Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Librarian - Corset

Good heaven, gentle Readers, has it truly been so long since I last posted?  Alas, life has a way of continuing full speed ahead, dragging us behind in its wake.

When we last met, I told the story of love's labour lost, or rather that of labour that did not bear fruit.  This time I come to you with a story of triumph!

Behold, gentle Readers - The Corset!

A thing of beauty, is it not?

From the ruins of the last mockup, I gathered my tattered pride. Armed with my trusty tape measure, I used the pattern Truly Victorian TV 110 as a base, and custom drafted this one to my measurements.  

The fashion layer is a Dragonfly Poly-Brocade; the strength layer is cotton duck; the liner is quilt cotton.  There are a total of 14 straight steel bones and 10 spiral steel bones.  The top and bottom are bound with double fold bias tape, as I was afraid that the brocade would not be strong enough to make binding out of without lining it with cotton duck as well, and I didn't want the bulk.  The top binding has an added lace edge, which I have tacked to stand up rather than laying down.  

All in all, a success, though one that was quite delayed in coming.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Disgrace, Ruination, and Redemption

Dear readers,

I would like to tell you a story of horror and woe.  It started off innocently enough.  Our Intrepid Adventurer had undertook the next step in her adventure - that of creating a corset for her Victorian Inspired outfit.  It was with excitement and fair amount of nervousness that she started off.  At first, everything seemed to be going well.  She made a mockup of her corset.  It didn't fit well, but she had expected there to be some issues.  Undaunted, she returned to her pattern and readjusted.

The second mockup seemed to be a little better, but still not where it should have been.  The third mockup was actually created using canvas duck, which is a fairly decent strength fabric.  Still, the fit was off.  The heroine took a deep breath, or at least as deep a breath as one could when wearing a corset, and posted some photographs of herself online to a corset making community, where a number of people were generous enough to offer critiques and suggestions for her fit.

After taking their comment into consideration, she was ready.  She cut out the strength layer and flatlined it to the fashion layer.  She sewed and boned, flossed, and hand sewed 26 eyelets.  When the last one was complete, she slipped it on and attempted to lace it up.

The blasted thing was at least 6 inches too small (not including the expected 2-3 inch gap), and incredibly uncomfortable.

What was our heroine to do?  She decided, as any worthy crafts-person would be wont to do, to bundle the offending undergarment into a ball and through it in the deepest and darkest corner of her craft space until it had learned its lesson.  After mourning the time (68 friggen hours!) and money wasted, she finally gathered the tattered remnants of her pride and honor together, and salvaged what she could, throwing the rest of the rubbish away.

And that is how things stood until recently.  Over the cold winter, our plucky seamstress has tried to ignore the frustrations of unrequited love.  She has gone on to other projects, including making Christmas gifts and an outfit to wear to a wedding.  She has dabbled with other crafts, and purchased other patterns.  And yet she could not get the idea of a corset out of her head.

Finally, as the first hints of Spring wavered timorously under the wrath of Winter, she decided the time had come to reclaim her crafting honor.  It was time to try again.

Please stay tuned for the upcoming sequel:  Corset 2.0

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Librarian - Corset Mock up 1

Welcome back.

This adventure isn’t complete yet, but since life is preventing me from working on my costuming as much, I thought I would share what I have.  

I’ve already completed my bloomers and chemise, which means it’s time for the corset.  

Step one was to get my measurements while wearing the under garments.  I enlisted my husband to assist in the task.  Next was to trace out the pattern using my measurements.  

I am using Truly Victorian pattern TV110 - 1880 Late Victorian Corset, which is a pattern that I had bought several years ago and just set aside, as I knew my sewing skills weren’t up to it yet.  

It’s a beautiful pattern, and the directions are very clear.  The only issue I have with it is my own common on - I am a very plus sized woman with a small bosom.  In this case, it meant that my waist and hip measurements were literally off the chart. So, I figured out what “letter” my size would be, based on the intervals between the sizes.  I should be an “O” in waist and a “P” in hips, whereas the pattern stopped at M.

I pulled out my pattern and my handy-dandy roll of wax paper, and traced out the size I needed.  It was easy enough to use the existing markings to calculate what size I needed by marking the largest size, then figuring out how many “pips” out I needed to go.  For example, in the waist, I needed to be two sizes larger, so I marked the point for the largest size, then moved that mark to the third line in (two sizes smaller than the largest), and then re-marked the largest size again.  

I cut my wax paper pattern, traced them on to some denim I had in stash, and cut out the pieces.  Next I sewed them all together using the half inch seam allowance suggested by the pattern.  One of the things I did, after having to rip out a half dozen seams, was to stick down a piece of masking tape with a line drawn a half inch in.  This gives me a guide to keep my seams in the right spot.  

I had decided on a three inch gap in the back, so I sewed a center strip four inches wide between the two center-back pieces (3 inch gap plus ½ seam allowance either side), and used an old non-stretchy ribbon I had in my stash to spiral sew up the center front.  

Here is the result.  

It wasn’t until this point that I realized I had completely mischosen the size I needed for my bust.  I had chosen size “B”, with my brain automatically thinking it was referring to B-cup.  

I also need to take the waist in 4 inches, and the hips in by 6, so I will definitely need to make a second mock up.  But that’s why we make the mock ups rather than just going ahead and cutting out our main fabric (which I still need to buy).

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Librarian - Chemise

Step two on the Librarian Costume - the Chemise.

I decided that for the chemise, I already had the perfect pattern, of a sort.

This is a pink nightgown that I wear around the house most of the summer.  It is comfortable enough to wear, while being modest enough that I don't mind stepping outside to take out the trash.  And, it is the right general shape for a Victorian chemise.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Librarian - Bloomers

Librarian costume - Bloomers.

The first step in my Librarian costume is the bloomers.  Research has shown that these are optional at this time, but if I’m going to be making an entire neo-victorian costume from the ground up, why skimp here?  

There were two styles of bloomers which were common during the Late Bustle period - open and closed.  The open style was open from above the inner leg seam to the waistband, allowing (one might assume) for ease of access when visiting the necessary.  The closed style was, of course, closed.  

Since I’ve experienced first hand the frustrations of using the restroom while wearing a corset and skirts (much less the full panoply that I’m going for here), I decided the open style might better fit my needs.  

The Librarian

I have had a deep and abiding love for costuming for as long as I could remember.  I’ve dabbled in costuming here and there, but various internal and external factors have prevented me from doing anything too elaborate and large.  However, I’ve decided to go ahead and take the plunge into full blown insanity, and make a neo-victorian costume from the skin up.  


Welcome to Lady Envy's Adventures in Time and Sewing.  

I, Lady Envy, shall be your hostess today.  How pleasant to make your acquaintance. Please, come in and have a seat.  Tea?

I hope you will find this blog both entertaining and inspiring, and preferably not in the "examples of things to avoid" manner. 

My goal in this blog is to be a running diary of my progress in sewing historically inspired outfits or costumes.  My main love in the Late Bustle era, but I am also tempted by earlier clothing styles. 

I will attempt to post on a semi-regular basis, but of course life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans, so forgive me if it is less often than one might wish. 

But for now, please sit and refresh yourself.  Biscuit?