Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #4 - Under It All

This challenge was an easy one, as I knew I'd be needing a new corset this year for faire.  I went without one last year, because my old one was too uncomfortable.  It was a thick, heavy, store-bought one that didn't breathe at all.  So I set about making a new, one-layer corset. 
I am most certainly aware that a Victorian corset is the wrong period for wearing under a Renaissance gown.  But I don't find Elizabethan corsets nearly as comfortable, especially when I'm fighting.  My number one concern with my costumes is safety first.  So I stick with the longer lines and less boning of the 19th century.  I make sure to still bone the bodice of my gowns, so they hold a proper Elizabethan shape, despite my choice of undergarment.  
I have had a lot of luck with the late 1880's corset in Corsets and Crinolines.  But I I decided to experiment with a new pattern, and selected the 1844 for this project.  It went together with very little alteration, and I highly recommend it.  I did the center front on the fold, because I prefer not to have the stiffness of a busk in the front.  It inhibits rolls and flips.  I boned only the seams and on either side of the grommets.  I forgot to put in the waist stay, so I had to seam rip some of the bone casings and slide it through.Whoops. 
Dress rehearsal was the first day I wore it, and it immediately presented problems.  Fortnightliers, this corset is loooooooong.  When I bent, sat, or rolled, the bottom poked right into my crotch.  It also turned out to be a bit big in the hips when fully laced.  Aaaaand it seemed I had put the waist stay in a little high.  But that's what dress rehearsals are for, right?  That week, I pulled out the bias tape, shortened the length considerably, and did some nipping and tucking across the hip region.  I added an addtional waist stay for support in the correct area as well.  By opening weekend, it was fitting much better, and I kept singing the praises of how lightweight it was compared to the crappy old one I'd worn in previous years.  
I will say it's not the most aesthetic thing I've ever made, and has some slight bubbling beneath the bust gores.  But this is a combat corset, and pretty isn't my first concern.  Sigh.  Only two more challenges of dealing with faire costumes, and then I finally get to branch out into a) other time periods, and b) no more worrying about fighting!
The Challenge: Under It All
Fabric: Black cotton duck (obligatory quacking noise)
Pattern: 1844 Corset from Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines
Year: 1844
Notions: Black bias tape, black boning channels, grosgrain ribbon, metal grommets, industrial cable ties.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is very historically accurate; the materials not so much.  Also, I should point out that I'm wearing a Victorian corset under a Renaissance costume.  There's a reason for that though.
Hours to complete: No idea.
First worn: February 15th, at dress rehearsal.
Total cost: Maybe $20

The sized up pattern from Corsets and Crinolines

One of the only shots I got of the corset in progress.  Trying to add the waist stay about two steps late.
 The finished corset

Clearly, I could adjust the measurements a bit next time

There's a little bit of weird bubbling under the bust.  Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #3 - Pink

The pink challenge was a tough one for me for the simple reason that I don’t like pink.  Really, it’s my least favorite color, followed closely by yellow (which is of course the other color challenge this year).  I considered making something for a friend instead of for myself, but time just wouldn’t allow it.  I needed to make it work for my festival costume somehow.  After some reflection, I came up with the idea to make a doublet for my character, and line it in pink.  I could also make the doublet reversible, and provide myself some fun comic bits.  “Oh, are you looking for that thief in the black doublet?  Caaaaan’t be me, I’m wearing pink.”  You get the idea.  I dithered over various shades of dupioni on the fabulous site, and settled on a shade called “Hollywood.”  It was a rosey pink shot with black, so I didn’t think it would be too objectionable.  Well it turned out…beautiful.  I was stunned at how much I liked the color.  So, well done, color challenge.  I may like pink a little more than I did yesterday.  Don’t tell anyone.

I used a picture I saved from Sempstress’s old website to try and mock up a pattern.  I really liked the lines on the style she did. It required some major alteration, but it was a great starting point.  I’m so happy with how the shape turned out.  I bought some black striped home dec fabric from Joann, aiming for “simple, yet elegant.”  After messing about with my pattern pieces, I actually settled on using the wrong side of the fabric for most of it, and the right side for just a few pieces.  I was very pleased with the effect.  I added some simple wings from another doublet pattern and trimmed the whole thing in black velvet ribbon to match the trim on my faire gown.  I closed it up with silver clasps.  There is a duck canvas interlining, and I also backed the silk with black cotton.  

The Challenge: Pink
Fabric: Pink dupioni silk, black striped home dec fabric, duck canvas, black cotton.
Pattern: Based off an image from
Year: Mid-1500’s
Notions: Black velvet ribbon. Silver clasps
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is very similar to the Janet Arnold pattern I’ve used before, with some alterations.  Obviously I use more modern sewing techniques, and use a machine.
Hours to complete: Seriously, I will never be able to keep track. 
First worn: Today, at dress rehearsal!
Total cost: Around $45
The scaled-up pattern - the brown pieces are my alterations.  I did end up having to make some more alterations later on.  But I am struggling to remember to take pictures of the whole process.  Oh, well.

The finished black doublet with just a hint of pink.

You can really see the difference in the two sides of the fabric in this one.

And finally, the pink side of the doublet, with just a hint of black.