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Custom Corset Maker Alexander Chesebro Draws Inspiration from History

Research and attention to detail lay the groundwork for his artful underpinnings
Threads #218, Summer 2022

Art is made to be enjoyed, sometimes by many in public, sometimes in private for personal pleasure. Corsetier extraordinaire Alexander Chesebro hopes his creations bring the beauty of exquisitely detailed underpinnings to many—from those seeking historically correct foundation pieces to those looking to incorporate corsets into their special-occasion wear. Many of the unique and artful pieces he designs are hidden, worn only inside as foundation garments, but more and more are making their way into mainstream contemporary wardrobes.

Alexander possesses a passion for historical accuracy and design, as well as high-end sewing techniques. The California native has traversed the country researching corsetry, particularly in New England museums, including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Despite the pandemic, the research continues, often with appointments booked well in advance and much preliminary work done online. He studies collection catalogs before arriving for hands-on studies, detailed photography sessions, and notetaking. There’s always the thrill of finding a new detail to incorporate into his current work.

Alexander Chesebro

Threads: How did you become interested in designing and sewing historically inspired corsetry?

Alexander Chesebro: I wanted to become an actor and worked in theater as a child and teenager, but my focus shifted to interest in the historical perspectives and behind-the-scenes—as opposed to onstage—work. I did some costuming work and loved it. I learned to sew from my mom, in design classes while studying at the University of California Davis, working as a salesperson in a historical tailoring shop, and I honed my skills by joining an online costuming trade journal. My focus was always on learning the technical skills involved in the construction of fine garments, and I’ve done a lot of exploration and experimentation on my own and continue…

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