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Comment and tell all these courageous makers how amazing their work is!

Winners  ~  Runners-Up  ~  Finalists  ~ Extra Prizes!  ~  Beginner  ~  Improver  ~  Experienced  ~  All Entries

Pauropsalta Australis by Kylie Maxwell   Pauropsalta Australis by Kylie Maxwell   

Pauropsalta Australis by Kylie Maxwell   Pauropsalta Australis by Kylie Maxwell    Pauropsalta Australis by Kylie Maxwell

 

Pauropsalta Australis

Kylie Maxwell, Australia

 

 

The Design

The sound of an Australian summer is the constant song of the cidada, so what better insect to commemorate? For me the sound heralds the beginning of summer, of days off school, and terrorising my Mum with little cicada shells stuck on my shirt! I sourced a beautiful example, Pauropsalta, and the design was instant!

I could see all the wonderful textures in leather. Oh my ... I needed to experiment with a neck corset, materials I have never used before, and a skill set which, quite franky, I do not possess. It is 3.22am right now. My lovely hubby and I have just come up from our backyard, scrambling to finish and submit. Why? I'll tell you why.... Leather. The feel, the smell, the texture. She is a beast. I love her spirit and her spite. I want to do this again, and again. I'm hooked! I hope you enjoy the pics as much as I have enjoyed pushing myself beyond my limits...

 

The Construction

It's like the old joke. How do you make rabbit stew? First you catch your rabbit... In this case, that applies to a vintage Singer 31K47 walking foot machine. This leather was so heavy, I knew a regular machine would never make it. This machine, built in 1954, needed a full refurbishment and that took time before I could start stitching.

Patterns, appliqué, belting, edging, skiving, swearing, all-nighters, drama -- sign me up!

I learned what to do, I learned what NOT to do. I took many photos of every stage with a full plan to write a blog BUT... here's the thing... when you are learning on the go, every step takes twice as long. To assess, to stitch, to critique, to unpick (yes you can as long as you restitch "in the tracks"), fret, cry, cut new panels. My allocated two weeks of work took four, not counting patterns and prep. It is 30 minutes before deadline now, so that's as much as I can give you.

Thanks to Trevor, for taking photos at 2.30 am and feeding me for the last week. For not nagging and being a total support for this crazy endeavour that, at times, felt overwhelming. You rock, man! Sylvia at Birdsalls Leather, thank you for all your help, and Dom from next door who lent me his you-beaut light for emergency photo shoot! Thank you Domenika, for being so patient when I cancelled at short notice 'cos Leather ...

More details about the project are available on my blog.

 

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

TOTALLY AWESOME. Fantastic support. I have made a total of four corsets so far and never anything like this. I felt buoyed along and never alone. Just do it. Let it hurt... it feels good!!

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sophia_k
You look amazing and so confident in these pictures.
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Thank you Sophia!... its amazing what panic can do lol!
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melissa jane
I love this so much! I'm surrounded by cicadas and my son loves to collect their little shells that are left everywhere. Great work!
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brevierbird
Thank you!! I had planned to make a "shell" as you can see from the drawing...Still going to... Your little boy is so very right!
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Astrid
Leather is no easy beast to work with! I love this idea, the bands around the hips work really well, and the neck corset is a fantastic compliment the main corset. Fantastic outfit in my opinion!
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Kylie Maxwell
Thanks Astrid! I stitched the belts and overheated the sewing machine motor so much that it blew a fuse in our house! BZZZZT black! lol I spent the night all panicked that I would have no machine in the morning. I was SO relieved when Charlie had cooled down enough overnight and I could keep sewing.... oh the drama!
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aprix13
I really liked that you incorporated the cicada markings into your design. I am so impressed that you used leather for your design wow!
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Kylie Maxwell
Aprix13... once I had a machine that could handle the weight, it was a heck of a lot of fun! Just a bit slow... lol the leather was really interesting: it seemed to WANT to travel in the right direction, so sewing the curves was not as hard as I thought it would be. I was careful to cut from the centre out to to help the leather keep its "memory" for belly curve! Can't wait to have another go... x

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jema
Deliciously Dramatic! all the straps and sections work so well to give it life and movement
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Kylie Maxwell
YAY! that is EXACTLY what I was aiming for! I am going to make gauntlets and upper arm bands soon... we have a Steampunk festival in July -- Timetravellers Fair. I am going to wear this outfit. "I am from the future... we are all that's left"!!! Okay, that's cockroaches but, like, whatever...!
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lyrisdesign
Beautifully done, I love the choice of leather and the design of the paneling. Very striking!
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Kylie Maxwell
Thank you! The panelling was terrifying... and I am a bit dumbstruck by how well it turned out! I drew it freehand on the paper pattern to get the right proportions, then photocopied the drawing and kind of went back and forth until it sat right. I would definitely do it the same way again... it kind of created a "natural" feel, hey!
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As someone who loves to work in leather for my corsets I applaud you for using it for this competition. The design is brave and the execution is fantastic! I'm smiling now at the pic of your clips on your binding - little clips are my mates too when using leather! Well done.
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brevierbird
OMG this is big praise indeed! Thank you so much for your nice words. I learned so much... mostly what I do NOT want to do next time!! and yes, Virginia, there will be a next time :) This is my fourth corset and I knew that I was biting off more than I could chew ... I guess the trick is to chew like buggery and try not to choke!! lol I am very open to feedback, I want to learn MORE.... I just love leather too x
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Trevor Baret
What a great result – and you are just a beginner! Looking forward to seeing what you do next year.

Leather is hard. As if that wasn’t challenge enough, your design is amazing and tough. Then, just to show that you can do the impossible – what is that shiny textured leather around the waist? Seriously gutsy…

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Kylie Maxwell
Tough! In lots of ways! Well spotted... the textured leather is stingray skin. It was like working with armour plating (and I broke more than one needle). The little sparkles make stingray look amazing and it was seriously expensive but worth it! THank you for your nice comment... its great to see that the boys are following this competition!
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royalblack
Kylie, it's really incredible what you have achieved with your entry!
Hard to believe that this is only your fourth (!!) corset, seeing all the challenges you have mastered with this one. Design, materials, patterning,... all outstanding. You can be so proud of yourself!

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Kylie Maxwell
Thank you for that! When i drew the design i had no idea of how to assemble it!! Lol often the answer came early in the morning between sleep and awake... slow but it worked (mostly). So looking forward to next years comp! I am about to do another class (my second) so my skills will be improved... i have had SO much fun ... and terror ... and exhaustion ... and ... well, leather!!
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velvetmad
Jaw-dropping! You are definitely courageous! Only your 4th corset, and you thought ... an overbust, with an appliqued panel, and hip straps, and throw in a collar - in heavy leather! It’s just awesome! I adore cicadas - they are my favorite insects. Your two-tone design pays beautiful homage to the cicada! I am astounded this is an ‘Improver’ entry! Lovely work!
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Kylie Maxwell
What a wonderful comment to end the competition on! All of those things you have mentioned are the very reason why I was bumped up from the beginner category ... and it means a lot to me that you have "seen" me! I have been part of a class since this corset and now I know more practical ways to assemble my next creation :) LOL stay tuned ... I am gonna be around for a while xx
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cathyhay
I LOVE your enthusiasm and your sense of humour Kylie! This is such a great entry and I have been so proud to feature it. This ambition, and curiosity, and sheer bloody minded determination is what it's all about!
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paulay71
Fabulous design and a dramatic corset.
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