Blue Corset, red camelia



Lucia Menegazzo


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

pictures by R. Rodolfi, J. Trinca

Outline the story …

“And when we will see?”
“Because,” said Marguerite, slipping out of my arms, and taking a single bloom from a large bunch of red camellias, and putting it in my buttonhole, “you can’t always implement treaties the day they are signed”.

This extract by Dumas’ “La Dame aux camélias” seemed perfect for this pandemic year where hope and projects are always put on hold.
I remember when I met a real proper corset for the first time. I was working as a director assistant and she asked me to look for a costume in the storage… and was love at first sight. So, I decided to take advantage of these quarantined days and step up my sewing skills with a very ambitious project for me. The design took inspiration from the portrait of Marie Duplessis painted by Édouard Viénot, the French courtesan loved by Dumas who inspired the character of Marguerite Gautier. Silky blue bodice with ephemeral white puffy sleeves, pale skin, and dark hair.

Studying Marie I found she wasn’t just willing to sacrifice her most cherished love for honour, as portraited by Dumas and later in Verdi “Traviata” but she was practical, wilful, mercenary shrewd. Most of all, she was a hedonist. For the pure sake of beauty, I decided to sew for me the most beautiful garment I have ever seen, a corset.

Outline the construction…

I received “Stays & Corset” by Mindy Barrington as a Xmas present from my boyfriend.
So, the challenge he threw was on. And why not starting learning Autocad drawing too for my first ever pattern drafting? I went for the “1860 closed front pattern”, as I was going for historical inspiration. There were no models available, due to quarantine, so I made it for myself. Self-measurement and fitting were challenging, defeating sometimes. I have a small bust compared to waist and hips: to get close to the proper silhouette padding was needed, and some extra cording around the breasts and hips to keep the shape. And mock-ups, redrafting, re-measuring…

As Bernadette Banner’s videos were the reason I fell in love with this lost art, Cathy Hay was the injection, “Araneas Black Corset” hacks were my guidance through the sewing process. I have never basted that much, it was nice to indulge and enjoying my evening lonely sewing time. Sewing the boning channels with the sewing machine gave me little panic attacks, but if it doesn’t kill you it will make you a better seamstress, isn’t it?

For the chemise, I studied some historical references; then, I adapted a modern Burda pattern to reach the right “timeless historical vibe” as I’m planning to make more corsets. Tone on tone flossing, silk ribbon, and some lace were the finishing touches. And because it isn’t blossoming season I made also a hand-painted silk camellia. We all hope it will be white soon.




  1. Avatar Beth on March 12, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    I love the blue you chose and the construction you did is beautiful!

    • Avatar Lucia on March 22, 2021 at 4:48 pm

      I felt in love with it too… thanks!!

  2. Avatar Lorna on March 13, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Such exquisite work, beautiful corset.

  3. Avatar Carol Hughey on March 14, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Really pretty. Very well done.

  4. Avatar Manon L'Hostis on March 15, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    The fit on this is wonderful! And I love all the details, great job♡

  5. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 26, 2021 at 5:31 am

    Such a beautiful shade of blue, so striking, great colour choice! Well done on all your hard work, it is beautiful and looks so well finished! (Also I understand your struggle, I have a small bust too and it’s a pain for getting bodices to fit correctly!)

  6. Avatar Benigna on March 26, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    I love the colour! And the corset as a whole is amazing.

  7. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 27, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Lovely work!

  8. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    This is beautifully done! You’ve achieved a great fit, and the insides look so clean and neat <3

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