Photographer: Sebastian "Tortoise" Zawadzki
It was just crazy. I finished my winter exam session, and decided I do not really need to rest after a month of sleep deprivation and constant stress. When I decided to participate in this contest, there were exactly seven days left for me for pattern making, sewing my third ever corset, the photo session, and the writing. I decided I might end up not making it in time, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.
It's my third ever corset, but I have made lots of other things before, and pattern making was always my favorite part. That's why after a few hours of binge watching all the insects and insect oriented stuff, instead of drawing a neat design, I got to the floor with my paper, rulers and crayons, and ended up with a pattern, which was mostly inpired by body segments found on lots of insects. Then I decided coating everything with multiple layers of organza to obtain iridescence.
It is a lovely, easy to make idea, I thought. What a fool I was. Last, I went to the local sewing craft store, and bought half the rhinestones they had there - I decided to place them wherever it would suit the shape the most. Seeing feathers, I thought about hairy moths, which I find cute, and decided that was enough of an excuse to use them. I like it shiny, and I cannot lie.
The corset I made is a midbust, made from bottle green, heavy cotton denim, soft cotton, pattern matched lining, and multiple layers of organza, coated in just a little bit of glitter and overgrown, tropical style feather and stone mess. It has seventeen spiral steel bones, thirty-six eyelets, two part cups and basically only lacks a music box of its own. I made the pattern myself from scratch, and while it was only the third corset I ever made, I’m really pleased with it.
I first drafted an eight part, really basic corset, and then manipulated it to imitate horizontal body segments of an insect. It shrinks my waist seventeen centimeters down. I manipulated the pattern again to make it less complicated for the lining. It allowed me to find a moment for my first ever pattern matching exercise. I must say, I knew it would use up way more fabric than needed, but when first confronted with the enormous fabric usage it took, I still felt surprised. Maybe it’s because of how huge the print on the fabric was compared to the elements’ size and quantity.
Sewing my mock up, I used invisible nylon thread for the first time, just for practice. I ended up hating how stiff it was, and started wondering if it would not end up taking up more attention than the organza, because of how it catches the light. This made me abandon the idea of using it. Fortunately, I have found thread which suits the fabric perfectly. My tricky choice of fabric was a much more problematic issue, especially since it's not just a single layer of organza everywhere. It's layered up to seven sheets on few spots. I used three different colors to create that iridescent effect.
Since organza is slick, delicate, shatters easily, and flies away sooner than my cat after stealing a biscuit, sewing it turned out to be a nightmare. I tried pinning it, basting, and finally gluing helped a bit, but I could not just glue it all on the entire corset, because it would make it less opalescent. The only option I had to make it perfect, I guess, was pinning, basting and glue, plus lots of time and a steady, experienced hand. Unfortunately, it does wrinkle a bit. I’m glad to announce that not one rhinestone fell off during the photo shoot!
The photo shoot was also something I’m a novice at, but it was a lot of fun! I modeled, but also kept on nagging to make sure my own ideas for poses and close ups were included. It’s sad I cannot include any more photos. As for resources, I experimented, used my own previous creations, spent some time with 80’ sewing book (in Polish) of Zofia Hanus “Jak szyć”, since it really is the easiest to understand compendium of knowledge in my language and eases the work.
Just do it. You've got nothing to lose, apart from a few nights' sleep, and it's cool to say "I'm taking part in this huge competition". There is nothing better than creating awesome stuff!