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My first complete mesh corset, the binding is a mess, during construction i sliced the web between my thumb and forefinger, so painful, it hinder my progression. I will embellish it. Very confortable #corset #corsetry #corsetiere #meshcorset #bespoke #underbust #lingerie #instafashion (at Ruislip)

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Mentoring

If you’re an aspiring corset maker looking for someone to take you under their wing and become a mentor to you here is some helpful advice to help you on your corsetry journey. When finding a mentor consider (first and foremost) *why* you want them as your mentor. What can they teach you and where do you know them from? Mentoring is often ‘born’ from an existing relationship between an intern and corsetiere, or perhaps a student and teacher.

Let us clarify what qualities a mentor should have. A mentor is a teacher and someone who will be helping you grow into the fabulous corset maker you are wanting to become. As well as having the necessary knowledge and skills, a mentor needs to be patient and kind.  The role of mentor is something that should be taken seriously, by someone with the knowledge and skills to be of help to you. Mentors need to be able to communicate and teach their student in a positive way. A mentor will only communicate with their student - there are no public “reviews” or discussions of their work. It’s a private arrangement and there is a lot of responsibility on the mentor to be patient, nurturing, educational and kind. Just like a teacher should be. A mentorship is often quite long, perhaps a year or even more (depending on the arrangement).

Should you be lucky enough to find a mentor, don’t expect a mentor to sit down and give you one-on-one lessons each week or spoon feed you all the information. You’re going to have to work hard on your own and do a lot of independent research and work. But, once you have something to show for it (a finished corset), your mentor will look over it and provide some constructive feedback. Your mentor needs to know about stitching, hand finishing, patterning, fitting, construction… all these things from firsthand experience or else how are they going to advise you? Wouldn’t it be amazing to learn from someone you admire?

Mentors are rare, and they are valuable, but no one is entitled to one and a professional corsetiere shouldn’t feel obliged to be one. Corsetry is a hard, time consuming business so devoting many resources to an apprentice with no financial or business gain really won’t make sense for most (and nor should it).  You’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to take you on as it’s an investment of their time and resources, so don’t expect a corsetiere to automatically take you under their wing (and don’t be offended if you ask and they say no). We don’t mean to be blunt, but it’s a serious reality of the industry. All that said, it is an incredibly rewarding one and making beautiful corsets is one of the most rewarding things a sewer can do (from our perspective anyway!).

Mentoring no-no’s to consider:
1. Someone offering to be a mentor is usually looking for a cheap corset and they’re very unlikely to have the qualifications to help you and are just trying to benefit from your skills. It would be more beneficial to you to make corsets for friends or family - people you can fit in person. Then get feedback on the corset and fit from your mentor (or from respected corset making groups).
2. Mentors don’t act like clients (even if they’re paying for materials). It’s an entirely different scenario compared to a client paying a reduced rate for a sample corset “in exchange for feedback”. That feedback will be coming from a different perspective and it’s a onetime thing. A client like this can leave a review as well as provide direct feedback to the maker and this is different to the role of mentor.
3.  People who don’t make corsets cannot be a mentor unless they are extremely experienced wearers and then there are other things you need to consider such as: who’s work do they buy? Who do they admire? What’s their track record in corsetry? Etcetera.
4. There are so many people trying  to grab a deal on the internet (kind of in the same vein as 'alt’ models asking for 'sponsorship’, 'gifting’, 'collaboration’ from businesses). People want things for free (or super cheap), and they won’t reasonably adjust expectations. Be careful of people offering to pay for materials in exchange for 'mentoring’. Why not instead make your friends some corsets you can learn from? Wouldn’t it be nicer to make pretty things for people you know and love instead of making corsets for strangers?

Something else to consider is that just because you’re going into corsetry doesn’t mean you have to go into business.  There’s no rules that you have to sell them just because you’re making them, and you should only bother selling if you’re willing to do the research and the work to make it a proper functioning business. You need to learn how pricing works and if your product is not up to scratch, don’t sell it until it is! Don’t underprice things because they aren’t good enough - if they’re not good enough you shouldn’t be selling them. Underpricing damages everyone around you and most of all yourself and ruins your future potential (pricing up is always so much harder than pricing down). If you can’t find a mentor, or are just wanting to make corsets for fun there are many corsetry courses all over the world, as well as many books and online resources. Be proactive and take charge of your learning. You can do it! :)

Lastly, we’ll leave you with some things to consider when finding a mentor:

1. Do you admire their work?
2. Are they well thought of in the community?
3. Do they have a helpful attitude?
4. Why would they be a good mentor for you?
5. What do they really know about corsets?
6. Have they mentored anyone before? 

-CP1 and CP2

Corset by #RiwaaNerona - Photo by @russelljthomas 💜 #corset #corsetiere #stockings #nylon #nylonstockings #fullyfashionedstockings #lingerie #shapewear #foundations #girdle #suspenders #suspenderbelt #bra #whatkatiedid @whatkatiediduk #tattoo #altgirl #fetish #burlesque #vintage #retro #retroglamour #glamour #thenylonswish

2

Finished with this dramatic little darling!

25″ closed waist four layer corset with a waist tape and double boning at the seams. Hand stitched lace border all around the bottom, made of coutil, twill, silk dupioni, and a printed cotton lining. The dramatic shape required a lot of padding out on my mannequin to show it off, and I dearly hope to see this sample on a human someday.