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Since about 2011 I have been dreaming of entering this competition, without any real expectation that I would be able to do so. I used to draft patterns from the guides on Foundations Revealed with no way of making them into reality, and now in my third year of university, I finally have the means to actually enter – and only three weeks to do it. This corset is using the Symington Corset Pattern Ref #2370 for the ‘Continue the Curves’ theme.
Inspired by my favourite British wildflowers and a desire to show off my embroidery, I chose navy silk taffeta and perle cotton embroidery thread. My aim was for a beautifully fitted, curvy corset with embroidery in the classic ‘V’ shape at the centre front, rather than the usual lace.
First I had to design the embroidery and make the final corset pattern in a week. Then, I had to embroider the design onto the uncut panels of silk, which took around three days, using satin stitch, stem stitch and colonial knots. This was followed by construction of the basic seams with the silk and coutil treated as one layer, and external bone cases attached over the seam allowance, as close as possible to the original placement of cording on the pattern. I used 5mm steels to mimic the cording more closely, which I definitely should have thought more about, because 5mm external cases are seriously fiddly.
After a sewing machine meltdown and wardrobe malfunctions, the delayed shoot took place the day before the deadline. The photography is by the wonderful Elvar Sigurgeirsson, who can be found via www.studiosig.com. After all this, I am quite pleased with the final result, but am intensely aware of the areas for improvement.