I know it seems like it's just wedding dress posts all the time now, but you know what? That's all I've been working on, so...yeah. The good news is, it's almost done! I finished just about everything, and it's in the mail on its way to Elaine for a final try on before I tack on the appliques.
Can I just say that I never expected to be sore from corset-making? I woke up this morning feeling like I'd worked out, and I promise you, I haven't been. It's just that between cutting spiral steel, stuffing it into my very tight boning channels, inserting grommets, and extensive use of the hand-wheel on my machine for parts where I was sewing through eight layers of fabric, well, my hands and arms have been put to work.
This experience (and I'm more or less mentally/blogally wrapping up the experience since almost everything is done) has taught me that:
- steel is sharp. I kept inadvertently jabbing or scratching myself while trying to cut and file the boning. Next time, gloves and not-shorts might be in order.
- the people at Orchard Supply Hardware do not know what they're about. I wasted an hour being misdirected from aisle to aisle while looking for heat shrink tubing and grommet-setting tools. They also recommended aviation snips that were only barely sufficient for cutting the steel boning. I made it work, but my right arm did not thank me.
- Steam Ingenious is seriously a genius for coming up with the heat-shrink tubing method of tipping steel boning. It was ridiculously fun watching the pieces of tubing shrink up around the bones. I want to heat shrink everything now!
- when using the heat shrink tubing method, though, make sure to allot an extra eighth of an inch of length on either end for the extra tubing that has to stick out, or else you'll be a sad, sad person when it comes to binding the edges.
- I hate making holes for grommets, especially through multiple thick layers -- they have to be just the right size to be tight, but not so tight you can't wiggle the grommet in. Also, if you've got the same fabric on both the outside and inside of the corset, it's a good idea to make sure that the grommet is going in the right way. One of my grommets ended up the wrong way; thankfully the right side and wrong side are fairly indistinguishable when inserted properly. I really don't think anyone at Elaine's wedding is going to notice...right? And don't even get me started on getting them all perfectly lined up.
- those Clover bias tape makers are totally worth it. I actually don't have one for the size I needed for the corset binding, so I spent a good hour-plus cutting and pressing the misbehaving cream-colored poly-satin from the underskirt leftovers into 1/2" double-fold bias tape. Polyester just does not like holding a crease! I'm pretty pleased with how nice it looks in the end, though it would've been a lot faster and easier if I had the little doohicky.
- there's a reason why real corsetiers use special brocade for the fashion fabric in corsets; it's just a lot more stable and tightly woven. This slippery poly-satin that I used was cheap, but it was a pain when it came to fraying, bubbling, and shifting. I think I made the best of it, but if I were to do this again, I'd underline it with some stable cotton. It's unfortunate that I still had to be learning as I went while making a wedding garment, but I guess that's what Elaine gets for trusting an amateur. At least I saved her a lot of money?
|Now I just need to figure out the applique(s). What do you think? |
(My greatest fear: that the appliques will look like a violin's f-holes.)
Like I said earlier, it's now in the mail to her in Tucson, and I'm trying to hold back the anxiety that it will 1) somehow spontaneously combust en route, 2) not fit, despite having done a muslin and extensive comparison to a corset she already has, and 3) fall apart in the middle of the wedding day.
|Remember that tornado of fabric that spit up in my sewing room? Well, this has now been added to the floor.|