Twelfth Night Costumes – Corset

So last semester, as I mentioned in my last post, I was the costume designer for my high school’s production of “Twelfth Night” and made Olivia a black corset to wear during Act 1. Here are in progress pics and a quick description of what I did for it.

So what is this project anyway? It’s my first corset ever, so that was exciting. I used Butterick 5935 and made it out of this amazing black denim with velveteen designs, almost like embroidery (yay for Joanns). I think I spent about six hours on it that first weekend and did everything but the very last details – which is my worst habit ever. And I only used the seam ripper once which has to be a record for me.

Friends who don’t care about sewing jargon, skip this next paragraphs and look at the pretty pictures.


Okay, disclaimer done. Here’s a brief run-through/review of the pattern I used. As I said, it’s Butterick 5935, style A. I chose this pattern because it is fully-boned but only along the seams (makes it simpler for me) and because it wasn’t focused on waist-reduction, which I felt would be uncomfortable for the wonderful actress. So basically, it looks like a corset and sews like a corset and wears like a corset (very good posture inducing) but won’t suffocate you on stage. Also, I liked the strap detailing (the straps tie together in the front through grommets).

I don’t remember having any problems with the pattern. Butterick patterns generally fit me pretty well and the actress was the same size as me so I didn’t have to do many alterations. The one memorable thing about its construction is that you baste the lining to the garment fabric, wrong sides together, and then finish the edges with bias tape (optionally made from the garment fabric or a contrasting one – or store-bought for people like me who have yet to invest in a bias tape maker) instead of turning. With the sharp curves around the shoulder straps, that system probably works better. and it gives the option of adding color with a contrasting bias tape, which I like very much.

Given the choice, I think I’d definitely use that pattern again. And I’m really pleased with how it turned out, from the fabric, to the construction, to the fact that I got to keep it and it fits me.


Okay, friends come back now for the in-progress pics (fancy, eh?):

here's the corset as I'm putting in boning
here’s the corset as I’m putting in boning
corset under construction 2
here’s the corset with all the boning added
corset under construction 3
here’s my entire pincusion holding the lining to the top layer. I’m about to sew all the way around in one of the most nerve-wracking seams ever
who’s a smart seamstress? yeah, not me. I caught the back shoulder strap in a boning seam
I'm almost done in this pic. All I have left to do is finish the edges with bias tape and add grommets. You can really see the awesome design on the fabric in this pic
I’m almost done in this pic. All I have left to do is finish the edges with bias tape and add grommets. You can really see the awesome design on the fabric in this pic


I stopped taking pictures after that and don’t have any good pictures of the actress in costume (stupid me). I plan on going out and taking some better pics soon and I’ll post them as soon as possible.

Oh, and you can see the whole gallery with full-size pictures and better captions at my flickr page.

Thanks for reading and please like and comment 😀

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