All Laced Up

Elegant, yet harsh. Beautiful to some, appalling to others. The corset has been around for centuries, fading and returning to the forefront of the current fashions. After all theses years, it has become little more than an element of design, far separated from its initial purpose. There are of course still steeply priced authentic corsets for sale, but if you mention this style to a member of the younger generation, the picture conjured up is more likely to involve a couple pieces of intertwined string that do nothing but hang on some side of a dress.

Some people still see the corset as been oppressive to females, which I can understand… If we were being forced into them by the hands of men. It may have been like that ages ago, but now that so much free choice is ours to do our will with, it’s almost like an affirmative action to tie oneself into these snug assemblies of fine fabrics. Personally, I find the tight grip around the waist anything but restrictive or uncomfortable – Instead, I think of it like a never ending hug, an additional morsel of affection for you to reach for when the daily stress starts to become corrosive. It’s that closeness that you can’t fake or escape that holds much of the lure for me. As with relationships, it may be awkward to wear at first, but soon it becomes a familiar feeling, and as long as you sit with it, it eventually acts as a comforting support through all the hours of the day.

Sadly, it’s difficult to find any “real” corsets on the market these days, and even if you were to get your hands on one, I doubt the price tag would be so agreeable to most anyone. Pondering this dilemma, I suddenly remembered my poor, neglected sewing machine that was slowly accumulating dust in the other room. With all of this yarn work, when had I last threaded a needle of any sort? It’s about time I go back to all the other crafts I find pleasure in, ease and accessibility be damned. In this new year, I’d love to make more of my own clothes, so hopefully I’ll have more to show for that declaration in future posts.

For this particular garment, I did start with a pattern… But we quickly had creative differences. Between fitting issues and aesthetic details, I soon found myself on my own again and simply made it up as I went along. Fairly pleased with the overall results, my only regret was the limited choice of material with which to lace up the front. I resigned myself to a rather shabby length of yarn due to its matching color, after searching long and hard for a more refined ribbon in a similar hue. A sacrifice to the final piece, but thankfully something that can be switched out if a nicer ribbon were to present itself later on.

Flipping to the opposite side, I covered the back panels with perhaps some of the most expensive lace I have ever seen. I only bought a foot of it to spare my aching wallet, but that still cost me more than a full skein of my standard yarn and just barely covered its intended area. Still, isn’t it just lovely? I’m sure you can understand why I couldn’t just walk away from the aisle of trimmings empty handed.

You may also notice the slightly hidden zipper nestled between those pricey pieces of lace. While this would certainly not be a function of an “accurate” corset, I personally hate the struggle of unlacing, re-lacing, tying, etc.. All that fuss to get dressed, especially as it tends to wear on the ribbon in no time at all. Therefore, zippers are a wonderful thing to have.

Not an authentic corset, I will admit, for it also lacks boning for additional structure, but I think it still does it’s job just beautifully. For those unfamiliar with this sort of item, my corset shown here is meant to go over another shirt, because it starts just below the bust, resting at the top of the hips.

History be damned, I think corsets made with love are quite cozy indeed.