Sunday, June 10, 2007

Corset - Purple Jacquard

But first I need to finish what I’ve already gotten started. Last weekend I started pulling together a new corset. It is made from beautiful purple jacquard ($20 per meter – but not too bad when you only need 80cm for a corset). Last Saturday I got all the pieces sewn together and the boning inserts added. At least this time I kind of knew what I was doing. (I learnt from my first corset that I needed to take it in over the bust so that my boobs would sit nicely into the corset – bulging at the top). Then I added all the boning casings and bound the top.

For my boning casings I just used bias binding. Sewn in the correct place and you can wedge the boning down nicely. Just have to be careful that there are not joins in the casing – it makes it awfully difficult trying to get the boning through. I also put some of the boning casings on the inside of the corset, so that I would not detract from the looks of the beautiful fabric. Then last night, I added the eyelets. I have 12 down each side on the back (I space them at about an index finger apart) and 13 down the centre front. I wanted a different look this time, instead of a busk happening I wanted lacing. I used gold eyelets – pretty against the purple. 

And then just this Friday afternoon, I finished by adding all the boning – wedging a few pieces along-side the eyelets to add stiffening. I finished by binding along the bottom of the corset and adding the lacings. I used 4 laces, lacing from the top and bottom to tie in the centre. It makes it much easier to do the tight lacing as you only have to work on half of the body at a time and it is actually closer to historical as they used to do this traditionally. In the end, I did put in a modesty panel at the front because this is the area that gets pulled in the most with the tight lacing. In the picture I didn't really tight lace the corset - there was nobody available to help with the lacing. (The front is the one with the purple lacing. I did originally want black but I could not get any. The purple is only temporary.)

Overall, I am happy with the look. But I think next time I need to add about an inch to the bottom of the corset. It’s just because I have a high waist. On standard block patterns, the corset would sit low enough at the hip. But hey, it turned out much better than my first one. And I didn’t even need to use the instructions this time.

Medieval - Winter White

Well, here I am again to talk about my sewing. I have had a really good run lately. I had a lovely day off work last Tuesday and managed to get into Spotlight. Low and behold they had a fabric clearance on. I managed to get some orange cotton fabric with a slub for a medieval dress. I was so excited it cost me $3 per metre. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but my cousin and I are going to this medieval tournament in a few weeks time. Should be fun. Anyway, I am making the orange dress to wear during the day. And then, we are also going to the mask ball of the tournament on the Saturday night. To which I am also making a dress. Originally I was thinking a nice emerald green colour, but it turned out that I found this winter white (kind of a cream colour) look-a-like linen. Even better it only cost $2 per meter. It seems that I intend to be very ambitious for this tournament because not only am I making the dresses, but I will also make my mask for that ball and if I get enough time a full cape to go with it.


Medieval dress number 1 is now completed. Turns out that I had to take it in a bit at the back neckline and waist to fit it nicely, but I am rather pleased with the look. Originally the dress is supposed to be made with a contrast fabric at the centre front, the inner sleeve and the yoke pieces, but having found the fabric so cheap, and nothing else to really work with it, I didn’t add a contrast.

Unfortunately the fabric is rather see-through so I have made undergarments for the outfit. I was researching some costume websites recently and found an image of the undergarments worn by Kiera Knightly in King Arthur (under the blue dress). Basically it is a full length cotton shift. Almost a regency style with the skirt pieces gathered into the bodice. So this is what I decided to make as my undergarments too, as it does not destroy the line of the dress as well as stockings. (Well it is July and rather freezing cold at night-time). I have also made a cream voile cape to wear over the top. Not really a warm sort of garment, but it will provide wind protection, and look pretty over my outfit. Note to self - must remember to be careful with hood so as not to destroy my mask. (I used the leftover voile to make the chemise.)

And the final touch on my complete costume is the mask. I decided to introduce royal purple (kind of matches my hair colour at the moment) with the cream and gold. I purchased the base of the mask from crazy clarks for a nice cheap $2. I decided to go with it because the paper-mache it is made from will paint easier and allow easier attachments (glue, needle holes etc.) compared to a plastic mask from Spotlight.


This was what I wore to the masked ball. And even though the cape was only made of cotton voile, I was so glad that I had it as it was freezing outside at night time. Though I am rather happy with how it all turned out. The mask complemented the outfit well, and brought a bit of colour to the complete ensemble. In the end I decided to change my hair, I just pulled the front section back with a couple bobby pins and a shell clip to match my earrings.

For my footwear, I ended up wearing my Victorian boots. Not really historically accurate, but they kept my feet warm and I didn’t have anything more appropriate. I looked in all the shoe shops for something that would work, but could not get anything.