The design for the bra and knickers was inspired by the pin up look. I wanted to create vintage style, high waisted knickers and a moulded strapless bra.
The bra required a lot of hand stitching. I found it quite difficult to create the pattern, as all I started with was round moulded cups which needed to be covered with the silk and lining fabrics. I looked online and in books to try and find a pattern or tutorial, but my search yielded no results. I looked at the structure of existing bras to get an idea of how they are put together, including a vintage Dior longline bra which was particularly useful. After trying out a few different ways of covering the cups, I came up with a covering consisting of three panels. I then covered the cup in PVA glue and smoothed the silk onto the top, which hardened the cups and gave them structure.
I then hand stitched all the way around the edge of the cups. This was quite time consuming and difficult, as the PVA made it hard to get the needle to go through the fabric. I then attached the cups to the back strap and sewed on hooks and eyes as back fastenings.
To make the high waisted knickers I began by drafting my pattern from my model’s measurements. I wasn’t too sure about the correct pattern for making vintage style knickers, so I used a pair of denim shorts as a rough guide, paying attention to the panels and tweaking them to create the shape I wanted. The basic structure is quite basic: Two panels at the back, two at the front. When I tested the fit I had to add an extra panel at the top to make them high enough to come up to just above the waist. I then added two zips at the front. I was surprised to find that this was the most difficult part of the project. I think this is because I had very little understanding of how to make them, but I feel that I managed to solve any problems, and I am quite happy with the end result.
After much drafting, cutting, pinning, baste stitching, re-drafting, cutting, pinning, baste stitching…I’ve finally finished the corset.
I began by measuring my model and drafting the basic underbust corset pattern. I researched into pattern drafting for corsets by looking at online tutorials, videos, in books and at actual corsets. The original pattern was made from four panels and measured 25 inches around the waist.
After completing the pattern, I cut out each panel five times for the different layers which make up the finished piece. These include the lining, two layers of heavy cotton/linen blend which give the corset strength and house the boning, the fashion layer which is made from silk, and the interfacing. Once I had finished this, I pinned them all together to test the fit.
I then pressed the interfacing onto the fashion layer using an iron, and ran the entire fashion layer through the sewing machine. I then attached the middle layers and tested the corset on the mannequin.
When testing the fit of the corset, it became apparent that it was about 7 inches too small. This was due to the inches that were lost when creating the curves in the pattern. I drafted two panels which are 3.5 inches in width and added them to the original back panels. I then cut new lining panels to go with the new extra back panels and sewed the lining onto the rest of the layers.
Once all of the layers were attached I began to insert the eyelets into the back of the corset. This was quite difficult as the holes were hard to make, and the spacing had to be very precise.Finally, I added the boning and sewed the bias binding around the edge to give a neat finish.
This blog will document the inspiration and creation of my Final Major Project 2011.
The title of the project is ‘Nude’; Its concept is about exploring the relationship between clothing and attractiveness - why certain garments are deemed more appealing than others, why exposure of skin supposedly makes one more attractive.
I plan to explore this theme through the creation of an outfit that can be worn many different ways. It will consist of five different items of clothing; a Corset, underwear, a skirt and a dress. The garments are designed to appear as one dress when worn together, and will also work on their own.