As always, please click on each image for a larger version.
In this post, we cut out the final bodice pieces and bone the bodice. Please refer to Jennie's directions for this portion of the project, under the header "Making the Final Bodice".
At the end of Part 2 of this tutorial, we had removed the basting on our fitted toile and voila, we had our pattern pieces.
Jennie assumes that you will keep those pieces as a master pattern, but since we weren't interested in making a second closely fitted bodice for any reason, we are using the toile pieces as our lining pieces.
In any case, we still have to cut the outer pieces as well. In the photo below, Kathleen has placed one of the lining pieces on fresh fabric and is using it as a template to create an outer piece. Kathleen's bodice is our model for this post...there are several of us in our period sewing group who are making them.
Here below is one of the pieces used as a template, carefully pinned and marked around. You'll notice that we have placed it on a fabric scrap...we saved every piece of fabric we could during this process in order to minimize waste.
Boning the Bodice Lining
Here is the bodice lining with the darts clearly marked. Kathleen is ready to baste the darts together, in preparation for sewing down the boning casings.
To sew a dart, she first made a fold in the fabric at what she guessed is the lengthways center of the dart.
Here is her guess.
To make certain that she has lined up the dart markings on both "legs" of the dart, she placed pins along the dart line, then flipped the fabric over to see if the pin holes on the reverse side are on the dart lines there. If they were not she tweaked the fabric and repins until they lined up.
Kathleen's next step was to baste the dart. She basted from the bottom of the dart to the top of the dart.
Kathleen then basted each dart...there are a total of six.
Her next step was to add the bodice boning on top of the darts.
You have lots of choices for boning: steel boning, German plastic boning, reed boning, or regular old prom dress plastic boning, the kind sold with fabric boning casings already applied to the outside, ready to sew down.
Jennie's tutorial covers making your own boning casings from bias tape.
For this project, we used the prom dress plastic kind.
First, we laid out the boning, which comes in a continous coil, down against each dart, and cut six pieces, each as long as each dart. We can trim them to fit later.
Then we removed the plastic from the casing...it slides right out.
Next Kathleen placed a piece of casing next to the stitching line on the dart. We have the bodice lining wrong side up...with the folds of the dart on top.
She pinned down the casing. Then she very carefully backstitched the casing to the dart, starting at the bottom of the dart, backstitching to the top of the dart, across the top of the dart, and then down the other side to the bottom. She made sure that her stitches stayed OUTSIDE of the boning casing's own stitches so that should can insert the boning itself later.
One could do this step by machine, but she is sewing her bodice by hand. Since this portion -- and indeed all portions of the bodice -- gets lots of stress because it's so tightly fitted, she backstitched with small stitches.
Here below is the stitching underway. She stitched the boning casings down for all six bones.
Here are the bones, below, removed from their casings. They are made of a flexible plastic. Because when you cut them with scissors they get sharp edges, it's best to trim the tops and bottoms into slightly rounded tips so that they will not poke through the fabric and irritate the skin. In the photo, the bones have been trimmed...look for example at the bone next to the pair of scissors.
Nancy R., writer of Excels at Nothing, wrote me to suggest the following further step:
When I've worked with plastic boning, I've always had really good luck runing the cut and rounded end though a lighter or candle flame. It further softens the sharp cut edge. Just don't touch it until it cools.
Thank you, Nancy, for a most sensible tip for handling tips.
After sewing the boning casings to the bodice, it's best to slip the bones in and check that they all slide in. If they don't, check your sewing and make sure it isn't blocking the channels. If it is, sadly you must rip out your stitches and resew.
It's also a good plan to make sure that the stitching at the tops of the bones is sturdy so that the bones will not pop through. Overcast the edges tightly or make multiple seams across the ends.
For ease in constructing the rest of the bodice, it's a good plan to remove the bones again and set them aside. Otherwise the bodice is rather stiff when you try to work with it :}
Next time, assembling the bodice!