This post is a transcript of the video, “‘Corset Making’ Book (Julia Bremble of Sew Curvy) REVIEW” which you may view here along with a taster of the actual e-book:
Details of the e-book format:
This book was published by Vivebooks.com, a well-established producer of e-books. The table of contents in “Corset Making” has hyperlinks so you can click on any heading and it takes you to where you need to go. Clicking on URLs will take you right to the “Sew Curvy” website for more reading, or to purchase corset supplies if needed. It’s easy to jump around this book.
All the pictures are in color – they’re zoomable so you can see finer detail, and you can print out worksheets if you like. There are also video tutorials incorporated right into the book, so you click the link or photo on a certain page and the video pops up and plays automatically.
Julia’s writing style, and some tips on how corsets differ from other garments:
Julia’s technique is very friendly, she tries not to overwhelm you. Even for absolute beginners, she says, “…if you can sew a straight line, you can build a corset”! She mentions that the corset is like “wearable architecture” and I really love that term.
At the end of the book you have two projects – you can make either a single-layer corset or a double layer corset. Corsets with more than two layers aren’t really covered in this book since construction of those can be more complicated.
Julia describes terms such as negative ease, and how no two corsets look exactly the same on different people, because even when two people have similar measurements, their weight distribution in each dimension may be different. She gives tips on what a corset should do for the wearer when it’s properly made, and how to fit a corset, minimizing the chance of discomfort or unflattering effects
Julia also uses bulleted lists – I LOVE the use of lists, as they’re easy to understand, easy to read and help to not overwhelm the reader with a “wall of text”.
Tools and Materials:
Tools for making your corsets – she is big on the measuring tools because precision is a must in corset making. Patterning tools, marking tools, cutting tools, tools for your bones, tools for your eyelets or grommets, finishing tools. This is quite a large section because she not only tells you what you need, but how to use it and why it’s important. She even tells you what kind of needles you need and what type of thread to buy. This takes all the guesswork out for you.
Next she describes the hardware of the corset, which is basically anything that’s not the textiles. She describes the bones as the scaffolding or the framework of the corset. There are some tips and certain methods to tipping bones that I hadn’t heard of before I read this, so don’t assume you know everything! She mentions the typical metal bones but also some substitutes – when these substitutes might be used, and what they’re also not good for.
Next is the textile section where she goes through the different types of fabrics for corset-making, including fashion fabrics, lining, several different types of coutil, and substitutes – once again, when substitutes might be used, or why they shouldn’t be used.
Onto actually constructing the corset – this is a treasure trove. Her method of roll-pinning layers makes so
much more sense than my own video. As for assembling the panels, Julia does cover the basic seams for beginners, but her step-by-step instructions for a lapped seam is the best I’ve seen, and really helped me wrap my head around how to make them neat and precise.
She also shows you a really simply way to insert gussets. In her video tutorials, she’s very elegant, and makes the sewing process look so effortless.
There are also techniques for sewing very neat internal and external boning channels, so that the corset looks clean from the outside but still catches all the edges appropriately on the inside. She shows you how to make external boning channels and how to make your own binding, as well as touching on embellishment like adding trim, rhinestones or flossing – although not too much detail, she does give some useful tips as well as shows pictures for inspiration.
Fitting, and two projects:
Next comes the section on fitting – it shows you all the important places on your torso that you need to measure for a corset, how you should stand and even how to not hold the measuring tape!
There’s a pretty big section dedicated to fitting and adjusting the mockup, which if you’re familiar with fitting other garments, you’re also probably familiar with slashing or tucking – how to make it smaller or bigger in places – but Julia doesn’t just leave it at that. One important thing she mentioned is that sometimes you don’t have to change the overall circumference, but the distribution of the tension. She shows you how to slash one place and then go back and tuck another – this is how a beautiful fit is achieved. She shows what you generally need to do in order to solve common fitting problems – this section is absolutely invaluable.
Then she gives step-by-step directions on how to make a single layer corset and a double layer corset. Once again, I’m learning new things in this section, such as a really simple tip to get the edges of your binding neat and clean. The method for assembling the double-layer corset is ingenious, and worth the price of the book in itself.
Who is this book for?
It’s mentioned that this book is for the beginner to intermediate, but I think there’s something for everyone in this book. Even if you’ve never stitched a seam in your life, this book will inspire you, and even if you’ve been making corsets for years, there’s still a different or new technique somewhere in here for you. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.