This past week I managed to get my Laughing Moon #115 stays to the point where I could take them to my mentors for a fitting. I elected not to trim any of the excess added pre-cording yet, just to be on the safe side. I safety pinned the side seams together and had basted the straps on. I inserted the busk and my untrimmed reed bones (only at the bust, as the channels in the side seams weren’t sewn yet.)
- At my mentor’s suggestion I added an extra panel of the twill to reinforce the busk pocket. I made it just slightly larger than the width of the pocket and sandwiched it between the exterior fabric and the lining fabric. I plan on sewing the slit to insert the busk through the lining and this extra panel.
- SEW AND TEST YOUR BUSK CHANNEL FIRST! This is in the instructions, but she doesn’t explain why: you need to test the busk in it to make sure it isn’t too tight or too loose. Since all the other cording channel lines meet here, if it is wrong it affects all of those too. Mine ended up being too tight so before I picked them out I offset my sewing machine needle by one position and, using the original stitch line as a guide, followed it with the line in the middle of the foot. This way I got a perfectly parallel line ~1/16 beyond my original stitching line without having to draw another line. The busk channel ended up being 1 11/16″ wide. My busk is a curved one from Redthreaded.
- The instructions suggest doing embroidery before sewing the cording channels, but again, they don’t explain why. I ended up leaving the tails of my embroidery thread instead of knotting or trimming them because when the front bodice piece gets trimmed after cording, I want to be able to unpick and resecure them rather than just cut through the stitches.
- I stuck with the boning channel at the sides of the cups having boning.
- I am not sure if this is because I drew the cording channels after putting in the gussets, but the cording channels in between the hip gussets kept ending up not centered between them. Not sure if they’re supposed to be centered, but I figured that would be the easiest for cording, otherwise you’ve got the gusset seam allowances in the way inside. So to repeat a previous note, next time I would draw all the cording channels even before I cut the gusset slits.
- The cording is really the easiest part of this whole thing, even if it is hard on the hands. It is easy because it is totally rote work feeding the cording through. The scary part is that it feels like such a big step! But it isn’t because it isn’t too hard to make fitting adjustments afterward, as long you as already did a mockup to catch any major fitting issues.
- My biggest concern with the fitting was re-finding the center back line. We decided to stray from the instructions, and add 1.5″ to each side of the center back, even though it says you don’t have to add for shrinkage there. From there, instead of sewing the back exterior and lining right sides together at the CB and then turning them, I would simply treat them as if the lining was a flat lining and temporarily leave the back edges raw. This ended up working out well, as you can see above that I had a 1-2 1/2″ gap in the back by the time I had corded and assembled.
- The side seams were fine.
- We decided to move the straps slightly towards the CB and down (I have slightly narrow shoulders) while trimming away the back of the armscye just a tad extra. These correspond with the safety pins on my right shoulder in the photo above.
- The cups seemed large, but it was difficult to get everything in the right place without laces, so I am going to wait until I have the back finished with laces to see if I really need to alter them. It shouldn’t be too hard to take them in just a little, although it will probably be tedious. It was also pointed out to me that if I felt I needed another hip gusset, inserting and/or reducing gussets is pretty easy to do before you bind the edges.