Foundations Revealed 2017 – Insects

I have over several years, wanted to enter the Foundations Revealed Competition but I always *always* talk myself out of it, I dont have a whole lot of experience to be fair, I’ve made around a dozen corsets (from start to finish) but always fairly basic ones, nothing too tricky, or challenging, I struggle with drafting due to number dyslexia, so until I can build my confidence sufficiently I use pre drafted patterns and then modify them by fitting, and draping. draping works very well for me as it omits the numbers issues that otherwise delay my work until I can have it all checked.  I have never made a dress, a shirt, a pair of pants… I am entirely self taught as I go along (aside from Julia’s corsetry courses back in 2012) and am in the process of teaching myself.

This year though, I said enough! I saw that the entry was ‘Insects’ and I was determined that I was going to enter.  Stuff whether everyone else is better than me, laugh in the face of my insecurities, and go so far out of my comfort zone, I can’t even see where my comfort zone is anymore… because months earlier, I saw this amazing fabric, that was only available in the US, and I had no possible reason to spend that much, on something so fanciful, and the taxes, and the import duties and handling fees… but there it was, that opportunity to buy that fabric. It was like destiny calling!






The fabric reminded me of a few insects, the famous beetle wings, but I thought that was just too obvious and it would already be under consideration by other entrants, a bluebottle fly, and then on the TV came the Jewel Wasp. I loved it, and te slightly macabre issue of it laying its larvae IN a cockroach, barricading the cockroach so it was unable to escape, and the larvae literally eating the host cockroach from the inside out. Sorted!

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So my inspiration has now been sorted, how was I going to design something around this? The main fabric inspiration is taken from the main body of the Jewel Wasp. I decided to also incorporate some metallic red fabric to reflect the legs of the insect after finding another picture of the insect which had red pouches on the legs (my initial picture did not show these) I also thought that as most insects have several body sections, this would be a good excuse to try out pleating the front, but that just didnt look right, so I then tried piping the front panel (my second time!) which gave me what I wanted, and also ‘hip fins’.  I struggled with the fins, I initially tried craft foam with the fabric on top, my sewing machine *HATED* it, the feed dogs griped the foam, and the fabric stretched, so that was tossed, I then decided to try using a layer of coutil a layer of batting, and the top fabric which worked really well and gave the fins the structure I was looking for.  I have pinned and hand stitched those in place once I constructed the corset.

Once the coret was constructed, I felt that there was *something* missing and so I fashioned a ‘tail piece’ out of more corded fabric and attached that. IN hindsight, I would have cut the entire front panel as one piece instead of adding bits.  I decided to highlight the little red sections of the legs by adding 2 red ‘tubes’ above the hip fins, so it really began to stand out, and the bindings have been dont with the original fabric on the lower part, and red binding on the top edge so it balanced the corset. I felt that just using those 2 red ‘tubes’ might have resulted in a “Why are those there?”

I have made the skirt from a basic stretch jersey fabric, which deliberately ‘splits’ in the middle to interpret the wasps’ wings, and I did start making a posture collar, however, at this stage I am not happy with it so I am omitting it from the entry and will carry on working on this piece so it is ready for when I plan to do some more professional shoots in the summer with a model when the weather is a little more … forgiving!I really enjoyed myself making this, despite the wrinkles, and the additions, and next time (and there will now be a next time!) I will:

  • Make some better flat drawings
  • more toiles when new ideas/additions strike
  • interface the life out of 4 way stretch lycra fabric
  • not be so scared to try new things, new fabrics, new techniques.

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