Monday, 30 May 2016

Sewing for WGT: The Knipmode Corset

The previously posted neck corset was of course part of a larger outfit I made for Wave Gotik Treffen this year. I had been itching to finally make another corset (not that I have much opportunity lately to wear one...) ever since I had ordered engraved corset busks from Vanyanis in Australia.

The Dutch sewing magazine Knipmode had in its November 2015 issue a corset pattern with hip gores that I really wanted to try out. The pattern was part of the collection of the winning team of the dutch version of The Great British Sewing Bee (or something along these lines, if I understood it correctly) and all of the designs, most of them using patent leather and black fabrics, went straight into my To-Sew-List.
The corset pattern is an overbust corset and I had only made 2 of those so far, and both of them weren't exactly a success when it came to fitting: the first one turned out too small around the bust, the second one had way too much space, requiring me to add A LOT of padding thus giving me monster-boobs.

First step: make a mock-up. And just as expected, even though I cut the smallest size, the mock-up turned out way too big, especially at the waist. I guess because the pattern is targeted at a fairly mainstream audience, you can't really intend it for tightlacing anyway. And since the dutch sizes tend to run bigger than usual sizes (what with dutch girls being generelly quite tall and broad-shouldered), the size 34 came with a 62 cm waist. My natural waist is 64cm, so I ended up taking away around 10cm around the waist. I also added some length to the bust, so I could change the upper edge into a slightly more dramatic shape.

Since I didn't want any external boning channels like the corset in the magazine had, I constructed the corset in my usual manner and sewed the boning channels to the inside of the coutil lining. I prepared the upper layer from silk fused to a strong cotton fabric, and then inserted the busk:

Next, I topstitched along all of the seams on the outer layer, to connect it with the coutil lining. And then the trouble started. When I had

I don't know what happened - probably my seams weren't exact enough, my changes in the pattern introduced some errors, I maybe didn't cut the fabric exact enough. I don't know. But the corset had so many bumps and wrinkles when I first put it on, that I suffered from a minor nervous breakdown. So I left it for several days in the corner where I had thrown it and did something else.

This is not how it's supposed to look like.
Eventually, I unpicked some of the topstitching, carefully repinned everything, and could eliminate at least some of the wrinkles. I had planned a lace overlay for the corset anyway, so some of my errors are less obvious now that they're covered with lace.

The lace overlay took some work in arranging and careful symmetrical pinning to the corset. And of course, lots of handsewing.

About the pattern and instructions:
The instructions in the magazine are very detailed, with recommendations for material and clear illustrations about what you're supposed to do. I didn't really follow them, but I probably should have at least read them a little more thoroughly (the recommendation to *first* sew in the hip gore parts, *then* close the side seams would have made my life a lot easier, I think).
My one issue with this pattern is with the fit: It really runs quite big and does not give such a nice shape in its original state. I like corsets with hip gores as they tend to have a rather large hip spring, but if there is no reduction whatsoever around the waist, the whole affair resembles more a barrel-shape than the hourglass you want to have.
The bust area, however, fits really well. I did add some foam cups inside to give me a nicer cleavage.
I think I could still have taken away more width from the corset, at the moment I can easily close it fully and it could really fit a little more snugly.

Sadly, WGT this year was so horribly cold, that I could only wear my outfit without a jacket for the 2 minutes it took to take this picture. I'm wearing it with a skirt I made a couple of years ago, and a headdress I made for Castlefest last year.
I may still embroider some beads or flowers onto the lace to give it some more bling - but without any opportunities to wear it coming up, I don't have any pressure for this...
Eventually I also want to make a matching skirt - I still have plenty of silk and lace here. I might have managed to throw something together before the festival, but with such a beautiful and expensive material, I really didn't want to risk another disaster :)


  1. Das Outfit ist umwerfend! Das Korsett ist sehr schick, das Halskorsett ebenfalls.
    Und dann noch so ein Monster-Kopfputz oO
    Sexy Madame!

    1. Dankeschön! Ich hoffe es ergibt sich bald eine Gelegenheit mit günstigeren Temperaturen das alles nochmal anzuziehen!

  2. Ich sehe kaum Falten! Ein wirklich wunderschöner Stoff und die Spitzenapplikationen wirken total edel! Ich bin so traurig, dass ich es nicht live gesehen habe...

    1. Hah, es hat auch einen Grund dass da keine Detailfotos sind ;) Aber gut, man selbst ist mit seinen Sachen ja sowieso immer kritischer!