A couple of months ago I posted a piece about steampunk – its definition, different styles or types of steampunk and a teaser about a steampunk piece I was going to be creating. It is done!
This corset with bustle skirt design was created using my mother’s back brace that she wore years ago after her back surgery ordeal. I had mentioned in my previous writings that I would be using it as the base for this garment and at the time of my posting, had gone so far as to tea bath it and was pleased with the results. Here are some before pictures of the back brace.
As you will note in further photos, the tea bath changed it from stark white to a pleasing antiqued shade more in keeping with the theme of the design. The straps of the back brace dyed an even deeper tone due to the material they are made of, which adds a nice contrast and really makes the strap detailing pop.
After the colour change had been completed and was fully dry, I then started to create the bustle skirt to be added around the side and back hemline of the corset. The bustle skirt is constructed from three layers. The first one is brown leather, the second a striped upholstery weight fabric and the final layer is a faux silk. Each layer has been trimmed with lace and the whole bustle skirt has been lined with the same faux silk as the final layer. The bustle skirt is not designed to meet at center front of the corset in order that the wearer’s skirt or dress worn under the corset will be visible
The lacing and straps at each side of the garment allow some flexibility in the wearer’s size. Hooks and eyes form the offside front closure of the corset. To dress oneself in this garment, you simply loosen all of the slide buckles at each side, close the corset with the hooks and eyes and then pull a set of straps on each side simultaneously one set after the other until all straps have been pulled tighter and the garment is as cinched in as you can stand it. I should also mention that this is an underbust corset and the back of it ends quite high up on the back due to its original purposes as a back brace. The seams of the corset have boning in them and there are two channels in the back that have metal bars in them for support and in this case for fashion’s sake, as an added element to the theme of the piece.
The decorative elements of the corset include – hand sewn organza and corded lace appliques around the top and bottom hemline of the corset as well as forming larger motifs at the center front and center back of the piece, pearl beading, cogs and gears, small skulls, a skeleton hand with a small pair of scissors charm and chains looping across the front to one side as well as at center back. The cogs and gears have pewter, copper and antiqued brass finishes and the chains are also an antiqued brass or bronze finish.
A final and fun detail to this piece that serves as both support and visual interest is the set of button on suspenders. These were salvaged from a pair of men’s pants and shortened to fit the length of the corset. The suspenders are adjustable for different torso lengths and shoulder heights as well as removable from the garment entirely. The suspenders attach to the garment with faux brown leather “stirrups” with cut buttonholes and antiqued brass buttons.
This bustle skirted corset design took some time to complete and was labour intensive with all its hand work but, was worth every needle pricked finger and lost pearl bead! It turned out exactly how I envisioned and is actually quite comfortable to wear, not to mention the drama it creates!
Later this winter, the plan is to create a pair of traditional length bloomers, a neckpiece and a hat or headpiece that incorporates some welder’s goggles that will be given a steampunk mod. I would then like to schedule a photoshoot featuring my total outfit, which I will of course post! Until then, I thought I would at least share this major completed component with you to offer a bit of closure on my initial steampunk posting.