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Mrs Mosley
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« on: December 29, 2010, 01:13:54 AM »

"Santa" brought me the Needle and Thread cage. I was beyond excited to get it, but admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed after opening the package, and looking through everything. I was a bit concerned that the hoop comes with a paper that states, "Will assemble for a $200 fee." I wondered if I have gotten myself in for more than I bargained.  Undecided

Any advice for starting this kit? I have a month until I really need it, but I'm also working on a corset, so time is still of the essence.

Whew...

Kristen

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Denise Butler
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 04:45:54 AM »

I've made two of these so far; I offer the following:

1. Take a deep breath and relax. The cage isn't hard, but it can be fiddly. The second time around I found it best to just do a little bit each day, rather than try to complete it all at once.

2. Make some popcorn and/or get some chocolate and watch the DVD while following along on the paper instructions. Have the components handy so you can identify them. This gives you a visual of the written instructions.

3. Assemble the tools: I found that a small bolt cutter (10-15 bucks from Lowes) cut the wire beautifully. Small bent nose pliers are also highly recommended.

4. Following the instructions one step at a time, construct your cage.

Tips:
*Use bright colored pencil to mark the braided wire. Get two colors: one for the tape position marks and one for the "cut here" mark. I used blue for the tape position marks and red for the cut mark.

*Do NOT cut all the braided wires at once. If you do, you will have a mess and not be able to tell which wire is 90", which is 89-1/2", and which is 89". Plus, no matter how careful you are, the cotton braiding will start fraying and that is something you don't want to happen. Don't ask how I know this...

*This is how I did it (the second time): Before cutting the wire, mark where you need to cut. Then put a few drops of liquid Fray Check at that mark, so that about a half inch on both sides of the mark are covered. Let it dry completely, then make the cut. Immediately crimp the copper tube on one end of that wire and thread it through the tapes at its intended position.

*Books are helpful to hold the early phase of construction on the table.

*When the cage is in place on the dress form, temporarily hold it together in circular form with mini paper clips.

Cutting and threading one wire at a time goes against their instructions and may seem slow things down (because you are waiting for the fray check to dry). However, I found this to be an excellent compromise because I wasn't frustrated and slowed down by trying to untangle a coiled mess of wire, figure out which wire was the next one and dealing with frayed braid.

The new kits come with enough wire to fill every slot in the tapes. If time becomes an issue, you can easily skip a couple of slots between "rungs" towards the top. That's how the earlier kits and my first cage is constructed; it doesn't affect the shape at all. Then you can go back and fill in later.
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Denise
Maggie Koenig
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 08:19:56 AM »

I would actually recommend you toss out most of the DVD and follow the instructions Carolann Schmitt wrote for the old style cage for when it comes to cutting the wires and setting them in the tapes.  You can get those from Needle and Thread.

Essentially what you want to do is cut the first 6 and put them in the tapes while on the dress form so you can start building the shape.  Then you want to get the bones near your hips to get those figured out.  What it boils down to is that the bones aroundt he hips only might fit your body.  I cut my bones exactly according to the measurements given and it was a disaster.  I ended up having to go and buy more boning to make it work.
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Maggie Koenig
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NanciG
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 08:42:38 AM »

Based on my experience making the cage, I second what Denise said.  After slicing my fingers and tongue (got to wet those pesky unraveling threads some how) to pieces it occurred to me that fray check may be a good idea.  I'm glad to know that it does work. 

I agree that it's not hard to put it together, but it is time consuming and fidgety.  I tried paper clips to hold the wires in place but found twist ties worked better for me.

Good luck.  I'm sure that you will be very happy with the cage once it is finished.

Nanci Gasiel
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Beth Chamberlain
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 10:18:32 AM »

If you don't have Fraycheck plain old Elmers works just fine. I don't have space to be cutting and assembling at the same time so I did all of the cutting at once. I held one end of the pile together, ends lined up (mostly) and held them under some heavy books, that let me see which the longest were to pull them in order. If your dress dummy lets you adjust the height dropping it 8" or 10" will let you balance the cage by leveling it on the floor instead of eyeballing it.

Beth
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 02:40:59 PM »

Thanks sooooo much ladies! Grin

I will definitely be picking up bolt cutters, and bent nose pliers. LOL. I never thought I'd hear myself say that! I didn't know about Fray Check, can I find it at Joann's or a craft store? I won't be cutting anything, until I have some! I tend to be accident prone, so being able to avoid any mishaps ahead of time will indeed be wonderfull!

I'll make sure to post pictures once I'm finished. My corset is coming along nicely, and I'm excited to get this thing assembled. Whew, and the men think they have it tough with their leathers, and guns. hahaha. Jokes on them!  Cheesy

Blessings,
Kristen
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 04:24:16 PM »

Yes, you can get Fray Check at Joann's and Michael's. Most craft and sewing stores should carry it. But, as another poster pointed out, Elmer's glue would work, too.  Cheesy

http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog/productdetail.jsp?CATID=cat2864&PRODID=prd2992

Cheers,
B.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 04:27:34 PM by BarbaraSmith » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 07:21:33 PM »

We've made 50+ of these cages in my classes over the years.
- We build the cage on a dress form so the shaping can be adjusted to each student's height and body shape, as well as adjusting the shape for a circular or elliptical silhouette.
- We cut and thread one steel at a time. If a steel is cut too short it can always use it higher up on the crinoline.
- We don't use the measuring chart that comes with the kit; instead we use a chart I developed based on the proportions found on original crinolines. The chart is used as a guideline with the final wires cut to fit each student's measurements.
- We cut the wires a few inches longer than than the finished circumference. The ends are overlapped and held in place with a piece of masking tape, small binder clip or small alligator clip. This allows for fine-tuning before we cut the wires to the final length.
- The fiddliest part is attaching the copper brads to hold the steels to the tapes. We discovered it helps if you can work from the inside of the crinoline so you can see the ends of the prongs and bend them into place. Needle and Thread now offers a small round nail head with longer points that are much easier to use as well as offering a more secure fastening. They are well worth the few dollars it costs to purchase them. Some students elect to forgo the nailheads and sew the cloth covering of the wires to the tapes.

There are many different techniques you can use to assemble these cages; don't be afraid to try something if it makes it easier for you. They are fiddly, but the finished result is well worth it.

Regards,
Carolann
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 06:38:41 AM by Carolann Schmitt » Logged

Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
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Mrs Mosley
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 10:34:08 PM »

THANK YOU so much ladies. I would be utterly lost without your help!  Grin

As soon as my corset is done I'll get started on it, and promise to post pictures. It's ironic how we post pictures in our undergarments, when the OC would of been horrified by it! He-he.  Cheesy

Blessings,
Kristen

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Jessamyn
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 11:52:16 AM »

If your dress dummy lets you adjust the height dropping it 8" or 10" will let you balance the cage by leveling it on the floor instead of eyeballing it.

Beth

Hahahaha! Obviously your floors are more level than mine...I hate to think what this technique would produce in my old house!
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 12:00:20 PM »

It's a brilliant notion to me, though, levelling on the floor. Can't possibly be worse than levelling on my wonky body with one hip higher than the other.  Cheesy

LOL,
B.
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Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2010, 01:17:09 PM »

This is absolutely no help, I just thought the illustrations were hilarious and wanted to share:

http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/freebies/308-making-a-victorian-cage-crinoline-by-sunny-buchler

Can you IMAGINE attempting to negotiate that size of a hoop?Huh  Shocked

LOL,
B.
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Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2010, 04:44:59 PM »

It's too bad they don't say anything about them on the site. They're actually a series of 1860s humorous stereoscope cards. Believe it or not, I have seen some of those in more than one "history of costume" books presented as serious images (for shame, you bad researchers)!
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Denise Butler
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2010, 05:26:47 PM »

for shame, you bad researchers

Amen.

I cringe every time I see this one, or the one with the lecherous looking guy yanking on corset laces... or they quote Punch...
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Regards,
Denise
KayAllen
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2010, 06:33:35 PM »

If you click on one of the pictures, it pops up an explanation that the photos are a caricature of the hoop.

Kay A.
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2010, 10:32:14 PM »

I immediately knew it was a caricature. But I also did click on it and read the explanation.

The thing I loved the most is the servant at the end being dangled by ropes, to adjust something on "Miss's" dress.  Cheesy

Just a bit of humour!
B.
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Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
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« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2010, 09:06:00 PM »

Warning, this may be painful to watch....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1VcI_Io9pM&feature=related

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Maggie Koenig
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2010, 09:10:00 PM »

I think I know that chick....  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Wasn't she in one of Marge's fashion shows?  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

LOL,
B.
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Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2010, 10:17:46 PM »

Oh, wow!  I didn't know LL Bean sold 6-man dome tents in royal blue satin!  I have to order one of those. And look - it's waterproof and has a built-in camp stool.  Grin Cheesy Grin

Happy New Year everyone!

Carolann
tongue planted firmly in cheek
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Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
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« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2010, 10:40:24 PM »

Wonderschone indeed!  Cheesy

Good one, CarolAnn!!!!
B.
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Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
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