Hi! I’m Katherine, Steve Maxwell’s daughter. Growing up at the house on Bailey Line Road, I always felt the urge to be creating something. It might have been a drawing or an old yogurt container turned into some sort of device, as long as it was something I could make with my own two hands. What I work on is different than most things Dad makes, but if you’re interested in hands-on creativity, I think you’ll find it worthwhile, too.
Over the years my creativity has manifested itself in different ways. As a teenager and young adult, drawing and painting were “my thing”. Then, after getting married and having kids (four boys and counting, all 7 years old and under), you could say my creativity went “dormant”, though it’s more accurate to think of mothering and tending a house as its own form of creativity. Over the past few years, however, a new form of creativity has been growing and evolving for me – something I never would have expected, but which I find more fulfilling than I could have imagined. It all comes down – believe it or not – to corsets.
A Trip to the Museum & a Lifelong Corset Passion
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my family and I took a trip to Toronto, Canada. On this trip, my dad and I visited the Royal Ontario Museum. Though seeing a real life Egyptian mummy was quite enlightening for an 8 year old, this wasn’t what stuck with me the most. There was a special exhibit at the museum when we visited, all done by a woman who created the most stunning historical dresses, shoes, and outfits – all out of tissue paper. I couldn’t get enough of them. It was astounding. These tissue paper garments were all true to historical details, and absolutely stunning to look at. Upon getting home, I instantly set to work, making shoes out of duct tape and that sort of thing. IThat experience didn’t lead to anything directly for me at the time, but it planted a seed which has since been growing. Let me explain.
About 7 years ago, after my first son was born, I slowly began taking up sewing. One of my first projects was to make a Victorian corset. You could say it was that old interest in historical clothing coming out again. The corset turned out to be so uncomfortable that I never wore it, and forgot about it for a couple of years. During those years however, I began sewing other, more basic garments for myself, and designing and drafting my own custom fit patterns. That was the beginning of something big.
After my third son was born, I made my second corset. I had put much more thought and time into this one, and it fit much better than the first one. In fact, it was so comfortable and so comforting that I proceeded to wear this corset “to death”. I have since discovered a passion not just for sewing historical corsets, but for all aspects of historical dress, and bringing historical elements and details into a modern hand-made wardrobe. I’ve learned so much since my first corset project, and have made many different eras of historical corsets, and of clothing in general, since then.
Where My Sewing Has Taken Me
For me, the best part of sewing isn’t just the final product, or even the process of sewing itself (although I greatly enjoy both of these). The best part of sewing for me are the lessons I learn through each of my projects. It is amazing how starting with an idea and turning it into a physical product can grow me as a person. Sewing has taught me confidence, faith, letting go of perfectionism, paying attention to detail, and so much more. Beyond that, I have now been able to craft a fully hand-made wardrobe of vintage clothing and styles that I love, which set me apart as a person from so much of the standard clothing available in malls.
For the past couple years, I have been sharing my historical sewing creations on my blog, KatherineSewing.com, as a well as on my Youtube channel by the same name (https://www.youtube.com/katherinesewing)
Sharing my work with the world in this way has been my biggest teacher and brought my sewing skills to a new level. I have heard it said that the best way to learn is to teach, and for me this has definitely been true. My latest offering in the online world has been something far beyond YouTube videos and blog posts, and I’d like to share that with you now.
Victorian Custom Corset-Making
Through connecting with likeminded creators and hobbyists over the past couple of years, I have come to see a need in the community. There are many people out there, especially in my generation, who admire historical corsets, both for their function and aesthetic, and would love to be able to make one for themselves, but have no idea where to start. Making a corset is one of the most challenging garments to sew, and so I have created an online course to help.
Making a corset can be overwhelming, and that’s where my course and one-on-one coaching comes in. You can view the course here:
With nearly 4 hours of instructional video and 11,000 words of written directions, this course is everything my subscribers need to make their own corset. They work at their own pace, with me guiding them through the process – everything from creating a custom-fit pattern from body measurements, to making a mock-up, to sewing a stunning historical corset with beautiful detailing. When clients purchase my course, in addition to lifetime access to the learning resources, they also get one year of one-on-one coaching with me. Sometimes specific issues can come up that require the help of a mentor to sort out.
I am deeply enjoying the process of working with likeminded people and helping them achieve their sewing and wardrobe goals!