Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tabistry Waist Cincher

New Tutorial/Pattern for my Simple Waist Cincher is available!  This is a great project for a beginner or someone looking to make a medium sized project with about 500 tabs.  If a full corset looks too daunting, this is one you can learn a few skills/techniques from that will raise confidence levels.  It includes a few new techniques and options that are not in my corset tutorial.

I've worn my own cincher for some time now.  It's perfect for event we go to where there is a lot of dancing and moving that a full corset is too restricted for.  I made my first one way back after the pirate corset.  It's a form-fitting design, so there is little worry about fiddling to get the shaping just right as with my more complex corsets.

Though it is a "simple" cincher, this is is an indepth tutorial.  I cover just about everything you could ever want to know about how I constructed the waist cincher.  It includes detailed instruction for three different ways to fit the cincher from readymade pattern sizes (XS-XL) to custom pattern drafting for other sizes.  There are even suggestions for improving the shape of the readymade sizes to fit better.

I included details of how to lace up using what are commonly referred to as "bunny ears" in a variety of tab configurations .

I also include instructions for adding waist tape.  I think this is essential to improving the shape of the finished cincher.

My mom tried the Extra Large size.  To make it unique, and quicker to put on and take off, we added a front closure.  It was an experiment using two different sized tabs and binder rings.  (You know, those rings in the office supply section of stores used to hold hole punched paper together.)  I found a bunch of them at the flea market that I use for all kinds of things.

The binder rings worked really well and made her cincher more unusual in appearance.  But, I was pleasantly surprised to see the tabs held together pretty good on their own.  I need to get some pics of her wearing hers.

If you're interested in making one of these cinchers, you can find it here.  I think my next tutorial will be top hats or baskets.  We shall see.

Monday, February 16, 2015

PopScale and other Tab Maille from Pop Top Paladin

I have a few projects I'm excited to post about soon, but wanted to take a minute to share some really neat things being done with tab maille.  You may have seen chainmaille woven with tabs before, but John Andrews from Pop Top Paladin has come up with some really clever weaves.

One of my favorites is the version he calls "PopScale".  He goes into detail on how to produce it here.  It's not only made with can tabs, but with the inside cutout from the mouth opening of the can as well.

This is a sampler piece he created as a scarf with all kinds of different weave variations.

With many pics of projects and different variations of weave patterns, his site poptoppaladin.com  is really worth a look.  I look forward to seeing many new things that push the boundaries of can tabs from John!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stay Tab Tabbed Stays Revisited

Finally sharing some changes I made to my stays I posted here over a year and a half ago.  I try to do this to show how I solve problems in hopes that it may help those who are making their own corset or bodice.  If you're following our Tabistry group on Facebook, you may have seen pics of my first round of alterations.  I've been slowly tweaking different aspects of this particular project ever since then and wearing each version to various events.  I thought it would be great to also show the wonderful shots the hobbyist photographers have so graciously captured of my ever-evolving outfit.

This was taken by Chris Howard at Scarby in 2013 just after I finished the first attempt.  I found the stays were too short in front and the bottom tabs weren't as evenly spaced as I would have liked.  Plus, in my haste I didn't get time to fix the repeating "V" pattern in lower half of the front.  I did really like the black, brown, and teal-ish color-scheme.

My next set of alterations were made before just before October 2013 and worn to the Texas Renaissance Festival.  Michael Lawhorn and Megan Elizabeth got some lovely shots of us outside the Sea Devil Pub for All Hallow's weekend.  (If you're curious, Mr. Sam was dressed as Baron Samedi, while I went as a witch.)   I tried widening the shoulder straps, which I didn't end of liking.  I also changed the front by fixing the "V" pattern, making it longer and adding tabs that branch out to a fork in front.   I also changed the bows on the front of the straps.  (I may eventually go back the the black ones depending on my outfit.)  Overall, I like the longer front.  But, it had a tendency to bend forward with the poofy layers of my bustle, petticoats and the pretty brown skirt I found at a local thrift store that matched my bodice.

Here are two pics Moon Dawg took while we were hanging out after the parade about 6 months later at Scarby in 2014.  As you can see, I went back to narrow shoulder straps, but kept them permanently attached in the back, which helped them not fall off my shoulders as easily.  The only other change made was making the "tabs" along the bottom fan out more evenly by unweaving between the strips up the sides a little.  Seems I got the waist too low when I made the front longer.

In this photo by Shawn Johnson, you can see we decided to repeat our costumes from the year before at TRF this past October for yet another Halloween weekend.  This was the last event I wore these stays, and this is where I'm at on the changes so far.  I added a busk and satin ribbon waist tape for a much better fit around the waist area. I also raised the back up and out at the shoulder blades, which supports the straps even more.

Here you can see the progression of the front.  I hope it has all been improvements. You may notice it is longer now and more shapely at the waist.  Not sure I will ever attempt tabbed tabistry stays again.  I like the silhouette, but think I prefer shaping the sides over the hip in one solid piece.

It isn't pretty, but here's a pic of the internal satin waist tape and a wooden busk used to reinforce and prevent stretching and distortion around the waist area.  The stretchless satin ribbon continues all around the waist.

The changes in the back were the most frustrating.  But, I settled on raising it up higher over the shoulder blades as is more traditional with this style.  (And, as I now know helps keep the shoulder straps up and in place.)  You can see how the waist tape changed the shape of my figure in back of the third image on the right here, as well.  It allowed me to bring in the lace gap more without too much stress on the aluminum tabs.  I've also decided on brown shoe lace for the spiral lacing.  It's laced a bit tighter than I would normally lace it, and the daughter didn't get the top tied correctly, but it was pretty good for her first time helping me.  I think I need to raise the start of the lacing up a wee bit at the bottom so the tabs don't pull in together like that.

Super happy with most of it now.  Still learning a lot about fitting and better construction in my experimenting.  It may not seem like dramatic differences here, but getting it right makes a world of difference in overall appearance and comfort.  I should get a tutorial available for this and various other projects some time next year after the store is open again.