Third time’s a charm

Here’s the first attempt at B’s waist cincher for her Cinderella costume:


Why this fabric?

B chose it and mailed it to me.

What’s so wrong with it?

When I got together with K, who had B’s skirt, it was obvious that the two weren’t going to work well together. Part of it was that the blues were just not meshing. The sheen was also not playing well together. This fabric has a lot of shine, while the skirt material (a silk dupioni) has a more subtle sheen to it.

What did I learn?

Don’t try to match blues unless you have a swatch in your hand when shopping. When in doubt, don’t try to match. Go contrasting, or just go home and get your swatch. Also, once again, I’m reminded of how much longer it takes to sew for someone when you don’t live close by. Double your time if you do long distance custom work. And let your client know that it will take a longer time. Put it in writing. Repeat yourself. Make sure they get it. Lucky for me, B is a friend, and a relaxed one at that, too.


Why this fabric?

When I was at K’s, we pulled this out of her stash and I was gonna “make it work”, the infamous words of Tim Gunn. It did work color and sheen wise, which is why we liked it. K and I both made some exclamation when we saw this print with B’s skirt, so we thought it was a winner.

What’s so wrong with it?

Now that I’ve done it, and decently, I don’t recommend trying to use a large patterned fabric for a corset. On the other hand, if you are dead set on doing it anyway (something I’d totally do), re-draft your corset pattern so it has as few pieces as you can possibly afford so that you don’t have to match up so many points. Also, with any curved seams, you’ll lose your pattern match-up, so pick one area to match. I chose the waist. So, not all the hip and underbust areas completely matched up. But looking at the waist, it looked nice.

The big problem with this pattern is that as soon as I started to make the holes for the peg side of the busk, the fabric started to run. Each hole had a run and I couldn’t let that slide. I also couldn’t see the corset lasting for more than a couple of hours of tight-lacing wear. I even underlined the fabric to give it more oomph but even so, it ran.

What did I learn?

Get the material that’s going to work best for the project- especially something like a corset that’s going to receive stress along the seam lines. If you need silk dupioni, save up your pennies and go buy it! And if you’re close to a place like Fishman’s or Vogue Fabrics, don’t make do with what you have when you can get what will make the sewing cruise along.

I’m also appreciating finer fabrics. Not in a “I’m better than you are” but in a “this is just gonna work better” and “you’ll love sewing with this” and finally, “you’ll just love sewing more”.  It does make a difference. It’s like having a sewing machine that’s out all the time vs. a machine you have to set up every time; or the difference between a sewing machine that works consistently vs. a machine that is quirky and sews when it feels like it.

Whatever you do, do it so you will enjoy sewing.

What’s next?

I went to a less-than fabric store nearby and walked out with a lightweight pewter silk dupioni and a pillow ticking for the structure. I’m thinking I’ll make a one layer waist cincher (sorry, I keep going back and forth calling this a cincher and then a corset. It’s a cincher. I’m just assuming some readers will find it easier to connect with the more common “corset” term).

I really want to make this cincher right but I may have to get the heavier dupioni another time and make B another cincher in the future.

I plan on cutting this bad boy tonight. Since I’m using my own pattern, I have to go and add seam allowances on everything before I cut. Enter my new toy, the Clover double tracing wheel. It’s so great to have this tool on hand for this specific purpose. Using tracing paper, you end up with both a cutting line and a stitching line at the interval of your choice. I prefer 1/2″ SA’s so I set it up so and off I go.

Let’s hope that third time’s a charm cos I’m cutting it close (pun not intended but I’m leaving it in on a whim).

2 thoughts on “Third time’s a charm

  1. youseef says:

    Hello dear friend leila
    I follow your work, and I think that all your work is beautiful. As well as a nice, but unfortunately I do not have time to work like her, but the idea is nice and taste nice, and whether there is an illustration to see how they seem on the body, you have a wonderful inspiration.
    have a nice day & work

  2. Leila says:

    Thank you for your comment and your kind words. I’ll definitely have photos up in the coming weeks of the last corset. The other two might just end up in a pile. The third corset is coming along. I think this one will do the trick.

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