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While I’m not a sewing blogger, I am a fashion designer! I’ve been working on my first collection for some time now, and I’ve kept my progress pretty tightly under wraps.
Buuuut I decided to share more progress pictures of one of the looks, mostly because I think corset making is SO SO FASCINATING.
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Resources for Corset Making
There are many many different versions of corset making, but I kept it pretty simple for this look.
Here’s the shopping list:
- Pattern paper for drafting
- Muslin for creating a mock-up or “toile” (45″ to 65″ wide)
- Transparent ruler
- Spiral Metal Boning
- Rigilene (Plastic Boning)
- Outer Fabric (Your Choice)
- No stretch cotton for lining
- Lacing (100% cotton)
I also use this helpful book!
Not an Exhaustive Tutorial
This blog post isn’t an exhaustive tutorial, but it does provide an inside look on how much dang work it takes to sew a custom corset! All in all, this project took about 20 hours.
Step 1: Fitting the Muslin
After you have drafted your pattern, you fit your muslin toile to the model. You want to be sure to note where this excess fabric, and pin it out. Then, adjust your muslin (sewing where you’ve pinned out) to fit the model appropriately.
I had to add fabric at the bust cups to get the shape I wanted, using fusible interfacing to add fabric to redraw the lines.
Be sure to mark where you pin center back!
Step 2: Labeling FTW!
The next step is to take the muslin toile apart, and then number each piece, from center front to center back. Add marks on where each piece connects, and be sure to label the top and bottom of each piece with “T” and “B,” respectively.
This makes cutting the canvas and fabric much easier!
Step 3: Cut Canvas
The canvas adds shape to the corset, and makes it less stretchy – providing a tight and curve hugging fit.
Take your pattern pieces (in muslin) and cut canvas pieces, transferring all marks.
Here’s a list, to remind you:
- Number each piece, starting from CF to CB
- Mark “T” for “Top” and “B” for “Bottom”
- Mark connection points for each piece
- Mark grainlines
- Mark where boning is
Step 4: Sew Rigilene Plastic Boning
Next, I took my plastic boning – the same used on the toile, and I padded the edges with muslin. You have to “cap off” the edges, because it’s serrated plastic and will rip through your corset!
I then sewed the plastic Rigilene plastic boning (on both sides) to the canvas. You an definitely use spiral steel boning with caps, but I’m on a time crunch!
I did use spiral steel boning at the center back!
Step 5: Cut Outer Fabric
I used a green satin for my exterior fabric. I’ve used brocades in the past, but I find they disintegrate quickly!
After you’ve cut your outer fabric, you’ll “flat line” your exterior fabric to the canvas at 1/4″ inch.
Make sure the markings on the canvas are visible.
Step 6: Cut Lining
Now, cut the lining (using the original muslin pattern!!) and sew it together.
Step 7: Join Lining and Fabric at Center Back
The next step is to join the lining and outer fabric (attached to the canvas) together along the center back, sewing at 5/8″.
This is where you’ll “true out” the cut lines, making sure all the layers are even.
Step 8: Insert Spiral Steel Boning
I then created a casing for the spiral steel boning at center back, by sewing 3/8″ over from the 5/8″ line we sewed at Center Back in Step 7.
I worked the steel boning down, making so there’s about 3/4″ room at the top and bottom. (I used an 11″ long spiral steel bones, and you’ll need to configure how long to make yours!)
Step 9: Finish Sewing Lining
Now that that’s done, you’ll sew the edges of the lining to the outer layers.
Step 10: Cut Binding
We’re almost to the end! Our next step is to cut strips of fabric to make binding, to finish the edges of the corset.
Strips should be 1.5″ wide, on the bias.
Step 11: Sew Binding
Now, you’ll pin the binding to the edges of the corset at 1/4″. Then after one side is attached, fold the binding over the edge, and add another fold to match it the stitch line.
From here, you can hand sew, or sew along the first line to attach the binding.
Step 12: Spacing of Grommets
We use this handy dandy tool (flexible sewing gauge) to place grommets, always having an odd number of grommets. I use pins to mark the placements.
Step 12: Marking Grommets
I use a water soluble white marking pencil. You should double check your measurements a few times, and use a little liquid to take off a mistake if needed.
Step 13: Punching Holes
From here, I punch holes where the white pencil marks are. I use a hole punching kit, and hammer through the layers.
I have a small cutting board underneath the corset, because I don’t want to make holes in my cutting table!
Step 14: Adding Grommets
Next step is to add grommets, using a handy machine. I use a machine that stands by itself on the table, not one where you have to use your hands – you may hurt yourself!
You’ll want to test which side is “right side up” with grommets, because I always guess wrong first. Grab some muslin, and do a quick test.
Then, use your grommet tool to secure your grommets.
Step 15: Now, You’re Done!
Measure out your cotton (non-stretch) tie, and you’re done!
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