Monarch Matriarch



Sam Bettencourt


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Leigh Bouche: model; OJ Slaughter and Bryan Lasky: Photographers

Outline the story …

"Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead" by Judy Goldman. This is a children's story explaining the significance of the Monarch butterfly in the celebration of 'Dia de los Muertos'. The story follows Lupita as she shares a yearly tradition with her dear uncle in watching the Monarch's yearly migration to Mexico leading to Dia de Muertos. As a butterfly flutters from Lupita's hand, her uncle reminds her: "You must never capture or hurt a monarch, for they are the souls of our dead ones who have come back to visit us before Dia de Muertos". In the days leading up to the holiday, her uncle grows ill and passes away. His picture placed upon the family alter and his is celebrated on November first. As Lupita leaves the celebration at her family's grave site, witnesses a lone Monarch as it flutters from a flower upon her uncles grave and whispers: "Goodbye uncle monarch, I will see you next year". This story resonates with me as I experienced a similar experience. Although I am not Mexican or celebrate Dia de Muertos, I believe in the significance of the Monarch. As my grandmother lay in her hospital bed, in a moment of silence a lone monarch butterfly began fluttering at the window of her room and rested for quite some time Days later she was gone and my family collectively reported a significant number of friendly monarch butterflies in their presence. Rest in Peace Carole Froias.

Outline the construction…

The corset was custom made to my best friend and a dear friend of my late grandmother. It is a 16 panel corset including four pointed hip gores and a 10" waist reduction. I created about 4 test corsets to get the perfect fit (the fourth is pictured above) once satisfied with the fit, I created a fully lined base using a black twill. I used sandwich seams throughout to encase spiral steel bones. I then sewed the corset patter from water soluble interfacing and traced then embroidered in the monarch pattern. each stitch was carefully placed to shade and outline the specific details of a monarch wing. Over 10,000 meters of varying colored thread was used to embroider this corset. Once the embroidery process finished, I washed away the interfacing and stitched on the embroidered overlay.




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Loving the textures and curves you’ve got going on in this design! stunning

  2. Avatar Floriane Descloquemant on March 12, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Wonderful ! The textures evoke a butterfly really well !

  3. Avatar Marcio Adonte on March 13, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Simply elegant. And she where’s it so well. Great work.

  4. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Wow! What beautiful detail work! It turned out amazing!

  5. Avatar Marion Brégier on March 16, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    I’m speechless. This is incredible, I love how you pushed the boundaries of corsetry and embroidery !

  6. Avatar Maia on March 17, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    That entry caught my eye just by the butterfly pattern, but the close-ups! Oh my goodness, the embroidery on it is breathtaking. Seriously, wow.

  7. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Wow, these textures are amazing!

  8. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 22, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Love the textures you’ve achieve! Thank you for sharing something so personal with us.

  9. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 25, 2021 at 2:54 am

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and touching story. The textures and colours of the embroidery are absolutely gorgeous! And that dramatic neckline and tiny waist! I’m stunned that you could create such an incredible shape, just like a butterfly’s wings

  10. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 29, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Your story is so touching – I too believe in the butterfly and death and have had personal experience. The shape you have achieved is phenomenal and that rear view is mesmersizing. Absolutely stunning work.

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