Project Recap: Thoughts on My Upcycled Denim Corset

Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops
7 min readNov 16, 2021
Author on a 10 mile run in frigid temps. In a skirt. Image Source: Author

I last wore ‘hard pants’ (I wear leggings under my skirts like Daenerys Targaryen so I’m not talking about those) sometime in 2019, in the before-fore times. I’ve never been a huge fan of trousers — I’ve always preferred skirts. I even wore skirts when I was marathoning. Imagine my annoyance when I went to unpack my winter clothes this year, and came upon some denim pants at the bottom. Initially I was thrown into the ‘do I donate these or — ‘ thought spiral, until I realized the jeans might solve a problem I was having. For a couple of weeks I have been wanting to make a mock-up of a new corset pattern I had drafted up of another Pretty Housemaid corset (this draft is for a smaller waist so I can lace down, and better breast shaping), but I needed to find appropriate materials to make a mock-up. I already have a lovely dark green coutil and spoon busk for it because I have a craft-supply hoarding problem.

I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had found the solution to my problem at the bottom of my clothes bag.

Corset-making requires precision, patience — and mock-ups. The sheer amount of mock-ups help contribute to the general expense of corsetry as a hobby. While sewing corsets doesn’t require any exceptional skills that are out of reach, it does require great amounts of patience, and piles of mock-ups.

My original plan was to just use the denim for a mock-up and throw it away, but I have always been distressed at the sheer amount of waste this can create and strive to make mock-ups that can be reused in some way. Waste, in general, strikes fear into my heart and anxiety in my brain. My plan was to baste the un-corded recycled denim layers together to do a fast fit check, and then, instead of wasting the mockup, I could make then make the double layered corded corset using some of my small stash of coutil.

I didn’t want to have to use the coutil, an expensive fabric, if the mock-up wasn’t going to end up being a viable corset / ‘wearable mockup’.

Pattern pieces on my jeans. Image Source: Author.

Once I decided on the approach, I started arranging pattern pieces on the pants to see how I could use the fabric and some of…

Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops

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