Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Golden Bustle and Pattern Review

I know this blog has been quiet lately, I've been sewing but haven't had an opportunity to share my projects. Today I made some time after finishing this lobster tail bustle using this Truly Victorian pattern in the Regular style (it comes with Regular and Imperial styles, the Imperial is a larger bustle).

The finished bustle! 
I wanted to test this pattern on some fabric I had laying around before doing the nice custom order for a friend of mine. I'm glad I did as I found a few issues. The fabric for the bustle was actually a table cloth. I decided to use black thread and bias tape for a contrast to the gold. I also used thick, extra long wire ties that I had in my stash for the hoop boning. The pattern recommends steel and the Truly Victorian site sells precut pieces for each size.

First, this pattern is great in that its super easy to follow if you have a bit sewing experience. It goes together well and the pieces didn't need any adjusting to make them fit together. I didn't even fully mark the lines for the bias tape, just at the edges of the fabric and the inside of the center back seam. The pattern calls for single fold bias tape and I found that to be too thin for the width of the plastic wire ties I was using. I'm glad I noticed that before starting! 

The tapes were easy to sew on, even though they were curved. 
The pattern doesn't specify what pleats to use on the bottom, or even how to pleat it, so that's where some previous sewing skills would come in handy. I prefer the look of box pleats and think they give it a nice finish. The bottom could also be gathered for a fuller look. This is also where I noticed the plastic curves a lot at the bottom where metal hoops would probably curve less. 

Box pleats! 

The waist band is small, only about a quarter inch wide. I didn't add a hook and eye to close it since I cant decide if I prefer that or a snap. Also, I'd like to keep it open so its slightly adjustable, especially since this will probably be sticking around for a while as a prop for my other costumes. 

Waistband and front darts.

Overall, I would recommend this pattern to anyone who doesn't want to draft one on their own. As I've said, its easy to follow. One thing to keep in mind though, it does run small. I cut the fabric to be only one size smaller than my measurements but its actually two-three sizes too small. I would suggest checking the pattern before cutting expensive fabric! I would also recommend using steel boning as the plastic curves a bit too much and may also be a bit weak for heavier gowns. 

The front view. As you can see, the plastic wire ties curve a lot. 

Inside view of the boning casings. 
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Back view, it really does remind me of a lobster tail!