Monday, June 19, 2017

Regency Bust Support

Next on the agenda was preparing for History Alive (my major annual re-enactment event) in early June. While I thought I still had everything together from last year, about six weeks out from the date, I realised that the stays I have been using for the previous years are no longer suitable. They no longer fit well - too small in the bust. But that's not so surprising given that I made them in 2011 and have changed shape quite a bit since then.

For these, I simply upsized the existing pattern. Giving myself a little more room in side seams and adding bigger bust gussets. I also added a bit more boning for bust support this time. They went together quite quickly aside from the eyelets, which need to be hand-sewn.

But it was well worth the work. They give a great period shape and provide a good about of support for my now E-F cups.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hot Fix

It really has been a busy few months since I last posted. I've been rather slack about my blog this year but stuff is still happening. I wanted to share my first foray into Hot Fix crystals.

A couple of years ago now, I made my own design of a pinup Elsa for Supanova. And while I loved the costume, I really wanted to make a couple of changes and revamp it all. I have yet to shoot the new version but what it does involve is a corset in place of the bra. And said corset features Hot Fix crystals. I used a lot of different sizes to get the effect I'm after.

I adore how it turned out. It really picks up the light well in full sun (which is rather hard to photograph). It was well worth the hours of hunching over the ironing board, burning my fingers as I stuck on the crystals. I think I will definitely be using the hot fix tool again.

Also, rather pleased with the shape of the corset.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Corded One

Corded petticoats are a great way of adding a lot of extra size to your skirts without the weight of more and more petticoats. One corded petticoat will add about as much as three of four standard petticoats. So, using one helps reduce bulk at the waist. The corded petticoat is the pre-cursor to the cage petticoat (or hoop skirts as they can be known). As skirts started getting wider, women were coming up with ways of reducing the number of petticoats. A corded one is quite easy to make, but very very time consuming and requires a lot of patience. Mine has taken months to finish and I really had to break it up with some other fun sewing in the meantime.

But onto how I made it!

  • Cotton – I used an old 100% cotton double bed sheet. It’s quite a thick cotton and I’m glad I went with something sturdy as the cord can poke through.
  • Cording – I chose to buy fine sisal string from my local hardware store (Bunnings). It was a massive roll and very cheap. The only problem I did have was that the thickness does sometimes vary. I just worked with it. (The one on the right in the picture)
  • Thread – A large roll of white thread, maybe two. You will probably need it.
  • Zipper foot for your sewing machine
  • Patience – endless patience
Start by stitching the sides of the sheet together to form one long tube. Then fold in half wrong sides together and press (iron) the fold. This will be the bottom of your petticoat.

Put the folded bottom on your machine and lay the cord into the fold, using your fingernails to push it in tightly. With your zipper foot attached, start stitching beside the cord. As you continue around the tube, stuff more cord in and use your fingernails to push it in next the previous row of cord. You are sewing in a spiral.

Continue doing this until you have enough rows for your section. Trim off your cord and end the section.

Measure up from this section and mark where you want your next section to start (mine is about 5cm apart). Stitch around your line and then start again with the cord, spiralling up for the section.

It’s up to you how many rows and how many sections you do. Just continue until you are happy with the shape you are getting and the length. My petticoat starts with a section of 40 rows, a 5cm (or 2 inch) gap followed by 20 rows. Then another 5cm gap and 10 rows, with another gap and five rows, and finally another gap with five rows.

Once you are finished your rows or cording, trim the top of your petticoat down to the desired length. Now you need to decide how you will be doing your waistband. I have seen ones on a yoke, a waistband or a drawstring. I tried a yoke first, which then fit really badly (too big). I then decided to gather the petticoat to a waistband and use a drawstring to tie it up. But it really is up to you how you go about finishing the waist. The only thing to remember is that it should only hit at about mid-calf length – it needs to be shorter than your next layers of petticoat which in turn need to be shorter than your outer gown.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Petticoat Froof

While I haven’t been posting much over the last six months, I have still been working on a number of sewing projects. Namely, my 1830s undergarments. They’re now all finished and I am up to the task of drafting my gown pattern and beginning the embroidery. Of course, I’ve been procrastinating over this for the last few weeks since I finished my second set of stays. These ones...

After the evil fitting of the first set, I needed to cut down my next set to make them a little more suitable for my shape. I’m incredibly pleased with how these ones came together and the whole process was so much faster given that I knew what I was doing and what was next.

The other tedious part of getting the undergarments ready are the petticoats. The layers and layers of petticoats that help give the bell shape of the 1830s. So, here are what I have made to go over my chemise, drawers and stays:

1. Cotton petticoat. This is a lightweight undergarment that is used for warmth, modesty and to protect your legs from any roughness in the corded petticoat. Mine is made out of cotton voile. In fact, I pulled the fabric from the regency petticoat that I ripped last year.

2. Corded Petticoat. So much cord and so much time went into making this. But keep an eye out for a write up of how I went about it.

3. Bum pad. This is a stuffed tube with a few frills that ties on to help fill in the gap between the waist and your butt. It smooths things out lovely and helps give a good backward thrust to the skirts.

4. Cotton petticoat. Just adding on the layers now. This one has a bunch of pin tucks which help the bottom sit out nicely, adding fullness.

5. Cotton organdy petticoat. A super stiff cotton fabric that helps pop the fabric out really well. Again we’re going for froof, so the more the better.

I was going to add a taffeta petticoat as a layer to help stop the silk of the skirt sticking to the cotton, but the cotton organdy should solve this issue. I may come back and add one once I’ve finished the skirt, but I’ll have to see how it goes.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Playing Photographer – Briar Rose

Late last year, I spent one afternoon doing a photoshoot. Only, from behind the camera.

My best gal pal Gael Storm and I have long been speaking about doing a few photoshoots ourselves. In large part to improve our experience and confidence behind the camera. As a cosplayer, it’s quite often that we like to get some good photos of our outfits, so it really does help if you aren’t a bumbling frozen and stiff mess in front of the camera (kinda like I am now). I guess the beauty of doing this with your best friend is that we will tell each other if we look like a complete gumby or that pose makes it look like you have 12 chins. You catch my drift. And now that I am done with all my editing and choosing, I’d like to share a few photos from the shoot.

I give you Briar Rose…