American Beauty - Dress - Part VIII
Just for a recap, I chose the corselette because I wanted to bone the bodice of the dress for some support beside the narrow straps, but I couldn't do traditional boning on the underlining due to the strap seams.
Let's just start at the beginning with the pattern and materials. It's based on the same pattern as the dress, just a bit tighter. As far as materials, I used 4 layers of fabrics to make it. The outside layer nearest the dress is made of lining and firm cotton used as one layer. Since the dress is all white, I didn't want any show through of boning, cups, etc. The next layer is a layer of buckram. Yes, buckram. I don't have anywhere close that will sell me Haro or the other traditional bustier/corset materials and I didn't think far enough in advance to order it. I washed the buckram to get rid of the sizing and hence "crunchiness" (who wants to wear something crunchy?). After it was dry and ironed with a layer of starch, it was firm, but not crunchy. I attached the boning and cups to this layer. The last layer was another layer of lining, needed as this is the layer next to the skin. Other supplies included the cups, poly boning, hook and eye tape (had to drive 45 minutes one way to get 1/2 yard of that!) and wide twill tape for the waist stay.
Once all the layers were cut out and stitched, I was ready for boning. At this point, I think I've actually made this dress about 6 times - 3 layers of corselette, 2 linings and the actual dress. The boning came with a casing, and really I don't know where I bought this boning, but it was in with my other stuff, so I used it. The actual boning was strange, usually it's just a piece of whitish plastic, but this stuff had some sort of netting over the boning. It was only annoying when trying to reinsert the boning back into the channels. Below you can see the front, with partially boned side front seams - I left room above them for the cups.
It was then ready for a try on to get the cups in the right place. That was interesting. Something didn't get translated right between the last fitting of the muslin and the actual garment - the armholes were way too high, and I had some weird gaping, too. I spent an evening figuring that out and fixing both the dress and the lining by recutting once I got the corselette right. Not sure what happened, could have been anything, but it fits now and that's all that matters. I did finally get the cups positioned right, too. Below you can see almost the whole thing, with the cups catch-stitched in place.
Next, I layered the outermost layer and the boning layer together and the placed the last lining layer right sides together and stitched across the bottom only to close one end of the boning channels and finish the bottom. After that, I inserted the hook and eye tape with a combination of machine and handstitching. The hook side just had to line up with the outer edge, but the eye side needed an underlap so that the hooks and eyes wouldn't dig into the skin. I just cut a piece of bias lining, folded it in half and attached it along with the eyes. You can see it up close in the middle picture.
Once those were complete, I attached the waist stay to the bottom edge by topstitching it on. Later, if needed, I'll tack it to the lining/dress at the seamlines. Below is a good shot of the waist stay (still needs hooks and eyes to close it), the underlap and the eyes.
There it is, ready to insert into the dress, this is the side facing the dress, not the body. The eye tape is on the far left, the hooks on the right and there is a little tab of the waist stay on the right where I'll put the hooks after a final try on. I made it that way so that it fits neatly overly the eye tape, and so that I can do some micro-adjusting with the placement of the stay's hooks/eyes.
So there it is. Not terribly glamorous, but will do the job it was made for. Tomorrow, I will post about the red inset, and maybe the zipper install. Tomorrow is d-day, too, so I need to get back to finishing the zipper seam.