Thursday, June 10, 2010

In the Works: Corset

We recently moved (the boy had a great job offer, so we moved down to western Pennsylvania from the Rochester, NY area) but I haven't found a job yet. No job means no fun money for things like craft supplies...which might be a blessing in disguise, as having to pack up and move my craft supplies stash has made me realize how big (and random) it is! I take breaks from job hunting to haunt craftster (username: mahvelousmeat) for fun, cute little projects with which I can fill my days. However, when I do get that cash flow back, my first big project will be a corset! I picked this pattern up at Joann Fabrics during my brief stint as an employee there. It was on sale for $1, and then I got my 15% discount on it...needless to say, I bought as many patterns as I was permitted by the sale :-P I will most likely have to make a muslin mockup first, as I anticipate having to raise the neckline a wee bit (I am fairly busty and need no assistance in the cleavage department!) and I may have to adjust the hips a bit. After I make my muslin mockup, I intend to make this very sturdy:
  • two inner layers of sturdy inner fabric, probably twill
  • spring steel boning for the bust area, a proper metal busk and flat steel boning for back and sides
  • muslin for the inside, probably, unless someone has a better idea...
As far as the fashion fabric goes, I am not so sure. I am intending to wear this as a top in public (hence the neckline adjust) and I really like the matte or semi-matte, all-black look. I was thinking that I could do both the inner and the fashion fabric in a heavy cotton twill, and just do one inner layer as I would have the twill on the outside as well (or two twill and then double up the muslin on the inside, so I can channel in the boning before putting in the inside or outside layers and get a smoother look.) I am also considering taffeta, shantung and dupioni silk, though they (especially the shantung and silk) are probably far out of my price range for this. Another option is scouring my local Salvation Army for an old prom dress/bridesmaid dress/special occasion nightmare, since the corset pattern is lots of smaller pieces and could be cut out of the skirt of a longer dress without much trouble. Who knows what else I might be able to salvage from it? :)

For those looking to make their own corset, here are a few links I suggest you check out:
  • Craftster Thread: Making Your Own Corset? There are over 100 pages here on discussions of different problems people had (and the solutions to them,) steel vs. plastic boning, and tons of pictures of the beautiful corsets people have made!
  • Craftster Thread: user Roethke's genius, easy-to-follow guide to drafting a pattern for an underbust corset from your exact measurements. Tons of beautiful pictures, and 37 pages of questions and answers people have asked already! It' a great resource for those attempting a corset for the first time (or for those wanting to branch out into making their own patterns!)
  • Lara Corset's History of the Corset. Perhaps it's just the clothing history nerd in me, but I love seeing how clothing evolves over the years, and you can really see how this garment has changed drastically through the centuries it's been in use! She even provides fashion plate images to give you historically accurate resources of silhouettes, sometimes even down to a specific year!

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