Monday, 8 January 2018

Corset Diary - Emerald Cockroach Wasp Part 2

More photos! Finally got the professional photos back! We went for a darker look, since the insect that was the inspiration for this project lays its eggs within a live victim (so creepy works :) ). We stuck to neutral colours with the rest of the outfit and wig to draw attention to the colour of the corset rather.

Model: myself
MUA: Stephan Venter
Photographer: Shay Wood

There are actually several things I would have done differently had I managed to plan my time more efficiently. I would have added more wire to the armour panels, especially the wider ones on the hips for a smoother finish. I would have rather laser cut the back spine panels for a smoother finish. I would have looked for a more appropriate front closure for the armour panels. I also would have started on my project sooner rather than trying to finish everything in a span of 2 weeks during holidays!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Corset Diary - Emerald Cockroach Wasp, Part 1

When the 2018 theme for the Foundations Revealed contest was announced, I was delighted! My journey in corset making has always been very conservative, I tried to focus on decent construction techniques and well fitting patterns more than any form of embellishment or decoration. The insect theme gave me an opportunity to go all out and way out of my comfort zone. I decided I wanted something very colourful and different and started looking around at pretty insects to find inspiration. I found some pictures of the emerald cockroach wasp and ideas immediately started popping up. The more colourful version of the insect caught my eye rather than the more plain green and red.

The second step of my design process was deciding on the pattern. Several sketches from Scarlet Sapsford's book "100 Corset Designs" caught my eye. All of them were horizontally patterned and looked a lot like armour. And of course there was a Thierry Mugler design that also caught my eye:

With this in mind I decided on something with horizontal panels that should rather look like armour than the standard tightfighting form of a corset. I decided to make a base out of a standard corset pattern rather than trying to guess at the fit of the panels. I used Corsets by Caroline's "Lucille" pattern for the base. After making a toile, I laced the toile onto my tailoring doll, covered it in clingwrap and masking tape, and drew out the panels I had in mind. I also wanted something with the feel of a spine for the back panel.

At some point during the design process, I started feeling my design was boring. I re-attempted this whole process with clingwrap but the second pattern ended up looking even worse to me, so I stuck with the original idea. You will notice a pin in panel 7, it was to remove some of the volume out of the panel to enable it to lie slightly more taut against the hip.

I went to the fabric store several times, and every time something new caught my eye. For the "base" corset made from the Lucille pattern, I decided on a foil fabric with scales on in silver with a bit of a holographic effect on it, with a crochet lace overlay.

I distressed the lace slightly to take away the slight cobweb effect it was giving. I also embellished it with beads, sating cording as well as piping on the seams. I couldn't find the satin cord in black for some odd reason, so I painted it with black glitter paint to match the rest of the corset. All binding on both the base corset and the armour part was done in black grosgrain ribbon. I felt that satin might have been too shiny since I already went all out with everything else.

The end result for the base corset was the following:

I used spring steel for most of the base corset, pre-bent into shape in order to make a very strong base for the horizontal panels. I also used fusible buchram on the foil to make sure it doesn't stretch at all. The inside of the corset is lined with the densest weave satin I could find locally. I decided on a front lacing closure rather than a busk because I felt a busk did not suit the look I was trying to create.

All of this, embellishment included, was the "easy part". For the horizontal panels, I decided on foil again, in 7 bright colours. I was lucky enough that between 2 friends of mine they had enough left over for me to be able to use it for my corset since most of the stores never has stable stock of anything. I also decided on the same crochet lace as an overlay accompanied with glitter tulle to add some bling.

I really liked the effect, but decided since I am going all out, I needed to add some glitter paint. I painted spots on each panel in the same colour as the panel to the top of it to make it seem more "blended" colourwise. To support the horizontal armoured structures, I used 1.6mm gauge galvanized steel wire, since it had enough support to keep the panels up but was still flexible enough to bend into the desired shape. I also lined the armour panels because the idea was that they can be bent open, almost in the same way that some insects' carapace can open up to show many different layers. Obviously I went with glitter again :) Originally I wanted to do wings with the same white and silver fabric as the lining of the armour panels, but the MUA and photographer for my shoot had a very limited timeframe during the holidays to get the work done, so I spent most nights up late working on the basics only.

I spent many hours handstitching the wires securely onto the armour panels, and then covering it with binding so it's not obvious on the back of the armour panels. After the completion of the panels, I tested the fit again.

I cut the back panels out of black bonded leather to create the "spine" I wanted. I attached the armour panels with dragonclaw spikes that could be screwed in. I decided to not do binding on the back panel since ideally I would have wanted a lasercut spine if I had more time.

I also did front lacing on the armour panels in order to keep them exactly where I wanted them. I laced the armour layer and base together as "one corset" to make it easier to get into (and no, it was still a hell of a mission to get on!). I decided on plain black for the rest of the outfit for the shoot, so the corset stands out and so we can do whatever with the makeup :)

Professional pics to follow!

Corset Diary - Emerald Cockroach Wasp Part 2

More photos! Finally got the professional photos back! We went for a darker look, since the insect that was the inspiration for this pro...