After I had completed the skirt for my Ariel costume, reality set in.
I knew I didn’t want to wimp out and not make a corset, and by this point I had already bought the fabric and the pattern and denim for the muslin. I used Laughing Moon’s 100 Victorian Underwear Dore Corset pattern, which I got from Truly Victorian here. This post by Truly Victorian helped me choose what size to start with and which corset to start with.
So here is the story of my weekend of corsets (embellished due to the fact that it was about 3 months ago and for artistic liberties):
The Friday before DragonCon I grabbed the cut out pieces of the corset pattern(I had clipped them a few days before when I was in the mood to cut, but not carefully), and I carefully traced out a size, and cut it out of the denim. Did I not figure out that I should alternate directions of the pattern pieces so each side of the corset was one color? No I did not. Do I care very much? Nope! Gotta love underwear for that reason…
I sewed it up with one layer, and at first used a zipper in place of the busk at the front. It ended up being taken in a lot for the denim version, and I think this was mostly a combo because I am rather squishy around the tummy, so it was able to compress/move rather easily, and because the denim has some give. Not a lot, mind you, but a bit more wiggle room than I’d thought. And realistically I’m happier to “remove” fabric later than need more of it there. It is a heavy weight 100% cotton denim from Joann Fabrics, with a surprising amount of drape post-wash, but it’s pretty stable and thick.
I hadn’t yet finished the denim corset yet, since I didn’t have the grommet setting kit by that point, but I was able to alter the pattern for the Ariel corset.
Then Saturday rolled around and I cut out the fabric for Ariel. I had gotten a yard of Yaya Han’s corset fabric from her line at Joann’s… By this point I was in Joann’s every other day or so. It’s a nice enough fabric. Lightweight but still strong and stable. Thin, though, very thin feeling. In the future I wouldn’t use it for corsets, since it did strain a bit under the pressure, causing some extra rippling in the already slight ripple sections, but it would be good as a tough non-stretch layer for support.
I had raised the top of the corset by two inches, and aimed for that round sweetheart shape, and I cut away some of the extra fabric from the bottom to give it a soft point at the bottom. Then I ended up altering this more once I had tested with just one layer of fabric, so I could try to get less of the stomach-fat-that-is-now-hip-fat look. (Spoiler alert: It only kinda worked.) I then sewed the second layers together for both corsets (each of self fabric), and inserted the busk to Ariel’s (I had forgotten to purchase another for Susan) and inserted a zipper for Susan’s.
The boning was tricky, and the next step. I got all the boning from Bias Bespoke’s etsy shop, as well as my busks. I used spiral steel in the sides, and spring steel in the straighter front and back areas. To “cap” the ends, I dipped the bones in Plasti-Dip I got from Lowes. I should’ve done an extra dip on the end of all of them, but I got lazy and frantic about finishing.
I cut all the boning for both corsets at once, using bolt cutters and wire cutters. And then I’m pretty sure my friend conned me into going line dancing (**shivers**). So when I got home that night I was exhausted and crashed. On Sunday, I inserted the boning, and stitched the bindings on by hand. I threaded a length of Sugar and Cream yarn through the top of Susan’s so I could draw it more closed if necessary.
The grommet setting tool had been delivered by this point, but I had forgotten to buy grommets with it, so when they arrived on Monday I inserted them into both corsets, after practicing on an old underbust corset that I used for my TARDIS costume.
Oh, I definitely bought and inserted a busk into Susan after the con, which is why its there in the pictures. The zipper I used split every time I’d wear the costume, with only the tie and hook and eyes to hold it in, so I knew that a real busk was in order.
And that was my weekend of corsets! I don’t intend to have another such weekend, but they were pretty quick once I got rolling!
Ever take on two intimidating things in a weekend?