#012 The Elizabethan Bodice: CUTTING OUT AND ASSEMBLING YOUR MOCKUP

Posted by Margo Anderson on

Welcome back to The Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along!  Today we will be taking the patterns you altered to fit your measurements, cutting out our fabric, and assembling our mockups!  
In our previous blog posts, we have been showing examples using models with and without corsets, but the process of cutting out fabrics and assembling your mockup is the same for both options.  Therefore, we are only showing one example here.
To make your mockup, you should have the following:
1.  Your fabric
2.  Your modified pattern
3.  Something to hold the pattern in place (pins, weights)
4.  And something with which to cut the fabric (scissors, rotary cutter)
NOTE:  "Mockup," "Muslin" and "Toile" are interchangeable words for a test garment sewn to determine proper fit.  The term "Muslin" is most often used in the garment industry, and the term "Toile" is used in couture.  As mockups were frequently made of muslin, either of the terms could be used to describe an unfinished test garment.  
Your altered pattern, ready to go!
In terms of choosing a fabric, we recommend that you use something with very little stretch.  Usually you want to use a fabric that has similar properties to your finished garment fabric in drape, weave, weight and stretch.  However, in Elizabethan costuming there is usually some sort of flatlining, and a fashion fabric on top.  You want your mockup to have the same properties as your flatlining, not your fashion fabric.

Margo recommends you use the fabric you are going to use for your flatlining.  That way if you need few alterations, you can reuse your mockup as your flatlining.  We chose to use a piece of fabric that Arte had leftover from another project, which was a lightweight brushed twill.  
Lining the pattern up on the fabric for cutting.
I usually try to conserve fabric and fit my pattern pieces as closely together as I can.  Because Arte's pattern pieces were smaller, we were able to put them side by side on the fabric.  
You want your pattern to follow the grainline of the fabric.  The arrow with two ends that you copied onto your altered pattern from the original pattern shows the direction that your pattern should sit on the grainline.  The grainline should be parallel to the selvedge, or the finished edge of your fabric, that runs the full length of your fabric.  
The back of the cut out pattern.
Your back piece should always be cut with a seam, to help with fitting.  As you can see from my photo above, I did not follow these instructions, and cut it on the fold line.  This actually made things more difficult for me when I had to take in the back on Arte's mockup - I couldn't determine where the back seam was.  Heed my mistake, and make sure that you cut your bodice with a back seam.
Cutting out the shoulder strap.
Because the shoulder strap has to go over a curve, it is cut slightly on a curve with the grainline.  When you line up your arrow, you will notice that the strap is not straight up and down.  Make sure to cut your shoulder strap in the correct position.
The finished pattern, ready to assemble.
I like to keep my pattern piece on top of my cut fabric pieces, to keep them in order.  
Fitting strips, ready to sew onto the mockup.
As you sew your mockup together, make sure to pay attention to where you will be leaving an opening so you can easily put it on and off.  If your bodice will be back opening, leave the back open.  If it is in the front, leave the front open.  And if it is going to be side lacing, leave BOTH sides open.
You can use a number of different ways to close the opening on your mockup.  I have used straight pins before, and several people I know use zippers.  Margo recommends using fitting strips, which are fabric strips with grommets, that you can make yourself.  You will find instructions on how to make them in Margo's Techniques Manual in the "Lacing" section, under "Making Fitting Strips."
The ones we used were actually part of an old corset that Arte had taken apart.  They weren't quite long enough, but they worked just fine.
 
Sewing with a 5/8 inch seam.
All of the seams (unless otherwise specified) in Margo's patterns are meant to be sewn with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.  Margo recommends that you sew in the fitting strips first, but we sewed them in last, and it worked fine.  It was a bit more fiddly, but we made it work.
Since our bodice was front opening, we sewed the back seam, the side seams, and then we sewed the shoulder straps to the front of the bodice.  In sewing the shoulder straps, it is important to sew them in correctly, with the curve facing the correct direction, and the front bodice stub matching up to the bottom of the shoulder strap.  This is where those notches on the pattern come in handy.  If you line up the notches, the straps should line up properly.  

You should NOT sew the shoulder straps to the back bodice piece, as you will be pinning that in place, in order to make adjustments easier.  
The fitting strips, sewn 5/8 inch from the cut edge.
The fitting strips are meant to be sewn with the grommets at least 1/4 inch back from the finished garment edge (5/8 inch back from the cut edge).  This means your grommet edges (not the edge of the fitting strip) should be 7/8 inches back from the cut edge.  I like to measure the distance from the edge, and pin the strips in place before sewing them.
  
The finished mockup!
(Not lined up terribly well in this photo, but the fitting strips are even on both sides.)
We recommend having a long enough lace for the fitting strips that will fit the entire length of the strips.  If you are lacing yourself in without a helper, it is useful to have some extra length.   
Your mockup is now ready for fitting!  
NEXT BLOG POST:  Fitting your mockup with and without a corset.
This article, and the rest of the Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along posts, was written by Laura Ulak.

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