Wings of Winter
Annie Brahe, Ulstrup, Denmark
Inspiration and Mood Board: Pinterest
As I looked through the mood board for this theme, it quickly became clear to me that the bridge between winter and spring would capture me. The stark, white stillness of frost, broken by soft soil and dewy leaves. Danish author, Steen Steensen Blicher’s poem “Det er hvidt herude” (It is white out here, melody by Thomas Laub, 1914), perfectly captures this longing for warmth in the middle of winter, which makes it one of my favourite songs. The poem was written in 1838, and thus I decided to replicate techniques from the late 1830s/early 40s. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with corded corsets, and cording in general. I was particularly interested in how I could use it, and quilting and embroidery, to recreate Blicher’s ethereal metaphors with a needle and thread. Throughout the corset you can see snowflakes, “winter’s knot”, hints of trees from the forest and Blicher’s orchard and the many birds around his home: most notably the rooster who dares to foretell of thaw.
My favourite part of the poem is the last verse. Blicher writes; “Come South-west, who forces frost, come with your fog-wings, come and free the bound earth”. This inspired the set of corded wings at the back of the corset, which is the part I am the most proud of. My favourite part of the corset, however, is the small secret I have hidden in the lining, right over the heart: spring is closer than it seems.
Seeing as this was my first time making a corset, I knew next to nothing. “Making a One Panel Corset with Gores” by Caroline Woollin on Foundations Revealed was a great help in understanding how a non-panelled corset comes together, and after closely studying the article, I drafted the first pattern and made the first mock-up. And when that didn’t work out, I did it again with more success. Some tweaking and thrifting later, I had a good pattern and the most adorable $2 rayon tablecloth, just waiting for its new life. The fabric was quite shifty, though. I began by sewing the padded gores. I stitched the cut-out pieces of fashion fabric and batting to a larger strip of the cotton lining to keep everything in place while embroidering the pads. In hindsight, I wish I had interfaced the entirety of the rayon and not just the strip down the centre, which was embroidered.
I stitched the cording channels by machine, but to avoid the (in my opinion) unsightly mess that appears when I backstitch on the machine, I left the seams loose to then hand stitch the end through to the inside of the corset, where I tied small knots to keep everything in place. I first learned this technique when watching Morgan Donner’s YouTube video on how she made her 17th century stays.
Light blue rayon, fashion fabric (thrifted)
White cotton, lining (thrifted)
5mm metal eyelets
Cotton cord, DROPS Paris recycled denim
Wooden busk, kindly made by my dad :)
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
If a project of interest to you happens to match with the theme, why not enter in the competition? It's a fun community building activity, and what do you have to lose?