Sunday, 26 February 2012

How many pieces of fabric does it take to make a corset?

I kinda fell behind there!

Well I shall start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

Already cut out here are the skort (or culotte or shorts that look like a skirt) for the Snow Princess costume and the various parts of the corset.

I've set the skort aside  and concentrated on the corset.

So just how much fabric is in a corset?  About 4 layers.  The cream coloured fabric is Ticking, a stiff, heavy cotton and there are two layers of it, the fairy fabric is a Flannel and the lavender is the outer fabric.

The next step is to baste the layers together,  first baste the 2 layers of ticking together, and then baste the flannel to the outer fabric.  Flannel grabs most fabrics and keeps them from slipping and sliding.

Now that everything is basted, it's time to pin the outer  pieces together and sew it, but not the ticking.

Almost a corset...

Why didn't I sew the ticking together?  Well, before I can sew it together I must Laminate it and mark where my bones will go.  Below the larger piece (my center front) with the bust line is laminated, and the other one next to it is not (but does have its bone casings sewn).

Laminating is a process where you stitch row upon row of stitches.  It stiffens the fabric and makes it stronger, after its been laminated the ticking layer of the corset can pretty much stand up on its own.

A better shot of the Laminating and a bone casing:
The next step is to sew together the laminated pieces and measure and cut my bones.  I use steel bones.  The plastic ones are cheep and tend to over time, conform to your body shape and then start to bow out at weird angles.  Steel bones do not do that.  There are two types.  White flat bones, which are usually only used in straight areas (like where the grommets go up the back), because the only bend 2 ways, front and back.  Any curved seams, or seams that may be straight, but would be on a curvy part on the body (like side seams) I use Spiral bones, which bend every way :)

Unless you have a bone cutting machine, or access to one, here are the tools you'll need to cut your bones.  That and some good upper arm strength.  The flat steel bones are really hard to cut through by hand, the spirals not so much.  I had access to a cutter to cut my bones thankfully.

Here are all my bones!  Each are marked  as to which seem the go to, so now its just a matter of finishing the corset!  But that is a post for another day.


  1. so exciting!!!!!!!!!
    I can't wait :D

  2. What do you use to cap the ends of the boning? How do you do it?

    1. They are tips you can buy, our class gets them from here:

      We use this odd machine, maybe Bronwen can take a picture of it, it clamps them down, you can also use 2 pairs of pilers but it's kind of tricky!

  3. Awesome!!! I should get you to teach me corseting! Forget Ryerson, your way seems to be more authentic.

  4. My way is a quick way I figured out in third year with much less hand sewing. My Rapunzel corset, which has all the seams piped is the way they teach it at school and has a ton of hand sewing. :)