Kayleigh-Anne Steel, Stafford, UK
My inspiration for this piece was the lotus flower, a flower that I have always admired and looked at as a symbol of renewal and growth. The idea of a flower that is so beautiful and delicate, despite growing in the dirtiest of waters, has strong emotional connections to me and I believed that this was the perfect inspiration for a corset dress.
I began by adapting a historical pattern from the book Stays & Corsets into a cupped corset, using the Foundations Revealed tutorial by Barbara Pesendorfer, and then further adapted this pattern after a mock-up into a corset dress, following the tutorial on Foundations Revealed by Charlotte Aurora Marsden. I attempted to use only fabrics in my stash or 100% natural fabrics in this project to add to the sustainability aspect of the competition. After flat-tacking the duchess satin to the coutil, I stitched each panel together, then inserted the bra cups and petal details, before inserting the boning, lining, the eyelets and finally attaching the skirt. During the construction of this dress, I used many techniques for the first time, including my first use of waist tape and boning tape, and in fact, constructing a corset dress with cups. I believe my main challenge was the time constraints that I had placed upon myself and, as a result, my finished garment is not to the standard that I would have previously hoped, which has given me plenty to improve upon in future.
Duchess satin, cotton coutil, cotton poplin, silk georgette, net, synthetic whalebone.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
I was very nervous about entering, but the Facebook group is such a supportive community and calmed any nerves I had. I would recommend anyone to give it a go!