Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Does half a corset a corset builder make?

So I sat down last night to start the corset properly; sewing in the hoop side of the busk and then continuing to add panels round to the back seam.  Although I'm using Alasse's pattern, I also have a copy of How to Build a Corset which is now thumbed, annotated, post-it noted within an inch of it's life and the prospect of sewing steel into fabric for the first time in my 36-odd years had me checking, double-checking and "just checking again"! 

I started  by deciding where to place the busk, marked the openings for the busk hoops and then (wrong sides together) sewed the seam, leaving gaps where the hoops would be pushed through.  Once I actully commited needle to fabric, I was very pleased with how the coutil, canvas, fabric combination stayed together and was a pleasure to sew; though I put a sharp needle in the machine just to be sure.  The seam was then pressed open, the fabrics folded wrong sides together and pressed again.  Pins were placed where the gaps were and I sewed down the seam 1.5mm from the edge.  I unpicked and resewed a couple of the seams and will possibly do so again as I've not tied them off sufficiently and they are coming loose!  Annoying, and there is no suggestion of how to finish them so that they hold, I think I will tie them off and sew the excess thread through. 

The busk was then pushed into the seam and the hoops through their gaps.  I changed the machine foot to a zipper foot and sewed a line of stitching down the far side of the busk to hold this tight to the edge seam.  I actually sewed this twice as I didn't think that the first was close enough, and then panic un-picked the first seam, certain that in doing so I would catch the fabric and pull a thread... thankfully, all went well.

Finally, flushed with success and at 10.30pm on a school night!, I decided to sew on the next panel.  I paid no attention to anyone's instructions here and decided to sew the front and back panels on separately, which I can do thanks to my design for the corset; external bone casings that are both decorative and will hold the front and back layers together.  Careful pinning and a little adjusting on a couple of seams and I'm pleased; I was able to sew all the panels, round to the back, together in less than an hour.  I pinned a couple of bone casings onto the panels to see how they would look, but ordered 3" too short a length of casing... back to Vena Cava for some more casing and a little patience whilst I enjoy New York before I can get on with the other side....

But... I have half a corset made!! :o)
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