1890’s Waistcoat

IMG_7090I started my waistcoat by drafting the basic waistcoat block, this didn’t have any stylistic features as I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take my waistcoat at this stage. I found the drafting process reasonably easy but the tutors were giving different methods of directions which did cause a little bit of confusion but I managed to keep my waistcoat drafting consistent.

 

 

 

 

IMG_7091The next day after doing some research into the type of waistcoat I wanted to make (I looked into 18th and the second half of the 19th century waistcoats and settled on a waistcoat from 1890), I really liked its style and general shape. I began drafting and attempting to replicate its features on my waistcoat block resulting in my first waistcoat draft. I ended up taking my draft in on wednesday and saw my tutor who helped me refine the draft. I showed her the image of the waistcoat I wanted to replicate and she brought up that the waistcoat looked very similar to a waistcoat featured in “Men’s Garments 1830-1900, A guide to pattern cutting and tailoring” by R. I. Davis. Hester found a copy of the book for me and sure enough the waistcoats were strikingly similar. I then scanned and printed all of the pages in relation to that waistcoat, both for research and and reference. I didn’t trace the pattern from the book at all however I did use it as a point of reference for pocket placement and their sizes.

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I found that pockets move around and change shape a lot throughout history and I wanted my waistcoat to be an accurate representation of the era. My tutor also showed me to draw my waistcoat lines as a curve as they shape over the body much better than straight lines. I then altered all of my lines (apart from CB and CB) to be ever so slightly curved. I retraced my grainlines as they were now off due to the alterations, drew my pockets in, shaped the neckline and drew in the collar. I also traced my chest and waistline incase they were needed again later on. With those alterations made I had a new final draft pattern.

I then traced the patterns off of my master copy making a seperate pattern for my collar. Hester instructed not to cut them out on the line but to instead leave a small outline around the edge so I could then sew into the paper when sewing my tailors tacks and tear the paper off at the end leaving my tracks behind.

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IMG_7108In the next lesson I started on my tailors tacks, I found using a back stitch worked best for me and I was able to get through my tacks quite quickly. I colour coded each individual piece on the waistcoat making identification easier later on. I found it easy sewing though the paper and I felt that it would yield more accurate markings than attempting to chalk everything and then tack the markings through.

IMG_7109When I had finished it came to the tear off, in my mind this was going to go smoothly but was a little more difficult than I had imagined. I ended up having to hold the wool down and carefully tear the paper off bit by bit rather than being able to tear the whole thing off in one go. This left my pattern a ripped mess, it wasn’t my master so I wasn’t too worried but I still laughed at how awful it looked.
I think this was down to the paper thickness, if I were to do this again I would try transfering my pattern to tissue paper, then tailor tack through and pull the tissue paper off. I think I would have more success with the lighter tissue paper.
IMG_7115I was really impressed with how well the tacks transferred onto the wool, there were a few gaps where the tacks had pulled through but the wool was still easily identifiable. I then mounted the wool to the canvas after giving the canvas a press. The two fabrics were then held together with a long running stitch which I circled around the waistcoat three times. At this point I found my waistcoat getting quite dusty (the black seams to be an impossible magnet for dust) so whenever I stored my waistcoat I attempted to weight paper on top of it to keep the dust off of it.

IMG_7141Next came sewing the welt pockets, I found this process really interesting although it was quite lengthy yet methodical. I started with making the welt and taking my lines in to make identification easier when sewing everything together. I left a chunk of fabric and the top and bottom of the welt (past the seam allowance), I don’t remember why I did this but I even up cutting it off before the next step.

IMG_7144The welt was sewn onto the waistcoat and the welt was sewn up creating a rectangle. The pocket opening was then slashed (making sure not to catch any of the wrong fabrics in the process), I found pinning absolutely everything away from where the opening should be before cutting into the fabric worked best as it took the anxiety of cutting into the wrong fabrics away. The welt is then bagged out and everything is flipped through to the wrong side.

 

 

IMG_7177My tutor suggested to tack down the welt at this point to stop it from shifting. I then gave everything a firm press.
Then the pocket bag is sewn in, we had the option of using our (chosen) lining fabric or using the black fabric provided in our packs. I decided to use the black fabric provided as I wanted to keep my lining fabric for the back piece only.

 

 

 

 

I realised quickly that you had to be quite accurate with your sewing as to not catch the top fabric when sewing the bags in. I marked out each bag, making sure to leave a gap as the bottom of the lower pockets so they wouldn’t fall lower than the bottom hem of the waistcoat. And for the top pocket I made sure it didn’t fall low enough that it came into contact with the pocket below it.

I marked in chalk the size of the pocket bags before sewing them. I was very careful not to cut the pocket bags until I had inspected them just in case the fabric shifted or they were too small.

I’m very pleased with how my pockets have tuned out. All three of them sit flat against the canvas and I haven’t found any issues with them.
After the pocket bags were sewn I stitched the sides of the welts down so they would sit flush with the waistcoat. I hand stitched from the wrong side of the fabric so that there would be no visible stitching.

This was the result of my welt pockets.

Next two sew were the collars. I cut my lining and wool out and sewd them right sides together. I then trimmed down the seam allowance and ironed open the seams as best I could. I found suing a tailors ham worked quite well in some areas but the wool was very resisten and needed to be heavily steamed before it was doing what I wanted it to. The collars were then flipped right sides out and pressed. When pressing the collars I made sure to roll the wool over slightly which concealed the lining from the front. Again the woll was a pain to press during this process, the hardest areas were the sharp corners but a lot of steam got me there in the end.

IMG_7216Here my tutor suggested that I place the collar onto my waistcoat and tack the lining to the outside stitchline on the waistcoat. This would help keep the collar in place. After sewing these tacking lines I sewd the collar lining onto the wool of the waistcoat (keeping close the the outline of the collar) which would hold the collar down and prevent the collar from flipping up while being worn

 

 

 

Next the facing and lining were sewn on, I matched the facing up with the stitching lines so that it sat exactly where it should. I was also keeping in mind to make sure the collar wasn’t being moved when pinning/sewing.
The lining was also sewn on by matching the stitching lines together however, the lining was only sewn on around the armhole as the rest would be hand stitch in.

IMG_7217The back pieces were sewn together and this was my first real encounter with how slippery my lining fabric was. I ended up using a lot of pins to prevent the fabrics from moving away from each other.

 

 

 

Next I cut down the seam allowance for the arm opening on the front of the waistcoat, the curves were also clipped to add ease to the fabric when flipping it out.
This was then pressed into place.

The facing was then pinned down into place where I herringbone stitched it to the canvas.

The lining was then turned over and pinned over top of the facing and waistcoat bottom edge making sure to cover everything so no canvas or gaps were visible. I stitched this down using a small whip stitch in a black thread which blended quite well with the wool and purple lining.


I cut my waistcoat jiggers out using the pattern available in class. Due to my lining fabric being so light when ironing them out the wiggles a little bit but I don’t think this will be noticeable on the waistcoat onced the jiggers are threaded through the buckle.
IMG_7235After the jiggers were prepared I continued with the waistcoat back pieces. This included sewing the two back pieces (back and lining) together at the bottom edge  while leaving a 6 inch gap where the waistcoat would be bagged out later on. The armholes were also sewn together at this point.

The waistcoat fronts were then put in between the two layers of the back pieces, lining up the waist coat sides together. At this point I also put the jiggers into these seams so they sat on the waistline back.

Once I had sewn the side seams I pinned and sewd the shoulder seams into place.
The waistcoat was then bagged out and flipped to the right side where I checked it over for any imperfections/tucks. Luckily I didn’t find anything.
I finished off the bottom of the waistcoat by closing the 6 inch gap used to bag the waistcoat out. I pinned the opening closed and used a slip stitch to close it off.

I decided to use covered buttons for my waistcoat so I could match them to my lining fabric. My tutor showed me how to use the covered button machine (press?), we decided that because my lining was so thin it would need an extra layer. I first tried doubling the lining fabrics together but they were still too flimsy. My tutor suggested that I interface the back of the lining and then cut out the covers. This was much more successful and I soon got the hang of using the press. I really like the results and I will definitely be using covered buttons for future projects.

Finally came the button holes, because my waistcoat is based on a 1890’s piece the only historically accurate buttonhole is the keyhole buttonhole. I did practice hand sewing the keyhole buttonhole but I’m far from perfect! I’m not happy enough with my samples to feel confident enough sewing them into my waistcoat. However, my tutor in the last tech skills mentioned that there’s a ‘Buttonhole Man’ who will sew keyhole buttonholes into garments for you. She showed me examples from the 3rd years who had brought their garments to him and I was very impressed. And I have decided that will be my buttonhole option.
In preparation for bringing my waistcoat to the button man I marked the button and buttonhole placement on my waistcoat in chalk. I also tacked the centre front line in white. I also took out the rest of the tacking lines on the waistcoat which was very satisfying!!

When I got to the buttonhole man’s shop I was told that the markings should be on the wrong side (the facing) of the fabric so I quickly remarked them. I was lucky enough that they didn’t have a lot of work that day and the button holes were done while I was waiting which took about five minutes.
When I got my waistcoat home I hand stitched my covered buttons on. I also made sure I got rid of all of my tailors tacking using tweezers for any strands that were wedged between stitches. Anything I couldn’t remove I snipped off as close to the wool as possible and jiggled the wool around until it disappeared from the surface.
And my waistcoat was finished!
I’m very pleased with this project and have learnt a lot of new skills from it which I will definitely be implementing into future projects. It’s encouraged me a lot with working with more formal garments and I’d love to make a ladies late victorian walking suit using these skills

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If you made it this far, well done. I lost motivation for blogging the last few months and a lot of the projects I was working on (in my opinion) weren’t inspired enough to earn solo blog posts so I simply never wrote about them. In the next week or so I will do a round up of everything I’ve covered in my first year of university but forewarning, I struggled. Not with the workload or anything academic just the fact that the first year was a mixed bag or interpretation (my chosen specialism) and design (something I’m not so interested in). This dragged me a lot and a think for a little while I got a bit depressed caught up on the idea that the first year was a wasted opportunity for me to specialise straight away, this played on my mine more so because I’m having to pay international fees (unjustly by the way I’m a British citizen thank you /you can read more about that in a earlier post I believe/) which is expensive to say the least.
I am greatly enjoying Wimbledon College of Arts however and I’m still very pleased to be studying here. I had a meeting with the course director today and the second year in terms of interpretation is much more appealing and I’m excited for it!
Summer holidays is just about here, as I move out of London on Wednesday and I’ll be free to start and continue projects that got put on the back burner. And I will be posting again, it may not be as frequent as my weekly posts of the past but they’ll be more regular than the huge breaks I been taking recently.

 

Also if you’re on Instagram check me out, I post there a lot more. See my story for work in progress costumes and the like. I’m @NiverasWings as always!

Thank you for reading and thank you for putting up with the long breaks!
-Nivera

 

*I’m posting this late so apologies for any spelling/grammatical errors, I’ll edit in the morning

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Customising a Dress Form

I current live in London nine months of the year and sew for all twelve months. When I moved to London I decided not to bring my Singer dress form with me because I knew when I went home for visits brining it with me would be an issue (that and it wouldn’t fit in the car on the drive up to London). I decided on buying a cheap non adjustable dress form off Amazon instead which I would keep in London and have my adjustable form for at home. As im sure many of you know non adjustable dresss forms are a pain as they’re never quite your exact measurements. I shopped around a little bit and eventually decided on a Size 8/10 Dress Form with the intention of padding it up. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past year (still losing weight now) and I currently sit between a size 10 and 12 so the 8/10 size seamed perfect to pad up and eventually take away from (the padding) in order to best suit my size.

Here is the process on how I went about doing just that!

 

Materials you’ll need,

•Dress form (size smaller SUGGESTED) Ideally the dress form should have a cover too.

•1 meter of thin quilt batting, I found 1m was enough for me but depending on how much you have to add you may need more. Alternatively you could use thinker batting but I found the thinner batting easier to work with as you could create more gradual shapes.

•Dressmaker pins (these are the metal ones without colourful tips on the end)

•plastic wrap (optional)

•Fabric scissors

•Felt tip pen

•Silicon bust filler (optional, you can just use an old bra)

•Your measurements! Please write them down somewhere so they’re easy to access while padding.

 

Tutorial Time

I started with the bust area and then worked my way down to the waist and hips.

Because the bust needed filling the most I bought a silicone bust filler to help keep the shape correct (you can also use an old bra!). First I traced the general shape of the bust filler onto quilt batting,
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Through trial and error and lots of re pinning every five seconds I found that I needed two layers of batting under the bust filler as well as two layers of the batting continuing around my back in order to meet my bust circumference.
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It’s really important to keep checking your measurements as your going.

I then set about patterning the area under the bust, this took some refining… Thankfully the thinner quilt batting does have some stretch to it which makes it so much easier to manipulate over curves.
9d2f56e70b874131bfb026aa62abe8e9b9e53315v2_hqI was actually quite surprised by how easy things were going! I used my measuring tape to ensure things would be symmetrical. Most of my pattern pieces consisted of front bust, back bust, front waist, back waist etc…
304ec8006d0ea97a4e0c991347e13f589663b8c4v2_hqI was really lucky and found that doubling the quilt batting for all of my patterns resulted in my measurements.

The back looked like this,

3fb4d0c628326e48e094624257c28aeccd860520v2_hqMake sure that you match where the batting should meet perfectly! Otherwise little gaps can appear and the dress form won’t be as smooth.

I continued with the hips which I decided to make into two large sections (following my previous pattern work) rather than splitting it up. There wasn’t as much shape to curve around and the batting wrapped around perfectly!
8c46c377cd23f29a6212b7a69d7894d32414599fv2_hqNext I patterned above the bust on the front and back.

The bust front was a bit more of an awkward shape and I do recommend using lots of pins to keep the batting in place and to ensure it lays flat!
7a5afb300814ba92734c5ab9e15b5d20c4d5386fv2_hqYou can see I used a lot of pins here!!!

At this point you are kind of done although if you want to you can cover the quilt batting in plastic wrap. This will help ‘set’ the batting and hold it in place as well as keep pins from moving too much.
4b785cfe0258ebb186767df866842d87d928e1e9v2_hqI do recommend getting a friend or family member to help with this so you can apply the wrap as tight as possible.

That step is optional!! If you want to throw the cover back on straight away you can do that too!

Speaking of covers, this is what mine looked like when complete!

The sharpie is visible on the quilt batting through the cover, this could be fixed by trimming away these fibers before putting the cover on. In all honesty I wasn’t bothered by it and it won’t be something I change until I alter the dress form again. Maybe I’ll dye my cover lilac, that would be cute…

So what do you think! Is it something you’d look into knowing dress forms can be altered cheaply? I literally spent £1 on the quilt batting for this project, everything else I had in my room. It’s certainly something to look into! Do tell me if you use this tutorial or find it useful!


Spring break is a week away for me now and I’ve finished all of my work for the term so I’m looking forward to a stressless week ahead!
I’m really happy my dress form is accurate to my measurements now and its made me a lot more motivated for making things again! I’m hoping to take a huge step forward with my ballgown over the spring break but we’ll see how that goes with my work shifts again. I do want to get the new petticoat made and I plan to make a new corset when I’m back in London for my third term.
I keep you all update that’s for sure!

Thanks for reading,

-Nivera

Stays Construction, Let’s make Butterick B4254

Continuing with my 18th century foundation garments lets take a look at the stays I made. As this was only my second ‘corset’ I decided to stick with a pattern again, although I ran into no issues scaling up the pocket hoops from Corsets and Crinolines I thought a corset with many different boning channels would be more of a challenge, a challenge I will take on at another date.

I ended up completing this project over a weekend (under forty eight hours) which I’m pretty pleased with! I did intend for this to be more of a spread out project but I just really got into the sewing and was happy to power though the whole weekend for it’s completion.

I used Butterik’s B4254 which is apart of the ‘Making History’ collection. I realised this pattern isn’t 100% historically accurate but I just wanted to used it as a starting point and ease myself into the procedures used and the period itself.
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I used version A (circled) which just has a back opening rather than front and back. I choose this for two reasons, the first being I wanted to create that stylistic ‘shelf’ look where the bust is pushed upwards resulting in cleavage and you get a very defined shape of the bust and then immediately flattening down into the waist. Also I thought that having a flat uninterrupted front would mean that when garments are worn over top they would sit flat and not bulge or pucker where View B has an opening, I’m not sure if this would happen or not but at the time I considered it as a contributing factor to choosing View A instead. The second reason being I didn’t want to hand sew that many eyelets! I’m very particular when it comes to historical dress, I like my eyelets hand sewn and colour coordinated. View A has 20 eyelets total where as view B has 40 total, I think my decision based on eyelets is pretty justified!

Construction

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The stays are made up of four pattern pieces the centre front, side, centre back and the shoulder strap. I decided to cut the pattern out in a size 10 although I measured to be a size 12. My reason for doing this was that when I made my 1860’s corset (Simplicity 1139) I used a size 12 and found that the corset was too large and wouldn’t cinch me in as much as I had hoped for, it was a bit of a risk but I had high hopes that it would turn out okay!

 

I had just enough cotton coutil left over from my previous corset to squeeze the patterns pieces onto. Thankfully I was able to get each pattern piece to follow the indicated grain line. I have kept the left overs just incase, this coutil is on the more expensive side so I try and get the most out of it!

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Next I marked the boning channels unfortunately I didn’t have any carbon paper or a tracing wheel at the time and as I wanted to keep this as a weekend project I elected to use the pin prick method instead… This was time consuming. It took me around three hours to do but now I always have carbon paper on hand and won’t make that mistake again! The channels were marked with a heat removal ‘friction pen’, I love these pens so much I’ve never had any issued with them not removing/staining my fabrics.

I then cut the lining out and this is where I went a little wrong, I decided to use a poplin fabric as lining. Yeah I know bad decision. A (100%) cotton would have been a better choice as the poplin is too thin and fragile. So far I’ve only had two boning channels suffer breakouts, luckily they aren’t in positions of friction so I’m not stabbed while wearing the stays. I might re-line the stays before binding the edges but I’ll talk about that later.
I cut two CF lining pieces out, that was unintentional (didn’t read the instructions) I did not double the lining up.
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Next I sewed all the seams up on both the top fabric and the lining. You can really see just how light weight my chosen lining material is here too. I look back and cringe!
The lining is then basted the lining to the top fabric.
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And now for the main event, sewing the boning channels. I would like to thank the Butterick gods for including a guide which indicated the correct order to sew the channels. This is so extremely important as the boning is inserted as you sew because with each channel sewn you would often close off the openings to another channel. The only time I actually found this tedious was when I sewed the horizontal bones at the top of CF, my boning kept trying to twist while I was sewing which was a pain but manageable. I used synthetic whalebone as boning which was left over from my 1500’s ensemble.  It took me seven hours to sew the channels inserting the boning as I went. I spent a total of 13 hours on the stays on the Saturday.
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Then on the Sunday I spent all day hand sewing the eyelets. I am aware I’m missing an eyelet on either side in the above picture, when ironing the piece earlier in the construction process I removed my eyelet marks! As soon as I realised this I remarked the placements and punched the holes and sewd over them. I don’t have a more recent picture I’m afraid!
To remove the remaining pen from the stays I set my iron to steam and ironed over the stays, making sure to move the iron quickly as to not heat the plastic boning up. The pen may want to stick to the areas you sewn directly over it but with a firm press it will disappear!


And thats the stays finished! (To a functional state)

I still need to bind the edges of my stays and I’ll be using chamois leather to do this, thank you Hannah from FabricnFiction for recommending that to me! I did originally attempt to do it with cotton bias binding but it did not go to plan, unfortunately since then University work has picked up and I haven’t gotten around to finishing them off. And that was in late October last year, I do have a week off coming up soon so I’ll try and get them done then and update my blog appropriately.  I may also make a new lining to sit over top of the old one and sew it in when I hand stitch the chamois leather binding into the stays.

Here are some worn photos anyway along with my pocket hoops and chemise.

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Also bonus picture/appreciation for the reduction these stays give,MO5L2vat.jpg-large

Look at my waist in comparison to my hips!!! I was quite surprised to find they take three inches off my waist which I wasn’t expecting from a commercial pattern. I can get very close to a full closure lacing on my own with about and inch gap at the very bottom but from two thirds of the way up the stays make a full closure. I am fairly certain I could get a full closure with someone helping me into them which will likely be my mum when I go home for Spring break!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I’m pretty happy with the outcome of these stays and I’m sure they’ll look better once the edges are bound. I’ve familiarised myself a lot more with my corsetry books and the ones available at my university library so I want to make it a personal challenge for myself to stop using commercial (corset) patterns and instead use patterns from Norah Waugh’s books etc. I feel as though I’ve improved a lot at sewing the past year and my understanding of pattern manipulation has grown at lot too and using commercial patterns is just a security blanket for me now when I could be further challenging myself and extending my skill set and I want to move away from that comfort zone. I would like to complete another corset this year so I could compare it to the various ones I made last year.

And thats it!
Thank you for reading and I’m sorry for my radio silence, hand in for my current unit is Monday so I can catch up on older scheduled posts then!

-Nivera

 

Pocket Hoops Construction, Norah Waugh | Corsets and Crinolines

October was the month I spent making 18th century foundation garments. These foundation garments are made up from a pair of stays, chemise and the pocket hoops which I’ll talk about now!
The pattern I’m using to make the pocket hoops is from Norah Waugh’s ‘Corsets and Crinolines’, this was my first time using a Waugh pattern and also my first time scaling a pattern up successfully!
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The materials I used for this project are as follows,

•2 meters of a medium weight fabric. I used 100% cotton in white

•5 meters of 1/4 inch boning. I used plastic covered flat steel as I didn’t have enough synthetic whalebone.
Rigilene boning is not suitable for this project.

•5 meters of 1/2 inch twill tape

•Heat removal fabric pen ‘friction pen’ in contrasting colour

•2 meters of white inch wide bias binding

•General sewing notions, scissors, pins, ruler etc…

I started off by scaling the pattern up to the size referenced in Corsets and Crinolines, which luckily didn’t take as long as I had imagined it would.
pocket hoops patternI then pinned these patterns onto my cotton, as you need two of each pattern make sure to fold your fabric and save time cutting out.
193e27bf00165fc5093b39def817b81ac6ccec5e_hqI decided to add an inch onto each pattern piece, this is optional but I did it for a few reasons. As it was my first time scaling a pattern like this I wanted room for error so I could fix mistakes, adding the inch would also enlarge the pattern slightly which was a plus for historical reasons.

While doing research I found that pocket hoops were made larger for women with broader shoulders as to keep proportions in check. And as I was a competitive swimmer during my childhood I consequently have broad shoulders so the size adjustment (though it may only be tiny) seamed to be a good idea.

This is all circumstantial and is something to be considered in your personal project.

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Next I used my heat removal fabric pen and marked out the boning channels on the TOP fabric side. I marked these on my pattern so it was easy to mark the end of the channel and then draw a line connecting these marks. Alternatively you can iron your fabric first and then draw the channels, just remember that ironing over the ink will cause it to disappear and if your iron is on steam nowhere is safe.
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I’m lazy so I drew my channels and then ironed but left an awkward channel down the middle un-ironed. This will get ironed eventually after the next step!
Next is to sew the boning channels! I aligned the twill tape it so the top edge meets with the boning channel line. Pin it in place and then sew the top an bottom edge of the tape. Remember do NOT sew the ends off and this is where boning will be inserted. It’s also important to note when sewing the top and bottom edges of the tape to get as close to the edge as possible, this keeps the channel as wide as possible making it easier to pass boning through it.
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I then ironed everything over making sure to press where the twill tape was sewn just to make sure all of this ink would disappear.
Next I got the square pattern piece and sewd one side to the main piece, sewing over the boning channels (this will close them off on one side). Repeat this process on the other side just this time stop and start sewing making sure to miss sewing over the channels (this will leave them open).

If done right there should be small holes in the seams that open to the channels allowing for you to inset boning.

Next I prepared the boning I was using and cut it into the lengths fit for the boning channels. As I had to use flat steel instead of the synthetic whalebone like I had planned I ‘capped’ both ends of the boning with electric tape so the sharp ends would not pierce through the cotton. If you’re unsure of how to do this or want visuals check out my Crinoline Post where I explain my technique.

Once the boning is inserted you can sew over the opening and seal the boning in. I suggest doing this straight after inserting each piece of boning, rather than doing it all at the end. Specifically if your working with steel, the boning will move around and be a pain so it’s better to do it as you go.
It’s not called ‘spring steel’ for nothing and will take out your eye(s) if given the chance.

 

Once the boning is in it should have some structure to the pocket hoops. This is what mine looked like after sewing the boning in.
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They were just crudely pinned to my hoodie at this stage so they’re quite uneven! But this gave me a good idea of how they’ll look when finished!
Next is to sew the bottom onto the pocket hoops, this is the curved pattern piece.

YES! Pocket hoops actually serve as pockets when the correct garments are layered on top of them.

I simply pinned this on and then whip stitched it into place. It is a lot larger because of the additional inch on the pattern but it’s nice to have that extra room to work with. I suggest lining the strait edges up and then working around the curves.  I didn’t want the bottom to be loose and have a baggy look to it so I kept the fabric quite taunt when pinning and sewing it into place.
5583b20d827e1c228c9140ebc35bededd0644b89_hqOnce those are sewn on it’s time to clean up those edges. I turned over the raw edges on the inside of the pocket hoops or  you could sew bias tape on them. I used both techniques but I suggest using bias tape around the ‘pocket’ opening as it’ll look more professional.
9d8d521f3822e42f4dd6ba4226c5fd61b22c2e28_hq75388ecaf76824ac67f8bea341a60f1d8fe001d0_hqNext is to make the waistband, this length should be your waist measurement plus 20 inches. Mine was pretty easy! I have a 30inch waist so the waistband measurement was 50inches. You can just about see where Ive drawn my waistband in the below picture!
60a52e5cf31f0ee109d1ccc215e3b46fb8aa0d9f_hqTurn the edges in by a half inch and then sew them down. When complete my waistband was about an inch and a half wide. I wouldn’t suggest going too wide with your waistband as your going to have to tie it and the thicker it is the harder it will be to tie off
Fold the waistband in half and on the WRONG side mark this point with your fabric pen. Then on either side of this mark measure 4 inches and mark these points. Gather the tops of your pocket hoops down to 3 inches and even out the gathering. Then pin the gathered top edges to the waistband on the other side of your 4inches mark. Sew this down.
9a48f5e246e5cc90a8ba1fb18b5405a98adc5abf_hqI realise this bit is confusing but you want to get the top gathered edges of one individual pocket hoop and pin them down side by side with no gap and sew them down on the other side of your 4 inch mark.
I highly recommend pinning them on first and having a fitting to see if they sit right or need to be moved around first before sewing them in place.

Here’s another picture of mine sewn down to help make sense of this part.
4664a51dd8f104082c74ec2c700e67133734da5c_hqIf you’re still having trouble with this part I suggest checking out Angela Claytons’ Youtube video on making pocket hoops. I’m not 100% sure she used the Norah Waugh pattern but watching her attach the pockets to the waistband helped me make sense of it!

And then the pocket hoops are done! Here are mine on my dress form and stays!

And here they are being worn with my stays and chemise!
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I’m really pleased with how these turned out! And as far as working without instructions I think I did pretty well! When I come back from my Christmas holidays I plan on bringing the petticoat I made for my ballgown with my and putting that over the pocket hoops to see how they hold. I don’t think there will be any issues with them holding a garment but I feel the petticoat is missing when I look at these pictures!

I plan on making a walking ensemble or redingote to be worn over these foundation garments next year and I’m still occupied with my 1860’s ballgown at this stage!
I will fave following posts about the stays and the chemise soon!

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

 

Costume for Theatre and Screen Starts Tomorrow!

I started University just over a month ago and our first unit was not relevant to making costumes so I’m just going skip over it as its not that interesting!
Tomorrow marks the first day of my costume course which is really exciting. We’re starting off with corsets so I’m happy to have some previous experience going into the unit.
Each week (I’m planning on Saturday) I’m going to be posting a diary type blog post where I’ll talk about what I did in that week which I’ll be filing under one category. I’m really interested in documenting my progress both in and out of class so later I can look back on my posts and hopefully see some progress.
My at home project for October was making 18th century foundation garments which I’ll slowly being releasing posts of this month. I’m hoping to make a 18th century Redingote this month to go over said foundation garments so I’ll also be updating the designing process and the pattern drafting here too. Unfortunately October and September were really slow months for me and I was unable to update but thats defiantly changing this month onwards with weekly posts again.

And thats it really! Just a short sweet update on things to come!

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

Petticoat Construction, Let’s make Simplicity 9764

This pattern was defiantly the easiest of the three patterns I choose to use when making foundation garments. This is the second pattern from Simplicity 9764 the other pattern being the crinoline I made earlier.
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Materials you’ll need.

All of this is stated on the packet but here’s a quick run down.

  • 4m of a medium weight fabric (I used cotton sateen)
  • 3m of a light weight netting
  • Hooks and eyes
  • Top stitching thread in contrasting colour is you choose to gather by hand
  • General notions (thread, scissors etc)

The pattern is really simple to follow and just consists of the petticoat panels and the waistband. Once all the patterns are cut out sew all of the petticoat skirt panels together.
I stupidly didn’t take any photos of this process but its pretty standard and the patterns explains it all well.
Next is to gather the top edge of the petticoat. I decided to hand gather the top edge because of the difficulty I had doing it by machine on my crinoline.
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After sewing two lines of hand stitching I gathered it down to my waistband size.
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And then the waistband was pinned in place.
ZPHJbnF-.jpg-largeThe petticoat fit really well and looked like this with the waistband sewn on.
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I then put it onto the dress form over my crinoline so I could measure the drop the netting would have. The mistake I made here was that I didn’t measure it while I was wearing it, although my dress form is set to the same hight as I am the crinoline sits just that little bit higher on me.
wdpsj5k6.jpg-largeAt the time I worked out that the drop would be 9 inches including seam allowance. I marked everything out with a fabric pen and then I cut cut my netting on the fold in 9 inch widths three times which equaled 18m of netting in total.

I then sewed the ends together creating one long pain in the ass. I had to hem this… It took a long time even with my foot down all the time.

Then it had to be gathered down to 4m. Which again meant hand gathering because I hate myself. Thank god for Netflix. Once it was all gathered down I pinned it to the bottom edge and sewed it on.
Finish by sewing a pair of hooks and eyes onto the waistband and down the opening (optional) and you’re done!
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It took me another month to get around to actually ironing out the whole petticoat and I’m so glad I did. It looks amazing.
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It was so nice to finish off these undergarments with something easy. I do wish I had made the drop and inch or two longer I don’t think it will make a huge difference when the ballgown is on it. The main thing is its covering the hoops and I won’t have that dreadful ringed look like I did on my 1500’s project. One thing to note is that all together its beginning to weigh up, its not something that bothers its just there. I don’t see myself getting tired wearing it for long periods of time but it certainly has a weight to it now than previously with just the crinoline. The skirt of the ballgown will add to this but overall I don’t think it will be a big issue. I love this petticoat I’ve spent too much time twirling in it, its so fun to wear.

I’ll be talking more about future projects in my next post as well as University which has come around so fast!

As always thank you for reading.
-Nivera

Corset Construction, Let’s make Simplicity 1139

I honestly didn’t have high hopes for this, corsetry seamed so intimidating. Although I own Norah Waugh’s ‘Corsets and Crinolines’ I decided it would be easier for me to use a bought pattern rather than attempting to scale and size one myself for my first time. I decided on Simplicity 1139 which, like the crinoline pattern is apart of the ‘Fashion Historian’ collection. The corset and the other patterns from this particular pack are heavily influenced from the Civil War Era making them the perfect for my 1860’s ballgown.
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Materials you’ll need.

All of this is stated on the packet but here’s a quick run down.

  • 1 meter of coutil fabric (I used This Herringbone coutil )
  • One 12″ (30cm) corset busk (White Busk)
  • Metal grommet punching kit // ALTERNATIVELY One heavy duty fabric punch
  • White Top Stitching Thread (embroidery floss works too)
  • 3.5 meters of white cotton pipping (This is just what I used to lace the corset up there are plenty of other options)
  • One straw needle (I refuse to sew eyelets with any other needle)
  • 6 meters of white twill tape.
  • 6 meters of 0.5cm plastic covered steel boning
  • bolt/wire cutters
  • Disappearing ink pen
  • General notions (thread, fabric scissors etc…)

The corset is made up of seven patterns, six are cut on double folded fabric and one pattern (the busk cover) was cut four times.

This being my first corset I actually expected there to be more pattern pieces. In my mind when I looked at a corset I imagined for each boning channel there would be a seam but I quickly realised I was wrong and that boning channels were sewn onto the corset panels as well as over the seemliness.
NnjnLXa6.jpg-largeOnce the pattern pieces are cut out transfer the boning channel lines over to the fabric using your fabric pen. Making sure not to mistake these lines for the grain line as some are diagonal and don’t follow the grain. I made the mistake of sewing my panels together before realising the boning channels needed to be drawn but this was an easy fix using the paper patterns as a guid and drawing them in that way.

You can see the boning channel lines marked in pink in the above images. Making sure to iron the seams out flat as your sew them, it’s really important for this project.
BUT REMEMBER fabric pen ink disappears under heat so it will disappear if you iron over those channels you’ve just drawn. Be careful! I almost made this mistake again but remembered the issue from my crinoline experience.

Next get your twill tape and pin it over the seams on the RIGHT side of the fabric. Cutting it into correct lengths as you go. You’re then going to sew on either side of the twill tape as close to the edge as you can get. This will form the boning channels. Be sure not to sew the top or bottom ends up as this will be done later.
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Then repeat the process and pin the twill tape centred over the the boning channel indicators you’ve just drawn. If you were like me and used a bright colours pen you should be abled to see the lines vaguely through the twill tape making it easier to pin centred.
Technically you can pin the seams and the channel indicators at the same time and sew the all at once but I found doing them in sets was easier to manage!
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Once all the twill tape is sewn it will look like this! Now this is where you have an option and I strayed from the pattern, kinda. You have the choice of using a metal grommet punch and putting metal grommets into your corset for eyelets. However if you’re going for historical accuracy and making a costume that predates the 1820’s then I suggest you read Why metal grommets are the visible panty lines of historical costuming

I personally prefer the look of hand sewn eyelets, when using a colour matched thread they blend into a costume seamlessly unlike metal grommets which stand out and will catch any light source. I just think metal grommets look tacky. Sewing OVER metal grommets to give them the look of hand sewn eyelets, I don’t have problem with.

Mark the eyelet/grommet placements out with your fabric pen, you should have 30 of them if you’ve measured according to the pattern instructions.

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Then begin punching in grommets or sewing your eyelets. Make sure to do the eyelets one at a time or they can stretch. You can use fray check on them before sewing but I didn’t find it necessary this time round.

Continue and repeat 30 times.
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I found that I could do one every 10-15 minutes without distractions.
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They are very pleasing to look at once you’ve finished them though! Next up is inserting the busk. This was my first time using a busk and I find them so cool!
VTcqJe1b.jpg-largeThe instructions will tell you to mark the top of each side (stud and loop), you do this by getting some tape putting on each end and marking the letter ‘T’. Simple!
c3364368725d966935823b901b64349c7fefbd1b_hqStarting with the loop side mark out where the loops will sit within the seam allowance. Use your fabric pen for this. You’re better to measure everything for this. It has to be exact on either side of the busk or it will not connect and create a closure.
a9636cef9112d3d20055df091d1d16279aac0f96_hqAfter sewing the patterns together you should be able to slot the loop busk into the seam allowance and the loops will poke through the holes you created. It can then be sewn onto the base corset like so!
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The some idea applies to the stud side. Just this time your marking where the studs will poke though the fabric. The instructions suggest you use and awl to open these holes but I used my fabric punch and just matched the hole side to one size smaller than the stud so it could be pushed through the hole but not pop out again. Make sure to fray check these punched holes.
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Repeat the process of sewing it together and then onto the base corset. Last but not least. Sew along the bottom edge within your seam allowance and trim any excess fabric. Then pin and sew bias tape along the bottom edge. There were a few places the needle didn’t quite catch the tape on the other side (wrong side) and I just fixed these up with needle and thread being carful not to show stitches on the right side. The only reason I didn’t unpick it and re sew it on again was because I didn’t want to damage my fabric too much and the bias tape looked great from the front the first time round!
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Then cut your boning to size and insert it into the channels. I found the putting heavy duty duct tape on the ends unfortunately showed through the twill tape and left weird dark patches on the channels so I didn’t do that this time and so far so good, no boning has torn through the casing.
Repeat what you did with the bias time on the top of the corset and you’re finished!
Lace yourself up or get a friend to help cinch you in and your corset is good to go!

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The corset if I’m honest is too big for me. It docent cinch my waist in at all, the bust area is too large and theres no room for me to cinch it in smaller as the eyelets meet centrally down the centre (not shown in the above picture but I have since achieved that). I fear attempting to pull the corset tighter would ruin it. I’m disappointed it doesn’t cinch me in further at best it just flattens my stomach.  It looks as though I won’t be doing a shoo for this costume until next Spring so I may make a new one in that time and possibly sell this one as its of no great use to me.
My next corset will be smaller and likely patterned from the book ‘Corsets and Crinolines’ Unless I can find my other corset book which I know covers this period exclusively.
Despite the size issue I’m still really proud of how this turned out.  I’ve had many complements on my social media on it which is always great to hear! I think it also shows how much my skill has improved over the last year too.


This corset along with my crinoline and a petticoat (post coming along soon) will be worn under an 1860’s ballgown ensemble. Unfortunately my sewing machine needs servicing and I won’t be able to make any further progress on it until the Christmas holidays. But hopefully my mother will come and visit me during term and will bring along my serviced machine so I can continue to work on things in my dorm while at Uni! I will have a fabric selection and embellishment choice post coming along soon too so thats one update on the dress at least.

I’m really enjoying the Fashion Historian pattern line and I’d love to make some more things from it. Perhaps a pair of drawers to be worn with the rest of the undergarments.

 

Thank you for reading!

-Nivera

Crinoline Construction, Let’s make Simplicity 9764

I’ve been planing to start on this costume for how long now? I’m hoping to make and shoot a 1860’s ballgown all before university starts, is it ambitious? Yes but I’ve made a start!

The pattern we’re using is Simplicity 9764 which is apart of the fashion historian collection. It’s an eleven hoop crinoline making it perfect for historical dress and cosplay!
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I believe this pattern is currently out of print (no worries as it’s frequently rebranded and sold under new names) so the best place to get one is online. Places like EBay and Amazon are great places to look. I got mine on EBay for £15, unopened. I highly suggest you try and find unopened ones as you can never fully trust how well others look after their used patterns!

Materials you’ll need.

All of this is stated on the packet but here’s a quick run down.

•4m of a medium/heavy weight material. I used bleached Calico.

•24 of twill tape. This is what will be used to create the boning channels.

•27m of 12mm wide plastic covered steel boning. (I used 10mm because I couldn’t find 12mm where the shipping wasn’t insane, it makes no difference)

•Hooks and Eyes.

•Disappearing ink pen (Also know as friction/fabric pens)

•Thread (lots of it!)

•Fabric scissors

•Top stitching thread in contrasting colour

•Top stitching thread in white

•Tape measure

•Heavy duty Duct Tape

•Wire cutters

And of course a trusty sewing machine.The crinoline is made up of five pattern pieces. The waistband and the skirt panels.
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The pattern pieces are quite large so give yourself some room and cut them out.
0ff26e1f2a60f60028a0f6f578a16dbe3bc7ebc2_hqI like to iron my pattern after cutting them out, this makes sure they’re flat with no creases.
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Then pin your patterns to the fabric and cut them out!

MAKE SURE YOU TRANSFER THE BONING CHANNEL LINES OVER TO YOUR FABRIC BEFORE CUTTING!!!
I cut my fabric out before transferring the lines over and it was a pain to re-pin them and then trace the lines out. Make sure to use your disappearing ink pen for this!

Also check out my sweet purple fabric scissors. My last pair of scissors died cutting adhesive velcro, RIP.
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373a3534e462f8bdec6340935415230f569c8b4a_hqOnce all of the pieces are cut out sew them together making sure to take notice of the seam that’s finished with a narrow hem.
It makes a hella nice cloak when all the seams are sewn.
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Back to the narrow hem! This my first time sewing one and although the sewing pattern does explain how to sew one it confused me. I decided to look up a tutorial and found This Tutorialwhich is super helpful and simplifies it down with lots of pictures!

They’re pretty simple, once you know what you’re doing!
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This will become the opening for the crinoline.
Next up is the waistband and gathering the top edge. Straight away I’m going to say cut the waistband pattern from the petticoat (apart of the same pattern pack) and double the fabric. The waistband intended for the crinoline is tiny and and just a genuine pain in the ass. I tried following the pattern using the original waistband and it was too small, came apart and didn’t even look like a waistband. I just didn’t work for me, I probably did something wrong but I found the petticoat pattern to be a great alternative.
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///Note: I changed the waistbands over after completing the crinoline///

The next step is to gather the skirt up. Now the instructions say to use a long machine stitch with a heavy thread.
Basically two lines of basting stitches using top stitching thread. Make sure to use a contrasting coloured thread.
Now when I did this and stated gathering it all up and the top stitching thread snapped. And I’d used both a bobbin and a spool of top stitching thread so it should have been secure as hell. I brushed it off and thought it just twisted it accidentally which made the thread more brittle. So I sewed the lines of stitching again and it snapped again…
So I decided it would be easier and more reliable to hand sew the gathers myself. This surprisingly wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be!
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Once all of the gathering is in place and it’s gathered to your waist band size. Sew the waist band on!
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The bottom edge is hemmed and this creates the bottom two boning channels.
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The others are created with the twill tape.
This is the time consuming part! Yay!
On the WRONG side starting from the back seam pin the twill tape centred over the lines you drew to indicate the boning channel all the way round the crinoline leaving at least an inch over lap when you get back to where you started. Make sure to leave a three inch opening so you can insert the boning later!

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I highly recommend doing one at a time it’s a lot easier to manage and if you’re like me you won’t have enough (good🙃straight🙃long) pins to do more than one at a time!
Once the twill tape is pinned in place sew it on either side of the tape as close to the edge as possible.
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Then repeat that nine times and try not to lose your mind.
But if you do, that’s okay.
We have a weekly sessions you can attended. This week we have a box of kittens to cheer everyone up after we talk about our feelings.

It took me around 11 hours to sew the boning channels in (with breaks).
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It looks so pretty and drapy ahhh. The next day I started on inserting the boning into the channels. I got my boning from Sew Curvy Sew Curvy is run by a really lovely team and I recommend buying from them!

Onto the hoops!4c9a8d4ad469e644d464316b74fec1f6ac64f3fa_hqYou’ll need your wire cutters now!
Steel boning is pretty sharp even with the plastic covering. The sharp edges are sharp enough to pierce the twill tape and your base fabric so it’s best to cover them up! This also makes inserting it a lot easier as it won’t snag on anything. You can get caps to put on the end of boning but heavy duty duct tape works just as well!

The instructions does have a chart to indicate how long each hoop should be,
f30b8b2ff35be17aa8591dc3f2099e2bb29d931b_hqBut I wanted quite a full crinoline so I just inserted the bonging while still on the roll and cut it to size once it made the full circle. Do what ever you feel most comfortable with🤷🏼‍♀

Before inserting the boning I covered the end with the duct tape. I’d cut of a section wider then the boning and tape half of it to the boning.
fed228b3dd8d98f425c2e3224a4c451c168d9a37_hqThen fold it over and press the sides where the tape meets. And then cut the excess off the sides. And it’s ready to be inserted into a channel!

It’s pretty simple to guide the boning around the channel just be carful where any seams are. When the end meets itself again leave about an inch of overlap. Then tape the end you just cut and bind the two ends together using the tape. You should have some overlapping twill tape as well so pin that over the hole you left for the boning and hand sew in place.
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Repeat this eleven times!
Once you’re finished inserting the boning and sewing the channels closed there are just a few things left to do.

You’ll need to sew sets of hook and eyes down the opening and to the waistband to create the closure.
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And three laces needed to be sewn on the inside to each of the top three hoops. This will pull the front of the crinoline towards you more and push the back outwards for the 1860’s silhouette. This is of course optional if that’s not the look you’re going for!

Here’s a picture from the instructions to explain the process better!
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And with that you’re done! You have your very own eleven hoop crinoline perfect for any princess occasion!!

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I’m making the petticoat and corset to go along with the crinoline so look out for future posts on those patterns!

This was a lot of fun to make and was very different from the regular store bought patterns I usually follow. I’m super happy with the outcome of this and I’m so excited to get a dress over it. I’ve just got this costume and my Nightingale Armour to make before I leave for University I really don’t want to be stressing myself too much before then because I’m sure I have a lot to make when course starts. I think my worst nightmare at this point will be my dress form not fitting in my room!

Thank you for reading,
-Nivera

Ana (Overwatch) Work-log 3 FINAL

Hi everyone! I’m back with the final construction post for my Ana Amari cosplay from Overwatch!! If you follow me on social media or read my last post you’ll know I finished this cosplay over three weeks ago but I’m only getting round to completing my work logs now.. Whoops!


I started on the Biotic grenades, at first I wasn’t sure how I’d make the the middle sphere but remember we had a bunch of old Christmas decoration left over in a box to be binned and after rummaging through there I found two baubles which were the perfect size. They had some sort of silk covering on them but this was super easy to remove with the help of my craft knife.

Next I made four tubes which were capped at the top. This was my first time using contact cement and I was still getting used to waiting for it to ‘dry’ before adhering it to its self. This made things difficult as I kept trying to adhere the glue to itself while it was still wet, failing miserably. I did get there in the end!
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They looked a little something like this when done!
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Next I started on Ana’s shoes
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WHAT ARE THOSE ?!?!
I decided to simplify the design down a bit because at this point I had a week to make this costume and time was running out!
I bought a pair of skuffs from Primark for £3.
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Which I painted black all over, not including the soles.
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I then painted the sides of them brown.cFtLw4gA.jpg-large
I then patterned the top grey piece and glued that on with contact cement and my feet were good to to! The shoe pattern was really simple and curved over the band perfectly, the inner curves of the dremeled inwards to give a slanted look to them. You can see that in the following pictures.
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The below pic was taken after con so they look a little battle worn..!
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Next was Ana’s knee pads. When I first looked at these I thought I was going to mess them up so bad.
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I started by wrapping my knee in plastic wrap and duct tape and drawing the design/shape on. I cut this out and made a few adjustments like evening things out and making things smoother. As I had only patterned half the kneee pad I put the plastic wrap/tape pattern on a piece of paper folded and cut the pattern out.

I tested it as a mock up and the size and shape was great so I went ahead and cut it from 5mm foam and dremeled the tops of each piece at and angle. I then glued the two pieces together cut some smaller detail pieces out from 2mm foam and glued those on and it was done! After painting of course.

I really love how these came out! They look very accurate when worn and the shape and size is just perfect!

The shoulder armour was a pain to make, I tried to make them twice before I was successful on the third time.
The first time I was using a yoga mat as a base, this was before I switched over to the dense foam from CosplayShop. The yoga mat was just too thin and was damaged easily because there was nothing to it. I literally found I couldn’t firmly hold it or my fingerprints would imprint on the foam…
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They looked terrible!!! But to be fair my pattern wasn’t the best.
The second Attempt was made from CosplayShop foam with a slightly altered previous pattern. I mostly made them larger but kept the split (fold) the same.
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I did end up painting them but I just hated them, they were too big and the shape was all wrong again. These got binned and I started on my third and final attempt.

I don’t have progress photos of the third build I think at this point I had three days before con so it was rushed! I have included a photo of what the foam shapes look like as it can be a little difficult to see with paint covering seams.
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I made a stencil to help with painting the Overwatch logo on by printing out a picture scaled to size. I then cut the interior of the OW log out, pinned it to the foam in the position I wanted it and used a paint pen to trace the design onto the foam. From there I painted it a light grey.
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I used industrial velcro on the underside of the shoulder piece just at the top and then along the top seam line connecting the sleeve to the coat.

The Nano Boost was pretty simple to make.
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I decided the easiest way to build it would be starting with the vial and the building up around it. The ‘vial’ is another broom handle the same featured in my Biotic Rifle construction log from B&Q.
Again this was a week before con crunch going on so I only have worn photos and a finished photo.
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Nothing was dremeled for this prop just glued directly onto the broom handle. I did shape the black pieces to be curved before gluing them on but I ended up gluing elastic to each end which curved them anyway. the darker blue piece was clipped to curve the way it does which you can totally see! No gap filler at all… And the silver piece was slapped on top of that. What about the needle I hear you asking? That was made with the end of a paint brush

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It was hot glued into place, contact cement didn’t like it for some reason. Its not in the above picture because it slowly became extremely loose during the con (ITS ACTUALLY SO IMPRACTICAL THOUGH, I HAD TO BE SUPER CARFUL MOVING MY HAND NOT TO KNOCK IT). It did stay on all day, I honestly expected it to come off without me realising and I’d loose it but that didn’t happen. I ended up taking it off on the tube home for safe keeping.
It looked good in photos though!
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That was my first official full test I was so happy!

The shoulder bag was really simple too!
I drew up a simple rectangular box pattern Similar to this one! I didn’t use the tabs instead going for pinched seams. Tabs are for wussies.
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I cut the pattern out of my dark brown cotton fabric and pinch seam sewed it together with whip stitches. I found immediately that it wouldn’t hold its shape and collapsed. Using the template again I cut interfacing for it and send it together using the same technique. I then sewed this into the bag with whip stitches and it finally held its own shape. The interfacing it used was quite think and more on the ‘heavy’ scale of interfacing but if I did it again I’d use curtain interfacing, its like the industrial velcro of interfacing. Amazing.

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I then sewed two tabs onto the lip of the bag these snapped down with domed creating a closure. But I was going to be keeping my phone and money in here so for extra security measures I sewed some velcro onto the inside of the lip as well. But I only had the adhesive kind of velcro left over so THAT was a pain in the ass to sew by hand. (I hand sewed it because it wasn’t adhering that well to the cotton) I know you not suppose to sew adhesive velcro but damn the glue they use it thick. If you are in this position and have to use that velcro make sure the needle your using isn’t a nice one. because I had to throw mine out it was covered in that much gunk…

The strap for the bag was also super easy to make and you’ll notice the Biotic grenades attach onto it as well, seamlessly.
Time of poor MS Paint drawings!
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I feel like I have to make a key for this one its not one of my regular masterpieces. The blue lines at the end mean thats where one end is sewn to another so thats the bag being sewn to the other end of the strap which creates a loop to go over you body and will hold in place. For the main strap (light brown) I cut two pieces of fabric out in that shape, I then sewed these pieces together along the top and bottom leaving the ends open. This was so I could flip it inside out and poke the middle chunk out. I then ironed it flat. The four red dots represent where I sewed domes onto the fabric the dome pair was then glued onto the Biotic Grenades which allowed them to to be attached and un attached. This was super helpful for trading as I didn’t want them getting squished.
Heres a close up of the domes I did post this earlier but this will make it a little bit more understandable.
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The eye patch was another really simple part of the costume.
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The light grey is 2mm foam with a large hole cut from the centre of it but leaving enough space for the top black piece to be glued on top. The black piece was made from 5mm foam and had holes dreamed into it, they’re not that well aligned I know! This was mostly covered by her fringe so its okay! One corner was painted blue. The strap is 1cm faux leather vinyl which was painted black and contact cemented into place. It actually stayed on really well, I did plan on using spirt gum to glue it to my face but as it was really hot and from a short distance the slight gap between my eye and the eye patch wasn’t noticeable. For my shoot with this costume I will use spirt gum.

 

Also while you can see it in the above photos, I remade the collar. I used the same pattern I jut made it a little wider in places and put curtain interfacing in it. I also sewed down the top of it to make it curve over and it worked out pretty well. I’m not 100% satisfied with it but its such an improvement on the last tiny, flat one.
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And while we’re looking at this photo lets talk about the little ‘armour’? pieces on her coat.
What are they? What purpose do they serve? We will never know.
The smaller ones (shape like fat squished coffins) were just 2mm foam layered. The centre back on was made from two layers of 5mm foam the top layer had the centre cut out where a smaller shape was glue in place. These were held in place with you guessed it industrial velcro.


Wig and makeup

The wig I used is Amber Classic Pure White (Arda Wigs). Which does have waves though it. I would have bought Buttercup Silky Pure White (Arda Wigs) but it was out of stock at the time and the restock wouldn’t happen in time. Buttercup is a straight wig.

For her Eye of Horus tattoo I used FM Anime Ana Temporary Tattoo I ordered five of these and I was sent six! If you do buy from FM Anime please order in advance, these took three weeks to get to me causing some stress! They are fantastic and are a perfect size, I can’t fault them at all!


And thats everything, I think! If I have missed anything I’ll edit it in later. I was planning a pattern post but as I’ve already found people have taken photos from my blog and re posted them without credit I’m not too keen now 😦 Also the amount of questions/comments I get sent asking about or for something when its clearly stated in either the post they comment on or a related post is getting on my nerves. I don’t spend hours typing this all up just to repeat myself in the comments, if I haven’t explained something as best I could or somethings missing them I’m more than happy to help and answer questions and update my post with that info.
Please read my posts 🙂

I will have another blog post up with photos from MCM at some point so look out for those! I have another convention coming up this month with a new costume for that as for other costumes this we’ll just see what gets done! I’m moving to London in September and starting my course at the end of the month so making things in between then could get hectic. I am slowly making the undergarments for my 1860’s ballgown but I don’t think that will get done before I move… Sorry mum! And because its mid year I’m starting to think about next years projects which doesn’t help with this years projects motivation!

Weekly posts have failed again this year but maybe next year I will complete my dream of running a consistent blog.
I’ll see you guys in the next one~

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

Ana Amari Biotic Rifle:Construction

My first ever gun prop was a success! This was made roughly over a two week period using,
EVA Foam (5mm and 2mm) from CosplayShop.
Contact Cement (glue) also from CosplayShop.
Rubber Tubing from B&Q
Blue Clear File Not exact item (example)

I am so happy with how this prop has turned out and its defiantly my best one yet! I’ve learnt a lot through making this and whats really stuck with me is how useful blueprints are in cosplay. I will be using them for every prop I make from on!

Biggest thank you to Cosplay Amino user Beariore for sending me their blue print they made for their Ana cosplay!
I discussed with Beariore and they’re happy for me to give out the final blueprint that they altered from an Original Blueprint made by u/babomazer by adding line-work, scaling it and converting it to PDF.
Below is the blueprint unscaled.
Biotic AnaIf you would like the scaled PDF blueprint that I made/used for my cosplay then please contact me via direct message on either Instagram, Twitter or my Facebook page. You can find me @NiverasWings on all of those sites!
The PDF version I used is scaled to best suit my heigh, I’m 5’7. Another important thing to note is that its made for A4 paper as opposed to American letter paper, please keep that in mind before contacting me. I’m very busy at the moment and don’t have time to custom scale this blueprint on request.
Besides! I have a tutorial for doing exactly that using the Biotic rifle as an example, so Check it out!


Construction

I started by scaling and printing out my blueprinted and then taping it together. I taped it using masking tape on the back as it was stronger and not transparent and then for the front I used cello tape as it was transparent and wouldn’t effect any of the lines.
Ana BlueprintThis was then cut up into separate pieces based on how I had decided to construct it. I did this by laying the full pattern out and with a pencil I drew how many layers I’d need for each piece and then divided up the patterns into manageable sizes that would work and fit together well.
I’ve seen the combination of patterns and their sizes done differently from other cosplayers I looked at for reference but this is how I did mine. The red outlines represent the large patterns I cut out first, these we traced to foam and then cut into smaller patterns for internal details.
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The layering ranged from one to five layers depending on the area and pattern. For example the cover over the top barrel is just one later of 5mm foam while the butt of the gun is five layers of 5mm foam with an additional two layers of 5mm foam detailing the top triangle.
I’m currently painting the gun but once thats complete I’ll try and add an image here that shows how many layers each section was as well as foam thickness. And if I’m feeling extra kind I’ll outline all of the details I put in too which helped me simplify the design.

I then traced my patterns out onto the foam and cut everything out gluing them together with the contact cement. This was my first time using the contact cement and boy dose it have a strong smell to it!
Work in a well ventilated area or open some windows!! The trick with contact cement is to apply a thin even coat on the contact points (marking these out does help), leave it to dry for two or so minutes and then bind it together. If the glue is slippery and the contact points aren’t sticking you haven’t left it to dry long enough!
And soon enough the base gun was there.
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This was when I laid out my mop handles which would form my barrels for the gun later on. This was a huge boost of confidence and gave me an idea of the scale I was working with.
I then drew out an outline of what I wanted dremeled, this was only 0.5cm and I marked along the outside of the foam with a pen to give me an indication of when to stop dremeling. You can vaguely see these markings in the below picture.
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This was all glued together with contact cement, I applied it everywhere there might be contact for these pieces as I wanted no chance of it falling to bits.
Next I started adding details on top of this with the 2mm foam and some 5mm foam in places. I used the blueprint as a guide for this.7b85fc3037d036843d69e2d2a00bdececcd2024d_hq
Next up I added another small layer to the gun extending the pattern down slightly because I trimmed too much earlier in the build:sweat_smile:. You can see this gap in earlier pictures. I had to use a little bit of hot glue in the gap just to firmly hold things in place and also ‘fill’ the gap in where it was exposed on the edge.
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I also swapped out the foam I planed on using as the pipe for some rubber tubing. Which I think is such an improvement!
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Next up I made the canister thing as the bottom of the gun. I used the blue print patterns for this but just made the sides ever so slightly wider so they could be glued at the seams without shrinking in size too much.
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There’s air trapped inside it with the smallest hole in the seam so when you squeeze it it makes a hissing sound, I find it wayyyy too entertaining.
This was followed by another ‘mop-up’ (see what I did there mop-up instead of mock-up, I’m hilarious)
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This made me so happy!! There was light at the end of the tunnel yet!
I also fixed up the lower barrel mop end with some clay as it broke a little when I stomped on it to free it from the mop…
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And somehow it came together and looked pretty damn great!
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Next was putting the gun together, because I knew id have to take the gun on the tube I wanted it to be detachable so that I could take it apart to travel on the tube.
Originally I had wanted the gun to assemble with magnets inlaid into the foam for a seamless and sturdy finish. Unfortunately with the con only being two weeks away at this point and me not being able to find magnets in sizes that would fit/strong enough/reasonable price this changed to a good old friend of mine.
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No magnets? Industrial velcro it is.

So heres how I attached everything with velcro,
I’ve used coloured outlines which will match the opposite sides of the velcro to each other, hopefully this makes understanding how it was put together easier.
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I had a strip of velcro (toothed side) running along the top of the rifle (red). This is where the barrel would connect to.
There was a patch (toothed side) just below that (blue) which is where the cover folds over and connects to.
Then below that on the front of the gun is a circular patch (toothed side) (green) where the lower barrel would attach to.
A close up of the two lower velcro placements can be seen below.
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To put it together I would first get the lower barrel and stick it to the main rifle piece using the green velcro patches. The lower barrel piece also has two support beams(? I have no idea what to call them) which can been seen in pink and yellow (both soft side).
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When connected through the velcro in green the gun now looks like this.
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The next piece is the cover, this is the blue piece that literally just covers part of the barrel which is saw as a great opportunity to use as a weight to keep the barrel in place.
The light blue velcro (soft side) will attach onto the barrel.
The dark blue velcro (soft side) seen previously, will watch onto the base of the gun.
The pink and yellow velcro (toothed side) Which is actually just one strip attach onto the ‘support beams’ mentioned earlier.
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Below is a better picture of how it all attaches before being put together.
Watch was my drawing quality takes a turn for the worse.
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Are we still following?
Ignore the pink line line with the light blue at the bottom it was a mistake. Basically the cover just folds over connecting with the velcro along the way. The light pink line of velcro (toothed side) on top of the barrel is where the scope will attach later on. Theres a line of velcro (soft side) along the bottom of the barrel which attaches to the line of velcro on the base gun, this is seen in red.

The scope then attaches to the top of the barrel seen as the light pink lie in the previous picture.
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Which looks like this! Yay!
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And you’re all done!
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Finish it off with a shoddy paint job and you’re good to go!
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But in all seriousness I love this prop so much its defiantly my favourite to date!
If you want to know how to draw your own prop blueprints (with no fancy photoshop) I have a tutorial all about that Which you can read here!  And if you want to know how to scale and print those blueprints I have a another tutorial for that here!


I haven’t posted in a month and I am so sorry about that, it was such a rush to get all this done then I was away at the con wearing Ana and now work is super crazy every night!

I plan on having the last construction post for Ana to be up for next week maybe earlier and then I can start talking about new projects which I been saying I would do for months .. Ha ha.

Anyway back on board with regular posting! I love you all and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Thank you for reading
-Nivera