The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 2

sew along header

At last, it’s time to start Sewing our Dimpsy T’s up! We’re going to start right at the beginning… with Cutting Out, Marking the Fabric with Tailors Tacks and sewing up the Dart…

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Choose which size you would like to make up by measuring yourself, and looking at the Chart on the back of the Pattern Envelope. Cut that size out of the Pattern then, following the Cutting Diagram in your Instruction Book lay the pieces out on your Fabric and pin remembering to check the Grain Lines are straight- especially important when it comes to the Collar.

Cut out around the Pattern as close as you can- adding extra fabric at this point will only make the final garment bigger. Remember to cut the Dart out at the Center Front, cut the angle of the Shoulder Seam (it’s slightly angled towards the edge as you can see in the third picture above), and the teeny tiny corners at the underarm (above, far right).

how to make tailors tacksMake the Tailors Tacks on each and every circle you can see across the Pattern as above.

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Once you have made each and every Tailors Tack (remember how I spoke about ‘batching’ things to make Sewing quicker? I start as I mean to go on!), pull the Pattern off carefully, then separate the Fabric and snip so each side is marked as illustrated.

I next like to remove every pin that is keeping the Pattern on the Fabric except one. This means that I still know what each piece is, but as I am sewing I don’t have to stop to un-pin every time I start to work on a new piece of the Pattern.

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Sew up the Centre Front Seam with .5cm Seam Allowance. If you use any more the Dart will be too big! Pin, right sides together, then Sew and neaten with a Zig-Zag as illustrated. Iron flat and to one side before attempting to pin the Dart. This will make it easier to handle the fabric and make the Dart neatly.

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With right sides together, pin the Dart along the Seam as illustrated. You may need to Ease it slightly- as I have done. Distribute any excess along the opening and pin. As you can see it looks a little ‘lumpy’. This is the excess distributed, I’ll then pull or stretch the fabric slightly as I sew to sew it flat, then iron flat. This is also a great technique for setting in sleeves!

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To sew the Dart first pull the Top Thread on the Sewing Machine very long (1), next- and whilst holding the Threads in place put the Machines Needle down next to the starting Tailors Tack, but not through the Fabric (3). Take hold of the Top Thread again and pull round and under the Presser Foot until it is laying in line with the middle and end Tailors Tacks (4). Start Sewing- with 1cm Seam Allowance- along the line made by the Top Thread (5), ensuring it passes through the middle Tailors Tacks (6).

Do not reverse at the end, but pull the threads long again and hand tie for a beautiful finish. A more detailed Tutorial upon this can be found here.

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Once you have sewn the Dart, Zig-Zag along the edge as before the Iron. It will naturally want to Iron ‘up’ towards the Neckline.

And that’s it!  I think a well deserved Cuppa is in order, I know I’m going to make one! Watch this space for further Sewing musings from myself later this week!

Don’t forget to share your Dimpsy T’s with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram!

Happy stitching!

Evening Classes from The Midnight Atelier

There are a couple of new Evening Classes getting booked up fast here at The Midnight Atelier and I thought I’d share them quickly!

The first is the wonderful Home Sewing Course! Book on this bad boy if you have been sewing at home, making your own clothing but can’t quite seem to get everything as you’d like it… maybe it’s troubles with Patterns, maybe a slight awkwardness with fit, whatever it is this Course will explain it away! Take a read, and click the image to book…

Home Sewing Poster Flier A6

 

Next up is the super, duper new Measuring and Pattern Evening! This promises to be great fun, and will take you through the processes of measuring yourself (properly) and recording those measurements on a chart so you have them to use again and again, then adapting a simple Bodice Block to fit. Having the confidence to do something like this before you cut your fabric is a magnificent thing. Book quick as places are being snapped up!!

Have a read and click to book…

measure pattern evening

 

Last but not least is my new Fitting Evening, ta daa!!

This baby is going to be hectic, but so so much fun… bring along those garments you have made to have them professionally fitted so that you can unpick, snip and stitch them back to the glorious pieces they were destined to become. No sewing will be done on the night, but you will leave with notes on how to manage the alterations, measurements and the confidence to do more!

Take a peek and book here…

 

fitting evening

 

Exciting times, no? Contact me with any questions,

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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

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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!

Announcing… …

corset month button

 

Corset Month!!

On the 17th February (fingers seriously crossed!!), I shall be releasing my Corset Kit!!

This is the biggest Sewing Pattern and Kit release to date. The Corset Kit will have a re-usable graded Pattern for a Victorian inspired Over Bust Corset, with an Instruction Zine which will cover every aspect of making up the Corset including tracing off the pattern, marking and cutting out the fabric, inserting the Busk, sewing up and inserting Boning and finishing. The Kit will also include an Equipment Supplies list, notes on fitting, alterations and lacing.

As with all of the Laura After Midnight Sewing Kits, the above will also be available as a PDF Instant Download- if you simply can’t wait or, like me, already have a stash of supplies and fabric!

If this is your first foray in to the world of Corsetry, you will also be able to buy the full Corset Kit which will include all Supplies including Boning, Busk, Coutil and Eyelets. All you will need to do to start sewing is buy your front fabric, thread your machine and make a lovely cup of tea!

To coincide with this release we 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 10th of March.

The release of the Pattern and Kit is timed so that you will be able to order your copy of the Pattern and Instructions or Kit, and gather all supplies needed before joining in the Sew-a-Long.

The Sew-a-Long will look like this… …

Week 1      10th March

Tutorials will cover Measuring for Size, Tracing off and Cutting out, Pattern Alterations, Marking and Preparing to sew your Corset. There will also be the beginning if a short series of Book Reviews. The ever popular Notions series will be Corset centred with this weeks instructing on how to piece Lace. To finish the week I am hoping to host another series of Interviews and Give Aways… watch this space!!

Week 2      17th

Tutorials will cover Inserting the Busk, and stating to sew the Boning Channels. As there are several different methods to choose from this will be an interesting week, and the Notions post will cover this in more depth. This week I shall also be sharing some notes on reproducing Historical Corsets, and hopefully hosting another Interview.

Week 3      24th

Tutorials will cover Making up the Lacing, Fitting and Adjustments before starting to put the finishing touches to your Corset. 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 4      31st

Hurrah, we’ll be almost finished, and Tutorials will cover… finishing! I shall also be discussing adding details like feathers, sequins, 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 to 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!