Frank's Dinner Corset

It's easier to tackle if you break it down into 3 main elements; the corset, the chiffon blouse, and the overlay.

The corset:
Using the method described in my duct-tape pattern tutorial you can easily draft your own, custom corset pattern.  Once the torso is wrapped simply draw on your corset lines with the appropriate dip in the center front and the rounded off bottom.  Draw your intended seams and if you like, where the boning channels are.  When you prepare your pattern from these pieces don't forget to add a seam allowance on all of your pieces.  At some point I will try to post my actual pattern, but only in limited  sizes.

Velvets are flimsy and slippery to work with.  I recommend flat-lining your fabric  with cotton (or whatever you prefer) to stiffen the fabric.  I literally just spray-glue the back side of the fabric and lay it down on the lining fabric, thereafter treating the fabrics as one.

My seam allowances are stitched down to form channels for the boning, and the rest of the channels are created with single-fold bias tape.  The top and bottom edges are also finished with single-fold bias tape, hand stitched to the inside.  I opted for a side zipper - which won't change your seam allowance, but just be sure not to close up both side seams.  Also, you won't want to put boning against the zipper, but I do have boning on both sides of the eyelets in back.

The blouse:
You might get lucky on eBay or a thrift store, otherwise you can use any simple tunic pattern.  Simply adjust the neck hole to be an oval and have the blouse open in back.  I bind off my neck opening with narrow double-fold bias tape for  a clean edge.   Chiffon is another flimsy, pain-in-the-ass fabrics to work with.  For the back opening I just wrapped a 1" strip of the embroidered tulle around the edges.  I stitched down the soutache loops about 1" apart, catching them twice with the edge stitching on the tulle.

If you have a hard time finding black shoulder pads, just cover white ones with black fabric.

The hardest part is attaching the blouse to the corset - you'll definitely need a person or a dress form to get it lined up all the way around.  I pinned mine together about every 3" inches, then I hand-sewed it together from the inside along the top edge of the corset - right into the bias tape.

The overlay:
I've sometimes found silver on black lace at the store which works well, and I also sell the overlay as a separate piece.  If you're really dedicated you could actually hoop some tulle and sew the flowers yourself with metallic silver thread.

Like the blouse, it will be easier to line it up if it's on a person or dress form.  I apply it with a simple running stitch by hand all around the edge.  You could also secure it with a few discreet dabs of fabric glue - careful not to let the glue bleed through other layers below.

The 9-patch rhinestone buttons are fairly easy to find, but the 6-pointed stars and black-leaf sequins continue to elude me.  The rest of the rhinestones  I just apply with Jewel-glue.

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