Saturday, 3 May 2014

Couture corset, new techniques with transparency

If you have been reading my blog so far you know that recently I have been experimenting with see through corset techniques.

My latest couture corset, from the 'La Sanguine' Collection features some of these new techniques that I have been experimenting with.

Here is the finished corset in situ at the Vault of Metamorphosis exhibition held every weekend in May as part of the BrightonFringe Festival.

photo by Chris Bulezuik
In this corset I admit that I was a bit hesitant to make the whole corset using an untried method so instead I opted to use it on the corset collar, and now that I am happy with the limitations and strengths of it I shall be using it more extensively. What follows is a description of the technique if anyone else so wishes to have a go.

You will need pencil, scalpel, a length of  Vilene Decovil the size of your pattern piece plus seam allowances
as well as your chosen fabrics. I have chosen to make the scrollwork out of velvet, on top of a crin and silk organza which make sup the transparent layer.

Trace your design on the back of the Decovil, (the non shiny side) and cut out your scrolls where you want the transparency to be. You will end up with something looking like this....
 Then you need to fix your Decovil to your chosen fabric (cotton velvet for me) and make sure that your chosen fabric can handle the heat. Please follow the manufacturers instruction of application and test on a scrap piece first to save yourself heartache.

Once this is done stitch your layers together. following your scrollwork about 2mm from the edge. Then...and this is the trickiest bit, but out your top fabric where you want the transparency without cutting through your crin and organza (or whatever you chose as your transparency.)
Then, it's all down to you embroidering over the edges, hey presto!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Clare's wedding dress

I love making wedding dresses, I simply love being a part of someone's big day.

Today I received photo's from Clare, who got married in February. Clare was one of those wonderful effervescent people and I looked forward to seeing her and her Mother for every fitting.

Clare had definite idea's of colour and basic design with the highlight of the decoration being a glorious gold, diamond and pearl brooch that had been in the family for generations.

Design by Chrissie Nicholson-Wild
Clare broke the wedding dress mould, by picking a vibrant green. This is only the second green wedding dress amongst the hundred or so wedding dresses I have designed and made (all totally different and unique I may add) and the colour suited her colouring perfectly. The corset  was to be starburst pleated, which took me a few hours to perfect and finished off with sparkly Swarovski crystal to match her fabulous crystal encrusted shoes. A fabulously full petticoat finished off the effect and must have been fun to whirl around on the dance floor.

Photo by James Heffernan from Funky Pixel

Photo by James Heffernan from Funky Pixel

Photo by James Heffernan from Funky Pixel

Triumph - Women in Making 2014

Happy to announce that I have entered the Women In Making competition. I have 20 days to garner as many votes as possible for the opportunity to be shortlisted down to 12. The short list winners will then be judged by a panel for the chance to get work in Fenwicks of Bond Street in London and to win a cash prize.


Glorious Sunday!

Today one of my wonderful photographer friends Chris Bulezuik came and did me some quick pics of details from my latest work. Here is but a sample of the next red collection...
used by kind permission, Chris Bulezuik Photography

Really excited to be joining Chris in the Vault of Metamorphosis Exhibition held at Powis Road Studio in Brighton.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Metal Corset - Wallace Collection

sketch by Chrissie Nicholson-Wild

Metal Corset: Wallace Collection, London

I have always been fascinated with the concept of the corset as armour. For me this is both a physical and psychological armour, to both hide and reveal my body.

Interestingly there are many examples of metal corsets which, arguably could also be considered armour, but definitely would have had a manipulative effect upon the body. The week before last I went to see a beautiful metal corset which is owned by the Wallace Collection in London.

Isn't she beautiful?
Copyright: The Wallace Collection

  • Corset
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1640
  • Steel
  • Diameter: 56.7 cm, waist
    Weight: 1.54 kg
  • A230
European Armoury III 

It was a huge treat for me to get up close and personal with this corset after admiring it from behind glass on many occasion.  It was great to speculate upon this corsets origins, purpose and alterations with the curator of Arms and Armour Dr Tobias Capwell FSA and conservator Francesca Levy, and as always many more questions were raised than could be answered due to the little information provided.

For my part I approached the corset from a constructors point of view, and being unaccustomed to the technical knowledge of working with metal, I am particularly fascinated by the ornate cut out scroll work and the overall shape and it's many vast alterations.

I think it's really interesting to see the process of corset making, and how the intentions of the designer (and client) fully inform the design, pattern cutting right from the garments inception.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Body Improvements: the corsetted body

As a corset designer and maker I usually recommend that clients go for a corset around four inches smaller than their natural waistline. It sounds like a lot, and it is as temporary as your corset wearing but it can dramatically affect the visual effect.

And here I am going to demonstrate the power of the corset. I have a 28" natural waist and here I am wearing one of my own 24" corset mock up's. The back lacing is not completely closed, but it has reduced my waist temporarily to 25", but see how dramatic the waist has become.

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