Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Working the linens

In a previous post, I set out to discern what would be the best modern stiffening agent to use to make linen cardboard.The PVA solution won hands down. The cellulose didn't make the sample half as stiff as I would have expected, and the starch didn't work out at all. I'll have to revisit that, as I want to make stiffened ruffs in the future.

To make the linen cardboard, I cut out two pieces of linen for each pattern section, not including a seam allowance. I painted each piece liberally with the PVA:water mixture, then hung it to dry. The PVA I used was wood glue rather than craft glue. Craft glue tends to be already diluted more than wood glue PVA, so if you use craft glue it won't need as much water to make up the solution.

When the first drying was complete, I painted one side of each piece with more glue and placed the second piece over it, massaging the linen to ensure a good bond, to create a double layer of linen. The pieces curled a little during drying, but this was easily put to right by a pressing with a hot iron between layers of paper. The heat of the iron makes the linen quite floppy, which was initially worrying, but it regained the stiffness when it cooled overnight. I'm hoping this will also mean that the heat of my body will help the bodice to conform to my own torso without becoming so loose that it will lose shape altogether.

I've started the assembly of the bodice now, by enclosing the linen in some polycotton broadcloth, to ensure the linen doesn't start poking me in the delicate regions.

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