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 knobs 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 you’re 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 nowhere near as robust as busks. A fastening that’s becoming more and more common is the buckle. These are often used as an additional fastening, more of a corset design feature than actual 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, it couldn’t 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 very 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.