I feel like a pirate queen. If there even are such things. Actually, I'm pretty sure red corduroy is totally malapropos for a life of swashbuckling and treasure hunting, but hey, maybe the bloodstains would show up less? Kind of like Mord-Sith and their red leather outfits. Um. Anyway, as you can see, I'm finished with my corset! I finished trimming down the cable tie "bones," added a few lines of narrow black lace, bound the edges with black bias tape, and re-laced the back with a less blinding ribbon.
|The top is not laced as tightly as it could be.|
|Red is ridiculously hard to photograph, never mind the corduroy.|
Even though it's not perfect (especially inside), what with the lack of steel and coutil in its construction, I am really thrilled with my first "real" corset! The Bellatrix leather-grandma-pants thing did its job, but it was definitely very costume-y and difficult to put on and take off. Since there are hooks and eyes in front, and the back doesn't go up very high, I can put on and lace this one myself. The cable ties and corduroy are quite thick, so even laced tightly it's still on the bulky side. Whatever, this is strictly for wearing over, not under my clothing.
|You can see where some of my lining seams didn't match up with the outside, hence ugly wavy seams in the middle of my boning channels. Also note the water-soluble ink marking the waist stay placement that I forgot to wash out.|
|Sketchy hand-stitching of the folded-over bias tape ends. I didn't know how I was supposed to finish the facing on the back, so I ended up just cutting it close to the last boning channel and then using seam binding to cover the raw edge.|
|Hook and eye tape instead of a proper busk.|
Fabric: The outer layer is 2/3 yard of 44" red corduroy, of unknown composition, given to me by a church lady, who in turn got it from her cleaning lady, who in turn got it from an old lady whose house needed cleaning; the inner layer is a linen-looking 100% cotton curtain remnant from hemming a friend's super-long IKEA curtain. Yay for giving materials new life!
Notions: about 10" of black hook & eye tape that I've had in the stash for years, 20 grommets (unfortunately not the fancy two-part kinds), grosgrain ribbon for the waist stay, black lace, black bias tape, black satin ribbon for lacing
Techniques used: Making boning channels, setting grommets...and cutting plastic cable ties? That can't be right. I feel like there should be a lot more techniques involved. But really, making a corset doesn't involve any complicated sewing, more like fitting. But I think this pattern is pretty forgiving. And it's free, to boot!
Casualties: This was a dangerous project. Two sewing machine needles broke, but thankfully didn't fly into my face. I also managed to gash my thumb with the awl while making holes for the grommets. Not really sure how that happened. Like I said earlier, good thing the red hides blood, right? Just kidding, it was a very tiny stab wound that didn't bleed much.
Hours: Somewhere around 17? I worked on this for a good ten hours while my husband was in SF, and then another seven or so on President's Day. It was enough to watch a good deal of Ken Burns' The West documentary, and now I feel incredibly sad for the Native Americans. For all that my dad rants about racism against the Chinese during the gold rush era, Native Americans definitely got the shortest end of the stick. To break up the sadness, I also started re-watching Season 1 of Downton Abbey.
Will you make this again? I originally made this as a wearable muslin corset, hence the inferior materials. But now that I'm finished, I don't think I'll be making another underbust corset for a while; I prefer the overbust look (and I don't have to figure out bra underwire issues). Thank goodness this one is perfectly serviceable as a costume piece.
Total cost: All the fabric was free, and the grommets I got from my dad, so I only spent money on the bias tape and ribbon ($4) and cable ties ($4 worth). The hook and eye tape I bought ages ago, but I'm guessing its cost was about $3. So a total of $11! Not bad at all!
Final thoughts: This was a good experience. I didn't get too frustrated despite all the finicky cutting and sewing, and now my appetite is whetted for more corset-making! I like my final corset; it turned out well enough that I wish I had gone ahead and bought steel materials and coutil so that it could be a "real" corset. Right now, this is like the wooden Pinocchio of corsets; I need the Blue Fairy to come make it real! But then, knowing my previous sewing experiences, if I'd used expensive stuff to make this, it would've been a big flop somehow and I'd regret spending so much money on it. That's always how it is with my projects...
|I'm so glad I added the lace for a special touch!|
I'm so glad I decided to tackle the "Paint the Town Red" challenge for Sew Weekly, even if it is a little late. So far I'm six for six on Sew Weekly challenges! Now back to work on my Alice dress...
Next in the corset queue: a Georgian conical corset so that I can make my The Duchess-inspired dress!