February 5, 2009

Clockwork Corset Top

One of the things I had the most fun working on for one of my costumes for ConFusion was the Clockwork Corset Top, which really isn't a corset at all, its a corset styled top. It was a ready made item I found on clearance at Torrid. I had the idea of a top all made of gears and mechanics that looked like what the inside of what a clockwork doll might be. I had been shopping at Torrid and passed this top up, because it wasn't my style, but I later thought about it and the price was right, so I tried it on and loved the fit. I was determined to make something neat out of it, and I think I did, with a little bit of time, and black and gold fabric paint.

Above, the top as it looked when I bought it. Bright red and black houndstooth. Not my style, but I liked the smooth surface and the basic black back. I also liked the criss cross tie up the back and noticed that both the cord for the lacing and the belt across the top could be taken off. Despite the bright pattern, it left a great canvas for painting.

I started by painting the front black with fabric paint. The material is a heavy cotton, that had been screen printed already, so it took the paint well. You could see a slight ghost of the houndstooth as the black paint made the bright red into a very dark red color, and made the black darker. It added some depth that makes the background look more interesting than it would if it was flat black.

The gold gears and mechanical elements were hand painted onto the fabric. I started with a silver metallic sharpee to sketch the basic shapes while I was wearing the top, and then handpainted the gold (and went in with details in black to clean things up) It was a bit of a challenge to paint things on, as the fabric is not straight, but is curved and darted to fit the form. But I stuffed it with newspaper in a garbage bag, to fill and flatten the fabric. It was easier than I thought it would be, and I was very pleased in the clean lines I was able to get with just a paintbrush. I really enjoyed making and wearing this at the Con, and how it became the centerpiece of my whole Clockwork costume idea. I look forward to wearing it again, perhaps not as a part of a full costume, but with some pants and a jacket over it. Its amazing what a little paint can do!

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