Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Miniature Teal Corset

This miniature corset is an older project I made in 2008-9 (yes it took me over a year to complete it because other projects kept getting in the way.

I posted this picture to my facebook today and thought I should also post the making of entries to answer the questions.

The corset is 1883 US Patent 281,659 and the dress form is  Atelier Sylphe's Victorian Dressform pattern Ref VIC.

The corset measures:
3 1/4" front
5 1/2" waist
8" bust
8" hip
Back length (shoulder to waist) aprox 3"

Read the Making of this little corset under the cut. I DO NOT have photos for all the steps as I had a computer crash during this time and lost quite a bit of data.

Started in May 2008 just after the birth of my second child, I had the burning desire to make a corset. Making a corset for me was out of the question, so I decided to make a doll sized one. I didn't have any dolls that needed corsets, so selected a patent and size.
Decide on patent 281659 because it doesn't have bust gores and it has shoulder strap. shoulder straps would make it easier to hang up on a pretty hanger.
Scale it to a workable size of 3" Center Front length.
transfer pattern to mylar. Combine pieces 6&7 for ease of sewing. (I didn't realize that pattern piece 7 was the facing! but it made the front panel wide enough for my busk.)
To reduce bulk I like to cut the center front and back on the fold. This means my busk was constructed a bit oddly, more on that later.
I then traced the piece without any seam allowance on top some plain white cotton, leaving at least 1/2" between pieces. I then put a scrap piece of silk on the other side and used a runing stitch, directly on the line so my silk was now flat lined to my cotton.

I then started constructing the corset, cutting out the pieces with roughly 1/4" seam allowance one at a time as I needed them and sewing them together with either a small back stitch or a small stab stitch, I can't remember

I constructed the lining of plain white cotton in the same manner, except it was a single layer. Just the middle pieces, as the front and backs are on the fold to reduce bulk, and the shoulder strap doesn't need another layer.
I pressed the seam allowances open (Normally not recommended on corsets, but the bulk is an issue in this scale.) and folded the fronts and backs over, attached them to the seams and sewed the channel for the back lacing bone.
Now when doing a small corset, you often don't have the width you would need to put in a bone on each side of the grommets, sometimes you don't even have the width you would need to put a bone on the outer edge only. So I like to use lacing bones, made from styrene with holes punched in.
Lacing bones are 5/8" wide. Punch holes in lacing bone 3/8" apart with 1/8" holes.
Fold over back and stitch to self.
Insert one lacing bone and stitch it in place. then go back and fill in the stitches (Holbein stitch)
Mark placement for busk loops on interlining. use awl and poke holes, weave busk through.
I then put the lining in. I made sure the pieces line up by stitching in the ditch of the panels.

For boning, go to your local Hobby shop, find the stock styrene strips, pick the size right for your project. I have found that .03" X .08" works well. one package of 10 strips cost me about$3 and is good for more than one corset. Larger widths are good for lacing bones or busks, also consider sheets for making lacing bones and busks.
Then it was time for the boning channels to be sewn. I slipped my boning of choice in, sandwiched between the flatlined silk and it's seam allowance  and did a small  stab stitch to keep them in place. then I went back and filled in the spaced as you do with a double running stitch.

Now the busk. This was actually done before the lining was put in. I couldn't find the pictures of the busk construction, I'm really very sad about that, sorry.
The first part was to cut the bones to be used as the busk, they are 3/16" wide. the loops are milinery wire with the thread stripped off, bent  into the proper shape using a printed out scaled busk, and then hammered flat. Because my CF was on the fold, I laid it over the top, marked where the loops protruded out, used a large needle to poke holes and carefully wove the wire into place. This actually worked quite well.
For the studs I tried little snaps as I have seen others do, but that didn't work for me. So I resorted to using pin head jewelry posts, I put them into the already cut plastic bone and beant the ends down the back. I then secured the eds together with thread. It is an ugly mess!
But the busk functions!

Photos from before the binding

I cut 1" bias strips of the silk for the binding, the finished width of the binding is about 3/16".

The shoulder straps are fastened to the corset with a small hook and hand bound eyelets.

Once I finished the corset I needed a body to put into it, too big for Barbie, too big for my Tonner Basic Wicked Witch, so I took out the Dressform pattern  I had already scaled it down to 1/4 size. I took a guess that it would fit the corset by laying the corset over the pattern pieces. I cut dressform  with a seam up the back.

First step in construction was to trace the pattern pieces on to the lining fabric (muslin, fashion is a thin black silk)
then I did a running stitch around all the pieces just to the outside of my pattern line.
in this picture you can see I have most of the pieces. what is missing is one lower front, the neck, and the bottom. The lower front and neck were done after I had cut out some of the othere out, the black was in two pieces.

After I had the pieces ready to assemble, I cut them out as I needed them. First I sewed all the darts. Next I sewed the back to the side starting from the armscye. Next attached the lowers to the uppers starting from the center. Then center front starting from the neck. Then shoulder seam starting from the neck. now I put in the neck band. Then I sewed the side seam starting from armscye, then I put in the arm circles. Then I closed up the neck band and put in the neck circle. Now on those circles I pressed the seam allowance towards the circle and top stitched it down, this gives it a bit of stability. I also did this with the neck band. Last I sewed the center back shut.

Then I trimmed seam allowances and sniped the darts, turn Right Side Out and stuff.
 I then cut out a scrap cotton underbottom so that the stress wouldn't be on the silk covered board.
And this is my board of choice. it is better than most cardboard you have in your house.
 Now the last part was attaching the base. having done a doll dress form before where I just glued the botton turned wood base to the fabric, I knew that could work, but I wanted something sturdier. So I screwed it together. I had to use two washers because the larger washer, which was the same size as the diameter of the turned wood, had a hole that the screw head passed right through!.
First though I gathered my fabric over the cardboard bottom panel. then I used an awl to make a hole for the screw, just big enough for the screw to be threaded in.

 Next I screwed the lower section of the base to the upper section of the base.
Then I pinned the bottom panel to the dress form and ladder stitched it in place. her is a photo of it half way sewn on.

I actually ladder stitched it on twice, going around a second time to make sure it was secure, and the bottom panel was not sticking out like a lip, but smoothed in.

The Corset and Form were then fitted into a glass case and given to my dear friend and #1 Pattern Tester.

1 comment:

  1. What an nice and instructive post.
    thanks so much to share this construction with us.
    Welldone, i'm in love with this.