Musings of a Lady

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Le Modiste: Corsets, Corsets. Part 2

I had the privilege of having a friend help me draft up a period pattern for my 18th century stays.  I made a wool, lightly boned corset that might have been worn between 1770-1785.  I tend to wear fashions from that period so it made sense to use that.  Although this corset is machine sewn, the binding was hand sewn on and let me say, using leather binding is not going to happen again.  Yes, it is period to use it and probably will help the corset last a little longer - no bones poking through - but it was the devil to put on.

We used a period method of measuring my body with a paper tape that was notched in a particular way to note the lengths.  I was given a paper pattern which I then drafted up using the measurements.  I layered three fabrics one of the fashion wool and two of the linen.  Traced the pattern and left 2 inches alway around.  The patterns were basted along the outline of the piece, then based together along the basting lines.  I was fitted to the corset and followed that with adjustments and another fitting.  I had very little adjustments to make since the pattern was drafted to my specific measurements.  The corset was then constructed, bonded and bound.  Phew!  I have worn it twice now, and I so much happier.  My last two attempts using a purchased paper pattern were okay but they just didn't fit right.  I recommend having a corset drafted to you.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the some of the process and the finished product:

Personalized drafted pattern.

Front piece cut, showing the 3 layers.

Basting for the fitting.
Corset complete.

Corset complete - side view.
I really must get someone to take my photos for me.  Anyway, I think if I do this again - not anytime soon, however, I think I would bone it more on the front and side fronts.  The corset gives me the proper cleavage and all but I think the shape could be a bit better.  Again, the leather bindings were very hard to do around the tabs.  The top edges were no problem, in fact, I was able to machine sew it down and then whipped stitched it down on the inner side.  But the TABS!!!!!!!!  I finally ended up making individual strips around each tab as trying to go around the curves at the junctions of each tab was horrible.  My fingers are still recovering.  Any suggestions for period binding other than leather and silk?  All suggestions welcomed.

Stay tuned for  Corsets, Corsets Part 3: Victorian corset.  Also, coming up soon are the results of my two sewing frenzy to make a picnic dress for a summer outing I went to this last Sunday.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Le Modiste: Corsets, Corsets! Part 1

The one beautiful thing I like about our community is the inspiration we get from each other.  Sabine at inspired me to make a similar corset to the one she posted about on: February 15th 2013,  These half stays intrigued me and I wanted a pair as later on this year I will be attending Regency boating event in October.   Also, necessity continued to rule the day!  Two current events (June 3rd and June 23rd) prompted the need for a new18th century corset and a 19th century corset.  I have an 18th century corset but though it works, the fit is not good.  It ended up too long wasted and I lost some weight so it just didn't lace up well.  The Victorian was to replace the pretty little one that I was so proud of but made the HUGE mistake of not interlining it and after two wearings the bones came jabbing through the silk.  Booooooo  :(

I am not the best corset maker on the planet but I always give it a good try.  So, let's start with the Regency one as that is the one I made and finished first.

Following - visually - what Sabine had laid out and researched, I draped a pattern and fiddled with it till I had something similar to what she devised and would fit me.

Pinned for a fitting.

During construction - a detail of cording and bust gussets.

Okay, I am not wearing a period chemise - sorry folks, but this is it done and on!

These half stays are perfect for me.  They hold up and support comfortably!

The Regency outfit I have in mind is the Kyoto Redingote in red wool.  Do you know the one? 
Yes, this one!  I have absolutely adored this Redingote for many years.  Boating on our Bay is very chilly and windy so I hope to find a nice wool for this.  If I can find the red, great.  If not it will probably be dark blue or whatever I can find that will work.  I am worried about the chapeaux for the outing.  We will be on 18th century sailing vessels, on the bay with hopefully a good wind for a good sail but that doesn't bode well for bonnets!  Any suggestions?

Thank you Sabine for your research and inspiration.  You rock!  :)

Stay tuned for Corsets!  Corsets!  Part 2
18th century corset

Friday, June 14, 2013

Le Modiste: Pet en l'air

The Pet en l'air that I started way back in January is done. And it has been worn to two separate events since then.  The gown was made without any machine stitching.  All hand-done.  I realize I need to change my 'Statement of Purpose' on my blog home page, since it states my desire to make a hand-made gown in the future and that has happened!  :)  Without further ado, below are some of the process pictures and the final gown being worn to an 18th century Russian dinner in February.

The main pieces are put together and ready for binding at the neck.

The back pleats are sewn down through all layers.  I do have a lining that laces up the back underneath to fit the gown body to my corset.

The robings are added and the stomacher started.

Close-up of the trimmings using the fashion fabric.

I pleated the robings.

Back view of the decorated bodice.

 I do have enough of the blue silk to make a  ?.  I have never really wanted to wear the earlier look with the français or Watteau back or even the paniers.  However, this ensemble turned out really nice and the paniers or false pocket hips I got with a little altering (they were long on me) from Smiling Fox Forge, ( ) worked out great.  Although the Pet en l'air was totally 'vegan' the undergarments were not.  Se la vie!

Stay tuned for more reviews of what I have been up to!

Regency Corset
1880's summer bustle gown for a picnic

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fugit Hora!

Dearest readers, once again I find myself apologizing for the lack of posting!  However, I am mortified that my last post was in January!  Thank you Angela Thornhill of The Merry Dress Maker, for checking in with me and making sure I am okay.  That was really appreciated!

Well, life happened.  My job which is teaching high school students is really crazy during the spring semester and now that is done.  Phew!  The lesson learned from this is:  find a balance in my life so the parts of my life, such as blogging don't get put out to pasture too long.  My goal this summer is to build in blogging as a part of the 'daily life' routine so that it doesn't get set aside again.  Keep your fingers crossed or pray to your God(s) or send a vibe out into the creative universe to help me towards my goal.

With all that said, I have not been that idle on the modiste front.  Since January I have made a pet an l'air, a regency corset and a Victorian corset.  I am in the middle of making an 1880's summer ensemble for an up and coming Tissot Picnic.  So, stay tuned dear readers and my wonderful and patient creative community.

Happy summer!  Angela

Hand-painted applique flower and embroidered bee.