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Outline the story …
Inspiration book: Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell 1936. Character: Belle Watling.
Belle’s character resonated with me when I first read "Gone With The Wind". I have visualized my thoughts with creation of this corset for Belle. Despite being shunned by the society of the time for her function as a Madam, Belle to me blurred the lines between what should be expected of a woman in society. Though her role was minor she made a lasting impression on me due to her compassion and acceptance in times of great hardship.
In creating the corset, I wanted to symbolize with the inner lining the hidden nature of her true desires, by using the red roses on a black background. I chose this lining to articulate both her inward desire and passion and felt this would be an unexpected feature of the garment. The opulence of the external fabrication and embellishment reflects the facade needed to be accepted by the wealthy, moral and upstanding society contained within the book.
Outline the construction…
Overview of construction
Outer layer silk brocade (fused).
Strength layer coutil.
Lining printed cotton (fused).
Binding/trim dupion silk.
Satin ribbon lacing.
Woven tailors fusing.
Sprung steel boning.
Flat steel boning.
Antique brass eyelets.
3 layer corset.
All seams double stitched.
Floating outer fashion layer.
Coutil and lining layers stitched together at each seam, boning channels stitched either side of the seams to eliminate boning channels on the fashion layer.
Top and bottom edge binding finished with hand stitching.
Ruffle attached to top edge with center decorative bow.
Applique trim hand stitched to outer fashion layer.
I ordered the coutil from a supplier overseas and upon receipt I was disappointed with the quality. It was extremely stiff like cardboard. Being in Australia, postage of supplies has been very restrictive due to the pandemic and I knew I had to make it work. I ended up washing the fabric and even added some fabric softener to make it workable. I know this is not how to treat coutil but the result was positive and enabled me to finish the garment with suitable stability and strength.
I drafted the pattern using the tutorial “Drafting a bespoke corset pattern” from Royal Black’s Patreon page.
I referenced Robert Doyle's book “Waisted Efforts” for construction information.
Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”.