Evil Queen OUAT Shattered Sight Part 1 Corset

This is my first post about the new costume I have been working on, that is if you don’t count the concept and materials page. I will be making the Corset for the Evil Queen or Regina Mills from Once Upon A Time, specifically the one she wore in the episode titled Shattered Sight. The easiest way to start any project is on the base piece. You cannot make the jacket until you have the base done.

This corset was the most challenging corset I have ever done. And I have done my fair share of corsets. By no means am I an expert in corsetry but I am not bad at it. Except this corset. This is the corset from hell.

I first decided to buy a corset pattern. Made a mock up (which fit, by the way, otherwise I wouldn’t have continued on), and then something went wrong when I was working on the real one.

Then I made another mock up using the same pattern, adjusted to my measurements. Again a failure. At this point I decided that since the corset pattern was giving me too much of a problem that I needed to make my own pattern.

I grabbed my mannequin and placed my muslin against the torso of it. I marked out my pieces. Transferred the pieces to pattern paper and proceeded to make a 5/8th inch seam allowance. Cut the pattern out of muslin for a mock up. There needed to be a reduction at the waist. And since the breast pieces are separate patterns I made a pattern for that as well using it as a template. Do the same with those pattern pieces as I have done with the torso. Cut them out of muslin and attach them to the torso at the points needed.  Use plastic boning for the mock up. And I have spare set of back panel pieces already made up and I attached them to the mock ups where I needed them.

When I tried the mock up on, everything was where it should be. And it went perfect, or as perfect as I could imagine. Taking the pieces of the patterns apart to create the pattern again.

Unfortunately when I cut out the pattern from satin and cut the interfacing and the strength. (I’ll get to the unfortunate bit in a minute.) I fused the interfacing to the satin to make it more stable. After that was accomplished I sewed the panels together, repeated the process with the strength. Sewed boning channels in the seams. Cut the boning. Made the breast pieces. When it was time to sew the satin and the strength together the strength was too long. Fusing the interfacing to the satin had made the satin shrink. Which has never happened to me before. It was a huge failure. And I couldn’t just use the interfaced satin because it wasn’t strong enough to be a corset.

Onto the 4th try. They say third time is charmed, wasn’t so in my case. This time I bought interfacing that was fusible to both the strength and the satin. And that is what I did before I cut any fabric out. I fused everything together. And got as far as adding grommets. The pattern looked okay. The fabric looked great together. But when it was time to sew the breast cups on, it didn’t look right to me. Here is a before picture, before the breast pieces were added.

When I was purchasing fabric at my Joann’s store, they recommended I purchase some flat padding to help keep the bust shape. I did that and followed the directions for the padding. Except by the time everything was finished the breast pieces looked ridiculous. As you can see below.

I was just done at this point. It has been nearly a week and my costume had done nothing but fail. And I have purchased an abundance of satin for this project already. I was on the verge of giving up on this corset and this whole costume, when I told myself to not quit. If I couldn’t make a cupped corset like the one Regina wears (at least it looks cupped), then I was just going to have to make an overbust corset instead.

I had the perfect pattern already in mind for this corset. I made the pattern a year ago when I was making a steampunk version of Snow White.

corset-snow

Except with the corset I had found a minimal flaw, it wasn’t up high enough in the bust on the front. With my bust size it felt a little too low when I made the first one, and that was easy to solve. I added an inch to the top of the pattern and the bottom of all pieces. I wanted it both higher up and lower down.

With the pattern I was able to cut out a completely new pattern for my measurements that would work for this project. I didn’t bother with a mockup. The time constraints on this project had past and there was no way I had any time left for mock ups on this garment. Besides what could go wrong.

The answer to that was nothing. I bought all new fabric for this because with all the failed corsets I made from the other satin was used up and the color was discontinued. Not good. At all. By some miracle I managed to find a similar match to the show just in time for this project. It was a better match than the fabric I purchased the first time. I purchased all they had and hoped it would be enough for both the corset and the jacket, all they had available was barely 4 and a half yards.

(Here is where my pictures cut out.)

Before I even cut out the fabric I fused it to a fusible medium weight fabric. Cut out the pattern pieces and then I basted those pattern pieces to a black twill for the strength layer. Sewing the panels together was easy. I was a pro at it by this point with all the failed attempts. And once all the panels were sewn together I just needed to make boning channels. (Normally you would see me say to always iron everything. Don’t iron the seams down. There is a fusible web in there that will make the seams and pieces wonky. I know this. I’ve done this with the others. Failure every time. Maybe there is a way to get it to work but I do not know. If you do please tell me in the comments.)

Now with the boning channels done I just needed to cut the boning before I sew anything down at the edges for the back panels to add grommets. For this corset I needed to recut most of the boning as the other sizes were just not even close to working for this corset. To cut boning you will need wire cutters, at least that is if you are using spring steel bones. I am, use wire cutters, the heavy-duty kinds. After cutting boning for two other corsets my hands were on the sore side and I enlisted the help of one of my brothers. Mark out all bones prior to cutting. When cut you will need to file the bones down to remove the sharp edges of the bones. To further seal the edges I use nail polish. A white to get the tipped portion the same as the rest, and then a few coats of clear for the durability. I use seche vite. It is a gel and you need less coats of this. Hint: When marking out boning placements make the bones roughly 3/4th inch shorter than the length of the corset, you need to bind the edges later.

Be extremely careful when cutting the bones yourself, if you are underage you shouldn’t cut bones yourself. Have an adult help. It is dangerous to do. I have been stabbed and sliced by steel bones before {Through my own carelessness, but I have learned not to do certain things.}  Not fun. So please BE CAREFUL. When in doubt ask for help. Another side note on steel bones, when you cut the bone down you need to be careful that no one is in the way. The bones like to spring apart fast and can ricochet. If you have a helper have one hold the bones while the other one cuts them. Get assistance if needed.

The rest of the corset is fairly easier than the boning process. Easier, but also easier to screw up. All that is left is grommets and binding. I do the grommets first 75% of the time. This time I bound the corset first. Because I knew the fit would be perfect. There was nothing that would need changing. To make bias binding, usually you would cut out strips of fabric on the bias, hence the name bias binding. But I do not have enough material left for me to do that without sewing together a ridiculous amount of strips and thus having way too many seams. So I interfaced the left over material and cut out strips that were 1.5 inches wide. I cut 6 of them. Just in case and then stitched those six together at the width, instead of the length, because otherwise you could have just left them whole. The purpose is to have a long strip. I pressed them flat with a cold iron. (Still interfaced so do not iron on hot.)

The bias binding is a little tricky. I start usually with the top, pin to the outside of the fashion layer first. Make sure to have the edges folded down on both ends before you stitch. Sew this length down. Then fold the inside edge down so as to hide the free edge in between the fabric. Pin this together. From this point it is forever hand sewing. If you don’t hand sew this the stitches have a chance at being visible on the outside, which is very unsightly. Insert the bones if you haven’t done so by now.

Restart the binding process you used on the top for the bottom, but this time stitch more slowly so you don’t run over the bones. These are steel bones and not rigilene. They will break the needle and the majority of the time it will ricochet. When you are finished hand sewing the binding, to get a cleaner look at the edges you should add a few ladder stitches to the side edges to seal off the end of the bias tape.

It is recommended to mark out grommet/eyelet markings on a piece of paper before you mark them on your fabric. I use a permanent marker to transfer the marking sot my corset. If you are uncomfortable doing this, I recommend a frixion pen. They have a disappearing ink when you heat it with an iron.

There are three methods you can use to add holes for the grommets to a corset. The first one would be to use a punch, if you get the one at JoAnn’s it forces its way through the fabric. The second is a leather punch, that one punches out the fabric like a hole puncher would. The third is an awl. All are great options for different reasons. I prefer the leather punch on most fabrics with the aw.

When adding grommets into the corset, there are three different ways you can go about doing this. Use the punch you get at JoAnn’s, you make the hole and then add the grommets and squeeze the grommets closed with the punch. This is a little difficult to get right. I haven’t had any luck with this method.

Another way to do it would be to buy the setter machine, it is spendy because you can’t just buy the machine and call it good, you also have to buy the feet for it. All in all, I spent about 200 for it and I have no idea on how to use it. I insert the feet into the setter and then insert the grommets and then the fabric. And every time I use it my grommets come out looking wonky. I think I may have the wrong feet for my grommet size, but I purchased both from that shop and they were the ones to get everything set for me at checkout. So, unfortunately it sits in my garage until I can find out how to use it or which parts to actually purchase for it to work.

The final method, the best in my opinion, is buying the parts needed to hammer them in. They look something like this:

eyelet-setter-anvil-8094-00-600_430

I got this picture from the website of Tandy Leather, which is where I purchased it from, my local Tandy leather.

And they are the best for setting grommets. Now, it is recommended to use a wooden mallet. Something that won’t damage the ends on the piece you hammer in, but I use a metal hammer. I can’t seem to get enough force with a standard mallet in one swing. And that is what you need. You need to set the grommet in one swing or the grommets can be deformed.

Grommets are hard to remove once you have them set it. Trust me. I have tried and though it is doable it just takes time and strength. The strength I have, but the time is not always available. Especially when I have work during the school year.

On a side note you can hand sew eyelets. I have done it before, but I like the aesthetic of the metal grommets. At least on certain corsets, this being one of them. Unless I am working on something trying to be historically accurate. (I almost always modify historical costumes in one way or other. Mostly just with small things. Like pleats or fabric choices.)

The last task I needed to do was to try this on, well, that and gems. But the try on went first.

Here are a couple of images of it on my mannequin and also on the ground.

That is all for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Until next time, bye.

The next post should be up by the end of the week. Thank you for reading.

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Author: consortcreations

This blog is all about my sewing adventures. Whether it be cosplay, historical-esque, or original designs. You will find all of those things here. I am 26, I have been sewing for a total of two and a half years. I started it as something fun, a small hobby. But it has turned into a bigger part of my life. Bigger than I thought it would be. I am completely self-taught. That is I had no first hand sewing teacher. I learned through the power of trial and error as well as reading blogs. The inspiration to sew came from many places. Television and literature being the two biggest. And I figured, I might as well try to make it myself, it would be more cost effective than paying someone else to make it. Besides how hard could it be? And boy was it hard. But then not so much. It is just trying something and if that didn’t work try it another way. If you have any questions, just ask. Or if you want to comment feel free.

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