Pavlina: Life is Not For the Living

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The CC29 costume progress – The Corselette

February 21st, 2011 by Pavlina

I’ll be glad when I come up with a name for this costume so I can stop calling it the CC29 costume or the Snake Charmer costume I want a nice, sexy name for it, but I just haven’t been bitten by the bug of inspiration as of yet.

So I have been working on CC29C for the past 2 months or so…maybe seriously the last month. I had one of my guild members come over who is an expert at draping and we went ahead and got the thing draped (whew), then she came back about a week later and helped me drape/draft the skirt portion. The bodice is a straight-up drape, but the skirt was adapted from Vogue 2931 which if I had more energy I would embed a photo of it. So I wanted that shape-sort-of in the skirt and I didn’t see the point of reinventing the wheel for the skirt portion.

So, the bodice took quite a bit of work and a few idiotic mistakes, but the entire dress had been toiled (if that is even a word) and is now sitting on Mini Me and looks really good. Since it is a one-shoulder gown, I had originally thought of making a foundation to hold up me, but now that I am wearing my lizard skin under it, I can wear a normal, supportive bra. I still went ahead with the foundation though, as this gown will be heavy and the foundation will keep the dress from sagging and looking ugly.

So I decided to make a corselette. What I find quite fascinating about the corselette is that is you Google it, you gets all kinds of rubbish and if you look in my Claire Schaeffer Couture sewing techniques she gives okay dorections on how to make on, but this is really a subject that just doesn’t get much visibility. Honestly, I may have been able to get away with a heavier, wider waist stay, but decided to make the corselette anyway. So Claire (I can call you Cliare can’t I? I feel like i know you so well) has these really complex yet strangely lacking instructions for constructing a corselette in the book. If you know the book then you likely know what I mean. So I could have drafted a pattern for this too, but didn’t want to so I went with Vogue 8288 which has a boned bodice. I didn’t like the cup shape, but I was able to draft that out and come up with a nice pattern. I made a toile of it, it looked quite good. The I went ahead a cut out a layer in my favorite bleached muslin and silk organza.

Corselette, organza and cotton layers


Corselette, organza layer
So here you can see how I top-stitched the seams. I’ll add the boning channels later.

Corselette bottom binding
Then after I did the boning channels, I stitched the organza to the cotton and bound the bottom in true grosgrain.

Bottom binding sewn in


I haven’t bound the top edge yet, but I want to use the yellow of the top of my bodice in case it shows or is right at the top. I’m not cutting anything out of my fabric until I get the dress sections cutout. I’m just paranoid that way. It’s a lot easier to cut bias strips from a remnant that to not be able to fit a bodice piece onto my fabric because I just cut the bias out wrong.

So that is it. Well, not quite. I was originally going to use 1/4″ white steel for the boning since I have a crapload of it. Well, the white steel was doing this weird thing at the top, so I ordered what I thought was 1/4″ spiral but got 1/2″ spiral So I went back and removed the boning channels then made new ones and put the 1/2″ spiral boning in. It doesn’t make for a heavier corselette than I originally wanted, but it gives a nice shape and feels good and sturdy. Also, it fit me quite well and once I tack the dress to it, I’ll have confident the skirts won’t drag my bodice down.

SO that’s it for now. Next bog post I’ll finish up the dress toile and share with you the humongous list of stuff I still have to do for this costume. It’s a doozy.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 xinwei Sep 6, 2011 at 7:08 am

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  • 2 Grace Feb 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

    This post is so helpful as I’m planning my wedding dress now. Claire’s instructions ARE a bit confusing and the pictures are so small!

    I would love to know how the corselette turned out in the end… I mean how it was installed into the dress. One of my main questions that I haven’t found the answer to anywhere is if the corselette goes between the lining and the fashion fabric. I would guess that it does, but then I don’t know how it would be closed. Perhaps it sits next to the body and there is no lining?

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