Wow. I found Cicatrix Design and all I can say is….wow! The custom corsetiere, Kate Koeninger, has beautiful and unique designs you simply cannot find from traditional lingerie suppliers. The real beauty of Cicatrix Design, and all custom corsetry, is that every corset is a new creation â€“ which means that you can get something that perfectly matches your style, and your specifications, without compromising your dream to find a mass-produced item thatâ€™s just kind-of what you want. Koeninger says, â€œI love to collaborate with a client to make both our visions happen. I strive to give the client a truly custom corset, in design and function, as well as fit.â€ Koeninger has been interested in costumes and historic fashions for as long as she can remember. As a young girl, she started sewing at six years old and eventually went on to go to several schools for fashion. Now, she loves being a small operation and Iâ€™m glad that she is able to produce such beautiful pieces like this one – it may be my favorite. I’m a sucker for color gradients! (be sure to click on the thumbnail to see the that more clearly)After looking at all of her designs, I became more and more interested in the whole process of custom corsets, and Koeninger was nice enough to outline the process one goes through to create a custom corset:
1. Design consultation with the client â€“ Each person wants something different from their corset. We discuss style options, fabrics, support, and details like closures, grommets, if they will be lacing themselves or if the have someone to help, etc. Then I take measurements for creating a pattern.
2. Pattern & Mockup â€“ From the measurements, a ruler, a pencil and paper I make a pattern of the corset. Then I make a mock-up of the pattern in a fabric similar to what will be on the inside of the final corset. This mock-up is fully boned and has the closure and lacing method of the final. While they are not very pretty to look at, during the mock-up fitting, any fit issues can be addressed and altered before the final. This allows the client to see the results the corset can achieve, and makes sure they are comfortable! We donâ€™t want any bones poking in uncomfortable places, inadequate support, or any of the other various issues that can arise.
3. Final â€“ After making the appropriate changes to the pattern, the final corset is made! Normally it is constructed from three different layers of fabric (lining, inner support layer, and fashion fabric), with a waist tape and bias binding along the top and bottom edges. (Of course, all these things are subject to change due to design and desired result.) I use two different types of steel boning and heavy duty two-piece grommets for lacing. I have corsets that I made ten years ago that are still in great shape (even though my methods have changed a lot since then!) The client tries on the final result to make sure it is exactly what they wanted, and there we go!
The time involved depends on many various factors (style, size, fabrics, embellishments, etc.) but my average is 10-15 hours for a basic corset, from making the pattern to lacing it up. But Iâ€™ve also spent 40+ hours on a single corset, so there is quite a range.
To get your own cutstom corset from Cicatrix Design, e-mail Koeninger at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stop in at Seventh Goddess, a boutique in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has a selection of pre-made corsets available for sale there, as well as a book of previous works and style options for anyone interested in a custom product. You can also buy ready to ship items on Etsy that have been used in fashion shows or just havenâ€™t found a home yet (like this leopard corset, one of my favorites!). To keep abreast of the events where Cicatrix Design will be showing, visit the LiveJournal or Myspace pages. You can also check out those pages for more pictures of corsets, and just generally drool over all the pretty pieces!