If you haven’t come across Nasty Ginny’s Corsets then you are in for a treat! Each beautiful corset is lovingly created by the naughty but nice Kristi Robertson. All are steel boned and unique, crafted using the most exquisite vintage or retro inspired fabrics.
Iced Vovo spoke to Nasty Ginny about corset making, vintage fabrics, and being a little naughty:
Q: What inspired you to get into the corset making business?
A: I love so many things about corsets – how they can make me feel, their shape and their tradition and history for starters! A friend asked me if I could make one for her partner and that inspired me a lot. My first corsets were real experiments with the pattern and the components, for example I tried using a lot of different bonings and quickly came to the conclusion that only sprung steel was good enough.
Q: What were you doing before corset making?
A: I have worked in the fashion industry for years both in Australia and in the UK. Many of those years were spent in couture bridal wear, creating wedding gowns. For a number of years I had a shop in Hobart called Kristi’s Collection and I dressed many, many Tasmanian brides in that time. One of the other things I love about corsets is how small they are compared to a wedding dress! These days I am working part-time teaching Fashion at the Tasmanian Polytechnic as well as making corsets.
Q: I read on your website that each corset is handmade. How long does it take to make one individually designed corset and can you take us through a little of the process?
A: A corset can take between five and eight hours to make. I start with the client’s measurements, and I get a lot of measurements all around the upper body. From these I draft a block which gives me the client’s basic shape and size. Then I start playing with shape and lines and measurements, for example: I immediately take 10cm off each of the basic bust, waist, hip measurements because the corset will be tight, the fabric will give a tiny bit and well… it’s a corset! Then I sketch in the panels the corset needs and create the shape around the upper and lower edges. I love seeing the pattern develop from here as each panel has to be shaped to hug and mould around the bust, waist and hips. This part of the process might take half an hour to an hour.
Next I cut out all the layers of fabric, lining and interfacing, and then I start sewing. The way I put a corset together is different from the cheaper ones I’ve seen from Asia (I bought a few before I started designing and making them), and I don’t use any specialist machinery apart from a sewing machine and a good quality eyelet machine. First I sew the panels together and double top-stitch the boning chanels. Then I sandwich the lining and the outer layer together, add the eyelets and then bind along the top and lower edges. There’s a bit more to it than that, but it gives you the idea!
Q: You cater for all sizes and make specialty burlesque corsets. What would you say differentiates a burlesque corset from your others?
A: For a burlesque performer there is more to their costume than just a corset. They tend to be layered and even contain multi-functional pieces and surprises. I design burlesque around a theme with the performer’s personality and routine in mind.
Q: You also have a range of shrugs, jackets and knickers in your collection – can you tell us a little more about those?
A: I developed these pieces as a way of enhancing the experience of wearing a corset. If I wear a corset out I like that by adding a little lace jacket I add texture and maybe a little mystery to the look. The knickers are just designed to be fun! I choose beautiful fabrics and designs and make them in three basic sizes. My clients love them and wear them in all sorts of ways.
Q: I noticed you also offer a custom design service is this just for specialty underwear or does it include designing “outerwear” too?
A: I am happy to make anything in my range, or any corset or piece of lingerie that a client has a hankering for! By taking on these things my knowledge and skills keep growing and what I can offer clients can keep expanding.
Q: I love that your products are all limited editions due to the availability of the materials you use. Without giving away too many of Ginny’s secrets where do you source your fabrics?
A: For anyone who loves vintage fabrics it won’t come as much of a surprise when I tell you I find much of my fabric in Op Shops. I have friends and family always on the lookout for me as well. I have used quite a few vintage table-cloths (souvenir of Switzerland or Melbourne corset anyone?) and even once found a pair of original Snow White fabric curtains which made three stunning corsets and a little jacket for three lucky clients. As well as vintage fabrics I also love to use silk and linen – and velvet.
Q: The corsets are seductive but also very functional and practical making them fantastic for wearing during the day or night as “outerwear” themselves. Was this what you were aiming for – to bring the corset into the light of day…?
A: Yes, it really was. It seemed like a natural thing to combine my love of corsets and vintage fabrics and create the ‘Girl’s Own’ range, based on the old girls annuals from the 40s and 50s. The Snow White corset was a great example of a daywear corset from this range. I have made myself a corset in navy cotton featuring large cream polka-dots spaced evenly around the corset and laced with red ribbon. It’s really fun to wear with white linen pants or a white vintage broderie anglaise skirt.
Q: The suspenders are another lovely added bonus you offer to some of the corsets, are they also all hand made? What are they best to teem up with?
A: I don’t actually hand-make the suspenders at this stage, but I do sew them on by hand. They can be removed if not required or left hanging out over jeans if you like. They are designed to hold up a set of stockings and they do it beautifully! A great way to wear a corset with suspenders and stockings out for the evening would be to add a full silk skirt cinched in with a wide ribbon around the waist.
Q: You have been showcasing your corsets at MoMa at MONA, but where else can people find your corsets?
A: My corsets are available on my website: www.corsetsbynastyginny.com and on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/CorsetsbyNastyGinny People can also contact me on Facebook or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What plans have you got for Nasty Ginny for 2013?
A: I am quite excited about 2013 actually, and seem to have a bit of a long list of what I’d like to work on: I will develop a new range of designs and showcase those on my website through some gorgeous photos (the photos I’m using now were taken by Tasmanian Polytechnic photography students and I hope to work with them again). I’ve learnt a lot since my first range and I believe the corsets I’m creating now are better than ever, but learning and developing new skills is always part of my journey. I also hope I’ll be able to work collaboratively in some way, for example with models, photographers, fabric printers, performers…. This year I will explore some promotional leads in Malaysia and the UK and with burlesque as well. And in the midst of all this I also plan to keep Nasty Ginny at a manageable level and keep enjoying what I am doing!
I love that Nasty Ginny also offers a “risk free purchasing” policy of free return postage if people aren’t 100% happy with their purchase – know that’s not nasty at all! So if you’re looking for that special something to tee up with a lovely new or vintage skirt why not check out a Nasty Ginny Corset – you’re sure to make heads turn! Follow the links to Nasty Ginny above or on the Fab-Finds Page.
(Photos courtesy of Nasty Ginny)