Monday, March 19, 2018

Photography journal post and updates

Bonjour,

I have been gone for a while, but I want to let you know I am still here. I am finishing up my Bachelor's degree, still sewing, and taking up some new hobbies too. I will touch on all of those. I have moved my sewing post to a LiveJournal so you can find more at https://jessiharm.livejournal.com/

So, on my LiveJournal, I mention that I got really sick around Thanksgiving and spent time in the ER, and then was fired from a job for going over my "allowed time for the year". I was under a year so I didn't have all the time off that they gave to the employees once they reach the full year. So I have been unemployed since then. I have been focusing on school, sewing, and further developing my photography.

This is a good way to segway to my new hobbies. So I have been learning French for about a year, not groundbreaking, but since I have been doing 18th-century sewing, I learned I prefer the French fashion and architecture for this time period, then I developed an interest in the food, and ultimately would like to make an outfit and take a trip to the big carnival in France one of these years.

Lastly, I am doing some photography. I used to dabble in high school with my parents nicer point-and-shoot, then years later around 22, I played with a cheap Canon camera my friend got from Fingerhut... I suggest you never buy from them, way overpriced... and I didn't know how to use the manual settings, so I played in the auto. I never took good photos but I was always told I know how to frame the shot I just needed to learn to use the camera.

However, fast forward to now, I am 29, almost 30, and I wanted to get a nice camera for some of my side projects. I needed to get a camera that took larger images of a higher quality for some photoshoot compositing, finished sewing projects, and things I would like to sell. I also love portrait photography and creative photography, so I decided to invest in a nice camera.

I got a used Nikon 7100 that came with an 18-140mm. I have been getting a lot of use out of it. When I made the decision to buy the camera I started doing lots of research to learn how to use a DSLR camera, how to shoot manual, composition, and so on. I watched Phlearns Pro Tutorial on Photography 101 which is 14 hours long that covers EVERYTHING you need to know. So now I just need to apply that I have learned. I did my first photoshoot with my little brother for his business which went really well and already booked an engagement shoot. I will post a separate blog on that.

Lastly, I am going to be launching a youtube channel with various content, so that will be up soon.

That's my update, for now. More to come soon.

Jessi Harm

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

1700 stays: The journey continued

I HATE SEWING STAYS!!!

Okay, hate would be a strong word, and it's not the sewing that I hate, it's the mock up and fitting process. I am on my third 1700s stays style and 6th mock-up. This recent (the third) style I took from Corsets and Crinolines but ended up drafting my own block.

This picture is taken from the book. It's a late 1700s style and it is only two pattern pieces, so for someone who had to lots of adjustments I figured this one will be perfect. Fewer seams to adjust.

Now this pattern I used for reference on pieces and boning channels, but I did not grade this one up and print. I used as a visual guide as I took my own measurements and drafted my block. I'll do details on that later. I'll also include links to good stays construction resources at the end.


I have added some pictures of my latest mock and added snippets under about them.

SOME CONSIDERATIONS: As you view the pictures please be aware that drafting and fitting stays on a dress form is a terrible idea mostly because stays are worn with slight compression, (the squishier you are, the more potential for compression) however the dress form doesn't give. The breast doesn't smush, overall it doesn't compress as a natural body would, so I have been doing the fittings on my body but for pictures, I pinned to the form. You have to fit and alter on your own body for this particular garment.  I mention this though because I know the muslin mock looks wrong on the dress form. Trust me, its good on the body.


This is a shot from the side back. My dress form slip is super sloppy so please disregard. I got the back piece drafted nicely. I am currently really happy with it. The nice thing about this style is if I get the back piece right, then I know I only have to work on the front.

Fun fact is in late 1700 the designer realized that the shape of stays really came from the direction of the boning and not having multiple seams and their shapes. That is why as we move through the century popular styles have less pattern pieces. Not all style however.

This is the front. My biggest challenge is I have large boobs and because I have an apple shape and gain all weight in the belly I feel it wants to bow in at the waist. I want these stays to be longer looking, so that means a lower front and a longer center front. One suggestion made to me was using a busk to support the front. A good option for this is a wooden paint stirrer. just shape and smooth.

When deciding how low/deep you need the neckline depends on the size of your breast. It's typically about an inch or so above the nipple but because I have larger breast I did a little higher to ensure they won't bubble and spill over.


I wanted to mark the pleats/tabs after I got it on the form and cut after I was happy with how it looked. They should start right before the hips and then when boned they will roll over the top of them. This is for comfort, but also add little extra oomph for the petticoats.

The center back lacing should be about 2-3 inches, and since I am squishy I opted for 3. Ideally, I will lose weight so this will give me some room.

Another random fact, but depending on how you lace with also dictate how you may fit in the stays. Top to bottom can have a different look or fit than bottom to top.

Stays were laced with one string in a spiral style versus the common victorian style of criss-cross.



Robe a La Francaise Adventure by Enchanted Rose Costumes: She has videos for each part of the outfit. Stays, pockets, chemise, paniers, garters, stocking and so on. Great construction overview.

Merjas 1780s Stays from Before The Automobile: All her stuff is amazing, well researched and beautiful, I linked to my favorite project of hers, but please view it all.

Rococo Atelier: 18th Century Stays Construction: They have a good overview of the construction process

Green Marthas Blog on her stays construction: It's in french but google has a good in browser translator, please great pics for her construction overview.

Battle of The Stays: The author compares popular style patterns against each other so you have an idea of how they look. Great reference.


Monday, January 16, 2017

1700s Stays: Maybe not the Simplicity Pattern

Hello Everyone,

Being that I am a novice to all things sewing, I am not trying to make more alternations than I need too, however, I am finding due to my apple shape and large breast that everything under the sun needs alterations. The pattern I was originally going to use was going to require a lot of additional alterations, so I switched it out.

What happened?

I belong to a few different sewing groups on facebook, for corsets, and 18th-century sewing and what I learned recently is that the American Duchess for Simplicity version was scaled weird when simplicity got the drafts from their creator and are too short. This came from someone at the company, so I was advised it is still a great pattern for starting, however, it needs to be lengthened. This pattern was originally appealing to be because of the front and back lacing would allow more flexibility for fitting my chest and belly.

The thing is, I have never made stays before and in addition to figuring out how to add some room to the sides and techniques to accommodate my chest, I didn't want to deal with how to lengthen a pattern correctly too. Especially since I am getting burnt out already. I have made 3 mockups so far, two out of cloth, and one out of cardboard. (amusingly enough, I also found I was constructing the cloth stays wrong, so I had to completely start over.)

From here on out I am going to be using a different pattern, the Butterick 4254 Version. I was going to do that back lacing only, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that would make getting in and out on my own difficult. So I am doing the front and back lacing version, however, I do still need to add some room for my chest, and I will need to add some room to the waist.

I have no expectations of these first stays being anything wonderful so they will be a little more crudely constructed, I will probably use metal eyelets and machine sew everything that can be, and keep it for my LARP characters costume. Once I figure them out, I will make a more elegant version for my Halloween costume.

I need to get more muslin for this, so It will possibly be a week or so before I have another update. I am sorry for the inconsistent postings.

I am also working on my first draping project so I will let you know how that goes too.

Thanks for reading,
Jessi