Lights of the depths




Outline the story …

I knew this would be a competition of firsts. As well as the first time I have entered any work into any competition, it is the first time I have made a corset (or any other fitted garment, circle skirts are far more forgiving!), the first time I have attempted to hand sew on a garment that was more than attaching a hook and eye, and even the first time I have worked with satin. Coincidentally, it may be the last time I work with satin! I felt it was a good time for firsts as I have had a difficult few years and I have recently started to learn that I get to choose where my life goes next.
Armed with a sense of adventure that I was going to start something new and a bit scary, I thought about the start of life in the natural world. All creatures are evolved from the fantastical moment a primordial soup became life, but that didn’t really speak to me as a garment I wanted to make. Moving forward through history at an alarming rate, I thought of the simple but amazing creatures that are still around today- plankton that emit blue light along shores and in oceans. The stunning effect they give made me think of sparkles and sequins and the tiny reflections they give as they catch the light, and I found a dark blue satin that reminded me of the ocean.

Outline the construction…

For my first corset, I wanted to use an existing pattern and decided on Aranea Black’s Dahlia (1880s Riding Corset, Antique version). I made a toile out of sturdy white fabric and used it to practice the scary bits of construction like cording and inserting the busk as well as to check the fit.
I was confused by the fitting, but figured out that the hips were too tight at the back and too loose at the front and read that the modernised version of the pattern seemed to solve this issue and made a second toile using this version and grading across 3 sizes to match my measurements better.
I was much happier with this toile and cut the same adjustments out of my final fabric, coutil with a poly satin fashion layer. I corded two panels on each side, but otherwise treated the two layers together as a single layer, pinning a tiny bit of ease into the satin to stop it stretching around the coutil then assembled it as a single layer corset.
The boning channels were all attached by topstitching from the outside, and synthetic whalebone was used throughout. The binding was sewn on the outside by machine then felled into place on the inside using extremely novice whipstitches.
Once the corset was complete, beads were hand sewn to the front few panels to reflect light, echoing the hundreds of plankton seen on bioluminescent shores in the dark blue ocean at night.




  1. Avatar Christiane Christiane Edel on May 2, 2023 at 7:00 pm


  2. Avatar Anna-Catherine Sendgikoski on May 7, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    So pretty! I love that color!

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