Hand Painted Long-line Brassiere

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It took me awhile, but here’s my hand painted bra, all finished and photographed.

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Book Review – Vintage Lingerie by Jill Salen

41EKQcEEACL._SY300_ I recently got this book, Vintage Lingerie by Jill Salen, because I personally hate modern undergarments and am on the search for older styles to try, and I was very pleased with Jill Salen’s other book, Corsets.

The majority of the patterns are for brassieres, though it also includes corsets, pantaloons, knickers, girdles, garter belts, and slips, ranging from the 1850’s to the 1970’s, the majority of which coming from the 1930’s-50’s. In the back there are instructions for sewing two of the patterns, as well as a number of handstitches.

The lingerie included is this book is beautiful and interesting, and some degree of familiarity with altering patterns and sewing without step-by-step instructions is required in order to reproduce the garments, so I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners (unless you’re really ambitious, then go right ahead). It makes a good reference book on how the styles of lingerie have changed through the years.

The author’s descriptions, on the other hand, are rather annoying at times — on several of the garments, she gives the history of the decade that it was produced in, but fails to describe the item itself with satisfactory detail. The author’s attitude towards the lingerie is also a bit off-putting for those who are vintage-enthusiasts, looking for styles to reproduce and include in their own wardrobes, since she dismisses a lot of the garments as being pretty but impractical. It almost seems like the author has a love-hate relationship with vintage lingerie, since she has a definite attraction to it, but at the same time can’t let go of the notion that modern society is more “advanced.”

On the whole, I like the book and the layout, and I look forward to reproducing the styles. I’m definitely glad that I purchased this. I’d rate it a 4 out of 5.

Springtime Garter Belt

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I am a lingerie junkie.

With my last belt I used Dritz garters, and they are absolutely awful! The plastic part doesn’t stay attached, so they quite literally fall apart every time they’re used. When I saw that corsetmaking.com carries garter clips, I had to have them. They work much, much better.

I chose my fabric because it reminded me of Spring, and combined it with bright yellow ribbon. I forgot to melt the ends of the ribbons that I used for straps, which is important because it reinforces the ribbon and prevents the weight of the stockings from ripping it out, so I had to take the garter belt apart and re-sew it. The entire thing is interfaced with crinoline fabric, just because I wanted to see what that would be like, and I did a decorative blanket stitch with embroidery thread along the top edge.

I’m definitely getting better at making garter belts.

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Finished Corset

I ended up getting a grommet setter from Tandy Leather Factory, because they carry simple and inexpensive setters in a variety of sizes that work very well.

I marked the position for the grommets, checked the two sides against each other, then set to work punching holes with my awl. After I had done one side and a few on the other, I checked to see if my alignment was still good, and was mortified to find that I had somehow gotten them way off. I guess that I had a bit too much room for interpretation with my markings! I’m very embarrassed about it, since I’ve done eyelets with lacing on a few other projects without messing up, yet for some reason I had a major brain glitch while working on the corset. I made a really silly mistake on another sewing project that I’ve been working on this week as well, so it must be something in the air (I blame Spring).

I do have one complaint about the fit of my corset. I have fairly prominent hip bones, and the corset boning goes directly over them, which is rather uncomfortable. With the next corset I make, I’m going to try a design with hip gussets that go around my pointy bones, so that I don’t have metal pressing against them.

I wore the corset while working on chores, and was surprised at how much mobility I had — I didn’t have any problems with squatting down to pick up cheerios from off the floor. It was also nice to not have to worry about my posture, and that inevitable backache that I always get from slouching.

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Corset Progress Part 3

Boning channels marked.

Boning channels marked.

I decided that I wanted to use double folded bias strips instead, so I cut and dyed new ones. When I put the strips in the dye pot, the baby immediately decided that she needed all of my attention, so I didn't have the chance to stir them at all, and the dye applied unevenly like marble.

I decided that I wanted to use double folded bias strips instead, so I cut and dyed new ones. When I put the strips in the dye pot, the baby immediately decided that she needed all of my attention, so I didn’t have the chance to stir them at all, and the dye applied unevenly like marble.

It turned out to be unexpectedly pretty.

It turned out to be unexpectedly pretty.

Boning channels sewn.

Boning channels sewn.

Applying bias tape.

Applying bias tape.

I hand stitched the bias on the wrong side so that I wouldn't have the seam showing on the right.

I hand stitched the bias on the wrong side so that I wouldn’t have the seam showing on the right.

This is what it looks like with the edges finished.

This is what it looks like with the edges finished.

Flossing. I didn't have much embroidery floss, so I tried to ration it. I ended up needing to buy more anyway, and while the new stuff looked like it matched in the store, when I got home and started working with it in natural light, I realized that the new floss was slightly lighter than the old. I cannot unsee it.

Flossing. I didn’t have much embroidery floss, so I tried to ration it. I ended up needing to buy more anyway, and while the new stuff looked like it matched in the store, when I got home and started working with it in natural light, I realized that the new floss was slightly lighter than the old. I cannot unsee it.

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The ribbon runs through the bias tape on the top edge, and it's purpose is so that I can cinch up the top a bit to prevent myself from popping out when I wear it.

The ribbon runs through the bias tape on the top edge, and it’s purpose is so that I can cinch up the top a bit to prevent myself from popping out when I wear it.

This is what it looks like so far.

This is what it looks like so far.

I was originally planning on using eyelets with washers for the back lacing, but I have since decided that I want to use grommets instead. So, I need to get my hands on a grommet setter before I can continue working.