Saturday, January 30, 2010


Ok, I’ve not posted much of late, but I have been a bit busy with a couple of projects, and, of course the job search. One of my fellow Wenches, like so many others, is an amazing seamstress, and has aspirations of being a custom seamstress, and she offered to teach some of us some of her secrets. First up was a corset. Specifically, a corset meant to be worn as the foundation garment that they are actually supposed to be… Amazingly, her own such corset seems to have some sort of magic, as it fit several of us, all of varying heights & girths amazingly well, and our individual patterns required minimal tweaking from hers. It did take a couple of us some trial and error, as we didn’t think to take notes (as someone else took them and offered to type them up and email them, though that has not happened yet), but eventually we got them finished. Well, some of them are finished. One is still waiting on grommets, because someone who was told they could borrow 3, wasn’t told that the ones in the baggie (the only ones I could find in the house) were set aside for the corset. My corset is FAR from perfect, and it probably won’t get worn much, but I did learn that I CAN make one, successfully. I also suspect that I am going to want more boning than what is in there… (they are relatively narrow, and made from ¼” fish tape, cut to length). It’s not particularly pretty, however since it’s an undergarment, it doesn’t have to be beautiful, necessarily.
I also think that my layer that pads between the outer layer and the boning layer is a bit too thick and, umm, fluffy.

I also think that for an outer corset or bodice, I want it to be a bit longer in the front. That corset or bodice is going to be an ongoing project, as I have a vision in my head of how I can create covers to go over it for a couple of specific outfits that I only wear once a season, and just can’t justify a whole corset or bodice for that one day. 

In May, I am in a wedding, which, while it won’t actually take place at Scarborough, it will be part of our faire day, and I’ve got an Irish dress to make for it. The fabric is purchased, as is the interfacing, and the thread. Pretty much I have to get it made, get the boning, and the grommets/lacing for it. My biggest issue with all the Irish dresses I’ve tried on, is that they land in such a spot that my tummy pooches way out and, well, makes me look about 5 months pregnant. Yeah, NOT a look I want to have, thanks. I’ve been told by 2 different seamstresses that I can adjust the waist of the dress to drop farther down, and not have that look. I’m going to try on the one that I already have, with my corset under it and see what I think of the look, before I get out the muslin and start mocking up the pattern with any adjustments I think it needs, before I start cutting on the real fabric. We’ve got a pattern, however it seems to be pretty much a front lacing bodice with a skirt attached to it, so I may just use my corset pattern and make adjustments on that.

My other new project is still ongoing. For some reason I got a bee in my bonnet about learning blackwork embroidery. I’ve had more than one person tell me I’ll go blind doing it, and I just might, but I’m going to give it a shot. Once upon a time I did a good bit of counted cross-stitch, and actually quite enjoyed it. I bought a piece of waste canvas when I was at Joann’s yesterday, and some black floss. I found an awesome site at Blackwork Archives with some not terribly difficult patterns, cut a piece of waste canvas to the size of the simplest pattern, basted it onto a white hanky, and started this little quest.

Now, I’m not sure what I am going to ultimately do with the skill, since I wear essentially peasant or pirate garb, it’s not like I have a court gown to wear with a blackworked chemise, but I guess we’ll see where it goes. The corner of the hanky that I did finish is a decent enough job for the first time out, I think. My next piece of waste canvas will be 14 count, rather than 10, as I think the 10 is resulting in a bit of a big design. I also am going to work on learning to stitch evenly, without the canvas, so that I don’t have to spend a lot of $ on waste canvas, and because the waste canvas is a bit of a pain in the ass to get pulled out of the stitching.

I LOVE digging through the remnant bins at Joann’s, and even at our local WalMart, which is one of the few that still has a decent fabric department. I’ve managed to score, in the past few days, several pieces of twill or duck cloth in 53” or 54” widths, each just about a yard, for between a buck and 2.50 each! Yep, I’m gathering fabric that I can use for either bone casings, or corset layers. I am always on the hunt for bargains, and I’m pretty sure my fabric is going to outgrow my tote AND my shelf in our cabinet. I am going to try to only keep current project fabric in the cabinet, to avoid cluttering it up, but we’ll see what shakes out.

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