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Friday, March 28, 2014

Ench By Sew-018 Boning Up on Bustiers: Part 1

I printed a bunch of this image
on postcard stock to make
bookmark/luggage tags I
slipped in big bags and pattern bags
associated with this project
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Two Ways to Listen
Option I)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 

OR ~
Option ii)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com
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A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

- FIRST What is a bustier? It's not a corset, for one thing.


 • A soft torsolette is a bandeau
A long torsolette is a corselette

   Class I’m taking is from Lynda Maynard, an instructor at Cañada College, San Francisco City College and also an instructor at Craftsy.

Lynda’s “Fit” Class on Craftsy, which I plan to take.

This posting I wrote for Me Encanta Coser, includes a number of links to
other bustier posts I wrote about this project, in the Web Resources section

- NEXT Pensimientos Primero:  Who might wear a bustier? Who do I want to create one?
- ENTONCES/THEN Where I am,  in the process of creating one. How long it’s taking me
- FOLLOWED BY Technicos: Cut, Cloth, Construction

o CUT Pattern Selection and Alteration
Simplicity 5006 http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/01/bustier-class-pattern.html
Can’t skip the muslin stage
Fit  No 1 the pattern
The squish factor – add one inch, ¼ inch up from waistline to new pattern
New paper I’ve found  for pattern paper – not tissue now but artists tracing paper. Mostly Transparant .
          Not Tissue. Kind of like waxed paper. I use it with a soft lead pencil (#1?) – also an artist supply.
Staedtler Artists/Draftsperson’s Sketch Paper Rolls,
    Also found a brand by Bee

 o Cloth – 4 kinds of fabric, some choices – definite types, NO WOVENS
 o http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coutil

Review warp and weft
Why warp and weft are especially important for Bustiers
Stay stich – Why not just skip it?
The layers
What each layer is
Why certain fabrics are important

1) Lining (bottom layer) must be super soft on your skin comfortable. You don't wear with an undergarment
My Lining is vintage Liberty of London Tana Lawn http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/02/bustiers-excuse-me-arent-those-your.html
I love Tana Lawn so much, I have a Pinterest Board just for that ! http://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/gorgeous-fabric-liberty-of-london/

Lynda Maynard likes silk charmeuse for lining bustiers

2) Coutil provides support for boning
Where to buy coutil

o Richard the Thread - Mail Order. Our fabric came really fast
Rumors - Minimum order 5 yards? Will they sell you less if you call?
o Brittex - Field Trip To Brittext http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/05/sir-douglas-of-brittex-san-francisco.html
o Lacis -  Field Trip to Lacis http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/field-trip-lacis-field-berkley-ca.html

3) 100% cotton flannel protects against bones pushing through to top layer
4) Fashion Fabric (top layer). What people see. Denim for me! Duchesses Satin?
Silk Dupioni? Men's Wear Woolen? Find the perfect fabric.

One of these images I"ve pinned on Pinterest may give you ideas for that perfect fabric

o Construction
Dem Bones Gonna Walk Around - Focus on Boning
Thanks to my study partner "Dave" for providing the music :-)
NEXT MONTH I will summarize construction more

- Completion and goal setting tie in with other non-sewing projects
- Less temptation to stray :-)
- The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter  by Susan Wittig Albert
"Many a little makes a mickle, many a mickle makes a mile"

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Technicos Bustier: Dem Bones

This inner shell layer of the bustier is made from
one layer of cutile (heavy white) and a another of lining, fabric
Lining's the antique blue flower Liberty Tana Lawn print
Dem Bones, Dem Bones gonna walk around.
Dem Bones, Dem Bones gonna walk around.
Dem Bones, Dem Bones gonna walk around.
Oh hear the name of the Lord!

You just know that old spiritual* tune has been buzzing around in my head, while I've been working on adding spiral steel bones to my bustier project.

I created the boning channels from
cutile fabric cut on the bias
I used two side by side 1/4" spiral steel bones
in each channel
For curved channels - use three bones.

After sewing all the seams and fitting more times than I want to recall, then it's time to sew in the boning channels. First I sewed them down the seams, then I interspersed between the seams with more boning channels.

The bones are placed no further than 3" apart all along the shell. It's possible to add a bust shape into the front too, but I had created a pattern with such narrow pieces in front, that I had issues with that concept. So all my bones are more or less vertical, with no curvy bits.

A spiral steel bone sliding home
Cut those threads!
After the channels were sewn, I inserted the spiral steel bones I purchased at Lacis. You can buy them in different lengths from just 2 or 3" up to 18", possibly longer but that was the longest I bought. You can also cut your own from a roll of wire, and add your own tips - cheaper but challenging.

Spiral steel bones are flexible. We're not talking old-time, unforgiving whalebone here! (poor whales:-(  ) Also remember the definition of a bustier, I'm following, this is not a garment that imposes a shape on my body
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* Web Resources

Whew! This is a long-time project for me. A previous Bustier post that links several other bustier posts I've written. http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/02/bustiers-excuse-me-arent-those-your.html

Lacis is in Berkley. They also sell via mail order

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Sewist's Field Trip: Lacis ( Berkley CA)

Hoop skirts in a variety of styles
can be bought at Lacis.
Both a museum and a store, Lacis in Berkley is a mecca for local and not so local San Francisco Bay Area sewists. I went there recently to buy spiral steel bones for my bustier project. I'll be going back as soon as time permits to enjoy the other trappings of this lovely establishment. They include antique and modern lace, delicious old yellowed batiste Edwardian garments, and all kinds of specialty needlework tidbits, both for sale and on display.

This is the place you'd go if you want to create a beautiful wedding
gown, especially one with an antique or retro vibe. Or maybe you want to make your own lace, take up tatting, start a hand embroidery project, sew a bustier or corset, engage in millinery, or take up smocking. A lot of costumers shop here. While figuring out what sizes of bones I needed for my bustier, I had a long conversation with a long time costumer with lots of corset-making expertise.  He told me that the way my teacher suggested we sew our bustiers is all wrong. After all that's not the way he does it. I listened politely, because you never know what you'll learn. Mostly what I learned is there are a lot of ideas about working with bones and that there are more than one type of bone you may try. You do what works for you and you start somewhere.

Maybe you've got an exciting new textile arts project coming up, or maybe you just want to take in all the deliciousness that is Lacis. Next time you're in the area it's worth the trip. (it's across the street from the Ashby BART station). 

And, hey let me know if you want to meet up there!* 

*Email me at EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reading Between the Seams - Why Finish Seams?

French Seams and bias tape hem edge
From Lilacs and Liberty: An Insider's View
My guilty secret? I never used to finish my seams when sewing, as long as they weren't visible when I wore the garment.

My reasoning?
1) I was a seat-of-the-pants sewist. I hadn't taken sewing classes and had mostly learned to sew by reading instruction sheets and looking at at few books. When the instructions got around to seam finishing I just figured.... Why bother? My goal was to finish the item as quickly as possible so that I could wear it.

2) Seam  finishing seemed overly fussy to me. I figured that precision and neatness were less important than Creativity (Note which has the capital letter!).

Creativity meant sewing as many garments as possible! A couple of times when I mentioned this, a few folks (fussy folks I thought) urged me to take my time and do a "good job", I saw their remarks as patronizing. So I continued along with my own quick-as-possible style.

3) I didn't know how to do most seam finishes. I learned how to do French Seams only because I could see that sheer garments needed a seam finish, and French Seams worked for that.  If the seams were going to show when I took the item off or on, I'd line it.

4) Other than keeping my raw edges from showing when wearing or putting on a garment, I didn't see a reason for finishing seams.

You  can probably guess that I have some different ideas about why finishing seams has value these days, and that I'll continue journaling about my attitudes towards seam finishing, in future postings.

 You might also guess that changing my ideas are one of those things that keep me....
Enchanted by Sewing!

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Web Resources

Lilacs and Liberty: An Insider's View http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/lilacs-and-liberty-insiders-view.html

This book has really helped me to learn how to sew different seam finishes. The illustrations and descriptions are spot on!
The New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories Updated Edition with All-New Projects and Simplicity Patterns (Reader's Digest)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lilacs and Liberty: An Insiders View

I've had an awful lot of fun wearing this shirt I finished at the beginning of the year. Yup, it's another of my favorite Butterick 5526 - the pattern my buddy Susan altered for me. You may recall the other two versions I made. The first was my No.1 Lady's Detective Agency shirt, and later came the Mille Fleur shirt I took to London (I also finished the red plaid Pearly-Wannabe jacket for that trip. with some strips of bias trim I eked out of the scraps from the shirt).

The main fabric is Robert Kaufaman Lilac Gingham and the trim is Liberty of London Tana Lawn "Mauverina". I've had a lot to say about Liberty and this wonderful quality cotton, both in my podcast and this blog.

I ams really happy with my threesome button groupings (Click
on the illustration to see an up-close view of those)
I also liked the pocket, a variation on the pattern pocket
but I took tucks instead of the folds in the sporty-style shirt.
I also added these long tucks in front and back that weren't in the
other two versions of this shirt. The fluid nature of the
gingham seemed to call for them. They're figure-flattering too.
In my February podcast, "Getting Shirty",  I described some of the seam finishing techniques for shirts I've been working on incorporating more often in my sewing projects. I'm really happy that I did a good job on the inside as well as the outside of this garment. I wear it often and so there's quite a lot of pleasure putting on this well-fitting (thanks Susan!) shirt.

Remember when I described slicing double packaged bias tape lengthwise and wrapping the one remaining fold over the raw edge of the hem, and facing edges in the podcast? Doesn't that make a nice crisp edge? You bet! And it really defines that shirt tail hem too. I sewed three rows of topstitching too, which also helps with the stable, crisp feeling.

Notice that French Seam. Isn't that a nice clean look? It really looks finished and helps with the hang of the garment.

Not being a dab hand at seam finishes, I wasn't sure if using a french seam at the shoulder seam would be challenging. But it worked out just fine. I did baste the set-in-sleeve first, but I would have done that even in a traditional rights-sides-together seam.

We spent a lot of time learning about seam finishes in my Intermediate Construction Class at Cañada. I'm only just starting to get in more practice with them - just as soon as I'm done with this bustier project I'm chugging away on. (Woof! It's turning into a multi-month project. But what a feeling of accomplishment it will be when I'm done:-) 

Once that challenging project is complete (Oh and did I mention I'm planning to squeeze out a simple straight denim skirt to wear with it before I move on? Hey it's got to have a real spot in my wardrobe....), I'm going to get some more recreational sewing time in with shirt sewing. You bet I've got one more cut out and in the hopper, and several more for which I have fabric (two of them are my favorite lengths of Liberty Tana Lawn I got on my trip to London last year). I'm really looking forward to polishing my seam finishing skills on those new garments. 

I'm looking forward even more, to putting them on and wearing them!

Practicing new skills and getting to enjoy the results. That's the kind of projects that keep me...

   Audio/Podcast Getting Shirty: http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/02/ench-by-sew-017-gettin-shirty.html Includes seam finishing techniques and pattern discussion

This book has really helped me to learn how to sew different seam finishes. The illustrations and descriptions are spot on!
The New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories Updated Edition with All-New Projects and Simplicity Patterns (Reader's Digest)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Romancing My Machine: Dreaming

Lots More than Metal 
Inherently Creative
My Machine Sings

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Yup, I'm still working away on my bustier! It's a very challenging job for me and I'm learning a lot.
Looking forward to sharing the results, and moving on with other projects.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Correct Me If I'm Wrong:-) Semi-Bilingual Sewing

I added a new spanish word*
to my knowledge-base-
while enjoying the historic
pictorial street signs I
walking through Madrid
When we share an enchantment for sewing, whether or not we speak the same language, we still want to communicate about our passion with the needle, the thread and the tela.

I may not be fluent in languages other than English, but it doesn't keep me from using them when I get the chance. Sometimes, of course, I mess up. But I can communicate with others, and often follow simple, or even more complicated, directions using pictures and words in context. For any of you who've ever helped a child learn to read, that's how you begin to read, or read things that are beyond your level. And, of course, it's how we can continue to learn as adults.

My spanish isn't fluent, but I use it whenever I get the chance. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people speak spanish, and it's just plain fun to make the world my language professor. Who knows when I'll get a chance to shop for material in a Latin American country or go back for another visit to Spain?

Here are a few words and phrases I find useful when it comes to chatting about sewing in spanish.

(la) costura(1): sewing, couture, fashion
costura, puntadas (2):seam
sin costura: seamless
sentar las costuras: press the seams
(el) bordado: embroidery
* bordadores: Embroiderers (profession)

alta costura: high fashion
la costura italiana: Italian fashion

At the Store
yarda: yard (of fabric)
tejido,tela, fieltro: fabric
material de uso o de adorno: material/ material for use or adornment

Tools of the Trade

maquina de coser: sewing machine
las tijeras de costura: sewing scissors
(el) hilo: thread
ua aguja e/y hilo: a needle and thread
hilo de algodón/nylon: cotton nylon thread
hilo de hebra: silk thread
hilo de bordar: embroidery thread/silk/floss

necesser de costura: sewing kit
el cesto de la costura: sewing basket

The Process
to sew or do needlework: hacer costura (also referred to simply as labor - as we might say in English when we say I'm taking my work to do while I'm listening at the meeting)

ester a punt de reventar pro las costuras: When a garment is bursting at the seams (hummmm.... how could that happen? :-)
Enctonces/ Then we need to.....
soitar una costura: let out the seams

confección: dressmaking

Another nice sample from Collins Spanish English dictionary that puts a few words together

Una chaqueta con cordoncillo azul en las costar: A jacket piped with blue at the seams

     (Náut)   seam

Listening Practice
Mi Tiempo Entre Costuras/ My Time Between the Seams (a Video Log/Vlog) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b41HNA_E3b0

My Time Between The Seams - I'd love to find an episode of this show to watch!

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