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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Something Weird I Discovered

Okay, I wasn't planning to post again quite this quickly, but I realized something interesting/weird that I didn't put in my last post. I've discovered that it's somewhat difficult for me to get the fit of corsets or boned bodices just right for me. I don't have an excessive amount of trouble getting the shape right. My problem is one I haven't heard brought up before: I have asthma.

What does that have to do with fitting a corset or bodice, you ask? Well, if a corset or boned bodice is supposed to be functional--meaning it's supposed to keep the girls in place without also wearing a bra--it has to be at least somewhat snug. I don't mean super-duper-guts-crushingly-tight, but it does have to be under some tension or it won't hold anything in place, and it won't really stay in place itself. The problem comes in because I frequently have some trouble breathing, even if I'm not having a really serious asthma attack, so how do I tell if my corset or bodice is too tight?

The answer is, basically, trial and error. If I put it on while working on it and feel more short of breath than I expected to, I have to get it off, give my body a couple of minutes to get used to it off, and see if I'm still short of breath at all. If I am--even if it was worse with the corset/bodice on--it's probably mostly my asthma. I also, with the corset/bodice still on, try to breathe deeply. If I can take a deep breath, even if it takes a little effort, the corset/bodice is probably okay, and if that deep breath results in coughing, the asthma is almost certainly to blame.

I doubt anyone else really needed to know that, but I felt like sharing my quirky little sewing problem. And it's especially on the brain with the thick smog in the air due the several wild fires in the area at the moment. My heart and prayers go out to all those more directly affected by them.

Now to our regularly scheduled programming....

"I'm Not Dead Yet!"

Well, it's been a long time again. I had plans to post again in April, but that obviously didn't happen. Then in May, I was providing daycare for a friend who needed it for a month. I had a lot of fun with those three kiddos, but I had very little sewing time.

I promised a post about my cage crinoline next, so I will start with that. As I said in a previous post, I'm making it out of electrical fish tape, which I purchased from Harbor Freight for less than $10 a spool. It's still not done, but here are some pictures of the "patterning" phase, for lack of a better word.
We duct taped the fish tape to yard sticks and skinny curtain rods to get the shape right. There are no pictures, but we gradually put duct tape on where the strips of fabric will eventually go while carefully removing the rigid supports. Jon has the master plan for that, so I'll let you know more when we've finished.

In April, I began making a muff for my friend and dance teacher, Kimberli, and I finished the hand work during nap/quiet time while I was babysitting in May. This time, my husband reminded me to take in progress photos, so I can explain how I made it better.
I started by making this long, rectangular pocket out of double layer lining fabric, stuffed with down from a really ugly down coat that we killed. It's double layer because down is really good at working it's way through fabric. Then we rolled the pocket into a tube like this:
Then I made the cover by sewing black Venice lace along the edges of the upholstery fabric that Kimberli chose and sewing the fabric into a tube that just fit around the down tube. I added small artificial pearls to the edges of the lace and slipped it onto the outside of the muff.
Jon and I are champions at salvaging things, so we used the (real) fur trim from a coat hood to trim the edges of the muff. We lined it with a purchased rabbit fur, though. That's the part I did while babysitting--sewing on the furs. I apparently delivered it without taking a picture of the finished product, as I so often do, so for the moment, you'll have to imagine how it looks. Hopefully, I can get a picture from Kimberli, and I'll post it later.
The other thing I finished up partly while babysitting, partly after I came home, is a cute pleated skirt made out of a wool tartan purchased in Scotland by the father of the skirt's owner while he served a mission there. It has wide box pleats all the way around with double box pleats on the sides. The decision to cut the waistband on the bias was both aesthetic and practical--the stretch of the bias allows for a snug fit without actually being tight. For the first time ever, I sewed the zipper in by hand because that was actually easier for me than getting it right by machine with all the bulk of the fabric.
For the month of June, I've been making curtains for a beautiful home in Hobble Creek Canyon. The customer purchased the fabric and decided the style, and I just made them, but I think I executed them pretty well. I apologize that the pictures are bad, though. I only had my phone with me when I installed the curtains, and I can never hold it as steady as my real camera.
I also picked up the Elizabethan gown again. I bought some little brass plated rings that are usually for window shades and tie-backs and sewed them to the inside of the bodice, spaced about an inch from center to center. I used them to lace on my gown, and it fits quite well, but I didn't take pictures of it on me yet. I should actually be able to wear it soon. Yay! (I took a picture after sewing on just three rings, but I have sewn them all on--15 on each side.)
Well, you're pretty much caught up on my sewing/crafting adventures, although there are a few things I will have to feature later. Hopefully it won't take me so long before my next post.