DIY,  Halloween,  The OC Team

So You Think You Can Decorate…Caylyn’s Corset

Hi there blog readers! The corset I designed was the Mermaid Queen corset.
caylyn-mermaid-so-you-think-you-can-decorateAs the name implies I took my inspiration from mermaids–more specifically, the idea of a siren queen, singing pirate captains to their deaths. (I mean come on, she wears their fishing nets as a cape. How metal is that?!)

I used a White Satin 530 for my corset base.

To make it the color of the sea, I used fabric dye in two colors: light blue for the top and a dark blue/indigo color for the bottom (to represent “The Sunlight Zone” and “The Abyss,” respectively) which I applied with a–wait for it–sea sponge. To represent the iridescence of the surface of the ocean, I used fabric glue to adhere mirror-backed rhinestones to the busk.

After the dye and rhinestones, I used a hot glue gun to attach the netting to the top of the corset, draping and gluing it in a way that seemed organic and flowy. Once I attached the net, I decided that no formidable siren would dare set foot (or tail, I suppose) outside of their grotto without adorning themselves in intimidating shells; shells so sharp they could cut anyone attacking them to shreds.

Finally, the last thing I bought was some blue, rainbow lamé to put beneath the net to represent her unwavering control of the sea. She wears it like a party dress and she is the host.

As far as how much it cost me to bring my siren look to life, I only spent $28 on the project, but I also had some of the stuff on hand (so if you don’t have some of this on hand, it would probably cost you a bit more than what I spent). I also used a 40% off coupon on pretty much everything I purchased so keep that in mind as well. The rhinestones were my largest expenditure ($15 before coupon! Ouch!). My other purchases were the dye, blue fabric, and shells. I had the net and glue on hand so that was really fortunate for my budget.

This look didn’t take too long. What I would say took the longest was gluing down the rhinestones and waiting for the dye to dry. I spent probably a little over an hour (maybe, an hour and a half?) gluing on the rhinestones. Dying it was pretty fast, but I didn’t really follow the directions correctly (I sponged it on instead of soaking it for the recommended time) and it took about a day to dry. Corsets have many layers of fabric, I don’t know why I expected it to dry faster, haha. Gluing on the nets and shells went quickly as well. All in all, I would say I spent about three hours of active time on my corset (meaning I’m not counting the drying time).

From this experience, I learned to not switch your idea after you’ve glued on your rhinestones! I had another design in mind and got to work on it but it looked a little too similar to my friend Brittney’s corset so
I decided I couldn’t submit it.

Basically what happened was I decided I needed to dye my corset after I had applied the rhinestones (glued on, and made of plastic).  That could have worked out fine if the satin wasn’t made of polyester which is  SUPPOSED to be dyed in boiling water–sounds like a disaster for those rhinestones now, huh? So I boiled the dye and sponged it on hoping for the best. I let it sit then rinsed it as thoroughly as I could manage but the color was nowhere near as pigmented as I’d hoped for after rinsing. The color also didn’t set very well. It got a little wet while I was out taking pictures in it and there are obvious watermarks where the dye bled.

One more tip I would suggest for anyone wanting to decorate a corset: If your panels will be stretched out while you’re wearing it (like how the bust pops out once you tighten your corset as opposed to how it looks laying flat) stretch them out while you decorate. I started out gluing rhinestones to a flat busk and I fortunately realized if I didn’t stretch it out, they would pop off once I tightened it. I put wads of tissue paper under the busk to hold it in shape while I glued the rhinestones down and it all worked out in the end.

Hiya! I'm the Marketing Director here at Orchard Corset, which is pretty much the best place ever to work! (like you hadn't already guessed THAT!) I live in beautiful Washington state with a husband a few animals and some kiddos in the mix. I prefer margaritas (on the rocks with salt) but a mojito will do in a pinch!

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