Corset Making Supplies

Corset Making Supplies
A corset can be worn in any way you imagine

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Version of McCall's Red Reign Costume - The Cage and Skirt

When making McCalls pattern M2091 called Red Reign I followed some instructions and not others and I think that most of us do this, I do however always read the instructions as that's the only way to know how the pattern was intended to work. This is what McCalls Red Reign Cosplay pattern looks like.

I've outlined briefly my how I made the corset and bolero in two early blog posts. I have really enjoyed making all the pieces of this costume.

For the skirt I opted to use a layer of tutu net (from the longer layer and the red/black light weight shot taffeta (from for the shorter top layer. They get sewn together and gathered into the same waistband, which I made in the same red/black shot taffeta - the lower binding of the corset was done in the same fabric so they blended well. I added a third layer of dotted net (which also came from Vogue Fabrics) and modified the long back skirt pattern piece to get the shape and included it with the other layers when I attached the waistband. Why did I add this third layer? Because I could :-)
I like how the three different fabrics work together with the lovely light net draping over the red layer, I almost wish I'd used it on the front too. Note, the dotted net is sewn into the side seam of the skirt in order to keep it in place.
Before the three layers were sewn together, I added ruffled trim to each. The light dotted net is trimmed, with the same black organza ruffle that I used on the corset and the bolero. The red layer is trimmed with a gathered black grosgrain ribbon (I had serged the raw edge of the hem first to keep it from fraying and to stabilize it) - I also used this ribbon to trim the bottom of the sleeves on the bolero. The tutu net layer is trimmed with the same red/black shot ruffle that I used at the top, center front of the corset. I used a fairly close zig zag stitch to secure it to the net. All three trims have been used in the various pieces of this costume and all came from my stash. There is now almost nothing left of any of them - Yay!

There are several ways to make a cage crinoline and this method can make a functional and fashionable one since you make casings for the hoop steel/hoop wire. Interestingly the pattern envelope suggests using hoop connectors but they are not referred to in the instructions.

I thought I did follow the instructions fairly closely for the cage crinoline but I did use hoop connectors so I had to tweak how I made the casings for them, however as I read them now I realize that, yet again I did my own thing...because it made more sense to me to so.

So, what did I do differently?
  1. I used Petersham ribbon for my vertical tapes ("straps" is the term used in the instructions). No fashion fabric, so they are just black - hmmm, wish I'd added black lace along the edges!
  2. I did not use webbing as the only webbing I could find was rather bulky.
  3. I used 1" twill tape instead of webbing for the back of the hoop casings
  4. I sewed my fashion fabric lengths for pattern pieces 20 & 21 (for the hoop casings) together at both ends to create a continuous circle. BE SURE TO TRIM THE SEAM ALLOWANCES so that the hoop wire can't catch on them when you try to feed the hoop wire through the casings
  5. I cut my twill tape in one length so it would have no seams. The length of the twill tape was 1" shorter than the circumference of the fashion fabric circle. I folded each end of the twill tape under by about 3/4" and zig zag stitched the raw edges down to secure them. The twill tape was then about 3" shorter than the circumference of the fashion fabric circles (both the larger and smaller one)
  6. I have a serger and I set it to a rolled hem setting then serged the twill tape to the fashion fabric which created a dark black edge to the red/black shot fabric. Make sure the seam allowance side of the fashion fabric is against the twill tape as unpicking this stitching would be a nightmare.
  7. The pattern instructs to cut the hoop steel longer than the hoop casing so that the ends of the hoop steel can overlap. I cut mine about 1/2" shorter because I used a hoop connector and they add a bit of length. The hoop connector has a rounded edge, that makes sliding the hoop steel through the casing easier. You can get hoop connectors HERE
Doing it this way means there is gap in the twill tape once the twill tape and fashion fabric are sewn together. This gap should go at the back of the cage. I aligned the center back tape to one side of the gap so that the tape could be securely sewn to the twill tape. In the image below you can see the white hoop steel with the hoop connector in the gap between the twill tape ends. This is facing the body so no one will see it and it means you can easily dismantle your cage for storage or travel. The vertical tape can be seen to the left and the red/black shot fashion fabric can be seen behind the hoop wire.
Click HERE to view a video on How to Use Hoop Connectors
I added a strip of black crystals to the top casing; I didn't have enough for the larger hoop and I'm glad I didn't. The strip of crystals was "stick-on" and the backing stuck really well to the fabric but the crystals began to come off the backing! The backing was impossible to remove once stuck of the bad things about "stash". The cage crinoline is a very simple shape and was not too time consuming.

Once the skirt was over the cage crinoline it was almost impossible to see the crystals or the areas where they had come off.
And the final result!

I've also been working on a Fosshape top hat and I'm trimming it to coordinate with this costume.

Tomorrow I'll get to see it all on a person.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Version of McCall's Red Reign Costume - The Bolero/Jacket

I've written about the McCall's Red Reign corset and now I'm onto the jacket or bolero part of the costume. I'm writing about the costume pieces in the order that I made them not in the order listed in the instructions. I'll admit I'm not inclined to following sewing pattern instructions (which my brother and husband would be surprised at, since I follow most rules even when no one is around) as I've got forty plus years of sewing behind me and ... I like to do things my way, when it comes to sewing. So, not only did I only use the instructions as a guide I also exercised artistic license on the design, and more so on the jacket than the other pieces.

This is the original pattern.
As you can see the little bolero does not have two identical sleeves according to the pattern. This somehow just didn't feel right to me, and since the great thing about sewing is making what you want - I made two identical sleeves that are a variation of the left sleeve above.
The fabric that I used for the bolero was red/black shot light weight taffeta for the body and spotted black net for the outer sleeve (both from mail order) and black "corset fabric" (not coutil) for the lining, along with tutu net to support the outer sleeve and to create the stand up collar and a small piece of woven boning sometimes called "Rigelene" to support the center back of the collar. You can see it in the image above and it will keep the collar up despite hair or head movement. (all these items are from The ruffled trim is all from my stash and some of that is from my local Fabricland here in Canada.
I used the upper sleeve pattern; both the inner and outer sleeve for both sleeves, keeping my sleeves symmetrical. I had thought of adding the longer sleeve and the cuff ruffle but the longer (forearm) sleeve required stretch fabric and I wasn't sure my fabric had enough stretch to allow arm movement. I also happened to have some long gloves in an almost perfect shade of red and the gloves seemed like a much cooler look. 

Cutting the collar from tutu net meant it would be sheer but would still stand upright really well. I cut the tutu net using the same collar pattern but I added ruffled lace trim along the outer edge and didn't need the interfacing layer called for in the pattern. The net pleated really easily and I could see the collar shape even as it lay on the table. I was having some difficulty handling the light taffeta fabric so I didn't sew the collar between the lining and the outer layer, instead I sewed the lining to the outer layer, clipped the curves turned the pieces right side out and top stitched at 1/4" from the edge. Then I added the collar, pinning it to the outer layer and sewing through all layers. To hid the raw edge of the tutu net collar I added a layer of black organza ruffle. The same organza ruffle trim that I put on the bottom of the corset after everything else was finished. It finished the whole perimeter of the bolero perfectly.
The back of the bolero is two pieces and they get laced together in the pattern. It was my plan to do the same but once I had added my black 2" braid (yep, more stash) and saw the bolero over the corset I really liked the way it looked open, so I'm not lacing it.

The pattern included pieces to make applique's that could be added to the back, but I wanted to use up more scrap that I had so I skipped the applique bits and cut strips of black lace for the shoulders and a small piece of different lace for the upper center back - the shape of this last trim worked perfectly (gotta love when that happens). I added heat set crystals to add a bit of bling. I also added a strip of black crystals to the woven boning collar support, but I did that after this picture was taken.

I'm still thinking about possibly adding more bling, maybe in the way of a broach. I'll likely decide once I see this on my friend and model Grace.

Next on my list to blog about is the cage and the skirt of McCall's pattern #M2091
The Cosplay pattern Red Reign

My Version of McCall's Red Reign Costume - The Corset

As soon as I saw this costume pattern I had to have it, even though I knew that I would not be comfortable wearing it 56, but I wanted to make it! Luckily I have a friend who was totally thrilled with the idea of wearing it, so I've made it for her.
This pattern is one of the McCall's Cosplay Patterns and it had to be ordered on-line, it was not available at my local fabric "chain store". You can get it at
This blog post is about my experience making this costume pattern and one thing you should know before I start is that I never make a pattern as it is outlined in the instructions...never. That does not mean I think everyone should deviate from the instructions, but with forty years of sewing behind me I tend to have my own way of doing things so I read the instructions but usually do my own thing and that includes making design tweaks.
 I started with choosing my fabrics and did stay with the colour theme of red and black. I chose brocade coutil from Farthingales, the black with red roses brocade coutil, but I opted to use the "wrong side" of the fabric! The lining of the corset is black corset fabric, also from Farthingales. The fabric for the skirt, hoop casings and jacket was from  and was a red and black shot, light weight taffeta that matched the wrong side of the coutil almost perfectly. I also used this fabric to bind the bottom edge of the corset so that it would match the skirt. It looks like it could be the same fabric used my McCalls for the underskirt and hoop casing.

 I decided to use lacing tape rather than set grommets as it's so much faster and it gave me a chance to showcase the lacing tape from Farthingales. You can see the black lacing tape in the image below and how well it works with the "wrong side out" coutil. Lacing tape is made of fine herringbone coutil and matches the same coutil at Farthingales, it is designed to allow bones on either side of the eyelets which are preset by machine. It gets sewn onto the corset, so while it may seem a bit expensive it can same not only time but the risk of errors when setting grommets by hand. The decorative trim has been sewn over the back seam and the top edge has been bound with black silk shantung, both from my stash. This is not how the pattern says to finish the top edge and I'll explain why I did it differently, next.

 The pattern instructions say to make the lining separately, which I did even though it's not my favorite way of corset building. Then you are to place the lining and outer layer wrong sides together and sew along the top edge - but I wanted a ruffle along part of the top edge and I wanted it to lay flat. If I had sewn the lining to the outer layer as instructed it would have made the ruffle stand up toward the chin, so instead I bound the top edge. This means the ruffle still lays flat but it also means the corset is 5/8" higher along the top edge since I've bound the seam allowance rather than turning down between the outer layer and lining. A bit of extra length here is not a problem, I could have trimmed it down, but didn't.
 All the trims I used were from my stash, the ruffle above (that matches so well) was left over from corsets made when we were in Los Angeles a ten years ago! I also used it on the skirt and there is now only about 3" left, which I am willing to throw out. The center front braid on the corset above is also from our Los Angeles days and I've used it both on the corset front and on the bolero back. Below is a side view of the almost finished corset, the princess seam has been "piped" with faux leather braid piping that I've had for a few years and used in other costumes, there was just enough left to do these two seams. The velvet ribbon through braid is sewn over the side front seam. All trims were sewn on before the lining was added and the bone casings are all in the lining layer of "corset fabric" (not coutil) from Farthingales. The corset bones are a mix of spiral bones and spring steel bones and all are held in place using black bone casing tape that's been sewn to the lining, so you don't see any stitching on the outside!

 I bound the top edge with black silk shantung because I actually had several bias strips in my stash, I bound the bottom with bias strips of the skirt fabric so that the bottom edge of the corset would blend seamlessly with the skirt. Ultimately I decided to add some black organza ruffle to the bottom edge, simply because I had some left after using it on the bolero and the skirt. Why not use it all up, besides it ties them all together.
So, I've added more trim than the pattern called for and did not include the belt, though I may still add one that is not attached. I've got some wide antique nickel chain that I might add when I see the whole costume on Grace. I made the corset in a more traditional way by not sewing the lining and the outer layer together but binding both the top and bottom edges after I had sewn lacing tape on the to backs. NOTE: if you use lacing tape you need to trim the back edges down, otherwise you'll get a corset that is bigger than you want it to be since you're adding the width of the lacing tape to both back edges. Farthingales has a "Tips and Tricks" section with lots of free tutorials and you can find out more about lacing tape here.
The corset has been laced with double faced 6mm wide satin ribbon and three covered buttons were added to decorate the front which has no busk. I cut the size 14 based on Grace's measurements and it fit well with no back gap when I made the mock up.

My next blog post will be about making the bolero.