Thursday, August 5, 2010

On Corset-Making

I recently put the finishing touches on my very first corset - I made one for my cousin, who is still stunning to look at in her fifties and who was seriously interested when I told her I was learning to make corsets. This was actually my second effort, although it is the first one I've finished. I started making another corset for a friend here in Quebec City several weeks before beginning the one for my cousin, but I needed to finish hers first as I was traveling to England and could fit her for the final adjustments if I had a pre-finalized version ready.

Despite the fact that it took hundreds of hours to make (I took my time, because I wanted to do everything right, so I didn't actually count the hours - I'm sure as I make more I'll be able to bring the time down, but I'm told even the best can't do it faster than about 30 to 40 hours!), I enjoyed every minute of the process! The development process is complex, but carries its own charm - between the usual steps of laying out and cutting the fabric and sewing, one adds putting in the grommets (hammer and anvil!), the bones and the busk, along with finishing and lacing.

I also love the fact that though a corset is custom made for a particular body shape, the ultimate fit is handled through the lacing, hence no fiddling with small adjustments at the end of the process!

I was interested in corsetry also to learn more how to use boning to shape a garment. Although I'm very happy with my first effort, I shall need to experiment more to feel that I really master this latter issue.

There are so many different types of corset, the challenges seem endless - one can do historic corsets, fashion corsets, corsets for men (an area I could definately get into!), corsets for burlesque shows, ultra sexy corsets, underbust vs overbust corsets, corset variations (basque, corsellette, etc.), overwear corsets, the list goes on. And there is a kind of "subculture" of people who "dig" corsets, whether making them or wearing them.

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