Monday, June 19, 2017

Regency Bust Support

Next on the agenda was preparing for History Alive (my major annual re-enactment event) in early June. While I thought I still had everything together from last year, about six weeks out from the date, I realised that the stays I have been using for the previous years are no longer suitable. They no longer fit well - too small in the bust. But that's not so surprising given that I made them in 2011 and have changed shape quite a bit since then.

For these, I simply upsized the existing pattern. Giving myself a little more room in side seams and adding bigger bust gussets. I also added a bit more boning for bust support this time. They went together quite quickly aside from the eyelets, which need to be hand-sewn.

But it was well worth the work. They give a great period shape and provide a good about of support for my now E-F cups.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hot Fix

It really has been a busy few months since I last posted. I've been rather slack about my blog this year but stuff is still happening. I wanted to share my first foray into Hot Fix crystals.

A couple of years ago now, I made my own design of a pinup Elsa for Supanova. And while I loved the costume, I really wanted to make a couple of changes and revamp it all. I have yet to shoot the new version but what it does involve is a corset in place of the bra. And said corset features Hot Fix crystals. I used a lot of different sizes to get the effect I'm after.

I adore how it turned out. It really picks up the light well in full sun (which is rather hard to photograph). It was well worth the hours of hunching over the ironing board, burning my fingers as I stuck on the crystals. I think I will definitely be using the hot fix tool again.

Also, rather pleased with the shape of the corset.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Corded One

Corded petticoats are a great way of adding a lot of extra size to your skirts without the weight of more and more petticoats. One corded petticoat will add about as much as three of four standard petticoats. So, using one helps reduce bulk at the waist. The corded petticoat is the pre-cursor to the cage petticoat (or hoop skirts as they can be known). As skirts started getting wider, women were coming up with ways of reducing the number of petticoats. A corded one is quite easy to make, but very very time consuming and requires a lot of patience. Mine has taken months to finish and I really had to break it up with some other fun sewing in the meantime.

But onto how I made it!

  • Cotton – I used an old 100% cotton double bed sheet. It’s quite a thick cotton and I’m glad I went with something sturdy as the cord can poke through.
  • Cording – I chose to buy fine sisal string from my local hardware store (Bunnings). It was a massive roll and very cheap. The only problem I did have was that the thickness does sometimes vary. I just worked with it. (The one on the right in the picture)
  • Thread – A large roll of white thread, maybe two. You will probably need it.
  • Zipper foot for your sewing machine
  • Patience – endless patience
Start by stitching the sides of the sheet together to form one long tube. Then fold in half wrong sides together and press (iron) the fold. This will be the bottom of your petticoat.

Put the folded bottom on your machine and lay the cord into the fold, using your fingernails to push it in tightly. With your zipper foot attached, start stitching beside the cord. As you continue around the tube, stuff more cord in and use your fingernails to push it in next the previous row of cord. You are sewing in a spiral.

Continue doing this until you have enough rows for your section. Trim off your cord and end the section.

Measure up from this section and mark where you want your next section to start (mine is about 5cm apart). Stitch around your line and then start again with the cord, spiralling up for the section.

It’s up to you how many rows and how many sections you do. Just continue until you are happy with the shape you are getting and the length. My petticoat starts with a section of 40 rows, a 5cm (or 2 inch) gap followed by 20 rows. Then another 5cm gap and 10 rows, with another gap and five rows, and finally another gap with five rows.

Once you are finished your rows or cording, trim the top of your petticoat down to the desired length. Now you need to decide how you will be doing your waistband. I have seen ones on a yoke, a waistband or a drawstring. I tried a yoke first, which then fit really badly (too big). I then decided to gather the petticoat to a waistband and use a drawstring to tie it up. But it really is up to you how you go about finishing the waist. The only thing to remember is that it should only hit at about mid-calf length – it needs to be shorter than your next layers of petticoat which in turn need to be shorter than your outer gown.