Making Sexy Evil Corsets, part 1
Updated: Jun 27
Albeit, sexy evil corsets might sound strange. But wait 'til they make their entrance. Because they sure are sexy, plenty vain, and slightly evil, as this "Into the Woods" design saga continues, starting with the "Evil Stepsister" costumes.
Using a spread of pink and gold floral brocades, with glittering sequins, pasties, and plunging necklines, the Evil Stepsisters smoulder as the ostentatious belles of the ball.
I start with the fabric. Not having enough yardage to make a dress out of one singular fabric, I combined them to make a patchwork-type corset with exterior boning channels.
The pattern (if anyone is curious) is based off of a 1890s satin corset, found in "CORSETS: Historical Patterns and Techniques" by Jill Salen.
After scaling up the pattern and making a quick mock up, I used a thick linen for the interior "strength layer" of the corset. No real reason I used linen other than that it was what I had, considering lock down quarantine and all.
I also fused some light weight interfacing to each of the brocade panels to give extra strength before assembling the pattern pieces.
To stitch the pattern pieces, I stitched wrong sides to wrong sides, meaning that the raw seam was on the outside of the garment instead of the inside. While this might seem wrong, trust me, it's actually quite clever. (I didn't come up with this method, by the way, in case you were wondering if I was getting cocky).
Fun fact: The technique is seen used in period Victorian corsets, as evidence from surviving garments in the Symington collection.
After stitching all the pattern pieces I trim down the seam allowance to a 1/4 inch. Then, I press the seams open with an iron and do a wide zigzag stitch to anchor down the seams, keeping them laying flat and preventing bulk. (An example of this zigzag stitch can be found on the second to last photo).
Now comes the boning channels. I used the same fabrics from the panels to make exterior boning channels that will be stitched down over the exposed raw seams.
I cut strips at 1.5 inches on the straight grain since I didn't have enough fabric to cut on the bias, and pressed the raw edges inwards to create a boning channel that was just over half an inch wide.
Pressing the fabric turned out to be a complete bitch to make the boning channels (forewarning) as some fabrics, especially polyester, aren't the most compliant when being blasted with a hot iron. The creases are never quite crisp, which makes for difficult stitching, especially for something as precise as boning channels.
Really the only way I dealt with it was using plenty of pins to hold down the boning channels and going VERY slowly on the sewing machine to stitch them down.
Rinse and repeat the above steps until all the exterior raw seams are encased within the boning channels.
To finish the boning channels, stitch down the center of each strip to create two individual channels. This technique will make for a double boned corset, with exterior boning channels that lay over the seams. (See the picture below for reference).
With an order of steel boning having just arrived, the next step will be to add the boning to the corset before attaching embellishments. Thinking of sequins, glitter, pasties, and tassels. All those delicious things.
For now, I leave this project as some others are starting to boil in the witch's brew. (That sentence is foreshadowing, in case you were wondering).
Until then, pour yourself a shot of whiskey and enjoy.
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