Do you have to make a choice between comfort and glamour? I’ve found that with everything from shoes to underwear the world of fashion insists we make that choice, but does it have to be that way with the corset?
The obvious answer to the outsider would be yes, the corset is the epitome of vanity over comfort and only those with an extreme gratification for pain would disagree. Well I’m no seeker of discomfort and I definitely don’t enjoy the pain my 4 inch stilettos bring me, but I do enjoy a well made corset. It seems that (like with a custom made pair of shoes) the more expensive a corset the more comfortable. So yes you can have your cake and eat it but its going to cost you! The alternative is the home made route, obviously my favourite. The day I win the lottery I’ll pay Mr Pearl several thousand a pop to make my corsets, but until that day I’ll stay at my sewing machine thank you very much. Because a comfortable corset means a custom made one designed to fit your body specifically. So if you’ve not got the cash for a custom made every 6 months or so, but your adamant your going to take up corset training, take up corsetry too! Learn how to make a corset and you’ll save a packet as well as having the added satisfaction of being able to casually say – “What this? O I made this myself.”
For those of you learning how to make a corset this might amuse! I had to share this image of one of my fave pin up artists paintings from the 50s. Gil Evgren painted hundreds of tiny waisted 50s bombshells. This ones of a girl making a corset!
Want a really professional finish to your corset making? Then make your own bias binding.
Don’t get me wrong I use the pre-made bias binding a fair bit, but for when the shop bought plain colors just don’t sit right with your beautiful corset fabrics, go one better and make your own. It also means you can customize the width of the binding, so if you have tighter corners you can make it thinner to cope better with the harder turns. Thinner binding is also easier to handle when your learning how to make a corset.
Different widths of binding
Sounds great you say? Well lets get going!
You’ll need to have bought (or go back out and buy) a bit extra fabric in your chosen corset material. A half meter, or even a quarter meter will just about do but bare in mind the narrower it is the more joins you’ll have.
You need to grab a set square with a 45degree angle or take a piece of paper and fold the top edge down so it meets the left edge and flatten (45degrees is just half a 90degree angle like the one at the corner of a piece of paper). Now place the 45degree triangle against the edge of your material at the top and draw along the diagonal. Use a ruler to continue the line across the material to the other side. Use the angle and ruler to draw more lines all the way down your fabric which you will cut along to make your bias strips. You need to make sure your strips are four times the width you want your binding to be as you will be folding the strips in half twice to make the binding. So a half inch binding will require 2inch strips. Join your strips together by lining the edges up right-sides together and sewing them together with a small seam allowance of about 5mm. Then open out and press open the seam allowance before trimming it so no seam allowance sticks out beyond the edge on the right side.
Now for the folding! You can get a little folding tool that you push the binding through and pull out the other side folded. You just pull the binding through and iron as it comes out. But if you don’t have time to go out and get one you can fold the binding in half and iron it, then open it again and fold each raw edge into this center crease and iron again. Once both edges are folded into the center and ironed flat your done!
Its important when sewing corsets to use bias binding on your corset edges both top and bottom because, as we discussed in the last post, the stretch properties of fabric cut on the bias allows it to go round the undulating curved edges of your corset without puckering up or leaving unsightly wrinkles.
When your learning how to make a corset its a good idea to learn how to check the binding you have is cut on the bias. You can do this by having a close look at the fabric its made of to see which way the grain runs. If its clear the grain is running diagonally across the length of the binding you know you have the right stuff. Also look for the joins in the binding, these will normally also be diagonal. If still in doubt lay it on a flat surface and bend the binding into a gentle curve, how does it react? If you can smooth it down with your finger and it doesn’t wrinkle at the inner edge of the curve then its bias binding.
Stay tuned as tomorrow I’ll be telling you how to make a corset its very own bias binding in matching fabric!
I have another new downloadable and printable corset pattern for sale! The Angel Underbust which is made with a larger number of panels to make it super curvey and allow for more seamed boning – this means you can use it to make corset training strength corsets. It also has a few special features to make it extra versatile!
It’s low cut at the front which allows for a lot more movement than you would normally get in a corset thus making it my most comfortable corset yet.
It also has two separate bottom edges on the pattern marked in black and red giving you a chose of styles.
Lastly it comes with two front panels so you can chose to have a busk hiding front flap like in the picture below which creates the look of a front closed corset while allowing you the convenience of a front closure, brilliant! (If I do say so myself)
So if your learning how to make a corset you might want to try this corset pattern on for size
The Angel Underbust Corset Pattern (click pic for a bigger version)