Corset Kits!

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Corset Books

As some of you are aware, I wrote a second book after "The Basics of Corset Building". I called it "The Art of Corset Building" and  finished it about two years ago. It went off to the publisher in NY and they asked that I trim it down by over 100 pages due the expense to publish and to ship such a large book. They offered a nice advance but I could not see where to trim those pages. As a result the book is still unpublished as they agreed to let me withdraw the book.

Last summer was the planned time to create each chapter into a downloadable PDF so that each Chapter could be bought on it's own - you only buy the chapters you want or need and there is no shipping required - make the whole thing more affordable. Unfortunately last summer saw all my focus go to rebuilding my website myself (no, I'd never built a website before so it was a wee bit of a learning curve for this "getting old" brain) and it was an all consuming task that lasted until well into the fall, so this summer is now going to be dedicated to getting the chapters onto the website - yet another learning curve!

I'm teaching several classes and kids sewing camps this summer, so my time is limited, but I hope to get the first chapter up in the next week. If I succeed I'll send out an e-mail blast to announce it. I'm not starting with Chapter 1, in fact, I'm starting with Chapter 15! I chose to start with this chapter because it's not as big as some (some are around 60 pages), it's 24 pages and it's an interesting chapter that's not as much "how to make a corset" as it is a record of my journey through reproducing a vintage corset; hence the title "Reproducing a Vintage Corset"

                                                      The image below is the end result

There are 20 chapters in all and it will take a few, if not several months, to prepare and post them all. I've not yet decided if I will post the other chapters in their original order but that is a likelihood. Other chapters include "Five Ways to Put in a Busk", "All About Bone Casings", "Striped Corset", "Making a Corset Pattern using a Sloper", all the chapters on corsets give all aspects of the build and I suspect will be $10 or less.

If you're interested in hearing when the chapters come available follow us on facebook

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In's and Out's of the New Website

Last year at this time I had begun to build a new website by myself, with no previous experience. It was out of necessity rather than the desire to develop a new skill. It finally went live last September and life has continued to be crazy busy since.

If you're not familiar with our website then you might want to visit it to see the selection of corset making supplies and other things we have.  In the top right corner of the home page you'll see a link to our SALE items, these are mostly items that are being discontinued by our supplies and since we can't get more, we're "sale-ing" them. You'll also find end of bolt pieces of coutil there, so it's worth checking out.

Along the top of the webpage are links to products - click on the "Books" one and see the drop down menu that includes second hand books that have come in from local costumers who set the price on the books they no longer need or don't have room for.

Down the left side of the page are links to interesting bits like this blog and our on-line Tips & Tricks section that has several free articles, that I've written over the years. There is also a link to our In-Store Classes which are classes you can take here at our Stratford, Ontario location.  Many are for kids and the adult ones include pattern drafting and costume making. The classroom has tons of natural light and has been awesome to work in.

If you're purchased from the new website you'll have had the opportunity to sign up for our e-newsletter of which we have sent very few but one will be going out in early July with a special Discount Code that can be used on July purchases for product from the site.

Sooo, if you've not yet explored all the "newish" site has to offer check it out now....

Friday, October 31, 2014

New Website

It's amazing how complicated the internet can be. How many "accounts" I have and how many passwords!!! I have Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and ...this blog, as well as a website and I can't seem to keep on top of it all and get anything else done.

But, there is some important news.

Farthingales has a new website and....I built it myself, despite having no web building experience and not really being that computer savy. I'd much rather handle tangible materials like coutil and corset bones! It's been almost a year since I plotted the plan for the new website using "publisher" and figured out all the links and levels AND it's bee one hell of journey - truly, it was like being in hell at times, trying to figure it all out and failing. However the new site is now live - has been for a few weeks and most kinks have been worked out. So I'm hoping you'll all go take a peak.

Same URL as before.

Keep in mind - if you had an account on the old site - you'll have one here. HOWEVER we could not move your passwords due to security, so you need to enter your e-mail address and click "Forgot Password" and a new temporary password will be sent to you. Use it to sign-in and create a new password that you'll remember or ...add Farthingales to your address book and put the new password in the "notes" section.

I hope you'll check the new website out soon and give me some feedback.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sewing Classes and Costume Classes

Farthingales is Expanding

Farthingales has taught corset making classes at many places and offered an extensive list of classes when in Los Angeles, now they're offering them in Stratford, Ontario.

Two large well lit class rooms are almost ready for use with new walls, floors, electrics, windows and sewing machines! The spaces are awesome!

Several professional costumers from one of North Americas premier theatres are offering to teach classes from basic sewing techniques (so you can get up to speed for serious fashion and costume projects) to tailoring, corset making, hat making and ruff making with many other interesting project classes and drafting! 

Weekend Workshops will be offered through out the year with several multi evening classes and many since evening or single day classes. Pattern Drafting Classes, Corset Making Classes, Elizabetha Ruff Classes and so many more.

A few of the classes are listed here:

Follow us here or on Facebook to get current information, like details for Winter Weekend Costume & Fashion Classes that offer accommodation in this beautiful city.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Corset Making Classes

Farthingales is on the move!

As of June 1st 2014 Farthingales will be in a new larger location with two classrooms and potentially six teachers to offer a wide selection of classes.

Linda, the owner of Farthingales and the author of "The Basics of Corset Building" will be teaching a corset class in August - the exact date has yet to be determined, but it will be an all weekend class.

Other classes in development are:
  • Elizabethan ruffs/cuffs
  • fashion illustration
  • pattern drafting
  • Open Sew - bring your own project
  • Hat making
  • basic sewing
and the list keeps on growing!

Follow us here or on Facebook for more information.

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.
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.
 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”

  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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
  View from the inside
  View from the outside

             hookandeye15rightsidefinished600x800.jpg        hookandeye9rightside800x600.jpg

 Want to order alternating hook and eye tape?