When I moved into university in September I had to leave a lot of stuff at home. One of the things I had to leave was my mannequin. This meant I had no way of finishing the Schuyler Sisters set of costumes. I’d finished Angelica’s under dress but couldn’t finish the over dress, and my two ‘sisters’ had moved to separate parts of the country. So I began searching pinterest for inspiration of a new, fairly simple, outfit to make. I began leaning towards making a Rapunzel costume before I realised that wasn’t a costume I wanted to rush- I wanted the ability to spend my time getting every piece of embroidery right and every seam line in the right place.
Then I found this picture from Maby-Chan (her stuff is really worth a look if you’re looking for any kind of costume inspiration)
This was a much simpler outfit to make, I could get away with only making the corset and sourcing the rest from charity stores if I needed to, and so I began drafting the corset pattern, I’m already writing a post about how I made this which should be up in the next few days. I made the corset and bag, but sourced the rest from charity shops/ebay, here’s the finished costume.
Sorry it’s been so long guys! I can’t explain why (it’s a secret!) but you’ll know in a few weeks. I’ve not really had time to do any Schuyler sisters work because I’ve had other projects that needed doing.
I’m not just sorry you had to wait, but I’m also sorry this explanation is quite complex and wordy. I hope that the pictures are pretty informative, here is how to get Angelica’s bodice from the pattern from my previous post.
To make the bodice you need:
about half a meter of taffeta
about half a meter of cotton fabric (for lining)
at least 2 meters of plastic boning
at least 2 meters of cotton tape for boning channels (you don’t need this if you buy boning with fabric around it)
Some interfacing for the lacing panels. (I used medium weight sew-in but you could use iron on)
metal eyelets (don’t hand sew them, polyester taffeta hates hand sewn eyelets, you can hand sew over metal ones to make them look more natural but don’t hand sew at the beginning)
roughly 1 meter of bias binding for the arm holes (this is optional- it depends on how you attach your sleeves. If you use the method I’ve suggested below you won’t need it)
I chose to put Angelica’s lace on her over gown, but you could use lace here too. If you want to gather your lace you’ll probably need around 3 meters of it, if you want it normal you’ll only need 1 meter.
I started with cutting all the pattern pieces out of the lining and fabric. Your lining has a smaller seam allowance at the back than the outer layer as shown below. This is to allow for the lacing panels. The interfacing should be the same shape as the leftover bit of the outer fabric- you can see below how the lining+interfacing is the same shape as the outer fabric
I also cut a panel 10 cm by the length of my bodice back (minus 1″) to act as a modesty panel from both the lining, taffeta and interfacing (shown in green, black and red above)
The lining should be sewn first because if there are any glaring issues with fit (which there really shouldn’t be but things do go wrong) you can catch it before sewing your expensive fabric.
The first step is to sew the center front seam together
Then attach the boning as below (use sew through boning like rigeline, or pre-cased boning)
The last step to prepare the lining is to sew the shoulder seams together.
The modesty panel is something I like, but some find a bit annoying, but it’s really simple to make and could save you from showing of your stay laces. I’ll explain how to attach the modesty panel to the bodice when the lining and outer are joined, but making it’s really simple.
If you’re using iron on interfacing, interface the taffeta rectangle, then place the taffeta and lining wrong sides together
If you’re using ‘sew in’ interfacing make a sandwich with the lining fabric in the middle and the taffeta and interfacing on either side
Sew around the two short sides and one of the long sides
Turn the right way round and top sew the edge.
You should next make up your sleeves to be put aside for later. Make sure before you start that you’ve marked some notches matching your sleeve with the armhole.
Sew the side seam
Turn the hem of the sleeve under and sew a large rolled hem as shown below.
Angelica’s outer bodice is the simplest of all the sisters because it’s identical to the lining. You need to;
Sew the center front seam together on the outer. DON’T SEW THE SHOULDERS
Attach interfacing at the back seam allowance- as I explained above your outer seam allowance should be at least 2″ more than your lining seam allowance, this is where you apply interfacing.
Sew a 0.5″ hem on the two back edges (where you’ve interfaced)
Attach the modesty panel to one side of your back on the area you’ve just hemmed
You need to fold this extra seam allowance like below (left) and pin the lining like below (right)
NB: before you start pinning the rest of the lining, match up the center front and side seams first so nothing gets out of line
Then attach the lining to the outer at all the bottom and top, but don’t sew the back or around the arm holes. Be careful sewing the neckline because you haven’t attached the shoulder seams yet- leave a 1″ gap either side of where the shoulder seam will be to hand sew later.
Note the extra fabric before sewing
And the gap after sewing
Turn the bodice right side out through the sides and press lots– you should have two ‘pockets’ on either side like below, and lining shoulders sewn together but outer shoulders not.
Placing a cable tie in the pocket, use a zipper foot to make a boning channel around the cable tie.
Hand sew the edges of the pocket to the lining
Insert the eyelets in the back, I just used a modern alignment where the eyelets are evenly placed on both sides. I also used metal eyelets because I was fed up with hand sewing them by this point.
Attach the sleeves using the method described here and here.
Hand sew the shoulder together.
Some notes for you to be aware of;
Because I’m also making an over dress for Angelica I decided not to put lace on her bodice. For guidance on adding the lace you’d need to head over to my Eliza ‘how to’ (which is currently being written).
Technically boning should be put on the right side of the lining i.e. touching your stays. This is so there is an extra layer of fabric between the bones and the outer to produce a smoother shape, however this can produce extra wear on the corset so be careful. If you don’t want your bones touching your stays you can put them inside the lining, but I’d advise you then lightly interface your outer pieces so they don’t show bulges where the bones are.
Please try on everything at every stage so if something really doesn’t fit you can change it. My arm hole (for some reason) wasn’t deep enough and luckily I caught it at the lining stage so could change it without fuss, however if I hadn’t noticed until I was sewing my sleeves in I would have struggled. In theory if you’ve fitted your pattern enough times everything should fit perfectly- but that is not guaranteed.
I haven’t managed to get any pictures of the bodice on me yet, but I should be able to in the next few days. Happy sewing!
18th century skirts are made in much the same way as the petticoats, which I’ve explained how to make here. The only major difference is that generally skirts are placed on one waistband for simplicity and also shape, but petticoats are placed on two. This does cause problems though because you still have to leave slits in the sides of the skirt to access the pockets. Regardless, a skirt is simpler to make than a bodice and much simpler than a pair of stays!
fabric that can be formed into a piece at least 3 meters long by your longest waist to floor measurement + 5 cm. This can be a piece of fabric 150cm wide by twice your length measurement or any other way of getting this material. ( I would recommend buying 3 meters of fabric for the skirt)
Extra fabric for the waistband, you can use taffeta but you’ll have to reinforce it with a layer of tight weave fabric like cotton, or medium weight interfacing.
Some form of closure. Technically you should sew two eyelets and run some ribbon between them, but you could also use buttons or hook and bar closures.
Now how to make it;
Before you do anything IRON YOUR FABRIC, not doing so can throw of your measurements and it’ll really annoy you trying to do it later. Taffeta needs to be ironed on a medium-low temperature, use a pressing cloth (any piece of cotton will do, even a clean tea towel). It’ll take a while but stay with it and do not turn up the temperature, you can use steam if you really need to but I’d advise against it.
Cut your fabric into two pieces using the same pattern as I described in this petticoat tutorial. Make sure to include a large hem (around 2″) in your measurements because a large hem helps the skirt to hang correctly.
Roll hem the top 10″ of the sides of the panels, these will be the openings to allow access to the pockets.
Sew up the side seams (make sure to leave the top 10″ unsewn- where you’ve already hemmed)
Cut out the pieces of your waistband. You’ll need two pieces 2″ wide by your waist measurement. If you’re doing a button or hook and loop closure add at least 2″ to your waist measurement. If you’re using eyelets make it about 1″ less. Remember it should be your waist measurement with your foundation garments on otherwise your waist is different and the skirt is too big/small.
You’ll need to strengthen one side of the waistband, do this and sew three sides together with a .5″ seam allowance.
You need to make some marks on your waistband to help you line up the pleats, use tailors chalk, tacks or pins.
Put the waistband on your waist and mark how much overlaps
Fold the waistband in half (ignoring the overlap section you’ve just identified)
Then fold each of these halves into quarters.
Attach your closure method to the waistband (unless you’re doing eyelets, then do these after attaching the skirt) and press.
Line up the two side seams,the center front and center back of the skirt piece with the waistband as described below;
Place the waistband right side up with the rough edge at the top of your work space
Match the right side seam with the very end of the waistband (the area that will overlap later)
Match the center front of the skirt to the quarter mark immediately next to the place you’ve just pinned.
Take the last front seam and pin it 1″ beyond the quarter mark
Take the other left side seam and match it with the center front of the waistband.
Match the center back with the last quarter mark
Finally pin the other part of the right side seam to the very end of the waistband.
Measure 2.5″ either side of the center front of the skirt, this area will not be pleated to allow for the bodice to sit properly. Also measure and mark 0.5″ either side of the back center for the same purpose.
Pleat by eye, be aware Peggy has quite large boxy pleats whilst Eliza has very small pleats with Angelica somewhere in between. Make sure your center front and back pleats form an inverted box pleat. I would advise pressing your pleats from the inside before the next step.
Sew the skirt to the front of the waistband as shown below, making sure to catch your reinforcing layer. Now press all seam allowances towards the waistband.
Close the seam in the waistband, this can be done by hand sewing or top sewing with a machine as long as all the raw edges are inside.
Hem the entire skirt. Do this by sewing a small hem first then hand sewing a larger hem (it should be around 2″). Make sure to pin it so it’s level on you (you’ll probably need someone else to help), not necessarily equal all the way round. This will take a while but this is the best way to do it and make it look professional. Make sure you iron your hem really well, also if you want it to hang better you can hem with crinoline braid or bias cut facing, there’s a tutorial on these here.
Here’s the finished skirt with the customary back, side and front views. The pleats in the back aren’t sitting quite right and I think this is because I made them too small. Hopefully the bodice will cover them up and this will be something I’ll aim not to repeat with the other skirts.
I’m really sorry this post is so late guys, exams were a lot more time consuming than I predicted. But I finished my last exam on Monday and so I now have a lot of free time! This can only mean more sewing and therefore (hopefully) more frequent posts. This post will outline the process I used to make the basic bodice pattern for all three Schuyler Sisters dresses, along with specific design notes on how I adapted this pattern to each girls dress. I’m going to apologize in advance that it’s so long and wordy.
I would advise you begin this process by collecting as many reference images from as many different angles as you can. There are videos of the Schuyler sisters in action so watch these a few times so you can get an idea particularly of the neck line and bottom curve. Then get all these images into a form you can easily see, whether that’s printing them off and pining them to a cork board or simply having lots of tabs open on your computer. I have a board on my pinterest which can act as a starting point.
NB: As you can see from the above picture the Schuyler sisters dresses don’t have side seams (except Eliza and that’s probably due to her asymmetric front). They do however appear to have separate curved back panels, which you could choose to include if you wish. Also note that in the below picture you can see the shoulder seam of Angelica’s dress is actually 2 or so inches behind the normal shoulder seam. This is historically accurate and I would encourage doing so in your drafts because it allows the lace to carry into the back.
I like draping my bodice patterns but, if you don’t feel comfortable making your pattern in this way you could use the Elizabethan corset pattern generator and simply adapt the pattern. This would probably involve making more mock ups to make sure you got the neckline and arm hole right as you’d have to add these to the pattern.
I began draping by taking a random piece of scrap fabric. You need to pin the straight grain of your fabric down the center front of your stays- If you don’t have a mannequin you can use a pillow or a model (or yourself which is how I started)- but be careful to put pins in the stays not the person! You’re aiming to make something fairly basic- just aim to get the neckline and arm holes right, don’t worry about the shape of the point at this stage.
Once you’ve pinned your fabric to the center line you need to pull the fabric taught until it meets the side seam (or back if you’re aiming for a one piece pattern). Keep going until there are no bubbles, pin around the arm hole and necklines in a similar way. This post is explaining the method for a 16th century bodice (whose side seam is often in the back, not the side) and is useful for explaining this method. Once you’ve done this your model should look as below (left), simply cut these pieces along the seams and remove them from the mannequin.
Then lay them on paper- you can use pattern drafting paper, freezer paper, brown paper or plain A3 paper. Draw round your pieces and ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE (I always forget).
Now for the sleeves. The sleeves for all three bodices are identical except for their length. Peggy’s are elbow length, Eliza 3/4 and Angelica wrist length. Drafting sleeves to fit a pattern is an annoying thing to do and something I hate, but I persevered. I used this tutorial to help me draft the sleeve patterns.
Once you have your bodice pattern including sleeves you need to make a mock up- use an old dress, scraps, a bed sheet or any other cheap fabric you wouldn’t mind sending to the bin eventually. Sew with the seams facing outwards so you can adjust them easily. I would advise putting a zipper in the front or back seam for easy access and so you get a true idea of what the bodice is like closed (pinning it closed puts irregular tension on the fabric). Then try the bodice on and fit it.
My first mock up had a lot of issues. Firstly, the sleeves had too much fabric (red circle, left) at the top creating a ‘puff’. Secondly the neckline was too high and not the right shape so I drew the new shape on the mock up and transferred it to my pattern. Thirdly, the bodice was huge around the waist- I’m talking 4 inches too much fabric either side here! This was taken out predominantly along the front and back seams because they weren’t creating the right ‘curve’ (right picture, black lines). Fourthly the arm holes weren’t deep enough which caused them too be very tight and also limited my movement. I drew new arm holes and transferred them to the pattern. Finally because of moving the neckline and front seam around I had to redraw the bottom line.
My second mock up, which I made from some taffeta curtains I had lying around, showed that I’d eliminated most of those issues, but now had a few more to contend with.
The puff sleeves were still there, so I resigned myself to drafting yet another sleeve pattern.Because I’d taken in the front it was now too tight, causing it to wrinkle and pull the point up. The boning should sort out most of the wrinkle problems, but I added 1 cm to the pattern anyway. Another problem that the boning should fix is the ridge of the top of the stays. The final problem was that the front was way too short- only really acceptable for Peggy not Eliza or Angelica, so rather than trying to solve this problem I decided to remove the point from my basic bodice pattern. This makes it much easier for me to explain further down how I altered this pattern for each sister.
The changes that did work were the armholes and neckline- both are now the perfect shape.
So I did a third mock up! (I only normally have to do two) I decided to try the button placket on this one just to see how it would sit/how much seam allowance I would need to add.
So after my third mock up I was happy with the pattern changes, and so I was left with my final generic pattern. Below I have written specific guidance as to the design of each sisters bodice, because they’re all subtly different.
This was by far the easiest bodice to adapt from a standard pattern. Angelica has a small section of gathered fabric (probably organza) in the front of her bodice in her brown dress (left). I’m making the dress from ‘Satisfied’ (right) but it looks like she has the same sort of detailing under the over robe (middle). The point at the front of Angelica’s bodice is very V shaped, so I made sure to make it less curvy than some of the other bodices.
Peggy has a line of buttons down the front which seem to open the dress, however given that her bodice can be seen to lace up in the back I’m presuming these aren’t functional. I kept the standard 1 cm allowance on the left side and used 1″ seam allowance on the right hand side. The point at the front of Peggy’s dress is very soft and curved so I changed the pattern to reflect this, I made the point 4″ long.
Peggy also has 5 tabs evenly spaced around the sides and back of her bodice. To decide on the width of these I simply measured from where I felt the tabs should start and end along the bottom curve, then divided this by 5 (making each tab 6.4 cm wide). Since they look pretty square I cut out a few test tabs- both longer and shorter than they were wide and tried them over my petticoat to see which was best.
Once I decided this I marked where each tab would have to be attached to make sewing the bodice easier. I’d finished with this pattern.
This was by far the most complex, I found it really difficult to decide where the diagonal cut should be. In some layouts the central panel looked too narrow and in other drafts it was too big and it didn’t help that the image in my head was quite different to the actual dress. So instead I started by deciding on how I wanted the bottom to be shaped, before drafting the diagonal with a mock up as demonstrated below.
You can fix a piece of wool or string to two points to get an idea of what it would look like on the body. What you then need to do is cut along this line so you get two different sized parts of the bodice. Then you need to make a replica of your standard bodice pattern (with Eliza’s point) and attach them at the center front. Place your cut mock up over the pattern so you can mark the diagonal line. (I hope that makes sense, I don’t have any pictures of this part)
This diagonal line is a false button placket just like on Peggy’s dress, I therefore had 1cm of seam allowance on the smaller part of the pattern and 1″ on the larger bit.
So that’s how to make the pattern for each of the sisters bodice. I’m writing individual how to make posts for each sister as I finish making their bodice, Angelica’s should be up next week (there may be a skirt post in between now and then). Thanks for reading!
This will be a mammoth post, but if you read it all you should have sources for every piece of fabric and/or trim you’d need to make a costume exactly like these!
The foundation layers for all three costumes are identical (except in colour) so here’s the list for those.
1 set of Stays:
just over half a meter of cotton, can just be an old bed sheet. Bear in mind this won’t be seen in the final piece so it doesn’t need to be pretty, nor does every piece need to be made in the same colour.
half a meter of outer fabric. I would recommend either linen or tight weave calico which is cheapest to buy from fabric stores, rather than online.
half a meter of lining fabric. This is optional but I like it as a final touch. I got my fabric in an auction on ebay for 99p for 1.5 meters! This is definitely the best way of buying lining, especially if you want fun patterns!
about 50 cable (or zip) ties, these need to be LONG, up to 40 cm in some places. In Britain you’ll probably need to go to a hardware store but I know sometimes supermarkets sell them also. In America most people recommend stores like Target or Home Depot.
4 meters of Bias binding or 1″ ribbon to bind the top and bottom of the corset. I would definitely recommend going with the binding, even if it does cost more. Get it from your local fabric store for around 50p a meter.
6 meters of ribbon for lacing. This is the very minimum length you’ll need. I bought mine in 3 meter bundles from my local craft store (hence why the front laces are one colour and the back laces another colour). You need ribbon at a maximum 10 mm wide.
Grommets/Eyelets. If you want to use metal ones you can (I preferred to hand sew these) You’ll probably need at least 50 as the holes are placed quite close for spiral lacing.
You’ll need to decide if your pockets will tie round your waist or be attached to a waistband. If you’re attaching them to a waistband you need some cotton or thick twill ribbon as well as some form of closure (button, hook and eye, bar closure etc.) If you’re tying them round your waist you need up to 2 meters of ribbon or bias binding for the waist.
I made big pockets (35cm by 25cm) so I needed a piece of cotton 70cm by 50cm (28″ by 20″), if you plan to embroider your pockets this needs to be strong cotton, or you can back it with aida (cross stitch fabric). This has the added benefit of making your pockets able to carry more weight.
About 1.5m bias binding for the edge of the pocket, depending on the size, (or you could leave it unbound if you wish)
Much like the stays I made these predominantly from scrap fabric. I took the left over cotton from the middle layer of my corset to cut out the pattern piece, used spare bits of ribbon cut from the insides of clothes as ties and stuffed it with scrap fabric. If you were to use bought stuffing you would probably need at least 2lb (1kg) of stuffing (though that is a really rough estimate)
3 meters of ribbon or bias binding, use binding if you want a neat inside. I bought 3x 3 meter bundles at my local craft shop for £1.20 (40p each) however ribbon shouldn’t cost more than 50p per meter if you buy it from the roll.
2.5 meters of 150cm wide cotton, or 3 meters of <150 cm wide cotton. This can be patterned if you like, just try not to pick bright colours as they may show through. A crisper cotton is better.
I ended up not buying cotton of the roll for the petticoats, instead I bought sheets and bed skirts from the second-hand shop and used these. This was much cheaper than buying cotton would have cost as this way each petticoat only cost £3 in fabric. Cotton by-the-meter in my area costs minimum £3.50 per meter.
You need to be looking for fabrics like taffeta or dupioni in order to get the crisp fold typical of 18th century skirts. This can be pure silk blend or polyester, it doesn’t matter. However I urge you to always buy swatches first, it’s better to waste 99 p on a swatch than over £20 on fabric. Also bear in mind that Dupioni comes in two varieties; shot or normal. Shot dupioni is made with more ‘irregularities’ i.e. more of the lines shown in the picture below.
Also be aware that I’m often very stingy with fabric, even when my clients are paying for it. I bought between 3.5 and 4 meters of fabric for each dress, with the intention of using 0.5 meters for each bodice. This leaves NO room for error and so I would probably recommend buying more fabric than I do.
Angelica was the dress I had the easiest time sourcing fabric for. I knew I wanted to do her ‘A winters ball’ dress and cream taffeta is much easier to find than the colours of Eliza and Peggy. I bought 4 yards of cream taffeta from this seller on ebay, they had a buy 3 yards get 1 free offer on so I only paid £10.90 including postage! I then bought 1.5 meters of this fabric for £6.50 for the outer dress. I didn’t order a swatch for this fabric and so feel it’s not quite the right shade of gold for Angelica, but it definitely does the job and is a close enough match for me.
I spent weeks searching for a perfect match to Eliza’s dress colour online, the costume designer describes it as “robin egg blue, tiffany blue and azure” the closest colour I found to what I wanted was called ‘mint blue’. I think my biggest problem for Eliza was being in England; I found a lot of stores selling fabric which was almost an exact match, but they didn’t post to Britain. I would recommend you search for taffeta in all of the colours I’ve mentioned above before doing what I did and resorting to the ‘order books’. I really dislike ordering fabric from my fabric shop because you feel like you have to buy it, even if it’s not an exact match. They couldn’t get taffeta in anything close to the colour I wanted but they could get dupioni in a fairly near match so this was what I ended up ordering. The final fabric is a bit too green for me but I think its much closer than I was expecting to get. Also it cost £5.95 per meter which was better than I hoped (I was praying it wouldn’t cost over £10 per meter), so I bought 4 meters. I’ve recently found this fabric online which looks to be the exact fabric I used, but at a much higher price.
Peggy’s dress is yellow, but not lemon or sunshine yellow. Rather it looks a very muted yellow and this is incredibly hard to judge from pictures on the internet, so like with Eliza I ordered Peggy’s fabric from a swatch book. This was also dupioni but was cationic dupioni, meaning it changes colour when you fold it. Peggy’s fabric is almost perfect when in the light and not folded, however when it folds it looks very orange. I therefore had to wash it in hot water to help some of the colour run out and hung it in the sun to dry so it became more yellow. When searching for fabric you want terms like ‘yellow gold’ or ‘yellow bronze’ as like with Eliza I did find close matches, just in America. This material cost £6.45 a meter and I bought 3.5 meters as it was 150 cm wide.
I bought the lace for all three dresses from this etsy seller, on recommendation from Angela Clayton who uses her often. I was very impressed with her service; when I asked if I could have an extra meter of one of the laces she sent it with no extra charge. Furthermore the lace is really nice quality, not cheap and scratchy at all!
I bought the top lace for the neckline and cuffs of Angelica, the middle lace for Eliza’s cuffs and the bottom lace for Peggy’s cuffs. I tried to match as close as I could to the swatches in the interview given by the costume designer of Hamilton and think I did pretty well. Altogether this lace cost me $14.34 (about £10) which is really good for so much good quality, well matching lace!
I bought 6 self cover metal 1″ buttons for Eliza, 2 1″ buttons for Angelica and 10 3/4″ buttons for Peggy. These were 50p each because my local store had a deal on. You can buy 10 plastic buttons for £1.85 plus shipping here or 5 metal ones for £2.59 here. Personally I don’t think it makes a difference if they’re metal or plastic, so just use what you can find.
And the first set of stays are finished! This post will be a more detailed how to make the stays as the last post on the 18th century stays was only really about making the pattern.
I’ll be putting up a post soon about the fabric you’ll need to make all of the aspects of this costume but for this you’ll need
cotton for the middle layer
linen or tight weave calico
4 meters binding or ribbon
embroidery thread or eyelets
6 meters of ribbon for lacing (or lacing ties)
If you have strong linen or calico or even coutil (the ‘proper’ fabric for corsets) you can choose to just use two layers of that, skipping the cotton layer. However I like to sandwich the cotton layer with linen because it means I can get the boning channels really tight.
Cut your pattern out of all your fabric, you’ll need two layers of cotton (cut 4 pieces of each pattern piece), one of linen and one of the lining (cut 2 pieces of each pattern piece). The lining shouldn’t go over the sections where you will install eyelets as lining is more likely to fray than linen. Instead add a seam allowance the size of the lacing area to the front and back pieces of the linen and take away this area on the lining pieces.
Sew together the lining pieces and set aside. These are the only pieces that will have no boning.
Pin the cotton layers together and sew boning channels- do not sew the pieces together i.e. don’t sew the side panel to the front panel yet. You should bone each piece individually. I use a 1 cm wide boning channel for this (3/8″).
Pin the linen layer to this cotton layer and baste along the seam allowances of the piece but not the top or bottom- this will be where you insert the boning
I’ve basted down the centre front
and hopefully you can see the side seam
Insert the cable ties into the channels. If you’re cutting them down to size it’s really important to try and round the ends because they can get very sharp. You can do this with a metal nail file or sand paper
Now baste the bottom and top together to keep the cable ties in place.
Now take a zipper foot and sew as close as you can to the cable tie. This way you get tight boning channels and a neat outer layer because only the channels you sew show up. When doing this make sure to fold the linen to cover both sides of the lacing panel.
Sew the pieces together, the front/side seam can be tricky because you’re matching a curved piece to a straight piece but just go slowly and use lots of pins. Remember to trim down or iron the seam allowances into submission, so they don’t ruin the shape of your stays.
Attach the lining as you sew the boning channels next to the lacing panel as shown below.
Baste the top edge, including the lining to keep everything in place.
Bind the top and bottom edges. If you’ve put tabs on your corset note these can be really annoying to bind, especially if you’re using ribbon not bias binding. This article from foundations revealed is helpful, but just consider that I’ve done three sets and only gotten marginally better each time.
Mark the placement of the eyelets, below is an image showing how you should position eyelets for spiral lacing- the traditional technique used in the 18th century.
Insert your eyelets, whether that’s sewing them by hand or using metal ones. I found sewing them by hand really relaxing, though I did get covered in pin pricks because my bias binding was only pinned on, not sewn on when I started these.Also hand sewing eyelets takes forever- around 3 hours per set of stays (at least), so it would be quicker and simpler to use metal eyelets.
Insert the ribbon like the diagram and you’re finished
Here’s a picture of everything I’ve made so far- all the foundation garments are now finished (except for the pockets, but I’m embroidering those so their taking a while), just the actual dresses to start now!
After making my first petticoat I realised that attempting to hem a petticoat evenly over a bum roll was near impossible. Firstly you cannot do it on a mannequin because you have a very different posture to the mannequin. Secondly having to take more off the front than the back makes it very difficult to get even or pretty as you end up sewing diagonal hems which don’t always fall right. So I did what I should have done the first time and took the fabric from the top for the Peggy and Eliza petticoats.
Measure from waist to floor over the bum roll at the front, sides and back of your waist. Draw a sketch like below to help you keep track of your measurements.
Your fabric needs to be at least 150cm wide and as long as twice the side waist measurement (or the front waist + back waist measurement if this is greater). I used bed skirts to make these two petticoats because they were cheap and already had the ruffles on them.
When you cut your fabric in half it needs to be cut as below. The picture on the left is for 150 cm wide cotton, the picture in the middle would be for fabric <150 cm wide whilst the one on the right is how I cut my bed skirt.
I then pleated as I described in my first method, taking a front measurement and pleating by eye down to this. I did this on my mannequin then wrapped a ribbon around the waist once I was sure the hem was even. This way I had a bit more control over the length and could get a more even hem.
Pinning by eye
Ribbon tied over the top
pins transferred over ribbon
Add a ruffle if you haven’t used a bed skirt, or a lace trim if you want.