Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spring Awakening Cont. 3

The Corset -- Almost finished!

Again, I'm really happy with how this is turning out -- it's almost there! I still need to finish cross-stitching the lace on the inside, add a waistband on the inside, and add this super fancy applique to the outside top edge. Phew! I think where I still get the most frustrated is with my stitching...I've definitely gotten infinitely better in just this past year and a half, but I'm still very much a all just takes time and practice and I must always remind myself that nothing is perfect the first time you try it! :D がんばってね!

Spring Awakening Cont. 2

Fabric fitting:

Not too many changes to make -- I will be making the collar a bit shorter and working with the skirt pleats a little to see if I have enough fabric to make them a bit deeper -- the fabric is just a lot thicker than the muslin. Almost there!

Spring Awakening Cont.

The muslin fitting:

A good fitting! I was really happy with how everything turned out. The pleats on the skirt need to be readjusted a bit in the back. The bodice needs a little adjusting -- a little more space where that drag line is above the bust. A bit of reshaping of the seams in front to curve a bit more over the bust down to the waist. Bringing the armscye in the back a bit in to create a bit of a narrow shoulder illusion. I was least happy with the sleeve and collar...mainly, I didn't have as much time with them as I would have liked, so they just weren't quite up to snuff. I'll re-work the collar completely and take a look at the sleeve pattern. Collars do tend to be my weak spot...I'll just keep working at them, crazy collars!

Spring Awakening -- the beginning

And so it begins again! I began working on my next big build last semester in December. I have an 1890s era hot pink corset to construct, as well as a black Victorian bodice and skirt. The trick here is that I was unable to do any fittings until this term...with the show coming up in mid-February, there was no question that I had to start building the corset in the actual fabric and get as far as possible.

The corset:
 I did a lot of research into different corset shapes and patterns and ended up draping it. The corset the designer wanted me to use as an example is from the 1890s and is sort of a conglomerate of earlier corsets and the more modern ones. It has gussets at the bust and the back hip and a straight busk. I constructed it out of two layers of coutil and one layer of fashion fabric. The trick was the bone casings...we wanted top-stitching to be a part of the corset design, so I had to stitch very carefully by machine, moving from the bone channels in the center out to the edges so that the corset would remain smooth. I had to sort of curve the corset while stitching, in order to maintain the shape it would be over a body...without the right amount of ease between the layers, wrinkles and bubbles could be created. I wasn't completely successful with this, but I do understand the concept behind it and I think it just takes some practice.

What I learned? Don't use the industrial machine! I chose to use this machine because of all the layers...I thought it would sew a lot easier, and it did. However, it would have been easier to maintain that curve with a free arm machine rather than one built into a table. Live and learn!

Once I got the channels sewn I stitched the panels together. There are ten panels total, with a front opening busk as well as lacing in the back. I basted each panel together before attempting to stitch by machine -- there were just a lot of layers to deal with as well as some tricky curves.

Next I stitched in the gussets...lots of careful sewing, but I think they turned out pretty well. Again, difficult because of all the layers.

Once those were sewn in it was time to insert the busk.

I stitched a sort of temporary grommeted and laced closure in the back, just in case things would have to move once I had the fitting. 

I thread-marked the top and bottom hem and it was ready for the first fitting.

The Gown:

Thankfully I was able to at least drape the gown before winter holidays. I'm really happy with how the drape turned out. I spent a lot of time making sure the dress form was padded as accurately as possible because of the fitting situation. I marked my style lines carefully and went over them with the designer to make sure it was exactly what she wanted. All ready for draping, I began my work. I have to say I was just really in the zone for this drape. I was excited for it and I just had a really good idea as to what I wanted to do with it. Last year I had done something similar, so I was feeling a lot more confident than I have before. In about 3 hours I had a half drape of everything but the sleeves and collar. I left it there for the break knowing that once I got back I could easily pattern it and make myself a mock-up to be fitted within the first week of school in January.

I should mention a little about the character -- this is the adult woman in the show -- the only adult woman in the show. This is her teacher look -- strict, German, simple but proper. The bustle is subtle -- she is a working woman and things need to be practical! This is also when the bustle is going out of fashion. The corset will be worn underneath and will be featured in a scandalous reveal! Due to this, I also have to make the bodice easily far we're thinking center front zipper, which should work great, even if it's not quite period! ;)

Tailoring II -- Vest and Trousers

I finished drafting the pattern for my trousers and vest and had my first fitting a couple weeks ago. Once again I'm making these things for my boyfriend, Matt. I decided to do a double breasted vest with a collar...mainly because I've never done a double-breasted anything and I could use more collar the vest is pretty awesome. It's based on a 1890s vest draft. For some reason all of the drafts that we could find do not include a full collar -- it always seems to go into the shoulder seam. We know there were and are most definitely vests that have full collars, so I'm not sure what's up with this...anywho, I had to drape the collar to figure out how it all works with the vest.

So, here's Matt at the first fitting -- everything went pretty well! I'm really happy with how the trousers turned out. They have pleats and cuffs (again, just wanted to try some things I've never done before). We've decided that this crazy conglomerate of time periods and styles has equaled Captain Nemo. So here's Matt as Captain Nemo, fitting number 1!


This semester I've started a new class about stretch fabrics -- how to drape, pattern, and sew with them. Quite exciting! We started off the semester with a leotard. My professor gave me one of her patterns. I cut the fabric ans stitched it all together as a sort of practice round of getting used to the fabric and learning some stretch sewing techniques without worrying about the pattern and alterations.

Working in stretch is really interesting -- it is very different than working with 'regular' fabric. It's both more finicky and more forgiving at the same takes a lot of trial and a lot of just doing it! I'm really looking forward to working more with it!

Here's me trying the leotard just for kicks! -- Since it is stretch fabric, even though it is not really my size, it still fits surprisingly well! You can see the drag lines where in would need to be made smaller for me. Out of curiosity I compared the leotard to one of my swimsuits -- my swimsuit is shorter in the torso as well as smaller across both waist and chest...makes sense.