What Lies Below



Hannah S.


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Special thanks to my husband and photographer, Max!

Outline the story …

As long as human kind has known water, we have wondered what lies below. Global folklore tells us of kelpies, naiads, kappas, sirens, selkies, The Lady of the Lake, Ceto, Calypso; these are a fraction of the diverse array of water spirits, goddesses, and faeries found in mythology across almost every culture. Some beings are benevolent, but most are depicted beguiling monsters, lying in wait to pull bewitched humans into a watery grave. This garment invokes the fluidity and enchantment associated with water, and the darkness of vengeful spirits living just beneath the surface.

The translucent corset melds with the body, like a thin layer of water, or the veil between our world and the fae.
The appliques and beadwork represent the shimmering surface of lakes, the swirls and eddies of river water across stones, and the arms of cephalopods and water monsters. Pearls, beads, and iridescent sequins show the ever-changing hues of living water, the promise of treasures to lure sailors into the deep, the slick sheen of an oil spill, and the glimmer of fae magic.

Growing up by the marshes of Savannah, GA, I have always felt a kinship (and a healthy amount of fearful respect) with the sea, and with the creatures and spirits associated with all bodies of water. There is a universal fascination with water, and I hope to impart a small part of that sense of wonder and cautious reverence for the unseen forces that threaten to drag us into the deep.

Outline the construction…

I used exclusively clear/translucent materials to make the corset so the appliques would "float" and I chose to avoid gores and gussets to minimize visible seams. I am quite short-waisted, which makes most existing patterns fit oddly, so I drafted my corset using techniques from Cathy's corset-drafting tutorial, and only referenced a pattern for general panel shape. This was my first time using corset mesh, and it was surprisingly firm, but also very slippery. I thread-marked the seamlines and basted the pieces to minimize "squidge" but I did still have some shifting and bubbling, and a few basting threads got stuck in the boning channels beyond my tweezers' reach. However the strength of the mesh allowed me to forego attached channels, in favor of slipping the bones between the layers, which made them almost disappear. The seams were scratchy, even with my attempts to melt them, so to protect my skin I encased them in clear organza ribbon. The seams also resisted ironing, but I got them to lay flat by extensively clipping, then doing a small zig-zag stitch down the center of the seam in clear thread. The modesty skirt is an intentionally simple full circle with 2 layers of organza, and a rolled hem encasing fishing line. The appliques were all hand cut from 2 different fabrics in shapes meant to invoke tentacles, and I used pearls, beads, sequins to assist in integrating the appliques, as well as add a magical shimmery element.




  1. Avatar Cassandra Sif Jensen Al-Towaiji on April 18, 2024 at 10:27 pm

    Such a beautiful corset. I love the sheer delicacy of it all, make it look truly ethereal. It fits you so nicely as well, lovely project.

  2. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on April 19, 2024 at 10:17 pm

    What a delicate look, I love all the shimmer you’ve gotten to the detail. Beautiful work

  3. Avatar Bethany on April 22, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    So cute

  4. Avatar Rachel Sullivan on April 23, 2024 at 8:56 pm

    A beautiful outfit – the corset looks incredible laid out in your photo as well as worn.

  5. Avatar Jenny B on April 24, 2024 at 6:20 pm

    Beautiful surface decoration! The sheer fabric is a lovely touch, and you’ve created a wonderful fit!

  6. Avatar Nikita Litersky on May 7, 2024 at 3:22 am

    Stunning details! <3

  7. Avatar Stephanie Tietze on May 7, 2024 at 8:27 am

    This is stunning. I love the effect of the translucent fabric and the surface embellishments. Both the corset and your photos are wonderful.

  8. Avatar Christina L on May 8, 2024 at 12:51 am

    Such a lovely corset!

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