A History in Fa-brick
Kayla Nimegeers, Canada
Many thanks to my close friends and husband, who supported me these past months. Thank you!
As someone who is obsessed with Gothic Victorian style, the architecture of my country's historical buildings resonates with me deeply. I struggled with deciding between two parliament buildings in Canada, so I included what I love from them into my entry. The corset I made was inspired by the Tyndall limestone ceiling from the Hall of Honour in Ottawa’s parliament building. This amazing hallway joins the Confederation Hall and the Library of Parliament. (Architect: Thomas Fuller, Chilion Jones in 1866. Renovation by Charles Baillairgé in 1916.) When I was researching ideas, I came across the photos of this ceiling and the image of my fan laced corset came alive. When I look at the centre brace I think of how the spine holds the body up as this brace does. The weight of the ceiling has to be transferred to the floor to hold it up, so does the corset in that it takes that strain and helps the back hold up the body.
I felt like I had to make a gorgeous skirt to wear with my stone corset. The skirt is inspired by the bell shaped roof of the Victoria parliament building. (Architect: Francis Rattenbury.) The shape of this roof screamed out “make a skirt..now”. So after hours spent searching for that perfect pattern and materials, I made what I imagine these two buildings would look like in fabric.
My Tyndall limestone ceiling inspired corset is adapted from the Laughing Moon pattern #100. I always make my corsets to fit my body so most patterns have to be heavily altered. This corset has six panels and two bust gores per side, made with a white cotton coutil (from Farthingales) interior layer and a cotton canvas exterior layer. I coffee dyed the canvas, bias binding, and lacing to give it the stone colour, as well as some streaking for effect, as no stone is perfect. A six knob, 13” steel busk was used, as well as steel flat bones and steel spiral bones. Fan lacing is a first for me and after about five attempts at getting the effect I wanted (mirroring the ceiling and wall braces), I finally got it right. Added to the back is a modesty panel to help the image come alive. After all of this planning and construction of my corset, it's now time to 'grout it'. Using an acrylic paint, I very carefully grouted my stone masterpiece. I felt much like an architect when I was constructing this.
My skirt was made with the Truly Victorian pattern #TV240 with a crinoline that I also made to support its shape. The skirt is of a silk brocade I purchased online. There was an issue with the colour that I ordered. The colour that I got was turquoise instead of teal to match the actual colour of the piece I’m mimicking. This did not stop my ambition for this piece.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
It was stressful to compete but in a good way. I normally create simple clothes and corsets but I really had to think of much more creative aspects in this corset. If anyone is on the fence about competing I urge you to give it a try. The worst that could happen is that you learn new skills and everyone gets to see what you make.