Corset pattern/kit: Sew Curvy
Model, Makeup, Hair, Kimono, & Corset, and photo editing by Maeri Certo
Photos by Matthew Shadrake
I named my project Psyche, because in Greek myth, she was sometimes portrayed as a maiden with the wings of a butterfly. This outfit came about in stages, but all of it from a desire to teach myself new skills and pay homage to things from my childhood. My great aunt had butterflies under glass in her kitchen, and that inspired the corset. The kimono was made/painted for a friend’s masquerade wedding, but I wanted to keep my wings from being a hazard to other people or objects around me, and thought that kimono sleeves would make a lovely set of wings. The mask was made for the wedding outfit as well. The front designs are stenciled on, and the back wing design is a combination of handmade stencils and free hand painting.
I used a Sophia underbust kit from Sew Curvy, as it was the most convenient & cost effective way for me to get the base supplies for my design. I had toyed with using corset mesh, but needed to keep within a certain budget. I found lots of help and inspiration in the Learn Corset Making group on Facebook, with advice & support coming from a number of the mentors and corsetieres I admire.
The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome during this process was re-finding my motivation after my mom died in the midst of my designing & planning. My materials include herringbone coutil, bias tape purchased locally for contrast, steel boning, and organza & bead embellishments. The kimono is hand-painted silk dupioni. Process shots are available at my Instagram account.
It was actually pretty therapeutic after my mom's death, to do something new to me, and work with materials I'd not used before (the coutil). I stressed a bit in the planning phase, trying to decide what to make to go with the corset and worrying about affording the supplies, but I'm really glad I did it. For anyone on the fence next year, I would say that simply making the time for yourself to make something for the contest is an act of self-care and reminding yourself to make time for your interests/passions-- and no matter the result, that's always a worthwhile thing.