Thursday, January 27, 2011

weaving fabric, card weaving, and a corset

I've had lots of little projects on the go lately. I've been sewing (more on that another day), taking care of ducks, chickens and alpacas, spinning, and getting ready for weaving

These are the little scraps left over from cutting the pattern out of the fabric. They are too small to do anything with, so I decided to cut them into strips of various sizes and use them for a weaving project.

I figured since I made a skirt and some blouses, why not make a matching vest? The SAORI weaving book has a very simple pattern for one that takes only 1 meter by 0.5m of handwoven fabric. So, if I like how this weaving turns out, I'll transform it into a vest.

I was about to warp the loom the other day, when my friend and mentor arrived with some cards for tablet weaving.

Now I'm totally hooked on this technique. I have all sorts of projects in mind for it! Only problem is that I don't quite have the ergonomics of back strap weaving down yet and am getting quite the back ache.

The back ache could easily be due to the fact that I need more support for my 'endowment'. I'm a rather unusual shape: small ribcage, large endowment. So, a new bra usually sets me back 100$, if I can find one that fits! It's no use getting any old bra as a badly fitting one just makes the back ache worse! Even with all that, it has been years since I've found one with less than 10% synthetic fabric. Anything more than that creates blisters on my skin. (do I hear the world's smallest violin playing?)

Don't worry, I wouldn't be complaining to you about my undergarments unless I had a possible solution in mind.

Aside from being an excellent excuse to use my fountain pen, it's also my first attempt at drafting a corset paten. Instructions for drafting your own Elizabethan Corset available online at the amazing Elizabethan Costuming page.

I'll sew a mock up corset to see if I have the size right - I think that I'll use hemp cord for the bones instead of spending a lot of money on the plastic ones they sell locally. Besides, I'm trying to get away from the whole plastic thing. If it works, then I'll invest in some nice fabric and make another one.

It's nice because this pattern gives an Elizabethan shape to the figure which is a smooth line from the bust to the waist. Most patterns I've come across for corsets are Victorian in style with a clenched waist. Some of them have quite the wasp waist.

There is a kit that I'm very keen on. It is not much more than I would usually pay for a bra, so I think I'll get it, if I have good luck with the Elizabethan pattern. It is Victorian, but the shape is very moderate and well within the range I want. But that's for later.

I know that corsets are considered constrictive, but people have been wearing something like them for hundreds of years. I think it's when you go to the extreme and try to condense yourself into a 10 inch waist, that's where things go wrong. I tried one on once, and it was very comfortable. It instantly got rid of that pesky back ache. I think that this project is worth a try at the very least.


Josiane said...

Oh, that's interesting! Though I've never tried on a corset, I would tend to think that one that respects our figure (and not try to mold it into some unnatural shape) could be quite comfortable indeed.
I hope you'll have found in this project a good solution for the challenge you face in finding undergarments that fit and don't irritate your skin - and relief from the back ache too!

I've been meaning to try tablet weaving one of these days. It'd be fun to do it with my niece and nephews. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the projects you have in mind for that technique. :)

Isdihara said...

From years of SCA reenacting and having friends dress me up in fancy, corseted costumery, I can say there are pros and cons to consider. A corset with a perfect fit is both a marvel of construction and comfort. Perfect fits are hard to achieve.

Corsets also come with breathing and eating restrictions. (There is a reason why Madame Bovary fainted so frequently in the classic novel.) If you are not accustomed, please ease into it in small doses.

Jumping off the soapbox now. Wishing you success and blissful backache relief!