Saturday, 3 July 2010

Match up, check, move, check, move, check, repeat

This week at the Custom Costume Company, we have been working on a dance costume for Ron. As a whole it involves a bustle (big bum cage skirt), a swag (half skirt that goes over the bustle) and a waist-cincher corset, as well as various added tid-bits just for fun. Ron has a tiny 23" waist normally, so the corset is absolutely minuscule, and to make it more interesting, its no plain ordinary corset. No, this one gets peacock embroidery and an appliqué shaped waist belt pattern.
These are the freshly embroidered back panels, I had the job of marking out the patten placement so that they exactly (or near as can be) mirrored each other. This was mainly done with pins, a ruler, and trial and error.
This is the centre front panel before the belt was added.The embroidery on this one turned out to be too close together to allow room for the belt, so Denise added the extra black band of fabric.
This is the start of the belt, the centre front piece. I used the tracing wheel and carbon paper to trace the pattern onto silk, added seam allowances and cut out, stitched with a large stitch, along the lines, and snipped the curves.
I then ironed the shape, using the stitch lines as the folding position, and pinned then tacked it to the centre front piece. The ironing took a lot of gentle teasing and edging into place, I'm still not entirely 100% happy with it, but I couldn't get it any closer.
Next I stitched around the edge with the sewing machine and removed the original edge stitches and tacking stitches. The machine stitch seamed to slightly even out the imperfections in the ironing.

I then repeated this process for every piece of the pattern. By far the most difficult part was matching up the edges so that the belt would flow round smoothly when it was all joined together. I found the most effective way to do this was mark on the seam allowances on the undersides, match two edges at once up with pins and carefully have a look to see if the belt panels matched. 60% of the time they didn't, so I had to unpick and re-work until they did.
They looked pretty good, but they haven't been sewn together yet, only then will I know how good a matching up I really managed.

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