Getting the Edges Right on Your Corset Patterns

Close up of the top edge after redrawing

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…

 

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Another Year at Corset Training

how to make a bodice corset

 Another Year at Corset Training & A Few Changes To Be Made

Well it’s a few days after my 28th birthday and give it a few months Corsettraining.net will also be another year older. So it’s a time of reflection for me and as the website nears 4 years old I’d like to step things up a notch…

 

Corset Designers & Corsetry Knowledge

There are a wealth of individual corset makers out there and the web gives us a chance to interact with each other across the globe; sharing ideas and solving corset construction issues. I’ve seen a lot of this on facebook as the Corset Making facebook group expands. I’d like to feature more work by the web’s corset designers and share more of the results of our online knowledge swapping on this blog.

 

HowToMakeACorset YouTube Channel

Another exciting development will be video blog posting. I have a camera and tripod set up in my sewing room now so I’ll be keeping a video diary of my projects and doing a few how-to’s here and there. Currently I’m editing the eyelet setting video to go with the eyelet tutorial pictures here, and another on binding bodice pattern tabs from this corset -

 

 

how to make a bodice corset

I hope to make a few of these video posts a week once I’ve gotten used to the technology! I’ll be hosting them on You Tube so keep an eye on my channel HowToMakeACorset but I’ll also do a blog post for each one so you can keep up to date with everything going on by following this blog.

 

Corset Orders

I’m also going to start making corsets to order again soon. I’ve taken a long break from corset-making-to-order as it were, concentrating on how to make corsets educational materials and the printable corset patterns range. I’d like to get back to creating corsets for people to wear and enjoy alongside teaching the art of construction. I’ll be sewing up some example pieces to be photographed over the next month so that should keep me very busy and give me lots to video blog about! All very exciting! 

 

The Corset Belt Sew-Along

Lastly I’m finally getting round to doing the video sew-along for the waist corset – you can download the free corset pattern here. It’ll be set over a few days so beginners can sew along for around an hour a day over 3 – 5 days. It’ll be a great gentle introduction for all the corset making virgins out there and hopefully a great social experience for our little corset sewing community.

 

So I look forward to sewing more and sharing more with you over the coming months!

Scarlett :)

 

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Making Usable Corset Patterns

When you start learning to make a corset you tend to stick to pre made shop bought patterns, and while these are great, sometimes it can be hard to find what your looking for. Little details can be altered on a pattern – the top and bottom edge shapes for example, and an overbust can be cut down to make an underbust. If however, your after a specific shape or look, sometimes it’s just not possible to find the right pattern pre made. If you’ve made a corset or two already and are feeling confident, you may be considering just designing corset patterns for yourself.

Corset designing is good fun and it’s even more satisfying to be able to say ‘I designed this myself’ than it is to say ‘I made this myself’. So if you think you’re ready to give it a go, here are a few pointers to make the learning curve a little less steep!

For a corset training corset to fit properly and give your silhouette that traditional corseted hourglass look you need to remember to reduce the waist area to around 4inches smaller than the wearers waist, so don’t forget to factor this in when drawing up your pattern.

The number of pattern pieces also affects the corsets ability to shape to the body and again for corset training corsets the more seams that will be boned, the stronger the corset construction. I would steer clear of making corset patterns with less than five pieces per side. Four just isn’t enough to get a good corset shape.

Don’t make the front of your design too long, if the busk at the front comes down too far it can dig into the pubic bone when the wearer sits down. You can get a good idea of how far you can go past the waist by marking the waist line on the intended wearer, having them sit down on a hard chair without slouching and measuring for the waist to the pubic bone.

Lastly, don’t design a corset that’s too complicated for your skill level. Get more advanced gradually, progress at the right speed for you and don’t try to cram too many features into one design! I know it can be tempting.

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How can I Tell Quality Coutil For Corset Making?

What is Coutil?

For the sake of newbie’s to corset making I’d better just briefly explain what this stuff is, although I’ve covered this before many a time. Coutil sounds fancy but it’s just a fabric designed to make a corset from. It’s normally cotton although you can get cotton/polyester blends and it comes in a satin finish or the more common herringbone weave. The satins are very expensive and you use them on the outside of the corset, I work with the lining kind mostly but they both do the same job – they stop the corset from stretching. Thinks about it, clothing stretches with wear. When you squeeze into your jeans in the morning you swear they’ve shrunk (I had this this morning lol) but by the evening when you take them off they’re nice and comfy again…until they go through the wash again. Corset training corsets need to be made out of this special material because a corset that stretches during the day is not going to be any good for waist training in now is it? So thats the lowdown on why we use coutil in corsetry.

How Can I Tell if it’s Quality Stuff?

Now the best way to check you have a coutil that won’t stretch too much (all fabric stretches a little bit) is to take a section in your hands and give it a good tug, see if it gives at all. If you’re met with an unyielding snap as the fabric becomes taught then you know it’s of a decent quality. You’ll get a feel for the material the longer your working with it. You’ll instantly be able to tell what kinds of corset patterns/styles can be made with a coutil when you pick it up i.e. corset training worthy, a single layer corset, costume only/needs to be doubled up for strength, etc.

If your buying online it becomes a little more difficult to guarantee the quality of your purchase. Checking the size of the herringbone weave is probably the only way of judging, but this can be hard when you’ve only got a photo to go on. Basically the smaller/tighter the pattern in the weave, the stronger it’ll be. So little quarter inch lines of herringbone are going to be stiffer than a loose half inch weave.

Price is another good indicator of quality. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true here. If it’s really cheap in price you can expect your coutil to be cheap in quality. Wholesalers would be the one exception but that normally means buying large quantities. 

 

It’s still a gamble though when buying online, so my suggestion is to ask for a sample to be sent to you, or just purchase a quarter meter if they’ll let you. Most places sell corset making fabrics by the half or quarter meter and equally most will send you swatches either free or for a couple dollars for P&P. Once you’ve found somewhere that sells what you want then stick to that supplier. New suppliers should again be tested with very small orders or sample swatches. 

Lastly, don’t be scared to send material back if it’s not as described. If somewhere won’t take it back then make a fuss – theres no excuse for inferior products and you shouldn’t have to put up with bad quality materials when you make a corset.

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Want to learn to make a corset?

So earlier I went through the virtues of learning how to make a corset yourself, rather than paying for someone else to do it for you. We all know that if your going to corset train seriously, then at some point your going to need to start buying custom designed corsets. This can get very pricey!

So to help you decide whether corset making is for you or not I’ve written a full length article on where to get hold of your corset making supplies - make a corset – suppliers list. This is a complete list of all the online sources I know of to buy corsetry supplies, along with details of what each one sells/has on offer and whether I have personally bought from them or not. 

What I suggest you do is take a look around these sites and get a feel for whats on offer, what everything costs and possibly invest in a book on how to make a corset (there are several on – Amazon. There is a previous article I wrote that you might find helpful for familiarising yourself with the components of a corset - Getting Acquainted With Corset Making Materials, Equipment and Free Corset Patterns. This one goes through some of the major parts of a corset training corset and the tools for working with them as well as how these tools work. So if your not not sure what an awl is, or how spiral steel boning is different from sprung steel, this article will set your straight. There’s also some very useful and detailed information on free corset patterns – you’ll come across a lot of them online, especially if you google corset patterns for free or something similar. If you don’t want to waste a lot of time on duff and badly made corset patterns then make sure you read this information. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are ok, but a lot of them are difficult to use or of questionable quality. You don’t need extra complications when your starting out in corsetry.

Well, thats the best advice I can give to anyone still sitting on the fence! Besides saying that if you’re still not sure after checking out the above resources then borrow a sewing machine, buy a few supplies and give it a go. You don’t need to get all the tools and buy mounds of fabric – an underbust is easily made from half a meter of stiff upholstery fabric and eyelet packs are cheap and come with little setting tools (not great for long term use but fine for testing out corset making as a hobby). Try it out on the cheap and see if its for you, if you get a taste for it you’ll be amazed how much fun you can have coming up with your own corset designs and playing with complimentary fabrics. :)

 

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