Hybrid Style Fully Corded Corset – WIP 6-15

I’ve been busy working on the corded corset the past couple weeks, and am taking a breather to post the WIP photos here.  If you follow me on facebook, instagram, or twitter, you can see images like these as I make progress on my projects.

It’s pretty close to being finished.  There are just a couple hiccups that need addressing so it fits comfortably.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP6 - by Sidney Eileen. What you are looking at here is I made a basting stitch in white thread at seam allowance depth, and then turned the seam allowance under and stitched it down.

What you are looking at here is I made a basting stitch in white thread at seam allowance depth, and then turned the seam allowance under and stitched it down.

After prepping all the panels I spent some time cutting things out, like the lining, busk pocket, and fabric strips to cover the seams.  Then I started assembling the panels.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP7 - by Sidney Eileen. I zig-zag stitched the panels edge to edge, with cotton ribbon backing for reinforcement. I used contrast stitching so I could easily see what I was doing, and it will be covered later.

I zig-zag stitched the panels edge to edge, with cotton ribbon backing for reinforcement. I used contrast stitching so I could easily see what I was doing, and it will be covered later.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP8 - by Sidney Eileen. Here the body panels have been assembled and I'm adding the waist tape.

Here the body panels have been assembled and I’m adding the waist tape.

I also assembled the lining, but did not take a photo, before stopping to go get a 3/8″ bias tape maker for creating the strips to cover the seams.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP9 - by Sidney Eileen. In this photo all the seams are covered and the lining is attached on the body of the corset. I can't say the same for the stomacher yet.

In this photo all the seams are covered and the lining is attached on the body of the corset. I can’t say the same for the stomacher yet.

By getting it this far when I did, I was able to take the corset with me to an SCA event and attach the lacing rings by hand over the weekend.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP10 - detail - by Sidney Eileen. When I took this photo I was almost done attaching the lacing rings to the corset. Only three and a half rings out of 26 were left. Then the basting stitches (the white stitches) could be removed. I used an up-down buttonhole stitch in black buttonhole thread.

When I took this photo I was almost done attaching the lacing rings to the corset. Only three and a half rings out of 26 were left. Then the basting stitches (the white stitches) could be removed. I used an up-down buttonhole stitch in black buttonhole thread.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP11 - detail - by Sidney Eileen. These are detail photos of attaching the bias binding around the armholes, showing the difference in final product when you use couture techniques.

These are detail photos of attaching the bias binding around the armholes, showing the difference in final product when you use couture techniques. Initially I tried to do it entirely on the machine (bottom photo), but it turned out terrible on the inside and I barely caught the fold over in places. I’m not in practice enough to be able to fudge it, so after that I whip stitched the binding in place on the inside so I was certain it would turn out nice. It’s basically a basting stitch since I also top stitched after to create an aesthetic consistent with the seam binding, but done in such a way I don’t have too remove it after. If the whip stitch was the only finishing on the binding I would have made the stitches much smaller.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP12 - by Sidney Eileen. As of this photo I had finished attaching the bias binding around both armholes and the top edge of the corset, and I started in on the binding around the tabs.

As of this photo I had finished attaching the bias binding around both armholes and the top edge of the corset, and I started in on the binding around the tabs.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP13 - by Sidney Eileen, Here I am hand basting the gores in place so I can stitch them accurately. The lining on the gores is folded to the front with the raw edge trimmed to where it will be hidden under the body of the corset. The three goes still unattached are stacked on the corset for the photo. Every time I turn around I am finding another unanticipated step that involves hand stitching.

Here I am hand basting the gores in place so I can stitch them accurately. The lining on the gores is folded to the front with the raw edge trimmed to where it will be hidden under the body of the corset. The three gores still unattached are stacked on the corset for the photo. Every time I turn around I am finding another unanticipated step that involves hand stitching.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP14 - by Sidney Eileen, As of this photo, the only external detail remaining is to finish the binding on the top of the stomacher.

As of this photo, the only external detail remaining is to finish the binding on the top of the stomacher.

I got far enough along to be able to try it on before taking this photo, and unfortunately it does need a little bit of steel boning to prevent buckling at the waist. I’m also far enough in that it will have to be added by hand. So, more handwork. Still, it will give me an opportunity to try something else I’ve been curious about, and we’ll see if I can’t make the boning removable for washing.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP15 - by Sidney Eileen, Inglorious bathroom selfie! The blue painter's tape shows where I need to place the flat steel boning so it will be straight down the side of my body (no twisting). You can see the buckling, which isn't any worse than one would expect from a faux corset, but is horribly uncomfortable since this corset is tight lacing. I also need to move the anchor points that hold the top of the stomacher tight to my chest to correct the gaping at my bust.

Inglorious bathroom selfie! The blue painter’s tape shows where I need to place the flat steel boning so it will be straight down the side of my body (no twisting). You can see the buckling, which isn’t any worse than one would expect from a faux corset, but is horribly uncomfortable since this corset is tight lacing. I also need to move the anchor points that hold the top of the stomacher tight to my chest to correct the gaping at my bust.

I do think I know what I did wrong that caused the buckling. I started this corset (including cutting it all out) last summer, and I am pretty sure I didn’t cut the pieces on the correct grain. I think they are all grain vertical to the piece shape, which puts them more and more on the bias the closer to the front you get…. It’s a siilly mistake, but it does illustrate the absolute importance of placing grain correctly for the line of pressure along the body.  Had I done that, I don’t think it would need boning at all, because the wrinkling is actually bias stretch on steroids.  Without the full cording I don’t think it would be wearable.  The line of the tape is what the strength layer grain should be on the side panel, but instead I think it is even with the lines of cording.

All in all, I’d say that I’m happy with how it’s looking, and I’m sure I will wear it quite a bit, but there are a lot of things I would do differently, so at some point down the road I want to revisit this concept and make it even better.

Project: Fully Corded Hybrid Style Corset

Hybrid Style Fully Corded Corset – WIP4-5

Apparently I had not gotten around to posting all the WIP images from July to this blog.  My apologies for that.  I have not actually worked on the hybrid style fully corded corset in nearly two months, but here are a couple more images of the progress I did make at that time.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP4 Detail, by Sidney Eileen

Corded Hybrid Corset – WIP4 Detail – At this point I managed to finish cording the last two black panels of the corset, and the next day I managed to cord half of the gores (I’m not counting the two tiny ones, which are too small to cord and exist purely for aesthetic reasons). That meant I still needed to cord four goes and the four stomacher panels. I think that will be the half way point of total construction.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP5, by Sidney Eileen

Corded Hybrid Corset – WIP5 – I finished cording all the panels! I had barely prepped enough cord. You can see the small coil of remainder. Thank goodness I pulled all the cord I thought I would need and then pulled a few more yards just to make sure! I could have washed more had I run out, but I’m glad to not have to go to the trouble. This puts me at what I estimate is the halfway point of the project, two weeks in.

 

Project: Fully Corded Hybrid Style Corset

Lucy Corsetry Interview and NACLS

The North American Corsetry and Lingerie Symposium happened on July 18, 19, and 20.  I was mistaken about the weekend when it was happening and had to pack in a rush to head out the door for the symposium.  The corded corset did not get finished, and I have barely done anything with it since.

That said, the weekend was absolutely amazing!  One of the biggest highlights for me was meeting Lucy of Lucy’s Corsetry in person.  Most of you probably know her because of her site and YouTube channel where she shares her wealth of knowledge about corsets, corset makers, and corset brands.  For me the connection is much more personal, because when I announced I was sick she offered to run a funding campaign for me to help pay for me medical expenses.  The campaign was a success, and without it I am fairly certain I would still not be able to take the antibiotics I needed because all of my expenses have been out of pocket, without any help from insurance.  At the end of the weekend we had time to film an interview for her vlog.

 

In other news I met lot of other amazing people, and had a fantastic time.  In the classes learned a new technique for pattern matching from Amber Welch of Lovely Rats Corsets, an interesting method of draping a ribbon corset so it does not have a side panel from Jasmine Ines of Sin and Satin Corsetry, and learned more about ready-to-wear corsetry from Jessica of Ties That Bynd Designs, Inc.  On the second day of classes I also got to prattle for several hours about hand sewing and embroidery.  I was tired enough by that point in the weekend that I had trouble staying on focus and on topic, but despite my issues I saw a lot of ah-ha moments, which always makes me happy.

Zessina took a number of candid photos on the first day of classes.  These first two are from the pattern matching class, where we were using tracing paper to pattern match across panels.

Photo  of NACLS 2015, by Zessina https://www.facebook.com/Zessinna

Photo of NACLS 2015, by Zessina

Photo  of NACLS 2015, by Zessina https://www.facebook.com/Zessinna

Photo of NACLS 2015, by Zessina

I love the fabric I ended up with, but I didn’t get far enough along during the class to cut into it, so at some point down the road I will use one of my own patterns and that fabric to make a corset using the method Amber Welch taught.

Floral Cotton Print Fabric

Floral print cotton fabric I received at NACLS 2015 for the pattern matching workshop.

Lastly, I want to include a candid photo of Zessina the photographer, model, and all-around delightful person who took the candid photos above.  Here she was trying on one of the Lovely Rats corsets with the assistance of Amber Welch, ahead of the photo shoots that happened the next day.

Photo of Zessina and Amber Welch, NACLS 2015

Photo of Zessina and Amber Welch, NACLS 2015

Later that same day we also had a fun corset trying-on session, where any of us who were interested got to try on the corsets various makers had brought with them to the conference.  Some of the corsets from Ties that Bynde were close enough to my measurements to try on, so I did so with delight.  They were a little too long for me to sit in (a very typical problem for me with ready-to-wear corsets), but otherwise delightfully comfortable and with a much larger reduction than I currently have on any of my personal corsets.

The next NACLS is tentatively planned for 2017, and I’m looking very much forward to it.  I hope to see more of you there! :)

Hybrid Style Fully Corded Corset – WIP1

The last few days I have been working on my hybrid style fully corded corset.  The first step is to fully cord all the panels and gores.  The strength layer is coutil, with thin cotton rope for cording, and black linen for the cover material.  I couldn’t find yellow buttonhole thread, so I am using bright yellow machine embroidery thread for the stitching on the cords of the black panels.

The overall design is a hybrid of conical stays with stomacher and Victorian.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP1, by Sidney Eileen

WIP1 – Three out of fifteen panels corded. Strength layer is coutil. Cording is a thin cotton rope. Cover is black linen. Cording channels are stitched with bright yellow machine embroidery thread since I couldn’t find the right color in buttonhole thread.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP2, by Sidney Eileen

WIP2 – Six and a half panels out of fifteen corded. After I finish cording each panel I trim down the linen to the size of the coutil.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP2 Detail, by Sidney Eileen

Detail of the cord channel stitching on the unfinished back panel. I am using a thin cotton rope for the cording, and bright yellow machine embroidery thread for the stitching so it will pop.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP3, by Sidney Eileen

WIP3 – Nine and a half panels out of fifteen corded. The two panels on the right side are for the stomacher, which will be yellow linen with black stitching.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP3 Detail, by Sidney Eileen

Detail of the underside of a panel after cording, before trimming. The cording is sticking out slightly at the top and bottom ends where the edge of the corset will be bound. The cording stops a short distance from the seam allowance to either side, but the stitching continues into the seam allowance.

 

Project: Fully Corded Hybrid Style Corset

Stays / Victorian Hybrid Corset – Mock-Up

In more exciting news, for the first time in a little over three years I am working on a corset.  It is a bastard hybrid of stays with stomacher, and a Victorian corset.  It will be fully corded to imitate the look of fully boned stays, and I am planning for it to machine washable.

English stays, dated to 1620-1640. It’s made out of linen and red silk satin and edged with pale blue silk ribbons. It’s laced in the front over a boned stomacher. From the Manchester Galleries Collections.

English stays, dated to 1620-1640. It’s made out of linen and red silk satin and edged with pale blue silk ribbons, and is laced in the front over a boned stomacher. From the Manchester Art Gallery Collections.

My design is very heavily inspired by these particular extant stays, which according to Isis’s Wardrobe, are English and dated to 1620-1640. It’s made out of linen and red silk satin and edged with pale blue silk ribbons, and is laced in the front over a boned stomacher.  The stays are in the Manchester Art Gallery Collections, which unfortunately at the time of writing this blog are not available online, so I cannot provide any further information or photos.

My corset is going to have “tabs” extending down from the body panels, with the hip spring entirely created with gores in a contrasting color.  The stomacher will be shaped with contours for the bust like in a Victorian or modern corset, and I am planning to include a small, stiff busk in a pocket on the inside of the stomacher.

This is the first time I will be cording a corset using the sewing machine entirely (as opposed to stitching the channels and then threading the cording through them), so you can expect a tutorial of some sort on that subject in the next couple months.  I probably will not have the energy to post many details while making the corset, as I have very little time left before NALACE, where I will be teaching a class.  I’ve gained a significant amount of weight in the past year, so none of my corsets fit right anymore.

Stays/Victorian Hybrid Corset - mock-up, by Sidney Eileen

Stays/Victorian Hybrid Corset – mock-up

There were only a couple small changes needed, so I won’t be making a second mock-up.  It needed to be taken in slightly at the front of the armhole, and needed to be lengthened significantly to achieve the look I want.

Project: Fully Corded Hybrid Style Corset