Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Femme Steampunk Darkwing Duck Corset

So I actually started work on patterning this corset for myself probably almost a year ago.  It went through several mock-ups and I finalized the pattern and decided on the fabrics and lace last August or so.   Only after that did I really formulated The Plan for the Darkwing outfit and realized I conveniently needed a purple corset for a base.

To be honest, not much of this corset is going to show under the coat (I am continuing to develop the very rough drape).  Just the bust area.  That's ok, because the lace doesn't really go with the rest of the costume.

I made this corset mostly to show off both my figure (cause if you got the hips...) and my improving corset skills.  I was mostly wildly successful.   The only thing I'm unhappy with is the exact fit of the bust.  I was trying to account for my LARGE asymmetry  (one of my breasts is easily a cup size bigger than the other), but the fact that I pattern many months from actually making the corset means I made a few mistakes and by the time I was putting everything together I saw what I could have done better, but it was too late to totally redo.  But that's nit-picky.  (One day I MAY make a perfect corset.  That is not this day.)

Technical stuff: The corset is made from a self-drafted pattern that I tweaked and tweaked to get the shape I wanted.  I wanted something that was full-coverage enough that I could wear it for formal events.  I also wanted to get the maximum dramatic effect on the hipspring, because I COULD and I didn't feel any of my corsets had really shown my hipspring off fully.   Also I wanted to get a good side-seam symmetrical overbust pattern.  That means that the side seam runs directly down the middle of my side, with most of the hip curve in that seam.  It makes the hip more dramatic but it's more difficult to construct smoothly.

The corset is double boned with all 1/4" spiral steel except at the grommets.  The busk is an extra wide (and extra long) busk which I've found works best with my curvy figure.  The fashion fabric is dupioni silk backed with fusible woven interfacing with appliqued lace along the entire bottom. I love how easy the silk was to work with after interfacing.  Always doing that from now on. Strength fabric is cotton duck (cause I'm broke) and the floating lining is twill.  The bones are encased in the pressed open seam allowance of the top two layers.  This is a method I don't really like because it's not as strong as a welt seam but I double stitched each seam so hopefully it holds.  The double boning is nice, but I do still generally prefer having a bone in the middle of the panel.  Some of these panels are very skinny in one place and very wide in another and that means I couldn't have a bone running down the middle.

The light purple works fabulously, but it was initially an accident because I ran out of the dark purple silk.  My pattern pieces were so weird in shape that I didn't have enough room to cut the whole corset from my 1/2 yard piece of silk remnant.  So I used a complementing color and it all worked like I planned it that way.  I'm considering using bias of the light purple around the edges of the coat to match.  That probably will come down to time.

I have no pictures of the back because those pictures mysteriously disappeared from the camera.  Which means I don't have a very good idea what the back looks like on, either.  I have no idea how much of a waist reduction this is because I NEVER remember to measure.  I should be able to close it further once it's seasoned/broken in.  But it's really comfortable even though it's a pretty good cinch.

One of the complications for the rest of the costume is that I wasn't thinking of making a whole matching outfit when I chose these colors/fabrics.  I won't be able to actually match this purple, since I can't afford to make the whole costume in dupioni and the dye lots wouldn't match anyway.  So I have to find the right colors of purple to go nicely with this while still playing the right role in the Darkwing costume.  I think I have the cape fabric sorted, but I'm still waiting on swatches for the coat.  Cross your fingers.  (Also notice how the one photo makes the purple look way redder.  Yes, it's retouched a bit, but the color really does shift from blue-purple to red-purple depending on the light.  Which means it will probably clash no matter what I do. )

ETA: For the curious, this is a 4 inch reduction from my natural waist.  I was surprised that at least for now the waist measurement is the same as my usual corseted waist.  My measurements in this are 45-32-48.


  1. The corset is lovely! I am so excited to watch this costume come to life.

  2. That is looking great! I really love seeing how your skills develop and you creating ever more astounding stuff.

    (Seeing your measurements makes me curious about how tall you are, mostly because we are very very close in shape according to those measurements, and I take some sort of idle interest in how different people with the in theory same body type look.)

  3. AbandoningRealityApril 3, 2014 at 4:33 AM

    Please excuse me while I drool over that corset. It looks amazing!

  4. The corset is fantastic! I can't wait to see the rest of the outfit, I always liked Darkwing Duck as a kid! Steampunked is even better!

    1. Thanks! Hopefully the rest of the outfit goes as well.

  5. Very cool. We share the same measurements it would seem, except height, I'm 5'7". It's really awesome to see a corset with this amount of hipspring, I am in the beginning stages of commissioning my first custom for this very reason, I've got the hips for it and I want to show them off. Do you take commissions? It's obvious you were successful with this pattern, I love the shape, and an underbust like this would be magnificent.

    1. I do take commissions. And if we're that close in measurements, it should be fairly simple. I was thinking of making this pattern an underbust just for the hell of it, so that would be great. Email me at and we can talk about it. :)