Faire Garb > Sewing

Help with first time making festival garb!

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Hello everyone!

I'm making a bodice to wear to RenFest this year. It's already historically inaccurate because of various decisions I've made, so I'm not super concerned with that, though I do want the silhouette to be more or less accurate. I'm adapting Butterick pattern 4669, view C, to eliminate the princess seams, and I'm adding some boning.

Here's where I become a bit confused. I'm not sure where on the bodice I need to put boning, and I'm not sure how to stitch around it. I've poked around and many sources suggest that boning is necessary around the lacing holes, but I don't know how close it really needs to be, if I need some sort of special sewing machine foot to accommodate it, etc.

Furthermore, should I try to get some spiral steel boning or will cable ties really be sufficient?

Thanks in advance for any help! I'm very excited to start and I definitely want it to look nice, if not entirely accurate!  ;)

Also- forgot to add this- do I really need to add interfacing as the pattern suggests, or can I just double up on the lining layers to accommodate the boning, and forego the interfacing?

Lady Kathleen of Olmsted:
When I make bodices, I use Cotton Canvas Duck.

Cotton Canvas Duck is aturdy, durable. I do 2 layers where I make boning channels with heavy duty cable ties. Fashion fabric, 2 layers of cotton canvas, lining layer. 4 in total. Good luck.

Interfacing depends on the thickness of the fabric you are using, but it can make things much easier to work with.  I usually use a heavy or mid weight interfacing and use grosgrain ribbon for the casing and zip ties with the ends cut off for the boning itself, melting the ends rounded with a candle or lighter.

A zipper foot can be sure helpful for getting as close to the boning if you use store bought pre-cased boning but is not necessary

Google "Effigy Corset" for some ideas on how to arrange the boning.  Layer as Lady Kathleen suggested:  outer layer, two heavier layers (for boning), and lining.  You can even get fancy and use contrasting colored thread, and stitch your boning channels so that they show on the outer layer!
Cable ties work fine.  Plumbing ones, if you can get them (but any kind will do).  Be sure to smooth the edges of the cable ties when you cut them!  A flame works, but so does a file or sandpaper.
Good luck!


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