Monday, April 23, 2012

Success! A little bit at a time

We had a Sewing Day yesterday.  Our plan was to work on Elizabethan corsets.  We also had some odds and ends that needed both brains.  It was a resounding success.  Corsets are hard.  Especially if you are not already thin and firm.  The goal of a corset is to nudge your shape into the 'fashionable' form of the relevant period.  In order for your 'out' to 'fit' you need the inner 'you' to be shoved into shape.  In this case, it's Elizabethan.  We have most of our underthings made, but cannot progress on finishing until we know what our corseted shapes will be.  In addition, we can't move on to our dresses for the same reason.

In my case (Lisa), not only am I bigger than average, I'm also much squishier.  This makes it difficult to know if the pinned corset is actually correct.  In fact pinning the corset on me is quite a chore.  Robin is a bit easier, but it's still not easy.  Aside from basic fit, there's also a lot of decisions around what kind of fabric to use, and how many layers.  We each made a muslin for fitting.  Muslin stretches.  Once we each got a muslin that fit, after at least three iterations, we needed to use the muslin as a pattern to make sure that we accounted for stretching.  We also wanted to keep the layers to a minimum.  We expect to wear these costumes in very warm weather.  We ended up with coutil and linen.  It feels amazing.  The picture at top is Lisa's corset, with both layers cut and the first bone in it's channel.  That's what we wanted to accomplish, and we did.
Here are a couple fitting pictures to illustrate the challenges of fitting:
In the top picture the fit looks like a traditional corset fit.  WRONG.  The instruction clearly state that there should be a 2 to 4 inch gap of the same width all the way down the back.  Do-over!  the lower picture shows a 2.5 inch gap all the way down.  This is the correct fit.  It also demonstrates how hard it is to pin correctly.  As soon as I let go to take the picture, the back slid down, distorting the view.  Also, if I didn't pin very closely, there were nasty pulls that made the the fit look wrong even though it was actually really good.

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