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And So It Continues (or, The Never-Ending Tale of the Ivory Corset)

Ivory Corset -- Getting Even Closer!Ivory Corset -- Getting Even Closer!
..The corset goes ever on and on..

I've finished everything for this corset that I expected to do-- the top and bottom of each bone and of both sides of the busk are flossed, and I've made a modesty panel, although it still needs some improvement. I used a floating modesty panel with grommets at the top, but other than that, it's only attached midway down by a loop of fabric, so at the very least, it needs a few more grommets. I also think that the busk flossing needs more. Definitely a flower on top off the "grass," at least.. it looks unfinished as it is. And I'm still thinking I'd like some flossing along the boning channels, probably a blue star-like design.
And then of course there's the problem of the fact that it doesn't quite fit. Well, it does in that I can wear it, so if that means it fits, then it fits. But it is too small, and the strips of lacing warp a bit, probably because the gap in the back is bigger than it really should be. And I can't tighten it without getting a really bad muffin-top effect. Next one *definitely* gets ease added at least to the top-- I seem to displace more upward than downward. Woah, that might even give the illusion that I actually have a chest!

On a related note, I just learned from Gloria's Blog entry that "muffin top" has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

It's Almost Done! (Or, The Continuing Story of the Ivory Corset)

Almost Done!Almost Done!
Well, it's almost done! There's a flower and a half missing in this picture, since I tried it on after I finished the binding, and I'd had to remove the flower-and-a-half in order to straighten out some of the binding on the bottom. (Note to self-- bind, then floss.) And I still have to floss around the bottom of the busk, and possibly some flossing elsewhere on the main body of the corset, I'm not totally decided on that, but it would help keep everything in place. It also needs a modesty panel, and you can kinda see the outline of the waist tape. But look at the lack of wrinkles!!
I can't get much reduction from it, and have muffin top problems if I try to tighten it much. For the next one, I'll add ease at the top to compensate for displacement, as suggested by Sparklewren and discussed by Cathy Hay in her Pint Glass To Hour Glass Shocker post in the Merry Corsetiers LiveJournal group.

Ivory Corset -- Flossing Along the Bottom Edge

Ivory Corset -- Flossing on the Bottom EdgeIvory Corset -- Flossing on the Bottom EdgeI've gotten the flossing mostly finished along the bottom edge. I'm not sure I like the busk flossing; it looks wrong somehow. It also looks a bit like it could be a shadow rather than a design element, so I'm probably going to redo the busk flossing with more of an actual plan. Maybe.
I haven't decided exactly how I'm going to do the flossing on the top, or whether I'm doing to do any flossing along the boning channels in between. I'll experiment with that tonight and tomorrow, probably before deciding what to do about the busk. I do like the blue, I'm just wondering if I should have done something more interesting.
Wow I'm indecisive..

Creating Flossing Flowers

Flossing FlowerFlossing Flower
Flossing Flower 2Flossing Flower 2Flossing Flower 3Flossing Flower 3
Flossing flowers are probably the simplest of *ahem* fancy flossing, but it's a good place to start, right? I did the bottom (green) part the way Sidney Eileen demonstrates in her flossing tutorial.
For the top part of the flower, I bring the thread through from the back, above where I've made the stem, and then thread it around the top of the stem and bring it back up, like in the first picture to the right, and then back through at the same level, on the other side of the bone. I repeat that from the other side, down a couple of millimeters from the previous level of "petals." I don't yet have a set procedure for the rest of the flower petals, I just kinda keep going in a similar manner until it looks like it might be finished.

Flossing

Flossing StartedFlossing Started So, dfr is almost finished her denim corset and it has pretty pink flowers for the flossing. And then of course she asked me if I'm going to do "real" flossing this time or "just" the criss-cross flossing like I did on my last one. Apparently I'm supposed to out-do her. So mine is going to be multi-colored, at least different colors for the leaves/grass and flowers. I haven't decided if I'm going to use any more colors, and I've only done the bottom of two channels so far.. but here's the picture. The top will definitely need something different, too.
Just to clarify: I'm not calling the fabric ripper an ass. Nor am I calling her a bumroll, bustle, farthingale, or any other body part, real or simulated. :p

Construction Completed!

Ivory Corset ConstructedIvory Corset ConstructedOkay, I haven't done the binding or flossing or anything, and I think I"m going to trim it down on the sides a bit.. but the actual construction part of my ivory corset is now completed! ...and it seems to fit! A few wrinkles, but not too many.. I've still got quite a bit of work to go before it's actually finished, and the gap in the back is wide enough and the lacing thin enough that I"ll definitely have to make a modesty panel for it.. but the construction itself--done! It's not perfect, but it is distinctly better than my previous corsets!

More Progress on my Ivory Corset

Ivory Corset -- More ProgressIvory Corset -- More ProgressSo, I'll babble some more about my ivory corset. I've gotten the construction on the right side finished (I think) and am now working on the left side. (That's right and left sides of my body.. looking at the sides from the front, like in the photo, it's reversed.)
It's turning out significantly smaller than my mockup. Some of that may be due to the fact that my mockup was only one layer, but I don't think that accounts for all of the difference. I'll go through and finish construction and check the fit, and then I'll decide if it's a final version or just another mockup.
I decided to try holding the layers together with something that I guess can only be described as a cross between pad-stitching and hand-basting. I'm not sure if there's a more accurate way to describe it.. I'm basically using more-or-less pad-stitching technique to hold everything in place and in shape while I sew the boning channels, then I'll remove it. The blue line of hand-stitching I used as a guide for the straight grain. The innermost layer is the striped Vera Wang canvas, so since I can't see that while doing the stitching from the outside, and stitching from the inside tends to be unpredictable, I decided to hand-sew a guide line.
I've had to re-fix my walking foot several more times, and I'm really wanting a real walking foot machine with needle feed. I've been doing some research on walking foot machines, and I'm getting somewhat confused as to what exactly I'd need. They're generally made for sewing canvas and leather, and while canvas accounts for a great deal of my corsets, there's also the silk layer to worry about. I haven't had much luck googling on what the best type of machine is for corset-making; I don't believe they make any specifically intended for the task, and I'm sure that if they did, they'd probably be crazy expensive. Somehow I doubt I'd be able to find a meant-for-corset-making machine on craigslist!

Medieval Green Dress Photoshoot With Mom

Green Medieval DressGreen Medieval Dress

Medieval Green Dress -- Halo Effect: Some of the back-lit images came out with a really neat halo effect.Medieval Green Dress -- Halo Effect: Some of the back-lit images came out with a really neat halo effect.

Medieval Green DressMedieval Green Dress

Medieval Green Dress Photoshoot -- Without Veil: Most of the pictures of this dress ended up looking goofy without a veil.. just not right. I liked the way this one turned out, rather fierce looking, but I ended up making quick veil so we could get some with a more period feel. Medieval Green Dress Photoshoot -- Without Veil: Most of the pictures of this dress ended up looking goofy without a veil.. just not right. I liked the way this one turned out, rather fierce looking, but I ended up making quick veil so we could get some with a more period feel.

Medieval Green Dress -- Face ProfileMedieval Green Dress -- Face Profile

Medieval Green Dress -- Behind TreeMedieval Green Dress -- Behind Tree

So--mom to the rescue!--I've finally got some pictures of me in my green medieval dress. I hadn't originally made a veil to go with it, but after we got a bunch of pictures, I realized the outfit just looked incomplete without it. So I made a makeshift veil out of a circle of a cheap polyester crepe ("crepe" is what it says in my spreadsheet, although I'm starting to think that "crepe" isn't a particularly descriptive word; it seems like a great variety of fabrics are crepes, the defining feature of which is very twisted threads that create the uneven texture. But I have other fabrics that seem to have that feature as well. Some of my chiffons feel like they may actually be lightweight crepes, and this particular fabric is almost as lightweight as a chiffon. I'm learning more and more that fabric categories aren't particularly well-defined.) I still haven't finished the edges of the veil, although I do plan on it; at the time, I just needed something to put on my head. I also secured it with elastic. Totally non-period, but I'm not generally concerned keeping things period, only trying to make them look somewhat period. And besides, with a princess-seamed medieval-style dress, some elastic was the least of the non-period-ness!

Ivory Self-Drafted Corset In-Progress

Self-Drafted Ivory Corset ProgressSelf-Drafted Ivory Corset Progress Ivory Corset In ProgressIvory Corset In Progress Herringbone Canvas-y.. stuff: The herringbone stuff I'm using as a middle layer in my newest corset.  It seems to have more give than the Vera Wang canvas, but that could be said of most things.Herringbone Canvas-y.. stuff: The herringbone stuff I'm using as a middle layer in my newest corset. It seems to have more give than the Vera Wang canvas, but that could be said of most things.
Okay, so I've started what may be a "real" version of the corset I drafted from the Foundations Revealed instructions. Since I decided I did want to use the ivory dupioni for the outer layer, I decided to nix the second layer of Vera Wang canvas and use the herringbone canvas-y stuff from a mystery bundle as the middle layer. I'm thinking that next time, I'll definitely fuse the fashion fabric layer to the next layer in, because extra layers to make it much more difficult to get everything to sit right. (I'll have to order some more iron-on bonding web. I've got some, but mostly the tape kind rather than the flat kind.)
It's not turning out bad so far, but not quite *right* either.. I'm getting some diagonal warping along and between the boning channels that bugs the heck out of me. My walking foot is also being slightly unreliable. There seems to be a pin in it that keeps slipping out of place. I can put it back, but it's kinda a pain, and there's dark grease inside that gets all over my fingers when I do, not great for working with ivory silk. I dream of an industrial walking foot machine with needle feed. Perhaps something like this. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I did order a yard of white English coutil from King and Company on Etsy, although I may not be ready for it yet. It will be nice to see coutil up close, and be able to compare it to what I've been using. I figured there was probably no point in using domestic coutil as an intermediary, given that the canvas I've been using has very little give, and it's hard to imagine that a coutil described as having some give could really have much less than the Vera Wang canvas does. *shrug* But maybe I'll have to eventually get my paws on a bit of that anyway, just to see. I thought about ordering two yards of the English coutil, one white and one black, but despite the fact that King and Company has awesome prices on it, it's still expensive. Besides, it's not like there won't be other orders!

Currently I only have the normal type of awl, rather than the tapered kind recommended by Sydney Eileen in her tutorials on Grommeting by Hand and Inserting a Busk. I've ordered a tapered one, but haven't gotten it yet, so I'm kinda waiting on that to do any hole-poking. I'm not sure how necessary it is for the grommets currently, since I'm still using my stabilizing-the-eyelets-with-duct-strapping method that really does require punching holes, but I'd really like to have a proper corsetry awl before inserting the peg side of the busk. (I may eventually start using real grommets and not doing the duct strapping thing in the back-- grommets are actually not as deep as eyelets, and so I can't actually get grommets all the way through the duct strapping. Yes, I've tried. Although I also don't have grommet tools yet. I'd been kinda hoping that eyelet tools of the same size would work.. but eyelet and grommet sizing are different anyway. That doesn't make complete sense, since apparently the biggest difference between metal eyelets and grommets is whether or not they have washers on the back, but I've also got some eyelets with washers, and the tool to apply them, but they still don't use the same tool as the grommets. Go figure. I'm getting a serious headache on the metal eyelets vs. grommets issue.)

Self-Drafted Corset Mockup

Self-Drafted Corset MockupSelf-Drafted Corset Mockup Self-Drafted Corset Mockup FrontSelf-Drafted Corset Mockup Front Self-Drafted Corset Mockup BackSelf-Drafted Corset Mockup Back Corset Mockup On Me: Alright, fine.  Here's one of the mockup on me, taken in front of the mirror.. As I've already said, it's not as thick or as heavily boned as the finally version will be, but the fit is quite good!Corset Mockup On Me: Alright, fine. Here's one of the mockup on me, taken in front of the mirror.. As I've already said, it's not as thick or as heavily boned as the finally version will be, but the fit really isn't bad! Well, I finished a mockup of my self-drafted corset. Not a wearable mockup, just a pattern test; busks are too expensive for mockups to stay together permanently. I trimmed the busk and lacing bits off of the front and back pieces of the last mockup, so I have straight busk and lacing strips I can sew into place on mockups so I can check fit without having to go through all the inserting of the busk and hammering of eyelets and everything. It also makes it easier to do single-layer mockups which lets me actually (gasp) make adjustments, which is more or less impossible to do once you've sewn together a two-layer corset. I boned it along most of the seam allowances, and then added strips of canvas to the inside to create boning channels. (on a final two-layers-of-canvas version, I'd have just sewn the layers together to create the boning channels) It seems to have turned out the way I wanted it to. The fit is pretty good, everything seems right. The single layer version probably has a bit more give than the final two-layer corset will, but that's really not the end of the world, it's meant to have a lacing gap anyways. I've already cut out two layers of canvas for the final version. I haven't completely decided on the outer fabric yet. I'm thinking that I'll use the red silk from FabricMart. I have some ivory dupioni that's a possibility, but I don't want to have to do the extra layer in between the outside and the canvas, and the darker canvas would show through under the light dupioni. I suppose that might not be too obvious, especially as I *do* tend to wear corsets as undergarments.. and a red corset would show through an awful lot of tops. But I got the red silk for the purpose of making a corset anyways, and I still think it could be beautiful. And of course dark colors don't show dirt as much, which is a serious consideration given that corsets aren't exactly easy to wash! So.. I'm still thinking red silk for this one. I think.
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by Dr. Radut