Sunday, 13 February 2011

18th Century Stays Progress

So, the boning turned up just in time for the weekend, both the steel and the reed. I found that because I would be a bit short on the steel boning, I would use some reed as well. I ended up making the whole mid-front panel boned with reed, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I also handstitched eyelets for the front and back opening (they need a final finish, but they'll do for now) and cut the pieces that will become the shoulder straps.

Now, I had hoped to finish these off over the weekend, but no plan survives contact with the enemy... I was getting closer to the binding stage, I realized that some of the boning would cause discomfort and I had to re-do the boning on most of back section, plus allow a lower line underneath the arm. I've decided that, although it will take longer, I will try to do reed boning on this section instead of steel, and I'm currently working on that for the left section. Once that's done on both sides, I can start attatching the shoulder straps and the binding. If I'm not running short on time, I will sort out the lining as well.


Back before re-doing it:


Back after I starte re-doing it:

Handstitched eyelets:

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bothersome Boning...

I ended up doing some handstitching anyway. The boning channels are now done using running stitches. I might yield and use the machine for sewing all the pieces together, but first I have to deal with the problem of not having any actual boning yet. I have some left-overs of 10mm and 12mm wide hoop steel boning (and I've ordered 4 meters of each width from eBay) but I see now that it's not going to be enough, so I might have to call in a favor from the "in-laws". There's a terrific shop in Liverpool (amongst other places) called Abakhan which sells exactly the boning I need, but they do not, as of yet, ship outside the UK, so I won't get what I need untill I go over at the end of February. I guess I'll just have to use some plastic boning as a temporary solution and then swap them with more suitable boning when it's available. I've also ordered a big bundle of reed, but it's not likely to turn up in time (and it's 1/4", so it would be too slim anyway), so I'll probably save that for later projects.

Anyway, this is how the pieces look for now, boned with a mix of plastic and hoop steel boning:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Flu, Bronchitis and stays

So, the inevitable flu has finally caught up on me, spoiling all plans of celebrating Imbolc, going to the gym, or getting some reports done at work. With little else to entertain me than fumbling what could have been rather spectacular jumps and moves in Assassin's Creed II on Rick's new Xbox, playing Spider Solitaire for the umpteenth time and surfing on a rather unstable internet connection, I have decided to turn my attention to my next little sewing project.

At the beginning of March, the larp "Broderskapet" ("The Brotherhood") takes place just outside of Oslo. It's a 18th century larp about thieves of all sorts (wood bandits, pirates, highwaymen and society thieves), with a dash of horror and supernatural elements brought into the mix. Combat; almost non-existent, intrigue; essential. Quite my cup of tea.

Being given the role as the leader of a clan of wood bandits, I was relived of the preassure of having to sew all the fineries of the quintessential 18th century lady in four weeks, however it gave me the tricky task of deciding what the clanleader of such a motley crew would indeed be wearing.
Regardless of what conclusion I will arrive at in the end and although the costume requirements are not at a reenactment level, one thing is quite clear: no matter her class or occupation, proper stays would be required. And if you disagree, you have never experienced the pain of having an F-cup and running/jumping without a bra. ;)

And so, equipped with some black cotton, a grey wool mix, dark beige cotton canvas and 18 pocket packets of paper tissue, I am setting out on the adventure of making stays. Being lazy and slightly short on time, I will be machine sewing some of the seams this time (if the result is good, I will then have a working pattern for a more accurate, hand sewn version later). I had previously made a pattern (with two different solutions for the front), using the cardboard method described in this blog, and cut out the pieces.