Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saving a corset

Hey, there. I said I was going to do 12 costumes in 12 months, didn't I? Time to start working on that then, as the first month is already pretty much shot. At least I didn't say it was going to be one costume a month, so I can play catch up and still stay on track.

A couple of years at a clothing swap***, I acquired a red satin underbust corset. It's not a particularly well-made one, I have to say, as there doesn't seem to be much of a strength layer, and the quality of the satin is not high, but hey, it's free! The maker didn't reinforce the boning channels with anything, and the tips of the bones had worn through the fabric. But, hey, I can sew and I can fix it, right? Yeah, right. It sat around for a couple of years, and I almost put it in the "go away" boxes a couple of weeks ago, but then I decided I was finally going to get off my lazy dignity and do something about it.

I am ashamed of how long it sat around, because it only took me a couple hours each over the course of two Mondays to finish it. I of course didn't take pictures beforehand, but here's what it looked like after I picked off the binding last Monday:

corset reclamation project 1

As mentioned previously, the bones were sticking through the fabric in four places:

corset reclamation project 2

I wasn't even going to try to match the red. What goes good with red, though? Why, black of course! I found a 3/4 yard piece of black satin in the remnant bin and reinforced it with heavy iron-on interfacing, then cut it into strips, giving myself a 3/8" seam allowance on either side.

corset reclamation project 3

Yes, one of the strips is slightly wider than all the rest, proving again how entirely straight-line challenged I am. I am Special! Yeah, that's it.

No in progress pictures past this point, as I got too far into the groove, but here's the finished piece, sans the final ironing I should have done once I finished with the biding.

corset reclamation project 4

corset reclamation project 5

I acquired the skirt shown here at the same time, and will be adding a drapey black layer to it, to help mask that they aren't quite the same shade of red under certain lights.

***Hey, some of you may be wondering "What on Earth is a clothing swap?" It's a pretty fun way to recycle your wardrobe. You and a bunch of friends go through your closets and dressers and pull out the stuff you haven't worn in ages, that is now either too small or too big, that you now wonder "Oh, ye gods, what was I thinking when I bought that?!?" and anything else you just don't want anymore, and converge on one person's house, preferably a house with at least one good full-length mirror.

You all dump your bags of clothing out in the middle of the floor and all go rummaging through it looking for stuff that will fit you that you will wear. Bring munchies and a bottle of something and it turns into a fun party. Anything left unclaimed at the end gets bagged up and taken to a thrift store.

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