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Category: Product Spotlight

  1. New year, new projects!

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    Its been a busy start to 2016 after a very busy end to 2015!  For many years we've been trying to source the popular rosebud coutil that many makers favour for making historical corsetry or sleek underwear.  Late in the year we found the mill !

    black silver rose corsetry coutil gold clasp corset busk red and black spot broche corset coutil

    The rosebud coutil comes in five colours currently. 

    Black with champagne roses
    Black with silver roses
    Black with red roses
    Ivory with gold roses
    Ivory with ivory roses (damask)

    This coutil can be used on its own to make a very sturdy single layer corset good for underwear and suitable for everything from bridal to boudior!  I like to use it to make co-ordinating bone channels too.

     

    Gold plated busk fastners go so beautifully with our gold eyelets.

    These are currently in three sizes

    10" (25cm)
    12" (30cm)
    14" (33cm)

    They look amazing with the ivory and gold rosebud coutil.  Our gold eyelets now come in two sizes and four formats.

    4mm in kits or loose
    5mm in kits or loose

    The new black spot broche with red spots is to die for!

    It's much stiffer than the other spot broche coutils because it comes from a different mill.  In the spring time we have asked the factory to ensure they put some of the new colourway aside for us.  Black with purple spots!

    This is also good for single layer corsetry or you can use it with a lining for an extra smooth and luxurious finish.

     

     

    super duper kit small ivory

    Super Duper!

    The pretty rosebud coutils are available by the metre or half metre or as part of our new 'Super Duper Corset Kit'.  This kit is a superb starting point for beginners to corsetry and includes all the tools and materials you will need to make a Sophia Underbust Corset. 

    Click here to see our other corset kits!

    design tip

    Use our new Prym bias binding makers with coutil to make matching bone channels for your corsets!!  These Prym bias makers have a wider nose which means you can work with thicker fabrics.  Our Sew Easy bias binding makers are better for delicate fabrics such as silk.
    facebook header

    Dont forget to check the Sew Curvy Facebook page.  It's packed with tricks, tips, tutorials and conversations and I often put special offers and news there first!

  2. What is a corset busk?

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    The split busk, or two part busk, was invented by the Victorians.  It was at the time a revolution for women because for the first time they were able to put their corsets on un-assisted.  There are many types of split busk.  The regular 'flexible' busk which is the most widely used and the one with which people are most familiar.  These are about 12mm wide on either side, and coated in a white powder coating - this white powder coating, as a matter of interest, has replaced the older plastic coating, as it is more environmentally friendly.  In Victorian times of course, all busks were made of uncoated steel.  

    busk

    The other types of busk are variously made from galvanised steel or stainless steel.  There are wide busks which are an inch wide on either side, conical or tapered busks which are true to the Edwardian period and Spoon Busks which are true to the Victorian period.  In modern corsetry, different types of busks can be used for different purposes depending upon design, body type, and effect

    Usefull Links:

    Buy a corset busk

    How to insert a busk fastner

    More about corset busks, what they do and how to use them.

     

  3. Bobbinet - what is it and what is it for?

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    swisstulle bobbinet

    I find the story of the fabric known as bobbinet quite fascinating.  Like coutil it is a very rare, difficult to find material and it is only made by a very few factories in the world.  Like coutil there is a certain 'snobbishness' tied to it when put into the context of couture and fashion.  You must have 'genuine' bobbinet and it must be made of the right stuff and in the right way.

    Luckily, here at Sew Curvy we have genuine bobbinet, manufactured by one of the UK's only remaining factories and even more luckily, because I was able to get a narrower (but no less useful) width, the cost per metre is extremely competitive - the best you'll find anywhere on the net I think (haha! pun intended!)!

    Bobbinet is a very special tulle fabric - sometimes even known as 'genuine tulle' it has been around since 1806 when it was invented by a very clever man called John Heathcoate.  Mr Heathcoate coined the term 'bobbinet' from two words, 'bobbin' and 'net' because it is a lace type net fabric - lace is made with bobbins - but made on a machine which he also invented.  Modern lace is made on similar machines and these days, the design for bobbinet machines, like many Victorian inventions,  is largely unchanged from the original Heathcoate design.

    bobbinet fabric structure
    The structure of bobbinet tulle is hexaganol and this is what makes it so strong and durable.

    Bobbinet tulle is constructed from warp and weft yarns,  but unlike regular woven fabrics and nets, the horizontal weft yarn is looped diagonally around the vertical warp yarn to form a regular and distinctive hexagonal mesh which is completely stable, has minimal stretch and is durable, sheer and very very strong in comparison to it's weight.  This is why it is ideal for foundation garments within dresses and has been favoured by designers since the early 20th century for supporting haute couture gowns.  It is the hexagonal mesh which makes the difference here, without the hexagons, it's not bobbinet.

    Bobbinet was originally made from cotton, and it is now available in many different fibres including silk, nylon and special 'technical' fabrics. The threads of bobbinet can be coated in all sorts of non fabricy things including metal and this makes it's range of use outside the fashion industry quite vast!   It is used for theatre back drops, military applications, medical patches,  parachutes, cryogenic insulation, electromagnetic shielding, flexible electronics, fishing nets, high quality wig making and a whole other raft of 'craft' applications including porcelain statue decoration - who knew!!??

    bobbinet dress foundation dior couture
                 Dior dress foundation with bobbinete corselette

    In fashion, which is what we're interested in of course,  bobbinet mesh is still used for couture style dressmaking including bridal wear, corsetry and lingerie or as a base cloth for fine embrodery.  In the world of costume, bobbinet is used in wig making because it is fine, strong, and more or less invisible when hair is woven through it.

    bobbinet dress foundation balmain couture
    Balmain gown inside and out, with bobbinet corselette foundation

    What to use bobbinet for?  I would use it for dress foundations (sometimes called a built in corselete), and I am intending to try it out in light corsetry or as a stand alone corselete.  You can use bobbinet for petticoats but if I were to make a floaty tulle petticoat I would use a more standard silk tulle - not a specialist silk bobbinet.  Why?  Because regular silk tulle is much less expensive than silk bobbinet and just as effective, it also comes in a wider range of colours.  The point of using bobbinet in dressmaking is for strength and lighness to create something fine and elegant.  Bobbinet is not really a fabric to be used for it's looks in any application.

    Useful links:

    Buy 100% cotton bobbinet here at Sew Curvy - priced at £16.50/m in white only (actualy 'off' white)

    Anatomy of a gown by Morua Designs - see how bobbinet is used to create a dress foundation, this is one of my favourite ever posts on the internet.  Very inspirational.

    A post from Gerties Blog for Better Sewing regarding bobbinet corselettes in haute couture dress foundations.  I actually disagree that underwear should be worn in a dress with a foundation - a properly constructed couture dress foundation negates the requirement for separate underwear.

    Interesting post by Alison of Crikey Aphrodite on the OCOC blog about a lace factory in Scotland.  Lace is mounted on net and these machines are very similar to dedicated bobbinet machines.  A very interesting article with a nice video.

    Pictures of a beautiful beaded and goldworked Balmain gown bodice with bobbinet foundation that I found on my quest for bobbinet knowledge.  This is just superb!

  4. What is Coutil?

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    grey spot broche
    grey spot broche coutil - 'silver screen - sleek, elegant, ethereal

    Coutil is a fabric which was especially invented for corsetry back in the 1800's.  It was also known, at that time, as "Jean".  It is commonly a herringbone weave but it also comes in other forms.  The reason coutil is special is because it is a very densly woven fabric which makes it very strong and durable - able to stand up to tension, but can be very smooth and luxurious.  

    Coutil fabric for corsetry comes in several different 'weights', and also different compositions.  The best coutil is 100% cotton or at least a cotton/viscose mix (though some people are allergic to viscose).  You can get polyester coutil or polycotton coutil.  I do not recommend those as they do not 'breathe' as well as natural fabrics.  There is a bit of a myth that the best coutil comes from England.  This certainly used to be the case, however, I am sad to report that there are no coutil mills left in England.  All coutil is made abroad nowadays, some in India, some in China, and some in Europe.  I believe that some coutil is made in America too, although we in the UK do not tend to import from there and many American corset makers prefer the European coutil.   You may have heard of 'German coutil'.  It is important to use coutil for many reasons.  Not only is it the best material to make corsets from, and incomparable to other 'strong' fabrics, but it is also a dying industry.  It is expensive because it is a good quality fabric,  and we must support the production of coutil, to keep the few mills that are left in Europe open.  Many industries use coutil, however, most corsetry components are not made for small production or for fashion, but for the medical industry.

    Broche coutil is the heaviest type of coutil available from Sew Curvy, alongside the cotton sateen coutil which I also stock - it's basically the broche without the viscose design.  Fine herringbone coutil is the closes substitute to genuine antique coutil and is quite common in Edwardian corsetry.  It is very fine but deceptivly strong and therefore suitable for lighter single layer corsets or training corsets - smooth, light and dense.  Perfect! 

    fine herringbone coutil fabric for corset making

    fine herringbone coutil fabric for corset making

     

    Buy cotton coutil fabric for corset making

    or

    Order some coutil samples