In nature there is nothing more representative of ‘renewal’ than a flower. A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants and consists of stamens and carpels that are typically surrounded by outer whorls of brightly coloured corolla (petals) and a green calyx (sepals). Pollen produced by a flower is carried by insects or the wind to other flowers (pollination) where fertilisation takes place creating seeds that are dispersed and the whole process starts again – more germination and more plants sustaining life on earth as we know it.
It’s possibly an obvious choice to represent this year’s theme with a flower but I had been mulling an idea over for months so I used it to spur me on to bring my idea to life. I wanted to create a corset with petals that swirl up and around the body from the waist in an Edwardian style. The obvious way forward would be to use a simple corset bodice and sew petal shapes to it, however I wanted the inner corset to reflect this shaping so that, if required, it could be made as a single layer. Producing a commercial pattern is always the aim of my designing so I also wanted grading to be a possibility.
The corset consists of a base layer in coutil from my stash and an outer layer of repurposed cotton dyed to varying degrees to show a distinction between the petals. The inner layer panels are sewn as normal and the outer panels are top-stitched together, overlapping to give a more organic feel. Internal boning channels are laid across the diagonal panels in a roughly vertical orientation.
I tackled the corset in three sections – a lower section that consists of three panels that sweep around from front to back and encompass the eyelets/ flat steel boning at the centre back. The middle section consists of three diagonal ‘petals’ that slot together, and the front section comprises interlocking panels with darts (coutil) and pleats (outer fashion) to give some bust shaping. The centre front boning is hidden amongst these petals. The two front petals that partially cover the overlapping bust panels were difficult to sew down without some pulling and puckering when worn. I redid this part countless times!
The other difficulties I came up against were mainly related to grain line orientation (tricky diagonals!) and bulk as there are up to three seam points converging in places. I bagged out the outer petals when actually that probably wasn’t necessary, and too much bulk was created at the front point. I really like the design and intend to play around with it to make it a bit easier and more streamlined for other makers to have a go at.
Thank you Laria - it could be made even more delicate I think - with tulle or finer fabrics. I'd love to do some more with it!
I'm so impressed by this pattern, Caroline! I was already intrigued when I saw it on Patreon the first time and it was very inspiring to follow the process and read about all the challenges it presented. It's lovely to see that you decided to enter this one in the end.
That means a lot to me coming from you Luca! Thank you.
I've been in love with this marvel of yours since I first laid eyes on it! This is not only an incredible technical achievement in the drafting and design, but it captures the anatomy, delicacy, and strength of your inspiration so beautifully. Well done, indeed!