I loves me some steampunk. To honor my new obsession, I decided to outfit myself as a steampunk fairy for upcoming dork festivals. I have over fifteen years of sewing and crafting experience, but anyone with a basic knowledge of machine and hand stitcing (and perhaps a little faith and patience) will be able to make her own beautiful interpretation. Fairy wings are forthcoming and so not pictured, by the way.
Having previously employed myself constructing commissioned costumes, I have a significant storehouse of odds and ends. I made a deliberate attempt to use only what I had on hand for this corset, though I did end up spending about $10 for bias tape, brown thread, and grommets. If you purchase all required supplies, this corset could set you back up to $100, I would imagine.
This particular design took me about fifteen hours to complete. A significant portion of that time was dedicated to hand stitching (and taking photos for this 'ible!). Hand stitching will be an unavoidable aspect of this corset so prepare yourself with some background movies or tunes, maybe a hand brace, and a delicious adult beverage. If you like this instructable, please visit my website at www.ericayoung.com to see more of my tutorials, projects, and passions.
Oh! And in case you haven't noticed, I'm wordy. If you're not a reader, the good news is: I have LOTS of photos. :-) Also, you may be wondering what this has to do with summer since I'm entering the summer sewing contest. The answer? It has everything to do with summer--summer festival attire, summer night out on the town attire (pair this with some sexy jeans and gold high heals for a great look!), summer boredom remedy...
So, with all of that out of the way, let the creativity begin!
Step 1: What You Will Need
Gather Your Supplies
- About 2 yards of fabric--this will depend on your measurements, fabric width, etc. I culled from my pile of scraps a yard of chocolate brown cotton and a blue linen (the linen was actually a pair of pants I upcycled). Ideally, you will need something that complements your necktie selection while also being very sturdy. It's a corset, remember! Lots of tugging and stretching of fabric will ensue and the more sturdy your fabric, the more stress it will take.
- Pattern--I don't typically use commercial patterns, but I really like Laughing Moon's #100 'Ladies Victorian Underwear' and have come back to it time and time again. There are numerous pattern companies that print Victorian era corsets and several websites that will teach you how to draft your own.
- Boning--I use 1/4 inch white spring steel available online or at select local fabric stores. I recommend using something other than the plastic boning usually sold prepackaged at chain stores; steel boning is worth the investment. Additionally, I would have used a traditional victorian busk for this one, but didn't have it on hand and stuck with my spend-no-$-use-what-you-have rule.
- Neckties--Beg your friends, hit up the 2-for-1 accessory sales at the Salvation Army, and put out an APB on your FB page. They'll trickle in.
- Grommets & Setting Tool--If you have an eyelet wrench, great! If not, you can buy grommets with accompanying tool at any local fabric store.
- Hammer, Newsprint (or other forgiving surface)
- Corset Lacing
- Bias Tape--single fold in coordinating color. Or not. Be bold. Be tacky. Be brazen with color. I don't care. By the way, one package (4yds) will usually suffice.
- Lace, buttons, decorative trims of your choice.
- Scissors, Measuring Tape, Straight Pins, Needle, Thread, (and if you're anything like me...) Seam Ripper--the usual arsenal of sewing accoutrements, in other words.
- Iron, Ironing Board, Sewing Machine--mmmm, duh?
Patience. And maybe beer.