Monday, April 20, 2009

Tutorial - Victorian Cuffs

So you've just finished your corset, the bustle frame is sitting on the dress form, but your jewelry collection is far too modern. Got some scraps? Good, let's make some classy cuffs to cover those scandalous wrists.
First, get a piece of paper, I like grocery sacks, and lots of my fabric has been stored in old bags, so there is plenty around! Make a fold and measure your wrist. Mark the wrist, mid arm and fattest part of your arm, note the distance between each measurement too! Add seam allowance, divide by two and make your pattern piece.

The cool thing about the pattern is that you can make all different sizes of cuffs, depending on the fabric you have available. The reason you measure from the middle fold, is to make the seams line up when you take it from 2-d to 3-d. (Damn bodies! why are you 3-d?). Just line up the small end with the edge of your fabric and see how far you get.

For this cuff I'm using bright blue silk and white lace. I lay each piece of cut silk on the lace and pin before cutting. Lace tends to be stretchy and to deform when tugged, so take care to lay flat and not twist it! I don't usually use many pins but with this you can hardly have enough.

Hem the top edge first. Then decide how long to make your slits. Measure around the fattest part of your fist, imagine you're putting on a small bangle. Measure the cuff and mark where it will be wide enough to put your fist through. You can make your slits longer, but that is the maximum limit of your seam if you want to be able to put it on! Hem up the sides to that point.

Sew up the rest of the side seam and hem the upper edge. Reinforce (with zig-zag of back stitching) the seam at the top and at the split. Put it on and measure the spot you want your first button. (Yes, I stabbed myself several times with the pin.) You can use just one button, or do a row in true antique style.

Cut pieces of cord, ribbon or yarn. I recommend against loose spun yarn or natural fibers. Cut them to be large enough for the buttons and with enough tail to sew them in place. Pin them in even spacing down the side of he slit, starting at the spot you marked.

Sew down the tails of the cord loops. I use a zig-zag and vary the width to cover the whole tail. Give the loop a slight tug, and if it budges sew some more, you will be sad if the loops rip out. Sew on your buttons and ...

Voila! Light and lacy. Looks like clouds in a brilliant blue sky! These materials are stiff, use a jersey or other stretchy fabric for a snugger fit.

There are tons of variations to be had depending on what's on hand...

Pink satin with lace trims and ribbons, vintage buttons. These are super long and hang down over the hand. These aren't for sale, they match my party dress too well! It's so nice to have matching things.

The same blue silk with a partial overlay to show it off. See more pics of these here. With the lace trim, sew it on to the top edge, then hem.
Get your lolita on!

Brocade with ribbon, lace and lots of buttons! Very victorian, I even need to call on my chamber maid (boyfriend) to help button them up. Like any fine lady.


cats-rockin-crochet said...

Oh wow they are so cool! Thanks for the tutorial!

Lady Hands said...

Thanks for your visit.
Every part of this is beautiful! What a lovely combination.
Have a nice day.

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