Saturday, May 4, 2013

Part II: Self - Education in Corset Making or "I think I always do things the hard way."

Well it has been an interesting journey.  I am beginning to better understand this type of corset construction.  The project is a hot mess but since no one will see it and eventually I will use it to pattern a "pretty" one I'm not worried about it.

Just to recap:
- Started with a super super cheap (think cost of the busk) plastic boned, metal busk corset that was several sizes too big (it was like wearing a macaroni tube).
- Partially deconstructed it and added gussets.
- Added stashed spiral boning by sewing in channels behind with bias tape I already had.

Where we were:

Then I boned the corset but I was able to close it down all the way knowing I could get at least 1.5" - 2 smaller when I tight lace:
So then I cut down the back.  I did this but taking about three inches off the back then using my grommet tool to add new grommets down the back.  I was able to reduce another 1.5 inches down but i now can tight lace it closed in the middle with room to go.  I can't cut down any more in the back so when I redo this I will have to take all that into consideration.  But there is another problem...
...the bust is just too 18th century (flattening).  Even with the gussets I still need some relief up top.  It looks best when I undo the top two hooks on the busk. I can live like this and have a high bust or I can add two more small gussets after the fact.  I'm not sure right at this moment what to do but I have to start sewing dresses soon and I need this done.  I am somewhat disappointing that I didn't make the back a bit smaller as I would have liked to have gone down another inch or more.

The really great thing is that I can now see that a well fitted corset can reduce and be significantly more comfortable that trying to do the same thing in a corset that isn't cut for your body or is the wrong size. 


  1. Ok, I'm not at pro, by any means, as I've only done a few, and never in this era. But it looks to me as if you could add another gusset at the outside of the breast area, to make the cup into more of a cup and less of a conical uniboob look of the earlier century. You might need to adjust the boning placement to support that as well. Any pros out there to enlighten us both?
    Thanks for this post. I'm never brave enough to show my oops work!

  2. Hi AuntieNan! You are spot on, adding the extra gusset is what I spent time doing this weekend :-) I had looked at antique examples and had hoped to only use one large gusset but realized that to get the front curve I wanted i really did need to add a second one on each side.

    I discovered by adding another gusset towards the center busk and narrowing the outer gusset I was able to get a more cupped form. I also stopped trying to force a triangular gusset and recut the gusset into a more curved shape. I will post photos when I'm all done.

    I know putting together a corset this way may seem silly but I've had so many "ah-ha" moments where I better understand what is happening with construction.