The corset made its official debut at the Pirate Jamboree on Saturday. I know most of you reading this were there and therefore ogled it in all its (and my) glory, but for the two or three of you who are passing thru or reading this and never commenting, here it is. Of course, La Fab was interested only in was what UNDER the corset, and so all the shots are of the front. The back was unremarkable, except that I only awled half the eyelets and left them unfinished because of time (I was too busy making the treasure chest cake.) I decided to awl them rather than cut them because of the rather tempetuous nature of the rayon brocade I chose as the fancy outer fabric. It likes to fray a lot, and I worried about it fraying under either the metal eyelets or under the hand-binding ( I have yet to decide which I want to do). Since an awl just pushes the thread aside, you tend to have less issues with weakening and with fraying as well.
I used the world's crappiest faux-suede as a binding for the seams, as I have seen several examples of period stays that are bound with fine skin of some sort, either kid or deer. Unfortunately, the synthetic stuff I used had NO stretch at all, not even on the bias, and it was thicker than I wanted and deceptively tough, too. I started hand-binding for neatness, but eight inches into it, I gave up. Six layers of fairly tough material was too much for my meager hand sewing skills. I resorted to the machine. It did not turn out so well. It was bunchy and uneven and just. plain. wrong. It looks fine in these images, but it was so stiff on the armholes ( the cap, not the scye) that it made it stand out from my body and deformed the line I was trying to achieve. You can also see in the pictures that I managed to sew the top line completely crooked. Luckily, it's so close to the Twins that no one will ever be looking at that. The chemise I am wearing is actually a nightdown that I hacked off at knee length and tucked wily-nilly into my gauchos. I plan on doing a very simple chemise in a sheer cotton (no can do flax linen) at some later point, and provided I can find some lace that seems fine enough.
First I need to concentrate on making the paniers and the toile of the robe a la francaise. After actually feeling the weight of the fabric I plan on using, I think my original plan of going with 1/4 " boning spring steel is not going to work out. The hoops will collapse under the strain. So I need to find something stronger, and hopefully inexpensive. I want to maybe try to see if I can finagle some lumber strapping from the local timber yard, or maybe they can give me pointers. Ahh, hardware stores. A costumer's best friend. If that fails, we'll go with the pattern recommendation of doubling featherweight flexible boning, but with the understanding that they will have to be replaced sooner rather than later. One night's dancing is all they are likely to take. Like I'm planning on making several robes that will require paniers that can withstand more than six or eight hours of dancing. Sheesh.
As the papaya satin was prohibitively expensive - at $9/yard - I have reluctantly made the finally decision to not have the peachy confection of a gown I was pursuing. I will let you know about the colors next time, soonish I hope.
BTW, Blogger doesn't like the pirate pictures as they are. It steadfastly refuses to load them. Go figure. I will try to mess a bit and see if I can make them ore blogger-friendly, so you can actually see what I'm talking about.