As soon as I saw that one of the themes was ‘En Pointe’, my mind went straight to a dark style of ballet, almost like a gothic princess. I was thinking along the lines of a completely black corset, covered in different lace, encrusted with hundreds of beads, and ripped tulle hanging off the shoulders and hips.
I was very comfortable with this idea and set out to find the perfect model for the project. One woman named Ellen kindly volunteered to help me out with this project. As soon as I saw her long tumbling hair, her soft features and delicate skin, that the darkness of my original idea no longer worked. She gave me new inspiration. Ellen seemed more like a delicate queen, rather than an gothic princess. She was majestic.
My fabric choice moved from black to gold, I stripped the lace right back to one style, which I used to emphasise certain aspects of the corset. I saved beading for the shoulders, and the tulle skirt was cut like in a ‘romantic’ ballet style.
I had never worked on a custom fit corset for anyone other than myself. At the time I started this project, I had only made one custom fit corset for my own body. It was a nerve-wracking experience going to Ellen’s house and trying to appear confident in all that I was saying and doing; I had to force myself to overcome those fears.
The biggest issue I had was with the sateen coutil. I had previously only worked with ‘self-healing’ fabrics such as broche coutil, and it became apparent very early on that sateen coutil is anything but ‘self-healing’! The corset started to develop ripples on every single panel, and my heart sank further and further with every panel that I stitched together. This is something that I could have avoided by choosing a different fabric, but I was committed to the gold in heart and labour. I will experiment further in the future to work out what I did wrong and how I can fix it.
In the end, Ellen modelled the corset in exactly the way I had foreseen. She was majestic, vulnerable yet in control. I decided to name this corset ‘Rapunzel’, due to Ellen’s beautiful long wavy hair.
I love this corset, and I am very grateful to Foundations Revealed for pushing me to try something new.