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I spent the last weekend in the well appointed studio belonging to a friend of mine, Julia Bremble. Julia is the corsetiere artist behind the Clessidra ( http://www.clessidra.co.uk) specialising in bespoke corsetry, and she also runs an online shop, Sew Curvy, with corset kits and supplies.
An author of a very helpful e-book on making corsets, Julia teaches corsetry as well – and her workshop is ofen used for courses and classes of other creative artists – Jenni Hampshire from Sparklewren holds regular classes there, as is the owner of the lovely Crikey Aphrodite.
Last weekend it was my turn, and we spent 2 lovely days working on Victorian bustle cages, bustle pads and petticoats – either in their proper Victorian form or with a twist, as Steampunk renditions. Saturday was the bustling day. The aim was to produce either a traditional cage, or a steampunked one. Time permitting, we will also have a go at bustle pads.
The students, Jane and Helen, arrived on time and after a cuppa and a short chat we set to work. The morning was spent on using the provided pattern to make their own versions, and the girls cut out the pieces and set about hemming them. Helen was creating a more traditional version of the bustle in white twill and lace, to go with the ball gown for our Spectacular ball in April ( https://www.facebook.com/events/146217962178037/?fref=ts), whereas Jane was making a more colourful version in brown cotton dill and red lace, leaning towards steampunk sensibilities.
Apart from learning how to construct the bustle, both ladies had a go on Julia’s sander, filing their steel bones – i believe it was the first time for both of them! After lunch and a good chat, fuelled by leafing through the costuming books, the girls tacked the main task of the day – boning the bustles.
One of the most challenging tasks was sewing the bustle together after the bones have been inserted – you can see that Jane is enjoying every minute of that particular task!
just the final touches:
and it was done!
We just had enough time left to have a go at the bustle pads – most work was done in the class, with the girls being assigned homework – finishing the pads and adding lace.
After such a busy day it was now time to hit the supermarket to get the provisions for Sunday’s lunch, and thenI spent a delightful evening at Julia’s, with her lovely family – i admit I was especially taken with their greyhound, Marley…
Sunday was a day for petticoats. Again, the aim was to make a flounced petticoat according to authentic Victorian patterns – though there was an option of adding some cunning bits and to make the petti into a steampunk dress…
The stundents, Jane and Suzy, opted for the Sgteampunk versions, and after measuring and drafting the patterns, the girls were soon cutting out the fabric.
Both girls decided to trim their flounces with lace, and to speed the proces up we decided to use the overlocker for serging the edges – and it was their first experience with the machine.
All the flounces serged and decorated, it was time for lunch and a chat, and then promptly back to work. and a lot of wark it was as we were sewing the flounces onto the back of the petticoats and that involved a lot of pins and a lot of patience.
After that it was just assembling the petticoats, adding waistbands ( both girls chose elesticated waists for ease and comfort), and it was done! we did overun and the class ended a bit late, but the effect was worth it!
Altoghether, a very satisfactory and a very productive weekend – there are more course planned on bespoke basis, so if you wish to have a go, check out the workshop page of Sew Curvy! http://www.sewcurvy.com/corsetmakingsupplies/cat_327295-Workshops.html
Detailed article with insgtructions how to make Bustle cages and petticoat, in both proper Victorian and Steampunk rendition are available on amazon – links to UK sites below, but they are also available in the US or everywhere else in the world!