The Fitting Process

by thevelvetletter

I’ve been awfully quiet lately but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy – I’ve finished a number of projects which I’ll write about on due course.

To start with I’ve decided to share a series of pictures that show the evolution of a corset during the fitting process.

This corset was made for the vintage-loving Sophia Von Syren who heats up stages all over Cape Town with her burlesque acts. Sophia is a full-time vintage vixen and approached me to make her an every-day corset that would be comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time (so not too much of a waist reduction) and which would be inconspicuous under clothes.

We started off with the long list of measurements I need to draft a pattern and discussed the style lines and shape of the corset. The next step was to formalise the commission – I drew a sketch based on our discussion and put together an agreement listing all of the design details of the corset and the material specifications.

Sophia Von Syren Nude Underbust corset

As you can see from the sketch we had originally planned to use a split busk at the center front, but we eventually made the corset with a closed front to make it even smother under clothing.

Once the agreement was signed then I got to work drafting the pattern and making the first mock-up. The pictures bellow are from our first fitting, and you can see that there are a number of changes that need to be made.

Sophia Von Syren: Fitting #1

This is what we call the Russian Dancer Position, which keeps the arms out of the way allowing me to see how the corset is fitting the body without elongating the torso – which would interfere with my observations.

You can see that the corset is cutting into Sophia’s back and that there is way too much room over the tummy. I also refined the line of the corset bottom, and we made a change to the top line as well. You can see the result of these changes here:

Fitting #2

Much better fit, but we can still make a few improvements!

You can see that we have raised the center front and the back of the corset and removed a lot of the extra space over the tummy. I like to make corsets with a high back, as this prevents the wearer’s shoulder blades popping out over the top in a big bulge. However, there is still too much room over the tummy and the top edge of the corset is still cutting into Sophia’s shoulder blades, so back to the pattern I go to make the final tweaks before constructing the final corset.

(For this commission we had two fittings before constructing the finished corset but depending on the corset maker and the particular design one might have as many as twelve fittings.)

At this point it’s time to go fabric shopping – a dangerous and delicious activity as I love fabric and find it difficult to restrain myself from buying things I don’t need. (My fabric stash is extensive…) Sophia and I  had a bit of trouble finding a suitable fabric, but in the end found a lovely nude linen to use as the outer fashion fabric. Then it was off to the workroom to construct the final corset.

And – tada! – here it is on:

Finished Corset

Look how flat the tummy is now! And no more bulge at the shoulder blades;)

I couldn’t resist adding some soft yellow flossing, and am generally really happy with the finished corset. It fits snugly, and is indeed inconspicuous under clothing. Here is a pic of the corset under a simple vest:

Stealth Mode

Once the laces are tucked away the corset will be even more invisible.

You can see the laces a bit through this white vest, but they will be far less visible under a darker top, and the smooth junction between corset and body means there will be minimal lines under wiggle dresses and pencil skirts.

So if ordinary shape wear just won’t do it for you you know there are other options! What do you think of this corset? Would you wear such a garment yourself?