As you may know, I only stock products at Sew Curvy that I myself would use - and therefore I like to use them too. I sometimes have so much inspiration that it's hard to focus on one idea at a time - such is the creative mind, and I imagine that if you are reading this, you are like that aswell! So, for selfish reasons, not least because i've discovered that making things for fun is good for my stress levels, I've decided to indulge myself a bit and make some inspirational blog posts using materials from the shop.
Being a shopkeeper I have to stock practical things as well as pretty things, and sometimes certain colours can seem a bit 'hmm' until you've played about with the possiblities; our Sand herringbone coutil is one of those 'hmm' items and probably one of the most difficult colours to pair up so that's where i've started!
The sand coloured herringbone coutil on it's own isn't exactly inspirational - It's an odd colour truth be told - made for the medical market to replace what is now the vintage staple corsetry colour "tea rose" which is that salmony pink shade so common in corsets and girdles from the 1940's right up to the 70's, and which was the go to 'nude' of old. Well this 'sand' colour (also once known as 'nude' and in Europe known as 'skin') is the replacement. For medical corsetry, this colour was thought to be more compatible with a more multi-racial range of skin colours.
I call it 'sand' because it isn't like any skin colour i've ever seen, unless you count American Tan, but it is like a rich honey shaded builders sand. It goes beautifully with ivory and also black as a base 'skin' tone type colour - it can melt away underneath a sheer underlay, and under ivory, becomes a very pretty bridal option.
In my first project, i've teamed it up with our floral lingerie net, and two of our pretty guipure trims, along with a white busk and a cute little bra bow from the bra making range. I like to mix and match shop supplies so that they are good for multiple uses and when I started stocking bra making supplies, I visited the warehouse to ensure that I could pick products that could be used for both bra making and corset making in a number of different ways.
The most exciting thing I have to tell you about this project is that there is NO ROLL PINNING !! Why? Because the lace fabric has a slight stretch to it, so if you incorporated turn of cloth as you would a normal non-stretch fabric, you might get a bit of unsightly bagging. Fabric with a slight stretch can cope very well with turn of cloth so no pesky fiddling about with those seam allowances and no tedious pad stitching as some people do.
Simply cut out both layers of your corset pattern at the same time, and stitch the coutil and lace together within the seam allowance. Easy peasy and an excellent place for beginners to start with multi-layer corsetry!
I can't bear waste (ha!), and in my classes I teach what I call "fabric economy". With this in mind I can literally use almost every single scrap of coutil from half a metre or a metre - whatever i'm using to cut the pattern. Because 12mm bias strips, which I use for boning channels, are only 2.5cm wide before being processed, you can get alot out of the surplus material around the corset pattern and when you're paying anywhere between £10-30 for a metre of fabric it pays to be thrifty let me tell you - especially with the more expensive coutils such as the rosebud coutil.
In this picture you can see that i've used self made boning channels from 2.5cm wide coutil strips, and I've used 15mm satin ribbon stitched into the binding as detachable suspender loops.
Using matching coutil for your boning channels gives a single layer corset a very tidy interior negating the need for a separate lining and therefore making sure you end up with a light yet strong and durable corset.
I use the Prym bias binding maker for making the bone casings because it has a wide gap in the 'nose' - other bias makers can't take the thicker coutils, and I find that this little maker works very very well. You cut your strip of coutil on the bias OR on the straight grain - it doesn't matter as long as you use a bias strip over particularly curvy bits. Then you feed your strip through the little thingy, pin the end of the tape to the ironing board, and pull the contraption along your strip until you have a double folded peice.
I'll be making a video on this as soon as it stops raining!
The bias strips are then used as boning channels and everything is stitched down with my 'wonder thread' - Guterman no 722 - it is literally invisible on a very wide range of fabrics! Jenni Hampshire of Sparklewren fame discovered this and I've also been a devotee of the colour ever since... It literally disappears into any neutral coloured fabric including a number of the coutil we have at Sew Curvy: Mink, Sand, Biscuit, ivory/gold rosebud, nude/silver rosebud, dessert orchid brocade, biscuit spot broche and small weave herringbone. Amazing!
The corset fabrics are all set off rather nicely with a white busk and a little cream bra bow. Unfortunately, our black and white busks are currently on limited stock as my coloured busk project is on hold - basically the original factory mucked it alot of things up and i've been talking to another local place who have yet to provide samples for me.
Here are some other palette ideas for the sand herringbone - black spot net, with black 'little crowns' guipure and either a Victorian style guipure with our 'latte' satin ribbon woven into it (good for lacing too) or the black tulle 'scrolls' trim. Both look pretty and all of these options will go with our suspender elastics very well.
SO! if you want to have a go - you can do this with any corset pattern at all, and these are the ingredients I used to make this cute little nude underbust. All she needs now is a name - I think "Daisy" seems quite apt.
- Herringbone coutil in sand - an economical choice, this is our cheapest coutil.
- Ivory lingerie net - usually used for bra making but very pretty in corsets
- White busk - subject to availability
- Guterman Sew all thread 722 - magic thread, invisible with most neutral type colours
- Loose eyelets - used without washers - I'll tell you about that another time
- 10mm and 15mm double satin ribbon in Ivory (419)
- Daisy guipure trim
- Little crowns guipure trim
- Spiral and flat steel boning
- Underbusk - our underbusks are extremely sturdy, 20mm wide, 0.80mm thick and as used by Dark Garden Corsetry and Mr Pearl who has tested them personally
- 16mm cotton bias binding in sand - i've used the sand colour narrow bias, it's a bit tricky to apply but gives a lovely neat finish
- Prym bias maker 12mm - not the cheapest bias maker on the market, but certainly the best.
Estimated material cost for a 22" corset approx £40 (excluding tools) if you had to buy everything - but see what's in your stash and have a play! It's good for the soul.