If you have been following my Twitter feed lately or have visited me at Crafty Wonderland or talked to me in person recently, it is no secret that I am working on an exciting new project: CORSETS. And you may say to me, but Kirsten, you have already been making corsets for years. True, true, but these are different. These are steel boned traditional waist reducing corsets. Each has three layers of fabric, spring and spiral steel boning, and tons of handwork. My great-grandmother Bachan taught me how to sew when I was three. She hand basted everything with a needle and thread, and I thought that was totally crazy and unnecessary. But these are all hand basted; they have to be for the pieces to match up perfectly.
The lovely absinthe green and black lace corset pictured above is my first of hopefully many. I am learning about how they fit, and techniques that will save me from tearing up my fingers like I did on this first one. I used an altered commercial pattern on this first one, and I have already designed a new on from scratch (in muslin form below). I hand sewed the lace on and hand flossed the boning in the traditional manner. I am not sure that I am interested in historically accurate in looks, but I do use all the traditional techniques (as I always have with everything else I make). I have been thoroughly obsessed, and researched this topic way too much in the last six months. There is something really satisfying about hand finishing a garment.
Why this, why now? When I started my business 13 years ago, I was making really crazy labour intensive pieces couture style. All cut to fit and hand finished with excruciating detail. I need to be challenged. I need to make my own designs that dance around my brain whether I have time to attempt them or not. This what makes me happiest. In the last several years, I have been relegated to accessories and taking on whatever project that offered me enough money to survive. I had so many ideas that never got to be made, or are sitting half finished in boxes or languishing in sketch books or invading my dreams. The dreams haunted me with the designs I longed to make instead of wiling away the hours avoiding the things that I had to make on deadlines that had me pushed up until the last minute..
So here I am. There will be a trunk show in the fall, date(s) and place(s) TBA. In the mean time, I am looking to try this lovely muslin on as many bodies as possible. If you are in Portland and have a waist 27-32 i would love to try this lovely muslin on you. I will be grading the pattern to fit other sizes, but I have to start somewhere, so if you are outside this range, I may need to try a later muslin when I get to that point. I am slow. Slow because all the things that I feel are worth doing take time. Slow because I still have to fill orders and take the occasional odd project to keep going. Interested? Send me a message.