View Full Version : Waistline and Bodice Questions

09-28-2003, 12:13 AM
Hello, my name's Amy. I'm completely new to all this, but I believe I've decided to make peasant garb for my friend's Halloween wedding.

I'm very self conscience about the area below my waistline (ie it sticks out) and I was wondering what the full figure ladies here prefer. I'm also concerned about the flow of the design between the bodice and skirt.

-Should I make a bodice that has a little skirt, or will that make me look fatter? Like the one on the bottom left... http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/mccallspatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.400004107=x&TI=40020&pageNum=3&M=&UK=30621005

-Should I make a normal bodice and wear a huge leather belt or sash?

-Should I make a one piece bodice and open skirt like the one on the left in Simplicity's 7756? Do they still make that pattern? http://www.simplicity.com/assets/7756/7756.jpg
I really like this one btw.

Or should I just not worry about it?

Thank you!

09-28-2003, 12:47 AM
Do what ever you want. The Simplicity dress is still in print and if you like it, make it! The only dress that really makes you look bigger (or even prego) is the Italian Renaissance dresses (like on ever after) where the bodice ends right under the bust. I'd use a darker color for the underskirt because it hides tummys ever so nicely. I think I would actually leave off the apron as it emphasizes to area (and its not period correct, but I won't go garb nazi, I promise) and stick with a belt or sash. Hope you have fun with this! Congrats to your friend.

09-28-2003, 01:12 AM
Or just make a long-line bodice that goes down below your waistline. That way, you also eliminate the possibility of its cutting you annoyingly at the waistline. Just make sure the boning goes all the way to the bottom of the bodice, too!

And welcome! We're all here to help!

09-28-2003, 09:01 AM
Oh yeah...the long liners...I love them...smoothes and flattens, and makes that bodice/corset to skirt transition so pretty....sigh...when is faire again?

09-28-2003, 10:37 AM
...sigh...when is faire again?

Next week! :bananada: :P

Now, to answer the original question:

As a ripe, voluptuous, built-for-comfort, not-for-speed wench, I say, wear whatever it is you *want* to wear. The secret to looking good in garb is simple: You have to believe you look smashing. That's it. So, make whichever design pleases you and wear the heck out of it!

It's all about the 'tude! (okay, 'tude and good boning!--make sure you use something sturdy for your boning!)

09-28-2003, 11:30 AM
Thank you guys. That's a good idea about the underskirt being darker.
Are there any common patterns with long bodices? I didn't see any. I'll look again. I read about the duct tape, but I'm a very amature sewer, and I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that, especially considering I only have a month.
I love GreyCat's Tudor bodice. I wish I had the money for that sort of thing.

And lol @ built-for-comfort, not-for-speed.

How stiff should the boning be? I already know not to use the featherweight boning the patterns recommend, but I haven't been to a real sewing shop since I came up with this idea (Wal-Mart doesn't count), and I don't know what the options are. I plan on going today once it's business hours.

Thanks again.

09-28-2003, 09:40 PM
I am a HUGE fan of cable ties for boning. First they are plastic and won't rust, second they are heavy duty! I used them in my elizabthan coreset and they are wonderfull! They are fairely cheap, about 15 for a package, and that was enough for the whole corset and then some. They must be the oiong heavy ones, mine are about 4 ft long, 1/2 inch wide and almost a 1/4 inch thick.

09-28-2003, 11:20 PM
Yup, and the Irish dresses can make you look prego also if they are cut too tight in the bodice. I've had that experiance I'd rather not relive. I lost weight and looked fine later, but it was disheartening at first.

Something that can be done is making a non pointed bodice, with piccadills. It looks lovely if you are really worried about feeling uncomfterable in your own skin while wearing it. It should A.) Make you feel good. B.) Not make you want to cry. C.) Give you spunk. That's what garb does for me. I'm plus sized, and feel spunky in garb.

Good Boning is a definate. I can't use plastic zip ties, they don't suport me. I'd love to know what ones you all are you using. My husband brought home industral ones and those didn't work. And they were huge.

I'm trying think aluminum flats 1/2 wide as a experiment, and Fish tape from Electrical fish tape reels. I'm going to coat them, dip them and seal them. They are the same thickness as the old boning I used, and this is a new test bodice, so we'll see. I've heard the nightmere stories, but I've gotta try it. ;)

Jeannie Fitzgerald
09-29-2003, 11:04 AM
Aluminum is normally too soft to use for boning. It takes a permanent bend too easily. The spring steel from fish tape would work better if it isn't too narrow (which would make it more likely to poke through).

I made a corset using thin stainless steel rulers (they come in different thicknesses). I split the rulers lengthwise to 5/8" width, cut them to length and rounded the corners, then dipped the ends in Dipt (a liquid vinyl used to coat tool handles; you can get it at hardware stores and home centers) so they wouldn't poke through. I had the divil's own time cutting the rulers lengthwise with aircraft shears. Next time I'll job it out to a machine shop and let them use a sheet metal shear (much easier on my hands and tools).

I used two full width rulers to make a split busk so I could front lace the corset. I drilled the rulers to accept lacing grommets (another fun job). I had to drill 1/16" pilot holes first, both to start a larger bit from and to keep the bits from wandering while drilling, then drill to size with a Unibit (also available at hardware stores and home centers) to keep the holes round. 'Twas a lot of work, but I have a corset that is bulletproof, the grommets will NOT pull out and it won't rust when washed.

I've since found a vendor (Farthingales) who sells "lacing bones" that are similar to the busk I made. They do not say if they are rust proof or not, but they would be a lot less work even if one had to cut them to length and coat them to protect against rust. Here's the addy:


09-29-2003, 12:27 PM
I've seen those lacing bones actually on that site!

I've had this width fish tape steel that was covered in plastic and then covered in cotton for a finish.

I'm going to encase the fish tape in heavy canvas after I've dipped them. I've got a dark enough bodice. My husband suggested I seal the dip, so the colour of the dip doesn't run. But I'm really not that worried, to tell you the honest truth.

These Aluminum flats I got, it takes quite a bit of preasure to bend them, so I'll try them around the house. I'm only out 3.00 if I end up not using them. So I'm not too worried.

Thanks for the imput! I've got a Dremmel tool we're going to cut the steel with, and good cutting disks, worse come to worse he takes it to work to the hydrolic press and cuts them, if he's got time :)

Drea Beth
09-29-2003, 01:42 PM
-Should I make a normal bodice and wear a huge leather belt or sash?

Personally, I would strongly recommend against wearing a really wide belt. I used to wear an 1.5" leather belt with a buckle with my garb. I discovered one morning upon looking in the hotel mirror that it looked really, really bad. It drew attention to my waist and acutally made it look bigger because of the way the belt sat.

Now I wear a .5" leather ring belt with my garb, and the look is a whole lot cleaner. It sits better on my body and doesn't make me look like I'm wearing a waist cincher.

Just my two pence...


Jeannie Fitzgerald
09-29-2003, 01:45 PM
An easy way to cut the fish tape steel is use the Dremmel tool and disk to just score the top and bottom of the steel slightly where you want to cut it then bend it sharply at the score with a couple pairs of pliers (or one pair of pliers and a vise). It will snap right off. Then all you have to do is grind it to smooth the ends and round the corners.

Instead of just dipping the ends to prevent poke through, also paint a coat of the plastic dip over the entire length to prevent rusting. Be sure to remove all oils fom the surface of the steel first. Lacquer thinner or acetone work well (don't use nail polish remover; it usually has lanolin or another oil added). The color of the dip will not bleed.

09-29-2003, 02:12 PM
Oh, my G-d. I can't imagine needing a machine shop to make a corset! Ladies, you have MUCh more patience than I!

I just get all my boning fron these excellent folks:


They're unfailingly polite and fast. And the prices are good.

Tell them Nikki says hello.

Jeannie Fitzgerald
09-29-2003, 02:40 PM
That evokes the memory of the two vultures sitting on a branch. One says to the other, "Patience my backside! I'm going to kill something!"

At the time I did all that, I was wanting heavy duty boning (I'm one hefty heifer) that was waterproof (rain and laundering happens). Since coatings could fail, I wanted a hard grade of stainless. Big as the Phoenix area is, finding anything like what I needed was impossible. And having worked in the industry, I knew where to look. The best I could do was a 5' x 12' sheet shipped out of L.A. for about $300. Yeah, right! The packaging vendors don't carry stainless strapping (everyone is too "cost conscious - i.e. cheap - to use it). That's why I resorted to rulers. Also I didn't know about the lacing bones at the time (and I still don't know what kind of steel they are made of) and I wanted to put grommets in the front bones (busk) and regular boning is too narrow. Except for buying the Unibit (tools are an investment, not an expense, and this old dyke is a tool whore) and any machine shop labor I might rack up in the future to shear the rulers lengthwise, I actually spent a little less for the boning than I would have otherwise since fewer bones were required. The corset may wear out, but the bones will last forever!

09-30-2003, 12:17 AM
Ironic story about Boning since we all are taking about it.

A penny whistle maker quit his job, and began making whistles using a peice of his wife's boning he fashioned into a saw! Now that's some amazing stuff! I wish I could remember what Penny whistles! ;)

Did you try to write Farthingale and ask them? I thought, and you'll laugh, but I considered heat sealing boning with heavy duity plastic, that they freeze food in. Wouldn't really work for the holed boning, but I thought it would help with rusting.

I also peeled out boning from an old peice of garb to check the white bone, no rust. I also condered now using Drex on my garb, since it's for babies, and more gentle.

09-30-2003, 10:57 AM

10-30-2003, 11:26 AM
Hello again. Having broken my BF's mother's machine 2 weeks ago (or it broke on me, don't know which) and just having borrowed the bride's machine late yesterday I'm just starting to sew my dress. Think I'll make it? :)
The chamise went well. I just have to finish the hem, which I'll do later since the only bobbin I have is already loaded w/ blue. I actually feel really guilty about the darts. I know it's a costume, but I still feel guilty. I figure I don't have time to go against the pattern at this point.
It's going to be really close. I may have to finish it tomorrow at my mom's. I was planning on sleeping. I hope I don't end up having to ask her to work on it. I've been up since 1am ( I have a paper route) which is probably why I'm babbling.
Anyway...wish me luck!

10-30-2003, 12:25 PM
I'm sure it will all come together beautifully. Be sure to post pictures when you're done! :)

11-07-2003, 11:05 AM
The dress wasn't very flattering from the waist down as I believe someone predicted. I ran out of time, and upon my mother's suggestion, I sewed up the front rather than make an underskirt. Oh well. Here is a pic (from the waist up) :D