Notions: How to Make a Thread Holder

The renovations continue apace in my new studio however; it is a slow process! I have had a pretty grotty cold for a while now which isn’t helping things, but my main issue is spare cash. I would spend so much if I could!! So, I have started to think about which aspects I can create myself with a little dash of imagination. I have needed a couple more Thread and Bobbin Holders for a while. I have a beautiful one my Brother made me a while back however; in my new space I wanted a couple smaller ones to hang above the Sewing Machines to make the Thread which is available for anyone to use a little more accessible. It would also be fantastic to have Bobbins freely available and even loaded up ready to go with matching thread! My organizational plans know no bounds! I had borrowed a Drill from Fella’s work to put up the shelves, and with a couple scavenged lengths of timber from a skip, I spent a couple pounds on Dowling and hey presto… new Thread Holders! I thought I’d share how I did it so you can have a go, because dang if these things aren’t expensive! You will need: A Drill with an 8mm Drill Bit 9mm Dowling Course and Fine Sandpaper Rubber Mallet/Hammer Wood (I used a 9cm x 40cm length of Pine) at least 1cm thick Pencil and Ruler

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First, mark where you would like the stands for each Thread or Bobbin. I staggered mine so each one is 3cm apart. Because my wood was only 9cm wide I put two on one line, then just one on the next.

Cut your Dowling to 7cm long, then sand down one end of each piece so it is rounded. Use the Coarse Sandpaper first, then smooth off with the Fine Sandpaper

bobbin7 Next, you will need to Drill the holes for each piece of Dowling. This isn’t so hard but you’ll need to do it in a really specific way… First, Drill straight down for a couple millimetres to create a ‘dent’ in the wood. This will anchor the Drill for the next bit. Rest the back of the Drill on the table top and continue to Drill at an angle. You will need to press gently but firmly to drive the Drill in to the wood and each hole needs to be at least a centimetre deep. Drill all holes, then dust off the wood shavings. bobbin4Position each piece of Dowling on top of a hole and Hammer in. Check the depth of each as you go so they are all roughly the same height and make sure each is sturdily in place. Dust off the Thread Holder again, rub off your markings and it is ready to load up! I’m going to paint mine cheerful colours…

bobbin6 bobbin5

Voila! I’d love to see your efforts… share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Happy stitching!

What’s on the board this week?

chalkboard1

Well, boys and girls, this week on the Midnight Atelier Chalkboard is information about our up-coming Vintage Lingerie Classes, Vintage Bra Making Classes, the Eventide Corsetry Course and Sewing Club dates!

As you can see, all courses include Pattern (with the Eventide Corsetry Course you receive the Pattern and Instruction book), and they are all booking now!

Check out the Class Schedule Page for more information, and to book. If you would like to pay a deposit, and the balance later please email me on laura@lauraaftermidnight.com

Happy stitching!

 

 

Week 2: Inserting the Busk Pt II

So, having perfectly inserted the Right side of our Busks in to our Eventide Corsets, today I shall be showing you how to insert the Left.

I think this is a little simpler than the Right, but should still be sewn with care. You will need your Awl for this bit.

Place the Left hand side of the Front Corset panels Right Sides Together and draw a line 2.5cm from the Front as illustrated. Again, using a Patternmaster will make this easier.

Sew along the line, remembering to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Iron, with the Seams out and then roll the Front Fabric  around to the Back as you did for the Right hand side so that no Coutil can be seen from the Front. Pin.

Stitch a 5mm (or half a centimetre) seam along this Front edge- shown below right- this line is now our Centre Front Line of the Corset. You may need to attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine to see where you are sewing a little more clearly.

busk2 1 busk2 3

Place the Right side, over the Left side, and in line with the Seam you have just stitched (below left). Using a Fabric Pencil mark through the holes of the Busk Hooks… if your fabric is highly patterned you may need to use pins. Mark- or pin- at the far edge of the Busk Hook as illustrated.

Take away the Right hand side of the Corset.

busk2 4 busk2 6

Next, you will need your Awl. On the mark, push the Awl through the two Fabric layers- NOT the Coutil layers- until a hole has formed.

The aim is to gently push a hole and not snap any of the threads of the Fabric, as this will keep the structural integrity of the Fabric. If a hole is punched, or many threads snapped, when the Corset is worn and the Fabric put under stress the hole will rip larger and look incredibly messy.

When you have made a hole, from the back push the correct Busk Post through (the two together should be at the bottom as for the Right side of the Busk). This needs to be done gently so as to not damage the Fabric.

busk2 7 busk2 8

When all of the Busk Posts have been pushed through (below left), pin the Busk hard in as you did for the Right hand side of the Busk.

Attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine, measure the Seam Allowance and make a mark on your Sewing Machine as you did before.

Stitch along the edge of the Busk from top to bottom of the Corset panel (below right).

busk2 9 busk2 10

Easy as pie, right? And look… it’s a Corset Front! So pretty… …

busk2 12

So, it’s not all that difficult. Just remember to stitch nice and close to the Busk so it is held in nice and tight- not baggy! Remember also that it can be unpicked at any moment if you are unhappy.

At this point you may find your Fabric has ‘stepped’ or mis-aligned. Do not worry about this too much. It can be trimmed at the end of the sewing up process and is quite common as the Corset is sewn up. In fact, the Eventide Pattern has been made a little longer than necessary for this very reason.

Join me again tomorrow next week as we start to stitch the Corset up, and fit it to your figure. Also watch this space for a cheeky little Book Review of one of my favourite Corset Books and more Sewing Tips.

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Inserting the Busk

So, today we’ll be seeing how to insert a Busk in to our Eventide Corsets! I love this bit of Corsetry, it’s when the Corset starts to look, well… like a Corset! It is also the first time we will be sewing with metal, which whilst not difficult, has it’s own set of rules.

The most important thing to remember is that your Sewing Machine is perfectly capable of sewing over the metal however; the Needle is not! I have clipped the edge of the Busk or Boning many times and the Needle not only breaks, it can fracture into small pieces which is not fun! It with damage the Fabric and invariable flies towards your face…

Firstly, you will need to select the Right hand Fabric and Coutil sections AS YOU WOULD WEAR THEM. To do this, lay the Fabric out, upside down as illustrated. With Right Sides Together, lay the Coutil on top then put the Left hand side to one side.

busk1 busk2

On the Coutil side, draw a line 3cm away from the edge. As you can see from the Pattern, this is the Centre Front Line. If you have a Patternmaster this will be super easy as you can line up the 3cm line and simply draw down as illustrated.

busk3 busk4 busk5

Place the Busk against this line, equidistant from the top and bottom, then draw either side of the Hooks. The two Hooks together go at the Bottom of the Busk, and the Busk should be laying as illustrated- with the Hooks against the Centre Front line.

 busk6 busk6a

After you have marked either side of the Hooks, Pin the layers together. On the Sewing Machine, sew in between the gaps (as shown below, far left with a pink dotted line) remembering to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of each little seam. Try not to stitch too far in to the gaps or the Busk Hooks will not fit through.

busk7 busk8 busk9

Don’t also forget that you can unpick at any moment if you are unhappy with the stitching.

Once happy, iron the Seam as follows… Iron the Seam out on the wrong side (below left), then wrap the Front around to the back so that on the Coutil side you can see a little of the Front fabric (below right) but none of the Coutil on the Right side.

busk10 busk11

Push the Busks Hooks through the holes, then push the Busk up against the Seam and hold firmly in place whilst pinning. The Busk needs to be hard up against the edge so that, when sewn, it is not baggy. A baggy Busk simply wont do!

Push the Pin in, then scrape the Pin along the back of the Coutil until you can feel the edge of the Busk, then pin through. Pinning like this will make sure the Pins hold the Busk in place nice and tightly.

busk12 busk13

When pinned, measure in from the edge of the Busk as as illustrated then, on the Sewing Machine, raise the Presser Foot and roll the Needle into the Machine. Place the measuring tape against the Needle, and use a Pencil to mark the Seam Allowance needed to stitch alongside the Busk.

Doing this makes sure that, above and below the Busk, you are able to sew in a neat line that is the same distance from the edge for the whole length. Marking with a Pencil means that you will be able to rub it off, alternatively you can use Washi Tape.

busk14 busk15

When you have you Seam Allowance marked, stitch along the side of the Busk from top to bottom. You will need to attach your Zipper Foot to do this. Because the Busk starts and finishes 5 or 6cm after the start or before the end your Seam Allowance mark will come in handy to guide you in a straight line to sew next to the Busk.

busk16 busk17

Voila! One beautifully inserted Busk!!

How easy was that? Join me tomorrow as I continue Corset Month with how to insert the Left side of the Busk.

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Cutting the Eventide Corset out

Now, after a week of taking it easy it’s time to get stitching your Eventide Corset!

After having made any adaptations to fit on the Pattern, you’ll need to cut out the Fabric. Diagrams and more information can be found in the Eventide Instruction Book however; here are a couple of hints… … and dire warnings!

cut1 cut2

After having traced off, adapted and cut out the Pattern, pin to the Fabric remembering to measure the Grain Line. Fold the Coutil in half, Selvedge to Selvedge and Right Sides Together (so you are pinning to the back of your Fabric), and lay it on a flat surface.

It is incredibly important that each piece of the Pattern is cut out ON GRAIN. The Grain runs parallel to the Selvedge, which is the woven, finished edge of the Fabric. Cross Grain, or Bias, runs at a 45 degree angle to the straight Grain. Corsets must be cut out DIRECTLY ON THE STRAIGHT GRAIN to ensure the Waist Line in particular maintains the strength provided by the Straight Grain. Cutting the pieces of the Corset even slightly ‘off grain’ will mean it will twist uncomfortably as you wear it.

cut3 cut4

Now, dire warnings aside!, after you have pinned each Pattern piece you will need to draw on your Seam Allowance… which is 1.5cm.

To do this, use a Tape Measure to measure out 1.5cm from the Pattern piece, and mark with some Tailors Chalk or a Fabric Pencil in a contrast colour. As you can see, Tailors Chalk is available in a variety of colours and it is useful to have a selection. Continue around each Pattern piece, measuring out and making a mark every few centimetres or so. Use a ruler or Patternmaster to connect the dots.

cut5 cut6 cut7

Cut each piece out, and before you un-pin it, make a little snip no more then 1cm deep at the Waist Line. This is called a notch and will assist you in sewing the Corset up. It is another important little detail!

Repeat for the Coutil.

cutting diagram

You may have noticed that each piece looks similar to the next, and you can choose to cut out some paper markers to Pin on to each piece. To do this simply write what the piece is on a little scrap of paper and pin to the piece BUT pin to the piece as you would WEAR it. To do this, lay the pieces out upside down so the top is closest to you.

And that’s it!

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Notions: Preparing to Sew with Difficult Fabric

For this weeks’ Notions, I thought I would discuss something which, whilst being relevant to Corsetry, is also good basic knowledge for using unusual fabrics for all types of projects.

There comes a time when we all would like to use something a little more adventurous! Preparing the Fabric well is half the task of sewing Lace, or Sequinned Fabric.

Lace Overlays

When using Lace for Corsets, you will need to consider the pattern of the Lace- is it large or small and do you need to take this into consideration when placing the Pattern Pieces? You will need to re-trace off your Corset Pattern (from your adapted Pattern) and add in Seam Allowance before cutting out. This will ensure you do not have to draw the Seam Allowance on to the Lace which can be difficult for a number of reasons- the Lace will move about and can stretch out of shape, it will also be delicate and should not be overly handled.

After tracing the Paper Pattern off, pin the Paper Pattern on and cut out as you would Fabric. If the lace is very delicate, you may wish to use Pattern Weights instead of Pins to ensure you do not damage the Lace. I do not worry about being overly accurate- as long as the Lace is cut out within 1cm of the edge of the Paper Pattern and all Waist Notches are marked you will be fine.

Once all Lace sections are cut out, lay the Fabric pieces of the Corset out, then lay the Lace sections on top. Double check your Waist Notches are all in line throughout the Corset pieces, and that you have a left and a right of each piece.

sequin 1sequin 2

Pin the layers together, pin carefully so as to not damage the Lace.

Tack each section together as illustrated. Use a contrast Tacking Thread, and try to keep within the 1.5cm Seam Allowance so you will not have to remove it. If, when the Corset is sewn up, you can see the Tacking Stitches, the contrast thread will help you to see where to remove them.

Once the pieces are tacked, you can trim back any excess Lace to the edge of the Fabric.

sequin 3 sequin 4

Alternatively, and you may wish to Sew a couple Corsets having tacked them before trying this method!- you can pin the sections together as illustrated. Pin along the Seam Allowance as shown, and keep the Pins in until they are stitched up. Of course, whilst this method is quicker there are some obvious drawbacks! If you have to adjust the Corset or unpick it for any reason, these pieces will become separated and need to be pinned again, it will take a little more experience to be able to control the layers of fabric with just pins holding them together… you also use a lot of pins!!

sequin 5

This is a technique I often use when manufacturing multiple Corsets.

Sequinned and Beaded Fabrics

Sewing with Sequinned and Beaded fabrics has another set of rules. Because you are unable to Sew over Beads or heavier weight Sequins, you will need to remove them from the Seam Allowance.

It is easiest to trace off the Pattern, and add the Seam Allowance as for working with Lace Fabrics before pinning in the Pattern and cutting out.

Using a Tape Measure, measure in 1.5cm (which is the Seam Allowance for the Eventide Corset Pattern) and mark with a line of Pins as illustrated.

beaded 1 beaded 2

With a contrast Thread, tack along the line of Pins.

beaded 3 beaded 4

When you have tacked a line of stitching 1.5cm in, you will need to remove all of the Beads and Sequins from the Seam Allowance. And yes, this takes ages!! I keep the Beads and Sequins I remove, in case I need to add a couple in again. The stitching which holds on the Beads or Sequins is actually a chain so sometimes a couple of centimetres can unravel when it is cut, and will need to be carefully sewn back down, or added in by hand.

I will insert the Busk by hand if I am making a Corset from Beaded Fabric so as to not disturb the pattern of the Beading at the front of the Corset.

Pattern Matching and using Patterned Fabrics

This tip for Pattern Matching Fabrics is enormously helpful however; if you are using a Patterned Fabric you may wish to select the sections you wish to use, or even Pattern Match the Front Panels so that the Pattern runs across them. This isn’t too difficult BUT please do try to remember to cut out a LEFT and a RIGHT of each Panel!! For this you will need to flip the Pattern Piece over.

pattern matchAs illustrated above, I have chosen which piece of the Pattern I would like to run down the front of the Corset. Folding the Pattern Piece back along the Centre Front line, I have matched it so that- when the Corset is sewn together- the Cyclist will pedal across the Bust!

Remember to fold the Pattern Back along the Centre Front line, then match on the Fabric. As you Pin the Pattern Piece on to the Fabric you can un-fold it and pin it down.

Matching along the Centre Front line is incredibly important because- and you’ll see this from the Instruction Book– the Fabric beyond the Centre Front is used as a Seam Allowance when inserting the Busk, so any pattern will be lost.

By the way, this awesome Fabric is available from Spoonflower, and I may just have to snap up a bit!

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 1: Recommended Tools and Equipment…

… to help you make the Eventide Corset, and for Corsetry in general, these Tools and pieces of Equipment come highly recommended.The full list of supplies, with recommended Suppliers etc comes in the Instruction Book with the Eventide Pattern or can be found in The Little Book of Corset Tips.

recommended tools and eqt for corsetry

Later, I shall be discussing how to adjust and alter the Pattern to fit! Don’t forget to join in with Corset Month on Facebook, Twitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Corset Month: create bespoke Corsetry with Laura After Midnight

corset month button

Welcoming the biggest Laura After Midnight Sewing Pattern and Kit release to date, which has taken months of prep and sampling to be happy with. The Eventide Corset Pattern is here!!

The Eventide Pattern has a re-usable, graded Pattern for a Victorian inspired Over Bust Corset, with an Instruction Book which covers every aspect of making up the Corset including supplies and suppliers list, adapting the pattern to fit, marking and cutting out the fabric, inserting the Busk, notes on fitting, sewing up and inserting Boning and finishing. You can choose to buy a Hard Copy Pattern, Instant Download PDF or a Kit which includes Coutil, Busk, Boning and Heat Shrink Tubing for Tipping.

corset 1 pattern logo   corset 2 pattern logo   corset 3 pattern logo

Click the links to buy!

I know it’s been a little bit more of a wait than anticipated however; I also have some great news!!! I’ve managed to persuade a production company to  make a series of films to release alongside the Sew-a-Long. Entitled The Corset Sessions, they’ll highlight the trickier aspects of Corsetry, and provide a glimpse into the Professional side of making a Corset. There are hints about working quickly, production and construction so they’re unmissable quite frankly!

As with all of the Laura After Midnight Sewing Kits, the above is available as a PDF Instant Download- if you simply can’t wait or, like me, already have a stash of supplies and fabric and maybe a little more experience! If this is your first foray in to the world of Corsetry, you can also buy the full Corset Kit which includes the above Supplies. All you will need to do to start sewing is buy your front fabric, eyelets and binding then thread your machine and make a lovely cup of tea!

To coincide with this release I will be hosting a Sew-a-Long, which will take you through every stage of creating your very own custom made corset which will start on the 21st of April.

The Sew-a-Long will look like this… …

Week 1

Starting slowly- so everyone has time to gather supplies and get them selves in order!- this week will cover Supplies, Tools and Equipment, and details about Printing and Assembling the Pattern. I’ll be sharing where I like to shop, and wholesale my supplies from as well as talking about Measuring for Size and Adjusting the Eventide Pattern to Fit, handling fabrics and preparing to make up your Corset.

Week 2

Tutorials will cover Cutting out, Marking and Preparing to sew your Corset and Inserting the Busk. The ever popular Notions series will be Corset centred and talk about Corset Making Resources.

Week 3

Tutorials will cover Sewing Up the Eventide Corset, fitting the Corset with removable Eyelet Channels and alterations. Get your Seam Rippers ready! This week I shall also be sharing some notes on reproducing Historical Corsets, and hosting an Interview from Steampunk Family.

Week 4

Week 3 will see Tutorials on how to sew the Boning Channels. As there are several different methods to choose from this will be an interesting week, the Notions post will cover this in more depth, as will the Sewing Zine which comes with the Kit. Another Book Review and notes on 50s, retro and Vintage style Corsets, with a Notions all about the different ways in which you can lace a corset should make this a lively discussion week.

Week 5

Hurrah, we’ll be almost finished, and Tutorials will cover… finishing in Part I and Part II! I shall also be discussing adding details like corset toppers and Historical details like flossing. All of which will probably make this the prettiest week! With a final interview and give away we’ll all be off somewhere splendid to order complicated frivolous Cocktails and show case our gorgeous new Corsets before we know it!

So, what do you think? I am wildly excited, as Corsetry is a wonderfully fancy thing to be able to accomplish and I am so looking forward to sharing how with you. After the success of Pattern Month I am also looking forward to seeing what you all make, or take away from it too!

Happy stitching!

Pattern Month on Pinterest

For an awesome selection of Vintage, modern, free and many more Patterns please take a look at Pattern Month on Pinterest. I’ve also made sure there are a great little selection of tutorials on how to re-size Patterns and how to deal with PDF printable Patterns. These are my favourites…

Panelled Slip Draft Pattern from Complete Dressmaking in pictures published by Odhams. 1950       Overalls

A 50s Slip, complete with Pattern information and advice, and 1940s Overalls complete with Pattern. If you know how to scale Patterns up- which there will be a post on in the near future- the Pattern world really is at your feet. I just adore those Overalls!

Lots of skirt block modifications

Have you tried making up your Basic Skirt Block yet? If so, why not trace the Block off and try splitting it as above for some truly gorgeous skirts!

There are further Patterns on the Pinterest page, scaling advice, hints and tips so be sure to check it out!

Happy patterning!