Sunday, 27 September 2015

Corsets, Papier Mache and Masquerades

I finally finished my first ever corset! and I wore it! Yesterday was my friend Rebecca's 50th Birthday and she had a masqureade ball to celebrate. I had been planning my outfit for a few weeks and it was the perfect opportunity to wear a corset.

I used the GBGS pattern from series 3, adjusted the neckline to make it more sweetheart shaped, and reduced the waist to give some reduction.

The Details:
Outer fabric: A chinese style brocade in royal blue with a bit of gold in there. I've had this in my stash for a couple of years and can't remember where it came from.
Inner layer: Artists canvas - couldn't get my hands on any coutil, of this was the next best option.
Lining: white cotton also from my stash.
Bra Cups: salvaged from an old bra.
Boning & Eyelets: Spiral Steel and Sprung steel from Sew Curvy.

The corset was fairly simple to put together, but you do need to be rather precise. I decided to make this without a busk and really it needs longer laces as I can only just get it on over my head without unlacing it. I should have made a muslin as this is quite a short corset and I have a long torso so next time I'll make a longer version.

The boning is contained within the canvas layer and then has the shell and lining attached. the bias binding is self fabric and was machine stitched to the outside layer and then turned and finised with fell stitched on the lining side.

I did have to practise with the eyelets as there was a lot of fabric to get through. I marked the placement on the lining side, but had to get my husband to hammer the punch through the fabric. I used eyelet pliers to secure the eyelets. (you might have seen more on my instagram feed over the last few weeks @artcoopsville)

As the corset had gold in the fabric I decided to pair it with a gold skirt and thought that a full circle skirt would be the way to go. I bought my fabric from Sharma's in the Victoria Centre Market in Nottingham a few weeks ago. it's a shot fabric with gold threads running one was and black running the other. I added an invisible zip and hand stitched the hem (= hours of work), mainly because I didn't have any tread exactly the right colour. Oh and I like hand stitched hems.

I also made my mask from papier mache, it was a bit heavy to be honest and I didn't keep it on long. My husband decided he was going to go as Frank Sidebottom.

So we spent ages making his head, also from papier mache. the shape was finished a few days ago, but I spent most of yesterday painting it. safe to say it caused a bit of a stir when we arrived at the party.

Many thanks to Pam at Threading my way for featureing this post.


  1. That Frank Sidebottom mask is amazing - I've not seen anything with him on for years! I remember my friend at college being a huge fan.
    Your corset is a bit of a work of art too of course!

  2. Oh my gosh, your corset is gorgeous! Actually, your whole outfit is really lovely. And your husband's mask, woa! it gave me a smile!

    1. Thanks - it made everyone at the party smile too!

  3. Wow, your hair (or lack of) looks brilliant, I haven't blogged or even read many blogs for ages so just had a nosey through your previous posts, I must say, what a great and brave way to get all your hair shaved off, you are an inspiration.
    The corset is brilliant and goes so well with the skirt too. It looks like you and hubby had a great time :)
    Jan x

  4. You look fabulous! The corset looks perfectly made (and is flattering, I love the waistline). I particularly love the choice of colours in the whole outfit.
    I hope "Frank" didn't steal your thunder though as his costume is spot on and ... larger than life.

    1. Thank you - it took ages to find the right colour gold for the skirt.

  5. Looks like you had a fun night, Claire. Two amazing costumes!!! I rather like hand sewing hems, too.

    1. Featured today, Claire, both your outfit and your blog...

  6. Hopping over from your feature at Threading My Way.. What WONDERFUL costumes! I love your corset! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures


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