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Foundations Revealed - the Corsetmaker's Companion

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dress diary 2012 - 13

Here's something of a practice run for my Drusilla corset:

OK - half of it.

I want the Drusilla corset to have a more dramatic sweetheart neckline than I have achieved in the past.
I also want it to have lots of lace.
I'd quite like it to have some of the ostrich feather detailing, because of a scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Drusilla is talking about her pet bird.

I also just got a copy of Pattern Master Curves, a demo of which can be downloaded here. I usually do EVERYTHING by hand when it comes to pattern drafting, but as I am starting college in September and am planning on making a lot more than I do now, I thought this was worth the price to save me time on pattern drafting, particularly as I can save my patterns and reprint them at the click of a button which is useful as I tend to lose pattern pieces a lot in the current sewing room set up.
The corset and waspie patterns on PMC are pretty useless for any form of ACTUAL corset, but the bras and knickers etc are wonderful and I made this pattern by editing the one for a "body shaper" as I only found the leotard fitting block after this.
I altered the pattern a lot - it's 5 panels instead of two for my corset. This is less than I normally use, but I really wanted more room to play with boning channels on this.
I altered the neck line a lot, and it doesn't close between the legs. It was going to initially as I am not happy with the silver corset body I made a while back, but then I thought the front tabs are very Edwardian looking and decided to keep them as tabs.

I was fascinated by the stays I am making, as I never would have believed the difference the direction of the boning channels would make to the fit. I knew that was how stays worked, but seeing it in practice really did fascinate me. So I thought I would see what cramming as many bones onto one corset would do before scaling it back for the "actual" one. I've used a black thread on this fabric - which for those who admire it is "Pixie Dust" from Silk Baron, and to compliment this I have used a black busk, as well. 
I had the rest of the absinthe green feather I used some of for my sampler a while back and thought it looked great against the magenta so added some of that, and then after a visit to Darkteaser to discuss some (absolutely amazing) costume ideas I had a whole bunch of wonderful ostrich feathers at my disposal - pure white, cerise, baby pink, dusty pink and more. Amongst these were 3 fluorescent orange feathers which actually look pretty awesome against the magenta.  So I added some of those as well.
I'm not sure about it really - I love it on one hand. It's loud, it's in your face - it's very 1980s - but it also seems a shame to have this on a corset with such classical lines. I love and hate it. I'm just not sure it works. The added texture is great, the colours look good together, but I'm not convinced. I'll see how I feel when the rest of it is done and the rhinestones etc are added.

These are colours I would normally really try to avoid, but I love how they look. They help show off the lace wonderfully and the black busk and stitching look marvellous together, it really shows off the precision in my stitching, and has forced me to ensure there is absolute precision in my stitching.

I'm going to use black satin coutil for the binding, and hand stitch it, as practice for my stays.

In relation to my Drusilla corset - I love the neckline and will keep that. The shape is still a little dramatic for what I have in mind as I want a clearly Victorian silhouette in this as it is something I have done only a handful of times. I am fine with achieving a defined shape, and for me making things for this competition is about pushing myself to try new things I would not do otherwise. 

I will not be keeping the bottom tabs at the centre front as to me this looks extremely Edwardian and I know from some of the episodes of Buffy and Angel that during the Edwardian era Drusilla was not wearing the tight fitting Gibson Girl clothing that Darla was, and putting her in a corset from that era would defy the point of making things the characters would actually wear, which is the challenge I have set myself to add something to the challenge for myself this year.

This pink corset has 90 spirals and 6 flats across it, and as neat as it has been making it I am going to scale this back quite a lot for the Drusilla corset. I think I will end up with around 40 on the actual one.

I tried flossing this one with violet and lilac thread and that just didn't "pop" enough, it was too subtle in comparison to the rest of it which, although nice, is very loud. I will be flossing the actual Drusilla corset.

I have hand sewn beads on this pink corset, and although it is subtle I think it is worth the extra effort and will keep this on the final corset.


I have been using the same lace a lot recently to practice sewing lace by hand over boning channels, and to be perfectly frank I am sick to death of it. What you ca't tell from the above picture, because I have spent a lot of time and effort making sure of it, is that the lace I used for this has only one motif, repeatedly, across it. I thought this would be great as a way of linking the Drusilla and Darla pieces, but after sewing so much of it onto one piece I needed something new. I was going to go to London to get some ridiculously expensive stuff, because after searching for ages online all I had found was the one I have been using, and that was a while ago now, but then all of a sudden I found a couple of great pieces of beautiful lace for a price I could afford and now I can save on the travel until I am bored of these ones at least)

So here is the lace I am thinking will be the one I use for the Drusilla corset:

I'm excited about this because it is beaded - which I love - and because it is symmetrical, which the stuff I'm using isn't. This limits me to asymmetrical designs , or all over lace like the pink one will have when it is finished.

So yeah... lots of things I love about this and will keep, and a few that are OK but will be done differently on the final piece :)

I'll post a picture of the thing when it is done and probably another essay about it if I love/hate anything about it when it's done other than what has been mentioned.

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