The Corset Making courses at Heart Space Studios are very popular and always fascinating to watch. They take 2 days of solid making, from marking up the 3 layers of fabrics
then cutting out the 10 pattern pieces that go into a traditional boned corset,
plus the linings and the interlinings which all have to be prepared before hand, so that means 30 pieces of pattern to be cut and sewn together…
It takes some sorting out before embarking on the mammoth task of sewing the whole lot together; we do say that the makers need to be used to using a sewing machine to participate in the course and that by the end of it they will be able to stitch straight lines perfectly and be ready to tackle any other garment making with confidence.Practice after all makes perfect.
Once the basic shape has been stitched together, in order to get a first fitting everyone has to get the fastening organised and they start with precise marking of calculated measurements/
at this stage it starts to look more like engineering than dress making – and in a way I suppose that is what a corset is… a rigid structure for enforcing or reinforcing – the body into another shape.
then the detailed application of the eyelets begins.. after the bradawl – the hole punch and eyelet thingimyjig is applied
suddenly by lacing the eyelets with ribbons, we can get the garment on the body to see how it looks…but first the tight lacing….
and this is all before they have to sew in the actual stays, or stiff rods that will take over rigid shaping of the body
Lisa Keating, the Heart Space tutor, looks so mischievous on these pictures; but this is where all her promises are delivered. This fitting is on the second day of the course and everyone is just about stitched out, but she knows that she can get them all enthused again with this first fitting.
I can’t resist showing these pictures of women being laced into their corsets for the first time. This is the fantasy moment blended with the total satisfaction of making something difficult to achieve but beautiful and completely transformative in every sense of the word.
moments of self -help and introspection – did I make the right measurements?
as opposed to moments of true grit.
But eventually after several more hours of work and another tight lacing try -on, the effort is all worth while