When I discovered the competition theme for this year, I immediately imagined a romantic ballerina. When I say romantic, I think of dancers and stage actresses of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I think of Degas, of “La Sylphide”, maybe of Anna Pavlova, etc. So I made a Pinterest board with dozens of vintage pictures. I gathered the fabrics and I made sketches. I wanted this costume to be as authentic as possible, so I chose natural fabrics: a grey silk satin, cotton coutil and cotton bobbinet. I dyed the bobbinet with natural indigo. I found some white silk flowers that I painted in different shades of light blue with watercolor.
And then, months have gone by, and I couldn’t find the time to work on this costume. So I gave up on this project. From time to time, however, I still thought about it, and it made me a little bit sad... So, when I saw the first contributions for the competition on Facebook last week, I decided to set myself this challenge: to make this entire costume in one week, with a full-time job at the same time. That is for the context.
Now to the technical part! This corset is a mix between Victorian sewing techniques and modern corsetry. It has a single layer of coutil, with internal boning channels. I used synthetic whalebone with flats on the center back. The silk satin is lined with a cotton fabric, and hand-stitched inside the corset to hide every machine stitch. The explanation for the name of the costume is the petticoat. To get the right volume, I lined the soft blue bobbinet with a white stiff tarlatan, to avoid modern nylon net.
In the end, I am glad I made this costume, because it exactly reflects the image that was in my head. But I am quite disappointed by the result form a technical point of view. This corset would have been worth a little more work… But once again, this competition was the opportunity to push myself, and for that I want to thank everyone here!