Weekend of Corsets

After I had completed the skirt for my Ariel costume, reality set in.

I knew I didn’t want to wimp out and not make a corset, and by this point I had already bought the fabric and the pattern and denim for the muslin. I used Laughing Moon’s 100 Victorian Underwear Dore Corset pattern, which I got from Truly Victorian here. This post by Truly Victorian helped me choose what size to start with and which corset to start with.

So here is the story of my weekend of corsets (embellished due to the fact that it was about 3 months ago and for artistic liberties):

other-side-frontThe Friday before DragonCon I grabbed the cut out pieces of the corset pattern(I had clipped them a few days before when I was in the mood to cut, but not carefully), and I carefully traced out a size, and cut it out of the denim. Did I not figure out that I should alternate directions of the pattern pieces so each side of the corset was one color? No I did not. Do I care very much? Nope! Gotta love underwear for that reason…

front-sideI sewed it up with one layer, and at first used a zipper in place of the busk at the front. It ended up being taken in a lot for the denim version, and I think this was mostly a combo because I am rather squishy around the tummy, so it was able to compress/move rather easily, and because the denim has some give. Not a lot, mind you, but a bit more wiggle room than I’d thought. And realistically I’m happier to “remove” fabric later than need more of it there. It is a heavy weight 100% cotton denim from Joann Fabrics, with a surprising amount of drape post-wash, but it’s pretty stable and thick.

I hadn’t yet finished the denim corset yet, since I didn’t have the grommet setting kit by that point, but I was able to alter the pattern for the Ariel corset.

asidefrontThen Saturday rolled around and I cut out the fabric for Ariel. I had gotten a yard of Yaya Han’s corset fabric from her line at Joann’s… By this point I was in Joann’s every other day or so. It’s a nice enough fabric. Lightweight but still strong and stable. Thin, though, very thin feeling. In the future I wouldn’t use it for corsets, since it did strain a bit under the pressure, causing some extra rippling in the already slight ripple sections, but it would be good as a tough non-stretch layer for support.

I had raised the top of the corset by two inches, and aimed for that round sweetheart shape, and I cut away some of the extra fabric from the bottom to give it a soft point at the bottom. Then I ended up altering this more once I had tested with just one layer of fabric, so I could try to get less of the stomach-fat-that-is-now-hip-fat look. (Spoiler alert: It only kinda worked.) I then sewed the second layers together for both corsets (each of self fabric), and inserted the busk to Ariel’s (I had forgotten to purchase another for Susan) and inserted a zipper for Susan’s.

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The boning was tricky, and the next step. I got all the boning from Bias Bespoke’s etsy shop, as well as my busks. I used spiral steel in the sides, and spring steel in the straighter front and back areas. To “cap” the ends, I dipped the bones in Plasti-Dip I got from Lowes. I should’ve done an extra dip on the end of all of them, but I got lazy and frantic about finishing.

I cut all the boning for both corsets at once, using bolt cutters and wire cutters. And then I’m pretty sure my friend conned me into going line dancing (**shivers**). So when I got home that night I was exhausted and crashed. On Sunday, I inserted the boning, and stitched the bindings on by hand. I threaded a length of Sugar and Cream yarn through the top of Susan’s so I could draw it more closed if necessary.

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The grommet setting tool had been delivered by this point, but I had forgotten to buy grommets with it, so when they arrived on Monday I inserted them into both corsets, after practicing on an old underbust corset that I used for my TARDIS costume.

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Oh, I definitely bought and inserted a busk into Susan after the con, which is why its there in the pictures. The zipper I used split every time I’d wear the costume, with only the tie and hook and eyes to hold it in, so I knew that a real busk was in order.

And that was my weekend of corsets! I don’t intend to have another such weekend, but they were pretty quick once I got rolling!

Ever take on two intimidating things in a weekend?

Tardis Corset Belt

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I had already told you a few months ago now that I wanted to work on something new with leather, which is why I needed to finish the quiver so desperately.

It really was the need to make my Tardis belt.

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As I’ve told you before, I wanted to wear at least part of my costume for Halloween, and a big part of the costume for me at least was the corset-belt, since it was supposed to represent a good portion of the Tardis. Before starting it, I had planned for it to represent the console, but upon further reflection (and me forgetting that was my plan) it all changed.

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First up was the “muslin”, in order to see if my design would even work. I used the same cardboard from my quiver, and cut out a pattern that would fit around my hips, go up a bit in the back, and not impede any future bustle arrangements. It took some wiggling and some cutting down before I hit the right shape, but it was worth it.

I took a leather belly and lined up my pattern pieces to fit on it efficiently. My goal with leather is to always keep as much as possible, and since there isn’t exactly a grain this is totally possible, unlike fabric.

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I used this funky tool that I had found in a scrap drawer to draw my pattern, and cut it out with a swivel knife very carefully to keep the circles as circular as possible.

I then got to the tooling, which ended up being more strenuous than I thought. I had run into the quandary of how much of this should be in relief, and how much raised. I ended up deciding that the round things should be raised, so I had to tamp down the entire background. Love the round things! A sore wrist later, the tooling was done.

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Lacing was kind of required, though, since this was destined to be a corset. But how? I tested a few methods and lacing cords, but punching holes ended up being the best option.

At that point I considered it done… until Halloween morning. Then I decided that sparkles were necessary, and I painted the borders gold and glued on sequins to the round things.

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And finally it was truly done, at least enough for Halloween! I may end up painting some more, but I’m pretty pleased with it!

Overbust for Wearing Under

After this moment, this corset is not seeing sunlight…

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It’s not that theres’s anything particularly… wrong with it.

It does give me a bit of a flat chest, which is an interesting sensation.

It also does no “lift and separate” favors, which I’ve heard about for overbust corsets.

Perhaps that’s because its a modified version of Butterick’s 5797 corset top pattern. I wouldn’t put it past the patternmaking company to completely disregard such a notion.

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I had to take this in at many of the seams. The rounded side panels were fine, but the side seams needed to be less drastically curved and taken in. The bust ended up being much too big, so I had to reduce those seams, as well as reduce the dramatic cup that had been formed. I also took in the seams around the back panel.

Choosing this pattern was more of an endeavor to understand construction of such a garment rather than wanting to make up the pattern. But I did need an overbust corset, for my Susan costume, so I thought I’d take the plunge.

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What I’ve decided for Susan, now that it’s been brought up, is that my undergarments will be separates, a petticoat with a pleated front panel, and a removable collar piece which will attach to the corset that I’ve made. By making the corset boned, and not the overdress, it allows me to use the corset in future endeavors.

For the fabric I chose to use two layers of duck cloth, which I had purchased at Walmart last year, and a nice separating zipper. I also had some grosgrain ribbon, which I used for binding the upper and lower edges, and I used heavy duty cable ties for the boning.

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So it is zipped in the back. More for ease than anything else. I don’t enjoy wearing things that I can’t remove myself, and because the overdress will have hooks and eyes at the front, I didn’t want to put lacing, busk, or a zipper there, so I would need a back closure. At that point, a zipper would be perfect!

I do get a bit of reduction at the waist nevertheless, which is both a nice feeling and a bad one at first.

The real reason why I’m a bit embarrassed about this is that I basically used up all of my bobbins on this corset when I was tacking down seam allowances and boning channels. So when you get close it’s quite colorful and messy. But I love it anyway.

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Second corset completed!

One day I’ll tell you about the first.

February Project #1

Stashbusting Stats: 7 fabrics used