Finally. Work is so busy and so stressful right now that I’m not getting much done when I get home during the week. Today, although I feel like I could spend the day in bed, I really wanted to be productive and do some therapeutic sewing. It feels like AGES!
I’d already cut out the coutil and bronze silk [aqua next time, I promise], then ran out of energy- there are SO many pieces, and it’s such a faff. Normally I’m not very neurotic about perfect cutting out, but corsets go wonky very easily so I tried to take more care. It’s still far from perfect!
I then dithered about lining. Most instructions and tutorials just leave the coutil as the lining, but it’s stiff and potentially scratchy, so I wanted lining. I’d found my stack of pale pink lawn, then wondered if it might be too thin, allowing the bones to work their way through. So I used some woven fusible interfacing to strengthen it. Even more cutting and layers.
Then I had to settle down to basting the coutil and silk together, including tracing along all those boning channels. Thirteen needles at a time got threaded, and I had to repeat the palaver twice. My poor sore fingertips! Yes, I do have a thimble/silicon finger protector, but I feel clumsy wearing it so always wait until I’m already bleeding. Yes, yes, I know…
Impatient as ever, I was itching to crack on, so, pausing only to knock up a chicken curry with some of the lovely Sri Lankan spice mix I snagged at the International Food Fair, and handwash our delicate steampunk finery [the two white shirts and my silk shift] I ploughed on.
I’ve never done this before, but it was a doddle. I have no idea if I’ve done a GOOD job, but it’s in, and looks fine to me. Being me, and a lazy so-and-so with no perfectionist cells in my body, I have the bobbin threaded in the same pale brown as the needle, so the reverse side stitching will make some of you cringe.
Now onto the next bit…not so much fun.
Stage 2: Eyelets [or grommets for any foreigners over the pond!]
I stitched along all the lines, fairly neatly for me, then removed all the ruddy basting again. All the little eyelet holes had to be measure and marked. They are at 3/4″ spacing, apart from at the waistline, where there is one pair closer together. This makes it easier to lace the corset and tighten it to suit. SEVENTEEN each side. That’s a lot of eyelets to insert. I’m doing them manually, and after a test run, have stuck with the silvery colour, as the busk hooks are also silver.
I made the hole with an awl, gradually stretched it out with a chopstick, then wheedled the eyelet into place. It’s tough going, but gives a lovely strong finish, and seems to be the recommended method… The washer goes on, then the whole thing gets a few sharp whacks using the nifty little die set that came with the eyelets. I’m glad I did a test run, or I might not have realised how very very oily the die tools were. I’m all mucky, and have had to give them a good clean so that my silk isn’t ruined.
A quick cup of tea, and I’m off to do some whacking.
All of this accompanied by an appropriately steampunk audiobook: ‘Boneshaker’ by Cherie Priest. Not bad so far…