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Author Topic: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?  (Read 4355 times)

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Offline gem

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Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« on: January 10, 2009, 03:30:57 PM »
I know we had some discussions of hemp-corded corsets/bodices on the old forum, but we have a lot of new members with lots of experience, so I thought I'd throw it up here again.

I've read extensively about using this technique--everything I can find online, starting with the pages on Festive Attyre.  What I'm really interested in is discussion and tips from our members here, based on their own experiences with this. :)

I have tried this on test scraps several times, and I always find the hemp impossibly difficult to feed through the boning channels--and if I widen the channels, the support/stiffness is compromised.  I know somebody here (Mythrin?) uses an old windshield washer piece to help with that, but I'm not even sure what that would look like.  I've tried squashing the folded end into a point with needle-nosed pliers, and feeding it through with everything from brute force, to an extra-long crochet hook, to a tube turner--and none of them give good results.  I seem to remember reading about somebody who sewed the channels as she went--laying one row of cording down and then sewing along it.  Has anyone tried that?  I have doubts that I could keep my rows straight, or get my machine in quite that snugly (altho' I have a new machine with lots of specialty feet; I think there's a piping foot that might work).

This is a technique I'd really love to master (I would love a corset like Jen's for my growing Italian wardrobe), and so far I can't even conquer Step 1.

Offline Adriana Rose

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2009, 03:38:00 PM »
I would be leary about using hemp in a corset, yes its H/A but I donno about you guys but I like to wash my corsets at least once a season and the hemp is a natural fiber so if it gets wet it might rot.

Think of a hemp necklace that has been worn for a long time it gets kinda squshy..

But on that same line you could use a cotton cording that likes to get wet..

For the getting it into the channel i would try wrapping the end of the cord in packing tape to make it a touch more stiff.


hope that makes sense

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2009, 02:45:17 AM »
Hemp is tough.  It doesn't mind getting wet.  It liked to be dried out fully, though.  Let's face it, until artificial ropes came along, hemp was one of the fibres used for ship rigging, and that got wet all the time!  Hemp has many properties in common with linen, though it tends to be rather coarser.

Experiment with the zip foot.  I think, if you sew all the channels from one side, you'll end up with a sort of corduroy effect, with it flat on the underside, so you might want to try sewing the channels alternately from either side...  The other thing is that if you read the notes on the construction of the first corset you like, she made this with TWO cords through each channel, so you might like to experiment with this idea...  She fed the cord through folded in half and snipped though it to get the cord feeding tool out.  Very ingenious.

Offline mollymishap

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 01:42:45 PM »
Gem, have you read http://www.festiveattyre.com/research/cording/cord.html from Jen's website?  It's a little hard to find.  Does it help?  I've never tried the process myself, so hth!

Offline gem

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 01:54:06 PM »
Molly, yep--that's the link in my first post.  ;)

Kate--doubling up the cord is where I run into trouble.  I did read yesterday that a couple of costumers had tried single widths and that it worked--I did a test patch of that and wasn't that impressed with its rigidity; maybe I should try narrowing my channels and doing single width?

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 01:57:36 PM »
Whichever you do, the cord needs to be very snug inside the boning channels.  Choose the smoothest hemp cord you can find, either way...  Doing a single cord will give a finer and much softer finish.

Offline peggyelizabeth

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2009, 11:10:13 PM »
I've done it a couple of times, I did make the channels first and then using wire made a hook like thing to pull it through. It wasn't easy, but it does work well. The biggest thing to keep in mind that whatever you use to pull the cord, it's going to get caught in the fabric unless you're very careful.

As for washing, I've washed mine without any problems, seems to me that there's a reason hemp was used by sailors for so long, it take water well and doesn't lose structural integrity.

Offline operafantomet

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 06:35:31 AM »
I'm not actually sure how H/A hemp boning is (as the few early 16.th century sources on boning/stiffening only mentions cardboard). What I DO know is that it offers one of the best methods to make dresses in early/high Renaissance styles, and it it is one of the most comfortable ones I've tried. I've used it for these two dresses:

http://www.geocities.com/pisslei/raphael
http://www.geocities.com/pisslei/unicorn

Getting the hemp cord through the channels is a bit hard, I agree. I usually sew the channels first. Then I use a big crocheting needle (? I think that's what it's called in English), squeeze the hemp cord through the eye and makes the cord long enough to be able to fold it double. And here's the trick: the needle is pushed into the channels backwards, with the eye/non-sharp end first. You have to have something really sturdy to be able to push at the sharp tip (like a metal object with a small "grope"), because you have to push the needle through. But this works! The needle is almost never caught in the fabric.

When all channels are "stuffed", I usually sew a horizontal seam to secure that the threads stay in place. That's why I love hemp boning - you can cut it, sew in it, and you don't have to bind the ends. Aaaah! Bliss.

I've never tried to wash any of the bodices (as they are sewn to the skirt and has lots of trims etc. which I'm not sure how would react to eachother). But good quality hemp should be possible to wash! As another pointed out, it just needs it time to dry properly. Don't superheat it, it might react differently than the fabric.

ETA: I used a much lighter hemp cord for the Unicorn dress than the orange Maddalena Doni dress. I prefer the thinner cord, as it gives a lighter (but just as sturdy) result. The Unicorn cord smelled like a barn when I bought it (and when I used it...), but the dress doesn't smell. Thank God...
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 06:38:29 AM by operafantomet »

Offline mollymishap

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 07:47:45 AM »
Quote
Molly, yep--that's the link in my first post.  Wink

DUH!!!  ::)  That's what I get for not clicking on your link before replying.  I automatically assumed it went to the picture of her red finished corset.

You know you've been reading other people's dress diaries too long when...

Offline Lady Kathleen of Olmsted

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2009, 12:24:24 PM »


One of first corsets I made when a the Costume Shop was an 18th Century Hemp boned corset. It took me forever to make it. I did use a zipper foot and sewed each channel as tightly as I could. Binding the corset was another things entirely. I can't begin to tell you how many machine needles I broke.

I personally perfer using Plastic Coated Metal Bones or Heavy Duty Cable Ties for corsets.
"As with Art as in Life, nothing succeeds like excess.".....Oscar Wilde

Offline operafantomet

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2009, 01:34:16 PM »

One of first corsets I made when a the Costume Shop was an 18th Century Hemp boned corset. It took me forever to make it. I did use a zipper foot and sewed each channel as tightly as I could. Binding the corset was another things entirely. I can't begin to tell you how many machine needles I broke.

Why did the needles break? I've experienced that with rigilene, but not with hemp cord. Was it too thick?

Offline Lady Kathleen of Olmsted

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2009, 01:52:53 PM »


Because the channels were very close together, there was thickness. The hemp cord was not huge, but the cord added thickness all the same.

 
"As with Art as in Life, nothing succeeds like excess.".....Oscar Wilde

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2009, 04:08:08 PM »
What machine and what size needle were you using?

Offline gem

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2009, 04:51:50 PM »
Well, I will say that I broke a couple needles sewing *through* the hemp cord on my test swatches, on my sew-through-anything workhorse Brother, so I'm always surprised when people say they sew through it!

I'm wondering if I don't have the right cord.  Does someone have a mail-order source for some good-quality stuff?

And Operafan, *thank you.*  You're the first person who's actually admitted to having any kind of difficulty getting the cords pulled through!  The method Milord and I finally perfected involved me pulling on the canvas, and him pulling on the cord--but I don't know if he's really up to helping me bone a full corset or bodice!!

The nice thing about cable ties is that they're so rigid--which is *also* why they won't work for the early Italian gowns, which have a lovely curve over the bust.

Offline Mythrin

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Re: Can we talk about hemp boning and corsets again?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2009, 06:43:55 PM »
Yes, I am the one that uses windshield wiper blades as a hemp boning tool ;D  I love hemp boning, it strong, comfortable, cool, easy to care for (machine wash, line dry) and versatile.  I have used the channels as part of the design of the bodice, hidden it under a garment while making it an actual part of the dress.

Now that I have finished my promotional "advertisement" on hemp boning let me say that I PUSH it into the channels as apposed to pulling it through the channels as most of the discussion has been about.  I find it easier, faster and I only have to worry about finishing the bottom edge and not the top.  Also I have more options as to how it can used.  I decided that a picture is worth a thousand words and put together a quick and dirty web album of some photos of working with hemp boning and my infamous funky tool and some of the garments I have made with it.    I have found that if I use leather needles and go slow that my Singer can sew through hemp all day.  I generally sew the binding on the front with the machine and hand sew the other side of the binding so that I can make sure that it stays snug all round.

I sew the channels using the foot as my size guide.  I find that with my Singer and a standard foot that if I use the right hand needle setting and the left hand edge of the foot I have the perfect size for a snug fitting channel.  As KateXXX pointed out, smooth hemp counts.  I will cut my hemp a few inches longer than I need so that I can fold it in half at a particularly smooth area prior to inserting into the start of the channel and still have enough length.  I then slip my windshield wiper blade in that fold and push.  If it starts to bind I will use hemostats or needle-nose pliers to give me more grip. Another trick I have learned is to pinch the fold of the hemp into a point with the pliers so that it fits easily into the channel.  Another trick I learned is to leave an inch or two of extra fabric, both lining and front, on the bottom and make sure to stop my channel at the actual hem line.  The reason is that the extra fabric becomes a handle for me to pull, work and otherwise make the hemp slide into the channel.  I then trim the excess.

http://picasaweb.google.com/MythrinFarm/HempBodice#
Chris
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