Wednesday 19 October 2011

Katie and her forties Hollywood Dress - Part 2 - The corset

my numbered pattern so I don't forget the order of the pieces, they all look very similar

the base of the corset

the fine chanels need to be cut on the bias in strips

the all important strengthening stitches

the spiral steel boning

the pressed bia channels ready to be sewn to the corset base

the corset before the hem is sniped shorter so that Katie could sit down easily

the corset placed over the toile of the bodice to check the neckline positioning

the final corset with it's tweaks

the lower cut back, always fasten a corset in the centre

Katie really wanted some added 'hug' to her dress and to enhance that Hollywood hourglass silhouette we decided that instead of a strapless bra or basque we would make a corset. The curve in the back of the dress and the strapless design along with needing some secure support meant a custom corset was going to be the best option.
I was really lucky to be taught corsetry at University by an excellent pattern cutting lecturer Lee Hollahan who worked on Kate Winslet's 'Titantic' corset and the corsets for Back to the Future Part 3 to name but a few. Sorry this is a little name dropping and tenuous linking to my corset here!

This gave me some great foundation skills to make the all important bridal corset. This one went through quite a few changes being nipped and tucked as inevitably our model changed shape on the run up to the wedding. As this was to be worn all day it needed to be comfortable and most importantly light even with the steel boning.
I used a single layer of silk taffeta which is beautifully light and strong. Sometimes corsets are made with two to three layers for strength but I really didn't want to add any bulk or for it to be seen underneath the dress, so the decorative stitching you see isn't just fancy its adding re-enforcements.
The low back (corsets usually have quite high backs to give all round uplift) and maintaining support at the front was something that kept me up at night trying to figure out but we got there in the end and I love the fifties shape it has.  Bra designers are really the best engineers in the world to keeping us perky and bare backed, they are quite amazing!

The corset had extra narrow fine boning with is spirals so that it curves with your body and was then trimmed in lace at the hem and top to give a very soft edge that wouldn't show through the dress.
I really need a corset dummy as these standard ones can't have their waists cinched with their super tough tummies!