I have grand aspirations to make a fantastic strapless ball gown. I began by making a corselet. It seemed like the best place to start because the corselet forms the support structure, and so I'd need to design the lining and the fashion fabric around it. For a pattern, I used the corselet from Vogue 1174, a strapless cocktail dress.
Couture Sewing Techniques. The corselet is constructed from two layers of mid-weight linen. The layer closer to the body cut on the straight grain, while the layer on the outside is cut on the bias. I ran lines of stitching to create boning channels between the two layers. I added one boning channel per seamline. The corselet closes at the side with hook-and-eye tape.
Amazingly, the corselet fit right off the bat with no small bust adjustment required.
On the other hand, it doesn't seem like this corselet will work for the evening dress I had in mind. My original idea was to make a slim-fitting dress with a skirt that would flare out below mid-thigh. I made a mock-up with the lining fabric, pinned it to the corselet, and then decided that this was a bad idea. The corselet adds a significant amount of bulk to my waist. If the dress went straight into a full skirt at the waist, that would be fine. But, as it was, it more or less eliminated my waist. Bad bad bad. So, I'm going to do something different, probably using the skirt from Vogue 2239.
Anyway, I'm happy that the corselet has worked out so well so far, and I can't wait to figure out what kind of an evening dress I'm going to make out of it!