or The Trials and Tribulations of the Lobstertail Bustle:
What a fab pattern. Honest, it goes together like a dream! There are only 4 pattern pieces, plus the waistband, which hardly counts. I sewed it up very speedily, and was very impressed by the excellent pattern markings for the boning casings- they go across quite a sharp curve, but are very neatly drafted. I was also impressed by how neatly I edge stitched them! Unusual for me to be so tidy. I opted to put the black casings on the outside, cos it’s more steampunk.
Next day, I champed at the bit while at work, itching to get home and put the boning in. First problem- the steel boning was way harder to cut than I’d expected. I tried pliers, the missus tried a hacksaw, and eventually I got enough of a groove into it to just sort of flex it back and forth until it snapped. Hmmm. Seven bones suddenly seemed like a lot of work. Time for a diversion.
I contented myself with checking that the measurements on the pattern instruction actually worked with my completed channels. Good job I checked, they were all half an inch or so out, easily done with curves and fabric with a slight give in it. I checked twice, then measured and marked the boning. And there wasn’t enough. Like at least 15″ too short…
I immediately assumed that I’d made a mistake, and spent some time converting metres to inches, and back and forth a few times. The Truly Victorian patterns work in inches, which suits me fine, being a pre-decimalisation bod, but the Vena Cava kit is metric, so I checked several times. Oh dear.
The pattern comes in 7 sizes, and two styles, Imperial and Regular. [The imperial gives even more badonkadonk.] I’m making the fifth size, smaller bustle, which requires 4.75 yards of boning, give or take, that’s 171″. The Vena Cava kit comes with just 4m, roughly 156″. In their defence, it also comes with way more fabric than you actually need, as the pattern states a rather generous 2-2.5 yards…I think I squeezed it out of about a metre.
Next problem, I couldn’t get the ruddy endcaps onto the boning, no matter what. Frustrating! I sent V.C. an email yesterday evening stating the problem, also wondering if the caps were the wrong size.
Excellent customer service! They got back to me this morning, explained that I need to shape the boning ends to fit the caps on [doh] and that they’d ascertained that I was right about the boning supplied, they’re correcting their listings, and sending me a couple of metres by Tuesday.
Then I realised that I had roughly EIGHTEEN metres of steel boning hidden in the bottom of my habby chest of drawers. Well, one of them. It’s been there for years and years, totally forgotten. Whoop! The missus took me on a trip to B&Q to buy aviation/tin snips, which turned out to be AMAZINGLY efficient in cutting and shaping the boning.
We also went for a rather fab pub lunch, and a short stroll into the Clent hills, a local beauty spot. Home for a nanna nap, then I got the boning sussed in next to no time, channels hand-stitched shut, and hooks and eyes attached.
OMG I LOVE IT! Take a look at this baby. Everyone should have one, I may wear it to work… I’ve also realised that I can add an inside pocket [so cool] for steampunk perambulations. Even the missus tried it on and pronounced it brilliant. I will be making more, for no particular reason than the sheer bloody fun of it! My miserable attempts at twerking gave the missus a heart attack.
I can assure you that it also works well worn as an undergarment, keeping acres of skirt from tangling with your legs. Don’t you want one too?
And here, in case you missed it last time, a quick reprise