Saturday, January 14, 2012

Orange and Teal ‘Steampunk’–Part 4

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 1
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 2
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 3 

Do you want to know the preciously guarded secret to corset making? You have to promise not to tell anyone….

P1080605Okay, are you ready? Keep everything organized! It sounds really simple, but this is no joke. This particular corset has 6 panels on each side and an extra self drafted piece in the front, that’s 13 all together. With three different layers of fabric, that’s 39 pieces! If any of those stitched together upside down, backwards, or in the wrong order it completely changes the shape of the garment. A fabric marker, or chalk, is your best friend here. Mark everything! And double check before you stitch. As long as you keep everything in order, making a corset is really super simple. It’s just sewing a lot of seams together ~ And then pressing those seams with a tailors ham ~ before sewing a ton of straight lines for boning channels.

Sure there are a few extra steps I’m leaving out, but it’s not the scary intimidating garment most people assume it is. Any who, now that I’ve shared that super secret tip I’ll move on with the costume.

P1080621For this corset I used TV110. I really wanted there to be an extra flap of fabric over the busk that would button up along the corset. This would add two important things. First a bit of style to the corset so it didn’t look quite so much like underwear. More importantly though, it would add a slight bit of extra coverage for my friend. I could have added a modesty panel to the front, but it still would have seemed like you could see her skin between the busk. Since I know that would make her uncomfortable I wanted to do my best to alleviate it.  To add the front flap I just took the front panel pattern and, subtracting the middle seam allowance, placed it on the fold of the fabric to cut out a solid front. This is the same thing you’d do if you wanted to make the corset without the busk in front. Then I just sewed it alongside the front busk panel when I added the front side.

Perhaps the most nerve wracking part of this whole corset was adding the buttonholes. Anyone who has sewn buttonholes would likely feel my pain here. Even though most machines today make it really simple to put them in, any number of things can go wrong. The fabric could slip, or the thread could jam. And it’s not easy to recover if you have to pick out buttonhole stitches. The number of times the needle pierces the fabric pretty much leaves it shredded. It was scary to trust my machine to do it’s job without error after I’d spent hours carefully sewing the corset panels together. To make matters worse, I had to do it 12 times. Eep!

Thankfully everything turned out beautifully. I finished the corset up by adding some awesome orange and brown buttons and by binding it with a pretty satin ribbon I'd found that was in the same tone as the skirts.
I’d hoped to include more information about the jacket in this post, but I’m off to take photos of my latest costumes today so I’ll have to cut this one short. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able finish up with some jacket and accessories!

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 5