Black William - Finalist in the Improver category
Photographer: Michael la-Cour
Model: Kitty Mortensen
Last summer I found a beautiful dead beetle in the forest and I took him home with me. He would prove to be my main source of inspiration.
Karolina Zarzycka was the one pushing me to enter (in a good, supportive way, of course). Wanting me to become better, she encouraged both my Foundations Revealed membership and my participation in the competition. Mette Wikkelsø was also very supportive of me getting more seriously into corsetry.
Next I took inspiration in the shape of two corset makers: Barbara's Concubine [Barbara of Royal Black Couture and Corsetry is one of our Mentors at FR - Ed] and LadyLucie's Superhero, to create something that would fit the shape of William (the beetle).
I drafted the winged skirt but in fear of it being too simple I cast the idea aside and tried with a more feminine approach - I should trust my instincts more, since I ended up going back to the original design after a tulle-disaster.
As I ended up going with the initial design, I was disheartend by the loss of time, but as my boyfriend always tells me: No work is wasted time. (Meaning that if I learned, which I did, it is not wasted.)
I have many new things to try out over the next few months, and I do not intend to dwell longer on my mistakes that I need to in order to learn from them.
Many in the FR Members' Club suggested for me to do a large circle skirt in black. But since I had no black fabric that was not already assigned to other projects, I trusted my first instinct and took out the delicate, floral embroidered, white, wing-like fabric that I had assigned to the project in the first place... and made my wings from the very last scraps.
Weeks before I even started my membership, Karolina Zarzycka taught me the basics of drafting a corset flat. The pattern for my competition would be the first ever overbust I had ever drafted and the second ever corset I drafted.
I had a lot of issues with the neckline and ended up reinforcing between the boobs to keep them in. I beaded the reinforcement to have it blend into the heavy glitter fabric.
I had a lot of additional rules for myself to make this task even harder:
I could only use materials I already had - no buying anything specifically for the competition! This proves to be insanely hard as I ran out of white bias for the edges of the skirt and ended up hemming it with a regular satin ribbon on one side.
I also used almost all of my thin white ribbon to create 'veins' in the skirt to put emphasis on the winged aspect.
Going back to my original design meant having to make a pattern for the skirt - I did this with the tape method as I hardly ever make skirts that require any kind of pattern.
I also set a rule to keep it subtle in a way that it doesn't scream its purpose (insect) at you but has all the elements for people to notice.
I used many fabrics that I have not worked with much in the past and that are insanely hard to pair, I used a chunky glitter fabric set on a canvas and paired with a delicate satin/silk on the sides.
My machine gave me a lot of problems and she is still running weird. So aside from the task at hand, I also faced some technical issues that I had to sort out enough that she would sew without destroying William.
The original beetle, William, was also incorporated:
He was put in a small moisturizing jar to become soft enough for me to re-position him and fill his exoskeleton with resin. We drove the syringe in from under him and filled him with clear resin and the coated him in resin as well- in the resin we put a little loop so that he could be put on a chain for the shoot.
Overall I am really satisfied with my first ever entry, just over a month after I became a member of the Foundations Revealed family.
More details on my Facebook page.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
Hard to answer when this is my first time. Listen to yourself first and foremost. Think about what it would feel like to finish and enter, and what it would feel like NOT to do it - which feels better to you?