Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Go big or go home

This corset is all about going big or going home.

I guess I must have been channeling how long hand-basting the seams took me on the first two corsets.  This time 'round it was only a couple of hours!  But it took me a week to finish  it and then get on with the boning step.  :p

I finished one half of the corset - completely - today.  Finish up the other half and lace her up and we're good to go.  I am tempted to go after it tonight, but I know if I do, I'll regret it.  Haste makes waste - and so does the, 'I really want to finish this!" attitude.

I boned today and added functional embroidery.  I am all about the functional embroidery.  A firm line of embroidery offers a lightly stiffened area, like ultra-light boning.  So where I want a tad bit of support, but don't want boning for whatever reason, I add embroidery.

I was re-reading some helpful hints about boning, and one of my sources recommended wrapping your newly-tipped bones with plumber's tape.  Well, getting the tips on the spiral steel - especially tightly enough to not pop off - is difficult, so I was more than happy to try this out.  Works like a dream!  You tighten down your boning tip in a basic sort of way, then you wrap the heck out of it.  Woohoo!  No more tips going lost... no more tipless steels poking holes in my corset or in me.... happy Hearthie.

I used my pink corset to figure out new and improved boning channels.  Mostly I used the same ones, but if you look closely at the lower back, you'll see that I used embroidery up past the waist.  I have a very pronounced curve through my lower back, and although spiral steel is plenty flexible, having a steel pressed tightly into your waist is no kind of fun.  I had done surgery on this corset to fix the bone down the center back, but I decided on the new corset to forgo boning from the waist down entirely until the bone down the side.  (My "curve" is quite firm and isn't going to squish or shift - boning really isn't necessary here).

The last difference between the two corsets is that my bias tape cooperated (bias tape and I generally have a hate-hate relationship) and I was able to put it on with a machine embroidery stitch.  And *that* is how I have half a corset completely done in only half a day.  I know it's bright... the laces will be the same color.  There's no way I'm going to conceal a turquoise corset under my clothes minus a tanktop anyway, why not have some fun?

DH likes it, anyway.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Piles of construction photos

Here's the busk, inserted in the center front panels.   I'm using a golden embroidery thread for the topstitching/boning channels.  Here's my other busk to insert, side view.  Note the difference in shape of a spoon busk vs. a regular busk.

Here's my 10 yard roll of spiral steel boning.  The next time someone squeaks in alarm about boning with steel, you can point out that spiral steel is actually extremely flexible.  (The busk is *not*).
Grommets.  Not my favorite part of corset construction.  
Layers of fabric - here you can see the corduroy lining, the coutil and the fashion fabric.  The boning will slide between the corduroy and the coutil.  I tried using the coutil as the lining on my first corset, but found out that the boning ends will work themselves right through brocade.  So if you want to have a fragile fashion fabric (not a denim, twill, cord, etc) then you want to have at least three layers in your corset.  I can see that it might be useful to have MORE layers for different effects.  Coutil is quite light-weight, it just won't stretch at.all.  Well, that's why it's so expensive.  :p

The next two pictures are dedicated to the concept that you shouldn't even think about making a corset until you are very comfortable sewing curved seams, preferably to each other.  I do a lot of basting - saves tears.

  This is the inside of my cup.  It has four pieces - three on the bottom which come up just over mid-bust and would be fine if I was good with muffin top, and a fourth piece that holds me where I'd rather stay.  

After constructing your outer shell and lining, you baste in a piece of twill tape at the waistline.   This allegedly makes the waist, which is under the greatest strain, more durable.  I've never tried it without, so I couldn't say.  You'll note I barely basted it in, that's fine - it's going to have plenty of stitching by the time I get all the boning channels sewn in, not to mention all the seam matching.

And that's the next step.  Having gotten your lining and outer layers all sewn up, people will say, "ah, almost done then!" They're wrong.  The next stage is meticulously matching every seam on lining and outer layers of the corset and basting them together (stitched in the ditch) prior to sewing the boning channels.  It is imperative that those match perfectly.... and yes, sewing that much by hand, through these fabrics, isn't quick.  Although really it's the matching that's the pain.   And that's where I am!  Time to find something good on youtube, I guess...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Starting to sew...

First:  I beat myself up too much of the time!  I wrote down the instructions for the best way to sew the cups ... and gosh darn it if they weren't about a thousand times easier  to sew up this time.  LOL.  Cups are sewn... and as of today, the busk is inserted.

Second picture:  Prep work - this is all my coutil + fashion fabric (in this case a silk/poly brocade blend) machine basted together.  Since I underline the FF with the coutil, then line it with something else (corduroy today), I need the coutil and FF to act as one.  Thus the basting.  Last time I hand basted, which took a long time.  Machine basting was quick and easy.  I machine basted my overcoat this winter, it's my new favorite technique.

Third picture:  I almost forgot to mark my pieces!  Best piece of advice from that corset-making book is to mark all the pieces.  You'd think you don't need it while you're cutting, but when it comes sewing time, it's very easy to mistake up for down and left for right.  My first corset taught me that lesson - I did a lot of ripping out just from "oops".

Since my fabric and lining are all completely opaque, I feel free to mark anywhere.  Otherwise, I'd be careful to mark within the seam allowances.

And I did something a little different with my modesty panel - I *always* have a modesty panel, because I really hate the laces (I use paracord) digging into my back.  It hurts.  But the modesty panel tries to wander off.  I made a wider panel and then I put embroidery on top and bottom to stiffen it a bit.  My husband wants me to attach the "free" side with elastic to the inside of the corset - we will see how that goes!  I can always snip it off if it annoys me.

Isn't this the prettiest fabric?  :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New posts coming soon....

I cut two corsets the other day on the phone, so there will soon be more eyecandy on the blog!

In further news, my back is sometimes insanely pleased with lacing and sometimes has had quite enough.  I'm developing muscle in odd places... and now stand up straight most of the time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Longer Lacing: Results

I've  been lacing up consistently the past 10 days or so, from 10-12 hours each day.  And I can feel it!

Don't get me wrong, I love wearing my corset.  But someone is going to tell you that wearing what amounts to a fitted back brace every day doesn't hurt at all - they're high.

It doesn't hurt in the bad way.  It hurts in the "dude, I did a killer back work out at the gym!"  I don't feel pinched or miserable.  Just tired muscles.   A hot bath or a heated rice wrap does the trick.

Gave the corset a wash last night, giving myself a break today - at least until time for church (assuming it's dry by then).


Other results:

Yes, the corset will reduce your cubic capacity for food.  However, it only does that if you put it on and lace it up tightly *before your first meal of the day*.


One last result:

My waist (and no, I don't tight lace.  I never lace to discomfort, not ever) has gone down 3/4 since last week.  Might be just a flub, might not.  Interesting, regardless.

Oh, and there will be new corsets after I get the Christmas sewing (and winter coat sewing) done.  This amount of wear is wearing some of that silk straight off!  Good thing it was only a top-layer...

I have two beautiful fabrics and all the goodies waiting for me, so probably sometime in January I'll have more process pictures to show you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lacing Goals

I continue not to have any waist-reduction goals with my lacing... but that's not to say I don't have goals.

I've decided that I have a goal of being in-corset for 12 hours comfortably.  I can manage eight hours relatively easily, but longer than that and my body starts tiring out.  (My lower back - that's where the weight goes).  But being out of practice for bras means that I can wear one of those for about an hour, maybe up to three, before I'm miserable.  -sigh-  A gal's gotta do something, right?

I could be one of those people who wears their corsets 23/7, but ... well, I don't want to.  I *can* sleep in my corset - I've taken naps in it a few times.  But there are things I don't like doing in my corset.  I can't exercise in my corset (no twisting/bending), I can't sit on the floor or do anything that requires I bend forward from the waist (cleaning the back of my cabinets would be out)... there's just stuff that isn't happening.

And that's okay.  It's not 1890.

But I need to up my game.

Especially since I have some *luscious* fabric on order and instructions from my DH to buy another piece so I can make three more corsets ... (I have enough lining fabric l/o from my coat project to make a corset, too).  No fitting this time 'round, my corset as-is fits beautifully.  It's starting to get worn through in spots (yes, already) but the fit is good.

That should mean relatively easy makes.  "Relatively"... ;)

I'll keep you posted!