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Hymenoptera - The Insect Queen - Ashley Browning Ashley Browning Hymenoptera 2 small

Hymenoptera - The Insect Queen - Ashley Browning

Hymenoptera - The Insect Queen - Ashley Browning

Hymenoptera - The Insect Queen - Ashley Browning


Hymenoptera - The Insect Queen

Ashley Browning, Canada

I would like to thank my husband Chris for snapping a couple of photos for me


The Design

I've never wanted to know so much about creepy crawly insects!
When I first heard the competition theme I thought of pretty things, butterflies, dragonflies, and colourful beetles. I decided I didn't just want to try and make a corset that looks like one of these things or had embroidered butterflies on it. I wanted to tell a story, so I took to Google and started searching.

I came across the Eusocial Hymenoptera insects or hive mind insects that have a queen. These are mainly bees, wasps and ants. I decided to create a mother earth inspired deity for these insects, and what I imagined her wearing.
I started with the colour purple as a base for my corset as it was once a colour reserved for royalty, and she is, after all, a queen! I then decided I wanted to embroider and bead it with the images of the insects she represents. The flowing dress underneath represents her wings and her ability to fly, and is made in muted, earthy tones, as one would expect from a mother earth type character.
Overall I think the final product represents my vision, and I hope you can see the story I’ve tried to tell.


The Construction

To create the luxury feel of a deity I decided to go with a dupioni silk as my fashion fabric. In order to conserve some funds I used 100% cotton pillow ticking as my strength layer, and fused the silk to it before cutting out the pattern pieces. The lining is a cotton quilting fabric with a bee and daisy print to also match the theme. The under dress is made of a crêpe organza-like fabric I found, and three layers of different coloured tulle were used in the skirt.

To construct the corset I used the seam allowance as my boning channels as I wanted the outer layer to be as smooth as possible for the beading and embroidery I planned to add. The lining is floating to hide all the stitching on the inside and keep it from rubbing and coming undone. On the front of the corset I used a zipper with a stiffened placket behind it to avoid pinching the skin. The corset pattern is the waspie (once again matching the theme!) pattern (Anna by Aranea Black), which I altered a bit to make my stomach flatter by taking in a bit at the bottom front.

The decorations are made from glass and metal beads and some metallic embroidery thread. I learned half way through my embroidering that if I used a sewing oil on the embroidery thread it went a lot smoother, as the metallic threads have a tendency to unravel from the cotton core.


What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

This is my first time entering so it was very nerveracking but at the same time exhilarating. If you're on the fence, make your entry, and if it's done on time, why not enter it?

A lovely example of corset embellishment - something I'd love to be better at!
The embroidery is definitly fit for a queen, very lovely! And I love how the zipper adds a bit of an edge to the design.
Love the gold honeycomb pattern on the purple. You did such a great job striking a balanced mix of elegance and playful whimsy.
Beautiful embellishments, and I love the rich purple silk.
Royal bees indeed, the gold zip and the flowers inside are such a lovely touch
Your use of metallic thread and beads is very eye catching
Nice corset shape and embellishments. Love the royal color.
Such beautiful and delicate embroidery and it looks great on the purple fabric!
I love the waist shape you have got and the purple with the honeycomb embroidery.
What a lovely corset. The fit looks good and I love the embroidery.
I love the thought you put into the details here, Ashley. When I'm a beginner at something I usually concentrate on the big picture - just getting a reasonable overall result! - but you've paid such careful attention to the little things. You've carefully chosen a beautiful silk, rather than holding back; you've thought about not just the zip, but about that protective layer behind it that'll make it work better; and you refined your embroidery method as you went, noticing what happened to the metallic threads and finding a way to make it smoother. I look forward to seeing what you make next!
Nicely done!! Really fun embellishments! !i Quite Queenly!!
such lovely details and so finely embroidered! I love the idea of the embroidered corset and the color!
The detail is extraordinary! The color perfect!
I love your embellishment choices!
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