April 02, 2014

Happily Ever After - Sharon's Corset

My Once Upon a Time posts are geared toward showing some incredible vintage apparel. Happily Ever After is about being inspired by a vintage photograph or garment, and re-creating it in today's fabric.

Today's post is seen through the eyes of Sharon Butler, of Tailor Chick Productions, in New York City. Here is her story...


"Approximately 2 years ago ( Hmm... 3Yrs ??-  don't remember.I must be getting old!) Anyway-  I wanted a Canadian sewing holiday and so I came up and took a summertime corsetry class that you offered at Bra-makers Supply. It was my first time seeing the new Ottawa Street location after you moved from Fennel Avenue.

There were a lot of first time corset makers in the class. I  was not a first timer, since I had learned corsetry through the Professional Bra-makers class, but I came to tag along and do my own thing and enjoy being at Bra-makers on vacation.  Your challenge to the class was to look at an array of books  with corset photos that you  had put out on a table  and pick  an image of a corset to be inspired by or to recreate in some manner. The inspiration for my corset came from a picture found in one of the many books that you offered the class to look through.  It is a "bodice" from the 1600's or 1700's that is now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK. I have since seen my inspirational photo again in books at the library at F.I.T.  in NYC.


The yellow French floral rosette motif fabric, and the gold canvas weave lining fabric were a purchase from the Home Dec section of a wonderful family- owned fabric shop that is located two doors down from Bra Makers, on Ottawa St. (The Textile Centre). 


The blue silk for the sleeves was also a purchase from them as well. It was a store with beautiful European laces showcased in glass display cases.  I bought lace from them, too but I did not use it. That lace I still have, and it may show up on another corset project. The beaded trim was a purchase  from M & J Trim in NYC.

I lined the gold fabric with a thin but strong cotton polyester fabric that  would support the garment on the inside and also serve as the layer for my bone casing stitching. 



Bias strips of the blue silk were attached to the tabs by hand- as can be seen in the pictures. 


The beaded pearl trim strips and single beads were also attached by hand.  


The model wearing the finished garment was a neighbor friend who happened to fit the corset. This corset was originally made just for your class as a "sample". I had no idea that it would fit anyone- being so small- but it fit her. It's almost too big for her, as I was able to easily lace her up together in the back."



This is definitely a Happily Ever After story, Sharon! You certainly captured the spirit and the look of the original garment. Your model showed it off really well!

Sharon Butler is a dressmaker, tailor, professional bra-maker and corsetiere who is living, sewing and teaching sewing in New York City. She earned a degree from F.I.T, and has also learned couture techniques from a small couture school in NY and the Professional Made-to-Measure class with Beverly Johnson. Her journey with sewing can be seen on her website: 



2 comments:

  1. Wow, such beautiful work Sharon, I would love to see more, Rebecca !

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  2. I've met Sharon and seen this in person. It's absolutely gorgeous. She's just an amazing woman!

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