The Corset for the Peacock Dress

The Corset for the Peacock Dress

When I was raising money for Random Acts‘ projects in Haiti in 2011, and pledging to make the Peacock Dress in return, I imagined that I would be the maker of the whole outfit, every stitch. However, it’s not going to work out that way, and I’m delighted about that.

Not only because it reduces the workload (hiring Indian specialists to embroider the dress takes about thirty years off, literally) but because the result of any project is so much better when you let go, step back and ask for help from people who know what they’re doing better than you do.

It’s also fun to share the spotlight.

 

Edwardian style bespoke corset, (c) 2014 Sparklewren Bespoke Corsetry. Used with permission.

Edwardian style bespoke corset, (c) 2014 Sparklewren Bespoke Corsetry. Used with permission.

 

Last year, when my workload piled up, time was short and something had to give, I hired Sparklewren Bespoke Corsetry to make me an authentic Edwardian corset. It turned out looking amazing, as you can see above, and wonderfully comfortable.

Now, I’m a very competent corsetmaker. I’ve been making corsets for almost twenty years, sometimes professionally, but I don’t make them every day, year in and year out, and I don’t have the equipment that specialist corsetmakers like Jenni have.

Although she studies and learns from original corsets, Jenni’s work tends to be modern in style and interpretative of the past, so it was fun for her to try something authentic. She had so much fun with it, in fact, that she was chomping at the bit to have another go. And since Jenni is undoubtedly a way better corsetmaker than I, who better to make the corset that underpins this whole outfit?

 

But there is a decision to make, and you can help me. What colour should the corset be? The colourways in our chosen fabric (below) are dizzying, and I’ve seen historic corsets made from many of these. Granted, the Cyclamen is probably more at home in the 1880s, and overall we’re probably looking at one of the paler colours, but other than that I’m open. I like the Vin Santo, Sugared Almond, Dijon, Mauritius, and I’m strangely drawn to the greens…. but what would you pick? I’m opening this decision to the floor.

 

Savoy silk by James Hare

 

When the corset is fitted, everything else will fall into place around it, as we’ll see. But over the next few weeks, while Jenni takes care of the corsetry,  I’ll be working on the other vital element that makes the whole outfit possible.

I’ll be working on it very publicly of course, but keep your eyes peeled, because it won’t be obvious that it has anything whatsoever to do with the Peacock Dress.

All I’m going to say is… screw Kickstarter. I’ve got a better idea. And I hope you’ll help, and share what’s coming like mad with anyone who might be interested so that we can get this dress made… maybe even by next summer!

12 Comments

  1. If you like a green, go for the Tarragon colour. It would be lovely with flossing in cream, pinks and darker greens.

    (Just had a lovely time yesterday at the Symington Collection looking through some of the corsets there dating from 1875 through to the 1910s. Plus lovely frocks too.)

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    • Oh Bess, I’m glad you went and had a look, Symington’s is wonderful isn’t it!

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  2. Tulip!!!

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  3. Vin Santo gets my vote

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  4. That corset is beautiful and it gives you an amazing shape.

    I also like the Dijon and the Mauritius.

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  5. Vin Santo
    tarragon
    English rose
    are colors I think you’d look lovely in 🙂

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  6. So many lovely colours.. I can understand the indecision. My eye is drawn to Tarragon and celestial, especially with peacock in mind.
    When I think of historic cost, I’d go for Sugared Almond or Caribou. And make a white peacock dress 🙂

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  7. Yay, I’m so excited Jenni’s making the corset to go with this project – I love her previous historical piece for you!

    As for colours … I like weeping willow, dovecote, nuthatch and I do like sugared almond, but it’s a bit similar to the colour of your existing one. Whatever colour, it’s going to look gorgeous!

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  8. Tarragon!!! (But then, this is your vision, and I’m sure whichever you end up intuition will turn out to be the perfect color after all …). Waiting to hear your other-than-Kickstart proposition – best regards

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  9. My first inclination was to the Vin Santo, until I scrolled down and saw the Mauritius. Then I thought about how yellow tones are horrible on me (they may be fine on you) and how I would choose colours from the dress for the corset. With this in mind I would probably go with the English Rose (if it worked well with the pinkish feathers that is) and have the stitching and flossing in golds and peacock green, with possibly some lace in a suitable pale whitish shade. And then there is the consideration of if the colour might have an effect upon the gown the way under coats do…..in which case the sugard almond, biscotti or wishbone. It’s hard to choose colours before having the gown fabrics on hand.

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  10. I’m leaning towards the Tarragon. The green is reminiscent to me of the patina that some aged metals get, since the original Peacock Dress has fallen prey to similar discolourations, its kind of symbolic.
    Or Versailles Blue or Weeping Willow just because they are lovely 🙂

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  11. I’m going to vote for Foxglove! Beautiful!

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