Saturday, 20 April 2013

Cording, a lesson in patience!

Once again, I'm writing late, this post is mostly about Thursday's goings on, it's just been stupidly busy since then.  I did quite a bit of reading up on cording and everyone seems to have their own method.  I've picked on two to try; adapting the first based on this great tutorial by Jenny La Fleur, whose method I think I will use later on... I'll explain.

The first method that I chose involves sewing channels across the panels, threading the cord through them and then sewing closed the ends.  I chose because it is the easiest way to cord and a good opportunity to practise the technique: channel width, length of stitch etc.

Rifling through my threads box I found a reel that I bought for the original Space Mermaid costume.  I didn't use it, it was too light a blue for that costume, but it works well with the cabbage fabric.  To thread the cotton twine, I decided to borrow Jenny La Fleur's technique and will be using a length of florists wire.  I am using this technique on the smaller pieces which form the hips and following the pattern drawn out in Corsets and Crinolines.

It started with lots of straight lines, using a short stitch (half the length of my machines standard stitch).  Starting at the top of the piece and running parallel.

Once the lines were all sewn in, I doubled the florists wire over and threaded the cotton through, doubling that too.

The florists wire was gently threaded between the top and middle layers and pulled through until the thread was in the channel.  Each end was trimmed an inch or so from the edge.

And you keep on threading...

Once all the channels were threaded, I ran a line of stitching down each side to hold them in place.

And then trimmed the ends as far back into the seam as I could.

Thursday's efforts produced my first panel.  Today I finished my second, third and fourth.  I had hoped to do more but got the second completely wrong and the unpicking too quite a lot longer than the sewing did!  That panel has the dark green line through it (below) which I wanted to keep, so it was worth the extra time, if not the frustration!  I was then able to sew my first few panels together; I wanted to test the seam, as it is quite bulky.

With a very firm press, on a hot steam iron, the seam may be bulky by sits quite flat.  I have to be careful pressing, as you can see the heat and steam discolour the cabbage dye further (and yes, there's that smell again!) but I am going to hand finish these seams with a strip of bias binding, possibly in a contrasting colour to match the thread.

From the front, the seams sit very well and the extra bulk will, I think, also help with the shape.  The change in the fabric is quite extraordinary and the texture is amazing.  Such a simple technique yields such a strong and striking result, it could be quite addictive.

You will see I changed the pattern of the lines for the second pieces, it was an accident at first, but a happy one, I like the way the lines follow round.  I hope it works as I carry on around the corset, if not I have more of the blue and could make two new triangular panels. I should know for sure, if I get the chance, tomorrow.  In the meantime, the lovely boyfs only comment, "it looks a little like something they'd wear in Star Trek"... it seems I'm on to something here ;o)
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