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Tag Archives for " Corset Making "

Get to know corsetry course tutor, Alison Campbell

Alison Campbell spills the beans on all things corsetry!

Back in 2019 we were delighted to add a corsetry course to our ever growing roster of craft holidays and we recently took the chance to sit down with tutor Alison Campbell of Glasgow’s Crikey Aphrodite, to talk all things corsetry. Read on to find out a little bit about Alison and her love of this incredible art form!

How did you get first get into corsetry? 

I always liked the look of corsets. I think it was Saturday night westerns and Sunday musicals that did it from my youngest. So I love that mix of 19th century with 1950s. I always drew costumes and dresses when I was little and it grew from there into a love of costume and history topped up with a bit of Rocky Horror and general fashion likes. After many years in graphic design stuck at a computer I desperately wanted to do something hands on. My mum spotted an ad for a corsetry course in the newspaper, I booked it to try it out and was hooked.  

Has there been a particular project that taught you something unexpected? 

Nearly every one. A standout though are a corset for a client with a stoma that really pushed my problem solving and pushed me into looking at how nursing and maternity corsets were made a century ago to get ideas for a practical solution. 

What project are you most proud of and why? 

A wonderful bridal outfit for a client getting married at Edinburgh castle. Sometimes client vision and your own really get in sync and if they have the budget and the willingness to work with you then it’s good. This one was a huge silk skirt, full bust corset and veil. It was great fun to make. 

Who or what are your biggest inspirations? 

Undoubtedly Mr Pearl, whom I’ve been lucky enough to have spent some time with. His creations for the most well known names in fashion are just astounding. Are as his pieces for clients such as Dita Von Teese. 

Do you have any favourite techniques that crop up again and again in your work? 

I work a lot with full busted women as I work as a bra fitter too. This means some specific techniques to get the shape, support and comfort right. I use gores a lot, additional stiffening and extra boning.  

What would you say are some common misconceptions surrounding corsetry? 

There are so, so many. That they’re uncomfortable, that Victorians had ribs removed, that everyone in the past tightlaced, that you can’t move/breath/work in one. All utter nonsense, which I’ll be delighted to explain to anyone who will listen in more detail of course! 

What would you say drew you to teaching corsetry courses? 

I taught a corsetry course at a friend’s studio in the south of England. I discovered I enjoyed it more than I anticipated (never being one for standing up in front of groups) and that it’s incredibly rewarding passing on skills and seeing students develop. 

What would you say to someone curious about trying corsetry for the first time? What should they know before getting started? 

To be aware of accuracy, as tiny increases or decreases make big fit differences. And patience, as there are a lot of steps to making a corset. However that appealed to me as I have a short attention span and with a corset you’re always moving on to a different step/task. Also use quality materials. There’s no point spending hours making something if the materials won’t hold up past one wear. Other than that, if you can sew a line and follow a pattern you’re all set.  

 

And there you have it! Thank you again to Alison for talking to us and we can’t wait to see what kind of magic comes out of her next corsetry course.

 

For more information on Gartmore House’s corsetry course visit the course page or contact the team directly.
m: mail@gartmorehouse.com
t: 01877382991

2 Corsetry Workshop

NEW for 2020! Corsetry / Corset Making Course at Gartmore House

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:

Corsetry Tutor - Alison Campbell

Corsetry Tutor – Alison Campbell

Hi everyone,

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.

Corsetry student

Corsetry Student

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.

Corsetry Student

Corsetry Student

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 mail@gartmorehouse.com  #gartmoreexperience www.gartmorehouse.com

  • November 6, 2019
  • News