Le Coq d'Or Corset - Foundations Revealed 2017 Competition Entry

Now that entries are live and the competition is open over at Foundations Revealed, I should get around to posting about my process for this corset! You may have seen some of it on Facebook or Instagram in January.

You can read about my inspiration as part of my entry.  It all started with my discovery of this costume from the 1930's staging of Le Coq d'Or by the Ballet Russe.

I wanted to keep the corset as simple as possible from a construction standpoint. In general, I believe that simple is best. This is, more or less, a single layer coutil corset with internal and external boning channels, a busk, and center back lacing. Standard stuff, but putting it together was not a straightforward process. The order of assembly was crucial and unusual, because of the way different elements overlap and work together.
Original inspiration
I used a modified version of the Sanakor Corset pattern for the corset. Here's the mockup which I fit on myself, since my sister (the model) and I were working long distance and did not have time for fittings. We're fairly similar in shape, and I was able to extrapolate where things differed.

Here you can see my initial sketches for leather applique placement. I wanted to evoke feathers in an abstract way. The subtle rib-like quality was an added bonus.

I transferred the motifs to the master pattern, and then photocopied it to create templates for the leather pieces.

Meanwhile, the base corset is quite simple. It is bronze silk faced satin, roll pinned and flat lined to coutil. The exterior seams will be covered by exterior bones. The interior seams will be covered by interior bone casing.

Fusing the leather applique to the corset. Transferring the placement to the already assembled corset was a bit tricky. I punched holes in my pattern and used chalk to mark key placement locations. I used a ham to fuse the curved areas. This process took longer than the actual applique stitching itself.

Here you can also see some of the weird stitching order. I was stitching finished applique over raw seam allowances, which felt strange.
I inserted the busk and bound the bottom edge before applying the remaining vertical bone casings, since I wanted them to break the edge.

The finished corset. The Sanakor shape looks great on this dress form (although the form isn't very human shaped).

I took some lessons from Burlesque for the tail feathers. They are each made of two pieces of leather fused together and stitched, with a millinery wire glued into the first 4-5". This wire was then inserted into channels in the center of a reinforced modesty panel. I positioned the pocket so that the feathers would emerge from between the lacing.

I also made a headpiece from several wired leather feathers.
My sister, a professional model, was kind enough to model this corset. She was perfect.
Clara Settje Model, Redthreaded Corsetry, Shawn Hanna Photography
Model: Clara Settje
Photographer: Shawn Hanna ©

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