Corseted dress challenge

Marianna of Sew2Pro has set a new challenge, which is to make up this dress, or perhaps a version inspired by it. It is by Six Napoleon, and involves 8m of silk organza for the skirt and a boned, corset style top.

What I like

  • the boned corset top
  • the uneven/asymetric princess lines
  • the many layered skirt in translucent fabric
  • the contrast  “colour”, ie grey skirt with black bodice
  • the uneven hem and asymmetric  bodice
  • the modest cut of the top
  • the way the top looks a bit like a T shirt or vest rather than something too “fancy”
  • the flattering shape of the bodice and easy shaping of the skirt
  • the challenge of creating the top and skirt
  • the deep hem

What I don’t like

  • too black
  • too grungy
  • organza is not really soft to wear.

I have agreed to join the challenge and I hope I think a few others are “in”. So what about my design?

Mainly I would want to change the colour scheme and the styling. I like a bit edgy but I don’t want to wear hobnail boots,  leather accessories, hat and mask. I do like the idea of including a range of colours – possibly monochromatic – shades of green for example. It might also work nicely with navy or dark brown instead of black. Or I could do a white version with light neutrals in the skirt. Or denim. Or leather. So lots to think about.

I am thinking about doing this as a two piece to get more versatility from it. The corset would look great with slim fitting stretch trousers, and the skirt would be lovely with a T shirt. The skirt could be a yoked skirt that fits neatly under the corset.

In the meantime I will draft a pattern for the corset. I have never made a corset or even a boned top. I don’t know why not – but here is my chance.

And I will have a think about the skirt which it probably best draped rather than flat pattern cut.  I want something soft for the skirt – a delicate silk muslin or cotton lawn would suit me better, with a bit of fullness coming perhaps from silk tulle.

Will anyone else join us on this challenge – there is plenty of opportunity for customisation and styling? The deadline is 14th July.



25 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Kate your thoughts are quite brilliant on this. I may steal your idea of making this a two piece. I already have an idea of the two fabrics I would like to use but making it two piece for versatility is inspired. I am not sure I would really wear a boned top in any other combos in practise but having a separate skirt would make this more wearable. I still need to do some more thinking.

  2. thedementedfairy

    ooooooooooh nice. The styling in the 2nd pic is weird, even to my tastes, which do veer towards goth/punk [in my head at least]. If you’re planning to draft a corset, hie thee to the FB group ‘How to make Corsets like a Pro’ which has a custom corset generator- don’t reinvent the wheel, as corsets are a branch of engineering, not dressmaking!

    I like the idea of making a 2-piece, but perhaps the asymmetry will fight you as they move when yo’re wearing them? Interesting!
    I’m tempted- as I could imagine a steampunked version of this. Aaargh my steampunk wardrobe will soon be bigger than my ‘normal’ one!

    • fabrickated

      Good advice on the two piece DF. I do want to make a corset at some point but maybe not this time. However thanks so much for the tip. I really appreciate your vast knowledge of this area. I hope you join in too!

  3. eimear

    I love asymmetric hems, love it, and like the extra bits of fullness in the skirt and the organza – there is a lovely balance to it all… (whats not to like)

  4. Christine

    I think this dress is lovely. I am not tempted by the challenge; I am way too slow and it would all be new to me. But I might put it on my sometime list. Living in rural France means no opportunities to wear it. They really do not do formal party wear here. But I like the grunge iteration without the hat and mask.

  5. Joyce Latham

    I am excited to see what you come up with. I like the idea of a jean version. Whatever you choose I know it will be fun. Looking forward to tagging along with your process of many many decisions .good luck!

  6. Sew2pro

    Thank you Kate for promoting the challenge and adding your many relevant thoughts to the conversation. I never imagined this styled the goth/hobnailed boots way and even when I saw the above picture on Facebook, it didn’t dissuade me from my original impression of this being a ‘let them eat cake’, very decadent dress. I think the right bodice would work with both a day skirt and an more delicate evening one. I look forward to seeing how you progress and I myself will get cracking midweek once my event is over and monthly AC newsletter published.

  7. Thesewingmiserablist

    I’m quite tempted, even though I don’t need another dress. I loved it the moment I saw it and the organza can be lined in a soft silk so is very much a possibility. If I’m still thinking about it in a few days I’ll be in!

  8. Su

    I look forward to seeing your version. turquoise and navy would be nice. I too don`t care for the steampunk- goth styling of the accessories.

  9. Annieloveslinen

    Wow! exciting, I went down a rabbit hole, Ruth’s dress totally got my brain whirring as I need to make something for a wedding in December (I’m slow), I cannot be rushed, challenges frustrate me. Love the inspiration dress and I’m intrigued to see what you come up with.

  10. Sam

    Oh, that is so cool! I love it. I’m seriously tempted to try and recreate at least the skirt myself, despite the fact that I have absolutely nowhere to wear something like this. Can’t see it going down too well either at work or in the local pub!

  11. Jane

    I do rather love this dress – although, as others have said, not necessarily the styling. I had a not dissimilar dress at the end of the 80s with a boned bodice and net skirts. The main issue with it was that the net skirts either shredded tights or scratched bare legs making it less than comfortable to wear. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you make.

  12. Sue

    I am looking forward to seeing what you do with this. I thought about joining, but had a lay down till the urge went away!!

  13. jay

    Interesting challenge! I can’t work out why you need boning in the bodice though. There are shoulder seams, so it shouldn’t need an internal scaffold. I’m not in the running for making this, but one dd will need some glad rags soon. I had a different idea for her dress, but am tempted to try a half scale version of both to see how it goes.

  14. Mary Funt

    Looks interesting. I imagine the boning in the bodice is for decorative effect only; it isn’t needed for support. If you fit the bodice tightly, the boning will smooth out the seams and prevent wrinkling. The crisp organza skirt is too puffy for me. I might try something in silk chiffon to drape softly.

  15. fabrickated

    Ah that might explain the boning Mary. I agree that the organza is too much. I will have a look for suitable fabrics, but chiffon might be perfect. I discovered silk muslin the other day which is even nicer.

  16. SJ Kurtz

    I had seen the bodice in a stretch velvet, the skirt draped, and my friend Jennifer in it (as she’s got the shape it will work for).
    The challenge is still tempting. I may continue with my misinterpretation. Meanwhile, I have a devil of a time in wait for me in the cave with Prom Dress 2016 – The Netting’s Revenge.

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