Diamonds - Dress - Part IX
Today is Tuesday!
That means it's Diamonds day! Today I'll show you the foundation/underlining complete with boning and bust cups.
I've already stitched the underlining together, so the next step is to put in the boning. I'm using polyester boning for this project. It is bought by the yard with the boning casing and boning together and ready to use. You don't always have to use the casing that comes with it - bias strips or twill tape can be used, too. At any rate, I measured and cut each piece and then attached them to the bodice.
To attach them, I basted the channels in place by hand first directly down the center of the channel. The channels are narrow and pinning them in place isn't sufficient and it's too awkward for the application I'm doing. For this project, I'm stitching the channels to the seam allowances only. At this point, you could just stitch right through all the layers, and end up with topstitching on the outside. This gives the finish product more of a corset look, nice, but not what I wanted to do. I extended the seam allowance with the boning channels already on them and then stitched them down. In the picture below, you can see the progression from pinned to basted to stitched:
In this photo, you can see the seam allowance extended so that the channel will be stitched only to the seam allowance:
After all the channels are in place, I inserted the boning and trimmed the pieces to the correct length and shape. Rounding off the top of the boning makes wearing the garment more comfortable, as there's not a pointy end to poke through the fabric. Compare the untrimmed on the left with the trimmed on the right:
Bodice with completed boning:
Once the boning is all in place, it's time for the bust cups. There are three basic styles of cups: soft cups, hard cups and cups with push-up pads built in. They come in cup sizes, usually A/B, B/C, and D/DD. The way the sizing is split up depends on manufacturer. For vintage clothes, I prefer the hard cups. The reason is that they're a bit more pointy, and give that definite "lift and separate" look to the bust line that the old "bullet bras" used to. Notice the difference between the two sets of cups below. The cups in the blue are the hard cups and the ones in the musline are the soft cups. (The muslin is for the wedding dress and I do have permission to post a few pictures of it. ) The hard cups basically stand up on their own, while the softer ones sag a bit.
The best way to insert the cups is to first mold the fabric over the cups. The bodice should have enough shaping to accomodate the 3D shape of the cups. If you are not a B cup, which is what most patterns are designed for, you will definitely need to do a small or full bust adjustment on your pattern first! Trying to fit a D cup into a B cup top is asking for trouble (and tears). Imagine trying to wear a bra that is 2 cup sizes to small. You get the picture. What I do is to place the cups on a hard surface and mold the fabric around them, pinning carefully, and smoothing the fabric out around the cup. Once I get one in, then I measure the location, mark for the second side and pin that one in.
The cups are then basted in and then catch-stitched in by hand, resulting in this:
Overall, it was some good progress. Well it was until I tried it on. This is a good point in garment construction to try on the bodice. This is the underlining and any changes will not show - or a new one can be cut out if things are really wrong. Ripping stitching out of satin or silk doesn't work well, you're almost guaranteed to be left with a mark. So, I basted in a fitting zipper and put it on. It was too tight. I could get it zipped, but you should have seen the horizontal ripples. I must have gotten over-zealous and folded out too much on the pattern pieces. It was the back and the waist area that was too small, so out came 4 boning channels and seams. I re-seamed and tried on twice and the problem is now fixed. I think one of the cups might be a bit off, too, so I'm going to do some very careful measuring and see if I can get that fixed. This whole refitting thing was not what I planned, but I'm glad I can fix it before I sew up the satin and have a mistake so bad that I have to recut the entire bodice.
Next week, I think I'll be able to construct the outer bodice and lining. I need to try on the foundation one more time in a few days and evaluate the fit before I do any stitching on the outer bodice or lining.
Parting Shot: New Patterns! I went fabric shopping Manchester today, and Martin's House of Cloth sells the discontinued patterns for 25 cent each. I usually pick up 4 or 5 everytime I go. You have to sort through what's available, but for the price it's worth it. I got a Vogue casual pants pattern, a Burda coat pattern that will make a nice dressy coat for my son next winter, another pattern for my daughter, and two of the larger envelope Vogue patterns, a Guy Laroche, I've liked the pattern for a while, but just never bought it, and I couldn't leave the Koos pattern behind. I couldn't leave the Koos behind not only because of the price, but also because I very curious as to the construction methods as it is a labeled as a "couture" pattern.