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Underbust Corset Newbie


Underbust Corset Newbie
« on: September 12, 2018, 12:18:32 PM »
Onto the next...

I've decided I'd like to try my hand at corsetmaking. I specifically want one to wear to at least two parties coming up, if it isn't too uncomfortable. And also I have dreams of making a 1950s Christmas dress this year and really would love a proper waist to go with it!

I bought a commercial corset ages ago and it was too small... despite saying it was quite large. Annoyed about that! But when I tested it out I did like the way it looked sort of - it wasn't enough to change my shape being too small but I liked where it was going (it was also only a cheap plastic-boned eBay jobby).

@DementedFairy said that the Sophia Underbust from SewCurvy is a good beginner so I bought the kit. I've also joined the suggested Facebook group.

I have purchased the black herringbone coutil fabric which is plain but fine. However I want to wear it next to the skin if possible so I asked on the group about advice on adding a lining and it was suggested to add a "floating liner" that is only attached front and back, and at the top and bottom binding. Apparently that's easier so I'll do that. I've got some stash cotton that is nice quality and soft and has been in my stash for probably nearing a decade if I'm honest... it's grey with a black printed "lace" effect all over it so it should be nice. I'll keep the coutil texture on the outer.

I seem to fit into the largest size range pretty much exactly so we shall see how my toile comes out in that size. I may need to grade up the hip spring.

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Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2018, 12:46:28 PM »
If you've got Craftsy Unlimited/Bluprint theres a course by Alison Smith. I'm not planning on making a corset, but I watched it passively and I thought it was quite good. She's got some tips on getting the opening (I've forgotten the correct term) really good.


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2018, 22:49:16 PM »
Traced, toile cut and marked up - ready to put together tomorrow!


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2018, 11:43:45 AM »
Well I've got to the sewing stage - very exciting!

I put the first part of the busk in last night. It went in quite well and looks really good. I'm pleased with it. I've added a cotton lining so I had to cut those out too.

Annoyingly I need to cut out an extra two facings. I thought it was odd that the pattern only called for one facing for back and front (pattern piece says "Cut 1 Coutil" and nothing else). I realised when following the busk instructions that it states to take the other facing (which I obviously didn't have) and use that. So I emailed the designer and got back a rather sarcastic reply... "it does say to use the facings on the busk". Well why does it say CUT ONE then?


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2018, 15:36:26 PM »
I'm going to watch how you get on with this Fran.
I bought a corset kit...(over bust one)... about 4 years ago, but can't seem to feel the need/want to make it yet.

I don't properly understand how they're made and how I should do it, so I keep putting it off.



Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 15:42:26 PM »
I'm reading it through but it seems a lot easier than I thought... I always imagined lots of skill required but really it's just lots of panels sewn together, channeling sewn on top of that, and bias round the top. The busk seems to be the most complicated bit really (and even that is just sewing a straight line but with gaps for the loopy bits to poke through).

I'll try to share some pictures as I go.


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2018, 12:44:12 PM »
Two pics for you. I have finished the busk fastening and have started to sew together the multiple panels.

It says to put the backs together but I couldn't face the fiddling about so I thought I'd just do all the side panels first then come back to the back pieces (which need eyelets and all that).

But it's coming together and I think it looks really nice! I have bought satin ribbon instead of using the corset laces that are provided as supposedly being flatter and shiny they are less likely to show through my dress as a big lump at the back.

The inside is lined with some thin cotton I've had in my stash for probably nearly a decade, no idea where it came from though! But it's nice or this use. Makes it soft.

Coutil is a wonderful fabric to work with. It's so firm but easy to sew and it goes floppy when ironed but then dries and comes back to life again. I expect with some warmth from the body it will mould to my shape nicely.

My hope is to get this corset done tomorrow evening so I can start on my dress this weekend and get the toile complete at least.


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2018, 13:09:39 PM »
As a C17th re-enactor, I spend summer weekends in boned undergarments.  When making them there are two things to remember: it's tricky fitting them to yourself without help, especially up the back; once on and tight they do compress the body slightly so you don't want them loose to start with. 

Having said that, once on you need to remember that if you plan to dance in it you will need some give or your diaphragm won't be able to expand and you'll get a fit of the vapours and have to go outside for fresh air (this is experience talking!).


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2018, 13:53:20 PM »
Hopefully there's an appropriate fainting couch nearby!

I'm guessing it's not impossible to wear it slightly looser laced? I've watched a few tutorials that show how to lace it yourself effectively (using some sort of "bunny ear" technique and pulling the loops from the middle).


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2018, 12:06:04 PM »
Gawd, so last night I had sewn together all the panels and just needed to make up the back (well I haven't sewn the back panels on yet). All went pretty good but then I had to put the blasted eyelets in. I haven't tried yet on the actual backs but trying on scrap and they are a NIGHTMARE. I always have problems with eyelets. Half the time they won't even stay on and the other half of the time they are all squished and wonky.

Asked for some advice on the facebook group and they have all recommended a pull-down presser instead of using pliers or a hammer. So I gulped and bought one. Thirty quid, but it has good reviews and should last. Considering how many times I've struggled with eyelets and this sort of thing it's not so bad.

It won't be here until Sunday though, so my corset making will have to wait until then (I nearly wrote waist until then) and tonight I will start work on toile for my wedding guest dress.


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2018, 11:02:49 AM »
Getting close to the end now.

I finally managed to put the eyelets in using my new eyelet press, I think they look pretty good, if a bit wonky. I also realised I've put them probably about 5mm too far in from the edge, it means the gap between the eyelets will be quite wide. Well it's not too bad for a first go.

I started pinning in the waist stay to the corset last night but haven't finished yet. Then the boning channels will go over the top and be stitched down. Then I only have to bone it and bias tape the tops and it'll be complete!

Really want to get this thing finished tonight as I NEED to get on with my dress to go with it. However I've got a back-up dress just in case, thank god.


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2018, 09:55:42 AM »
Close to finished now, but I guess I won't know whether the fit is really good until I'm finished... the toile was OK but it's hard to tell.

Anyway one panel is entirely done and I've just got to bind the top and bottom of the second, then I'm complete! Should get it done tonight and then to learn to lace it...

This wedding has really crept up on me as I realise now it's THE WEEKEND AFTER NEXT eek and I have nothing to wear but a corset... I'm very busy all evenings this week but I'm just going to have to put my head down and do it.


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2018, 14:14:36 PM »
Well, it's finished! Buuuuut unfortunately the fit isn't great. It's so hard to tell.

It's a bit gappy at the top. Also when pulled tight it is completely closed at the back, so I think I could do with going down at least one or two sizes overall (perhaps one at the top and two at the bottom). I am not itching to make another, but it was a fun process and it does look amazing!

It gives me around a 2.5" waist reduction but if it wasn't butted close at the back I reckon I could get more. It's surprisingly comfortable aside from the top where it doesn't hug. It actually feels very pleasureable to wear as it compresses you in a nice way.

I'm not so sure I'll wear it to the wedding due to the fit issue (wouldn't want the top edge to stick out and show through my dress) so I'll wear my normal shapewear this time.

Scuse the not so great snap taken in my dining room mirror. I'll try and get a better one one day!


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2018, 14:47:45 PM »
@Francesca    It looks very good, and gives you a lovely shape at the waist!
Just not sure the slippers do it justice lol.
A :D


Re: Underbust Corset Newbie
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2018, 15:02:30 PM »
Looks great! I've always fancied making one, might add it to my long list of things I want to sew....