Adventures in Showgirl Corsets.

Using commercial patterns in Costuming feels like cheating, I don’t know why, but it does! However; ever since Yaya Han released her Corset Pattern I have been dying for an excuse to use it… which I know is super weird as I am not only a pattern drafter and cutter, I have my very own Corset Pattern for sale!

M7339, Misses' Overbust or Underbust Corsets by Yaya Han M7339, Misses' Overbust or Underbust Corsets by Yaya Han

I guess sometimes I just want to join in with the cool kids, the those CosPlayers are some pretty damn cool kids! Any hoo, I needed to make three Showgirl Costumes and, because this Pattern has a range of Cup sizes I thought it would be perfect, and save me the time of drafting my own. Win!

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These bad boys needed to be spangly, so after much hunting I finally decided upon this gorgeous (and very hard to locate!) Gold Sequin and Pink Sequin fabrics. Each had to be backed with matching Silk Habotai to ensure the sequins reflected as much as possible, and they were both lined with Coutil. They are fully boned with Steel Boning and have a quick rigged,open ended zip at the back because of quick changes.

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Offset with some gorgeous Indian Beaded Trim (eye wateringly expensive and used sparingly because no more could be ordered if there was a mistake as it takes about three weeks to arrive!), in the ‘V’ of the cleavage they shimmer gloriously in the studio, and look amazing on stage.

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Matching shorts were also made- in the Gold here, but also in Pink- as they are used in several different styles of dance including the Can-Can.

I think I did Yaya Han proud, and I am super impressed with her Pattern. I didn’t really use the instructions because we made these up a little differently that they would be for personal use. Here each panel is made and neatened separately in case of alterations, the cups are kept in alterable separate pieces and all of this makes the insides look a little messy as you can see all of the Overlocked channels. They aren’t laced, as the performers had a quick change, instead they zip up which in real life looks a little clunky but can’t really be seen from the stage when they’re performing.

All in all I’m really happy, and they fit great.

If you are thinking about sewing your own Corset this Pattern can be found here, and the Eventide Corset Pattern from Laura After Midnight can be found here. A full Sew-Along for the Eventide can be found here, and discusses many of the techniques used to make these up.

Happy stitching!

The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 3 The Collar

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Well, how are you today and how’s your Dimpsy T coming along?

Today we will be tackling the Collar and later on this week the Facings. I have chosen to make the Fang collar however; the instructions are similar and I shall be making note of the differences as I sew my Dimpsy T up.

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You will need to lay one Collar piece on top of another, making sure of course that you will be sewing a left and a right… which is why I like to lay them out (above, left) with right sides together and then pin (above, right).

Now, a small speech concerning the pin controversy! You may have noticed that I pin at a ninety degree angle, then sew straight over them. Whilst this probably isn’t the best thing to do, and I know there are many, many people who would disagree with this, I find it super duper helpful when sewing tricky curves like this, and it helps beginner Seamsters no end because they can concentrate on the actual sewing instead of stopping every few centimeters to take a pin out! And y’know, I’m a rebel sewer and all that!

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After shaking your head at my piratical approach to pinning, or mentally high fiving as you cavalierly sew over your pins too, you’ll need to sew- with 1.5cm Seam Allowance- around the outside. Do not sew the inside curve or you wont be able to turn it out the right way! Remember to reverse stich at the beginning and end to secure.

To sew around those tricky corners of the Fang Collar sew along one of the short edges then stop 1.5cm away from the edge, make sure your needle is in the fabric, lift the Presser Foot and then turn your Fabric then lower the Presser Foot to continue Sewing.

You may find it helpful to draw in your 1.5cm Seam Allowance with some Tailors Chalk to follow around the corners too.

To sew the curve of both Pan and Fang Collars, I like to stop every once in a while to check I am still on the Seam Allowance guide as it is quite important to do this evenly and smoothly!

Clip all corners (above middle), then Grade the Seams. To Grade you will need to cut back the Seam Allowance by half (above right) and then one side of the Seam Allowance by half again (below). This allows the fabric to curve once the Collar is turned out, but it also stops a ‘ridge’ forming when the Collar is ironed. It’s a beautiful finishing detail, which works for both the Pan and Fang Collars.

collar 6Once Graded, turn the Collar out the right way. You can use a Pin (as shown below) or Point Turner to make the corners pf the Fang collar turn out perfectly sharp.

Next, pin the Collar to the ironing board, making sure the seam is turned out as much as possible and Iron. Pinning to the ironing board helps to ensure the seam isn’t pleated. You may fing using your Point turner helpful here too.

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And there you have it, one beautifully made Collar!

Collar 10Because there are no Corners on the Pan Collar, you will only need to make sure the Seam is turned out when ironing. Grading as illustrated will help with this.

An interesting fact: the Collar side with the smallest amount of Seam Allowance left is now the Under Collar. This is because the smallest amount of Seam Allowance will leave a small ridge when washed and ironed multiple times and it is preferable this is underneath where it can’t be seen!

Later this week we shall all tackle attaching the collar to the main Bodice, then we’ll get a real look at how the Dimpsy T is turning out!

Don’t forget you can buy your own copy of the Dimpsy T- available as a cheap as chips PDF Pattern, or as a beautiful Hard Copy Pattern in my Etsy Pattern shop A Tangled Stitch.

Happy stitching!

Simple Sews English Tea Dress Sewing Tutorial

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Welcome my lovelies, to this impromptu, bonus Sew-Along!! Yes, as well as the Dimpsy T Sew-Along for my own newest Sewing Pattern I just couldn’t resist when asked by Simple Sew to create this Tutorial!

Have you spied the glorious English Tea Dress by Simple Sews free with Love Sewing Magazine recently? If you would like a lovely, easy breezy Summer Dress to make up look no further, I stitched one up in a couple hours the other day and I hope this Tutorial has some handy tips to help you stitch up your own!

Firstly, measure yourself and cut out the size Pattern which best suits. Alternatively you can trace your Pattern size off, using Pattern Paper or even Swedish Tracing Paper if you’re feeling fancy, and want to check the fit first! Tracing a Pattern will will allow you to change the Pattern (lengthen or shorten etc), but still preserve the original.

Once cut or traced, and using the Cutting Layplans’ on the Instruction Sheet, pin the Pattern to your Fabric then cut the Pattern out. You will need to pay close attention to the Grain Lines as they need to run exactly parallel to the Selvedge or folded edge of the fabric.

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At this point it’s a great idea to make a cuppa and have a read of the Pattern Instructions, just so you know what’s coming and can google any unknown terms.

Once cut out, cut any notches- the Triangular shapes along the edge of the Pattern pieces- and mark all of the Tailor’s Tacks on the Circle markers across the Pattern pieces.

how to make tailors tacks

Once you have made marked the Notches and made all of the Tailor’s Tacks, pull the Pattern off carefully holding on to the Tailor’s Tack threads so they don’t come out. Separate the Fabric pieces and snip the Tailor’s Tack in between so each piece has little thread markers. .

Remove every pin that is keeping the rest of the Pattern pieces on the Fabric, and then pin the Pattern pieces back on with just one pin. This means that you’ll still know what each piece is, but as you are sewing you won’t have to stop to un-pin every time you start to work on a new piece of the Pattern.

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The first pieces to be sewn are the Front Bodice and Back Bodice. Un-pin them and, with right sides together, on each Dart match the Notch on the Seam then fold the Fabric so that the fold goes through the centre of the Tailor’s Tack. Pin.

I like to pin everything I can, then start sewing. I find it’s a quick way to make the sewing process quicker.

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To sew the Dart first pull the Top Thread on the Sewing Machine very long, next- and whilst holding the Threads in place so they don’t tangle- put the Machines Needle down next to the Notch, lower the Presser Foot and then reverse stitch back and forth to start yourself off. Take hold of the Top Thread again and pull round and under the Presser Foot until it is lying in line with the Tailor’s Tack. Start Sewing along the line made by the Top Thread. When you reach the end sew ‘off’ the fabric then pull out of the Sewing Machine. Do not reverse stitch but cut the Threads long, then hand tie and snip close. Hand tying the end threads of a Dart will ensure a neat finish.

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Sew all Darts in this fashion, and then Iron into the top of the Dart before ironing the bottom as illustrated. Iron all Darts towards the Side Seams. You cannot iron over a Dart in it’s entirety as it’s not flat anymore!

To beautifully Hand Finish your Darts see this handy Tutorial.

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With right sides together, join the Front Bodice and Back Bodice at the Shoulder Seam with 1.5cm Seam Allowance. Zig-Zag neaten the edges as illustrated then iron. Repeat for the Front and Back Facings pieces.

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Lay the Bodice out with right side up on your sewing table. With right sides together lay the Facing on top. Match the Shoulder seams- push one seam one way and the other seam the other way to reduce the bulk as illustrated.

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With 1cm Seam Allowance, sew the Bodice and Facing together. When you reach the ‘V’ leave the sewing machines needle in the fabric, lift the Presser Foot, and then turn the fabric for a clean sewing line.Once sewn, Zig-Zag neaten the Facing outside edge.

Once sewn, snip into the ‘V’ as illustrated, then continue to snip all the way around the Neckline Seam Allowance, each time as close as you can to the stitching. This is super important as the Neckline will not turn out neatly unless the seam is clipped.

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 You will next need to Understitch the Neckline for a neat finish. On the Facing side of the Seam, sew through the Facing and the clipped Seam Allowance as illustrated. This needs to be sewn as closely as possible to the original Seam, as you can see.

Understitching is magical and helps the Facing ‘roll’ to the back so you won’t see it as you’re wearing the Dress!

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After Understitching, iron the Facing in position. This is sometimes easier if you pin into the ironing board to keep everything where you need it to be.

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Attach the Front Bodice to the Front Skirt. Pin and sew the left side, but stop sewing when you reach the Centre Front point as shown. Reverse stitch to secure, then snip into the Skirt seam allowance until you almost touch the stitching. This will allow the seam allowance to ‘relax’ so that you are able to pin, and then sew the right hand side of the Front Skirt to the Front Bodice.

Trying to sew this in one go will result in bunching at the Centre Front.

Attach the Back Skirts to the Back Bodices. Zig-Zag neaten all seams then iron.

Sew the Side Seams with right sides together, Zig-Zag neaten and iron flat.

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To sew the Sleeves, you will need to double check that you have the Notches cut as shown.

With 1cm Seam Allowance, and using the longest straight stitch on your Sewing Machine, sew from one notch to the other. Reverse stitch to secure beginning and end. Sew a second line of stitches at 2cm Seam Allowance so you have two channels of stitching as illustrated. Reverse stitch beginning and end as before.

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With 1.5cm Seam Allowance, and with right sides together, sew the Side Seams of the Sleeves. Zig-Zag neaten the Seam and iron as before.

Turn the Dress inside out, and the Sleeves right side out.

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 Ensuring the Single Notched side of the Sleeve faces the Front, pop a sleeve in an Armhole and match the Sides Seams. Pin.

Continue pinning the Bodice to the Sleeve on each side until you reach the beginning of the Gathering.

With a large pin, ‘pick up’ a stitch from each line of gather stitches and pull to gather up. Continue gathering until the Sleeve fits the Armhole. Tie the two stitch loops together to secure then ‘shuffle’ the gathers along until even. Once you are happy, continue pinning the rest of the sleeve in then stitch in place, Zig-Zag neaten and iron.

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Carefully unpick any gathering stitches you can see on the right side of the Sleeve.

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To insert the Zip, iron the 1.5cm Seam Allowance in place as shown. Unfold and lay the Seam flat, place the top of the Zip high up and close to the edge of the Neckline, then pin one side of the Zip with right side down against the right side of the fabric.

Attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine, and then sew down the Zip, ‘rolling’ the teeth away so sew underneath and following the line made by the iron. It is in this action that the Zip becomes ‘invisible’.

Stitch right to the end of the Zip, and reverse stitch at the end to secure. You can also draw in the Seam allowance line with some Tailor’s Chalk if you wish. There is a more in-depth Invisible, sometimes called a Concealed, Zipper Tutorial here.

For the other side, do up the Zip (and admire your handiwork so far!) and pop a Pin in the un-sewn side of the Zip at the Waistline.

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Undo the Zip, and match the top with the other side of the Bodice as before but ensure you match the Waistline with the Waistline marker pin. It is very easy to mismatch the waistline unless you do this. Pin along the Zip and then stitch in as before.

When the newly inserted Zip is done up the Waistline and Center Back line should for a cross as illustrated.

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Turn the Dress inside out and with right sides together, next to the Zipper stitching as illustrated, start sewing about 2cm above and next to where you stopped sewing the Zip in. Continue sewing to the Hem, reverse stitching to secure beginning and end.

The Zip, once done up, should be invisible with the edges of the Fabric rolling to cover it.

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On the inside of the Back Seam fold the Facing back, and at an angle. Pin in place, then Slip Stitch down to the Zipper Edge. Try not to go through to the fabric on the other side.

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Zig-Zag neaten the edge of the Skirt Hem, and both Sleeve Hems. Iron, then turn up .5cm and pin in place. Stitch the Hem and both Sleeve Hems in place.

Alternatively, for a beautiful Hand Finished Hem you can use a Herringbone Stitch which is wonderfully invisible!

 

Iron your lovely new Dress to finish, and wear it immediately… not forgetting to share a pic with us first!

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Thank you for joining me, I can’t wait to see what you make!

If you are in the Bristol area and are having issues with fit, why not join me for my Fitting Evening? Bring along something you have made to fit properly, discuss fit and what you can do yourself to create better fitting garments and measure yourself professionally. You’ll go away with a full Measurement Chart to use in future Dressmaking adventures, as well as notes on fitting.

If you want to delve deeper into creating that perfectly made garment you may wish to join the Measuring and Pattern Evening where we will be discussing how to measure yourself then adapt a Pattern to fit before any fabric is cut!

Both are just £10 and include refreshements. You can book here, or click on the links above the links above to find out more.

x Laura x

 

 

 

The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 2

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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!

Pattern Ponderings: Lingerie Edition!

My very first Lingerie and Bra Making Course starts this week, and I have been extensively trawling through the Patterns, advice, Fabrics and (my favorite bit!) the Notions available out there so I thought this weeks Pattern Ponderings should be a Lingerie Edition!

First up, if you can’t make my Class- it’s sold out, yippee!!- there will be another in the Fall. There is also a tonne of information out there and Patterns available to help you create that perfect Bra if this is what you have been dreaming of…

First up is Elna 645.

This is the first non-self drafted Bra Pattern I ever used and it’s fantastic. The instructions are super clear, seam allowances are included and there’s quite a lot of information at the front with tips like why you should trace the Pattern off. I am on to my 2nd Bra with this Pattern- after some adjustments- and very happy indeed. It’s a great starter Pattern as it includes a little of everything and you can choose to sew it up in stretch or non-stretch.

The Watson Bra and Bikini Knickers.

Watson Bra & Bikini PatternWatson Bra & Bikini PatternWatson Bra & Bikini Pattern

Included in this list simply because of the stunningly good work Amy has done with her Sew-Along to accompany the release of the Bra set. I have not made my Watson up yet however; there have been 100s’ of glowing reviews and I would strongly recommend a read through of the Sew-Along if you are considering making your own Lingerie. Also, how much do we all want a Yellow and White Bra set right now? Heaven!

Ohhh Lulu

Vintage Style Pin Up Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1311 Lili Bralette Sewing Pattern Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1304 Jasmine Soft Bra Multi-size Digital PDF Vintage Style Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1301 Bambi Soft Bra Multi-size Digital PDF Sewing Pattern

I adore the Vintage glamour of Ohhh Lulu Patterns, there’s something very unusual and extremely pretty about them isn’t there? They do come up a little small however; she has a series of Tutorials one of which tells you how to increase the cup size of a Bra Pattern. In fact, it is well worth a visit to her Tutorials page which includes a couple Sew-Alongs, how to add in Padding, making a boned bikini, how to measure yourself and quite a bit more! Take a good look around her shop too as there’s Swimwear and Panties Patterns as well as Pattern Sewing Bundles.

There are so many more out there including Mrs Depew, VaVoom Vintage for the Vintage lovers, Orange Lingerie who also have a Blog and Madalynne who both have Sewing tips and Sew-Alongs for more modern Bra Patterns.

Right, I’m off for some more lesson prep- I’m making my next Bra in Black with Pink Lace! What was I thinking?! Can’t wait to show it off…

Happy stitching!