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Corsetry for the Lopsided

I have been swallowed by work, personal stuff, and yes, Chalice of the Sun God.

In regards to the latter, I feel very accomplished as several things have been ironed out, such as staff, help, schedule, and assorted other issues. All in all, a very productive weekend.

I have also been working on my 12th Night outfit, or at least working on version 2.0 of the pair of bodies. Alcega was a lot of help in trying to figure out how to get the off the shoulders look without the straps falling off. Once I finished my mock-up (version 1.0), which was made using very coarse linen, machine sewn channels, and plastic for boning, I was ready to try the real thing.

That's when I took a look at the $50 a yard taffeta and told to myself, "Maybe not."

Sooooo, I rummaged through my sewing room and found this nifty piece of leftover green wool. It was less than a yard, which means that it was too small to make anything, and too large to discard. However, it was the perfect size to make a corset. Add to that some leftover melon pink silk floss from another project, plus some leftover linen for the lining and interlining and, bingo! I get a nifty version 2.0 that cost me nothing. (Well, it did cost me what I originally paid for the stuff, but I did not have to go and make an additional purchase.)

Of course, now it is all being sewn by hand but if I make any mistakes or need to make any corrections, I won't care. The corset will still fit, look very nice, and will provide me with the practice that I need for version 3.0.

And speaking of corsets, fitting one for someone who has one natural and one fakey breast, is rather entertaining. You see, natural and fakey breasts behave very differently. Take for instance some very well known fakes: Victoria Beckham's. If you notice, those things look like they have been bolted on. Then take some natural ones, say, Bridget Mardquart's from The Girls Next Door. Those are squishy and don't look bolted on.

Now, for those of us who have had a one sided mastectomy, and opted for silicone, things get unexpectedly fun. When trying on a corset, the natural breast will go flat like it's supposed to, while the fake one will go "sproing!" on you. I am currently experimenting with some padding to see if I can get them even. I am also thinking about writing an article on this experiment. I am sure I am not the only woman in the world with this kind of situation.

It will be fun.

And that's all for today. I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend, and I hope to see many of you at Chalice!



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
Your fitting challenge fascinates me (OK, I admit it, I have a thing for boobs). I know that when I did a corset based on the Dorothea bodies for 2 different-sized breasts I boned up higher on the smaller side to give that side more lift. I don't know if a similar concept will help with this or not.

One interesting effect of this method was that I had a LOT of space under the smaller breast where I would store all kinds of things when I went out in my underwear as outerwear (clubbing, not SCA).
Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)
oh, and to get the shape of the boning right without actually sewing all those boning channels, I used a piece of cardboard between 2 layers of fabric (one to keep it away from me, the other to pull it close to me).
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
That is an excellent idea for mockups. Saves a lot of time for the fitting.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I boned my mockup in the fashion of the Dorothea bodies. I think that's the ticket. I put an old swimsuit padding on the left side (the natural one). It sort of helps, but did not completely solve the problem. My next experiment is with bra padding that I plan to purchase at G-Street. It's the kind they sell for those planning on sewing underwear. If that doesn't work, I'll try Nordstrom and buy a prosthesis.

Ahhhh, the possibilities.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)
If you notice, those things look like they have been bolted on.

I just spit tea all over my monitor and then had to explain why I was laughing to a roomful of teenage girls. They agree that Posh is bolted together.

At some point, if you don't mind, I would like to talk to you about fitting for your type of lopsidedness. I'm trying to add to my arsenal of fitting tips, and it occurs to me I would have no idea how to fit someone with a prosthetic/single enhancement.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Sure! I will post on my progress, and will probably have an article or diary on my webpage.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
I am incredibly interested in what you come up with for how to fit you :)

Does the "melon pink silk floss" mean that the channels are handsewn? And if so, why go to that level of effort? Does it make a difference in how the thing fits, or just how you perceive it?
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Does the "melon pink silk floss" mean that the channels are handsewn?


And if so, why go to that level of effort?

Because v.2.0 is more than a mockup. It's a practice garment in a less expensive material, but it will be useable all the same.

Say, I am practicing the sewing of channels. So far, my first ones were not that even. The latter ones, are much better. If I am going to do it this way, better to fiddle with wool before touching the taffeta. ;-)

When my channels were not going to be visible, I didn't worry that much. But this ones will be, at least to me, so they must be done by hand. And it's like Victoria's Secret underwear. No one will see it but you, but you will know it's there.

Does it make a difference in how the thing fits, or just how you perceive it?

I think it does. When you hand stitch, you have a lot more control over your garment. And it does fit better, as your seams lie flatter and nicer. :-)

Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
I'd be really interested in that article. Even though I did keep both of mine, since the tumor was small enough that they could do a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy, one breast was irradiated and one was not and now they behave differently. The radiation made the tissues tighten up, although it's loosened a bit over time. So not only are they different sizes, they squish differently.

I've been needing a new corset anyway, since my old one was made when I was thinner and a different shape, but I'm going to have some new and interesting fitting challenges.

While I can draft patterns, I decided to save myself some time and have bought the RH Elizabethan Corsets pattern and am going to be trying the Effigy corset as soon as I have time to breath. Currently this looks to be some time around December. I should probably wait anyway since I'm debating with myself about getting a reduction mammoplasty on the unaffected breast to even them up, which will change my shape yet again.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
RH Elizabethan corsets are a great choice, and Kass has done a great job redacting those extant pieces. The reason I am going with Alcega instead and drafting my own is because I am doing something different and trying to prove some pet theories of mine. :-)

I should probably wait anyway since I'm debating with myself about getting a reduction mammoplasty on the unaffected breast to even them up, which will change my shape yet again.

I am personally thinking about getting an implant on my left side so at least they end up the same size. My doctor says it's a very simple thing to do. I am still pondering about it, since on one hand it will make me feel better, but on the other hand it means some recovery time and some stretching of my chest muscles. Again.

I may end up doing it anyway, but depending on the timing.

Heck, I will have the perkiest boobs in the nursing home when I get older!
Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
EVERYONE is lopsided. 8^). Well, at least all the women.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, but silicone and natural tissue behave differently. And when you lose weight, your natural breast gets smaller, while your fakey one still looks like a Pam Anderson escapee. It's a totally different problem than those faced by folks who have not have had the surgery.

The other reason why they behave differently is that your normal breast rests on top of your chest muscles, and is comprised of soft tissue. Your fakey breast is inserted under your chest muscles and is a lot harder. Also, it won't droop. Ever. Your natural one will. :-)

Difficult to grasp until you have two different material, shape and size breast. (Hopefully you will never have to face it ;-)
Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
I think an article would not only be appropriate and timely, but beneficial for many reenactors both inside and outside of the SCA. In fact, should you write it, I would highly recommend that you consider talking to sister #3 about submitting it to the Costume Society of America. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that she used to edit their mid-Atlantic publication.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
I am seriously considering that.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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