Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Cage Bustle Petticoat (Marcon Prep) and a few other things

As mentioned yesterday, I cleaned my sewing area last night. The table is now mostly clear except for a few current projects, my actual sewing machine table is clear of all the little stuff that was cluttering it up, pattern pieces are back in their envelopes and patterns are back in their boxes, left over fabric is all put away into plastic bins and things I think I may need soon are easily accessible.

With that done, I sat down and took in my Think Pink skirt and my purple knit tunic, both of which were a little big. The skirt needs a bit of hand sewing, just to tack down the facing and I think the tunic needs taken in more after I tried it on this morning.

I then packed a bag for my slumber party at Miss Bobbie's this evening. I have my Ottoman vest, my beau's Joker coat and my Think Pink skirt all ready for me to work on this evening. I thought about taking muslin to make strips for ruffles on my new bustle petticoat, but decided I had enough to work on.

With all this finished, and not in the mood for hand sewing, I started on my cage bustle petticoat. I was going for something similar to these bustles from Fashions of the Ages -

Or to Truly Victorian 101 -

But my petticoat needed to be shorter to be worn with Diamonds are Forever (aka steampunk Harley Quinn). I really thought about buying the TV pattern (I've been dying to try some of their patterns), but the cost was just a little too dear for me to pay with how tight my finances have been. So I decided to try my hand at making one on my own, using tried and true patterns and a tutorial or two.

I pulled out my trusty Simplicity 5457 (out of print, but its my go to pattern for most of my steampunk sewing), got the underskirt pieces and proceeded to cut them out of the white muslin I bought recently. The pattern needed to be shortened to be about 27" long (the length of the Harley Quinn underskirt and petticoat) so I did that by measuring and then folding the pattern. I cut out the five gores - three narrow gores for the front, two wider gores for the back, then pinned and sewed them together. I decided to leave one side seam unsewn so I could put in the boning channels easier.

I started laying out the boning channels. I used quilt binding for the channels.

Then decided to check my tutorial (found on My Silly Blue Hippo on blogspot). I needed three channels, not two, and the top one needed to be higher. I sewed part of the back opening together so I could put in another channel about two inches above the top one in the above picture, and moved that channel about two inches lower. And all the channels had to be moved to the other side of the petticoat, as they're supposed to go on the outside not the inside.

With the channels all pinned on, I stitched them down, then stitched the inside channels - a short channel in the middle of the top boning channel and two pocket-ish channels on the sides. The inside bone fits into the pockets and passes through the middle bit in a curve. Then I put the boning in -

I realized that it wasn't laying exactly right, and that the bones needed to be shortened. So I took them out and proceeded to put the waistband on. Then I redid the bones, shortening all of them. I measured the top channel to see how short I thought the top bone needed to be when you allow for the channel to gather over it and decided on 24". I cut that bone, and the other two are longer (for now). I'm sure I'll change the boning length when I can work on it again.

Here's a picture showing the gathering at the top -

And a side shot showing how well it collapses -

And here it is with me holding it up by the waistband -

It still needs some work. I plan to stitch along the top boning channel to keep the gathers in place. And the second channel may need gathered as well, we'll see. Then I'll need to sew the boning channels closed and put in the ties, which go underneath to really give it the right shape. And of course, there's the hem. I'd like to add a ruffled overlay as seen in the first pictures posted above.

I definitely need to try it on before I really do much else though. Probably should've done that last night. All in all, I'm pleased with my progress and that I managed to make a cage bustle petticoat without using a pattern.

In retrospect, I would leave both side seams unsewn then put in the boning channels. I would also change how the waistband closes, probably to a front or side closure, and alter the shape of the back, particularly at the top, so it wouldn't have to gather. If I make another one, I'll definitely change a few things.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

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