The Art of Darkness

Crafting a Corset

June 2nd, 2010 by Cobwebs

CorsetAlaina Zulli, a dressmaker and costume historian who specializes in historical sewing techniques, has put up a three-part tutorial for making a corset at CRAFT:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I’m sorry the series wasn’t published a month or so ago, when I was making this costume for Shadaughter; I could have used a few pointers.

Fortunately, if you’re interested in making a corset of your own, it’s actually not as difficult as you might expect. If you can sew a straight seam, you can make a corset. “Historical” patterns seem to be very popular right now, so many major pattern companies have easy-to-follow patterns and instructions for period undergarments. I used Simplicity #5726 for the corset and chemise, and except for the WTF-ness of the instructions for inserting 24 steel bones of various lengths consisting of a single, airy, “Be sure to insert the bones in the correct sleeves,”* it was actually quite straighforward.

Corset hardware is a bit specialized and doesn’t seem to be readily available in the fabric stores I frequent, but I was able to find everything I needed online. I ordered from corsetmaking.com and Lost Coast, and both companies were great to work with.

Custom corsets can be extremely expensive, but with a little patience you can create your own for a fraction of the cost.


*I’m going to pray that they never start writing instructions for Ikea, since I assume they’d be, “Open box. Assemble furniture.”

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

Felt Magnet Set

June 1st, 2010 by Cobwebs

Fish MagnetsMolly of The Purl Bee made this cute “aquarium” bulletin board, which would be great for a child’s room.*

Something a bit darker would also be a great gift for an older child or adult. Instead of starfish and seaweed, you could populate your “aquarium” with sharks, piranha, and electric eels. Or, instead of an aquarium, choose a darker-colored board and make a graveyard with little felt tombstones, skulls, and fluttering bats. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, a set of magnets that can be arranged into a skeleton (skull, ribcage, pelvis, armbones, etc.) would be a great project.

Felt is fairly easy to work with because the edges don’t ravel. You can cut small, intricate shapes without having to worry about finishing raw edges or turning tight corners. Keep an eye for a theme that appeals to you, then search for patterns (or even clip art) that you can print and use as a cutting guide. Add a bit of simple embroidery (Molly’s tutorial is a great guide to embellishing the shapes) and you can turn out nice-looking felt objects without too much effort.

You can also decorate the magnetic board itself using paint or thin contact paper cut into various shapes. A flock of magnetic bats flitting out of a gothic-looking window would be much more fun to hang dental appointments and reminders to call the plumber than a boring old corkboard.


*With the important caveat that the child is old enough to know not to swallow magnets. Strong magnets can cause internal injury if swallowed.

Posted in Bittens, Doom It Yourself, Paint It Black | No Comments »

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