pandaemonaeum: (Default)
pandaemonaeum ([personal profile] pandaemonaeum) wrote2010-02-17 06:20 pm

Rare Public Post

I very rarely post publically about my work.

Reason number 1 is that there are a dozen communities out there you can follow if you want to know boring day-to-day waffle about making and selling corsets. Reason number 2 is that I am often bogged down in the minutae of it; I love all the aspects of it, the different styles, the weird and wacky patents. Reason number 3 is that most of my friends just couldn't give a toss. Because this is my personal journal, and they're my friends, not my clients.

But I'm doing it today, because I am heartily sick of being called 'obsessive' and 'timid'. These people clearly don't know me.

When I was 14 years old, I started to express my personality in dress. You couldn't buy what I wanted to wear but that wasn't a problem, as I had been sewing since I could hold a needle. My great-aunt had worked in an atelier in Glasgow before her marriage and she taught me 'housewifely' skills. My mother didn't have much money and so made our clothes; she taught me how to use a sewing machine and commercial patterns.

10 years later, I was dressing up in one of my Victorian outfits to go out, and 'Gone With The Wind' was on. Marmee was tightlacing Scarlett (hahahaha) and I thought "I want one of those." There were no commercial patterns; there were no online corset resources; there were hardly any internet forums, let alone specialist ones. So I went to the University library and used the research skills my degree was teaching me to look up primary sources. And I was hooked. It took me 2 years alone to track down somewhere that stocked busks - I had to look it up in huge books of public records in a library, then telephone round places to see if they were still in business. Think of that when your Google-fu is weak.

In the ensuing 15 or so years, I have tried every combination imaginable in getting a wearable corset. I've used everything from buckram through to vintage suede. I regularly look at weird fabrics and think "would that make a nice corset?"

Every corset I make now starts with coutil and steel boning. If I don't use those, I call it a bodice. The reason for this is simple; I've tried everything else and this is what I feel is best.

If your mileage varies, fine. But stop calling me names for doing what I see fit.

[identity profile] 2010-02-17 06:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Exactly! I am just getting started within corsetry, and like you I started sewing because I could not afford those fancy clothes.
Now I am in a better position then you when it comes to research and resources. There is so much available at the moment.

A subject as corsetry is something that I love to speak and learn about. And there are things I feel quite strongly about. Ever since I found a propper coutil I never use anything else. If someone chooses to use something else it is all up to them. But at some point a thin cotton thing with plastic boning is not a corset anymore.

But calling people names because you disagree with them is juveline and silly!

Ofcourse now I am all worked up, and Maarten just does not understands what I am getting so angry about. :/

[identity profile] 2010-02-17 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Ghost is amused at me getting angry and upset, too. But I'm pretty sure he understands.

This is something about which we are passionate. We want to see it be the best we can; it upsets us when we see substandard work presented when we work so hard to produce something beautiful. After all, you would not expect to see sweatshop produced disposable items from Primark in, say, Vogue. And in the end, we are all working to produce something beautiful; I don't see why we cannot agree to disagree, or discuss points of historical controversy, without descending into name calling. I am quite happy to look at evidence presented to back an argument and re-assess my point of view.

We do have to draw a line as to what constitutes a corset, as too many people have their own definition, and some of it is distinctly sub-par...

[identity profile] 2010-02-17 07:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I can haz standards nao plz?

[identity profile] 2010-02-17 09:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Are people still bashing you for having a standard you like to keep to? Seriously, using a tried and tested method to get the best result is a good thing and the people that moan and insult others about it are idiots.

*sigh* but this is the internet, just about everyone's gotta have their say.

[identity profile] 2010-02-17 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, apparently having standards makes me a big old snob. And sharing those standards makes me oppressive. And stating facts makes me a big scaredycat cowardycowardycustard.


[identity profile] 2010-02-17 11:01 pm (UTC)(link)
I never did understand that argument.

[identity profile] 2010-02-18 03:16 pm (UTC)(link)
I saw the argument that inspired this post, I think, and I swear to god, I'm pissed off just on your behalf! It's not as if being a professional with standards somehow invalidates your many years of experience in the face of the newbies who probably shouldn't be starting their sewing career with a corset anyway.

But hey, you can always oppress me ;D Especially whilst being a scaredycat :P

[identity profile] 2010-02-18 01:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I for oen get mildly angry when bustiers and bodices are called CORSETS!

I totally agree with you- it is this very difference in the naming that cheapens real corset making- with the world and their wife wanting to pay £20 for a corset- and not accepting that a real corset needs quite a bit more than that for time and materials.

How the hell anyone can call you timid is beyond me hun! LOL!

[identity profile] 2010-02-18 10:49 pm (UTC)(link)
S'like me calling a piece a "drawing" even though I've done it with an inverted frog and a plate of braised pus.


Either way, lol people are dumb. Stick to your guns, lovely lady. x