Friday, February 28, 2014

How to sew a corset - Modesty panel

Anyone besides me that finds spilling skin unattractive? Have you ever seen a tightly laced corset with the skin crawling out between the back laces? I hate that! and let me tell you, it is also damned uncomfortable! This is why I include a modesty panel for every corset that is designed not to fully close on my body.

You can either go the easy route and include a rectangle of fabric between the last two panels of your corset on one side. But the modesty panels always move and never stay in place when you need them! So my modesty panel take a little more work while making, but really help staying in place once they are done.

You will start with two rectangles of fabric - 1 from your outer fabric, 1 from your lining. Mine are about 18cm wide and the length of the corset.

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I serge around three sides with both fabrics right side on right side and leave one side open to turn the modesty panel.

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Now turn the modesty panel! Next, I add the boning. I cut 2 times 5mm wide spring steel to fit in the length minus 1.5cm Then I sew with the zipper foot close to the bone. Repeat for the other side:

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Next, I cut two pieces of 5mm wide spring steel to fit the width between the bones:

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I sew in the lower bone first, then I sew between the two longer bones along the width to create a pocket for the second bone. Put the bone in and sew it shut! I used a serger and folded the edge over by hand, but you could also fold it in and sew it shut by machine.

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Now we have a boned rectangle. The space between the bones is necessary to make the modesty panel flexible, so it doesn't matter if your bones are a little to small!

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Then I insert 4 grommets, so you can lace the modesty panel in.

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And this is how I lace it up:
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Tataaaa! You are done with your corset now!

Week in Review 9/2014

What did I see?
Nothing exciting. A new episode of Criminal Minds. And I'm currently watching "Biggest looser" with my boyfriend. I have a weak spot for trash TV! ^^

What did I listen to?
Beeping clean benches and alarm clocks, like last week. I should try classic music since that is supposed to get cells growing!

What did I ask myself?
Has my motivation moved to another country?

What did I read?
This week I started reading "Under the never Sky" by Veronica Rossi. Another dystopian reality where the pollution on earth was so bad that people started to live inside domes and mainly in virtual reality. Only savages still live outside. The novel is really interesting because the chapters switch between the views of the two main characters. I'm only 25% in (thanks, Kindle!), so I'll give a full review next week.

What did I work on?
Still the jacket for my lovely boyfriend and some matching pants.

I was happy about...
A day off this week!

I was annoyed about...
Lack of motivation. All my good deeds are currently going downhill...

I bought...
This week I spent some more money: I bought supplies for making my own hair oil and other self made cosmetics stuff. I bought some wigs and hair pieces, but sent most of them back already. And I bought new powder because my old one was used up. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to sew a corset - Eyelets, baby!

Now that we inserted the bones into the corset and finished it off with bias tape on both hems, the only thing that is left to do is insert the eyelets! You will need:

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  1. Eyelets. Stating the obvious! ^^
  2. The little metal bits which come with the eyelets in the package
  3. A pin - you will see later why
  4. Chalk - I have this handy tool, but any ordinary chalk will do
  5. Pliers for inserting the eyelets
  6. Measuring tape (Forgot that in the picture! Oops!)
Let me talk a second about the pliers; being a cheap ass student most of my life, I went the cheap route and bought some no-name brand (Tchibo). Those were bad. I tried another cheap version (from the hardware store) - all of the eyelets were wonky. Now I digged deep into my pockets and bought the real deal by PRYM and they are just so much better, I almost can't believe it. I'm not sponsored (but hey, if you read this please email me, PRYM), but I'd like to safe you some money and nerves!

Now that the advertisement is over, let's get talking about the corset again. You remember the layout of the last panel?

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You will now mark the spots were to punch the holes and insert the eyelets. I usually go for 2 - 2.5cm (depending on how strong I'd like to reduce my waist), it is 2.5cm here. Start on to pf your corset and mark a spot 0.5cm below your bias tape. The next point will be 2.5cm away from the first spot, which means that the eyelet centers are 2.5cm apart:

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Now get out your pliers and insert the hole punching tool. Watch out that the cylinder-part is inserted correctly otherwise your holes will end up being to small! and then punch away! ^^

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After about half the corset, you will find that your holes are not as clean and it takes more power to punch. This is where the needle comes in! You need to get the fabric pieces out of the little cylinder part. I tried different methods, but nothing works better than putting the needle in and pulling all the little pieces out!

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When the cylinder is empty again, punch the rest of the holes. Then I insert the larger part of the eyelet into every punched hole. If you used the cylinder-thingy the right way around, this is pretty easy. The fabric is tight around the eyelet, but getting them in is not too hard:

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Then you add the other part (little ring) of the eyelet and use the pliers. It takes a little power, but is much easier than the cheapo tools I used before!

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Repeat until all eyelets are done and your corset is ready to wear!

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I will show you one more thing I usually do for my corsets which is a boned modesty panel. This is not strictly necessary, but it makes the corset more comfortable and luxurios. Stay tuned for Friday!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Simple fleece dress

I thought I'd show you some pictures while it is still cold, because this garment is seriously warm and comfortable! A friend of mine sews a lot of her clothes from fleece because she is easily cold. One of the things she often wears is a high-low hemmed fleece dress. I asked her if it is okay that I copy her and with her agreement just got started:

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The whole dress didn't take more that 1.5m of fleece (a cheapo blanket in my case) and was sewn with the serger. I put a top I like to wear on the fleece, cut around the shape and elongated/widened it towards the hem. It is not hemmed - fleece doesn't ravel!

Go make your own so you can be comfy and stylish! ;)

Monday, February 24, 2014

How to sew a corset - Heavy metal boning!

For this part of the how to tutorial, please welcome my boyfriend who is so kind to help me with boning my corsets if I reward him with chocolate. This is a pure win-win situation! He is also helping my with making my videos for this part because the techniques are really hard to describe... Mainly because I'm a girl with no strength in my arms and wrestling with heavy metal involves either strength or intelligence and good technique! These are the tools we'll use:

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  • 2 Pincers (preferably nice and sharp)
  • Spiral steel (11mm wide) and accompanying metal hood
  • steel springs (5mm wide)
  • Scotch tape
  • not pictured - a pen which writes on metal
If you are strong,just use the pincers to cut the spiral steel bones into size. If you are weak like me, you will also need the pincers to cut the spiral steel, but can reduce the power you'll need by cutting the two outer parts of the spiral. Then the bones will fall apart by themselves!

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Then you will need to cover the sharp edges of the cut steel bone. You can use duct tape for this or the small metal hoods. I prefer these but I cannot pin point a reason.  For an explanation how to use tape, look a little bit down because I use the technique for the steel springs. For the hoods, you will need both pincers and two hands like this:

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Just press them in with some force, but even my girly strength is enough for this! The insert the bone - hood or tape first- into the bone casing. When you can't insert the bone any deeper (this sounds a little dirty, or is it just me? ^^), mark the point were it hits the fabric with the pen.

Take the bone out again at least halfway and make another mark 1.5cm (1cm if you are using tape to finish the bones) shorter. Otherwise you will have no fabric to sew your bias tape to! Now cut the bone at the second marking!!! Add another hood (or tape) to finish the bone and re-insert it. First bone done! Insert more bones into the corset like this:

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For the steel springs, there are two cutting techniques again. One is by brute force with the pincers (this is how my boyfriend does it): Link to the video because linking directly doesn't work

The other one also takes the pincers, but here you fold over the steel spring -trust me, even you can handle this - and then press it together with the pincers. Thanks to Neisella who taught me this and has made corset making a lot easier for me! Link to the video because linking directly doesn't work

Comparable to the spiral steel, the steel springs need covers so they don't rip the fabric when inserted or later during movements. I use scotch tape since it is cheap, easily available and adds no further thickness. I did a little photo series on how I fold it:

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Once all the bones are inserted, it is time to sew on the other bias tape. This will keep the bones inside the corset. Again, pin the bias tape to your hem and press the bones in one more time. Use a zipper foot this time to sew as close to the bones as possible! On Wednesday, we will finish this corset with the eyelets. Almost there, baby! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

How to sew a corset - Bias tape-ing along

When we left the corset, it felt almost done. At least it more or less looks like a corset, right?

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Excuse the water marks, I tried to get rid of the chalk...
Well, more or less, yes. As you can see, I still have a bunch of thread from my serger hanging around and if you look closely you might notice that in some cases the seam allowances do not match perfectly.

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This is no problem, we will just use the almighty scissors and get rid of that extra!

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For the first pattern piece with the busk, be extra careful that both sides are symmetrical:

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Today we will talk about bias tape. If your corset happens to be made in a fabric that matches store bought bias tape go ahead and buy some. If you don't mind using contrasting bias tape (black satin for example) go ahead and buy that. I just realise over time that corset tend to look more polished if the bias tape matches the outer fabric. So I started making my own!

old picture, but same technique!

This sounds way more complicated than it actually is. You just need a tape measure, the fabric of choice, a needle, an ironing board and the matching iron. Since I was not able to take pictures this time (it was dark and you really need two hands for ironing and pulling the bias tape), I'll link two videos which explains everything better than I ever could...

If you don't own a bias tape maker -which I don't- you can simply use a needle that you pin to the ironing board in the width you'd like your bias tape to be:

Now that you have your bias tape (bought or self made) at hand, you can sew it to your corset. Since I wanted to add an decoration to the upper border of the corset, I closed this part of the corset first. It doesn't matter if you start on the upper or lower hem in my eyes, except if you want to add some lace or embroidery...

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Take the bias tape and pin it to the outer fabric right on right with about 2-3cm of overlap, fold it open and sew directly on the ironing crease:

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While learning that I like matching bias tape better,I also noticed that *gulp* hand seams make the bias tape look better. So instead of sewing on the other side of the bias tape with the sewing machine (with sink stitch), I do whip-stitches by hand:

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It's not that bad because the length of the seam is small. I do it while watching TV! This also helps getting nice clean ends. For these, I tried to take pictures of my technique, but it is kind of hard to understand what I do. Please comment if the explanation is understandable or what I should explain better!

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This is one of the ends. I start by opening all layers.

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Then I fold over the outer edge to the inside of the corset

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After this step, I fold over the inner edge of the bias tape and fix everything with whip-stitches.

Now your corset is almost done! Before repeating the bias tape process on the other border of your corset, please insert the bones as seen in the next part of the tutorial!

Week in Review 8/2014

What did I see?
Last weekend already I had a really comfy day at home with my boyfriend watching videos and sharing quality time. We saw "RED 2" - So amazing, I loved the actors, the plot turns and the cool action!- and "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" - which was a solid movie, but not as good as the novel. I tend to say that a lot, right? ^^

What did I listen to?
Beeping clean benches and alarm clocks.

What did I ask myself?
Time flies and how can I keep up?

What did I read?
I read the second novel of the Birthmarked trilogy by Caragh M. O'Brien ("Prized"). I'm disappointed. What started out so interesting and new now drifts into senseless romantics and stupid teenager drama. Well, I'm not sure if I should read the third novel at all...
I also read "Divergent" by Veronica Roth. I recently saw an ad for the upcoming cinema adaptation and decided that I'd prefer to read to novel. And it was actually pretty good! The novel is settled in the near future where horrible wars led to the partition of society into different "factions" who believe in different solutions for the problems between humans. The novel starts with the protagonist Beatrix belonging to Abnegation (who think selfishness causes the problems). In their 16th year, all teenagers get to choose which fraction they belong to (besides Abnegation there is Dauntless -Force is the solution of all problems-, Amity -Friendliness is the solution of all problems - and Erudite -knowledge is power-). But Beatrix doesn't fit the scheme, she is "divergent" from the pattern. A really good read with a little romance but a lot more heavy on the philosophical side!

What did I work on?
A corset and a jacket for my lovely boyfriend

I was happy about...
A new plan for my training at the gym. And eating more vegetables and fruits, because colorful food is better food!

I was annoyed about...
A rejected paper, less time for myself and my motivation which is still hidden somewhere.

I bought...
I pledged to buy something in the near future: Period Panties! Those were just to amazing to skip...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gala Nocturna 2014 - Draped overskirt

I can honestly say that I'm not happy with the way the Gala Nocturna Outfit looks. This makes me procrastinate like no good. So after a swift kick in the butt by my boyfriend (which was really needed and appreciated), I finally finished the draped over skirt for my outfit. Seems like he really is not interested in going there naked, can you believe? ;)

I used up about 3.5m of navy chiffon I had in my stash. The hems were all rolled hems and the for the seams I did french seams. Again I went for the lazy route and used a elastic waistband instead of doing it properly with interfacing and a zipper. Better imperfect and done than on the way to perfect forever, right? ^^

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For the draping I sewed (by hand, oh the joy!)  blue satin ribbon to the waistband and (again by hand) tucked the fabric after draping it on my dress form. Nothing special about it, but I took a picture of the interior in case you are interested:

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How to sew a corset - The last panel

My title sounds a bit melodramatic, right? Well, this panel just takes a bit of extra work, so I thought I'd do it separately...

We left the corset with all pieces sewn together and the two layers of the last panel flopping around happily in the air:

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This is about to change as the layers will now be folded to the inside exactly to the line markings on the pattern piece.

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I usually do the outer layer first and then the lining. When you are done, pin them together! Please be careful that the lining doesn't peak out, maybe let the outer layer overlap a mm:

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The you need to sew 4 lines:
  1. very close to the outer boundary of the corset. You can either use the zipper foot for this or -if you feel like an sewing expert or like to live dangerously- simply sew very narrowly to the edge.
  2. The next line need to be 6mm (in my case that is exactly 1/2 width of my normal presser foot) away from the outer seam.
  3. The third line is 6mm away from the second seam. Between seam 2 and 3 the grommets will be inserted
  4. The fourth and last line is again 6mm away from the third seam.
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They will be later used like this:

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Now your corset is almost done! The next (and last) steps will involve heavy metal and bias tape...