Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wintertime Blues

Alright.  I made it through the workshop, have bound my stays, and am almost over a nasty cold.  So I can finally update!  Between starting up my wedding planning and beginning an evening job this week (I finally get to wear the costumes!), the rest of the year will be me posting instructions on things I've finished more than building new.  I've just got the riding habit in construction as of now.  For the wedding there will be a Morning suit, both a 1930s and 40s evening gown, a 40s hawaiian wiggle dress, and possibly some top hats.  All of that won't be posted until after it's debut of course.  Now, on to the stays;
Through my local source I managed to get a pile of white oak scraps to use as boning.  I broke up the strips to approximated lengths and whittled them down to the right width.  I managed to not take off any fingers, but it did take me over two weeks.  The bottom binding was done just in time for the workshop, so my habit is fit over them.  Mark used me as the guinea pig wearing my older stays so we got the fun of comparing "patterns" later.  I haven't officially measured, but they were almost the same except for an almost 2" difference circumference in bust and waist.  Don't ask me where all of it went!  I got the top binding done today and just have to line.  Excuse the cheesy pics as always:

I eventually cut the straps further toward the front than the basting line.  After a weekend of wear they were bruising me (despite wonderful forced posture).

I haven't finished the ends on top because I'm inserting double bones into the last channels and haven't cut them to size yet.

The binding technique applies to all but very thick leather.  You put right side to right side and stitch 1/4" or so in from the edges.  Fold it to the back and stitch through all layers.  Since I used some metal bones I couldn't sew through those.  Traditionally you would go through the bone ends if possible to keep them from shifting (pre-flossing technique).  I used a back stitch on the front side and a prick stitch from the back.
I'm using ribbon to tie the shoulder straps, but still haven't found a cord that I like.  For now I'm just using linen tape or twill tape.  Optimally I would find a silk woven cord, seven strand without a hollow core, but so far as I can find it doesn't really exist anymore.  So, I might settle for cotton.
When it comes to lining I'm going use a regular linen.  The tabs are done individually and the bodice is made from as few pieces as possible (usually 3 or 4).  It's all loose and meant to be easily replaced.  The seams are butted and whipped.  Lining edges lay over the binding edge be it ribbon, fabric, or leather.  While you fold back before you get to the back (or front) eyelet line, you do have to work the lining around the strap eyelets.  Do it the same way you do regular ones, just use fewer threads to hold it back.  I'll get pictures up as soon as I finish that part.