Friday, June 15, 2012

How to wear a corset - part V

I understand that all in all my posts about corset buying and fitting sound frustrating; you learned that not everything sold as a corset actually IS a corset, that not every corset flatters every figure, that even flattering cuts might not work on your body or chest. And constantly I talk about custom fitting. I know how expensive custom made corsets are, especially if your build is not "normal" (in this case meaning fitting to the normed sizes the fashion industry relies on) or you need the sew mock ups and test wear the corset several times.This is why today, I would like to talk a bit about sewing a corset yourself!

This might sound intimidating at first, but if you have a working pattern, sewing corsets is much easier than sewing trousers or close fitting blouses. There are several options to get this good fitting pattern:
  1. Take one of an already fitting, bought corset. I did this once and have been using the pattern ever since! Actually, I think this might be the easiest (and cheapest, if you don't count the cost of the corset you initially bought) solution if you have a good fitting pattern at hand...
  2. Buy a corset pattern and adapt it to your body. This means that you will first have to sew a mock up corset from cheap fabric to check the fit and change the pattern according to your own build.
  3. Draw the pattern yourself. Again, this sounds scary, but is rather easy. Despite the pattern being made to your measurements, I still recommend a cheap mock up to check if it fits as desired.
If you have a corset at hand that fits well and you would like to replicate with other fabrics or decorations, you can take of the pattern with masking tape, paper and a bit of patience. Here is how you do it:
  •  cut the masking tape in 4cm (2 inch) strips.
  • place the strips around a seam line, surrounding the whole pattern piece.
  • now connect the outer line with enough strips to cover the full pattern piece.
  • carefully take the masking tape off (in one piece!, take care that every piece of masking tape is still connected!) and place it on a sheet (or two) of paper.
  • Cut the piece out of the paper
  • Repeat for all pattern pieces!
Here is an  excellent German tutorial, in case you feel insecure with translating my tutorial...

If you'd rather buy a pattern, I can highly recommend laughing moon patterns. These have options for all cup sizes, so they can be adapted pretty easily if you have an A or E cup! I can't recommend Simplicity or McCall's corset patterns because they are designed with wearing ease (so some extra cm/inches to make them less close fitting) and therefor need to be sewn 2-3 sizes smaller than your usual size. This might kill the proportions and be hard to do if you are already on the smaller part of the size scale. Laughing moon offers a pattern for under or over bust and even a male adaptation for the under bust corset!

The third option is to draw the corset pattern yourself. I have to repeat that this is not harder than cutting the pattern from a store and since you have to do a muslin anyway, this might also be the easier route to your first self sewn corset since it will probably fit your measurements better... I will show you two options: A widely used internet based pattern designer for elizabethan corsets and a drawing tutorial.
The pattern designer is rather self explainatory: You'll have to put your measurements in inches (don't worry, the side tells you exactly where to measure) in this nifty device here and the calculator automatically develops the pattern for you to draw. I have not tried this myself, but found raving reviews on the internet. Maybe I can do a short series on how to sew a corset next? I'd volunteer to try this pattern maker if there is anyone interested!?
If you want a more victorian corset (these are the more widely used once that you have seen in the first posts), you can follow the excelent drawing tutorial on this side. I have made (under bust) corsets this way and they mostly turned out nice. Maybe a little wide at first try, but nothing that you can't correct! Again, if there is interest in learning how to work this and how this tutorial compares to the calculator above, I'll sew up both corsets and show my progress on the blog...


Beklet said...

I recently made a corset - considering how slapdash I am normally, I was quite pleased with my first effort, and will probably make another one in a couple of months (once all the weddings are out of the way!)

MindLess said...

Looks good! And I really appreciate that your first try fits soooo good!

kakuidori said...

ich wünschte ich hätt die zeit dafür, hab bis vor so ca 5 jahren so oft selbst genäht, auch korsette/korsettes/korsetts? *lach* aber im moment ;_;

MindLess said...

Ach Zeit hat man immer, man muss sie sich nur nehmen! Jeder hat halt andere Prioritäten...