Author Topic: How do I get the bodice to stay up?  (Read 1222 times)

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Offline Andromache

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How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« on: February 03, 2013, 05:12:44 AM »
I'm still working on this dress: 
I'm making it in silk velvet lined with charmeuse. 

I've assembled the dress (minus the cape) to the point where I can try it on, and it will not stay up.  The bodice, the skirt, and all of it just want to become one with the floor. 

I'm going to add a waist stay, which I imagine will help a lot with the skirt.  But, how should I handle the bodice?  When I add the cape, I imagine that will hold up the center front of the bodice.  However, that doesn't address the sides of the front or the back.  The pattern recommends adding some elastic across the back.  Will that help enough?  Would it also be possible to add a stay similar to a waist stay across the top of the bodice?

etc: name of link to image (image is clickable!) :)
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:59:17 PM by Lisa »
κτῆμά τε ἐς αἰεὶ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα

Offline Fidelia

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 05:28:29 AM »
Beautiful dress!  Is the cape meant to be always worn?  If not, and the back of the dress will be seen, sans cape, I don't think elastic at the back would look nice on such a svelte number.  Hollywood Tape?
'If you adore her, you must adorn her; it's the secret of a successful marriage!'. (Anne Fogarty)

Offline sewsy

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 07:06:17 AM »
Andromache, the pattern looks beautiful, I'm sure the fabric you've chosen is lovely. The fabric recommendations do list velvet as a possible selection; I was thinking that perhaps the fabric you've chosen was a bit too heavy to be supported by the scarf.

Here is the second line of the link you provided: "A line of elastic is sewn into the upper edge of the un-structured bodice back to hold it in place."

Have you added the elastic? You state that the pattern recommends to add elastic across the back. I think you should add the elastic, and see what happens. Since you're using a velvet, if the elastic isn't enough (that is a new technique to me, btw) then a waist stay and adding boning at the side seams  and back (if needed) may do the trick.

Here is a YouTube video tutorial about inserting steel boning: :clickhere:

There is also plastic boning. Here is a link to an About.com article detailing how it is used. http://sewing.about.com/od/sewingtips/ss/How-to-Add-Stiffness-and-Shape-Clothing-Costumes-Sewing-Seam-Additives-Shape-Fabric_3.htm

Offline Elona

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 09:03:05 AM »
This blogpost describes a bit of the construction, specifically mentioning the importance of the elastic:

http://wearinghistoryblog.com/tag/eva-dress/

Judging from the photos, I'd say the dress has the stay-up qualities of a bath towel wrapped around the chest.  What Mother Nature gave ya is pretty much all you can rely on to keep it up there, and perkiness helps. :groucho:

Offline CanAndi

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 11:39:55 AM »
Wow, what a great pattern site!  More places to spend money!

I am assuming that you will be wearing a longline or strapless undergarment and i wonder if you have considered sewing in something that will adhere the dress to the bustier?  Perhaps this, along with the elastic is what you will need.

Fidelia suggested Hollywood tape and that is a great thing too.  My daughter uses it to hold dance costumes in place and it works like a charm without damage to the garments

Offline sliderule

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 03:33:50 PM »
Maybe attach it to the top of a strapless bra.  The bra would become a permanent part of the dress.  I think you could make it work if you modified the bra to fasten at the same location as the dress (for example, if the dress opens down the side, put a new fastener on the bra at the side).
That dress is quite a challenge.  I admire you for attempting it.
Anne C.

Offline jtl

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 10:40:51 PM »
I would use boning and plenty of it.  Any strapless garment requires boning to be comfortable to wear.

Offline Debbie S

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 04:47:51 AM »
I may be mistaken ( and it would not be the first time LOL) but it appears that the cape is attached to the center front.  If so, the weight of the cape draping down the back or across the shoulders would hold the front up.  Of course I just took a quick look at the picture you posted and did not reference the pattern.

Deb
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 02:56:20 AM by Debbie S »
Deb

Living in Northwest Missouri

Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Offline Alessandra

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 05:28:16 PM »
I would use boning and plenty of it.  Any strapless garment requires boning to be comfortable to wear.

That was my thought too, except that it rather goes against the clingy, flowy 1930s ethos of this dress.

(By the way, yes, evadress.com is a fabulous resource of drop-dead gorgeous vintage reproduction patterns.  Her blog is great too.)

Then again, velvet changes the whole motion of the dress, which seems to have originally been intended for satin, so maybe boning would go well with it.
Good clothes open all doors.
--Thomas Fuller

My blog: Confessions of a Postmodern Pre-Raphaelite

Offline Andromache

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 06:54:17 PM »
Thanks, guys.

I've experimented with adding a waist stay, and it does wonders for keeping the skirt up.  Since the stay is several inches shorter than the circumference of the waist, I will need to attach the stay to the dress using thread chains or a casing instead of tacking it directly to the waist seam.

Boning would be a good idea, but it's too late for that at this point-- there is no way I am taking apart the bodice to add a corselette, for any number of reasons.  In addition, I need the dress to be hand or machine washable for a number of reasons, and spiral steel boning would rust under these conditions. 

Also, as Alessandra points out, boning would go against the flowy, drapy dresses of that time period, and I think it would prevent the bodice from draping as planned.  I think the patterns' original plan for holding the skirt up was with a waist stay + belt, so I'll have to start looking into appropriate belts as well.

I'm thinking of adding another grosgrain ribbon stay at the top of the bodice, in addition to the elastic.  I'll let you all know how that works out.
κτῆμά τε ἐς αἰεὶ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα

Offline Andromache

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 02:40:47 AM »
All right.  I used six or so safety pins to form a sort of casing for the waist stay to move in freely, and that worked well.  I also added the elastic to the back.  The result?  The skirt now holds itself up completely, putting no weight on the bodice, and the bodice just barely holds itself up on its own (seriously, if I sneezed, I would be in trouble).  But, with the cape acting as a halter strap, I should be fine.  I've attached pictures, with apologies for how poorly the photography came out.  Thanks for all your help, everyone, and I'll let you know how the final dress comes out.
κτῆμά τε ἐς αἰεὶ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα

Offline Alessandra

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 04:17:52 AM »
It looks lovely and elegant, but I see what you mean about sneezing.  It sounds like the cape and gravity are the miracle that makes the bodice work.

I daresay it makes for exciting dancing.
Good clothes open all doors.
--Thomas Fuller

My blog: Confessions of a Postmodern Pre-Raphaelite

Offline Elona

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Re: How do I get the bodice to stay up?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 07:33:40 AM »
The style of the pattern is very much a Jean Harlow type of dress.  Harlow would not wear supportive undergarments, and clingy gowns like hers were supposed to show that you actually were nekkid under there, wearing only a draped swath of some filmy fabric that magically stayed up courtesy of nothing more than your  natural assets, as shown here:




eta: image as name of link (image is clickable) :)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 05:10:53 PM by Lisa »

 

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