Sunday, September 13, 2015

Of Corset is a Sewing Post

I have had Vogue pattern 7639,  in my pattern stash for a while.The long Labor Day weekend was the perfect time to sew it.

Vogue Pattern 7639

 The pattern envelope description is “Close-fitting blouse has length variation, princess seams, top stitching , boning collar, front hook/eye closing  view AB long sleeves with cuff View C halter back."

I made view A which has is hip length and has long sleeves.  I used a cotton chambray fabric, one of my favorite fabrics.
 I first wore this fabric in RTW chambray “work shirts” back in the mid 70’s.   I had hand embroidered mine with flowers and animals like this one.

 I put a quilt panel on the back of  the work shirt I customized  for my boyfriend, now my DH.  At dinner tonight,  I asked him if we had any pictures of us wearing  those shirts and he surprised me by saying. 'I still have the shirt".  He not only has it, but it still fits.  He said "it was too precious to throw away."  Aww.  That is why he is a keeper. 

Those work shirts were unfitted. This blouse is very fitted. The multiple seaming in the waist and hip area below the bust is similar to seaming used in corsets.  In fact one Etsy seller of this pattern describes it as “corset inspired”.

This pattern uses hook and eyes for the closure on the front and the sleeve cuffs. Specifically ½ inch  hook and eye tape.  The assembly instructions assumes you are using this tape. My attraction to patterns with unusual styling details and closures often causes projects to take extra time to complete, what with the time I spend driving around to the local sewing stores trying to find certain sewing notions, closures, button, or zipper styles.  My local JoAnn’s and Hancock’s did not carry the tape.  A Google  search returned many widths of hook and  eye tape with the most common being the wide type used for bra closures.  I finally found a good picture of the type of tape used on the blouse  from an Etsy seller based in China and after studying it for a while I decided to make my own.

  Basically it is a stripe of woven fabric, double folded with raw edges inside. The hooks or eyes are sewn inside, with only the hook or eye sticking out beyond the tape edge. I use a poly cotton woven sew in interfacing for the tape; lightweight but with body/stiffness. Another hard to find item.

I sewed the hooks and eyes to the inside of the tape using the button setting on my machine. This is basically a zigzag in place stitch. The stitch length is set to 0 so there is no forward movement, with tacking (FIX button on my machine) to tie off the threads.

Machine sewing Eye  to tape

Top stitching the long open edges of the tape together was easy for the eye side.  I just went slowly to avoid hitting the metal legs of the eyes.  There must be commercial machine that does this on the hook piece. One that can maneuver easily around the lumpy hook.  I was able to sew along the edge of the tape between the hooks, stop and pull the hook under the pressure foot and resume sewing on the other side.  I used a zipper foot which acted as one side of the pressure foot, but to feed the fabric evenly, I had to use a finger as the other side like a pressure foot.  You guessed it, the needle tried to sew my finger to the tape.  Not a deep or painful bite, but it did bleed.

Finished tape

My homemade tape was perfect, once it was completed and the blood stains removed.
While I was doing all this sewing I got to thinking about corsets.  I don’t understand the fascination with them, but there sure are a lot of  patterns, sewalongs, and blog posts on how to sew them. One site listed these reasons for buying a corset.

Why buy a Corset ?  Would you like an hourglass figure? Would you like to appear slimmer? Would you like to train your waist into shape? Do you need back or posture support? Would you like a beautiful, authentic lingerie item for the bed room? Do you want to join in the latest fashion trend? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then an authentic quality corset may be just what you're looking for!

 Um Okay.  Sorry but corsets don’t fit into any part of my life, real or role play.  But I recalled the lacing often found on the back of corsets to cinch waist in, and thought it might be amusing to add lacing to the back of this blouse.

HenriToulouse-Lautrec Woman in Corset
   It was easy enough to do.   I made some long interfaced tabs with metal eyelets and sewed them into the back darts at the waist level.  Some white soutache braid from my stash was used for the lacing.  
Back lacing

Though the pattern calls for boning in the seams below the bust, I didn’t think that would be real comfortable when sitting, so I left it out. Actually the seaming doesn't show up real well even with the top stitching, but the fit is good.

Well, I need to go pack for my business trip to Nashville. Unfortunately, there will only be time for work.  but the following week I am taking a couple days off for a sewing related class. Something I am really excited about. More on that later.


  1. Very cute blouse! Loved the detailing you hand made, the hook and eye tape and the lacing! So cute!

  2. This is an amazing shirt and I can't believe you didn't make it through to the next round!?! At least you got an amazing shirt out of it!

  3. Great shirt. Love the lacing detail.

  4. Great looking top and you look wonderful in it.

  5. I love it! The sleeveless version would be awesome on someone with a muscular back. Not that I have one... I think I might search this one out. It's unique looking without being weird.

  6. I like this shirt! Great job! Love that your husband still had the shirt!

  7. Great job on your shirt It is one of my favorites of the entries, and I'm bummed if you didn't make it through

  8. What an inspired piece. Very subtle but affective.

  9. I am in love with this blouse, especially the lovely lacing. And isn't your hubster the sweetest for treasuring his custom shirt.

  10. I love this top on you. It looks amazing.