My latest commission was a welcome break from floor length gowns, a fun and flirty yellow party dress for a hen weekend. The client definitely wanted yellow and I was excited as I hadn’t made a yellow dress before. She also wanted a corset structure but was apprehensive as she never worn a corset before.
It’s hard to find a corset that fits on the high street as it fits so close to the body. If you are going to splash out on a well made corset, you might as well get it custom made. Not only will it fit the contours of your body (which guarantees a secure fit) but you can request little tucks and tweaks to suit your style. It will also last a lot longer.
After taking measurements, the first draft of the corset is made in corset canvas. A bra cup style really shows off your shape and if you have a small chest, this is a great style as you can pad out to you liking.
The first fitting is all about getting the fit right and shaping the seams to the curves of the body. Once the corset is ready, the boning is applied. This is what holds up the corset. I use spiral steel boning which can move in all directions (rather than just forward and backward) and lasts a lot longer than regular plastic boning. The cups are constructed like a bra with underwire.
The second fitting finalises the shape before it is covered and lined with fabric. This dress is lined and covered in sunshine yellow silk. As silk is delicate, I reinforced it with flannel. A temporary running stitch is applied around the edges of each panel to ensure a smooth finish. Curved seams need even more precision to avoid puckering.
Now, onto the fun part. How big do you want the skirt? Layers of net (stiff mesh that creates volume) and tulle (that adds a softness) are laid to create the skirt. A few layers of golden brown play down the bright yellow and matches the buttery shade of the corset.
A silk waistband pulls the top and skirt together making it look more like a dress than just a top and skirt. Usually I lace up the back but if it’s custom made, a zipper option is available with hooks and eyes sewn behind to reinforce the closure.
After a little hand finishing, it’s good to go. All that’s left to do is dance the night away.
If you want to enquire about getting your own custom made dress, e-mail me at
mairead <a> maireadlee.ie for more details.