Monday, February 27, 2012

Laughing Moon Trained Bustle (Altered)

I have officially started on my Overachiever's Costuming Plan. Yesterday, I made View C from the Laughing Moon Bustle & Hoop Skirt pattern.

View C is a trained bustle, but it's just a bustle. Given the weight of the skirt I'm going to be putting on top of it, I thought it would be a good idea to put a front panel on and run the bottom two hoop wires all the way around, making it a hoop skirt.

To do this, I straightened the front edge of the Side Front (#9):
(not a great photo, but you can see what I did in the upper left corner)

Then, I constructed the bustle following the directions, mostly (see notes at the end of this post). I put the bustle on my dress form and eyeballed the front opening. I remembered from making View A, that the hoop skirt was left open at the front waist so that it was easy to get in and out of and did not interfere with other garments. This seemed reasonable, so I measured 6" down from the waist. I decided that I needed something cut on the fold that measured 7" at the top and 9" at the bottom. Easy peasy. I added the hoop channels estimating off of the side front pattern:

I had to make one run to Joann's in the middle of the project for an eyelet setter, twill tape, and more wide single fold bias tape, but what's a project without a run to the store? (Eyelets? Why yes, there are two interior lacing panels that hold the upper and lower bustles together so they maintain their shape under the weight of the skirts. -- Seriously, this underwear looks at bra hooks and scoffs. This is a complicated undergarment.)

The directions are very clear and simple. I traced the pattern and cut it out on Saturday, and took me about 8 hours of sewing and supply runs on Sunday to get it completed.

Ta Da!

Thoughts on the pattern
The pattern says that the hoop skirts should rest about 6" off the floor, with no alterations, this sits about 8" off the floor. Remember, I am only 5' 2", so if you are taller, you may want to preemptively lengthen the pattern. However, it's very easy to add or remove length on this bustle after construction and the pattern contains very clear directions. I am going to hold off on messing with the length until I have some skirts to pile on it. The weight of the skirts might easily pull this down into a better position.

Also, I'm going to make the bustle pad for extra support.

Notes on Construction
I used 3/8" stiff poly tubing from the hardware store. Sooooo much cheaper than hoop boning. The only down side to this is that it is significantly less flexible, which changes how and when you can add them.

On the top bustle, I sewed the boning channels top and bottom. Then, I sewed in one side of the lacing pannel, closing off one end of the boning channels. I inserted the tubing from the other side and sewed on the other half of the lacing panel to close off the channels. This makes the rest of construction a little awkward because the bones make the piece less flexible, but it wasn't too difficult to work around.

On the bottom bustle, I able to wait until all other sewing was completed before inserting the bones. I repeated the side insert technique on the top three channels. On the bottom 2 channel that formed complete ovals, I left the bottom edge of the channel open for the entire width of the front panel. The was enough room to manipulate the tubing without difficulty. I does mean that there is a longish bit to hand sew, but it wasn't odious.

All in all, I'm very pleased. I may decide to make a trained petticoat to support the large skirt, but I haven't decided yet. One thing at a time.

Next up: burgundy underskirt.


Megan Martin said...

Looks fabulous! It will be interesting to see how the skirts lay over it, I always wondered about those bustles with built in trains at the back.
Just a thought, but maybe since you were using tubing instead of flat hoop steel, it ate up some of the length.

ajpiffle said...

Megan, I think that you are right about the tubing eating up the extra length. I bet that's where it all went.