Friday, June 7, 2013

Turkish Bodice...

Last year I made a really fabulous peasant bodice for myself that I decked out with two different fabrics and golden gimp braid. It was a beautiful piece and everyone loved it. However, I only wore it at Faire for two hours, because it was extremely hot that day and I ended up coming down with either Sun Stroke or Heat Exhaustion. All I know is that I was sick all the way home, and I didn't start feeling even remotely human again until I had taken a cold shower and laid in front of the A/C unit at home for two hours.

This year I was determined not to repeat that experience - so I decided to wear tribal garb instead of English. The only problem was that my old short bodice, also known as a Turkish Bodice, was a bit too small. I had gained weight since I purchased it, and, even though it had lacing on the sides so I could make it smaller or larger as needed, there is only so much of that you can do before it's uncomfortable and not as supportive. Seriously, the last time I wore it I had to keep adjusting the girls every five minutes!

However, I didn't have a pattern to make a new Turkish Bodice. I began to research how to make one, but, surprisingly, there are no free patterns for a Turkish Bodice online (though there are plenty of patterns for peasant bodices, chemises, skirts, and bloomers). My friends said they either used their English bodice patterns and just made them shorter. Another sent me a sketch that involved darts, and a fourth person suggested that I use elastic lacing for the sides (which isn't a bad idea).

Not wanting to use my English bodice pattern, because it wasn't the right shape, and thoroughly confused by the sketch that involved darts and weird measurements that I wasn't quite sure how to get, I decided to take a look at my old Turkish Bodice and use it as a pattern.

I stretched it out over some wrapping paper we had and drew around it, making little marks where there were seams - like at the shoulders and in the front. I then added an inch to the bottom, and added an inch to the sides and the princess seams in the front. After that was figured out, I used the new pattern to cut out a mock up and sewed it all together.

Once I was pleased with the fit, I went ahead with the final bodice using some fabric I had bought several years ago for another project that never came to fruition.


Even though it came out smaller than I intended, the Turkish Bodice still fit really well and was very comfortable. Between this and my other tribal garb, I was able to keep cool every time we went out to Faire, and there was no Sun Stroke or Heat Exhaustion repeats.

Despite how I stressed over the pattern, this was surprisingly easy to make! The only problems I had were when I turned it right side out, the shoulder straps were a little too narrow, so, once again, the fabric became stuck. However, since it's thinner fabric, I was able to coax it through a little easier than what happened with the Bodice of Blood and Broken Teeth. I also used 1/2" boning in the front, and no boning on the sides.


The next time around I'll use 1/4" boning in the front and on the sides instead - and I'll use the elastic lacing on the sides like my one friend suggested.

Since these were so easy to make, and I have an abundance of fabric that is appropriate for them laying around, I'm actually going to start selling these on Etsy very very soon. I'll be sure to post the link here as soon as I do!

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