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Sanctum by Laura Austin      Sanctum by Laura Austin

 

Sanctum by Laura Austin      Sanctum by Laura Austin

 

Sanctum by Laura Austin

 

Sanctum by Laura Austin

 

 

Sanctum

Laura Austin, Washington, USA

IG: thismamasmadness

Model: Annalize Johnson

 

The Design

An icy wind blew, making my cheeks sting. It was appropriate weather for my mood. I was home for a happy occasion, but my soul felt bruised and weary. I had found myself, somewhat unexpectedly, standing outside an old stone chapel in October.

As a child, I had attended mass with my classmates here. The church had been built from faith and field stones during the Great Depression. Each week, we walked from the school to a garden patio nestled between the rectory, chapel, and a hallway connecting them. Once our teacher determined we were quiet enough, then we would file through a worn wooden door into the chapel for mass.

In that biting cold evening, stillness settled on my spirit. Underneath the gray and drizzle, ferns and flowers lay dormant, waiting for their season. I felt lighter as I walked away, savoring the moment of respite.

I had decided at the beginning of 2018 that I would learn how to make corsets. In my typical manner, I jumped in with both feet. Why read an instruction manual when you can just give it a go? Predictably, I tried many things over the course of the year, and discovered many ways not to make a corset. Though much of the year went contrary to my wishes, I found inspiration in many places. I am content to have gone on this journey.

 

The Construction

Sanctum began as an attempt at replicating Symington pattern 18746. Using Inkscape, I traced the image from the Leicestershire Museums website to create an SVG file, which was used in conjunction with a laser cutter. As the deadline approached, I opted to cut the project into an underbust in order to overcome perfectionism.

Architectural elements

  • arch of the church windows in the front panel
  • trusses in the boning
  • foundational stones in the unadorned gray coutil.

 

Materials

  • Twill tape for waist tape and boning channels
  • Single layer of gray spot broche coutil for body of corset
  • 1 inch wide strips of matching coutil, cut on the straight, and attached using ladder stitching. (This was a first for me, and investing in a pair of pliers was vital to completing this project.)
  • 6mm by 2.5 mm synthetic whalebone at the back (in place of flat steels) 
  • 7mm by 1 mm synthetic whalebone elsewhere
  • Gutermann silk thread for hand embroidered eyelets
  • All-purpose thread for all seams and boning channels.

 

Techniques And Challenges

  • Understanding seam types and their uses in on my list of things to learn in 2019. I believe I used plain seams, topstitched 1/8th of an inch along the edge to tack the fabric down and reinforce the seam, and covered the raw edges with twill tape, which then encased the boning.
  • lack of awareness of the gaps in my (basic) knowledge regarding sewing, and lack of experience were significant challenges.

Foundations Revealed and Corsets by Caroline were huge inspirations, and helped me to keep pushing myself.

 

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

Participating in the competition has been an incredible opportunity to pushing myself, and delve into something that fuels my creativity. If you think you would enjoy creating something new and unique, you should go for it!

 

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galadriel
The construction on this is so neat, I am envious - that beautiful binding is something that some people never master. You should be really proud!
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laurata
Thank you Galadriel! I'm quite proud of the binding. I spent a lot of hours on it, and feel it was worth the time invested.
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jema
A beautiful personal journey, which shines through the work, I'm loving the little details like the flossing x
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I love the stony-cement-y look of the spotted broche, and your write up is so evocative!
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I think you did a beautiful job here. Considering that you are sewing corsets just for a year, my respect, it looks very nice :) It is neat and has beautiful details, like the handmade eyelets and the flossing (I love flossing, but didn't do it myself yet. And I like your inspiration and story <3
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bernadettebanner
Those hand-worked eyelets!! I am in love!
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rebecca_robinson
The flossing is a lovely touch, it shows that embroidery/embellishments can still be effective in smaller quantities :)
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royalblack
The story behind your entry really moved me, Laura!
It's incredible how much you have learnt in such a short time and you can be really proud of what you have achieved!

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lyrisdesign
Very neatly constructed, and I love the details like the stony fabric, hand sewn eyelets and flossing.
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theperfecttouchvictorian
I am so impressed with the technology you were able to use as well as the beautiful impression you created by your inspiration! I hope to see you keep corset making!!
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lemieux
Love your story and corset, the hand worked eyelets are something I keep meaning to try too. Well done!
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chesla
WOW laser cutter!! Love a laser cutter :) Beautiful fabric choice and 'sew' neat! x
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Well done Laura! I'm so impressed you decided to tackle a Symington pattern for this, especially considering how new you are to corsets. Talk about diving in the deep end! :D Well done on pushing through the challenges you faced and completing this project. You've done a lovely job <3
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laurata
Thank you! There's something to be said for not knowing what "should" be easy and what "should" be hard. If, as a beginner, you don't know that a project is a beginning project, there's less to stop you from attempting it... So long as you don't give up and throw it in the trash (which I was sorely tempted to do).
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Mariya Lilith
Great story about the church. I think your choice of using grey coutil to mimick the stonework was a good one. I think you did a fabulous job on the eyelets, the binding and the very straight stiching! Great job!
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andi_sunrider
Ditto to the accolades on your binding!! it's so neat, AND done in the heavy coutil on top of that!! I'm super impressed!
and your inspiration story is just glorious:) You've acheived a great shape with the corset, and I love the lines of the top and bottom!

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Very neat, bravo !
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Your story is great, it sounds like you've really learnt a lot this year and that journey really shows in your beautiful corset.
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paulay71
Lovely work, the fabric choice is perfect and those eyelets take forever to do by hand well done you!
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Anne Bungartz
The choice of fabric, the cut and colours are just stunning! Love it!!
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unhabit
Wow! The fit is amazing and the construction is so neat - I'm very impressed! Though this is a simple corset, the shape of it are absolutely beautiful - I love the way it shapes around the ribs and the shape at the top of the corset is very elegant.
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lorisunrise
Great job adapting an overbust into an underbust pattern. Your construction, fit and stitch lines look amazing! Well done!
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reiray
You must be so patient to hand-sew your eyelets! Beautiful job!
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laurata
Thank you! Honestly, not so patient, although I am always telling my kids that patience is a skill and must be practiced.

I kept a small box of hand sewing supplies in my bag, and mostly did the eyelets in 10-15 minute increments. I often worked on them while I waited for kids to come out of activities. A few times I even brought it to the pool while my kids swam: Stitch, stitch, check on the kids, stretch, repeat.

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marloes dadswell
I love how you pushed yourself and what a lovely piece you have turned in. Cute little flossing!
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Besides compliments for the lovely corset - I must mention the little text you wrote for this piece did make looking at the photos more dramatic and tied the whole experience together with a bow!
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peacecat3
Wow! I'm impressed by how far you've come in such a brief time since starting corsetmaking! I can see that you have learned so much! Very inspiring.
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mtphandicrafts
Lovely write up of your inspiration. I am impressed with your embrace of the learning process and trying new things, The finished garment fits you well and is beautifully made.
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