I have mentioned before that corset making is currently beyond my skill set. I still believe that to be true, but I will never be good at it if I don’t practise!
A good quality, well made corset will be comfortable and long lasting if cared for properly. These do not come cheap, and the supplies to make your own might save you a few dollars, but give you a huge headache if you don’t know what you are doing, and a back ache if you don’t do it well! In my personal opinion, if you want a good one that will hug your waist in all the right places, it is well worth the money to have a pro make one for you. If you want to make them yourself, be prepared to spend lots of time, some money, and don’t expect the first one (or several) to be as good as the ones you can buy!
I have decided to have another crack at making my own.
Some of the construction ideas and tips have come from Lucy’s Corsetry and various other places I can’t remember but have seen over the years on the Internet. I apologise for not linking to some sources, but I honestly don’t remember where I might have seen a certain technique that I found up to 8 years ago! I will source where I can.
For my first attempt, I will do an underbust, with a front busk and laceup back. I want a fairly flat front, with most of the reduction on the sides. I will make a 24″ waist, as I can comfortably cinch down to 26 right now, and 24 is my goal. This will allow me to comfortably cinch to my regular 26″, leaving a 2″ gap in the back while I continue to train down.
I took very detailed measurements of my torso, including ribs, waist, hips, front from waist to top, waist to bottom, waist to lap, sides waist to armpit, waist to bottom, back waist to top, waist to bottom, and across the front, I also measured the width between the centre front and the bottom of the curve under the breast, and from the bottom of the curve to the middle of my side. This last set of measurements will allow me to make the curve as comfortable as possible under the bra line. This corset will have a peak in the front.
The front will be a total of 14″ high, and the back will be a total of 16″ high. I will have the solid busk in the front, giving nice tummy control, and spring steel bones in the back near the laces. The sides will have spiral steel, giving me the most comfort and flexibility while still providing strength. I currently have a corset with spring steel (the solid flat bones) in the sides, and I find it presses into my ribs and hips. This doesn’t allow me to cinch the waist as much as I would like, and creates pressure points on the widest parts of my body. Having spirals (the ones that look like squished coils) will allow the corset to flex inward at the waist, while allowing my hips and ribs the space they need.
With my measurements, I took the computer. I work on a computer doing graphics all day, so this is very natural to me. Others may find a pen and paper easier to work with.
I made my artboard the maximum width of my hips, and placed guides marking my hips, waist, ribs, top and bottom peaks in both front and back. I used all those vertical measurements I took to place the guides in the right places, using the waist line as a base point. This is why I took all my vertical measurements from the waist, not just a total height!
I then marked out the general shape of the top and bottom lines. I refined this line using some of the horizontal measurements, such as the centre front to the bottom of the curve, and centre front to lap. This created the peaks and valleys where the corset will need to fit around my breast and my leg when I sit down.
Once the general shape is done, I added lines for the panels, using a different colour so I could easily tell where they were. I curved the lines inward for the waistline, making sure that the total width matched the intended waist measurement, in this case, for half the corset, the waist width is 12″. I did the same for the ribs and hip lines too, so that the corset as a curvy shape to it. I want only a small amount of restriction on the hips (they won’t move, so I just want it snug) and the ribs (I don’t want to constrict my ribs that much). This will create a more dramatic curve, rather than a straight hourglass, but it does mean that my bones won’t be under pressure, just the fleshy part in the middle!!
Once I had everything double checked, I printed out each piece, cut them out, and taped the whole thing together. This way, I could check the shape, test the fit a little bit, and make sure that nothing is totally out to lunch! I did find that I had to take in a bit in the front, and add it into the side, because I had too much flair in the front panels. This made the front over my lap stick out. I want that belly to be nice and flat, not sticking out over my leg!! I took this opportunity to adjust the curves on the top and bottom, making sure that the pieces all lined up properly.
These now become my pattern pieces!! I cut the tape, careful not to cut the paper of the pattern pieces, and traced them out onto card. This gives me a nice sturdy pattern piece to work with, and preserves the original so I can compare, make further adjustments if necessary, etc.
So that is the construction of my pattern for my custom corset!! It was a lot of work, and probably about 4 hours of fiddling and drawing, printing, cutting, fitting, fiddling, adjusting, printing, cutting, fitting!
Next step is to make a mock up. This will allow me to insert the bones and really test the fit and comfort.