Corset Dress With A Twist

0 Posted by - August 11, 2012 - Bespoke


There’s nothing more flattering than a curve hugging dress. I thought I’d accentuate the form even more with a built in corset. There were many challenges in the making of the dress but everything is a learning experience.

The fit is the most important element of a dress like this. Starting with a canvas corset based on the measurements, you nip and tuck after each fitting until it’s perfect. Padding can also be applied on the hips or bust (like above) to achieve the desired silhouette.

Then you can insert each channel with spiral steel boning. As opposed to regular boning you find in a haberdashery which can only go forward and backward, spiral boning can turn 360° and holds its shape over time.

It has to be snug but not uncomfortable. Your body eventually warms to the corset after an hour and moulds to your shape.

The corset was covered with red silk. Every place that the silk has to edge the corset I added 5mm to allow for the curve of fabric plus preventing the lining from showing on the outside.

Draping the chiffon takes time and practice to perfect. It all depends on the eye. The twist at the waist here draws the eye to the narrowest part of the body.

Godets are inserts of fabric to add flare. Instead of pleats or vents, I added a row of godets at the hem. Each piece was handstitched in place and then machine sewn in both the red silk and the black chiffon.

The chiffon was difficult to do as the fabric moves. The less handling of chiffon the better or it can look tortured.

Once everything was pieced together, I could start to seal everything up. Because of the boning, it becomes more difficult to machine sew, so a lot of it is handstitched.

The aim is to not see a stitch once it’s finishing. The red panel you see here cover the back behind the lacing. It is optional but I prefer it.

Eyelets, this is the nerve racking bit. If this goes wrong the dress can be ruined. Each eyelet is spaced exactly the same distance apart and match on each side. I marked each place with contrast stitching as pins can pull in such difficult fabric. Each place is punctured and then stretched to fit the width of the eyelet. Placing the back and front of the eyelet on a heavy surface, it is hammered down.

There is a technique to lacing. Laced one cord from the top to the waist and lace a second cord from the bottom to the waist. By pulling both cords in at the waist, the waist is cinched in giving you that hourglass shape.


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