Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recent Corset Creations

I'm unfortunately still laid up with my back, 4 weeks later.  I haven't sewn in FOUR WEEKS, OMG.  It sucks, and there's not really much more to say.

I thought I'd share my last two completed commissions.  They were both rather challenging overbusts to fit.  The first was a plus size overbust with a waist yoke.  The fabrics are difficult to photograph, so excuse the flash.  This is on a dress form that doesn't have the curves of the intended wearer, but you get the idea.

The next was a commission for an underwear overbust from a steampunk friend who is gifted in the bust region.  She wears a 40H bra!  It was quite a journey getting the fit right, but we both are happy with the result.  She got great shaping and is thrilled with how it feels.  At one point I had to resort to drafting the pattern in 3D paper form to figure out how to make the bust work.  It's a trick I like to use when a flat pattern just isn't enough and you don't have time to sew a trial.

And here's the finished corset.  It's two layers of white coutil with bones in internal coutil casings.  The top layer is floating per client request.  Normally I wouldn't float the top layer because I think you get a smother result without it floating, but I aim to please.

In the side view you can see just how much bust curve there is.  Many corsetmakers would say this much bust increase requires a pattern with gores, but I think I've proved that wrong. With good patterning and lots of bones, you can avoid gores.  The full bust circumference is spread over three panels.

You can see when the corset is on it's intended body, many of the wrinkles smooth out, although I'm still not happy with the look of the seams.  This was definitely my most trying corset to fit ever, but my client is thrilled with the result and has already ordered one in black, too.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Finds: Random Tutorials

I haven't been keeping up with Friday Finds because, for one, I've been too busy with other stuff to spend much time surfing for cool steampunk things.  And also because when I do find stuff it doesn't fit into nice categories for making a nice thematic post.  So I'm giving up on themes and just going to throw stuff at y'all when I feel like it.

My jaw dropped open when this Steamer Trunk Refrigerator appeared on my FB feed.  This wasn't even intentionally steampunk, but DAMN, it's gorgeous.  I want to do this to my ugly white fridge so much, but now I'm afraid it would just up and die as soon as it was gorgeous.  She explains her process here.

How to make a Victorian or Steampunk Flounced Petticoat.

A really great, in depth tutorial of making either a traditional underwear petticoat or a steampunk adjustable version.

Steampunk on a Thrift Store Budget  - A Guide to thrifting for steampunk with some good points.  I think things are a bit more open if you are willing/able to modify items, but this is definitely food for thought.

How to Build Your Own Junk Light

A neat guide to putting together lamps from old junk, including how to completely wire it.

That's it for today!  I hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween and weekend.  It will doubtless be better than mine since I've had to cancel my plans in order to stay in bed with my back.

Monday, October 27, 2014

McCall's Winter Steampunk Patterns

So naturally, a few hours after I post about the new Simplicity steampunk pattern, McCall's releases their Winter patterns and there are TWO patterns of interest.

First up a new steampunk costume pattern:

McCall 7071

The jacket and blouse are AWESOME.  I love the short sleeve blouse as a warm weather piece, and the back of the jacket is great.

The skirt is kinda meh, I'm not wild about the way the front falls, but that could be the fabric of the preview.

Secondly, is a craft pattern for, wait for it, Steampunk Aprons and Christmas stockings!

McCall 7062

Guys, CORSET STOCKINGS.  And all of it is really cute.  The octopus applique on the apron is so awesome.  What fantastic Holiday gifts these are for any steampunk!

New Simplicity Steampunk Pattern!

Hi all!  My progress on all my projects came to a crashing halt a week ago with a flare of my back condition and I've been stuck in bed since then.  I'm desperate to get back to sewing.

In the meantime, Simplicity has FINALLY released their new Steampunk pattern that I previewed on my facebook page over a month ago.

Simplicity 1248 - Misses Steampunk Costumes

I have to say that I love it.  The jacket is FANTASTIC and totally worth the pattern alone.  Plus I've always been a fan of using chains to hold up a skirt.  In fact that was part of my very first steampunk outfit ever, back in 2010.    The bustier is kinda pointless, but I'll tolerate it as long as you don't call it a corset.  ;)

But they KEEP using ridiculously cute top hats in their photos and not including them in their patterns. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

My current project: 18th century stays

With a little break between commissions, and Texas Renaissance Festival going on, I decided to see if I could quickly put together some 18th century stays for myself.

I've had a "RenPunk" outfit planned for well over a year, but haven't had time to work on it.  This style of corset is part of it, so maybe I will eventually get an outfit together a piece at a time.

I had planned to draft a pattern out of Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines, but with time of the essence I decided to use Butterick 4254 as a starting point, since I had it and it was already full-sized.  Knowing that all mainstream corset patterns run at least 2 sizes large, I started with a size 16 pattern, although my measurements put me more in the range of their size 22.  (I measured the 16 and it was about right for my waist.)

I also measured the length of the pattern and knew it was short so I slashed at the waist and added two inches.  This is pretty common for me, because I'm so tall.

So this was the size 16 in a really quickly thrown together mock-up of one layer of fabric and very minimal boning.

There are obvious problems in the bust region.  I've since learned that this pattern has this as a known flaw.  The bust is way too low and the stays too short.   My first instinct was to add not only to the height of the front but quite a bit of width in the bust, but advice from other corsetmakers led me to just raise the front and add a bunch more boning.  I slashed the pattern right under the bust (ish) and added 2.5 inches.  I also added a bunch of boning to the front panel, but I used the same side and back panels.

Much better.  It's now a bit too big and closes fully in the back without being as tight as it needs to be.  And the front point is a but too low, I want the whole front panel to sit a bit higher.  So I took some off the sides of the front panel and the rear panel, added boning to the entire corset, and tried again. (Using the same front panel due to laziness even though I made minor adjustments to the pattern piece.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Steampunking a Skirt with Drapery Tape

 I originally got this idea from someone I spoke to at a convention.  I admired the way her skirt was gathered up and she said she used drapery cord tape to do it.

Conveniently I have had this skirt hanging out in my closet for years, but never wear it anymore.  So I decided this would be a good opportunity to try a new technique for modifying an existing skirt into a steampunk piece.

The first step is to buy some drapery gathering tape at the fabric store.  They are usually located in their own space in the home decor section.  They come in many different styles, you'll have to see what is available.  I bought 1" pleater tape.  I thought it had pleats every one inch, but instead it has several pleats every few inches.

You'll also need some thread that matches your skirt as closely as possible.