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Nana’s Corset – beginnings

Remember how I posted that I wanted to finish a corset so I could make shorts so I could make panniers?  Well, you have seen the shorts, the panniers are done but yet to be posted about, but the corset isn’t quite finished.

But it looks pretty amazing anyway, and here is a sneak-peek:

Curve happiness

This corset is my long planned, long awaited version of the Nana corset for me.

Manet's Nana, 1877 (detail)

I’m never going to achieve quite as many curves as Nana (and also, I’m not a teenage courtesan who destroys the lives of every man she encounters – but Manet didn’t know that) but I’m pretty pleased with how I look in it.

I have a waist! And hips! And a bust!

The images of me in the corset are courtesy of Mrs C, who kindly took photos on her camera at a sewing night at her place when I stupidly forgot to bring a memory card for my camera.  D’oh!

I’ve been working on it since the sewing night, and the corset is almost done.  I just need to finish the binding on the bottom of the corset, add the straps, and bind the top of the corset.

Bound bottoms, top and straps still to do

The fabric is a gorgeous silk duchess satin, the same fabric as I made Ninon’s 1660s dress out of.   When I posted about that fabric, Josephine of the Silk Futures (awesome blog name!) mentioned that she had picked up some of that silk in the same sale in pale blue.  So I begged and pleaded and she agreed to sell me half a metre.  Lovely sweet Josephine!

The pattern is based on what you can see in the painting (the hip pieces are quite evident), and strapped corsets of the 1870s and 1880s.   I have a whole pinterest board of inspiration.

Blue duchesse satin and white sateen lining

Corset classes in Melbourne!

DISCLAIMER: This post is ‘sticky’ and will stay at the top of my blog for the next week – but don’t worry, there is plenty of fun new content below, just scroll down to see it!

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Super exciting news!

I’m going to be in Melbourne (for the first time ever) the first week of April, and…

(super, super exciting news)

I’ll be teaching a corset making workshop at Melbourne’s fabulous craft lounge, Thread Den on Friday the 6th of April!

How exciting is that!  (Especially if you are in Melbourne).

It’s an all-day workshop, so we’ll have plenty of time for each student to make an entire corset, learn some corset history, work through all the techniques, discuss the different materials available, look at some of my corsets, get to know each other, and generally have a fabulous time.

The workshop will be based around this corset:

It’s a simple, flattering underbust  corset that can easily be fitted to a huge range of shapes, and that can be adapted to a lot of styles.  Once you have mastered this corset it is easy to add cording, piping, quilting, and to use all the same techniques to make an overbust corset.

To read more about the course, check out Thread Den’s class description, and then rush over and book it.

The price is Au$200 – $175 for the workshop, + $25 for the materials kit (your pattern, busk, boning, grommets and lacing).  This is a really fabulous deal for a full day workshop, and for all the materials.

Spaces are very limited – only 9 students – because I want to make sure that I can give each of you lots of personal attention so that you go away from this feeling very confident about making lots and lots of your own corsets.  This does mean that its very important that you book right away, before  the class fills up.

I’m really thrilled about doing this: I love teaching, Thread Den is such a fabulous space (I follow their blog over the internet and drool), and corset making is so fun!

Will I be seeing you there?  Hope so!

(random corset goodness. The Cymbidium Orchid corset)

Rate the dress: plaid in 1840

Last week’s St Patrick’s themed dress elicited some strong reactions.  Some love, some loathing, and a lot of “Well, the skirt is great, but that bodice…ewww” and “I love the bodice…but the skirt is just OTT.”  The dress needed to be cut in half!  The divided opinions cut the rating to 7.4 out of 10 – not quite a pot of gold, but at least the shine didn’t completely disappear like leprechaun gold.

This week I’m leaving behind naturalism and historicism, and looking at geometry, and cutting edge design.

Well, cutting edge for 1840:

Afternoon dress of plaid silk, American, about 1840, MFA Boston, 51.473

Afternoon dress of plaid silk, American, about 1840, MFA Boston, 51.473

The skirt pleating, the bias cutting of the bodice, the elaborate pleated bertha, the wrapped sleeves, the buttons: every element of the dress shows off the distinctively unusual eggplant, mallard blue and mustard plaid.

What do you think?  Does the unusual almost-plaid work?  Does the drape of the dress work?  Or is it all just a bit too weird and strange and experiemental?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10