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A (Stained) Whitewood Trunk

OMG, my trunk actually worked!Whitewood Trunk with Piper and TinkWhitewood Trunk with Piper and Tink
Unless you count Ikea furniture, this was the first time I'd ever built something. I used whitewood (stained "gunstock" colored) because it's cheaper than anything else and I didn't know how badly I'd screw it up. While there are multiple imperfections (not the least of which being that I planned it for the size the boards are advertised to be, rather than the size they actually are) it didn't come out too bad.
Sorry for the fuzzy picture, but I hadda put up the one with Tink and Piper!
Whitewood TrunkWhitewood Trunk
The other picture is better, although the trunk didn't react too well to the flash.
I'd gotten handles to put on the front, but the way it came out, it seemed like that would look weird, so I left those two off and just put handles on the sides.

I think the trunk wants to be home to my patterns. Not counting a box of vintage patterns (which were a lot I'd gotten off Ebay, and included a bunch of kids patterns, so most of what is in that box isn't stuff I expect to use anytime soon-- the more usable ones are in my main stash) they seem to all fit! I'm thinking of trying to add some kind of container for the lid, because the patterns don't reach the top, and some kind of top compartment would be nice. Or maybe just some plastic pockets.. or some kind of clips. Something to keep random pieces and such visible. I have a couple of pattern bits that I couldn't find the patterns for. I wanted somewhere visible to put them so I'd remember them when I finally find the patterns they go to.

Now I have to figure out what wants to live the drawer that had been home to my non-costume patterns. My intention in building trunks is to make the living room tidier. If I can have pieces of furniture that can store things and double as seats and coffee tables and footrests and look pretty, then things will be neater, right?

Embellished Mushroom Brown Linen Tunic

Embroidered Tunic

       My linen tunic is finished!  In fact, I had to take it off just to get a picture.  I was fairly successful at removing the misplaced embroidery and fixing it.  There's a tiny snag, but I applied the fusable interfacing after doing the embroidery, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem and it's not really visible. 

 

      As the pattern is drawn, the back is meant to be cut as two pieces.  I'm not so fond of this, so I cut it out on the fold, and then created a little pleat on the back to account for the seam allowances.  I like the pleated back anyway, since it allows for a wider range of motion for my arms.  I'm still getting used to wearing fabrics that don't stretch! 

 

      The embroidery designs are built in designs that came with my machine, so they're nothing really special, but I do think they turned out pretty.  The color of the fabric itself does kinda remind me of burlap, but the embroidery does help.  Maybe I should have done more; I'm not sure where, though. I do hope I don't look like I'm wearing an embroidered burlap sack. 

 

    ...And, I used decorative stitches on the hem!  this is actually the first time I've made real use of my poor neglected Wonder Wheel!

Rayon Crepon Jacquard Tunic

 

Rayon Crepon Jacquard TunicRayon Crepon Jacquard Tunic

I've finished a version of the Simplicity 2696 classic tunic in a rayon crepon jacquard from FabricMart. This is meant to be wearable, but also a mockup before making this in linen. A linen version would definitely have some embroidery around the neckline. I'm not totally sure how I feel about this one. It didn't turn out bad, but somehow looks weird. I haven't quite identified what looks weird about it. Perhaps the fabric looks more like home dec than something that should be worn. My big problem with it, however, was the instructions. Particularly, the instructions, or lack of instructions, for the keyhole neckline. This second picture is the front piece. As you can see, the front is cut out as one piece, with a rounded neckline that does not reflect the final shape. There's a stitching line for attaching the facing (er, is it a facing? Or a placket? I've been using the term facing, but isn't a facing usually turned to the inside rather than to the outside?) But there's no cutting line. Nor are there any instructions that actually tell you to cut the slit that allows you to turn the facing to the outside. Apparently, the slit is supposed to magically appear. I complained about this in chat the other night. dfr told me to open up the side seams, since Simplicity's instructions say to sew up the sides before sewing on the facing, but that makes it almost impossible to sew the facing. drsue said "sew first then cut." That was what I really needed to know. Simplicity's poorly ordered instructions so far as sewing the side seams were certainly annoying, but it was the total absence of any instructions about cutting the slit that allows you to turn the facing to the outside that really boggled my mind. It says to clip the corners and trim the seams, but to me, cutting several inches down the middle does not fall into the category of "clipping corners." So, I finally finished it, and the pattern wasn't bad, but the instructions were. Much thanks to dfr and drsue for the instructions in chat that I actually followed. Had I continued trying to follow Simplicity's instructions, my head would have exploded.

Simplicity 2696 Front PieceSimplicity 2696 Front Piece Simplicity 2696 Vague InstructionsSimplicity 2696 Vague Instructions

 

 

**Drawings and text of pattern instructions copyright of Simplicity Creative Group. Excerpts are shown here for the purpose of clarifying my commentary and criticism of this pattern and accompanying instructions, as outlined in Title 17 U.S. Code, Chapter 1, § 107. I have no affiliation with Simplicity Creative Group.

I'm Declaring the Ivory Corset Done!

I'm Declaring it DoneI'm Declaring it DoneIvory Corset InsideIvory Corset Inside
I know, it doesn't really look different than the last one or the one before that. Or the one before that. After finishing the flowers and the blue top flossing for the boning channels, I felt like it needed something else. So I added little stars in blue and silver, and silver running stitches along the sides of the busk.
The inside doesn't look particularly polished, but it actually is lined, but the lining is Vera Wang canvas rather than something white. And the flossing is of course goes all the way through to the lining. I believe that's how it's supposed to be done, but it does look unpolished that way. Perhaps I just need to work on making the underside of the flossing look decent. Or do less flossing. The pinstripes on that canvas also make straight lines a great deal easier.
I've kept going and going with the flossing because since it's really way too small, especially around the top, I don't know what makes it done. Maybe it's not a completed project at all, but besides the size problem, I rather like it. It's not perfect, but it does look fairly decent, and the general technique is definitely an improvement on my previous corsets. It's a learning experience! Flat fabric, almost no wrinkling.. just way too small!

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.

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!

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.

Self-Drafted Corset Mockups

Corset Mockup: The mockup of my newest pattern.  It's still using the front and back pieces from the last version, since I'd already inserted the busk and put in the grommets.  This one extends down lower onto the hips and doesn't come up as high in the front.  It also seems to be a much better fit, although I still have to test it with it's own front and back pieces.  It's only one layer currently.  I realized after the last one that the two-layer corset was pretty impossible to adjust.. so now, one layer mockups it is.Corset Mockup: The mockup of my newest pattern. It's still using the front and back pieces from the last version, since I'd already inserted the busk and put in the grommets. This one extends down lower onto the hips and doesn't come up as high in the front. It also seems to be a much better fit, although I still have to test it with it's own front and back pieces. It's only one layer currently. I realized after the last one that the two-layer corset was pretty impossible to adjust.. so now, one layer mockups it is.
Pieces of the Last Version: The pieces of the last corset, minus front and back, of course.  It was much too flared at the hips.  And being silly and making it two layers, I couldn't adjust it at all.  Oops.Pieces of the Last Version: The pieces of the last corset, minus front and back, of course. It was much too flared at the hips. And being silly and making it two layers, I couldn't adjust it at all. Oops.I've been working on drafting a proper corset pattern according to the instructions on Foundations Revealed. I've had some trouble with the location of my waist-- the fact that my actual waist isn't the narrowest part of my torso gets confusing. So anyway, with the first one I ended up having to lower the waist a bit, and the flair to the hips ended up way too dramatic. The second one seems to be better, although of course I haven't fully tested it yet. The Vera Wang canvas holds up pretty well. There's some fraying around the edges, but not too much considering how much I've been abusing it; mostly it's just the pieces I've been reusing that have any fraying. The threads that are fraying don't pull away too badly either, which is useful.

One little gripe: while a corset certainly does make useful armor against tickling (much to Kris's frustration,) it's also armor against being able to scratch my back!

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