Talia Corset Dress

So two of my favourite people were getting together to do a photoshoot. Gingerface and Photography by Liv Free.

I’ve worked with both before and they’re both incredibly talented so when Liv put a shout out via social media for designers to collaborate I got a bit over excited. I knew I had my spring bride to offer but it was too good an opportunity not to make something special.

As always I’m on a budget when it comes to making samples so, unless its a special project (like my bridal samples) they’re nearly always made of what I have laying about. I had some grey spot broche left over from another project (my grey and pink Edwardian demi bust), some grey chiffon donated to me from a friend and some large plum and peach roses that were left over from making the bouquets for my wedding nearly 5 years go. I hoard everything, and just as well it seems!

The colours worked really well and I was feeling very inspired. I didn’t have much time to really think through the design, no sketches were done but I wanted to try and really focus on the romanticism that Liv captures so well in her Photography, and was inspired by Gingerface’s beautiful hair – I wanted to try and create a modern Pre-Raphaelite look. As I had a week to make the entire thing, and I was squeezing this in-between commissions I didn’t have time to drape a new pattern, fortunately Gingerface had modelled for me at The Oxford Conference of Corsetry in 2015 so I knew I had a pattern that was in the realms of fitting.

I started with the corset. Again, as I was short for time, I went for single layer structure with internal applied channels. I chose synthetic whale bone as, again, its quicker than cutting and tipping spiral steel and I had a fair amount of it in stock. I bound it in ivory satin bias (again as thats what I had to hand) and I couldn’t decide between ivory (to match the bias) or plum (to match the roses) for the lacing. So I chose both... if in doubt choose both...

Once the corset was constructed I laced it onto my mannequin and started draping the chiffon. As I mentioned above, I really wanted to create a soft romantic feel. I wanted it to look almost like it was lost in time and a little dishevelled. I cant say any specific technique or skills was used in the positioning of the chiffon. I really just kept pinning it until I was satisfied with the drapes it was creating. I absolutely adore this organic process as it brings out the artistic side in me. It took a long time to get the draping right and then I hand stitched the anchor points in place while it was still on the mannequin (it took a fair amount of skill not to sew the mannequin cover!). I decided not to hem the edges of the chiffon, as I like the raw look – like the dress had been worn walking through the woods.

I started to position the roses and soon decided that both colours was too much, both in quantity and in colour. I didn't want the piece to be to cluttered.

Then added clusters of beads, amethyst and pearls over the remaining anchor points of the chiffon. I wanted to mirror the colours in the roses into the structure of the corset, fortunately I had some tiny sew-on swarovski crystals in shades of pink and purple left from another commission so I scattered those across the exposed side of the bust. I finished the piece by adding tiny clear crystals over the chiffon to reflect little water droplets.

I was so pleased with how the final piece looked considering the short amount of time I had and the lack of planning. On reflection I would had added more boning to the corset and, if I'd had the opportunity, fitted it!

I decided to name the piece “Talia” after Giambattista Basile's version of Sleeping Beauty, as I felt the dress looked as if it had been asleep in a rose covered tower for 100 years!

Liv and Gingerface really brought it to life and created some beautiful images.

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