IF you’ve found yourself watching costume dramas and envying the women their tiny waists and uplifted bosoms, it might be time to get out the sewing machine.
Those women owed their hourglass figures to the corsets hidden beneath their dresses.
Lacing yourself into such an undergarment might not seem like a very modern thing to do today, but corsets have never really gone out of fashion, according to dressmaker Kellie Riccardo.
She will be teaching a corset-making course at Trent Valley Academy from next Thursday 8th November.
“They’ve come and gone through history, but never really gone completely,” she said.
“You wouldn’t wear one every day, but if you want to dress up for a special occasion they give you a lovely smooth outline.”
“You’ve only got to go into bridal shops to see how popular they are. Goths and people into festish wear like them as well.”
Kellie, 43, of East Stockwith, has sewn since she was a little girl making clothes for her Sindy doll.
“My mum and grandma sewed and we always had a sewing machine in the house,” she said.
“As teenagers a friend and I made our own clothes because we wanted something different, and I also used to earn money making up suits.”
Kellie has made corsets for herself and says anyone who can sew should be able to make one during the five-week course.
Kits costing £40 will be available for those who don’t have their own materials and will include the busk fastener, the stays and lacing.
The material the corsets are made from is called coutil, which is French for cotton drill.
Kellie said corsets weren’t normally available off the peg because they needed to be fitted to the individual.
She said: “It would be like buying a bra in small, medium or large.”
“Everyone is a different shape and you need to be measured properly so that the corset isn’t uncomfortable to wear.”
“It should draw your waist in by about a couple of inches and it lifts your bust up so you don’t need to wear a bra.”
“You fasten it at the front and then tighten the laces at the back to make it fit.”
She said corsets weren’t about making women look slimmer, so much as giving them a nice shape and a smooth outline.
“A lot of women when they reach 30 and maybe had a couple of kids just want something to give them some shape back.”
“Corsets also make you sit up properly because you can’t slump in them.”
She said celebrities like Madonna and Kylie had made corsets popular as outer wear.
“If you put a long skirt with one you can wear it as a dress,” she said.
Kellie has two sons, 15 and 13, and has sewn for them over the years.
“They always won the fancy dress competition,” she laughed.
The corset-making classes for two hours and the cost is £50 plus materials.
Kellie will also be teaching a basic five-week sewing course at TVA from next Tuesday, costing £35 plus materials.
To book call Lincolnshire Active Community Network on 01522 585580.