Black Blossom Basque
Another week has flown by, and another corset has found it's way from a picture in my head to a finished item. This time I wanted to make a cupped corset.
What's the difference between a cupped corset and a bustier? Nothing really, except maybe the bustier doesn't cover the hips. So then what is the difference between a bustier and a basque? Well, as far as I know, it's the garters.
This meant that the picture in my head wasn't really a cupped corset, but it was in fact a basque. Here's a picture of what was in my head:
I wanted to use all steel bones in this piece and some super luxurious black satin and red and black blossom silk brocade.
Although I had the fabric and the picture in my head, I had to get it from an abstract idea into a tangible pattern. To do this, I cut my Freedom overbust corset pieces out, removed the seam allowances and made a 3D model using my favourite cut and sew foam. This is the method that Beverly Johnson recommends for helping to visualise style changes, moving seam lines and identifying potential design issues. It's also great fun.
I wanted to have a black V-shaped panel in the front of the basque to further accentuate the lines that the corset was to create. By drawing these on to the foam model, I could easily ascertain the best width for this V and how best to continue the lines of the V into the bra cups.
Speaking of bra cups, I also had to change the overbust corset pattern to incorporate the shape of my bra frame. To do this, I measured the distance from my waist to my wireline and transferred this line onto pieces of the corset pattern. Then, by joining the pieces at this line and laying my bra frame over the top, it's possible to transfer the bowl lines onto the pieces.
Note that the pieces overlap and you need to be careful that you don't have too much overlap into the 'body' of the corset pieces. If this happens your bowl will be too small. Once the bowl is drawn on, you will need to move the outer line out further to simulate the pull on the underwire that you would get in a bra.
Once you have this done, make a mock up of the body of the basque using a cheap canvas fabric and hold it up to your body to see how the bowls for the cups sit. In my case, I had to widen the bowls another 3/4" which just shows how important this step is.
Now it's back to your 3D foam body piece with your revised design lines. Cut along the new lines and trace these onto your canvas mock up. Now cut up your mock up and trace onto pattern paper remembering to add a 3/8" seam allowance onto the corset pieces and 1/4" onto the bowls for your bra cups.
Alrighty, lots of planning but no sewing yet, and by now I was desperate to cut into my beautiful brocade. Yet patience is a virtue and there was one design element I had not dealt with. I wanted to have that sumptuous brocade interspersed with black panels on the sides and that V at the front. Yet I didn't just want to use a black satin or something similar. I wanted these panels to be sheer, or at least, opaque to make it even more sexy!
The lining of a corset is traditionally coutil, which is exceptionally strong and has no give. In order to have a sheer panel, I needed to use a fabric that was similarly strong and resistant to stretching. I opted to use 2 layers of sheer cup lining, which provides an element of transparency yet still retains strength.
At last, all the pieces were considered, cut out and I was ready to sew!
Putting this basque together was the same as it was for both Edelweiss and Dragon's Blood, however there was a little more thought required when it came to inserting the boning.
As there is no busk in this, I needed a long bone up the centre. I also had 2 bones culminating 2/3's down this central bone instead of terminating at the bottom of the garment. These are the 2 bones that make up the upper edge of the V. These bones would have the be inserted first with the casings terminating just under the casing of the central bone. The stitch lines of the central bone casing would ensure that the bones on either side wouldn't slip down.
The cups were then inserted. This was a little tougher than usual as the already present bones made it difficult to maneuver the fabric under the machine, so a lot of patience was required.
The binding was put on, with longer tails being left at the garter edges. These were turned under a ring, strap elastic and garters were added and then all that was left was to lace her up! I opted for rabbit ears so make it easier to tie up without assistance.
And here it is, the almost finished article sans garters - my Black Blossom Basque.
The dress form is way less busty than I am, so the cups don't quite face front on this image, but on me, they most certainly do.
And here is a selfie showing the side panel. If you've never tried taking a selfie from the side in a steel boned corset, then let me tell you, it's no mean feat!