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Subject: Stiffener in Cape/Shawl and Securing to Dress

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Date Posted: 12:38:14 03/15/01 Thu
In reply to: K 's message, "Stiffeners" on 17:42:56 03/10/01 Sat

I'm just completing a Championship style costume with a two shoulder shawl. This is my first time with a shawl of this type and was wondering if anyone has made one how much stiffener did you use. Did you go with a layer of vilene or just a regular 'heavy' interfacing!! Did you find that the shawl, needed securing at the waist or did you leave 'movement!'

-I use lightweight vilene in these capes. One layer if it is small, and two layers on a larger cape. They flop too much if not anchored at all, so I attach with a swing tie to allow some movement.

--Could you give some details about the swing tie? I'd like to add one to my daughter's dress.

---I do it very simply with a loop beside the zipper, and apiece of ribbon on the back of the cape. The two ends hang down, and can be put through the loop and tied in place.

---I use Velcro on either side of the zipper at the waist. It keeps the cape snug against the body, but lets the bottom flow as it wants to

-Do you stiffen your shawl? I keep finding that when I do this it bends in the middle too much, especially on older (and curvier) dancers. Do yours do that?

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[> Subject: Different types discussed

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Date Posted: 20:02:12 03/15/01 Thu

The man from Celtic Image sent a sample of his vilene to me. It's the stiffest "stuff" I've ever seen. It would be horrible to import. It's the same vilene that I've seen used in the front panel on a dress I worked on for someone. I'd love to find some in the US. Might anyone know where to get it?

-Yes, I have also used the vilene from Irish threads and think it's great--using some boning, as well. So far, I have not made a complete dress (though I'm an experienced seamstress in eveningwear and including men's trousers and shirts), but I have "redone several for people to make them stand out more, alter, or rework limp dresses. I think this vilene would be wonderful to add one layer with the other stiffener. If anyone knows something stiffer, I'm still interested.

-The problem with stiffeners is they need to be drycleanable and sewable and flexible. A tall order! If they are too thich a home sewer probably qon't get through the waist with their machine. The boning (not the stuff sold in fabric stores)is the perfect solution for me along with a good stiffener of course

-I had NIGHTMARES trying to sew through several layers of that stuff for the box panel. Where it was folded over for the pleats it was about 1/4 inch thick. No way could I get my machine to go through it. And my dd looked like a dancing lampshade! Maybe there are tricks of the trade I don't know about, but I've had much better luck with the Irish Threads vilene.

-(OP)Thanks for your comments. Actually, one of the dresses I worked on had one piece of this stiffer vilene sewn in the front panel, only sewn in the waist seam. It was loose on the sides. The dress was made in England. It's wonderful, if you can get through it. I have the newest Viking, and it gets through anything. I would love to find this vilene to put only in the front and each side panel. I really like the look of it. Guess i'm running into dead ends, so far. I have one more outlet to check.

-I use the Irish Threads Vilene and a Pfaff 7570 machine. I have been able to get through the front box pleats just fine. The trick I have found is to make sure only one layer of vilene is actually in the seam. If you are using multiple layers, stitch the 2nd or 3rd pieces to the 1st, just inside where your sewing line will be before you attach it to your dress pieces.

-Regarding using the Vilene in the skirt panels, use two layers of V. in the center front panel(or the two split sections of the center front panel). One is cut large enough to be sewn in the seams along with the velvet and one is cut just inside that measurement so that it would float inside the panel. Before you stitch the larger panel of V. along with the velvet, baste the smaller panel of V. to the larger making sure to center it so that it does not get caught within the seam allowances. Then use one layer of V. in each of the front side panels of velvet. You can use one layer of the V. around the back, or just use regular stiffener (very stiff) if you like, or use none at all if prefered.

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