Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Drifting Lace for Evenings of Dancing"

Champagne lace over a rustle of taffeta . . . one of the prettiest dresses you could wear to a dance. In white, it would be charming for a wedding or graduation. The tiny bodice has a wide neckline underscored by a double organdie collar. A wide, drifting skirt whittles in your waist, whirls gracefully as you dance. It should take about 20 hours to make. Vogue Pattern No. 7631. "Easy-to-Make." Sizes 12 to 20 (30 to 38). Price, 60 cents. Also in Junior sizes, No. 3462. 9 to 15 (29-1/2 to 33). See the pattern envelope for the yardage requirements. 

Ah, doesn't VoNBBS know how to talk to a lady? A rustle of taffeta, whirling, whittling--I'm swooning! Of course, VoNBBS is also very practical. No "instant dress" nonsense here. No "one hour project!" promises. Nope, young lady, you are going to spend 20 HOURS on this thing. And you're going to do it right--tailors tacks and all!

Here's the picture diagram on the pattern instructions.

 And VoNBBS's charming illustrations of the pattern pieces.


As for my progress, I'm happy with my bodice muslin! I didn't get good pictures of the first (sorry), but here is the second muslin.

As you can see, I'm practicing how to stand in an evening dress. This is how I imagine it must be done.

A closer look at the front. You can see that I've repinned the darts on my left side; they're a much better fit now. I plan to take in the neckline dart just a smidge to get rid of the small about of gaping.

Can I take a moment to wax rhapsodic over corsets? Where have they been all my life?! They're much more wearable than my powernet waist cincher (I've even worn it all day at work), and they provide the perfect 50s silhouette under dresses. I had a revelation about fitting too. Previously, I was trying to mold my body into a retro shape with my fitting--taking out too much ease, etc. Now I can just let the clothing skim over me and it looks lovely! (I think so anyway.) The one thing I had to do was take out fabric at center front for the corset. I notice that fabric can pool around the midsection on a corseted figure. Taking in the side seams just cause horizontal pulls. But drawing a new center front line (the "cut on fold" line) is the solution. I took out 1/2" at waistline center front, and drew a new straight line up to the original neckline center front, as shown by the red line below.


That's my new center front. It shifts the grainline a bit. It worked surprisingly well.

Here's the back.

So I'm feeling ready to cut! I want to retain the original collar shape, and the skirt is a simple gathered pattern, no fitting required. I will keep you updated on the cutting and construction, readers!

34 comments:

  1. Wow - dreamy - can't wait to see this develop into something beautiful!

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  2. It's really nice to have you back with the VoNBBS! I don't think I ever get tired of muslin fitting pictures...
    And the waist, gal! The 50s silhouette is all there. I wouldn't even think about wearing a corset for work, but for evenings with my dresses... It would be nice to try once, but it's a completely new world!

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  3. Wow, I'm so impressed that you wore a corset all day at work! I can't think of anything worse. Mind you, I do spend a large part of most of my working days sitting in the car, probably not the most comfortable thing to do in a corset.

    I'd love one for the way it looks though, your waist is tiny!

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  4. I wore a corset from 10am to 3am at my sisters wedding and after party. It was the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever worn. If they are made well, they are super comfy and give so much suppot too!
    Really looking forward to following you with this adventure!

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  5. I'm so glad you're back at VoNBBS! I've missed these posts tremendously :) Can't wait to see how your gown turns out - I'll admit, the envelope pictures aren't the best, but I'm positive yours will be beautiful :)

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  6. I remember way back in college, a visiting tutor ( who was helping us make a corset ), mentioned that she never made a custom bridal gown without first making a corset for the bride. After making a few bridal gowns, I can understand why - a lot less heartache when bride goes up or down slightly in weight/girth due to wedding stress.
    She said she would make the corset fit snuggly but with room for a little tightening if needed. Then she would measure the gap between the laces in a few place, so that at the next toile/gown fitting she could lace the corset up excatly as before.

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    1. Wow, that is fascinating! Such great advice.

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  7. Well, I officially want a corset. Who would have ever guessed?

    I also love that the VoNBBS pattern states how long it should take to sew. Then you're not underestimating your time. :)

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  8. I would be curious to know how long this actually takes you to make. I'm wondering if they are being realistic for an average home sewer, or not.

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  9. The best part about wearing a corset is that you feel confident in the fit of your dress/skirt and it eliminates the binding feeling of the waistband with little ease. And it gives you a lovely smooth line from the bust to your hips.

    My only problem when wearing one is getting in and out of our car. It seems modern sedans require bending in half and bucket seats create a curved back. This might not be a problem for persons under 6' tall however.

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  10. That struck me, too - 20 hours is a couple hours every evening for a couple weeks, not a lot, for that much dress. Especially considering you'd want to hand-hem at least the skirt, maybe the collars. Heck, I can spend 5-6 hours on a simple machine-sewn shirt!

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  11. Great waist shape, it's what a dress like that needs. Gertie I think your shoulder straps are too far out. It looks like it is going to fall off your shoulder at any moment. The adjustment to centre front is going to naturally make the shoulder straps farther set and I reckon an adjustment is in order. :)

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    1. Hmm! I'll look at that tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!

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  12. I know it was the focus... But I love the skirt. Can't wait to see the dress as it transforms!

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    1. Thanks! The skirt is in my book!

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  13. I am waiting patiently for the next post!!!

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  14. after reading all about your corset i really want to try and make one for myself! i'm a very slim boy but would love an even smaller waist, just for that WOW factor! thanks for all your information :)

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  15. I am looking forward to seeing that dress. I should be sewing for my drive to Michigan next week (Deckerville Homecoming and 50 Year Class Reunion), but I'm not.

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  16. I recall seeing something on the www a long time ago (when my interest in corsets was first piqued) an article about a frenchman who us a famous corsetier(?is that the word?). It showed photos of what his body looked like without the corset. He had intentionally set out to 'train his waist' and to be honest his skeleton looked quite bizarre, but I guess that was what he'd wanted. I understand it is quite possible to train your waist and it really does work.
    I'm really interested because as an ex midwife I know how pregnancy 'adjusts' the body. No girls, its not in your heads. Do you recall the rib pain? My torso is much squarer than it was pre pregnancy and I do believe my ribs flair more at the bottom. I have a crappy back too, so I'm really looking forward to receiving my corset kit in the mail (any day now I hope).
    I think this idea of 'waist training' is an interesting permutation of your interest in body image and I enjoy the thought of being able to change my body to my will, much like an athlete does - fascinating stuff.
    Keep up the good work, I love your blog Gertie!x

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    1. Do you mean Mr. Pearl? I just discovered him myself. He does amazing corsetry and yes, he is VERY dedicated to tight lacing.

      I do think you could correct the rib issue with serious waist training, but I'm not very well educated on the matter. There are many amazing corset and tight lacing sites out there; I hope you find what you are looking for! :) And thank you for the compliments. :)

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  17. Hi Gertie, I was wondering what you do with the ties in the back of the under bust corset when you wear it beneath a dress? Isn't there a lump where it has been tied?

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    1. Hi! I found the ties lay pretty smoothly, actually. I used very thin laces though--the imported ones from corsetmaking.com.

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  18. Oh awesome! I love muslin posts. And how serendipitous, I was just wondering about tapering my CF line on a bodice, and was scared it would change the grainline too much. But if it's good enough for YOU it's good enough for ME :)
    I'm excited for your dress :)

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  19. When I wore my corsets, the laces were wrapped around the waist and tied in front. These were "real" waist-reduction style corsets;nothing radical, only 2", since I already had a naturally small waist(I was going from a 26" to a 24" waist, bust 38, hip 38) but even a 2" waist reduction was brutal at first; only 20 minutes the first time and gradually increasing the time until I could wear it laced down the whole way for the whole evening without a problem. One can forget sitting in squishy chairs and sofas unless you want a bisected liver... But I can tell you the tiny waist thing is a total MAN MAGNET; I once went to a regular (as opposed to 'fetish") party wearing my corset under my dress, (a dress which I had worn previously) and I tell you: all night long, ALL the men in the room were making excuses to come over and chat flirtatiously; that had NEVER happened before with this crowd, and the only thing different was that I was wearing my corset!

    I have never liked excessive waist reduction; there is a point on every person past which it just looks grotesque; that Mr. Pearl always looked to me like a sack of flour tied in the middle; but then some people have no sense of proportion; if a little is good then MORE is better-and entirely too much is just right!

    I once saw an antique Victorian dress form with a small corseted-type waist. From the front it looked good; from the side it was bizarrely thicker from front to back; the side-to-side "narrowness" of the body was actually compressed into 'front-to-back thickness..it looked VERY odd and definitely deformed!

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  20. gHow much do you think you can take out of the CF and not effect the grain line of the bodice?

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  21. Hi Gertie, I like the muslin! Love the skirt, can't wait for your book and your corset tutorial makes me want to make one. ;}

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  22. Yes, I've been told that a well fitting corset is actually super-comfy. Love this journey you're on! And you're still wearing your gingham Gertie Gathered Skirt - how lovely.

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  23. While I appreciate that the corset may indeed be comfortable for some, I just can't wrap my head around it. I remember wearing girdles growing up (50's and 60's) and I was a skinny as a bean. I couldn't wait to get it off. It was important at that time that nothing jiggled, wiggled or swayed! I do thoroughly enjoy your journey, however, and cannot wait to see the gown.

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  24. I await with breathless anticipation!

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  25. I love the pictures on the wall behind you, looking over your shoulders like your conscience!!!

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  26. I've been sitting on the fence about corsets because of the comfort issue. My problem is that I gained weight during my last pregnancy and my thyroid quit working so that I have a bulging middle. This makes it increasingly difficult to wear clothes that hang well on my body.

    One of the things I hate most is to wear a blouse or a dress that looks like a tent to camouflage my midsection.

    Thanks to all the folks who are leaving comments on their very real experiences with corset wearing. It really helps me come to a better understanding of these things.

    Debbie...(O:
    ><>

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  27. Ohmygosh, could this be the same fit issue I had with this dress: http://www.flickr.com/photos/raywuwei/7149465041/in/photostream/ The pulling is happening at more of a diagonal, but I've already taken so much out with the darts that I couldn't fathom making them even bigger. Maybe I should create a new center front!

    My body is basically shaped like I've got a corset on, which is why I taught myself how to sew. I'd love to get the fit perfect, so I can finally feel like my shape is a blessing rather than a fitting nightmare!

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  28. What is the name of the book in the photo Gertie?

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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