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Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Corset of Course (or A Flair for the Dramatic)

McCall's 8832 blouse/ corset pattern
I have been meaning to try out this pattern and style C (corset) is the one we are going to try today.  I have a black with hot pink embroidery fabric picked out, along with a lightweight black fabric for the lining, and a tiny smidge of black interfacing. I am not a big fan of boning as I find it uncomfortable, so I am going to skip it, and the pattern is vintage and calls for buttons up the side. I think I am going to replace the buttons with another type of closure running up the side, but since this is the first time I have made this item, I am going to think about the closure when I am nearing the end of the project. 

I have cut out the pattern,  (made myself a backup copy), ironed the pattern pieces, ironed the fabric, cut the fabric, and now we're ready to get started sewing. A few tips if you are a beginner sewer-follow the directions, read them thoroughly, and read the text that is printed on each pattern piece as well. As with all crafts, if you take your time, the chances of your project turning out well are greater. 

Now, many people prefer to try a sewing pattern out first with an inexpensive fabric such as muslin -this is perfectly fine and I always recommend it. The human form, and especially that of a woman, is the hardest to dress so practice makes perfect. I have a few favorite little devices I keep at my side while sewing and they are a stitch cutter, and a sewing marker and or fabric chalk. The stitch cutter is great for all sorts of sewing projects and the sewing marker is great for lighter colored fabrics but you can basically draw all over the fabric and then spritz the fabric with water and the marker will disappear. I prefer to keep the use of pins to a minimum in my craft shop if I can so after I have cut the pattern and ironed the pieces. I lay out the pattern accordingly and then this is where I would use my fabric pen or chalk (chalk pens are recommended for darker fabrics), but you can also pin and then cut the pattern pieces. 

For this particular item, the directions have you sew the lining pieces to the front pieces individually, and then sew the pieces together vertically. This way you know the front and the lining will fit perfectly and offer a nice tight fit. In order to make sure your corset pieces are the perfect sizes in relation to one another, once you have sewn the front pieces to the lining pieces,  press and lay the pieces (now front and lining pieces basted together) out on top of one another and trim the pieces so the right and left side of the front pales are pressed together and he same exact size, the side pieces are the same sized pieces, and again for the back pieces. If when trimming down the pieces to make sure they are exact and find you have trimmed the stitching from an area, go back and touch up the area by sewing the edges together again before proceeding. You don;t have to be a nut about it, but taking the extra time to make sure each panel is exact in relation with it's opposite side and making sure each front and back panel is stitched down really makes a difference between a really nice top and one that looks like it was handmade. 

Once the pieces are all cut out then simply follow the instructions, in this case basting the front and lining pieces together and trimming, sewing the panels vertically together (*except of course the right side where the closure is going to be). The pattern had me add a small panel folded over on each side (one of these pieces with interfacing), then I added the top inside bodice piece of fabric and the corset together, and then pressed and hand sewed the top inside flap down. After that I took the skirt piece and turned it inside out and stitched the ends up. I flipped the piece right side out and stitched the opened end up, gathered, and then added the gathered skirt to the corset part, stitching wrong sides together, turned the top inside out, added hook and eyes to the inside of the side closure, and wha-la! You now have yourself a fabulous new top to wear out, or in this case, a fabulous new styled corset top I now feel confidant remaking and offering on my clothing site @ www.SpohiaDeLaMer.etsy.com. 

So all in all, this pattern is definitely a keeper in my book. I plan on making more and introducing different colors and variations as Spring approaches. Unfortunately this top turned out too small for my sewing doll,  so I don't currently have a model for it. Instead, I have taken photos with it laid out flat, and that makes it look like the torso is shorter in relation to the image but in fairness, the image in the picture looks like it has also been drawn out Barbie doll styled to a certain degree. 

Now that I have finished the test and have deemed it worthy of remake in the clothing shop, I'm off to make more. Just a few little notes before I head off to the craft room here. When remaking this item (or any corset pattern really as you will probably not be using this exact pattern I have here), make sure to expand each of the pieces equally in width, and each piece slightly longer. If you are going to add a zipper at the side then you're going to want to add another side piece on the right hand side of the closure area inside to cover the right hand side of the zipper seam. I would do this by placing the left side of the zipper facing up and facing the right side up on the left side panel. Sew those together and then do the same for the right side. When stitching the inside flap down you can hand stitch that zipper down a little bit or pop in a zipper foot and stitch it down flat. Just remember when picking up a zipper that you go with one that opens at the bottom. These are usually marked as parka or coat zippers. If you wanted to add lacing and holes you can do so. I would probably switch the closure to another area in the garment if I were going to add lacing to the front or back seam. Here is a photo of the back lacing on my new Romantically Involved Dress. I added the lacing to the back zipper area by sewing down some of the lace I used throughout the dress to the right and left hand size of the zipper vertically, and then I took a satin type twine and used the holes in the lace to lace up the back with a bow at the top. This style will work in front or back really well.

Lindsay ;)

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