TARDIS Corset/Skirt Diary

It is done. After years (and years) of talking about it, I finally pulled my finger out and made it: my TARDIS corset. As many of you know, I am a big Doctor Who fan and have been regularly watching it since Jon Pertwee days (and irregularly before that). A few years back friend (and fellow writer), George Ivanoff unveiled his TARDIS jacket (made by his dear wife). I was a tad jealous. Now I have my own TARDIS corset (and skirt). And this is how I made it.
  1. Pin and cut out pattern on material, and also cut the corset pieces from cotton duck (two layers to sandwich the boning later). Sew the pieces together. (Left side blue pieces together/ left double layer of cotton duck together/ right side blue pieces together/ right double layer of cotton duck together. So you have four separate pieces at the end of this step.)
  2. Pin one side of material to duck layers (right sides together) and sew in the busk (this was an 8 inch one). Size will vary depending on how long the front of your corset is.
  3. Turn right way out. Add other side of busk. (You will need to use an awl to make holes in the material to push the 'lugs' through.)
  4. I added twill tape along the waist. This will help reduce the pull on the corset when laced up. Next I sewed the boning channels in the two layers of duck. A zipper foot is ideal for this. 
  5. Now for the pretty decoration. I made windows from white cotton and hand stitch ribbon to create window panes.
  6. I bought the police box sign from Fandom Fabric's etsy store. (You can also get versions from Spoonflower). I used HeatnBond Ultrahold (double sided iron-on - from Spotlight) to fuse the windows and police box sign to the material, then hand sewed each item in place.
  7. To make bias - cut 5cm wide strips on the diagonal of the material. Use iron and this neat little gadget to create the bias.
  8. The bias was pinned on the front edges - top and bottom - then machine-sewed, folded over to the back of the corset and hand stitched in place.
  9.  Mark up the lacing holes (approx 1.5 inches apart), with the two at the waist closer together to allow for the lacing loops.  I make the holes with an awl to minimise thread breakage, keeping maximum structural integrity. I use larger grommets. I wear my corsets at costume, steampunk events and conventions; the larger grommets have outlasted smaller versions (for me). I bought the grommets and tool from Farthingale's corset supplies.
  10. I needed 5m of corset lacing for this under the bust version. I use 8m for full length corsets. Tie a knot in the middle of the length, crimp on a metal aglet or handsew the ends to form one. The knot is at the centre (between two top eyelets). Lace to the bottom and tie off lacing. Pull a loop out at the two (closer) waist eyelets. These loops are used to pull the lacing tight, then is tied and tucked under the corset.
  11. The finished corset:
  12. For the skirt, I purchased one yard of 'Police Box' print from Spoonflower (ID:767279) There are many versions. I cut every second line of print (to allow enough fold over) and created a 'non-bias' strip using the bias making gadget.
  13. I pinned and sewed the strip along the bottom of the skirt (after hemming).
And here is the final outfit, complete with purple Docs - one happy Doctor Who fan!

 

[A big thanks to Lynne Cook (President Australian Costumers' Guild) who helped with the fitting of the toile for the pattern for this corset.]

photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle and ©2017 D Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Summer projects

It's been a scorcher of a week. Over thirty-five earlier in the week, and over forty degrees Celcius two days running with minimum of a sticky thirty-three overnight. We've shut all the internal doors and holed up in the lounge and dining room, huddled under the air conditioner (and feeling a bit like we're trapped in a MARS module). Have I mentioned I don't like summer? Then the internet and Foxtel died, first on Wednesday, then again on Friday, only to reappear on Saturday afternoon. What to do? I caught up on some culling of my costume cupboard and made a new skirt for my new 'work wardrobe' and rolled up a new D&D character. I found some funky octopus material in the cupboard (I've already used the map material for a blouse) - only two metres but I managed to eek out a longish skirt by narrowing skirt panels and shortening the length to fit the pattern onto the available material.

  

I had some thread in my thread box - perfect match. I cheated and used some (leftover) bias binding to finish the hem (and get back 3cm of length).

  Add a blouse and a wide belt or cinch corset and I'm ready for another book signing! I've packed away the sewing machine for now (it's just too hot to do anything). It truly needs a service. I don't think I will be able to make a planned blouse before the tension is rectified.

Photos ©2016 Karen J Carlisle All Rights Reserved.

Steampunk Explorer Costume Diary.

Earlier this year I scored some material on Freecyle (a local group who giveaway unwanted items so they can be recycled or reused), including brown cotton and blue polycotton offcuts. I was inspired to create a new steampunk outfit, loosely based on the character of Lara Croft. As usual, I left it til the last week to put my plan into action - for this year's Time Travellers' picnic.

The brown material seemed to be the remnants of an old sheet, left over from someone's project - wide enough to make a ruffle skirt (which would provide better circulation, hence much cooler than a pair of bloomers for a summer's afternoon). The blue cotton consisted of just under 5 metres of 48 cm wide offcuts - just wide enough to cut out waistcoat pieces.

To save time, I fished out a pattern I adapted for a previous project, and one I bought at the last Spotlight sale:
  • Butteric 3418 (skirt)
  • Simplicity 8114 (to make the waistcoat)

pattern_copyright2016karencarlisle

I use bought patterns as a starting point when time is short, using them as a sloper to adapt into something new. For this outfit I wanted a sleeveless waistcoat and a ruffled skirt with an uneven hem (longer at back).

Waistcoat:

waistcoatfitting_copyright2016karencarlisleI ignored the sleeves and used the basic waistcoat pattern as a toile, reshaping and trimming back the armholes and adding a dart to make it more fitted (with some help from a friend to reach under the arms).

I used cotton duck (in my cupboard stash) for the interlining. Cotton breathes and is cooler than synthetic iron-on interlining.

The pattern suggested plastic boning. I used 6mm metal spiral boning for the front and back side seams, and 10mm metal spiral boning for the side seams. I find this lasts better and gives better support (plus I had most of it in my cupboard).

There was just enough material to include all the body pieces and make a matching bias binding. (2) Phew! I added brass-look buttons to give a more steampunky feel. (3)

(2) Making bias: waistcoatbias_copyright2016karencarlisle waistcoatbias2_copyright2016karencarlisle

(3) Bias edging and buttons to finish off. waistcoatbiasarm_copyright2016karencarlisle waistcoatbuttons_copyright2016karencarlisle

Skirt:

I wanted a shorter look to this skirt (to keep it cool to wear and reminiscent of Lara's shorts). The front hem was raised to the knee and the back raised a few inches, with the hemline curved to join up. I managed to eek the lower ruffle from the original material. But I wanted a flirtier look to the skirt - a second ruffle. I purchased 1.5 metres of complimenting polycotton and added a second ruffle. The edges were zigzagged in contrasting cotton for decoration. skirtruffle_copyright2016karencarlisle

Summary:

My new steampunk outfit had it's debut at The Time Travellers' Picnic last Sunday - consisting of a double-ruffled skirt and blue, boned waistcoat/bodice. This was inspired by a 'Freecycle' stash of material I obtained - with blue and brown cotton-blend material. All I had to buy were buttons, some extra metal spiral boning pieces and some buttons. Total cost just under $30 (mostly for the buttons).

 photo3-d-carlisle photo2-neil-swadling

Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle/ David Carlisle. Group photo: ©2016 Neil Swaddling. All Rights Reserved.