Friday, 27 August 2010

Corset classes 1 and 2

Today I'll show you what I have been working on in my corset making class.

I have a little corset making experience, having made a Victorian style corset as a class project at WAAPA. I have also made a fair few structured bodices using various methods of boning, but I am by no means an expert so I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to develop my skills further. I signed up for a 6-week course, one evening a week at a local technical college.

At first I wasn't sure how I would like it, many of the other students seemed quite inexperienced but I really had nothing to worry about as the teacher is very experienced and generous with her knowledge (not all teachers are like that unfortunately). There will be a class project for those who want to work along step-by-step or we can do our own thing. I have chosen to use a different design but using the same techniques as the class project, my design is slightly more complicated as I wanted to work with gussets. The other techniques I haven't tried before but will be incorporating into my corset are cording, flossing and hand-worked eyelets.

By way of background here is the corset I made while at WAAPA.
(obviously dummies can't 'suck in' - mind you it doesn't fit me either these days!)
It is a pretty simple shape and I added decoration to the centre front panel by winding silk ribbon on to the bobbin and stitching the diamond grid (from the wrong side) with a zig zag stitch.  I then made a hand-worked bullion rose in the centre of each diamond.

Essentially I sewed together the outer shell and the lining individually, placed them wrong sides together and stitched the boning channels on each panel. The only actual seam that is boned is the side seam and that is formed with a flat felled seam. There is a busk in the front, metal eyelets in the back and the top and bottom edges are simply bound with bias strips. It requires a degree of accuracy but isn't complicated.

For this course I will be using a B4254 View D which I have had lying around for years (I was intending to make the Tudor/Elizabethan style corset, but like so many projects it fell by the wayside). I'll also be using the fabric and boning I got for that project. On the upside this will be a very economical project for me!

So far I have made and fitted a toille. Essentially I am making a size 12 with a little room in the hips, a 1cm increase to each side of the gusset/cup (by way of an fba) and nipped in a little at the top edge. Pretty easy really.  Fortunately I kept the practice eyelet strips I made for my other corset and was able to use them for fitting.  This ensures a nice even gap down the centre back.
Next I moved on to sampling some of the techniques.
Here is my first attempt at cording - sorry it's a bit blurry but I think you get the idea. I stitched 3mm channels and threaded through two lengths of machine knitting yarn, probably about 5ply I would say. It needs to be something quite hard - like acrylic but this is a little thin. For my second sample I stuck with 3mm channels and I used some 8ply acrylic leftover from my swiffer socks, again using two lengths. This gives a nice firm result. Boy is it boring sewing all those channels though - no more samples for me I think!
The method of boning I will be using for this project is quite different to any I have used before. The outer and lining fabric are placed together, like underlining, then the seams are stitched. Bias strips are then sewn along the stitching line, the seam allowances are trimmed and the raw edge of the bias is turned in and stitched down to the main body to form the boning channel. The channels can be placed on the inside or the outside of the corset depending on whether or not you want it to be a design feature, but both sides are fully finished and neat looking. Mine will be on the outside. I have made up one half of the corset to test out these techniques (I need to perfect the measurements to cut the bias the right width for my boning).  Note the centre front and centre back panels are not joined on as I have to insert the busk and make the eyelets before those panels are joined on.
This week I think we will be inserting the busks (which I have done before but it will be interesting to see if there is a different way to do it) and making hand-worked eyelets (which is great for me as I hate putting in those silly metal eyelets - all that work to be ruined by one wonky grommet!). After that (possibly this weekend) I will start on the real thing.

This weekend I must get on to blocking my featherweight cardigan.  It's been waiting for over a week now!


kbenco said...

wow. I would love to do a course like this. I hope you will post a lot about it!

Anonymous said...

What is the fabric you've used in the last sample photo, it looks too shiney for a calico or is that just the photo playing tricks on me...
Sarah xx

velosewer said...

I'm looking forward to reading more on your corset class.

rastreator said...

Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks!