Hey! Come on into my boudoir for a moment. We have to talk about something very intimate. Remember when my friend Gem, the burlesque dancer, posted on Facebook that she just finished making 2 corsets? And I thought she couldn’t have made them from scratch; she probably just added some feathers and bows to personalize it. Because nobody makes corsets at home on their domestic sewing machines! Remember that? I guess not, since I never told you about it before this.
Truth is, I thought all undergarments were made by some mysterious heavy industrial machines that could shape and curve fabric and bend underwires. Oh boy! Was I wrong! And glad of it. Who knew that I would have, in the last two months, learned everything I need to know to make my very own skivvies with underwires, busks*, boning and all. Lay back on the silky pillows and let me take you on a journey, down a very adult rabbit hole with Craftsy and the girls. (I normally hate adulting, but this is fun.)
If you’re unfamiliar with Craftsy, here’s a quickie peek:
They are, by far, my favourite online source for sewing and cooking classes. They offer other crafting and hobby classes, and some professional skill-building for the creative arts. I’ve tried a few of their photography classes, because in case you haven’t noticed, my photography skills top the scales in suckage. I don’t like any of them so far. The teachers bore me to tears. But on the other end of the spectrum, we have my impressive, and still growing, collection of cooking, sewing and design classes. I just can’t get enough of those.
Other online learning platforms have started to emulate Craftsy’s teaching/learning model, buuuut… there’s only one original. With Craftsy, you buy a class and it’s yours for life. You can watch it as many times as you need to, watch at 2x speed, watch in slow motion, jump around to specific spots, take private notes, ask the teachers questions in the discussions… I can hear you saying, “But I can do that on YouTube. Why pay for it, when I can find it free?” I believe I answered that question back in April during the Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour. I’ll just tell you now that out there, you take your chances with the good, the bad, and the downright disastrous. Craftsy is professional. And if you hate a class, they’ll gladly switch it for another, or refund your money. But, you know, you are free to go for free…
Full Disclosure: I am a Craftsy affiliate. I get a percentage of sales if someone clicks through on my links and buys from them. I am also an affiliate for several other online learning platforms that are similar to Craftsy (and some of them even pay affiliates more), but you don’t see me promoting them very much. That’s because I really do love Craftsy, (or Cracksy as I call them) and I can share my enthusiasm with full integrity. While I’ve paid for a ton of classes, the company didn’t charge me for these two that I’m reviewing here. But they know perfectly well that I’m going to say exactly what I think—freebies or not!
Where were we?
Ah yes, Corsetry. So how did I go from “panties are made in factories” to whipping up my very own custom corset so quickly? As you might have guessed, with me, it’s a long convoluted story. I’ll tell you about that in a later post when I actually finish making it. That’s right! I sew so slowly that I didn’t finish making my corset before the deadline. Or it might have had something to do with the inordinate amount of time I spent poring over fabric and trim. Or maybe it’s this little uh-oh that happened before I even got warmed up.
Despite having three, yes three, of the country’s best corset-makers and instructors at my disposal, I still chose to work through this on my own. I did reach out to them…
- My Bosom Buddy/Left Cup for the tour, Karin of Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables and Braphoria,
- My Fairy Bra Mother, Beverly of Bra Maker Supply, and
- Linda Sparks of Farthingales, who is one of the instructors I discuss below.
… for a lot of help with choosing the materials I needed. Bra Maker Supply generously sent me some of the items so I could calm my angst. Farthingales also sent me a lovely pattern, which is the one I’m in the process of making first.
I’m afraid I won’t go into the hard-core review, because I am feeling rather soft and feminine after playing with lace this week. I ended up with two classes to review (another long story for another time), Sewing Corsets: Essential Techniques by Alison Smith and Custom Corsets: Bones, Casings & Busks by Linda Sparks. Contrary to every indication (and Linda coming right out and saying so), that I should start with Alison’s class, I didn’t. It’s just how my brain works. I have to jump into the middle and then back up to the beginning.
So, starting with Linda Sparks… Her class is all about the variations, and it focusses on the intermediate level design principles. It really does help to have some other means of learning how to construct a corset in general, or at least have advanced sewing skills so you can fill in the blanks on your own. If you’re a beginner sewist, you can totally make a corset but this might not be the place to start.
Linda obviously knows her work inside and out, but it’s apparent in some areas that she’s not as comfortable in front of the camera as she’d like to be. That happens mainly at those times when she is talking to the camera. When she’s at the sewing machine and doing her thing, she seems just as relaxed as if she were in her own living room. (Not that I know first-hand how she is in her living room.) Linda confided in me that there was an unexpected hiccup that threw her off during the filming. I was watching for it, but the way the handled the moment with such grace and aplomb, it was just the tiniest blip that you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t searching for it.
Alison Smith, is a natural with the cameras on her. She’s a born celebrity, that one! Of course, I would assume (no, ass jokes!) that she got that way from the bazillions of on-air miles she’s racked up (no rack jokes!) Her class takes you through the construction of a corset from choosing fabrics right through to tying up your laces. It’s a great beginner course, but somehow it still left me feeling insecure about my ability to actually make one myself. Each step of the way is easy enough to understand, but without the overall picture to plug the steps into, I was still feeling some trepidation about starting. (Kinda like how I do math. All the steps make sense on their own but give me the entire problem to solve by myself and my mind goes blank.)
Alison brings her considerable tailoring skills over to corset-making, but looking closely, I can see that she’s not as comfortable with the corset as she is with a couture jacket. She wrangles her corsets into submission, while Linda flows with them. I picture the two approaches as the masculine and feminine, the stiff bones and the delicate trim, the restrictive binding and the accentuated flesh… Enough!
My ears are pretty sensitive to grating sounds and I can be a nasty critic when someone has a terrible voice or uses too many “um”s. And yes, I’ve returned classes that were otherwise brilliant, just because the instructor’s voice was rubbing my nerves raw or they smacked their lips between sentences. That is not the case with either of these two fabulous ladies. Both of them are easy to listen to, and they both deserve more air time. Not just because they have nice voices, though. (I giggle every time I hear Alison try to say “busks” without it turning into “busts”.) Both teachers have a ton of useful information and are both excellent at sharing it.
Now, I’ve seen so many people in online sewing groups gush about how much fun they have making an item and they plan to make lots more of the same pattern, over and over and over and… [yawn] I’d be bored silly trying to repeat myself, repeat myself, repeat… But guess what! Corsets have so many options, I’d never make the same thing twice! There’s under bust and over bust, under clothes and over clothes, under boned (sigh!) and over boned… Now, that’s something to get excited about!
Sorry Gem, but you’re in for some stiff competition now.
I’d better stop before things get outta hand. I’ll meet everyone over at my Bosom Buddy’s blog in a minute. But before you leave, tell me in the comments if you spotted the reason for the seam ripper. And y’all get outta my bed!
P.S. I will have a followup post in two weeks with photos of my finished corset (corsets, maybe??) and a review of the patterns I used. So after you’ve picked up your Craftsy class, come on back here for a corsetry primer and to find out what I think of the patterns.
P.P.S. Be sure to enter the awesome giveaway by our sponsor Craftsy.
Click the image above now for a chance to win a bundle of 3 Craftsy classes (your choice):
Stay with us to the end of the tour for a chance to win additional prizes from these generous sponsors:
- complete kits to make your own bra,
- bra- and swimsuit-making classes,
- fabric, and more …
Thank you to these amazing sponsors who are helping make this tour a success:
Complete Tour Itinerary
Come along on the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes
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Sunday, September 11
Monday, September 12
- Valérie, la Élégantine, gets us airborne with some lingerie of her own, même en français
Her Bosom Buddy Michelle S. from Little Heart Threads, balances with more sweet lingerie
- Lisa who drinks Glitter in my Coffee brings us an Uplifting post
- Rachel of The Wild Stitch manages a little tête-à-tête with Emerald Erin
Tuesday, September 13
- Lisa fits right in as a new Pin Up Girl
Her Bosom Buddy, Shelaine, also makes her first bra
- Rachelle gets up close and personal with Carrie from With Love Lingerie
- Valérie returns with a whole new Bosom Buddy to tell us about Miss Maika Fabrics (This girl gets around!)
Wednesday, September 14
- Rachelle gets to the bottom of things with her review of a Craftsy class
Her surrogate Bosom Buddy Michelle N. from Michelle’s Creations dishes on the same Craftsy class
- Jessica from Gracious Threads gets the skinny on our Fairy Bra Mother
- Deb of Sprouting Jubejube chats with Emilie from Jalie
Thursday, September 15 <<——— We are here
- Karin gets chaotic (twice!) with corsets at Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables
Her BB Marsha flies by the seams of her pants into the corsetry web
- Shelaine is up to something and we have no idea what
- Michelle gets Mrs. Weaver to talk about her Finest Unmentionables
Friday, September 16
- Wild Stitch Rachel tries her hands at designing her own assets
So does her Cross Country BB Jess from the west
- Valérie est du rétour avec une entrevue de Blackbird
- Michelle N. takes us to a secret spot in the centre of things
Saturday, September 17
- Michelle S. returns to talk to Wendy about her bespoke bras. Be what??
- Marsha gets a taste of what’s behind Farthingales’ corsets
- Meanwhile BBs Deb and Michelle N. go bottoms up in panties
Sunday, September 18
Whoohoo! It’s giveaway day today!
Monday, September 19
Have you entered the giveaways yet? Today’s your last chance.
Tuesday, September 20
Giveaway winners announced on all the blogs:
Life of a Fairy Bra Mother, Little Heart Threads, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle’s Creations, Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables, Braphoria, Gracious Threads, Élégantine!, Shelaine’s Designs, That’s so Venice, Sprouting Jubejube, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, The Wild Stitch, Farthingales Corset Blog
After September 20
- Come back to visit all the blogs for followup posts. It’s always fun!
- Craftsy class discounts expire at midnight Sept. 30