So I’ve been away from the sewing machine for a while and upon my return I decided to make a corset in black with racy red stitching. I thought you’d want to see the new corset pattern so I took some piccys and filmed a quick video blog. It’s a single layer 24 inch corset belt with 22 bones plus 4 round the lacing and I’ll be selling it in my etsy shop to raise money for the camera I’ll need to record high quality video for future sewing videos (more on that soon). So here are the vid and pics of it with just the last of the binding to put on. Finished pics tomorrow! xxx
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As promised I managed to dig out some photos of the three dimensional method of pattern drafting (as apposed to the 2D flat pattern drafting method we were discussing yesterday). I’m lucky enough to have an old school dress form thats a great starting shape for corset training corsets. I took the pattern in a little at the waist but it already has an unnaturally small waist so it was a great find – it was discarded in my art studio at university if you can believe that! I gave it a a loving home and a new lease of life. Keep meaning to cover it but it’s quite nice rough.
Anyway, moving on from my deep personal relationship with my dress forms! The pictures are pretty self explanatory – I started by marking the front centre and back centre then proceeded to drape material where I wanted pattern pieces and draw on, cut and pin in place on the dress form one by one. I then added marks to the corset pattern where the pieces joined so I could line the pieces up correctly when I joined them together. You also want to number your pattern pieces before unpinning, then transfer to paper, simples!
If you don’t have a dress form but do have a corset that you like the shape of then try stuffing it so it holds it’s shape, then using this as your mannequin. So now you know how, you can get cracking and design your own corset!
So I’ve been using the 2D method of drafting corset patterns over a bodice block, I’ve not used a bodice block before but Robert Doyle uses it in his book ‘Waisted Efforts’ so I thought I’d give it a go. The bodice block isn’t really proving very successful for any slightly diagonal pattern pieces or artistic/adventurous corset designs. I’m largely ignoring it and just using the bust, waist, hips measurements and the measurements between them.
I’m guessing it’ll work a lot better for straight up straight down pattern pieces so I might try a no fuss corset design at some point soon where all the piece are an equal width and all travel straight down the body. The design in the picture with the circles on looks like it fits this description but its actually a short version of the bigger one in the middle. As such the circles haven’t fit correctly onto the pieces so I’ll try remaking that using the bodice block.
There is another method I favour in creating corset patterns, thats the draping method which you need a dressmakers dummy for really. But if you have a corset thats the required shape you can pad it out with wadding and use that. I’ll dig out a photo of one of my draped corset training patterns tomorrow so you can see this 3 dimensional method.
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Yesterday I thought I’d show you all how I fix up my edges, that is, how I draw the top and bottom edges of a corset pattern – via a video blog. (So if you didn’t catch that check it out in my previous blog post below.)
As promised here are the photos I took so you can get a closer look.
I masking taped the first pattern piece to my table then took each piece and, starting at the waist marks, I matched up the edges from the waist to the top and stuck down the pattern pieces one by one so I had the top edge all stuck down as it will look once the corset is sewn together. I could then redraw the top edge so it was one continuous flowing line. I then did the same for the bottom edge, matching the pieces up along the seams from waist to bottom and sticking them all down so I could redraw the bottom edge how I wanted it.
Here is the top edge stuck down before redrawing. As you can see it doesn’t match up correctly so we need to fix that!
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So I hope that helps all those learning how to make a corset pattern from scratch. I’ll share a photo tomorrow of the pattern drafted before I cut it out as I managed to remember to take one so come back and check that out or you can click the big twitter button on the right of the website to stay updated, or click - twitter.com/makeacorset if the button is too far away (well your cursor would have to go all the way over there —>)
When drafting corset patterns it can be difficult to get all the pieces to match up exactly. So if you’ve ventured into corset designing you may find todays video blog particularly useful…
Today I’ve been mostly drafting corset patterns!
Yes today and all of this week in fact, I have been very quiet because I’ve been locked away in the sewing room drafting new patterns in preparation for a new range of corset training corsets that I’ll finally be making to order. (It’s been a while!). As a result I’ve been naughty and not blogged for a while so today I got out the video camera so I could show you how I check my pattern pieces all fit together and how I get the top and bottom edges to flow nicely as one big sweeping curve.
A corset needs a beautiful top and bottom edge the way it needs a beautifully tapered waist, proper binding and steel boning. In other words a bad bust line can ruin a beautiful corset. So I thought I would share my method for making sure the edges of my corset flow smoothly.
Tomorrow I’ll do a write up with some pictures I took but for now heres the video…
I’ve just finished a tutorial on eyelet setting, check it out on the articles page or click here - Getting Your Eyelets Straight – How to set corset eyelets
Forthe asked on facebook how to avoid the wonky eyelets she’s getting -
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So I’ve done a little step by step to show her exactly where she’s going wrong…
It’s simple a case of needing to draw on a guideline to keep them all lined up -
Then use a ruler to mark the eyelets so they’re evenly spaced.
I’ll be uploading a video of the process in the next few days hopefully so watch this space. I’ll also soon be doing a video sew along for the whole corset pattern which is my corset belt pattern available free on this page – free corset pattern. It’s not a corset training corset per say but a great one for a corsetry virgin to cut their teeth on. So keep an eye out for that too if your new to corset making and want to learn how to make a corset!
When making a corset training corset or boned bodice you have to decide how you’ll have the front panels. You may choose to have a front closure such as the traditional nobs and loops busk (loops are affixed to a steel corset bone on one side, and on the other knobs are attached) or perhaps laces as your front fastening. You can also opt to sew your corset design front-closed. This is obviously less convenient when putting the corset on but makes for a dressier garment e.g. a beautiful wedding dress or something special for the senior prom!
When you design a corset pattern with a front closure, you still have laces to do up at the back, however you don’t have the trouble of undoing them all the way whenever you take your corset off (you merely loosen them just enough to open the front). This is obviously a massive time saver if your corset training daily. The traditional opening at the front is the busk (or sometimes a second lot of lacing) but there are a couple of other variations and modern options that I have seen utilized for corset making. Industrial strength zippers are a typical one, however they’re no where near as robust as busks. A fastening thats becoming more and more common is the buckle. These are often used as an additional fastening, more of a corset design feature than closure. The buckle attaches on one side of the front opening, the strap with the holes on attaches on the other. But buckles are always used alongside another, stronger fastening like a busk or zip, to offer extra support or simply for fashion.
If you’re not accustomed to sewing a front closed corset or maybe you’ve just purchased your first corset pattern, but are not sure exactly how to construct the front pieces for a closed corset? Well, it could not be easier. Your corset pattern will come as a set of pieces that will make up one side of the corset design. You just cut them all out of your fabric, then flip them all over and cut out the other side of your corset so the two sides mirror each other. When you make a corset closed fronted, you are basically cutting the two panels at the front as one big one. So you just take your front pattern piece and cut it out ‘on the fold’. If you’re not knowledgeable about sewing terms – ‘on the fold’ indicates to take the fabric, fold it in half, then align the pattern piece along that fold so the front edge is up against it. You can then cut round the pattern piece (but don’t cut the folded edge), then when you open it out you get your 2 front pattern pieces come out as one.
When you sew together your closed fronted corset with this double panel at the front, you don’t place boning down the center as you would in the case of a busk, zip or laces because it would not sit right. If you really wanted to however, you could include more boning in the panel, say if the panel was really wide or if it were a plus sized design in need of some extra support. To achieve this it would be best to sew 2 bone channels a small distance in from the pattern piece edges. Do this by eye, making sure they are symmetrical. Place the bones on your front pattern piece and move them in and out from the center to see exactly what position looks right for your corset training or bodice pattern.
There are numerous approaches to lacing a corset but for corset training, sticking to a criss-cross technique from top to bottom is the most hassle free option. If you use the rabbit ears technique (also often called bunny ears), this makes tight-lacing even more practical and makes the whole process easier, especially if you put on your corset unaided.
The criss-cross corset lacing pattern is very like lacing a shoe, with one distinct difference – One of the laces doesn’t enter the hole from above on one side, then across and down one to enter again from above on the other side and so on, entering each hole from above to be brought across from beneath.
When lacing a corset, if the lace goes in from above the hole and is then brought across from underneath to the next hole on the opposite side, it then enters that hole from UNDERNEATH, and vice versa – if a lace is entering a hole from below it will come out on top and must then enter the next hole from on top. The other side should then be laced symmetrically to make a column of crosses sitting on top of the corset. Tightening up your corset is thus made much easier as you can now put a finger under each cross, hook on to it round its middle and pull on it to narrow the gap. The slack is then taken up by pulling the next cross down and so on till you reach the bottom and tie the laces.
Bunny ears are huge loops of lace left in the middle of the line of crosses on both sides at the level of the waist line (the waist is the thinnest part of the corset). The lace is brought up through the hole as normal, but rather than reaching across to the other side it goes down into the hole below it on the same side. Rather than pull the lace all the way through, you leave an excess of a foot or more so theres a large loop. This is your rabbit ear, after which lacing continues as normal down to the bottom, the same is repeated on the other side so your ‘ears’ match. Make sure the ears are long enough to loosen the corset just enough to put it on, then tie the laces together at the bottom of the corset and cut off the excess if you wish.
When you put on your corset use the slack in the ears to get it loose enough to do up the busk at the front, then tighten your corset by pulling at the crosses from top to middle and bottom to middle, pulling the slack into the rabbit ear loops and then tie the rabbit ear loops together in a knot or bow. If your wearing a corset training corset and require a tight fit, you may want to make several passes from top/bottom to waist to pull in the corset enough before you tie the loops.
There are various other pretty lacing techniques devised by corset designers, but if your a corset pattern designer, or just make corsets for friends who waist train, your clients will probably thank you for sticking to this style of lacing as nothing really beats it for ease of use.
Yes it’s summer here in the UK, our five brief weeks of warm have come and we’re unaccustomed to such heat! But I know a lot of you are in countries where it’s hot all year round and corset training is hardly indicative of a cool wardrobe. A waist training corset isn’t just an extra layer, it’s an extra two or three with steel corset boning in-between and its not like the air can get in between the fabric and your skin like it does with a loose summer dress. Corsets aren’t really designed with summer in mind so we tend to suffer in hot weather and attempt to get round it by wearing shorter corsets or thinner layered corsets. Well I’m going a step further this summer…
Yes I’ve decided it’s time to tackle the single layer corset! Now I know what your thinking – you can’t corset train with a single layered corset, it wouldn’t be strong enough for serious tight lacing. Well I though so myself, and in fact I had a corset making tutor who taught us the difference between a corset and a boned bodice pattern was the number of layers; with a boned bodice only having the one (by that she meant the underwear type I think). Then I started collecting antique corsets from the 1800s and we were forced to redefine her definition of a corset as the majority were single layer garments! Yes single layer and we all know how the Victorian’s loved to corset train. These corsets were worn day in day out and having tried on one myself that was a good 100 odd years old (I couldn’t resist) I can report that it was still fairly sturdy. I’m sure they had to be replaced more regularly than our double layer waist training corsets but they still took a lot of punishment.
The corset pattern I have on the patterns page is of one such single layered corset – the Spirite corset pattern. It’s drafted from one of my original historic corsets and there are detailed pictures of it in the pattern booklet that comes with it. The boned areas are double layered if I recall correctly – ribbon is used to make boning channels, but a large part of it is completely single layered. So I’m planning to make my own single layered corset for summer and see how it fairs in the heat and under the stress of daily wear.
The other, even cooler corset styles I’ve seen a lot of recently are the mesh corset and the ribbon corset pattern. These both have ‘air vents’ as I like to call them. The ribbon corset pattern is made from strips of ribbon (as you might have guessed if you didn’t know already) which are only attached at their ends. The mesh corsets I’ve seen seem to be made from some sort of power mesh and I’m very keen to have a go with this fabric so I’ll be contacting a few corset makers and asking for advice on where to get the fabric and how to make a corset out of it. Hopefully someone will be kind enough to give me some pointers and I can pass on my findings to those of you keen to make a corset out of mess too. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and hopefully have some photos for you as the project takes shape.
If your just getting into waist training and need your first corset training corset, or your a serious 23/7 tight lacer who gets through a lot of corsets, your going to be looking around the internet at the various corset makers (maybe just your favourites if you’ve been training long enough to have some) and asking yourself how your going to make this months budget stretch to a new $300 underbust? Well there is another way.
If you’ve never considered sewing your own corset, maybe because learning seems like more effort than climbing mount everest, or possibly just because you don’t have a sewing machine, then maybe it’s time to give it some serious thought. Learning isn’t as hard as you may think, it seems daunting for a newbie to sewing to take on such a complex garment as a lined corset training corset but there are a number of good books, videos and courses out there that will literally hold your hand at each step. I should know, thats how I learnt! And my prior sewing experience was limited to a half finished skirt from home economics class and a few dress alterations. I bought a book from Amazon and borrowed my mums sewing machine – she of course said I couldn’t make something as complex as a corset having never sewn even simple clothes. Which of course made me even more determined! I was very smug when after a few days I emerged from the sewing room covered in thread and wearing my very first corset. It was a fiddly project but it got quicker every time I made one, which is the joy of taking up corset making or indeed anything making. It gets easier the more you do it and my corset designs got more elaborate.
So I bought my own sewing machine and after a while started selling online and suddenly, rather than costing me money, corset training started to make me money! Custom corsetry really is a viable business if you want to take it that far. Nowadays I spend more time producing teaching materials like my ‘how to make a corset‘ DVDs and my printable corset patterns, but I still make all my own corsets (well, there are a few amazing corsetiers I frequent, sometimes it’s nice to wear something by a different designer).
So if this has swayed you, or even just pricked your ears, consider this – a sewing machine may seem like a big investment but it’ll cost you about as much as one decent corset training corset and you can make as many corsets as you want. Yes you need to buy the materials but there’s very little fabric in a corset compared with say a dress, and spiral steel corset bones are very cheap. The front opening busk will set you back around $20 but thats the most expensive part. Nothing compared to paying for a custom corset.