By the Grey Sea



Lena Scholz

(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

I am a pretty straightforward person, not the type for lace, ruffles and embellishments. I also love the sea. Which fits the stereotype for people from northern Germany pretty well. And which fits northern German author Theodor Storm and his very concise and realistic writing style often featuring the North Sea. The poem I chose as inspiration, "The Town", written in 1852 is addressed to Storms place of birth, Husum. It is a love poem to the town, although it doesn’t sound like one in the beginning, describing the ‘grey town by the grey sea’ as quite a dreary and bleak place, only mentioning the authors affection for the town in the last verse.

I tried to capture beauty that the poem finds in something simple and even bleak at times in my entry. Its main part is the corset in a greyish blue/teal colour, the marbling of the colour referencing the play of light and shadows in agitated water. It is bound with grey bias tape and does intentionally not create a very dramatic silhouette, highlighting the beauty of what there really is rather than what one might be wishing for. For the pictures the corset is worn over a pullover, repeating the grey theme, this time with some darker accents, and made to be long, warm and practical, fitting the northern German weather.

The pictures were also taken in appropriately grey, rainy weather at a local lake.

Outline the construction…

The main part of my entry, the corset, was essentially all firsts for me. First corset, first time working with boning of any kind, first time drafting a pattern for clothing, first time making a very close fitting item. Since the design is so simple I decided to focus on making everything to the absolute best of my current abilities. I drafted the pattern for the corset with Cathy Hay’s corset drafting article and adjusted the three mock-ups with help from the Facebook group. I made my first attempt at dyeing something with the coutil for the corset and while the marbling was not originally intended it very quickly became a feature, not a bug, in my books. I tried to work as neatly as I am able to, which mostly meant basting the heck out of everything, unpicking seams that I deemed not good enough and swearing at my cheap sewing machine (in its defense, I don’t think it ever expected to have to sew trough a project as difficult as this). The corset is single layer coutil with external boning channels, with two 7mm artificial whalebone bones at each seam, two 6mm bones each in the middle of the third and fourth panel and 7mm steel bones at the back on either side of the eyelets. The pullover was made with all french seams from a knit cotton fabric, the pattern copied and then slightly altered from a retired store bought pullover.




  1. Avatar Caroline on March 12, 2021 at 12:47 am

    This is so beautiful! I can see the water represented in the corset! I can see you put a lot of effort in details! This shows we don’t need a lot of lace to be beautiful! Congratulations!

  2. Avatar Jocelyn Lofstrom on March 12, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    I love the steampunk of the hoodie under the corset. Great photos. Glorious color blue. The corset is really well done and fits you so well. Amazing for a first project!. Well done!

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Looks perfect on you! That shape is so gorgeous on you. well done

  4. Avatar teresa van twuijver on March 12, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    it is amazing how you sculpted the corset, especially at the breasts, and I love how you wear it over a, is that a surf suit? great!

  5. Avatar Anne on March 12, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Fantastisch!!! Einfach fabelhaft.
    Absolutely fabulous. being from the Baltic Sea I LOVE the colour and look at the beautiful lacing. YUM!!

  6. Andrea Painter Andrea Painter on March 12, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    This is such a beautiful series of images, Lena, and they really showcase you and your beautiful work. The corset fit looks really excellent — way better than my first corset!! Your attention to detail really shows, with making numerous mock-ups.

    I really love how you’ve presented this corset and shirt, too — It really does feel like a surprise delight found in the dreary every day, encouraging us to seek out that beauty 🙂

  7. Avatar Melissa on March 15, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    The fit of the corset is very nice and I can really see how much effort you put into the whole piece. Great work!

  8. Avatar Bea P on March 16, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    I have always loved the simple beauty of Storm’s poem that expresses so much tenderness for his home town. And I really love that simple but beautiful design of your corset, choice of setting/weather and combination with the jumper. The colour is so fitting.

  9. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 26, 2021 at 6:14 am

    Oh wow, I love this corset. So well done! Thank you!

  10. Avatar Valarie Olafson on March 27, 2021 at 3:12 am

    I love that corset! The fit is so good.

  11. Avatar Kylie ~ ePrintDesign on March 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

    I really REALLY like this! Well done… its just gorgeous in all its elegant, evocative, simplicity. x

  12. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 29, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    Isn’t it often the mistakes that you come to love the most? That fabric is so unique and suits the poem perfectly. I hope the sewing machine survived? Between the two of you you have created a beautiful ensemble.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.