Paradise City Arts Festival

I’m getting ready to be one of the exhibitors at the Paradise City Arts Festival! It will be in Northampton at the Three County Fairground from Saturday, October 10 through Monday, October 12. I’ll have corsets, necklets, bracelets, scarves and more. Stop by and see me at booth #123.


Hand-painted Silk Scarves

I am really enjoying making these scarves. I think it’s related to my love of batik fabrics and watercolor paintings. I wanted to recreate the free flowing design aspects in wearable art, using silk fabric. The scarves are painted (not dyed), using a combination of painting and drying techniques to create a marbled design. Every scarf comes out different, even when I’m using the same colors.


Treasure Bags!

In the process of making corsets, I wind up with little bits of fabric left over. Looking for a way to use the scraps, I decided to make little bags, and I think it was an excellent idea :)

They are completely lined, gathered with the same nylon rat-tail cord I use for my corsets (extremely strong), and big enough to hold small treasures (6″ width, 8″ length).



July 13, 2014

I have been busy making corsets :), but have neglected my posting to the blog. I added some new images to the gallery: butterfly, pleather, and one for a man. I’m in the middle of making a corset from worn denim, and will post an image when it’s done. Hope you all are enjoying the summer as much as I am!


April 8, 2014

I am almost done with a new waspie. I am using a gold, rose and lavender cotton drapery fabric that I found as a remnant. The overall pattern is way too big for a corset, but I loved individual elements of flowers, butterflies and dragonflies. I cut out the images I wanted to use, and pieced them onto the corset pattern, alternating with gold deerskin. This is an experiment that so far seems to be going well. I’m ready to sew on the binding. I have selected the batik fabric I used for this corset as the trim – not an obvious choice, but it worked surprisingly well when I put them together. I’ll put a picture in the gallery when I’m done. Up next will be a corset I’m making for a new customer. It will be a new design – shoulder straps, black leather, and violet batik.

Making a Corset Part 5

It’s done! Corset-for-Cori-e1


I finished everything except the lacing last weekend, but I was waiting for the satin cord to arrive before I posted. The remaining steps that it took me to get to done:

Corset-for-Cori-e3I measured the length of the bone channels in the order they are on the corset. I cut the spiral steel (which I get in rolls) to the lengths measured and laid them out on my labeled board. Then I used the tipping fluid to coat the cut ends and let the bones dry overnight. I inserted then bones in the channels, then moved on to the binding on the top and bottom.


I cut 2-inch bias strips of the contrast fabric, then machine stitched the strips to the unfinished edges. I turned them under on the lining side and hand stitched the folded edge in place.


The last construction step was installing the grommets in back. I measure twice, mark it clearly, and then punch the holes. After the holes are punched and trimmed clean of stray threads, I inserted the grommets.


Then I waited a week for the satin rat-tail nylon cord. I have used it before, but really wanted something more substantial, so I decided to make a 2-ply lacing. I have a spinning wheel which made applying the twist to the cord feasible. I do like the way it turned out :)



Making a Corset Part 4

The last post ended with the corset ready for hand-basting along the seam lines, which gets all the layers lined up the way they should be. Without doing this step, shifting would occur when I sew the channels for the spiral steel bones, and the corset would have places where the fabric would bubble and bunch up, creating uncomfortable lumps for the wearer, and unsightly stitch lines that would wander away from the seams. Making corsets is a good exercise in finding the right balance between obsessive-compulsive behavior and knowing when to let go. Here’s a picture of the hand-basting:Corset-for-Cori-d2 

After the basting was done, I folded over and sewed the center back. The easiest way I have found to line up the edges:

1.  Machine baste on the lining layers 1 1/2 inches from the edge (the amount of the seam allowance I added to the center back)

2.  Iron the lining layers right side out along the baste line.


3.  Line up the outside layer with the lining layer, fold the outside over the lining and iron the outside layer. This makes the outside layer slightly wider at the finished seam, so the lining doesn’t show.

4. Separate the layers and refold them so that the raw edges are on the inside, then stitch at the folded edges through all layers.


 I then stitched the channels for the bones. I first stitched 3/8″ away from the seam lines

Corset-for-Cori-d6I then removed the basting and stitched directly in the seams. I also made channels on either side of where the grommets will be installed at the back – this gives extra stability to a major stress point when the corset is laced.

Corset-for-Cori-d7Here is what the corset looks like now. All basting has been removed, the channels are stitched and ready to insert the spiral steel bones.




Making a Corset Part 3

Here is the current state of the corset:

Corset-for-Cori-12These are the steps it took me to get to this point:

1. I sewed the right outside to lining at the center front seam.Corset-for-Cori-62. I turned it right side out and ironed the seam. I placed the knob side of the busk under the outside fabric layer, pinned it in place, and then poked holes in the fabric with an awl so I could work the knobs to the outside.





3. After all the knobs were out, I used them to mark the left seam line, which was sewn with openings for the loop side of the busk. I inserted the busk with the loops pushed through the openings, and then stitched next to the busk on both sides to hold it in place.







Up next: hand basting the outside layers to the lining layers along each seam line.