When I saw the theme "Intersections of Light" I immediately thought of doing something with layering. I've been experimenting a lot lately with various sheers draped over my corsets, ruching with chiffon, and the effects I can get from the arrangement of the decorative elements, so this theme seemed like a perfect opportunity to expand on that. I decided to use tulle this time for more transparency than I would have gotten with chiffon - I wanted to make sure I didn't totally hide the dazzle underneath!
For the surface designs I wanted to do something that reflected the solid feel of the gorgeous wrought iron in the mood board, and the graphic quality of the light shining through stark black shapes. I decided to use Swarovski crystals, to bring in the glamour that I like to reach for in my work for Eternal Glory. I had at first thought I'd only use a few of the white crystals, to give the feel of light shining through, but I liked the way the two complemented each other so much that I used about equal amounts of each and designed their patterns around each other. In total I used about 3500 flatbacks, individually placed by hand.
I made the base of the corset using an eight-panel overbust pattern which I had already drafted and fitted, modifying the top and bottom lines to fit with the concept. I wanted a matte texture to bring out the sparkle I knew I'd be adding later, so I made the corset in white cotton sateen roll-pinned over coutil, and topstitched the boning channels in black for an extra nod to the contrast theme. I also used a black busk and grommets, so the theme of black and white remains unbroken throughout.
The most complicated part of the piece was the order in which I added the layers. In order to get the tulle laid over the crystals but still stitched into the front and back seams, I did a preliminary run of the draping before the corset was finished or lined, and attached the front and back facings with the tulle sandwiched in the seam. At the back, I kept the tulle in place and set the grommets over it, since there was no need to place crystals where the lacing would be. The pegs of the busk I also put through the tulle at front, then pulled it back to finish the busk without stitching through the tulle. Only after I had placed all the Swarovskis did I re-drape it on top, and tack the folds in place with a scattering of sew-on beads.
All in all, I'm thrilled with how this corset turned out. The tulle was a dream to work with, and it was so exciting to see the design come to life as I worked!