The sampler corset top

This is my first post and I’m posting the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken so it might be all downhill from here…

Here is my sampler corset top which I’m making as a result of an online class I took on Craftsy, Hand embellishing knit fabric

Front panels
Front panels

I have no idea why I signed up for the class, hand embroidery has never been my thing and I wouldn’t ever have thought I’d have the time or inclination to do any hand embellishment on my clothes. It was under the “would be nice to have but I’ll never have time for that” classification. One day I was just bored, or more likely procrastinating, and I decided to have a look at the Alabama Chanin website and that was it! From that moment on it was all over for me, it was love at first sight. I can imagine myself wearing handmade cotton jersey clothing all the time and since my daughter gave me all of Natalie Chanin’s books for my birthday it’s even worse, I want handmade cotton jersey homewares as well.

Back panels
Back panels

After quite a long time I’m nearly finished… the embroidery part that is.  It hasn’t taken as long as I expected it would but it’s been quite an involved process, starting with sourcing good quality t-shirts for the fabric, hand cutting the stencil, mixing a special paint colour, stencilling the design onto the fabric, buying threads, beads, needles etc, and then there was the hand embellishing part which has taken the longest.  The whole project so far has been surprisingly good fun.  I’ve spent between a day and a week completing the embroidery on each of the panels depending on how much time I’ve had to devote to it.

I chose the corset pattern because it was the smallest project I could find to try out the techniques.  I didn’t want to start on something too big and not finish it.  The size of my project was also limited because I was using recycled t-shirts, one pale blue and one beige Mossimo shirt with a stationwagon print on the front which I’ve incorporated into the design.  I didn’t have quite enough of the top fabric so I used some lightweight dark blue cotton jersey I had in my stash for the side front panels

Bugle beads
Bugle beads

I used a selection of stitches and techniques from the course and the books because I couldn’t decide on just one and wanted to try everything.

I’m almost ready to start sewing it together so I am really hoping it fits me, otherwise I’m going to have to starve myself, and I’m not good at that

Seed beads
Seed beads
Couching - it takes ages to do, hence this is the only couching I did
Couching – it takes ages to do, hence this is the only couching I did
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14 thoughts on “The sampler corset top

  1. Hi, I just saw Melissa’s (curious kiwi’s) message that she had found you! I am an Alabama Chanin fan too, and spookily coincidentally, I just made a pair of boiled wool mittens inspired by her techniques. Simple but styley 🙂 Love what you are doing, it is awesome!!

    1. Hi Maryanne, good to hear from you. I just had a quick peek at your blog and saw your lovely embroidered purple mittens. They look great and they’re giving me all kinds of ideas for making some of my own. I mustn’t get distracted though, I have got to finish this top first.

    1. Thanks. I’m really looking forward to getting the top finished too. Hopefully I’ll have the embellishment all done this weekend and I can start on sewing it all together. It’s a pity it’s the wrong season to wear it though

  2. Zara! I’ve found your blog through Leimomi’s. Alana from Nancys Embroidery here and I’m so excited to finally see this project! It’s looking absolutely beautiful. Well done and please please come and model it for us in the shop one day!

    1. Hi Alana, how lovely to hear from you. It’s not long from being finished now, I did quite a lot of construction sewing yesterday. I’m a bit worried I won’t be able to squeeze into it once it’s done but I will definitely bring it in to Nancy’s after I’ve finished it so you can have a look 🙂

  3. Getting ready to sew my Alabama Chanin corset together ..a little nervous about stitching the armholes and neck.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and great photos!

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