Completed Projects

Poison ivy and broken needles.

After disappointing Marc with his festival outfit, I’ve been determined not to do the same for his sister, Emma, who’s off to Glastonbury next weekend.

On our last visit to her sprawling estate in West Yorkshire, we drunkenly discussed her desire for a woodland nymph outfit, and shortly before leaving she gifted me with a plastic bag full of old corsets that I could use as the skeleton.

Two of them were made of stretch polyester – no fun whatsoever – so I elected for the third, a heavily embroidered black number with a lace-up back. Having watched many a Project Runway unconventional materials challenge, I decided this was the perfect chance to really fuck up my sewing machine.

I painted the corset a fern green using an everyday spray can from the Craft And More art supplies store on Broadmead in Bristol. I looked for proper fabric spray paint but figured, for a fancy dress outfit unlikely to be worn more than once, that it didn’t matter too much.

To it I’ve attached two wreaths of artificial ivy: one green, one variegated. I’ve cut them up to create an approximate pattern, which also keeping it relatively organic-looking. The sacrifice I have made in exchange for this is at least four broken needles, which either bent or snapped while attempting to sew over, through and around its plastic stems.

Marc accidentally binned the original ribbon from the fastening, and I’ve consequently borrowed a corset lace from a friend of his. It’s very, very long, though, and I’m almost minded to just replace it with a bootlace from a pair of DMs. I might go hunting for a cheap one on Friday, before we travel up.

The skirt I made from a large sheet of green polyester pseudo-chiffon, which is quite lustrous and extraordinarily cheap-looking. I used simple straight stitches to fashion it into a very long pillow case, then gathered it roughly as I attached it to the underside of the corset. I used a little more green paint to create an ombre effect and make the transition from corset to lurid skirt a little less assaulting on the eyes.

It’s far from the original vision, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it looks. Now I just need to remember to pack it on Friday when we head up north.

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