large rectangular piece that looks like this:

Voila! Your pattern for an laced corset is complete! You are now ready to use your pattern pieces to cut out your muslin.

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