I held a competition on Twitter a few months back for one lucky follower to won a bespoke handmade corset, which they would design themselves, choosing the colour of the satin, the style and the trimming themselves, with my expert styling advice of course!
All followers had to do to enter was Tweet the phrase 'I'm following @CostumesByWendy for the chance to win a made to measure corset'! And we had a LOT of interest and a fair few Tweets! It was great to see social media working at its finest, and see the message spread quickly!!
I wrote down all the names of the Twitterers who entered, and pulled one out of a hat, (actually it was a tuppaware bowl!) and the lucky winner was a Miss Beth Hallam from Sheffield!
She was very excited and we set about discussing her design ideas on the phone... She knew she wanted something quite classic and historic looking, so I asked her to look for some images online of things she liked, and together we came up with the concept of chocolate brown satin, with an ivory lace overlay.
I sent her clear instructions on how to take corsetry measurements, which she emailed me back. The first process is to put together what is called a 'toile'. This is a mock up of the corset, made in cheap calico fabric, to practice the shape and fit before I cut into the top satin, which is more expensive.
We fitted the toile, and actually, it was a pretty darn good fit!! There were a few minor tweaks to the fit, but overall the shape was perfect!
I showed Beth some samples of chocolate brown satins. The satin used for corsets is a specialist satin backed on extra strong cotton, which makes it super strong, and able to take the pull of the lacing which squeezes the body in. Beth chose a beautiful 'Bitter Chocolate' satin which has an almost dark purpley/aubergine hue to it, and a rich deep colour. I also showed her some lace samples for the overlay, and she chose a stunning French Chantilly lace in ivory, with a slight sparkle glass bead throughout.
After looking at some of my sample stock corsets, Beth decided she liked the look of the vertical exterior bone channels in the contrasting colour. This is what forms the 'stripes' that go down the body of the corset. This aids the line of the piece, as it draws the eye down, adding length and follows the contours of the shape to give a really feminine and striking shape, enhancing the curves the corset gives the body.
We then also decided to add an ivory satin frill around the top edge as an extra design feature.
There was just one more fitting to perfect the shape, and then I finished the piece, lining it fully in a soft satin to make it super comfortable against the skin, and as beautiful inside as on the out!
The corset laces down the back, but also has a front 'busk' opening so you dont have to take all the lacing cord out each time to get it on. I trained Beth, and her lovely friend Paula how to lace the corset properly to get the best pull out of the shape! The corset contains steel spiral boning that work to squeeze the stomach in, while lifting the bust, and thats what gives that amazing hourglass shape!!
As you can see from the pic, she looks beautiful! I styled her for her professional shoot which we did with the wonderful Laurence from Togstar Photography in my fully equipped photography studio, and she had her hair and make up done by the talented Laura Glover.
All in all, it was a fun piece to make, and I think she looks pretty darn gorge! Best of all, she gets to keep her prize corset and wear it anytime she likes!