Friday, March 2, 2012

Corset making 101

It's been busy in the studio lately. When is it ever quiet? I've had boxes of fabric arriving for 1812 historic costumes, boxes of wool fiber arriving from Vancouver, ready to make more needle felt creations, fittings with clients, dolls, and so much more! What with a busy school schedule for my son, I've been over booked, to say the least!

Just what have I been doing? Well, for one thing,I have been teaching a workshop here at the studio, to three enthusiastic students. They are learning how to make corsets. All are skilled in their sewing and their enthusiasm for corsetry knows no bounds. It inspires me, as I show them some of the tricks I've learned over the years.

They began with kits from Farthingales online store. The coutil fabric, boning and pattern, plus all the notions were included. Linda knows how to put a kit together!

Here are two of the ladies, getting their corsets ready for grommets. You can see my grommet machine on the right. I use eyelets with washers at the back, for stronger lacing. These babies won't tear out! At this stage the corsets have been assembled, the boning cut and ready to insert. Once the grommets are in, it's time to have a first fitting.

You can see the nylon boning we are using here. It's not Rigilene, but a German product called Desriaplast, which works almost like whalebone. It shapes to the body and provides superior support.

This shows the eyelets all set in. You can also see the boning tape visible as the white strip inside. These are useful when you want boning, but don't want the stitching to show on the outside.

Just for fun, here are two of my mini corsets, made for dolls. Stitching helps stiffen the seams, plus boning at center front and back!

Finally, here is my little darling, modelling one of my corsets. This one is created with Victorian styling, with straps included to make it the perfect evening bodice.

Tomorrow morning, the students will be back, to finish their corsets!


  1. I'm afraid Kate and I are perhaps too enthusiastic. When we go to a fabric store, which we invariably do after lunch and your class, we see every fabric through its potential to turn into a corset. :). Love the Victorian one your daughter is modeling; is that a pattern you've drafted from a book?

  2. That one is my own adaptation of a corset I copied from an original. Been buying more fabric huh? It's a serious disorder!


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