Friday, September 6, 2013

The Making of a Costume: Waist Cincher (Part 1)

After I finished the vest, I realized I needed an accompanying waist cincher for my costume. I certainly had enough scrap fabric from making the vest to make myself a waist cincher. I had made these before of various patterns. For this particular piece, I opted to use an existing pattern I had made previously -- the Truly Victorian corselet.

I knew exactly what size I needed to make, but, I also needed to modify this pattern in several ways:
  1. 1.5" shorter at the top. I wanted a very big gap between the bottom of the vest and this waist cincher/belt.
  2. Front laced opening (instead of rear-lacing). 
  3. A more "scooped" out back
These are pretty simple modifications. First I re-drafted the pattern to included #1-#2. 

For #2, it meant that the two original back pattern pieces combined to form one piece. And the original front piece (initially intended to be placed onto a "fold") was turned into 2 pieces with an extra seam allowance. The two remaining pieces (side front & side back) were relatively unchanged.

(Pattern pieces: front, back, side front, side back)

Obviously, a mockup was needed just to check fit. The back part wasn't "scooped" enough, so my Viking marked how my back scooped out. It only affected the back pattern piece and the side-back pattern piece

I transferred those marks to the pattern and added a 1/2" seam allowance. Then cut the mockup accordingly to double check fit.
(Modified Back & Side back pieces. The dotted line is the "cut" line)

Then I had to figure out how I wanted the scrap fabrics to lay out. I didn't want a complete replica of the vest, but I felt that a similar color scheme would look nice. So taking pencil and my box of 64 Crayola Crayons, I colored some ideas out.

First, I made the lining out of the solid green fabric. For stiffness, I used a light fusible iron-on interfacing. (Normally, I would interline instead of interface, but I didn't need a lot of structure to the garment, and I wanted to keep much of the drape of the linen.)

Afterwards, I pieced together the fashion fabric side of the cincher. Unlike the front of the vest, this part was extremely easy as each pattern pieces were cut from different colors.

You might notice that I have a huge seam allowance for this cinched. I actually have a 3/4" seam allowance. Why you might ask? Because I needed to bone part of this cincher in order to maintain some structure to it. I use a combination of a seam allowance and a casing for the bone to hold it in the appropriate location.

Here, I seamed together the top and double checked it, before seaming up the sides. (And always, press after each seam!)

More in another post about the boning and grommets of the finished cincher.

(And of course, the obligatory kitten photos! They love to sit and sleep while I sew....)