Corset Kits!

Corset Kits!
A corset can be worn in any way you imagine

Monday, February 17, 2014

TuTu Tips


The Classical Tutu and How It’s Made

Several years ago I took a Tutu making workshop and this is some of what I learned.

 
What is a classical tutu?

 
A classical tutu is the skirt of a ballet costume, it appears to be a flat, stiff circle extending straight out from the hips.

 
What type of net should I use to make a classical tutu?

 
The net for a classical tutu needs to be fairly stiff and should not be inclined to drape. Holes are usually small and net is usually fairly fine.

           Farthingales offers both basic tutu net #24-5533-   and crisp tutu net #24-5534-   
 
Crisp tutu net is more commonly used for tutu’s that will see a lot of wear.

 
How much net do I need for a classical tutu?
 

This varies on the number of layers you want in the tutu, the depth of the layers and the width of the fabric. 5 – 6 meters is an average amount. I was amazed by this! 
 

How many layers of net does a classical tutu have?

 
This is optional and an average number is 10….yes, 10 layers all sewn into a very small area. You may want to make you first tutu with fewer layers as 10 layers is very time consuming and more than a bit monotonous.
 

Are all layers the same size?
 

No, the layers of a classical tutu are graduated, the top layers are widest and the bottom layer are quite narrow – possible as small as 1 ¼” wide! The length of each layer also varies with the uppermost layer being about 3 times as long as the bottom layer.
 

How do I gather the layers for a classical tutu?

 
Using gathering threads does not work well as the lengths are so long and the abrasion to the thread as it’s drawn through the net will break it. Zigzag stitching over a cord adds too much bulk so it’s actually best to pleat the net rather than gather it. This presents its’ own challenge as you have to work out you pleat ratio so that your pleated length of net fits the knickers/panty. It is rather remarkable what a challenge this can really be! Work out the pleat depths before you pleat. The pleat ratio will change with almost every layer as the length varies.

 
Does the outside edge of the classical tutu net get treated in anyway?

 
Tutu net like most net, does not fray or unravel but the edge is usually cut in scallops or spikes and the cutting is done before the layers are gathered or pleated, while the net can still lay flat on a table. You may want to make a template for the scallops or spikes and mark the cutting lines onto the net layers.
 

What do the classical tutu ruffles get attached to?
 

The ruffles get attached to a panty or “knickers” and the knickers are made of a light yet strong net such as our #24-5507-01 (nylon veiling). The knickers are cut from two layers of this fine net and create a panty that supports the net, has marginal stretch, breaths and is barely visible on the dancer. I had assume the ruffles got attached to some seriously supportive fabric like coutil or duck...another surprise for me.

 
Does a classical tutu require any wire?

 
Some people do wire their classical tutus and some only wire a classical tutu that is being used in partner work. The wire helps maintain the shape of the tutu and this is particularly important when the ballerina is constantly bumping against a partner. It keeps the tutu net from getting crushed. It is not used to keep the tutu up.
 

Where does the wire go and what kind of wire is used?

 
Only a single wire is used and it is called “tutu wire” we sell it in both black and white 55-8504-01 & 55-8504-90 This wire is only about ¼” wide and is covered with a thread braid. It is sewn into one of the middle layers closer to the top and it is not sewn in the perimeter but a few inches in from the edge or 3-5 inches out from the body. The wire will not be visible.

 
About how long does it take to make a tutu?

 
An experienced tutu maker can make a tutu in about 16 – 24 hours. And that is just the tutu! That does not include the bodice or the decorative plate that goes over the tutu!

 
I have been sewing for over 20 years and some of those years were as a professional costumer, I have built dozens of corsets but the tutu workshop I attended to learn the above information taught me that the tutu maker has a level a patience that I cannot even imagine. I am not ashamed to admit that I did not finish my tutu in class nor have I attempted to finish it since! I got tired  - sick to death - of pleating ruffles and having the tutu net scraping my neck, my hands and catching in my hair and on itself. It was not a fun experience – except for the people in the class. Thankfully I was sitting with someone who appreciated my humor and commiserated with my complaints! She did not get her tutu finished either but we did have some good laughs. Give me a corset rather than a tutu any day! I concluded a tutu is worth whatever the asking price.

 
Are there any patterns available for making a classical tutu?

 
“Yes” and “No”

There is at least one commercial pattern on the market but it is in no way a professional tutu. It is likely designed for a Halloween costume and would likely not work for dancers, although it may be acceptable for young girls. Always check with the dance school first.
 
I was originally a pattern drafter and wondered about the lack of patterns for this garment. Having taken the workshop I better understand that a commercial pattern would be a challenge to create. The ruffles are the key and they vary in both length and width and are apparently relative in size to the woman wearing them

 Looking for Tutu Making Supplies?

 Tutu net and veiling for the panty (knickers)
 
 
Tutu steel
 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hook and Eye Tape Application.

Why sew on a bunch of hooks and eyes by hand if you can use hook and eye tape which does not require you to measure for every piece applied. This is faster and saves your hands.
It's best to first explain what hook and eye tape is.  Typically, you can buy hook tape and eye tape at most fabric stores.  One of the tapes has hooks on it and the other tape has eyes on it, usually these hooks and eyes are sewn into the tapes.  With alternating hook and eye tape.  The hooks and the eyes are riveted to a single tape and they alternate in placement of hook followed by an eye followed by a hook followed by an eye and so on.
The advantage of alternating hook and eye tape is that once the hook and eye tape is done up it is very difficult for it to come undone without effort.  Standard hook and eye tapes come undone fairly easily.  Alternating hook &eye tape are an advantage in the back of dance costumes, because no matter what motion the dancer does, there is limited to no risk of the hooks and eyes coming undone. 
The image below shows two rows of alternating hook and eye tape.
hookandeyetapealternating3closeup588x800.jpg           
The hooks and eyes are fairly substantial corset hooks and corset eyes that are riveted on to a stiff twill tape.
Notice how each twill tape has a hook and then an eye in alternating sequences.
Be sure to confirm how the hooks and eyes line up before you cut the tape! A hook needs to be opposite an eye. If you’re not careful you can end up with the problem below.
                                                                                                        hookandeyetapedoneupstaggered800x600.jpg                                      
 
 Keep in mind it's also very difficult to undo a garment you're wearing yourself if you have used alternating hook and eye tape.  It's also very difficult to get it done up yourself!
                                                                                                      
When using hook and eye tape it is important that the hooks and eyes close in a manner that does not allow the skin to be visible between the two edges of fabric.  If the tapes were sewn to the edge of the fabric you would get a gap between the edges of the fabric as indicated in the image below.
                                               
  “right side”                                                   “wrong side”
 hookandeyetapealternatingdoneupnofabricrightside600x800.jpghookandeyetapealternatingdoneupnofabricwrongside600x800.jpg

 
  1. Fold and press your fabrics along the “center front” line (or the “center back” if you are applying to hook and eye tape to the backs).  It is important to press this fold.  Once the hook and eye tapes are sewn on it will not be possible to press this edge.
               hookandeyetape1fabric600x800.jpg
2.  Using a narrow foot on your machine (likely a zipper foot), check that the foot will fit in between the hook and the eye on the tape.
hookandeyetapealternatingstitchsetup800x600.jpg
              
3. Open the pressed fabric edge up and align the hooks and eyes of the tape, with the fold line that indicates “center front”.  Using a pencil or pen mark the center point between each hook and eye both on the tape and on the fabric.  You’ll use these lines to confirm placement of the tape so mark carefully and be sure the tape does not cover the marks you make on the fabric.
4. Stitch each of these short lines between every hook and every eye. Sewing only through the tape and the single layer of fabric. Stitch from the raw edge to the fold mark and back so that each row is double stitched.
hookandeye5sewnslashmarks800x600.jpg
Fold the raw ends of the tape under and stitch in the same way unless the tape will go all the way to the end of the fabric and will get bound off with it.
5.  Refold the fabric along the “center front” (or “center back”) line.  Pin along the fold to make sure the fabrics stay in place.  Stitch close to the riveted edge of the hooks and eyes, stitching through the tape and both layers of fabric. This will create a bone casing that allows you to slide a bone behind the hooks and eyes for further support…it does increase the challenge of getting the hooks and eyes done-up and un-done.
If you have no need or interest in creating a bone casing stitch the tape to only one layer of fabric at this point by not folding the fabric along the “center front” line.
                                                                                                                           
The following steps do not include a bone casing.
 
6. The fabric was not folded back into place and the long row of stitching to secure the tape to the fabric was sewn through the tape and one layer of fabric only.
 hookandeye6sewingthelongside600x800.jpghookandeye7sewnslashesandlongside800x600.jpg
                       
7.  Now fold the fabric into place along the “center front” line, pin along the fold and stitch a second row of stitching along the edge of the tape. Stitching through the tape and both layers of fabric.
hookandeye8edgesewndowntoshell800x600.jpg     
                         
8. Attach the hook and eye tape for the other side onto the “sewn on” hook and eye tape.  This will determine the placement of the second tape on the other piece of fabric.  Slide the other piece of fabric into place so that the folded edges fo “center front” or “center back” butt snuggly against each other. Mark the tape and the fabric as outlined previously.
hookandeye10setupofsecondside800x600.jpg
hookandeye11markingsecondside800x600.jpg                              hookandeye12thesecondsidemarked800x600.jpg                                                          
9. Stitch the tape to the fabric in the same way as outlined previously. BUT, notice that the placement of the hook and eye tape on the fabric may not be the same.  I prefer the opening not to be centered over the bar of the eyes.
hookandeye14sewnsecondside800x600.jpg
  View from the inside
 
  View from the outside

             hookandeye15rightsidefinished600x800.jpg        hookandeye9rightside800x600.jpg

 Want to order alternating hook and eye tape?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Corset Making Class


Corset Making Class in December 2013




Taught by Linda Sparks

Author of “The Basics of Corset Building” 

Two day workshop will see you make a mock-up from a commercial pattern, fit it to your body, make alterations to the pattern for future use and make the mock-up into a real corset with bones and busk etc. All supplies are included in the class fee and machines are supplied. You must at least have basic sewing skills – be familiar with operating a sewing machine and bring your own tools (see through ruler, scissors for paper and fabric, pins, measuring tape, note taking materials, tracing wheel and paper, tape etc.)
 
The corset to the right is NOT the corset we will make in class...but it's something to aspire to!
 
Depending on your abilities you may not finish the corset in class time but you will know how to finish it. Depending on your abilities you may not have a corset you want to wear by the end of class but you'll have the skills to make a better one. Come and learn how to make your own corset!

When: December 7th & 8th   

Time: 9:30 – 4:30

Where: Montreal  at  École de couture Céline Ross

 4230 Décarie Blvd. Montreal, QC H4A 3K3

 

Fee: $270.00 plus tax for a total of $305.00

 

To register e-mail Linda@farthingalesla.com with your phone number and she will call you to register you and get credit card payment. You can also opt to pay via PayPal.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wire Mask or Head Piece


I've been experimenting with some products we have; it's a great escape from paperwork sometimes! We sell "millinery wire" a.k.a. "hat wire" in 3 different gauges but I must admit I've always found it a challenge to work with. I seem to have heavy hands and can never get a nice look as my wire ends up all wobbly. So I decided to try one of our more stable products: German Plastic Boning in the 5mm width (product number 50-8125-05). It's a narrow flat boning that can be sew to it's self or to anything else that can be sewn and it can be shaped a bit with heat from a warm iron. German Plastic boning is white to start and since I wanted black I threaded the 5mm German Plastic boning into a length of our black nylon braided lacing (the white is dyeable so I could to this in any colour) Product # 03-7176N-90. I took 2 meters of the boing and 2.5 meters of the lacing because I wanted to be able to cut lengths and close the lacing over the ends of each bone. The lacing melts with the heat of a "lighter" so I was able to seal each section of lacing over the bone which meant that the bone could not slide out and melting the ends was a lot faster than sewing would have been.
I did use a Styrofoam head to help me and I just played with the boning to create a simple shape but there seems to be limitless possibilities. The German Plastic boning does not kink like my wire did, so I found it easy to work with and the ability to pin through it into the Styrofoam head made working with it easy. I pinned all the joined sections first and then hand stitched the join. I hand stitched through the nylon braided lacing that covered the plastic boning as it was easier than sewing through the bone and it still created a secure join.

 

 

 After the shape was completed I wrapped some fine net; a soufle type net, over the section that would be in front of the eyes. Hand stitching it to the nylon braid lacing. The net is very sheer but very strong and is product number 24-5510-90 (the white version of this net is dyeable).

This head piece does not fit the Styrofoam head well but it did fit the human head that it was created for.

This was my first attempt at this type of thing and while I would do a few things differently (like not have one of the connections under the chin as it's too obvious), I'm generally happy with how easy the product were to work with and how little time it took...once I figured out what I wanted where it was only about an hour to put it together.


I've included a close-up so you can see the mesh detail

Product can be found at www.farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com where they sell more than just corset making supplies.

German Plastic Boning specifically can be found at: http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/products.php?cat=plastic+bones
 
Nylon Braided Lacing specifically can be found at: http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/products.php?cat=lacing
 
and the Fine Soufle Type Net can be found at: http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/products.php?cat=net

Monday, September 9, 2013

Waist Cincher Corset is finished

The fabric used for this waist cincher corset is "spot broche" coutil also known as "dot coutil". It's the most durable of all coutil and I've opted to use it without any fashion fabric as it's very pretty as it is.  The bone casings are on the inside of the corset and I've bound the seam allowances to create some of them. Doing so meant there was no need for a lining. So this corset is made from just one layer of seriously strong fabric - dot coutil. Note the little pocket I added - it may seem too tiny to be of much use but it's all I need to carry a folded up bill or change.

I used decorative stitching to indicate some corset bone placements.  I edge stitched the seams in a contrast colour; more for a design detail than any necessity and I used a decorative stitch to secure the top binding of Petersham ribbon. The bottom edge was bound in the same Spot coutil the corset was made from. 
 

Instead of grommets I used black D-rings set w black rivets down the center back and lace the corset with nylon flat braid black lacing. The back includes a modesty panel made from the spot coutil.

All materials used can be found on the

Farthingales Corset Making Supplies web site

www.farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Corset Project - Black corset w grey dots.

Two new coutil fabrics came in a few weeks ago and I've got an event coming up in October (the Creativ Festival) that I'd like a new corset for.  I had settled on a black and grey herringbone suiting that I could make into a waist cincher using the new black coutil with grey dots (spot broche coutil) as the the foundation.  When it came time to cut the fabrics out I decided I didn't want to hide the coutil! So I'm making a long-line under-bust corset using the black coutil with grey dots and I'll wear it with a black skirt and black blouse.

Here is where I've got to so far.

The busk looks silver but it's actually black metallic and I created a placket behind it to protect my skin or at lease keep my blouse from getting caught between the two fronts.
 

 



 
I like to have a pocket on my corsets so I have some place to put my lunch money and don't have to carry a purse so I added one and incorporated it into decorative stitching.  You can see it in the curved row of stitches. 
 
 
I rarely line my corsets though I did think about doing it on this one but most corsets I make end up getting looked at by students so it makes more sense to keep the inside lining free and all the details visible. A well made corset is just as neat inside as out so a lining is really not needed. I opted to use contrasting thread to sew the bones casings on but I did not use the contrasting thread on the outside of the corset as it seemed like it would make it too busy since there was already decorative stitching.
 

 
 
 
 
I'm busy working on another project so this is what I'm doing when I need a break. I'll post more as I get it done.
 
 

All products are from www.farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com

This particular coutil known as "spot broche", "dot coutil" and "spot coutil" is available in several colour combinations and is the ultimate in durability. It's used by theatres all over the world because it's easy to work with and corsets made from it last!



 
 
 


 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dyeing Coutil and Corset Laces

Just to experiment I tried dying some coutil and the two new Farthingales corset laces and here is the result.

I used Dylon Violet dye and worked in a pot on my stove stop as I was just dyeing sample lengths. The instructions that came with the dye were very easy to follow.

I put all the pieces into the pot at the same and they all stayed in the pot for a full 20 minutes.


Item number 88-71WC-01 is white cotton corset lacing with a waxed finish. I assumed this product would not dye evenly because the of the finish but in fact it took the dye fastest and deepest; the finish must have completely dissolved. Unfortunately once the finish was gone the lace increased in width; it started at 1/4" wide and ended up at 3/8" wide. But the colour is intense.
 
Item number 01-7671N-01 is white nylon braid corset lacing. It did not take the dye as quickly but it did take the colour equally intensely and the dyeing did not noticeably alter the size or feel of the corset lacing. The nylon corset lacing had a beautiful sheen before it was dyed and after.    
 

Coutil is only available in a limited number of colours and patterns but it's all either 100% cotton or a cotton viscose blend so I expected some success with dyeing. Some coutil has a finish applied to it that may effect how evenly the coutil takes dye but  none of the pieces I tested were a problem. The one I was most interested in experimenting with was the new rose brocade coutil that is black with "champaign" roses item #74-1148-92. I was hoping that the roses would turn deep purple and they might have if I left the sample in the dye-pot longer. While I didn't get the deep purple I had hoped for, I was not disappointed with the result...the pale lavender roses on a black background is quite stunning and I actually like it better than if they had gone deep purple. The photo does not do the fabric justice!
 
 
I also added satin coutil and a satin brocade coutil to the mix and got fantastic results for both. The plain satin; item 74-1150-01 and the satin/brocade known as bzy floral coutil #74-1158-01 took the dye well and ended up a perfect match with each other and the with the nylon lacing!
 
While I can't image when I'm going to get a chance to dye more fabric and make a new corset I am definitely inspired to find time soon.
 
The last piece I tested was a cotton viscose brocade coutil 74-1130-20 "diamond brocade". It started out beige but ended up the same shade of deep purple as the satin, however it got rolled up in the pot and only the edges were exposed to enough dye to colour it so I'm not sure about it's success. I suspect it would dye well provided it was all equally exposed.
 

You can find more information on the coutil patterns and colours that are available by going to:

 

http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/products.php?cat=coutil