This week I made the bra and arm cuffs. The bra was a little difficult as it was necessary to stitch pieces of patterned fabric together to look as if it was one continuous piece. The trim over the section where the neckties are attached also had to have a piece of fabric appliquéd over the top so that it gave a nice finish to the edge.
The back of the bra was finished with some elastic encased in lycra with a bra hook and eye closure for a secure closing. The neck ties were also made in a lycra so there is a little give around the neck for comfort.
This week I pinned all the pattern pieces in place and cut out the belt pieces. The scallop trim then needed to be stitched onto the outter edge.
I decided to go with an applique technique called needle turn applique, where you tuck under the edge with the needle and ‘invisibly’ stitch as close to the edge as possible. It took a while as it had to be done by hand but the finish is beautiful. Below is a video of how I did it.
I started drafting and adapting patterns this week to create the design. I then used the patterns to make a prototype so that it could be tried on and any changes or adjustments in shaping and size could be made. Also this gave an idea of how the shapes worked on the body as well as visualising how the pattern could fall on the finished piece. After the fitting there was a few adjustments to the belt pattern pieces making the ties and triangle point longer. The patterning on the belt is also going to be different the scallop patterning will go down either edge of the point.
I photographed all the pattern pieces so that I could overlay then on the computer to see how the pattern could be placed. The scallop edge will need to be appliqued on top, to line both the edges, the ties would also have the scallop trim lining the bottom edge.
I have been asked to create a custom bra and belt set using a beautiful purple and gold batik fabric.
The main part of the fabric is paisley patterned, and all the edges are finished with a scallop border with flowers. At the one end is a wide welt of triangular patterning.
I starting by looking at the fabric and trying to visualize which pieces of the pattern would look nice where.
Then the designing stage!
The two designs are quite similar appart from the under skirt and the pattern placement on the bra. In one I have used the paisley section for the main part and edged both centres with the scallop and flowers
On the other I have used the triangular pattern for the main section and positioned the diamonds just above the bust line.
Different aspects of both designs are going to be used on the final costume. The under skirt will be made of a lovely netty gold fabric, the bra will have the triangular patterning, and the belt instead of having the scallop at the top will have it lining the bottom edge framing the point. The hanging ties will have the paisley patterning and will be edged with the scallop edging as well.
Next thing is to make the pattern pieces and pin them out on the fabric.
My last post covered applying the trims to the bra. In this post I’ll take you through how I put together the belt.
We’ve already made the pattern for the belt and cut out the fabric ready. A sturdy base for the belt was made using interfacing, and the outer fabric was then stitched to it, this ensured that the belt doesn’t twist and sag under the weight of the kuchi coins.
I worked layer by layer using the same techniques as for the bra trims after which I began work on the metal coins and gathered silk flowers.
The last thing to apply before the lining was the velvet scoops around the hips. The pattern was made by draping the fabric and pinning in pleats to create the scoop. This was a process of trial and error until I had a shape I was happy with. Then the fabric was carefully unpinned marking all pleats and curves onto pattern paper.
I cut and lined each scoop stitching curved lines across each section to ensure it didn’t stretch too much. The pleats were added to the belt. At the front the belt needed a way of closing it securely to the body. It was decided that ‘D’ rings and ribbon were the best option for this as it allowed for a give in size as apposed to hook and eyes which are fixed.
The rings are positioned under the gathered flowers and are only just visible. The lining is cut using the same pattern as for the belt and stitched to the back. The belt and bra are now all finished.
No matter how well sequins are stitched on they do have a tendency of falling off or working loose, I usually tie off the thread every three to four sequins to reduce the risk of this. This will also keep any repairs that are needed in the future to a minimum.
Most importantly when stitching sequins and especially the heavy coins and metal work use a good quality strong thread (I use gutterman or moon threads). To strengthen the thread again with out adding more strands run the thread across a block of beeswax this will help stop the thread from knotting and reduce friction so trims don’t wear though so easily.
While stitching the overlapping sequins I found they moved around a lot making it look messy, so I thought it was best to stitch an additional line invisible thread over the top of the sequins making them much more secure- invisible thread being transparent looks much nicer for this type of top stitching, as you can’t see it. Transparent thread does tend to knot easily while stitching an become loose while stitching as it has a certain amount of stretch. My only advice would be to use it in short sections and persevere, because the finished look will be worth it.
In the center of the bra there needed to be a hanging heart and chain loops.The heart just needed to be stitched securely, and the chains after deciding how long to drape them it is helpful to measure each point they are going to be attached to and how much chain will be in each loop.
The last trims to apply were the Kuchi triangles and gathered flowers. The triangles needed to again be pinned in place and adjusted until they were even, I stitched these down securely but left the chains at the bottom to hang freely.
Although these steps are the most rewarding, as you can finally see the costume coming together, they are the most time consuming. I have now finished all the bra trims and will in the next few posts take you though a few of belt trims as many are the same as the bra before we finish with the linings and finishing touches.