Foxy Little Corset Belt
So it’s finished, I’ve taken photos and here it is in my Etsy shop on sale to raise money for the recording equipment to film more instructional videos. Click the listing pic to visit this foxy little corset in my Etsy shop or scroll down for more pictures.
Click for bigger pics!
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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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!
Click pics for bigger images…
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 —>)
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 -
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.
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!
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!
Corset Making is an enjoyable and gratifying hobby, you can conserve money and add to your waist training wardrobe in addition to creating a garment that enhances your uniqueness. You can even turn your hand to making corsets for a living. While learning how to make a corset, specifically inserting corset boning (sprung or spiral steel boning, plastic is more for underwear or costume corsets) you’ll have discovered that it typically involves bone casing. This comes as a ribbon-like, continuous strip and is basically a tube of cotton. You sew it on to your corset, normally on the inside and slot your bones in. The other method is to use the seam allowance, as long as it’s wide enough, by sewing it together at its edge to create bone casing to slip your bones into.
Double boning with the strips of bone casing is easy, you use a double width tube and sew a line down the middle to create two tubes. If you can’t find double width you can just sew on two strips side-by-side, but I’d suggest using a wide ribbon. But what do you do if you if your after a double boned look without using bone casing? Well, if you wish to place two strips of your sprung or spiral steel boning along your corset pattern seams without utilizing bone casing then simply use the seam allowances on both the external fabric and coutil lining fabric as bone casing. There are two methods you can use, each gives a different effect with the stitching of the casing showing on the outside of the corset in method one, and the bone casing being ‘invisible’ in method two. Read on to find out how to use both seam allowance methods to make a corset double boned:-
For Visible Bone Casing
1. Take your corset sewing pattern, having sewn all the lining corset pattern piece together and all the outer pattern piece together and iron open the seam allowances on both halves instead of ironing to the left or the right of the seams. Now put the external and lining parts together and sew down the seam, stitching the covering and lining together. You now have 2 seam allowance flaps on either side of your seams. Sew down each side of each seam, creating two boning channels either side that are comprised of a pocket of seam allowance sandwiched between two layers of outer/lining material.
For Invisible Casing
2. If you don’t want your boning channels being visible on the outer surface of your corset then use this method instead. Iron your lining and external seam allowances so they will sit on opposite sides of the seam when your corset sewing pattern is put together i.e.. on the lining press seam allowances toward the front of the corset pattern and on the external fabric press allowances toward the back. Stitch the seam allowance together for each seam on both inner & external material creating your casings. Now when you make the corset up there will be 2 channels per seam sitting beside one another on either side of each seam. You can now slot your bones in and the casing won’t be visible on the outside of your corset design.
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.
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.
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.
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.