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  • Writer's pictureJoni Steinmann

Dress Diary - 2016 Corset contest

Foundations Revealed Corset Competition 2016

This page will show you how my corset for the Foundations Revealed corset competition came to be. Just to give you some context the theme this year is:

'Intersection of Light, Black & White'

for a full description of the competition theme and rules please check out Foundations Revealed.

10 January 2016 Inspiration finally struck, Since I only had less than a month left to complete this competition entry, I would be working from a pattern that I knew fits me well. (It is the same pattern as the corset I made for OCOC 2015). Based on the picture shown on the right, I made my first initial sketches. I wanted to incorporate the flowing swooping lines into my corset design. I had purchased a white silk shot with yellow metal gold a while back and had already observed that once overlaid with a black lace it looked really interesting. The light reflected through the lace adds an interesting dimension. I had been waiting to use this combination of materials for a while, but now I had the perfect opportunity. The gold reminded me gold leaf on medieval paintings. the way it glimmers when lit by candles. It adds a nice extra dimension to the light and black theme of the competition.

11 January 2016

For the construction of the corset I decided I wanted to use a method that did not take to much time and resulted in a nice smooth surface. I ended up roll pinning the gold to the coutil first making use of my tailor's ham. The corset was then constructed using the folded seam method, using a cotton twill as the lining layer. The spiral steel bones where then sandwiched between the coutil and the twill. The front panel took a little figuring out as the gold only covers the black satin coutil partially. The unfinished edges would later be covered with a velvet ribbon so I was not too worried about it. I just wanted the black to make a nice V- shape. In hindsight I kinda wish I had taken the time to order a black busk, but due to time constrains I just had to use what I had. In the photo on the above you can see how I usually pin my panels together alternating the pins horizontal and vertical prevents the fabric sliding around. As I am using the folded seem method I am sewing both lining, coutil+silk and waist tape at the same time. Then pressing the lot back before sewing the boning channels

12 January 2016 Time for the first fitting, to be fair I knew this pattern would fit well enough as I made it before, but you never know what fabric wants to do. I was relatively content with how smooth it was sitting. (excuse the dopey photo ha ha). As you can see I had just started to experiment with the placement of the first bit of lace next to the busk.

13 January 2016 By the next day I had figured out that I needed the black velvet ribbon to go on first in order to define the shape properly. I hand applied all the ribbon and lace with a curved needle. Once I had the ribbon in place I started cutting leaves of lace out to add them to the triangles I had created. It was a matter of dynamically placing the lace and mirroring the pattern on both halves of the corset. As I went along the arrangement grew and turned into the wrought iron / stain glass type shapes I was after. 23 January 2016 Several whole days I spend applying lace between 13 and the 23th of January. I finally finished that process while sitting at a friend's birthday party. Thank you, Anouk for putting up with me sewing on your birthday ;)

28 January 2016 The final touches were placing some narrower black cord and finally I added the binding using a commercial black bias-tape. The cord was placed in a scroll pattern on the front and in lines echoing the velvet ribbon on the back. 29 January 2016 This left me with the dilemma of the straps of the corset. I wanted them to be almost sculptural, like actual wrought iron. Even-though I quickly figured out that synthetic whalebone was perfect as the inside for making the 'vines' out off, it did pose the problem of how to best attach these straps and how to make them end in leaves? I had wanted to make them out of a satin coutil and singe the edges against fraying. This way I could have made both the tube for the whalebone and the leaf-end out of one piece of coutil. But as it turned out the coutil I had, contained no polyester so it would not melt.

In the end, I decided to make the leaves out of silk, turn them inside out and just stitch them onto the covered boning vines. I put the corset on and just played around with the straps until I was happy with the shape it made. The vine that traverses one side to the other is inserted into the loop after putting on the corset, but it is not stitched down, otherwise it would be impossible to put the corset on. The loop I did stitched to itself with a needle and thread.

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