Topic: The Kreative Kat
Corsets are one of the best ways to show off one's design and sewing skills. They aren't super-difficult -but they are time consuming and they require an exquisite level of skill and painstaking attention to detail in order to turn out well. I've made corsets that go under dresses many times, the corset does the work and the fashion fabric looks pretty and it's something that's learned early on when studying design and dressmaking. You NEED to be able to make a foundation corset before you can even think of attempting a strapless evening gown. And last year I made a corset that was to be worn over a dress: the classic modern belt style corset. I didn't use busks or spiral spring steel bones, because this was an experiment as much as anything I used basic rigid yet flexible narrow German rigilene and basic hook and eye tape.
I was quite happy with the results and I learned a few things along the way. It's given me the boost of confidence needed to attempt a few more corsets -especially with the fine blue and gold jacquard from a few entries ago. I sat down and began sketching corsets, everything from traditional ones to modern ones. I discarded anything that looked like it was lifted from a catalog from whichever era -I'm not a historical reproducer or a re-enactor - I want my designs to be inspired by the past not held hostage by the past. I selected some that I liked the most and made good illustrations. From these I've chosen eight for technical illustrating and six for scaled patterns. One is certainly being made, one I would love to indulge in and the other...I dunno!! It's cool and rather shocking!
This is the one I'll be making from the jacquard. It's modern, yet with several nods to tradition. I want to attach little chains and fobs and chatelaines and things to the bottom so it has a modern steam punk look about it. The little curlicues along the boning lines are to indicate some hand worked embroidery. Of all the designs this one is my favorite with plenty of scope for embellishment and design variations.
This is inspired by pre-revolution French dress bodices. The center is finely pleated silk puffed and sewn to grosgrain ribbons, much like the puffing of old bodices. There's D rings on the sides for lacing. The boning channels are covered with grosgrain on the outside and the top edges are boned as well.
This is a modern basic belt style. It's the one I made. It laces in the front over hooks and eyes in the center front. I used a couple different fabrics for this one and it looks quite nice for my very first outside-the-dress corset.
This is my dream fantasy corset. It's all leather, busked in the center front, the hips and bust are left open, or they can be laced across. Each seam is laced together with fine leather thongs. This corset is very much inspired by the one worn by the heroine in the movie Van Helsing. (so much promise, and the movie fell so flat on its face...how could they make sexy Hugh Jackman so BORING?) The corset was the best part of that movie.
Speaking of LEATHER!! This very modern clean lined over-bust corset MUST be made of black leather with thick black leather piping on all seams. It will close with hooks and eyes in the front and lace tight in the back. I can't draft the pattern for this one. I will have to mark the lines with tape on the dress form, drape a muslin, test the fit in fake leather and then execute the final design in good leather. If you note the picture title it has the word "dominatrix" in it. I think this would work for a dominatrix -and it's lines are aggressive enough that no studding is needed. But of course studding would make it look even better!
This is another inspired by history corset. The front is open under the lacing and this was to show off the embroidery of garment underneath. Some chemises were elaborately embroidered in cross stitching, blackwork or Jacobean embroidery. The corset is made of silk dupoini on the outside and 3-D silk ribbon flowers, roses and leaves decorate the corners and along the front boning lines.
Here's another very modern clean-lined style that would work well with fancy fabrics. The front has rings (I would love to find small jewel-studded rings) and ribbons across it, but they don't lace up. They are for decoration only. The closure and the lacing would be in the back.
And to show that I really do know what I am doing when it comes to corsets: this is the very basic classic undergarment style of corset. It closes with a metal busk in the center front, the top edge is boned and supports the boobs, the hips have stretchy flexible gussets and it laces up in the back. If can be worn loose for comfort or laced tight for reducing the waist. It can be made of a modern firm stretch satin or satin jacquard and underlined with power-net for even more control. Or it can be made in bias-cut satin or coutil for the traditionalist.
I have more sketches but these are my faves. I want to make the inspired by VanHelsing one in a natural distressed brown leather, the dominatrix one in black leather and then a couple in some fancy fabrics.
Boning, busks, and more are all easily available at Farthingale's of Stratford: http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/product-index.php they also have books, patterns and more for those who don't know how to design and make patterns. They are a fantastic resource and the very best source anywhere for corset supplies! And they have lots of tips, tricks and help for making corsets.
And one more thing: modern corsetry isn't about tight lacing, so-called waist training or body re-shaping. It's not about bending and breaking bones or pushing internal organs into places they don't belong. Modern corsetry is about fashion; it's about being bold and adventurous; it's about experimentation; and mostly it's about looking and feeling confident. You can't be bold and confident when your ribs are cracking and your breathing restricted. And you can look good with a distorted and deformed wasp waist. No one is fooled, it's not natural it doesn't look natural and there's no reason to do it. So don't! Lace it up enough to be snug, to give yourself a killer silhouette and you'll look and feel fabulous!
And that's all. Now I have to go and start pinning design tape to my dress form. Bye!