Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vogue 1174-- my first corselet!

I have grand aspirations to make a fantastic strapless ball gown.  I began by making a corselet.  It seemed like the best place to start because the corselet forms the support structure, and so I'd need to design the lining and the fashion fabric around it.  For a pattern, I used the corselet from Vogue 1174, a strapless cocktail dress. 
I completely ignored the instructions that came with the pattern, and instead used a modified version of the instructions for making a corselet from Claire Schaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques.  The corselet is constructed from two layers of mid-weight linen.  The layer closer to the body cut on the straight grain, while the layer on the outside is cut on the bias.  I ran lines of stitching to create boning channels between the two layers.  I added one boning channel per seamline.  The corselet closes at the side with hook-and-eye tape.

For boning, I used a combination of plastic boning (for the slightly curved seams) and extra-long heavy-duty cable ties.  Some Threads article suggested using nylon cable ties as boning, and I decided to try it because it's way easier for me to get to a hardware store than to get to a sewing store.  So far, the nylon cable ties have worked out fine.  I know spiral steel boning would have better.  But, any clothing I sew has to be machine-washable, and spiral steel boning would rust.

Amazingly, the corselet fit right off the bat with no small bust adjustment required.
I wore the corselet around the house for a couple of hours, and it's reasonably comfortable, breathes well, and doesn't try to fall down. I'm going to call that a success.

On the other hand, it doesn't seem like this corselet will work for the evening dress I had in mind.  My original idea was to make a slim-fitting dress with a skirt that would flare out below mid-thigh.  I made a mock-up with the lining fabric, pinned it to the corselet, and then decided that this was a bad idea.  The corselet adds a significant amount of bulk to my waist.  If the dress went straight into a full skirt at the waist, that would be fine.  But, as it was, it more or less eliminated my waist.  Bad bad bad.  So, I'm going to do something different, probably using the skirt from Vogue 2239

Anyway, I'm happy that the corselet has worked out so well so far, and I can't wait to figure out what kind of an evening dress I'm going to make out of it!

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