May 6, 2013

Materials for Bustle Class

Well I'm a terrible tease.  There's just a few small details left on the accessory I showed you a glimpse of in the last post, and I still haven't found the time to finish it!  In the meantime, I wanted to do a quick post on materials for the upcoming GBACG Lobster Tail Bustle class I'll be teaching this Saturday.  If you're not already signed up, what are you waiting for?

If you're taking the class and you're not sure you're getting the right materials, read on!  I'll show you what they look like below, why we're using them, and where you might find them.  I'll also mention some good alternatives, and some bad ones as well.  Ready?

First off, the 1/2" spring steel hoop boning is already included in the class, so you don't have to worry about finding it!  So moving on...

For hoop channels:
The materials list calls for six yards of either cotton twill tape or grosgrain ribbon in a 3/4" width.   In the photo below, both the top and bottom examples are cotton twill, and the grosgrain ribbon is one down from the top.  These are good choices for boning channels because they are strong and will prevent the ends of your hoop bones from poking through.  You can generally find these at most fabric stores, though sometimes they are hidden in the trim section, or they have different widths (we'll discuss widths in a minute).  Stone Mountain & Daughter mentioned that they carry these in the 3/4" width (make sure to get their coupon here), and I've also bought them from Lacis.

These aren't all the correct width; it's what was in my bin :)
Click the photo to see them close up.

Hoop Channel Alternatives:
If you're having difficulty finding cotton twill tape or grosgrain ribbon, you've got some other options. Petersham ribbon is nice and strong, plus it comes in a variety of colors and widths.  In the photo above, the blue ribbon in the middle is Petersham.  It is generally more expensive than grosgrain, but it's nice stuff.

Bone casing is the real deal!  It's a tube of very tightly woven fabric meant specifically to encase your bones and keep the ends from poking through.  It comes in black or white.  I believe the only local supplier is Lacis, but I could be wrong.  It is, of course, pricier than the other options.

Not Recommended Alternatives:
Polyester twill tape is NOT your friend.  This stuff is easily found in packages at almost any fabric store, but it shreds when you look at it!  It will not hold up to hoop steel, plus it's more difficult to sew.  I do not recommend using it.

Trust me, it won't hold up.

Bias tape is widely used for this purpose, but I don't recommend it.  It's thin, and won't hold up to hoop steel in the long run.  I do not recommend using it.

Not gonna go the distance.

Regular ribbon that is not grosgrain/petersham is too thin and will likely end in poke throughs.  I do not recommend using it.

I can't find this stuff in 3/4" width!
The above mentioned store do carry it, and I have seen these widths at many (but not all) Joanns and Hancocks.  But maybe your local store doesn't have the right width, and you can't get all the way to Berkeley, so...

We'll be using 1/2" plastic coated spring steel hoop boning.  However, even though it's sold as such, it's not really 1/2"!  It really measures something like 3/8".  I prefer using 3/4" tape to make channels for this boning because it's wide enough to give you some room for error if you sew kinda wobbly, but not so big that your bones twist around.  However, if you're confident that you can sew very closely to the edge of your tape without veering off track, you can get away with 5/8" tape.   The photos below show the hoop boning in relation to various widths of tape/ribbon.  Remember, this boning is also about 3/16" thick in addition to it's 3/8" width, so we need to leave a little extra room for that as well.

Hoop boning against 3/4" cotton twill tape.
This is the ideal width!

Hoop boning against 5/8" grosgrain ribbon.
You've got to be more accurate, but it works well.

Hoop boning against 1" cotton twill tape.
This is really too big, but you could make it work.
You'd have to make sure to not make your channels too loose.

For Waistband:
I've called for 1" wide cotton twill tape or grosgrain ribbon.  See above for sources.  Remember, you need your waist measurment + 12".

For Buckle:
I've been using D-rings with much success.  You can use any buckle you wish though!  Just make sure it fits your 1" wide waistband.


D-rings in action!
Fabric:
You can use a variety of fabrics, but a medium weight cotton is best.  Basically, you want something that's fairly tightly woven and won't rip under the pressure of the hoop bones.  Thick fabrics won't work well.  Your fabric doesn't have to be plain white either; go crazy with colors and patterns if that's your thing!  Remember that you're going to need some sort of marking implement (chalk, water soluble pen, whatever) that you can see on your fabric, so if you pick a dark one, you may have to find some light chalk.  If you think your fabric fabric is so crazy that it might show through your skirt, make sure you plan to wear a petticoat to conceal it.  Heck, you should be wearing a petticoat anyways!

Lacing:
Your bustle is going to be adjustable via lacing.  You'll want some kind of ribbon, shoelacing or whatnot to lace it up.  Just about anything goes here, but you'll want to stay within the 1/4" to 3/8" width generally. 

Thread:
Well obviously.

Tools:
You can find the list of tools that you need to bring on the signup page.  

I hope that helps!  Can't wait to see you all in class :)

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