YouTube, Here I Come!

Recently I published my first video on YouTube and what can I say, I’m super proud of myself for finally doing this. I have played with the idea of it for some time now, mainly because I was so inspired by historical sewing YouTubers. I thought, ‘this must be so much fun! I could totally do that too.’ Friends have told me they think I live an interesting life so I’d definitely have something worth sharing.

Now there is several reasons why I’m doing this.

First of all, having fun! I genuinely want to do this for myself and have a great time. I particularly love watching other Youtubers create parodies, memes and the like so I want to make my own. I already have tons of ideas so look forward to some historical costumes in action!

This leads me to my second point which is being motivated to go out and do stuff with my life. I am quite the homebody but I have also realised that since I now live in London, there are so many things to do, I can’t even keep track of everything that’s on offer. Having a project hat doesn’t just require me sitting at home and sewing is the perfect way to motivate myself to leave the house and go to interesting places. I have already noticed that even just compiling vague video ideas has made me discover tons of opportunities to dive into some ~culture~ and expand my horizons, as clichΓ© as that sounds.

It’s also a great way for me to capture more good memories. I kind of had a realisation that these uni student years might be the best time of my life so I better treasure this time and make the most of it. We forget about a lot of things and I don’t want to be standing there in a few years, not being able to recall what I did when I lived here.

Now the videos I wanna make are mainly stuff that I personally would like to watch and I’m basing the content I make entirely on what I find interesting but I also really like the idea of inspiring others and helping them with their projects. I want to make videos that past me would have needed and loved to watch in order to improve her skills and knowledge.

But really I think it’s mostly myself leaning new skills here! Just a few weeks ago I had never seriously recorded a video, not even thought of editing. But I was determined and had an obsession with this idea of where I want to go with this and that spurred me on. So watched tons of videos on buying the right gear, filming and editing, sat down for a day and taught myself the basics of editing. I’m still in the process of acquiring those skills but I’ve noticed that with every video I make I can add a new skill to my list an that is an incredibly liberating feeling. It’s smart to expand your skills in an area that you have to previous skills in because you make sure that you’re not backing yourself into a corner.

Acquiring all those skills also helps me with my sewing because it enables me to present it better. Photos can only show so much, but a video has the capacity to capture the movement of a skirt, the sparkle of a tutu, whatever really! Going into this industry we’re always being told that we need to get our work and name out there so this is what I’m trying to accomplish.

I have noticed that people don’t really read blogs anymore, or at least it’s incredibly hard to build a following. And yes, that is understandable because I too like to watch a video and multitask whereas I cannot do that when I’m reading. I do by no means intend to abandon this blog or make it a mere supplement, but I think that in the future I will be focusing on videos more and embed them here with some additional information.

Anyways, that’s it for my ~7 reasons why~. I just wanted to capture my thoughts in this moment and explain my reasoning.

Thanks for reading!

Construction Notes · Historical Costuming

1890s Canary Corset

I am on a mission! Some might call this the descent into tightlacing (Nivera has to be credited for establishing that particular phrasing) but really, my last corset reduced my wait by a measly 4cm. Not too bad and it was extremely comfortable to wear but I felt there was definitely room for improvement. I actually never finished this corset past the point of making it wearable, the edges remain unbound until this day. Nr. 2 was first one I was satisfied with in terms of fit, I’d rather not dive into the details of the first one…

When the opportunity to do a self-directed project for uni rolled around I knew this was it. We were meant to choose a project for ourselves that we’d spend 2 weeks on. When I showed my course leader my self-written brief for a late 19th century corset with flossing, lace decoration and waist reducing cut he had some reservations especially since I wanted to sew it for myself and therefore wouldn’t be able to fit it without help. Did I listen? You guessed it, no. Sewing for other people is all nice and fine but I’d rather not drop a good chunk of money on a garment I can’t even wear. In the end I sewed the corset in a little more than a week parallel to finishing my tutu which amounted in a lot of stress but I did it!

My corset is based on the “Black-and-Yellow Flossed Corset” from Jill Salen’s “Corsets: Historic Pattern and Techniques”. I have added an antique lace that was donated to my uni a while ago at the top and therefore omitted the cording as it wouldn’t be seen. Plus I found the bust area to be strong enough to hold the shape at the first fitting so I didn’t deem it necessary in the limited amount of time I had.

For the fitting I sewed only the coutil layers together, however I completed the centre back panels in all three layers (drill facing, coutil, sink taffeta) because I needed the eyelets to ensure that I could be laced in. As I didn’t have my busk yet, I closed up the centre front in a seam and added a bone. The fit was really good at first try, especially considering that it is a historical pattern taken from an original corset. I had previously taken out 0,5 cm at the edge of each piece that was cut on a slight bias to make up for the stretch. As can be seen in the pictures, the top of the back was taken in and a bit was taken out at the side of the hip to make room for my hip fat and create a more dramatic hip spring.

For those who don’t know how corsets work, here’s a small explanation. The common misconception is that they squeeze you in and somehow reduce your overall body volume. That is not true! What they actually do is redistribute, mostly from the waist to the high hip. A corset should be snugly fitting but not restricting around the ribs so that chest breathing isn’t restricted. The waist can be made smaller than the natural waist measurement if enough space is available below the waist. I’ve also noticed that while you can’t really take away from the front and the back of the waist, it is rather easy to squish the sides. So when waist might look super tiny from the front, part of it is a change in shape rather than an actual reduction. From the side the wearer of the corset doesn’t really look any thinner. Last but not least, the aforementioned hip spring also helps to emphasize the hourglass shape and can act as an optical illusion. The wider the hips, the smaller the waist appears.

I took the corset apart again and applied all the changes. Then I placed my pieces on the taffeta to cut the decorative top layer. Coutil and taffeta were hand tacked together along the sides. A little trick to make the corset more durable and protect the taffeta from strain is letting it sit very loosely on the coutil while doing this. The extra volume will be needed to wrap around the fold that is created when a seam allowance is ironed apart. It might not seem like much but these few millimetres help a lot to help everything lie flat and smooth later on.

After all the seams were sewn and ironed apart I added the boning channels. They are made from bias strips of taffeta and very nicely cover the seam lines. To ensure correct placement I hand tacked everything down first, then sewed the channel on the machine and finally inserted straight steel boning (the stages of this process are shown in the first picture). It looked pretty neat once all the hand tacking was removed. This isn’t the optimal time to do this, but I inserted the busk at this point. Just like with the back opening, coutil and taffeta are treated as one layer and faced with drill.

Next the edges are bound with bias binding. I wanted my corset to be pretty so I applied some antique lace that I had grabbed from a pile of donations to my uni a while ago. What a huge difference the ironing made! It shows some signs of age but is still absolutely beautiful. The bottom edge was flossed with blue thread. Flossing was a technique that I had wanted to try for a while so I was thrilled to finally include it in a project. It ended up being an extremely last minute rush, I did all of it in the morning of hand in and times myself, 10 minutes for each bone. I was super close to running out of thread, that little piece you see in the picture is all I had left, I kid you not. Huge thanks so my friend Lake who kept me sane during this crazy adventure.

I was super happy about all the nice comments under this post, I hadn’t expected this level of interest. Don’t get me wrong, I love this corset and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. However I’m itching to change the fit in the front a bit, at the bottom you can see that it stands out a bit weirdly and that really bothers me because the rest came out so well. The problem is that I cannot redo the flossing as none of the thread is left so I might just leave it as it is… we’ll see.

As always, thank you for reading and special thanks to those who interact with me on Instagram. I have gotten a lot of replies to my stories lately which I love!