Chapter Two- Let The Planning Begin!

The purpose of making the corset toiles was to get a decent base shape to work with, both on my own living body and for the paper tape form we finished tonight.

I’m happy to try my hand at a couple more corset toiles to get it perfect but I needed a good enough base to make a new dressmakers dummy. Part of the design will be draped on the form and my old one is much bigger than I am after weight loss- so a new one was an absolute requirement.

MrT is a kindred spirit, we both love “projects” and he’s usually happy to help me out. This is my third body clone with him as the paper tape draper and things went very speedy- from start to finish he had it done in just over an hour and a half.

I wore the white corset toile under an old long-line white singlet (which was sacrificed in the process) and we used brown gummed paper tape. It’s 48mm wide and there’s a heckuvalot on a roll. For the princely sum of $15- it’s an affordable experiment.

Let the wrapping begin!

Let the wrapping begin!

I followed some advice from The Sewing Forum about using something like a meter ruler to alleviate some of the belly-pooch-fitting-troubles but got creative and used some of the leftover cable ties instead. It worked a treat! Such a good suggestion- used in a slightly different manner- with excellent results. You can see the idea in action below.

Smoothing out the pooch!

Smoothing out the pooch!

Once the first layer was covered MrT went over the whole form twice more, paying attention to key areas like the shoulders, the hem and the waistline. We stopped with about 5m of tape left on the roll so we could cut me out of it. He marked the centre back, then some horizontal lines at 5cm intervals so I could match it back up. Once it was off I used gaffer tape to stick it back together- it has greater holding power at this stage! Then I covered the black tape with the last of the brown paper tape so it looks nicer. Here’s some of the final pics we snapped of the process.

Mark Cut and Stick it back together

Having the form done is a HUGE weight off my mind. It might not be perfect, I might still change my mind about an underbust/overbust corset- but the main points of waist, hips and pooch have all been taken into consideration with this form. If I decide I want to wear an underbust corset with a bra I can always stick a bra over the top of this form for boobs… or make another one for the cost of another roll of paper tape and a singlet *shrugs*.

It’s currently swinging on a coat hanger but I will be plopping it on top of an old TINY dressform once I fix the base.

I am relieved and exhausted at the moment. It’s a rewarding process and I will do it again but it takes a lot out of you- not being able to move!

Chapter One- We’re Getting Married!

Mr Thrifty proposed in July- we’re finally getting hitched. We’ve settled on a date of July 5th, 2014 and we’re having our wedding and reception at The Circulating Library in South Australia (hence the Chapter One title, get it?!).

Institute Building SLSA

I’ll be posting a few of the things we’ll be DIY-ing for the wedding, the most notable of course will be my wedding dress! OMG! Huge undertaking! Scary! Exciting! Challenging!

I went fabric browsing with my mum last week just to see what’s out there for bridal laces, fell in love with one of them which solidified the design I had in my head. I spent the week tweaking the sketches, making sure I knew how much of the luscious (read: expensive) lace I’d need then went back and bought a length of it this week.

Beaded Tulle Lace

Beaded Tulle Lace- Large Motif

With the design somewhat decided (there’s always room for minor changes as it comes together) I figured I should start my own “Wedding Dress Saga” post for you all to follow along. We’re getting married on July 5th, so there’s about 6 months worth of work for me to share.

The design is for a fit-and-flare silhouette, featuring large lace appliqués and a few draped panels across both front and back. There is a bustled “pouf” around the knee which sits above an a-line tulle skirt. The straps or sleeves will be decided as it nears completion but I would like the back neckline to end in a V at the top of the zip/button closure.

Wedding Dress Sketch

So far I’ve been playing around with a corset pattern in order to get a good shape for the body of the dress. I’ve chosen the Freedom Corset from Bra Makers Supply. Some of the reasons for using this pattern is that it comes in my size, it’s quite full coverage and it has two variations- an overbust and and underbust corset in one package. I ordered it via etsy and it arrived in about two weeks (Canada to Australia).

The first one I made up was too big. I didn’t take my waist reduction into account so the lacing panels were touching and I had very little to show in the way of compression or support.

Corset Toile One FSB

The next version I made up as an underbust but lengthened below the hip to contain more of the belly pooch but I realised I do want an overbust. I don’t want to wear a bra and worry about my shoulder straps (no photos, it went in the bin).

The last version I’ve made from blockout curtain lining at $4AUD per meter (£2ish) and I am finally starting to get somewhere. It’s two sizes smaller than the first and long enough to contain the belly. I’ve drawn a few lines on the toile to show where I’d change the lengths but overall, for a toile, I am very happy with it. Oh, please excuse the serious slanting! The fabric was cheap, most likely very badly off grain, and you should never lace a corset as tight as I did on the first try, oops!

Corset Toile Two FBS
Anyways! With the corset portion somewhat sorted I will be roping MrT into helping me make another brown paper tape dummy over the top of the corset so that I have an accurate dummy to work with, my old one is now too fat (yay!). Fingers crossed we might get to that stage tomorrow, otherwise it has to wait another week!

Other than that I need to figure out my order for corsetry supplies and get that going so that it arrives with plenty of time to spare. As far as I can tell it will be cheaper for me to order from the UK and have it shipped- and I’ll be ordering extra boning and such for the wedding dress as well.

Phew- long first post! Hopefully the next few will be shorter. Ha!

Simplicity 1612 – Another Summer Dress


I bought two patterns from Simplicity during their last online sale and this is the second pattern from that purchase. The pattern is Simplicity 1612, View A. It’s a knit dress pattern with a twisted front detail at the bust, a twisted back panel, cap sleeves and view A finishes at the knee. I used a retro white/orange/brown printed poly knit that’s been in my stash for yonks. I remember loving it at the time but then I realised the print ran the wrong way (selvedge to selvedge not lengthwise) and it ended up buried in the cupboard. Time to stash bust! 

S1612_FinalDressThe pattern went together easy enough, from cutting to hemming it took me an afternoon, about three and a half hours. I was anticipating some modifications so I didn’t use my nicer fabrics. It was made in a size 26W and for something straight out of the packet it’s turned out well enough to wear around the house BUT you can see my bra at the back so I won’t be wearing it in public. That’s the biggest change I need to make to the paper pattern if/when I make this up again ‘cuz my bra is visible and that’s not a good look! The twist at the bust worked out much better than I thought it would. It covers enough of my chest so that the front of my bra is covered but it’s still a nice steep v-neck. 

On to the list of modifications, none of them are essential but I like to aim for better each time I make something. I will add extra width to the lower inside curve of the back twisty piece and shift the notches on the skirt to match. I will probably cut about 5cm off at the hem to have it sit at or above my knee, it’s a touch too long at the moment (or alternatively I will make it a maxi!). The next time I make it I will shift the shoulder seam back by 1-2cm, I think it sits a bit too far forward. I’m also considering combining the back skirt and back twist panels into one simpler pattern piece for a faster style option. I like the waist shaping through the back so I’d leave the centre back seam. I know that sounds like a long list of changes but they’re all so minor and they will be quick to do. S1612_FSB

I wanted to break this up into a few posts but life has been a bit messy of late so I’m just putting up the finished project.

Simplicity 1800- The Finished Dress

S1800_FinalThe dress is finished and I absolutely love the style. I’d happily make two or three more to see me through the summer. I’m glad made the necessary changes to the paper pattern before cutting in to the fabric. I’ve ended up with a great pattern I can re-use and know it’s going to fit just as well as this dress does. The drape and weight of the fabric is perfect for this style, it’s so comfy and cool to wear. It is a bit bright compared to what I normally wear so I am considering hunting down a cropped short sleeve cardigan in red to wear with it while I get used to seeing myself in something other than solid colours. I discovered I have a pair of shoes that match the dress almost perfectly. How cool is that?

2013-09-22 10.09.49I changed the pattern to a lined bodice and sleeves instead of using the facings. I like how the edges of the neckline and sleeves are finished because of the lining. There is one thing I’d tweak next time around (and there will be a next time!) and that’s the curve of the princess seam. It’s a little bit pointy and sits a bit low, a smoother and higher curve would suit me better, I think.


Simplicity 1800- The Toile

The toile has been made and I am pleased to say this should be much easier to fit than the last pattern I tried- yay!

S1800 FBS Toile

I’m not sure that the 26DD option was the best choice. By measurements it was what I needed but on the body the bust panels were too long and the empire seam sat too low. In the photos I’ve already pinned out approximately 3cm length across the front and back, across the bust area, to lift that seam up and I like where it sits in the photos.
Note: I did a similar alteration to the Francesa top, so I wonder if I just have a higher bust than average for my size.

S1800Toile_NewSideSeamThe side seam wasn’t straight, I need more room across the back hips. There’s enough room around but it’s not balanced and it makes the pockets sit funny. I took a plumb-bob, held it up to my underarm where the sleeve joined and asked MrT to redraw the line on both sides. I’ll add 5cm to the back piece at the side seam, the front can stay as it is.

S1800Toile_ArmholeAlterationLastly, the sleeves were a bit too full at the front. I pinned in a 4cm dart, tapering to the point where the bodice panels join. There is still a bit of ease and I can move but it’s no longer flappin’ about and it makes the shoulder seam sit in a much nicer position.

The instructions for assembly are a bit of a nightmare , especially for the facings but also for the pockets. I loathe facings anyway, so I plan on fully lining the bodice and sleeves in white cotton voile. At least then I can choose from a greater variety of bras without fear of show-through.😉

I’m happy enough with this toile and the pinned alterations to proceed to the real fabric tomorrow, once I’ve transferred it all to the paper pattern. Wish me luck!

Simplicity 1800 – The Next Summer Dress

A couple of years ago when we were down visiting DH’s family in Adelaide his mum took me fabric shopping and we went to DK Fabrics. If there’s one selfish reason we should move to Adelaide it would be so that I can shop there more often, it’s what a fabric shop should be.🙂

While we were there I bought a gorgeous piece of cotton/viscose in shades of white, coral pinks, pumpkin orange, cherry red and purple. It’s been sitting in my stash ever since we returned waiting for the right garment to present itself and I believe I’ve found it’s ideal match- Simplicity 1800, view B. I love the two-piece raglan sleeves (should be good for my wonky shoulders), the pleated front which hides some useful pockets and I adore the neckline.


Being one of the “Amazing Fit” patterns- I’ve cut a size 26DD. This will be the first commercial pattern I’ve used which has a FBA included as an option (rather than a DIY approach), so it will be interesting to see how well it fits. I’ve cut the toile out of calico and hope to be finished sewing it together by the end of today. There are less pieces to put together than the Francesca top I made a couple of weeks ago, so I don’t think it will take me more than the day *fingers crossed*.

Style Arc’s Linda Stretch Pants- Plus Size Goodness!

I made up the first version of my Linda pants in a size 26 about a week or so ago, in a black poly ponte. I went by Style Arc’s size charts and bought it based on my hip measurements but the waist needed a lot of taking in.

Apologies for the lack of detail- the camera in my phone doesn't like black!

Apologies for the lack of detail- the camera in my phone doesn’t like black!

I bought a size 26 pattern to fit my hip measurement and took a 5cm wedge (10cm total) out of the centre front seam so that they fit my waist. I need the room at the hips for the low belly fluff but my “waist” is tiny in comparison. I like them, but there’s some fitting to address next time around. Oh- and I’ll remember to buy some wide elastic. These were made in a hurry so I skipped it, and I could kick myself for not using something stronger than just the ponte as a waistband.

The drag lines at the back I think needs two things- more back crotch length and less inseam length… I think? With the extra back crotch length I think the front should also lose the tiny smiley. Suggestions welcome!

These will be presentable house pants (I’m an Aussie, I don’t mean knickers!). Without the elastic in the waist I wouldn’t want to be bending over too much out in public.

I’m impressed with this pattern company mainly because of their sizing. I am currently a RTW 24/26, definitely plus size, and most of the big companies size charts have me at a size 32. Very few patterns go up to that and the ones that do aren’t as stylish or as flattering as the patterns from Style Arc. My only criticism is that they don’t offer multi-size patterns *sobs*, so as I continue to lose weight I’ll need to repurchase the patterns I like.