Wednesday, March 17, 2010

1904 ribbon corset

A fabulous local fabric store, Fabrique, hosted a remnant challenge this past month, and I decided to give it a try.  I came home with three different fabrics, and after a few weeks of waffling back and forth over what to make, I decided that would use some peacock silk brocade for a ribbon corset based on the 1904 corset diagram in Corset and Crinolines.  The super-cool blog Bridges on the Body helped me muddle through the construction, and the only problems that I had with this project came from the fact that I had to cut my silk  on the bias to get the feather placement like I wanted on the sides.  Of course, using bias construction on a corset is a HUGE no-no, but it is lined with some heavy-duty groisgrain silk that acts as the real strength of this garment.  My corset has a few minor wrinkles that probably wouldn't be there if I had cut it on the straight, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared that it might be.

I had a really hard time deciding how to trim this thing, but I just kept thinking of Tim Gunn and his  admonishments on Project Runway to "use your editing eye!"  I kept scaling back my desire to be flashy with beading or contrasting ruffles until I ultimately ended up making some self-fabric fringe by fraying strips of the silk.  I also used braid made of embroidery floss down the center of the fringe to give it a little more interest and to hide my lines of stitching.  I love how the fringe echoes the look of the feathers, and it adds even more "oomph" to the bust and hips, which emphases the hourglass look.

I'm sad to say that I forgot to take a picture of the back of this corset before turning it in for the contest, but I'll try to take a pic and post it next week.  I found some great 000 2-part eyelets at Walmart, of all places, and I ADORE how they turned out.  They had antique gold, copper, and black at the store I went to, but no silver.  How weird is that?  I'll have to look up the brand the next time I'm shopping there so I can check for them online.  The lacing is done with some cotton twill tape that I dyed to match the dark brown of the silk.  Oh, and I also wanted to mention that I bought my busk and boning from Vogue Fabrics, and I was incredibly pleased with the price and speed of shipping.

And now for the real question - what am I going to do with this corset?  Since I'm on such a vintage kick lately, I've been daydreaming about pairing it with a New Look blouse and pinstriped brown pencil skirt for a midcentury spin on a steampunk outfit.  What would that be - atomicpunk?  Or I might make it into a fairy costume, or maybe I'll use for the period it was intended for and wear it under Edwardian costumes... but it sure would be a shame to hide such a flashy set of undies!


cathyr19355 said...

That is incredibly beautiful! Marvelous work!

Jo said...

What a pretty corset!!! The print matching of the feathers blows me away. Very nice. And I thought all of that before I read your mention. :D

Stitching Bevy said...

A lot of people are intimidated by making corsets, but if you get your measurements right, they are fun to make. For one thing, you don't have to have it fit exactly, since you want it to be a few inches too small with lacing space in the back.
Vogue Fabrics is an awesome store!

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