Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gala Gown: The Corselette

My pattern does include a foundation bodice with boning, however, it ends at the waist.  Now, I suppose this is about where a corselette should stop.  But this dress is fitted through the hips, and I have plenty of squishy bits below the waist.

I have heard of abs, arms, and buns of steel, but I have never heard of hips of steel.  And from all the muffin top pics out there, I assume I am not the only one who has extra chub at the hipline.

So I decided that I would duplicate the length of the bodice pieces for my corselette.  I cut one more cotton set of bodice pieces, along with a set made of cotton ticking (a cheap substitute for coutil).  It has an extremely dense weave which makes pinning it a real bother, and at this point I have quite a few pin pricks on my fingertips. 

Next, I cut strips of the ticking to create a casing for the spiral steel boning pieces.

Corset makers will probably look aghast at my bone placement, but I think it will work for me.  The main thing was to leave the upper front bust alone.

My least favorite part of this process is cutting the spiral steel to the proper length.  My boss kindly let me borrow a heavy duty pair of wire clippers since my jewelry pair are not strong enough.  Even with the extra heft, cutting the coils apart was awful.

My hands are tired, but I am one step further along!

For the corselette, I used a centered zipper application.  My 22” zipper extends beyond the actual fabric because it makes it much easier to get in and out of.  I will leave the end hanging inside the dress.  I have found in the past that tacking it to the skirt can cause buckling.

I also used an old bra as a bit of extra support.  The bands were cut off after I basted them to the side seam allowances.

I keep getting distracted by my beaded embellishments, but the dress is really starting to come together!


  1. It's really looking great! I am following your progress with awe :)

  2. Overheard Rant #5:

    "Something is happening in that bunker with the Bernina."
    "Hold it, everything she creates is a weapon of lass destruction."
    "But this ball gown is like bringing a battleship to a knife fight."
    "To review, we are talking about Laura Mae."
    "Her trousseau is her arsenal."
    [scoff] "Her waistline a weapon. She nips waist to lay waste."
    "And in hand-stitch to hand-stitch combat this one takes no prisoners."
    "Our battle of the bulges can kindly be termed unending, meanwhile, contrary to obligatory public protests, hers is non-existent."
    "Do you suppose she underlines in trampoline fabric?"
    "No, I think she only inhales on days of photo shoots."
    "And what about the 'event' and all those tax paying California women attending?"
    "To the first question, the Chronicle's Society Page will surely have a feature focus. As to half the population of the Golden State, minus one, it's a small wonder Governor Brown and all the living former governors don't do a PSA re: Laura Mae."
    "It surely couldn't be the first ladies of California; they want to retain the title 'ladies'."
    "Mmmm hmmmm. Social upheaval as a means of second look retrieval."
    "And this dress has everything necessary to clear cut the competition."
    "Oh ya. Wearin' a different kind of hoodie, she'll be cloaked and going stealth. Not her usual display of shoulders and shins."
    "Yes, but me thinks she'll be returning from this 'theater of war' with an unexpected prize in tow."
    [gasp] "You mean, a gent???"
    "A real live catch. I feel like a Midwest Medium."
    "Please, you're an extra-large. Now does she know any of this?"
    "Hardly. Laura Mae is the LAST person to listen to what she needs to hear, she won't be told what's good for her, and she refuses to consider options unless they've originated in her cranium."
    "So are you wasting your breath?"
    "Not at all. I'm 3 parts martyr, 1 part saint, putting out into the universe what no one else dares to where this one is concerned."
    "You're like the human form of cod liver oil, and a Wallenda, combined."
    "Precisely. Laura Mae will not appreciate my predictive derring-do at present, but in time she just might."
    "Even if she never says so?"
    "To us, she speaks as she twirls."

  3. Its always interesting to see the how somebody else tackles problems they've you've come across in making something. I ended up taking a corsolette pattern from a Vogue Belville Sasson strapless dress as it finished at the hips instead of at the waist. I think I got the idea from sombody else on the internet. I like how you've used a bra for support; more bust support is something I wish I had done in mine.


  4. Two words: Bolt cutters