The 1952 strapless cocktail dress project continues!
Yesterday afternoon I braved torrid temperatures and sweated up to Steinlauf & Stoller on 39th St., where they sell spiral steel boning in multiple sizes, already precut (to the half inch). They also sell pre-made cotton channels (or casing) by the yard. None of this is very expensive: four pieces of boning 1/4" wide, four extra tips (in case I had to shorten them) and a yard-and-a-half of pre-made casing came to less than $5. I wasn't sure about the casing, but it felt soft enough to use in the lining of the bodice. Susan Khalje makes her own using silk organza.
The spiral steel boning was nothing like what I expected: it's completely flexible. I'd envisioned something stiff, akin to a brace, but no, not at all.
I'll be adding 1" to the length of the bodice, I think, so I added 1" to the length of the boning; I have two 12" pieces and two 7" pieces. (If I have to shorten them, I can with, I believe, wire cutters and/or pliers, or something.)
Anyway, I pinned the boning to the inside front of the bodice muslin; the recommended positions are drawn on the pattern. (In the final lining, the darts and boning will be facing out (i.e., against the wrong side of the fashion fabric.)
Michael then pinned me into the bodice. Ta da!
Of course, the fashion fabric won't have boning attached, just the lining, so the boning shouldn't be visible from the outside. Here's hoping.
In the meantime, I cut the skirt out of the rose print polished cotton. It's a six-panel skirt: front, back, and two side fronts and side backs. Today I'll stitch the panels together.
If I say I am already tired of this fabric, will you forgive me? It's just been around the house too long.
In closing, readers, suffice it to say I am glad I finally faced my fear of boning. It was one of those things that I thought was simply beyond my skill level; it's not. You're basically just sewing vertical (and sometimes horizontal or diagonal) reinforcements to maintain the shape of a garment when you're wearing it.
Btw, you're not going to want to go through airport security in this dress.
And so the drama continues. I hope to have another exciting installment for you tomorrow.
What's keeping you busy these days?
Happy Thursday, everybody!
P.S. Anybody up for making the red version of this?
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!