The Moth corsets are my personal project for 2017/2018. Whilst the Butterflies are an opportunity to play with some richly opulent colours and embellishments (classics like black lace and sparkle), the Moths are intended as a cohesive collection of couture-level pieces that I hope to use in many photoshoots and possibly other projects (a book? an exhibition?) before finding them their forever homes.
Expressions of interest and possible reservations are welcome with up to three instalments possible, email to discuss: email@example.com
An overbust corset with smooth historically-inspired lines, made from a truffle-brown silk duchesse. Embellishment to be discovered.
For the Truffle Moth, I have begun a highly detailed symmetric embellishment in dusty pale-pink lace and hope to heavily encrust the surface with gleaming freshwater and baroque pearls. Perhaps some mother-of-pearl and delicate feathers also.
Cocoa is shown at the bottom of the pile of corsets shown to the above. Truffle is second from bottom (with some lace in place), then Mouse, Caribou, Caribou/Grey, Silver/Gold, and Wishbone.
I actually began embellishing Truffle back in December 2016, using my favourite dusty-pink Sophie Hallette couture French lace. You can see it at this stage in the picture with my sweet little cat curled up in the background. At that stage of embellishment, I tend to keep the corset free of steel boning. This is just a personal preference and it does have its potential pitfalls… These corsets are made to be as light as possible, marrying my favourite elements of historic and couture/contemporary corsetry. As such, they are constructed from two layers of silk-cotton duchess, the tight weave and cotton content providing a good deal of strength. Combined with good patterning and strong seams, pressure is distributed evenly around the corset giving comfort for the wearer and longevity to the corset. Such a light construction, however, makes it easy to accidentally sew through both layers when appliquéing lace. One needs to have a delicate and sensitive touch, to be able to feel whether this is happening. It requires just a shade more concentration. If you insert the steels before embellishing, that problem disappears. But, you have a new one. Now the corset is chunkier in your hands. Rolling and folding it to gain access to tricky areas such as the waist or the very centre-front becomes awkward, especially if you have quite small hands. So, of those two “evils” I choose the one which works best for me, to do a large amount of the embellishment before the boning is in place.
There is a point, however, at which you just need the steel in place and the beast wrapped around a mannequin or body, in order to get a sense of how the embellishment is coming together. The mannequin picture, for example, shows me that I want more intricacy. Perhaps more twiddly tiny bits of lace connecting the larger motifs. Or perhaps the intricacy will come with the seed beads and pearls that I hope to play with. We will see.
With a 21″ closed waist and a tall 14.5″ front, the Elizabethan-inspired bustline (reminiscent of our Pyrite and Unicorn corsets) will create an elegant line with modest coverage. Sometimes you want a dramatic plunge or a swooping cleavage, and sometimes you want a simple silhouette as a base for interesting surface decoration.
My self-appointed schedule of “Butterflies for sale in 2017, then Moths possibly for sale in 2018/2019” has changed slightly with regards to Truffle.
I realised the other day that I’d like to let the corsetry “sleep” for a few months. To have a proper break from it, so as to be pulled in fewer directions whilst I focus on a couple of personal aims. I decided I would finish current orders and then announce this temporary “closing” of the business. But I realised that I’d be sad if I didn’t get a chance to finish at least one of the Moth corsets.
I really want to go to town with the pearls and seed beads for this corset. It needs to be delicate and intricate and dreamy. Like a dusty 100 year old garment found in the attic of your grandmother’s house. Like mushrooms or bark or dried moths. Like when summer sunshine breathes through gaps in curtains and hazily reveals the shimmering dust that floats in the air.
Very excited to be now working on Truffle for one of our previous collaborators. She’ll be joining a couple of our corsets, including lovely Seaglass. It’s always a pleasure when our pieces end up in homes that really value them.
We’ve got a bit more lace to do, but I was over-excited the other day so I’ve begun the freshwater pearls. All neutral, natural, pinkish tones, gleaming against the muted flush of silk satin.
Had a lovely work day on Tuesday, which included working on Truffle. Have written more here…