Ever since childhood I have been intrigued by the world of ballet, and even more so by the garments connected to it. Picturing a 5-year old me, tip-toeing around the house on a pair of pointes that I'd found in an old costume trunk, it’s fair to say that the ballet footwear in particular has always fascinated me.
After months of brainstorming and reflecting, I finally found the courage and took this year’s competition title to the letter: to make a corset based on the characteristics of the pointe shoe. For me, pointes have an intrinsic link to corsetry. Both are pieces of clothing that enable the body to take an aesthetical - although for most people, “unnatural” - position. In order to achieve a form similar to the pointed foot form, I aimed to combine curve with elegance. That’s how I came to the 1901 Norah Waugh pattern (from Corsets and Crinolines), which I adjusted in order to achieve an even more extreme curve.
Pink satin, crossed ribbon and gathered tulle became the main fabric choices. In order to prevent wrinkling, I fused a lightweight satin to a heavier white cotton. It was the first time I worked with a fabric that was sturdy, yet flexible. The big advantage was that the corset took its form almost by itself, even before adding boning. Not being able to restitch topstitching in satin, on the other hand, was a real pain and had some radical consequences.
The middle section is constructed from two layers of the same white cotton, covered with some layers of gathered tulle (referring to the tutu). Here I added pink satin ribbon in a crossed pattern, referring to the ribbon of the ballet shoes. The under part in the middle, a double layer of the fused fabric, is shaped in reference to the tip of the shoe.
The other parts of the corset consist of only one layer of this fused fabric, to which I added double boning channels on the inside. I finished it off with a light cotton floating liner.
While flat steels were used in the front and the back of the corset, all the other channels contain plastic boning. The story behind this bold choice is given in my dress diary.
With this corset I also tried for the first time to finish off with flossing. I chose a very fine and simple cross design, matching the X-shaped ribbons in front. The binding is finished by hand and the corset has a floating modesty panel.
Although I had to finish the corset in a very short time span, I am very pleased with the overall outcome. The fantastic photoshoot made all the effort especially worth it!
I had a lot of fun writing my very first Dress Diary!
Photographer: Elvire Photography
Model: Berengere Octavia
Make-up artist & hairstylist: Tine Josephy