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The Importance of Steel

In all my years of making and selling corsets there is one thing I hear over and over. One thing I fight against. One fact that I try to teach to every person who comes into my booth looking at my corsets. The importance of quality boning. If you never buy a corset from me, I hope you walk away with one bit of knowledge and that is the kind of boning in a corset really, really does matter. I carry samples of all 3 types of boning on my person at shows, so I can say, “feel the difference, bend it, twist it, which do you think will support you more?” So today via the nets, since you can’t bend the boning I’m talking about you get photos of ill fitting corsets!

The boning in a corset is like the frame of a house, or the under body of a car. If they are built with quality materials you have an item that lasts a long time, works properly and runs like it is supposed to. A corset made with good steel boning will shape you, lift you and make you look amazing. A corset with substandard materials will never fit right, it will bulge, and you will feel more like a sausage than a beautiful person.

There are 3 types of boning used in modern day corsets. Plastic, spring steel,  spiral steel.

Plastic boning in my opinion does not work for a majority of people. It does not shape the body at all. It bends, causing the corset to be the most uncomfortable tube of fabric that has ever been made. It will eventually either fold or form a very attractive s-shape that can cause pinching and bruising. They normally offer little to no bust support. Corsets that are made with plastic boning are normally a single layer of fabric, that alone is a problem when you want lasting support and shaping. A single layer of waxed satin and some plastic boning isn’t going to do the job for very long.

I’ll fully admit, my very first corset was one of these. It came from Victoria’s Secret, it was a tube that really did nothing for my shape. It cut my boobs in half rather than lifting them up for the world to behold. That corset fitting so badly is one of the reasons I started making better corsets. People who have only tried a plastic boned corset are normally the ones that come into my booth and say “corsets hurt” to which I answer, just try one on and you’ll feel the difference. Your body should be supported in a corset not left to fold out at odd angles. I”m not saying you can’t make a supportive corset with plastic boning, it’s just going to need to have 20-30 pieces of boning as apposed to 11-15 pieces of spring steel.

GermanPlasticCoil

All metal boning is not the same. Spiral steel, is essentially a coil of wire that has been flattened. In my opinion spiral steel is something that should be used in conjunction with spring steel. On it’s own it has little more support than plastic. It allows for a lot of movement and is great when used in dancers costumes as is allows them to move naturally. However corsets that are made with spiral steel will fit and bulge just like plastic boned corsets. Many corset companies use a combo of spiral and spring steel.

spiral-bones sprial steel bent 1

The best boning for a body shaping or transforming corset is spring steel. Spring steel comes in many thicknesses and widths. Most spring steel used commercially is coated white, light weight and in most cases does the job to offer the right amount of support for the majority of the people buying corsets. But, like all things there is difference in the quality of steel, (I grew up in a steel manufacturing family, so maybe that is part of the reason why the right steel boning for the job is so important to me.) and not all corset companies use the same stock, but it is all referred to as spring steel. This can be confusing to customers that are trying to buy a quality corset, it is much harder when you are shopping on the internet and can’t feel the weight and even test the bend in the steel.

white spring steelwhite steel bent 2

I do not use the coated steel. I buy rolls of spring steel, I cut the steel to the size I need to fit my longer lined patterns correctly, I grind each end and then dip them in liquid plastic so the boning doesn’t come through the corset. I do this because the spring steel I get is 1/2’’ wide and measures .025 thick. The coated white spring steel pictured above (with the paint on) is ½” wide and measures to .015 thickness. That tiny difference in thickness shows up in how much the piece of spiral steel bends. You can see in the photos above how easily the spiral and white spring steel bend, I have to use the wall to bend my spring steel because my little hands can’t hold the bend and take a photo.

Spring Steel 1 spring steel bent 1

 

How much of a difference does boning make in the shape? In the photos below, I have to assume that these corsets are single or at the most 2 layers of fabric and boned with light weight spring steel. The bad fit has in the back view has caused the corset to shift during the day. I’m sure she has been tugging on it all day wondering why it is so uncomfortable. The creases in the fabric at the side hint that it is not well boned and that it is doing very little shaping. The light boning is not doing it’s job in creating a true hour glass figure, it’s simply pinching in at the sides, and pushing everything up or down. In the side view photo we can see how little and how awkward some lightly boned corsets support the bust. Also note her posture, you shouldn’t be able to slouch that much in a good corset. The light weight boning has taken on a severe curve in front, causing further support issues.

bad-double-corsets light weight steelside view light steel

A corset is a body shaping garment. It should evenly shape and support your body. I love hearing people when they try on a properly steel boned corset for the first time. They are amazed that it’s more comfortable than there plastic or light weight steel corset. They are amazed they can still breathe. They look taller because it supports the back and pulls the shoulders back as well. They marvel at the hour glass figure they have, that there is no unflattering bumps and bulges. I want you to look amazing in your corset. I want you too feel beautiful and empowered. We want you to look like the photo below!

Mia corset

 

 


Homemade Laundry Detergent

So in my quest to be more money/budget thoughtful I came across this tutorial on making your own laundry detergent. The price of detergent seems to keep going up, while the size goes down. I was willing to try another option. So I followed this tute over at the Being Creative blog.

I gathered my supplies; I found all the ingredients in the laundry asile of walmart.

(1) 4 lb box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz)
(1) 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) 
(1) box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap (you can also use Zote soap)
*Optional
3.5 lbs of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean
I also got a 5 gallon bucket for mixing and storing and a grater that would only be used for soap.
All the supplies, including the bucket and grater cost me just over $14.00
Mixing Directions
 1. Start by grating your bar soap. Doesn’t it look like cheese!
2. Put the powdered ingredients in a 5 gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag. I found that layering the ingredients over and over made for easier mixing than dumping it in one box at a time. It also makes your house smell nice clean while you are mixing.I made sure the lid was tight on the bucket and rolled it around on the floor a couple times. Mixed everything up great.
You will use 1 – 2 tablespoons per load. It might not seem like a lot but it works. I’ve run several loads since I made this and everything has come out fresh and clean.
Also this works with cold water. For HE washers add directly to the barrel.
From the research I did, this recipe will last 9-12 months. Depends on how many loads you do per week – the blog I got it from did 8 loads of laundry a week and it lasted her 9 months. What a money saver! My skin is also fairly sensitive and I’ve not had any problems with this detergent.
*as always use at your own risk*

Bones and Owl Vomit

When I was in middle school we dissected a lot of things, frogs, eyes, but my all time favorite was the owl pellet. It’s this little pellet filled with bones and skulls and to the 10 year old Angie is was so cool!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with these little gems, they are little pellets made from fur, feathers, and bones. You see owls eat their prey whole, of course they can’t digest all that so as soon as they eat the juices in their stomachs start to dissolve the good stuff and well they vomit up the unneeded stuff. They can hold the bones of mice, rats, shrews, frogs, voles and even small bats and rabbits. You might also find insect exoskeletons.

Turns out adult Angie thinks it’s still pretty cool. I’m not the only one who thinks these little things are so cool either, at least I don’t think so. So new to my product line and debuting at TempleCon – Owl Pellet kits! After TempleCon they will be featured in my Facebook Shop Everything you need to take apart these little pellets of awesomeness. I know all you creative peoples out there will find some amazing stuff  to do with the little bones you uncover.

I couldn’t resist taking apart a pellet and seeing how much goodness these guys can hold, and I admit I also wanted to see if was still as much fun as I remember it being. The pellet was about 1.5 to 2 inches in size. This is a standard/Medium pellet. The outside was covered with a bit of red dirt and grass. Which is a good indicator that these are wild pellets and not ones gathered in hatcheries. There are a lot of information that you can learn from such a small item.

So I picked one, and gently pulled it apart, using my hands, tweezers and a wooden pick. Little bones could be spied as soon as it feel into two pieces and a skull! I keep pulling apart the pellet gently and slowly and carefully. There were so many little bones, ribs and tail bones. I was kinda giddy.

  I set the skull in warm water to soak. While it was good for getting out the impacted hair from all the little nooks and crannies of the skull it was not so good to smell. I used the water sparingly after that and did all the fur removal with my tools. I’m pretty sure, do to the pelvis I found later that it was I had found a shrew skull. I started to tackle the other half of the pellet when I am surprised by another shrew skull! I was pretty happy with the fact that such a small pellet had yielded two mostly complete skeletons. I carefully gathered all the bones, into a container.

You can bleach the bones, with diluted bleach or peroxide, or you can leave them naturally colored. Then the sky is the limit. I’ve seen people make jewelry, or pendants with the larger bones and skulls. I’m not sure what I will do with mine yet. But I do know one thing for sure, I think that you will find as much excitement and education in these as I do. I am excited to share these with you and see what you will do with them!




We Are Now Live

Hello new readers. Welcome to Festooned Butterfly’s new blog.

I’m excited to share my experience as a creator and business woman with you. There will be rants and raves, photos and peeks at up coming projects, maybe even some tutorials along the way.

This month I have been preparing stock for my convention season. I’ve had to think hard this year about the cons that I am going to. Last year was a “the more the better” approach, that did not work. While I met amazing people, the costs of going to a lot of tiny cons never balanced out with the bank account! So this year I have cut down my schedule to mostly large cons with less traveling to get there. Hopefully the math and the stress balances better. It also means really starting to focus on my online stores – starting up a shop outlet on facebook, and etsy (and keeping on top of them!).

I am happy to announce that I will now be offering ready to wear corsets, skirts and something I am most excited about I will now be selling Lolita fashions! I will still carry vintage and new men’s wear, I love my men’s wear and wouldn’t give it up. Now my shop will have something for everyone.

It’s the start of a new year and a new season and I’m happy to have you along with me.

 


Weekend Adventures

The weekends are my time to search for new items. I love, (well most days), I love searching the racks for treasures.

All my senses are alert, my hands run over the fabric cataloging wear and condition of the fabric, the smoothness I covet, the rough pill-balls I can’t stand. My eyes search for new colors, for the right cut, something better, scrutinizing dirt. My nose wrinkles and twitches as I smell decades old cologne, smoke, life caught in the fabric of these jackets and shirts. Perhaps taste is connected here, as sometimes the scents so strong linger between the nose and the mouth. My ears are bombarded with vast extremes of music, dialects and the sound of fabric on hangers and against my hand. It is as I search that I know I am truly doing something I love.