Hello, dear readers! So, at present, I'm working on a bodice for a friend. Yes, Jae-ha is on the back burner at the moment, but I promise he'll get done, and he'll be worked on soon. Mostly I was waiting for my first paycheck from the new job so that I have more funds to buy nice fabrics and materials so I can make him as pretty as his vain self deserves to be, and I already have the materials for the bodice. In the spirit of my current task, I offer you some tips and tutorials on bodices!
The pattern I'm using at present isn't really a pattern, per se, but rather a set of instructions for making a custom bodice. This is the same set of instructions I used when making Belle's bodice, and it can be modified for use with any bodice or corset shape. Plus, it's not as hard as it sounds! This post on Confessions of a Seamstress details how to make Belle's bodice, skirt, and blouse. The bodice is described in the most detail, and if you plan to make any sort of bodice or corset, I do recommend at least reading this tutorial. It helps a lot, and there are photos of almost every step in the process. For the skirt, though, my sewing goddess found this fantastic tutorial on full, gathered skirts which even includes links to tutorials on invisible zippers. I do recommend the above link, as I found it pretty easy to follow and it turned out the lovely skirt you see in my Belle cosplay. I intend to use the same tutorial for making a skirt for the same friend, but I'm going to be a wretch and make her do part of the sewing on that. She said she wanted to learn how to sew, after all....
Anyway, a few tips I've gleaned! First, use this tutorial to make a custom pattern for your bodice. Make sure you have a full roll of duct tape, two if you think one won't be enough, and a ratty old shirt. Also, I recommend wearing the bra you plan to wear under the costume so the fit is just right. Be mindful when cutting the pattern off because you can slice your own bra by accident. This did happen to me, but my sewing goddess repaired it. You WILL need a friend if you want to use this on yourself.
Second tip! For the inner layer of lining and interfacing, it doesn't matter so much how visible your marks are on the lining. Make the lines very visible on the interfacing, and as long as you have enough lining fabric, you should be able to line things up just fine. Use those crisp, clear marks on the interfacing (chances are they'll look better than the marks on the lining no matter how you do it) to pin correctly. Pin with the marked side out so you can easier sew along it when you're putting pieces together.
Next, boning! I used plastic boning, the kind you can machine-sew over. Make sure your boning curls in towards your body, or you could risk wearing a hole through the outside layer of the bodice. It also can look a little tacky if it's always curving out. Also, before you put the boning in, I recommend soaking it in hot water and then flattening it overnight under heavy books. This will help some with the curling and make it easier to work with. And MAKE SURE you leave room for your eyelets between the boning and the bias tape on the front of your bodice. You don't want strangely spaced eyelets that look too far in on the garment. I also personally would err on the side of more boning than I needed, just because it helps with the structure of the garment.
Lastly for now, if you're gonna put in eyelets, don't use that little kit that comes with some boxes of eyelets. Splurge a little and get an eyelet punch. Trust me, they're worth it. I've used mine for plenty more things than just adding eyelets to garments, and it's definitely paid for itself many times over. Eyelets punches are wonderful.
That's all I've got for you at the moment, but I have a little project in the works. Hopefully that will come to light soon and I can start sharing it with you all! (And since the first paycheck has officially come in, methinks a trip to the fabric store is in order soon.)