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Foundations Revealed - the Corsetmaker's Companion

Saturday, 29 September 2012

So I've made no secret of the fact I am really happy with how my work has been progressing this year. And I have an awesome sneak preview of the shoot with  my latest piece for you!
This is modeled by my gorgeous friend, Jade. She's not on any thing like PP or MM but is on Star Now if anyone is interested, as she is usually an actress :)

I'm so happy with this and I am itching to make something as spectacular again! I have a couple of things in the works so hopefully I will be inspired with those :)

I just got some of the new carbon fiber bones for corsetry the other day and am doing something awesome with those (which is really not my usual style but is VERY awesome so far)

Also, as I have been meaning to all week and today is the last day of her competition, I would like to tell you all about Karolina Laskowska (incidentally, the collar on the picture of Jade is made by Karolina)

I first met her when I was doing some work experience for Sparklewren, and she is a really lovely lady. Not only that but her work is really very innovative and extremely beautiful.
Her work is very high quality, and her attention to detail is second to none, so it is no surprise that it has not taken long for her to make a fantastic name for herself!

With a mixture of styles but a very strong aesthetic, my favorite piece is her Elzbieta playsuit, which is beautiful and feminine, but with attitude:

It is available to buy here:

She also has some beautiful lacey lingerie, demi cup bras, cuffs, pasties and more, even offering a bespoke service.

Her work is really wonderful, and worth every penny. I have said it before, and I am now saying it again - get something while you can, because people in pretty exclusive lingerie shops are already paying attention to this brand (her work is on sale in a very high end lingerie shop in Sweden, for one)  and it won't be long before she is snapped up by one of the big names such as Coco De Mer or Agent Provocateur, and we all wish we owned an original!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Dress Diary 2012-13

I'm so excited - I started a really awesome corset yesterday.
It's made from dark aqua silk with hints of royal blue, and it has quilted hip gores. I have finished one side of it, and I really am very proud of it.
I've constructed it so that there will be external boning channels over the two seams which extend through the hip gores, however I have not decided whether these will be in black coutil, black satin coutil, silk matching the fashion fabric mounted to coutil or something else, yet.
I'm not able to share pictures of this piece at the moment as I am at college and it won't allow me to access facebook, where the images are uploaded.
I'm contemplating having a rystal in each of the little diamond segments of the quilted gores, but I'm not sure yet. Perhaps the quilting alone is sufficient ornamentation on this piece.
I used a dark green thread which is visible but subtle, and I almost wish I had used a silver, now. I had expected to make some visible mistakes though and then didn't.
I'm planning on another video entry to my dress diary later on so I will definitely show it off then :)

I've also been pretty busy working on the green peacock corset I have shared pictures of. That has sixty 4mm spiral steels in total along with the 4 flats at the center back which bring the total to 64. I've cut, tipped and inserted all of those now, and this is one smooth corset.
I also added more crystals (not too many though) and have started work on the skirt. The matching green silk for that is not here yet, but I am doing the box pleats at the bottom edge in a "Lapis Lazuli" inspired gold silk with flashes of brilliant jewel tone blue through it. It looks stunning next to the green silk.

I'm on really horrible pain killers at the moment to try and help with my bad back, and they really leave me in a state where I am unable to walk etc so can't use the sewing machinen safely. I have, however, been able to iron the pleats in place which is what I spent all of my Sunday doing.
I ironed them in place, then starched them. They are really beautiful and crisp.
I have been told that white vinegar is the best thing for keeping pleats crisp, so I would like to try this in the future and compare. I'm very happy with the results using spray starch though.
Again - I will show this in a bit more detail in my video entry later on. I'm really glad I have been able to do these as they have taken much longer than the rest of the skirt will and I can get that together fairly quickly when the silk arrives.

I've finished another experiment in shape and ornamentation recently as well-
The beautiful silver and black underbust for Kath Tea.

I'm only going to share a sneak peak here as I would like to "unveil" this in all it's awesome glory when I have some images of her in it.

I used silver silk, and hand stitched black lace at the center front. I added an explosion of beautiful black diamon, jet, hematite and clear swarovski cyrstals around the lace, a hand made black velvet bow to the top edge and added swarovski details to that.
This is seriously stunning, and I am very proud of it.
I have a lot of the lace I used left, so perhaps I can use some in a similar way on the corset with the hip gores, instead of doing anything to the gores themselves.

So - I've actually been going a fair amount of work for the competition recently :) I feel thoroughly content seeing that my work is moving in teh direction I want it to be moving in, and I am confident that my latest pieces have led me closer to my goal of making a "wow" piece - something which stops people in their tracks for generations the way that Charles Frederick Worth's work stops me in my tracks every time I see it.
A silly goal, perhaps, but one which has really pushed me to try new and exciting things this year.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Dress diary 2012-13

Some more work towards the FR competition.
Firstly a bit more work on the ornamentation of my green corset - now partly inspired by the goddess Hera and partly by the Emperor butterfly:

Secondly the latest toile from the Sew Curvy workshop, in case I didn't share this yet:

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: Sew Curvy/ Sparklewren patterning masterclass.

I had the pleasure of attending the Sew Curvy/Sparklewren patterning masterclass yesterday and I had a very rewarding day.
The day started at half past nine with a cup of tea before heading upstairs. There were some people I had already met, some I have spoken to only online, and some who I have never spoken to, so it was a nice mix of people and I felt a lot less nervous than I normally do at these types of events.
Jenni and Julia went through the basics of what we would be doing, and shared with us some pretty mental corset patents from Google patents for inspiration (an amazing resource for those who have not tapped into it yet)
We were told some basics about what will and won't work in terms of seam placement etc and then we then spent some time sketching out the craziest ideas we could come up with for our corsets (which in my case were pretty vanilla, but there were some absolutely beautiful sketches around the table, and some incredibly innovative ideas.)
After this we laced on our toiles, which in my case started life like this:

We were working in pairs, as it is difficult to try and draw seam lines on yourself, and sketched a different design on each half of the toile.

This is a similar method to the one outlined in the Robert Doyle book "Waisted Efforts" but that involves drawing seam lines onto a basic bodice sloper, which means it is difficult to achieve a nice shape, in my opinion. It is also lacking the basics which seem simple when they have been explained but end up in disappointing results if not known (placing more seams if there are curves to do around etc)

After this we had a beautiful hand made picnic in the sunshine outside and a cup of tea, before heading up to start making out new pattern from our toiles.

Mine was fairly easy  - I just cut up the seams, really, with a bit of a hip gore at the side three panels.

This is it all drawn out next to a picture of the original pattern:

It was another case of being inspired to do the craziest thing I could think of for me, as I have decided to try and make something inspired by the Nina Ricci peignoir over the Mr Pearl corset which Dita Von Teese wore on her wedding night. I am not yet sure if I will make a peignoir with a built in corset (like the New Look era clothes have built in corsetted waists) or a corset with a peignoir over it. I need to do at least one more mock up as I have to check out the sleeve and skirt patterns I'm adding to this, so I guess I will decide then (everything seems to happen in it's logical way when you do these things)
Other people did things like diagonal seams and asymmetrical corset patterns (which I really want to see finished!) and so mine really is quite boring in comparison, but I hope it will make up nicely :)

So, another bunch of inspiration for my FR competition pieces, and another inspiring day at the Sew Curvy studios :)

I can't wait to see what classes they hold next year.

A note on waist training.

Corsets and the permanent re-shaping of the body.

Tightlacing vs Waist training.

Firstly I want to discuss the difference between being a tightlacer, and being a waist trainer.
I am a tight lacer.
I wear my corsets with what to others looks an extreme shape, but to me looks how I like a corset to look.
I used to wear corsets once a week or so, now I wear them once a month or so. I do not wear my corsets for 23 hours of every day to achieve the shape I wear them at.
I do not lace uncomfortably tight or to a level that there is excessive force on my ribs or organs.

This is different to waist training.

Waist training would involve me wearing my corsets at the smallest measurement I found comfortable (or bearable in some people's cases, if that is how they choose to waist train)  for 23 hours of the day for a period of several days, weeks or months until I was able to lace them smaller. I would then wear my corsets at this new measurement 23 hours a day until a smaller measurement was attainable.
When I took my corset off, my body would be the same shape as it was before. If I was top heavy I still would be, if I was pear shaped I still would be. Wearing a corset doesn't change your genetics any more than a boob job bra, or tummy tuck jeans.

I have only ever waist trained for a period of about two months, when I was 17. It wasn't for me, and I don't think I will waist train again.

It's a bit stupid, therefore, to suggest that the figure I have now, after gaining a significant amount of weight, is because I wore a corset for a few weeks 4 years ago.

It's equally stupid to suggest that the figure I had when I was still tiny was because I wore corsets for a few weeks 2 years ago.

I don't know whether it is jealousy, a lack of understanding that everyone has different body shapes, or disbelief but I have had people make snide remarks about me only having a small waist "because I wear corsets" since I was about 12/13 years old. Sometimes the remarks are not snide, but stated by people who genuinely seem to believe this. This is almost worse, for me, because it shows a complete lack of understanding that people come in all shapes and sizes, and some of us have more curves in different places to others.

I'm going to share a link, because the image does not belong to me, to a picture of the absolutely AMAZING model Hex Hypoxia.

picture here...

I fell in love with her when I saw her - she has an amazing hip spring, without a corset. I messaged her and asked her to model for me, and she replied and told me that she has never worn corsets and never will. I stayed a fan of her page, because I love her style, and have in the back of my mind that I want to make some lingerie for her to model some day. A few weeks later I see the amount of comments she gets about her figure and it becomes clear to me that people accuse her of photoshopping her pictures or being a hard core waist trainer in denial on a very regular  basis.
I feel really bad for her. This woman is an absolute Goddess. She's got the most amazing body I have ever seen, and yet people won't take her for who she is. They seem not to want to believe that this is her real body.
Why would she lie?
If she wore corsets she would make a fortune modelling them. I know I would throw money at her to wear one of my corsets, I know from comments I have seen that other corset makers would and that some of her fans would kill to see her in one. Being that modelling is her job, she is no doubt a business woman when it comes to these things and is aware that if she was to agree to model corsets she could make a reasonable income from this.

So we can ascertain that Hex is more than likely NOT lying about this being her natural figure.
Now, a picture of me when I was smaller:
photo by Sintarith

I look decidedly uncurvy next to Hex. So why is it unbelievable that this is MY body?

I apologize to the women who find it so hard to accept that some people are naturally more curvy than others, but you don't tell every woman with bigger breasts than you that it is because she wore a push up bra once, so why say "It's because you've worn corsets" to every woman with a bigger hip spring?
Like a push up bra, a corset will enhance what you have when you are wearing it, but take it off and the illusion is shattered.
This is why, after years of waist training, Cathy Jung does not have a 15" waist when she takes off her corset.

Wearing corsets  - casually, tightlaced, or 23 hours of every day will not change the shape of your body. Learn to love what you have, and if you love it even more in a corset that is great, but don't expect it to stay that way when you take the corset off. You don't expect your eyes to change permanently from blue to green because you wear green coloured contacts, or your hair to change from blonde to purple forever because you dyed it once.
That isn't how the human body works, sadly.

Friday, 31 August 2012

latest piece for the FR competition this year...

latest piece for the FR competition this year...

Blurb nicked from my facebook page so excuse the waffle...

This is my "English rose" corset, made as part of my competition entry for this years Foundations Revealed competition with the themes of shape and ornamentation.
It is made from a beautiful delicate pink/cream shot dupion with a delicate vintage feel to it, and paired with a champagne and gold rosebud coutil trim, which is what gave it it's name.
It has a strength layer of Engl
ish flesh coloured cotton coutil.
This simply oozes femininity, and with matching pasties is perfect for a burlesque performer or even bridal lingerie.
Given that shape was one of the themes this was important for me to consider in the pattern, I chose to use a sweetheart shape as I was inspired by how beautiful and dreamy this looks on the work that Sparklewren produces. It's something I had not seen before I saw it in her work, and would never have considered, but which looks absolutely stunning (as I hope you will agree!)
This corset does not extend fully to the underbust all the way around, to allow for the interesting shaping at the edge. It is only 2.5" fron the waist to the top edge of the corset at the center front, although at the peak of the sweetheart this is a little more. It does however extend a full 7.25" below the waist to become longline, so please be assured that this is more supportive than a cincher would be, and left me, who is larger than the intended wearer of this piece, with no unsightly bulges.
The front panel of this corset is adorned with a myriad of genuine swarovski crystals in air blue opal, white opal, silvernight and clear colouring. There are larger crystals clustered together at the bottom which give way to smaller crystals spaced futher apart at the top of the panel. This effect is quite striking in person but was difficult to photograph - particularly the opalescent colouring of the crystals, which still retain the trademark swarovski "glint" to them ( I could get lost staring at them....)
Although delicate and feminine this retains my trademark wasp waist. However, I would not recommend this was worn for 23/7 waist training as you may lose crystals if you sleep in it etc.
Measurements are as follows:
waist 22.75"
hip 35"
Waist - top at center front - 2.5"
center front length - 9.75" ( 7.25" of this falls below the waist - this is a longling corset which does not extend all the way up to the underbust all the way aound at the top edge.)
Center back length - 7.5"
8 x 2 piece metal eyelets per side
grosgrain waist tape for added stability in a gentle piece
6 x flat steels - one each side of the busk and one at the front seam to felp with keeping a flat tummy, on each side
8 x spiral steels. one at each seam throughout the rest of teh corset
strong cream velvet tape used as binding
external boning channels at first two seams - channels are taped with highest quality champagne and gold rosebud coutil.

Adorable at the top edge - sweetheart at underbust and the back for a romantic feel to the piece.

Matching pasties as pictured are made from matching silk, with a pleated silk trim in pale brown and backed with soft cream pleather for comfort and durability. 

Close ups etc can be seen here

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Sneaky peek and competition...

Getting some awesome pictures taken of this on Saturday. It's cute and feminine - so nothing like my normal stuff ;)

Also going to plug this event:

It's a HUGE charity raffle run by Curiology Online in aid of the PDSA and there are prizes from Curiology Online, Pearls and Swine and many more awesome designers up for grabs, including  custom made waist cincher made by myself. Tickets are 2GBP each, with entries being open to people world wide.