The sew along of the 1911 corset has had some interesting effects on me. First off it was really good for me to do something different and challenging just for the heck of it. I cannot recommend it enough. If your life is feeling a bit stale or you are stuck in a rut, go find something to do that challenges you. Better yet, find something that is different than anything that you normally do, and try it. That thing you have always wanted to do, but have been putting off; why? Make something just for the sake of making something. It is worth the time, I promise.
My fascination with corsetry of late is born out of desire for a challenge. I have to admit there is a lot to be intimidated about in the world of corsetry. So many people told me how impossible it is to make corsets, and just about every intimidating and discouraging thing about making them that could be said. You know what is impossible? Bespoke wedding gowns. I’ve made dozens of them. I don’t know why I took it to heart that somehow corsets would be harder. They are not. They only deal with a small section of the body. They are adjustable! I haven’t taken on custom clients, but I bet they won’t be trying to squeeze in all the design elements of every single thing they’ve ever liked into it either. I have the advantage of this mysterious craft that isn’t particularly mainstream or a practically familiar part of everyday existence.
Intimidation is cured by doing. If there is something you want to do, but feel intimidated by, try it! You can make it easier by not telling anyone what you are doing. Try and succeed, Yay! Try and fail, you learned something, and can try again until you get it right. It takes time to learn new skills. New skills keep your work fresh.
Most of the modern corsets out there are the same basic victorian style. It made me think that that is the only way to design them. That is until I have spent some time delving into history. Oh all of the different shapes! Different shapes, different lines, different pattern pieces. Innovation. I was reminded of my designer’s mind that is constantly trying to figure out the best way to do things: the best fit, the most flattering lines, where to draw the eye. This applies to corsetry too. I am really liking the edwardian style that covers & smooths the hips. I printed out the 1905 and the 1907 Savoye patents today. Let’s see where this goes. This sew along has inspired me to try some new shapes. So much of what is out there is the standard victorian style, and since I hadn’t worked with anything else, I didn’t stray far from it.
I am starting to feel less and less inclined to make up a line, as to feel comfortable working with a variety of designs and present them as a painter would present paintings: you have to wait for the right one to come along. I am not so sure how that will work for me, but the idea of trying to choose one style doesn’t feel right to me. And a big reminder not to listen to peoples’ doubts about my competency as a seamstress, or straying from tradition. What tradition? We get used to things being one way without exploring why or whether they need to be that way. So onward. As my stack of in progress corsets graduates to finished pieces, I will post some of their photos.