Thursday, April 28, 2011

Looks like it's going to be a hat...

Hello my friends,

so much time has passed already since my last post. Bad me... I hope you had some nice Easter-holidays.
I had hoped to post this way earlier, but I never got around to do it. I even put the pictures on my USB-stick and took them home with me over the weekend, hoping that I'd find a moment to post from there, but sadly it didn't work out.
However, I always try to update my progress list on the right, so you can notice that I'm not lazying around.
I'm working on a few things at the moment, the hat, the shorts for my mom's uncle and a carpet bag. I decided that I need one to take with me to the Wave Gotik Treffen at Whitsun, as not much fits into my embroidered handbag. So I ordered the fabric and leather handles last Monday and got to cut the pieces already on Friday. I had made the pattern the weekend before. Tonight I started sewing the fashion layer after working on the shorts.
The hat had been put on pause as I had to wait for some more decoration items, which arrived on Saturday.
But I will come to this again at the end of this post. Now I wanna show you some more in-progress pictures of the hat, which still is entirely handsewn.
Last time we stopped with the top being covered and then pinned to the crown. Looked like this:
 After that I stitched it together:
Details of the stitching:
Next I covered the brim, first the lining, which turned over the wire and edge and then put the fashion layer on top and stitched it to the lining.
Looked like this (top and side view):
To cover the edge I found some nice braid in my huge stock that has a grey and a black edge, perfect matching for this hat, don't you think? I fixed the braid with three stitches through each loop on both sides, so it would lay smooth.
Next I sewed around the inner wire through all layers and cut the seamallowance (top and bottom):
Then I pinned and joined the lining pieces:
A grossgrain ribbon was added to the inside of the brim:
Then the cown pinned and sewn to the brim (quite fiddly, when it shall be invisible):
Before the lining was added I tried the hat on and decided that a layer of felt wouldn't hurt. Additionally I put another layer in the side regions. Then I fixed the lining to the felt.
Last I sewed the grossgrain ribbon to the lining, to give it a clean finish.
Also I decided on the shape of the brim. I was really conflicted about having the sides up and front and back down or the other way round. In the end I have one side up and one down *lol*
So the basic hat is done and now all it needs is some nice decoration. I had already bought some matching red satin ribbon and three bags with little flowery stuff. I tried putting them on the hat for a test, but as research showed that it is nearly impossible to put too much decoration on a victorian hat, I went to get some more flowers and satin ribbon. This time in red and black and wider than the other, as well as some tulle ribbon to stiffen the ribbon if neccessary. Also I discovered that I would have to pluck an ostrich, as victorian hats seem to have half of the feathers of one bird on them. This is what I had to wait for to arrive. Fortunately I had quickly found an online source which offers really great ostrich stuff for little money. Quick and affordable shipping included. Ordered on Monday night as well and arrived, as mentioned above, on Saturday noon.
So I'll probably spend part of the weekend decorating the hat. I'm afraid I won't keep my "as little as possible glue" vow. I don't think I would get all pieces in the right place and order if I sewed them on... so I guess it will be a more sticky task ;)
Also I need to figure out how to fix the hat on my head. Hatpins won't work alone, so I will probably have to add an elastic that will go under my hair then. Maybe I'll also add a red ribbon that ties in the nape of my neck under the hair with a big bow... not sure yet.
Do you have any other ideas about how to fix the hat?

Okay, that's it for now, stay tuned for more.
Thanks for reading

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The sewing machine test -or- sewing a "flesh digger"

Hello my dears,

I hope you had a good week and an even better weekend.

So as mentioned in my last post, I made a new corset to test my new sewing machine.
Well I can say that I'm very pleased with her. The even feed is awesome. I really need to try this out with decorating on a corset. For now I have only used the straight stitch for the corset (well that's what you actually only need for it^^).
Also I like that I can change the needle position to left and right at a 0.5mm interval. So I can switch from left to right always at the very same amount. Great for topstitching.
I think she's owned her place in my (already too small) home. I'm also looking for an extension table. There is one at the website of the machine company, but my model isn't listed in the description. So I asked them if it would fit, too and wait for their answer (which will hopefully come tomorrow). I really hope it will fit, because the table would be in my bugdet and come so handy for corsetry.

However, this post actually is about the corset, so on with the WIP:

Beforehand I need to say that this time I tried a new (well new for me) method and constructed it as a single layer corset. So there is no extra lining. Only the front and back pieces have a facing (I cut on fold where possible).
Cut all pattern pieces from coutil twice (except for the pieces cut on fold)
All pattern pieces cut out, the central back panels are cut on fold as well as the left central front piece with the included modesty panel
Lay the coutil panels on satin to estimate the area that will be needed. Cut matching interfacing, interface satin.
Cut around the coutil panels
As you see I cut the satin a bit larger than the coutil at the seams (not on top and bottom!). This is neccessary for rollpinning the satin later. This is important to have the fashion layer lying smoothly on the boday later.
Rollpin all panels, they will curve slightly.
Flatline the satin to the coutil, keeping the rolled width in.
You might wonder about why I habe two fabric layers, but said it was single layer. Well, the term means the constructing method. After flatlining both fabrics are treated as one layer.
Mark the hooks of the busk on the right front pieces and sew the seam between the marks. Lockstitch properly.
Join all remaining panels so you get two halves of the corset.
Press all seams properly.
Here I got to try out my new shiny selfmade tailor's ham. It's not very big, still it took me more than 3 hours to stuff it completely with wood bedding I got from the pet section at the drug store^^.
Topstitch the front modesty panel
Topstitch all seams (yay for the even feed)
Pin and baste on the waist tape
Set the busk in
Pin on the boning channel tape
Sew boning channels in place from the right side
Mark top and bottom edge
Lengthen, cut and tip all bones ( I only took a pic of the flatsteels, the spirals were already in)
Insert all bones and sew the top and bottom closed
Cut back the seam allowance
Add the bias binding
from the inside
close up of the handfinished binding inside
Set in the grommets
The inside again
The lacing panel and it again (as it usually does with satin and taffetas etc.) pulled threads. You can see the lines running between the grommets.

Add the lace, a label and you're done *yay*

on Isolde, my dress form

on me... oh look, it's a flesh digger
Well, the corset turned out not as good as I had hoped. It's rather uncomfortable, the boning and busk rub on my ribs at the top front, but I guess that's an issue with this construction method as the seams are becoming quite bulky. Next time I will definitely put a layer between my body and the boning channels, so back to the two layer construction or at least put the boning channels on the outside... Also I learned that the heavy duty busk doesn't work for underbust corset with a higher front edge. The smaller straight busk feels much better. So either with the wide busk I have to cut the front a bit lower (straight) or only use it with higher corsets.
We can also see it's too small at the top, there I need to add quite a bit width. Even more than I took away after the mockup fitting (I really wonder how this could be so big then and now it's way too small -.-). I never had such a bad case of muffin top. I might also cut the corset higher in the back to cup this "discarded squish" better.
The waist could be smaller, too. It's really weird, as I used my usual 2" reduction... still it doesn't curve very nicely.
The back bottom gives me a nightmare, too. It's really hard to adjust a corset so it won't dig into the overly soft flesh of my upper butt. It always digs, it's annoying.
And to add to the confusion I need to add width there rather than take it away, even if it looks too wide there with the smaller lacing gap.
I laced it a bit differently later, trying to achieve an evener lacing gap, hoping it would tell me where to add width or take it away. Now I will try and add back at the front side seam and the other lower back seams a bit.
I guess I will need to adjust the lacing gap every time after lacing, pulling back the width to the bottom as this is always tightened already when I pull the lacing at the waist. "Redirecting" the space, so to say.

Ah well... lesson learned... at least the corset fulfilled it's purpose - testing the sewing machine and trying out the single layer construction with boning channel tape (which is great btw).

Okay, that's it for today, news of the hat will follow soon.
Have a geat week.