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10 July 2010 @ 01:52 am
Bodice Construction Notes  
OK, I've made a fair bit of progress on my bodice, I have the body assembled, one sleeve constructed and ready to be set, and trim ready to be sewn on. I'm going to begin posting some notes on how I'm constructing it here, and will assemble something more easy to follow on the webpage I'm building. Since it can get lengthy, I'm going to put most of it behind a cut.

First let me show the pattern shapes I came up with. I make my own patterns so these were drafted from scratch, but you can find similar patterns and alter them, and I strongly advise making a full mock-up before beginning the real thing. What I did to get the lines correct was to make a basic muslin and take a picture of myself in it, front and back. I overlayed that picture onto a picture of Alice in the same pose, and using a graphics program, faded my picture until I could see the lines of Alice's garment compared to mine, then adjusted. It worked fairly well. Here's what my pieces looked like. Click picture for full size:

Example 1

These are the Side Front, and Side Back pieces. I cut for each two organza, two silk satin, two interfacing, and two lining material. I used corset coutil for lining (hard to find and pricey, but it's lightweight, stiff, and breathable cotton. Twill is an alternative).

Example 2

The front and back pieces are a little different. If you don't want to mess with sheer fabrics you only need to cut the bigger pieces from your material. The silk underlayer is a different shape at the top, but the same in the body. You will want to pattern for the body, and then simply copy that pattern and trim to match the underlayer. The underlayer will, of course, be interfaced silk satin and the lining. The tip of the side front/back will come to where the silk underlayer ends. Also note that the front shoulder straps are long and the back are short. The seam sits farther back instead of right on the shoulder. I also added an inch extension (closure side) to each front piece at the vertical Center Front line.

A fabric note, both the silk satin and organza are veeery shifty fabrics, be very careful about keeping your grain straight. On the satin, I carefully cut it out, don't worry if it's big or choppy. The interfacing will be of the appropriate shape, and though the silk will shift shape, just reposition it on the fusible interfacing and trim to fit. If you can keep the grain straight on your ironing board, you can even fuse the interfacing before you cut out your pieces. The Organza is shiftier, though. The grain goes REEEAL wonky, so what I had to do was lay it out on my table space and carefully realign the grain until everything was straight. Pinning and cutting will throw it off-grain, as will marking it with chalk. Your best bet is a felt-tip marker. I slid a piece of white paper underneath so I could see the grain (and so my table wouldn't get marker ink), placed my pattern down and simply put a weight on it. Don't even try and pin it. Mark it all out before you cut.

Now with most garments you assemble the garment, then assemble the lining, and then put them all together. Because of the sheer overlayer and the different shaping of the silk underlayer, it's a different process, especcially with the piping, so here's my method of construction.

With your Side Front and Side Back pieces, you will want to flat-line your organza to your interfaced silk-satin (not your lining fabric). Flat-lining is basically just sandwiching the layers together and running a stitch along the outside to keep the layers together. Usually the width from the edge doesn't matter, but I'd suggest using your seam allowance (I use a half-inch, commercial patterns use 5/8"), because this stitch line will make a good guide for your piping placement later. Flat-line these pieces and set them aside.

If you are doing the silk underlayer, that needs to be constructed differently. On Alice's bodice, there is a tiny scallop trim lining the top of the front and back pieces. I found the perfect trim at JoAnn's, it's very tiny cotton scallops.

Example 3

You will line your trim along your seam allowance of the silk satin like so. 1/4" is the typical seam allowance for a neckline, if you used larger you can trim later. You will only want the scallop showing, so you will stitch right through the center of the ovals. Next, place your lining piece on top. Stitch on the backside of the silk satin piece though, because your previous stitch line will serve as a guide. Some people try and sandwich trim and pieces and do it all at once, but I consider that sloppy. This is an extra step and will yield perfect results. Also, I started and stopped stitching half an inch (seam allowance) from the ends, this will make attaching the other pieces easier later on. Trim your excess fabric, clip your corners and your curves, turn and press, and you will get this:

Example 4

Do the same with the front pieces. Now, refer back to Example 2. You will layer the organza on top of these pieces and flat line them together (bottoms and sides only), MAKING SURE you only capture the silk layer and not the lining layer. On the center front pieces, I marked lightly my center-front line, and did my stitching JUST past that, it will make things sit nicely when you eventually turn them back.

That's all for now :) I wrote this at 2am so if anything is incoherent or needs clarification let me know :)