3:10 to Marysville
Jen Horn, Kansas, USA
A theme like Architecture leaves one with so many possibilities, from faraway destinations to places that only only exist in the imagination. I decided to settle close to home, and be inspired by our local historic Union Pacific Railroad Depot. The building was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built in 1929 in the Spanish Revival style. It was slated for demolition until the City of Marysville and Union Pacific Depot Preservation Society intervened. They have now embarked upon restoring the structure, most recently replacing the windows with period replicas and having a golden stucco reapplied to the exterior. Those two elements figured prominently in my design.
I decided to use a tried and true pattern I drafted a couple of years ago and was the base of one of my favorite corsets. I then ended up choosing a welt seam construction method, as I didn’t want to fuss with a lining and my roll of boning channel tape had disappeared. The outer layer is silk, interlined with flannel, and affixed to herringbone coutil. I do not like using a fusible interfacing or web due to risk of delamination and how stiff the fabric becomes.
As the pattern and construction were familiar to me, I branched out by exploring some new embellishment methods. The hip fins were a new process to me, as was the smocking I used to evoke the Spanish tile roof. The beaded panel to replicate the large central window of the building was actually the most challenging part. I belatedly found to get the effect I wanted I needed beads that were a consistent size, and my seed beads were not.
Another interesting lesson was that while elements may look similar as you are planning them, when scaled down and put on a much smaller garment, what is a grand or intriguing detail architecturally can become distracting and busy on the corset. I ended up eliminating some details I had wanted to include but ultimately took away from the design. The finished piece is more “inspired by” than I originally intended; but I am far happier with the final outcome.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
After attempting to design and finish a corset for this contest for many years, it is so satisfying to able to submit this. I know it’s intimidating to see so many innovative designs and it feels like it’s not worth it to enter if you can’t match that--but I finally realized it’s better just to make SOMETHING. Even if it’s not a groundbreaking design, I can take those elements I am familiar with and execute them to perfection.