I have an annual tradition of going to renting a historic mansion in an out of the way California town for a weekend retreat/birthday party. Crow Mansion is not just a beautiful place to spend a couple days with my favorite people – it's a beautiful Victorian mansion with a pool.
Part of my tradition is to also do a photoshoot with my close friend and frequent collaborator, Alyx Ryan. I try to make myself a new corset (or two) for the occasion. This year, whimsy struck me, and I knew what I wanted to make was a swimming corset – my first such prototype.
A recent commission called for both heavy duty powermesh and synthetic whalebone – perfect materials for experimental construction. I wanted to balance a moderate waist reduction, even higher mobility than my standard supple approach, and of course, minimize the risk of rust or other water damage.
The resulting corset is an underbust in two layers of heavy powermesh with no waist tape and boned with synthetic whalebone. I estimate that the waist stretched about 2" during wear, but I didn't want a waist tape that would inhibit swimming or create a bulge above and below the waist due to sudden variances in compression. Instead of a busk I used a heavy duty plastic zipper. I minimized the use of metal parts to reduce the chances of rusting. There is a heavily coated steel underbusk and the usual metal grommets – these are the only metal components.
Of course, I have several ideas for how I want to take the idea from here! Possible future variations include: single layer, elastic waist tape, solid fabric overlay to stabilize waist, more playing with patterning techniques to optimize the shaping for the unorthodox material. I may offer an intro special while I work out these elements, though my queue is closed until the fall.
If you're interested in ordering a swimming corset, the price range would be based on my usual made to order, plus an add-on rate – likely $100 added to the base price of the corset. I would probably recommend a Demoiselle base and pair it with the bathing suit or bikini of your choice!
Pop Antique "Swimming Corset" | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyx Ryan | Modesto, CA