Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Elsa Project, Part 2

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a good one this past week. Despite the holiday, a craft show and appointments, I still managed to sew Elsa's corset--not once, but twice. This seems to be a recurring theme. I sew an item, for whatever reason it doesn't work, so I make another. Call it a learning curve. (Some curves are steeper than others.)

For my pattern I turned to the tried and true #16 The Corset from Gracefaerie Designs. I've made it several times, always with success. This time I chose a different version of the corset, the one with a solid front. It laces up the back but I chose to close it with either hooks or snaps. I don't know why I second guessed myself here, because the pattern already allows for extra fabric in this version with a slightly wider back piece. For some reason I assumed that I would also need additional fabric in front to make up for not lacing it. Bad idea. Corset #1 ended up way too wide.
Corset #2 in progress (inside out)

That wasn't the only problem. The pattern recommends using a tightly woven medium weight fabric. My knit fabric was not only hard to sew in and of itself, but even more so when paired with a lining that has no stretch. (Why do I do this to myself?) Add to the mix a very basic sewing machine, which offers no stretch stitch, and you have a recipe for disaster. I substituted a small zigzag stitch. This works well on some garments; here it left me with seams too narrow to top stitch. I did the best I could under the circumstances. Not good enough. I could go on listing the mistakes I made putting this corset together but I won't bore you. I think you get the general idea.
Corset #1 (top) and Corset #2 (inside out; bottom)

Another day, another corset. I'm still using the wrong weight fabric because it has the look I want; however, this time I'm going to make it work for me. I start by changing to a regular straight stitch. I'm still using the ballpoint needle because why ask for trouble, right? Everything progresses smoothly. There are a couple of places where my thread gets tangled in the knit's loose weave, but I fix those and move forward. Now admit it: you're waiting for something to go wrong. Sorry to disappoint you but Corset #2 is a winner. I fit it on Mirwen and decide I have enough room for snaps in back. Not sure I'm going to keep the silver beads I added to the body suit neckline. The Simplicity pattern adds glitter. No thanks--I've got too much glitter scattered around the room as it is. What I really want is to make another version of the body suit in a tighter knit--if I can find a fabric I like. The light blue knit just doesn't hold up.
Corset #2 (right side out)

The Simplicity pattern for Elsa's costume combines the corset and cape into one piece. I considered doing it that way, then decided I might like to use the corset with other skirts occasionally. That means I need to treat the cape as a separate piece that attaches by means of hooks or snaps. I would have started work on it today except I forgot to measure Mirwen for the length. Oh well, it's too dark to do any more sewing today. The day that started out cloudy, then cleared up to give us a brief hour or so of bright sunshine, finally turned dark again and sent us snow. 'Tis the season.

Edited on Tuesday, December 1st to Add:

Another day, another body suit. If the first one was too tight and the second one was too loose, finally the third one is just right. I only wish the fabric were not quite so dark. It does have gradations from dark to light, as well as a sort of star trail in a sequin-like material that was surprisingly easy to sew, so there is visual interest. Here it is:
And here it is with the corset:
It's hard to get correct color in photos that have no white or gray. The chair, however, is indeed yellow and the outfit pieces are more aqua than true blue, so the bottom photo is nearer the right color.


  1. Well, I think the corset #2 turned out great!! I love the fabric you used, and I think it fits perfectly! I think that not attaching the cape to the corset is the best, in case you want to use it for other outfits!

    1. Thanks Musume! I think so too.
      I spent most of today remaking the body suit in another fabric. It's much better this time. The fabric is not the pale color I wanted, but it works with the other fabrics so I'm happy.