A Corset for Julie by Kirsty Mitchell      A Corset for Julie by Kirsty Mitchell

 

A Corset for Julie by Kirsty Mitchell

 

A Corset for Julie by Kirsty Mitchell

 

A Corset for Julie by Kirsty Mitchell

 

A Corset for Julie by Kirsty Mitchell

 

A Corset for Julie

Kirsty Mitchell, UK (Kirsty Couture)

IG: kirstycoutureuk

Photographer: Debbie Burrows 

 

The Design

I’m privileged to live on the doorstep of a stunning house, a house for Essex fondly known as Julie’s house. Designed by artist Grayson Perry and FAT architecture, it embodies architecture and art and tells the life story of a fictional character, Julie. I loved the idea that I could celebrate a local landmark with my entry. The building is a Taj Mahal, created out of love and inspired by Julie’s life (mistakes and all). She is meant to be a symbol of every woman, and one of them is me.

Just drawing on the visual elements of the house, there is a wonderful colour palette which I interpreted quite literally in the deep olive green and ivory tiles, burgundy highlights from the doors and window frames, and then I traded the gold for bright yellow as this is a key colour inside. Then there is the tiling, which inspired the beaded lace and patchwork decoration.

Some of the tiles on the outside of the building depict a pregnant Julie. Having made this corset eight months after giving birth to my second child I felt that it was relatable to me, using it to manipulate my shape, coming to terms with the changes in my body, and learning to love what it had done, even if the fact that I’m still breast feeding meant that it was a nightmare to fit the bust!

 

The Construction

This corset represents a series of firsts for me in corset making. Starting with drafting the pattern myself, rather than manipulating an existing one. I followed Cathy Hay’s tutorial on this and then made more adjustments to suit my figure. I’m short waisted and have a deep, very inflexible rib cage so my next first was to make the corset cup my ribs and this solved a problem I’ve always had in my previous corsets, which asides from not being able to breathe, was a proper (and comfortable) waist reduction. Hallelujah!

My third first was roll pinning, using tips from a video with FR mentor Lowana. I used a fusible woven interfacing to stabilise the silk dupion fashion fabric and secured it to a coutil strength layer. I’m converted by the outcome.

It is also the first time I’ve had exposed boning channels on the inside, so as you can really see the guts of this corset, which forced me to pay that extra attention to the precision of my stitch lines on both sides. The bones are flat steel, bent into shape.

My fifth first was adding the hip fins and external bust pads. These became the focus of my decoration, patchworking tiny triangle “tiles” and using some of the lines from the buildings to work them into interesting shapes. I linked these together with additional lace tiles, beads based on motifs from the sculptures inside, and finally some simple flossing to mirror the golden window arches.

 

What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

After wanting to do this for years, I had to make a promise to myself to compete. I should feel nervous about having offered myself up to be judged, but in reality it feels quite liberating, and I have loved every minute. You have to do this for yourself!

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galadriel
The thumbnail made this look interesting, and then I clicked through and was amazed - it looks JUST like the building. A beautiful corset which becomes a real work of art when it is next to the building it was inspired by.
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Alan Mitchell
Wow what an amazing piece. You can really see the inspiration when its photographed next to the building. You should be very proud of yourself.
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Debbie
Just a beautiful piece.. it draws you in just like the building - it sends your imagination racing everything about it is exquisite.
I love it!

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Sarah Young
This is beautiful! Such amazing detail and it reflects the house so well. A really lovely piece!
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Wow! I love all of your detail work! This is so beautiful and just like the building!
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Parmeet Arora Bori
I love everything about this corset including the Designer/Maker's story behind it. The colour choice is also stunning and quite unique, the tile work. Inspired is beautiful I love how it draws attention. Well done and Goodluck for the compettion.
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Sandra Radley
The detail and design are stunning. Grayson Perry needs to see this, I'm sure he would be thrilled. Very well done. Brilliant.
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You did such a great job of capturing the essence of the house but the corset is striking even without seeing the house.
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jema
Wow, what a delightful interpretation of the building, I love Graysons playful style and you've captured it perfectly, particularly in the hip and bust details. Really strong use of shape and colour, nice work!
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royalblack
Congratulations for conquering so many challenges!
You can be proud of the result indeed! The construction and fit look really good and the design is a great interpretation of your inspiration building. Well done!

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Claire
What a stunning piece of work Kirsty. You have brought architecture and womanhood together in a way that totally fulfils this brief. As a wearable garment that works, and represents a journey of acquiring and perfecting skills, this corset is to be admired. As are you for modelling it! Kirsty your growth as an artist and seamstress in this process deserves to be recognised and I hope there is more exciting work to come.
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Jennifer adams
Such an amazing design. So much detail. And is very inspiring. The work that must have gone into the design, capturing the essence of Grayson Perry's house.
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Charlie Jones
Incredible detail on this beautiful and unique piece. So inspiring that something so intricate and complicated can be created while raising a tiny baby!
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Kim Radley
How incredible to have such an inspirational building nearby. Translating its unique exterior into such an excellently executed garment is no mean feat. Magnificent work, Kirsty.
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lyrisdesign
Wow, I love the patience required with all those little triangles, and very creative to apply them as bust and hip pads. Lovely construction!
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Victoria
This is such an amazing piece of work, aesthetically and technically and really embodies the spirit of the Grayson Perry house in literally the most fitting way! The colours are bang on, and the detail is rich, beautiful and well executed in the same way the house is, inside and outside. You’re a very talented woman!
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Vicky Taylor
This is such an amazing piece of work, aesthetically and technically and really embodies the spirit of the Grayson Perry house in literally the most fitting way! The colours are bang on, and the detail is rich, beautiful and well executed in the same way the house is, inside and outside. You’re a very talented woman!
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The detailing on this piece is just gorgeous and i love how striking the colours and design are.

I also really like that the designer took inspiration from a building and managed to translate this into such an intricate design

very talented lady!!

x

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kitty mortensen
Your attention to detail is breathtaking! I Love your story and I love your craftmanship. This is such an amazing piece, you should be proud
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bernadettebanner
This is so beautifully designed, and how very clever (and ambitious) to do the triangle details in patchwork; it looks so neatly done!
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Carli
I’m in awe! What an inspiring story of courage and creativity, pushing yourself to new limits and developing skills, crediting the people who’ve inspired you in the process.

I love Grayson Perry and was immediately attracted to the thumbnail of this corset. Incredible how it’s not just reflective of the aesthetics of the house but also Perry’s collaborative process.

Stunning piece, enriched by the backstory. My favourite features have to be the hip fins! Looking forward to seeing more from you. xxx



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elly_morris
What an incredible building and an incredible undertaking 8 months after your baby. I love it, the beautiful colours the painstaking patchwork and brilliant interpretation. It's stunning. Congratulations .
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Hannah
What a masterpiece! I’m also local and often stroll past Julie’s house, always stopping to admire it’s beauty and unique exterior, which has been perfectly captured in the design of this corset. Just love the detailed lacework and beading - simply marvellous!
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Hannah Sav
What a masterpiece! I’m also local and often stroll past Julie’s house, always stopping to admire it’s beauty and unique exterior which has been perfectly captured in the design of this corset. Just love the detailed lacework and beading - simply marvellous!
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Hannah
What a masterpiece! I’m also local and often stroll past Julie’s house, always stopping to admire it’s beauty and unique exterior which has been perfectly captured in the design of this corset. Just love the detailed lacework and beading - simply marvellous!
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Hannah
What a masterpiece! I’m also local and often stroll past Julie’s house, always stopping to admire it’s beauty and unique exterior which has been perfectly captured in the design of this corset. Just love the detailed lacework and beading - simply marvellous!
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theperfecttouchvictorian
A stunning interpretation of the house and a touching story! To have created a corset so perfectly fitted to you is something to be so proud of!! Love all the details and color!!
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I love the behind story and I think you did an amazing job. You made the tiny triangles fabric yourself, I didn't knew that, so much extra effort! Also YAAAY for your first self-made pattern, that did go so well, you really can be proud of yourself :) And I love all the white, green and yellow details as much as the golden flosssing, so delicate <3
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Gorgeous fit, beautiful shape, and those details are exquisite !!!!
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quilleth
The details in this are impressive!
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paulay71
Beautiful design and execution of your inspiration, just gorgeous.
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lcostigliolo
What a great inspiration! I adore that house and you really managed to bring its decorative elments in the corset. Well done for getting over the hallenge of drafting your own pattern, it paid off!
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marloes dadswell
Your design really is drawing me in and I love the inspiration you took from the building which is so skillfully translated. Beautiful!
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This makes me want to visit the house! Your corset has many elements, yet they do not fight one another - they fit perfectly and I cannot imagine any of them not being there. And you look very lovely wearing it!
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peacecat3
This is fabulous! The corset is such a wonderful interpretation of the house! I bet any local publication would be interested to know how you were inspired by the house. I also appreciate your detailing all the new techniques you used with this corset. It looks wonderful.
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Thank you so much everyone for your lovely comments. I am overwhelmed with the kindness on here and so very grateful for anyone who has invested the time to read the story and see my corset xxxx
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