We’re super excited to introduce our new CORSETRY / CORSET MAKING residential courses here at Gartmore House. Tutor and corsetiere Alison Campbell (owner of ‘Crikey Aphrodite’) says hello and explains more in our guest blog:
I’m very much looking forward to meeting some enthusiastic budding corset-makers at my classes for Gartmore House. I’ve been running Crikey Aphrodite for over a decade now, making bespoke corsets for everyone from brides to performers and people of all ages. Clients looking for a beautiful shape, bust and back support, or just a gorgeous eye-catching garment. I’ve also been teaching for a number of years as I just love seeing others fall into the addiction of corsetry.
The amazing thing about corsets is that they allow you to really let your imagination and creativity fly, but within the constraints of a fairly small, structured garment. In fact corsets in themselves are rather like sculpture, with beautiful lines and curves. They allow you to apply all sorts of other crafts such as embroidery, lace, fabric painting. Or just to showcase that gorgeous piece of fabric you’ve been saving that was too small for anything else.
The corset most people are familiar with, and is most used in modern corsetry, is the late Victorian shape. Very curvy, with good bust support, and works on most figures. This is the style I use in beginners classes. As it’s the easiest to wear with contemporary clothing, either as under or outerwear. It’s also the style most think of as being tightlaced. However it can be as gentle and supportive as you wish it to be. A lot more comfortable and infinitely more beautiful than modern day shapewear. In fact, even the Victorians didn’t lace as tight as is popularly believed. I’ll be dispelling some of the many myths that surround corsetry during our time together.
The other style of ‘corset’ I’ll be exploring with students at Gartmore House is a little earlier and very in keeping with the period of the building. We’ll be taking a turn back to the 18th century and making stays. The type of ‘corset’ (the word wasn’t really used for this earlier style) we see through Elizabethan times right up to the late 18th century was a variation on this conical shape. It shifted and altered subtly over the centuries and ended up with that familiar and very striking shape. Those of you who have been watching Outlander will be used to seeing stays on heroine Claire and other supporting female characters. Also films such as Dangerous Liasions and Marie Antoinette are very inspirational. They are very comfortable to wear, and for this reason, as well as the amazing shape, have been used heavily by designers such as Vivienne Westwood and often show up in bridalwear. We won’t go into full historical accuracy, as we won’t quite have time to hand stitch an entire set of stays… we’ll opt for the modern shortcuts. But we will discuss them, so if accurate reenactment is your thing you will learn where to take the knowledge you gain. However if you want the look and a modern interpretation, we’ll achieve that too.
I can’t wait to share my love of corsetry with you and spend time talking about it as well as sewing of course. So do come along and join us. I can’t provide the time travelling stones of Outlander, but I can make sure you’re dressed appropriately in case you do.
For details of our Corsetry courses here at Gartmore House, please visit our website, or feel free to contact us – +44 (0) 1877 382991 or email email@example.com #gartmoreexperience gartmorehouse.com