Monday, July 12, 2010

Steam Punk Corset Bodice

Shell fabric is burgundy colored linen/cotton jacquard bought at Jo-Annes. Lining is white cotton denim. I decided I needed a heavy lining to support all that steel hardware. I think I bought 3, or maybe 3 1/2, yards of the burgundy fabric. I would have bought more but it was all that was left on the bolt. I pinned the pattern to the fabric (folded in half) and then traced the pattern with chalk on the burgundy fabric and pencil on the white fabric. The chalk helped with accuracy of sewing. Latter I switched to a quilters pencil which works better, sharper line and less of a mess. The pattern still has tape on it from checking fit relationships. The two semi-circular shapes are the bust cups.
The front burgundy parts sewn to the lining. I did the cups with the burgundy outer parts sewn down last by hand. If I were to do this again I'd wait on stitching down the cups until after straps are installed and the bottom edge closed. In the background is the back part of the bodice with the back seam stitched.
Next came the difficulty of fitting. I got enough done to try it on then had to take apart the bodice to reduce the size. Taking it on and off was done mostly with pins. I'd planned it to fit without the space for lacing and so had to remove about 1/2 " from each seam, except for the front opening.

Here is the fitting process. It's pinned in front instead of closed with the busk. The openings all have plackets behind.
The bodice is all puckered because it doesn’t yet have the boning. This shows what boning actually does. Corsets were more for a smooth fit than for making the waist smaller.

The sides have aluminum Dritz eyelets put in with a set of Dritz snap and eyelet pliers. I'm not all that pleased with them. The eyelets either don’t clamp all the way or get crushed and snag on the lacing string. I smoothed them out with a small file. I found it works best to put the eyelets in messy so that lots of frayed fabric gets entangled in the crushed aluminum.
The boning is steel and purchased from Seams Like Home, which is also the source of the ribbon and silver colored cording.
I made a mistake on the length. On one side of the front opening the bodice wasn't long enough for the busk. I solved this by adding the 2" binding on the top and bottom. This also creates the pockets for the ends of the boning. I laid out the boning then drew the location with quilters pencil and top stitched going across the binding to make the boning pockets. Next I cut the boning to length and crimped the metal ends on. I found crimping the end caps works best with two sets of pliers, a set of lineman's pliers to squeeze from the side and old the cap and a set of flat jewelers pliers to squeeze from top and bottom.
The boning hand stitched with pearl cotton in a zigzag pattern. I was going to do cross stitch but zigzag looks fine and is simpler.
In this photo the straps are still pinned on the back, and the busk is only tacked in place. Pins can't be used with metal mesh since it doesn't bend enough.

Here it is on me. Notice goofy expression on face. I tend to do that when doing self timed photographs.

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