Posted on Leave a comment

“Friendship Corset” Collaboration (Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats & Lucy’s Corsetry)

This entry is a summary of the “Friendship Corset” Case Study (Collaboration between Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats & Lucy’s Corsetry). If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches long, the princess seam is 9.5 inches (4.5 inches above the waist, 4 inches below the waist), the side seam is 10.75 inches and the center back is 11.25 inches long.
Circumferential measurements: underbust is 29″ (rib spring is 6″), waist is 23″, and hip is 35″ (hip spring is 12″). The ribs are gently rounded and the hips are slightly cupped, giving a comfortable and flattering silhouette that was designed for my long torso and low waist.
Material 3 main layers: the fashion fabric pink rainbow crystal organza, fused to white herringbone coutil – and the lining is a “Monet” inspired printed lightweight quilting cotton. Boning channels / binding were custom dyed satin coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 converge towards the lower tummy in center front, panels 3-4-5 make the curve over the hip. Construction: organza was fused to coutil, and panels assembled with the seam allowances facing inward (added topstitch for reinforcement). Single external boning channels laid down (one on each seam and one in the middle of each panel), and the lining is floating.
Waist tape One-inch-wide twill cotton waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Binding Matching strips of green satin coutil, machine stitched on outside and hand-finished on the inside. No garter tabs (I don’t use them anyway).
Modesty panel None, as we were short on time and I tend to lace my corsets closed in the back anyway.
In the front there is a modesty placket, extending about 1/2″ out from under the knob side of the busk, covered in the lining fabric, and stiffened with coutil.
Busk 12” long, with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Heavy duty busk, slightly wider than 1″ on each side, and very stiff. The busk extends into the binding.
Boning 24 bones total in this corset, 12 on each side. Single boned on the seams and additional bones in the middle of each panel, with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel (the bone on the center back edge is 1/2″ wide, and the bone on the “internal” side of the grommets is ¼ inch wide).
Grommets There are 22, two-part size #00 grommets (11 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. There is the occasional split on the underside of the grommets (my doing as this was my first time using her grommet press) but they’re all holding in securely.
Laces Granny Smith apple green 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon (glides well through the grommets, holds knots and bows securely, long enough).


The Story Behind the Corset:

Some of you who watched my “Unboxing Week” videos in summer of 2015 may remember this corset and the story behind it.

The pattern was a posthumous gift from one of my closest friends in the corset community, Christine Wickham (A Girl From Down Under / Ariadne’s Thread). Christine did a lot for the corset community during her active years from around 2011 – 2014 (including spearheading a fundraiser for me to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry). I also worked with Christine on a number of projects; she was the illustrator for my Corset Designer Doll and she also helped rework my logo. But one of the things that she was most well-known for was that she developed her own underbust corset pattern and released it online for free in the “Learn to Make Corsets Like a Pro!” Facebook group so other fledgling corset makers could use her corset pattern as a place to start.

What I didn’t know is that she was also working on a made-to-measure corset pattern as a gift for me. The only other person she told / showed this pattern to was our mutual friend Amber of Lovely Rats Corsetry (to have Amber check over the pattern and suggest improvements). Christine passed away suddenly in July 2014 after a yoga injury led to pulmonary embolism, and it shook the whole corset community. It was less than 72 hours between her being fine and being gone.

Christine and her generous nature is still regularly discussed among my group of friends, and when I stayed with Amber for two weeks in July 2015, she printed out the pattern that Christine had planned to give me. We decided it would be a good tribute to her memory to create a corset from the pattern, using a combination of our materials / tastes and construction techniques – thus the “friendship corset” was born, a collaboration between Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats, and Lucy’s Corsetry.

See the video above for all my commentary on the different parts of construction, why certain elements were chosen over others, and what I learned from this “mini internship” at Amber’s studio. If you’d like to see my interview with Amber (done at the same time as we were collaborating on this corset), click here.

Posted on 1 Comment

Case Study: Sapsford Silver Overbust Corset

This post is a summary of the “‘Case Study: Sapsford Silver Overbust” video, which you can watch on Youtube:

Quick Stats:

Material Two main layers: fashion fabric is a pattern-matched synthetic upholstery fabric with metallic threads interwoven, and it’s already backed onto a twill-like fabric. The lining is white herringbone coutil.
Construction 7 panel pattern (drafted by Scarlett Sapsford). The fashion layer is floating, and the corset is single-boned on the lining side.
Binding Bias strips of matching silver metallic fabric, machine stitched on both outside and inside (stitched in the ditch on the outside).
Waist tape 1 inch wide twill tape sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back modesty panel, but there is a narrow placket by the busk.
Busk 12 inches long with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. The busk is 1/2 inch on each side, and there are a pair of grommets above that ties at the bustline.
Boning 16 total bones not including busk (8 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, single boned on the seams. Two 1/2″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, a little more than 1 inch apart.
Laces 1/2″ wide, double-face satin ribbon finished in silver.

*

A bonus from yours truly - last month I made this pattern-matched overbust with a complicated asymmetric motif as a challenge to myself. I made this using the techniques in Scarlet Sapsford's Corset Making course (click the photo to learn more about the course).
A bonus from yours truly – last month I made this pattern-matched overbust with a complicated asymmetric motif as a challenge to myself. I made this using the techniques in Scarlet Sapsford’s Corset Making course (click the photo to learn more about the course).

This was a great project that came together in just a few days! Although I’ve known how to make my own corsets for years, it was fun going through Scarlett Sapsford’s Express Corset Making Course, discovering slightly different techniques from my own, and honing my skills by learning from a different angle.

Matching the motifs on this corset was a bit of a challenge, but a fun one. I followed Scarlett Sapsford’s instructions in her complete Corset Making Course, and it turned out (mostly) fabulous. A few things I would do differently:

  • I would have backed the fashion fabric onto interfacing to stabilize it and prevent warping (because warping is bad news when you try to match panels together!)
  • I might have chosen a fabric that has a less bold motif. Although the clear-cut and high-contrast motif made it easy to see where I should be matching the pieces, it also makes it super obvious where the matching wasn’t quite perfect. Yes, I did have to re-cut a panel because it was a few mm off!
  • I might lock-stitch the seams and press the seams open instead of using a top-stitch, because it makes the outside smoother and would prevent the motif from looking “off” when viewed at different angles.

I have a long torso and a low waist, and most OTR overbust corsets are a bit short on me – this is an issue if I want to keep my bust comfortably covered! So I modified Scarlett’s overbust pattern and added an inch of length in the ribcage. I did not make a mockup for this corset before jumping in and creating the final piece; if I had made a mockup, I would have lengthened the pattern even more in the front, and added another 2 inches in the bust to accommodate for my fuller chest.

Of course, this means opportunity to make more corsets in the future, about which I will not complain! :D

If you’d like to learn how to make your own corset like this one, be sure to check out Scarlett Sapsford’s Express Corset Making Course!

Posted on 7 Comments

Glowing Tardis Corset Case Study

This post is a written summary of the video case study for the Light Atop the Tardis corset I made back in May/June of this year.

This corset was made for a girl attending Dragon*Con this August/September so I had to keep it a secret for several months, until after its debut at the convention. The corset itself is supposed to resemble (as its name suggests) the light on top of the Tardis while her skirt was the main box (which opened to show the impossibly huge interior of the Tardis).

-Details of the Tardis corset…>

Posted on Leave a comment

Black Mesh Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of the video “Case Study: Homemade Mesh ‘Corset'”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 11″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 23″ and hips 34″. The elastic mesh also contributes to the extreme shape and curviness.
Material Heavyweight powernet (quite stretchy) for most of the panels, and black satin coutil for the first and last panels, the boning channels and the diamond waist tape.
Construction Essentially a 6-panel pattern although the last panel is separated into two to make 7 panels. First, the powernet panels were sewn together wrong sides together and flat-felled with the bulk being on the outside of the body. Then I added the center front coutil panels, with the diamond waist basted in front. The diamond extends into a waist tape, which was basted at each seam, then I secured the external channels down on top of it. The back coutil panel went on last, then I added the busk and bones, and lastly serged the top and bottom edges.
Binding There is no binding on this *yet*. I had serged the raw edges to keep them from fraying. This allows the mesh to stretch. Conventional binding would not allow the top and bottom edges of the corset to stretch. However I may later add an elastic or mesh binding.
Waist tape The diamond detail made from satin coutil extends into a waist tape that is slightly more than 1 inch wide, and placed on the external side of the corset, secured down at the boning channels.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back. There is a small modesty placket in the front by the busk.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long. Although it is quite flexible, having 3 layers of satin coutil surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite sturdy.
Boning 20 bones total in this corset (not including the busk). On each side there are eight 1/4″ wide spirals in external channels, then a 1/2″ wide flat steel on the center back edge of the grommet panel, and a 1/4″ steel on the “inner” side of the grommets.
Grommets There are 26 2-part size #00 grommets (13 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets to insert these, placing the grommets closer together than I normally would and making sure the grommets are snug between the two flat bones. So far they have all held up well.
Laces Some old black cotton shoe-lace style. More lightweight than nylon laces but not as strong. I just used whatever I had lying around.
Price This corset was quite time consuming due to the flat-felled seams and external channels and waistband. Also the powernet and satin coutil were both expensive materials. If I were to remake this corset (with a more pristine finish) it would likely start at no less than $280.

Final thoughts:

This is an extremely comfy corset. I also feel that I’m able to very easily cinch down in this corset – I wish I had drafted it to be another inch or two smaller! The powernet is forgiving of curves and makes my asymmetric hips look symmetric, while giving me absolutely zero pinching or discomfort.

The only disappointments I had with this corset was a) the asymmetry in the diamond detail, and b) the rough finish of the serged edges. I may end up adding binding to this corset (either elastic or mesh) although that would somewhat ruin its ability to be worn inconspicuously under clothing, and I’m not sure how even elastic binding would bring back the dreaded muffin top which is currently so nicely avoided.

Overall I think this experiment turned out much nicer than I had anticipated, and I think I will use this as a sleeping corset in the future! However I do need to practice my “finishing” of corsets, even when they’re experiments or prototypes.

Posted on Leave a comment

Chocolate Faux Suede Giveaway Corset

This entry is a summary of the case study for the Chocolate Faux Suede giveaway corset, made for the winner of the “Giveaway in Memory of Phoenixjodirae”. Following the summary was an interview with the winner of the corset, which you can watch in the video at the end of this post.

Material 3 layers; fashion layer is faux suede in chocolate brown, interlining of cotton coutil, and lining of hot pink twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Double boned; it has one bone on each seam (sewn into the seam allowances) and another bone inserted into the middle of each panel using bone casing. Includes a floating liner.
Binding Matching faux suede binding made from bias tape of the same fashion material. It was very fiddly to work with; I don’t recommend using suede binding.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining, secured down under boning channels.
Modesty panel 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of faux suede and twill, stiffened with plastic canvas and suspended on the laces with grommets. Also includes a placket under the busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 9.5″ long (5 pins). Also has a bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. 18 spirals (1/4″ wide), 4 flats (1/2 inch wide on the outer edge, 1/4″ wide on the inner edge) sandwiching the grommets, also two 1/4″ wide flats beside the busk.
Grommets 18 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with large flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets, thanks to some better quality grommets made of a more malleable brass.
Laces 5/8″ wide double face satin ribbon in hot pink, to match the lining.
Price A reproduction of this corset would be approximately $270 USD.

If you would like to see the interview with the winner of the giveaway and her story, you may watch her video here:

Posted on 7 Comments

The Structure of my Corset Reviews

After my interview with Foundations Revealed was released, I received several questions from people wanting me to clarify and expand on my answers, particularly this one I had given in my interview:

 

I have a lengthy checklist of requirements when buying corsets! My structured corset reviews basically outline this list, although I’m more lenient in some aspects than others. For example, I have worn corsets without a waist tape that cinched much more and lasted longer than some other corsets with waist tape. Some of my off-the-rack corsets have impeccable stitching which can only be achieved by someone who has sewn the same corset over and over for months or years, but the quality of the materials or the fit of the corset aren’t up to my standards – conversely, in some of my higher-end corsets I may see a wobbly seam or a pucker, but the corset overall is a beautiful example of artistry. I try to purchase and review corsets from all points on the quality/price spectrum, as I know that my viewers all have different expendable incomes, have different body types and use corsets for different reasons. Having so many corsets also helps me understand why some corsets are priced the way they are.

 

On waist tape

Indeed some of my purchased corsets don’t include a waist tape but they gave an amazing reduction and I didn’t feel that it was going to break. One was a corset made by an ex-engineer who argued that all fabric stretches somewhat, including waist tape. I have also seen the inside of a leather corset made by the respectable Bizarre Design that doesn’t have a waist tape. I believe he knows what he’s doing and if he has engineered a strong corset that finds waist tapes superfluous, then that’s great. But I will still go on using my waist tape in my own designs!

On stitching

Some people will take a magnifying glass to a corset and make sure that there is not one stitch skipped or out of place (my boyfriend is like this with his tailored suits, and will also point it out in my homemade corsets). I can understand if someone is paying many hundreds of dollars for a corset, they may expect “perfection”. However, I’m not that scrutinous. When I was starting my corset reviews, I did go into detail about the stitching – how long the stitches were, whether there were any wobbles or skipped stitches, etc. Now, as long as there are no glaring errors or asymmetry in the corset, a wobble here and there in my purchased corsets doesn’t phase me. In my own sewing, I do try to keep my seams straight within 2-3mm, meaning that if I’m off by 3mm or more, I rip out the seam and do it again (and if I’m working on external boning channels, around 1mm). But I’m *slightly* less scrutinous with purchased corsets.

On finishing (binding, embellishments)

“Finishing” is one of my weak points. I have made a corset that is symmetric in width and height within 3mm, and then messed it all up with the binding. I have spent more hours on binding than I have assembling the panels on some corsets, because I am so terrible at it that I often have to do it three times over. I’ve never tried lace overlay and the few times I did flossing, it turned out abysmal. But with my purchased corsets, I have some that have several funky corners on the binding, or a flossed motif that’s a few mm off. I don’t have a cow about it. Actually, it almost endears the corset because I know that it was made by a human being. Some of the corsets I bought from Corsets-UK had flawless stitching and finishing, but does that mean the worker has incredible attention to quality, or does that mean it was assembled by a mindless drone who’s been making the same corset every day for years? Is it admirable, or is it… boring? It all depends on who you are and what purpose your corset will serve.

That is why whenever possible I try to give completely objective reviews, simply stating the facts and statistics, and let you, the reader or viewer, decide whether you like it. Some consider grommets with large flange a sign of quality and security, while others consider it ugly and cheap-looking. I have my own opinions but I try to allow you to think for yourself let you form your own opinions.

Which parts of a corset do I observe with the most scrutiny?

Strength fabric – Most of my owned corsets have twill or canvas/duck as the strength fabric, and I find it *okay*. Not unacceptable, but I won’t be doing a happy dance. Brownie points if they use coutil. If they simply use interfacing to strengthen the corset, I’m not going to be pleased.

Bones – I’m not one who believes that the more bones, the better necessarily – however if the corset has fewer than 1 bone per two inches at the waistline (that is, fewer than 12-14 bones in one of my standard 24″ corsets), it’s my experience that the corset will buckle and wrinkle (unless it’s a ribbon corset). The corsets I wear most often have about 1 bone per inch around the waist, and are ALWAYS steel. I prefer having spirals on the sides of my corset, although it’s not a deal-breaker if the maker uses all flats.

Grommets – I like the last panel of my corsets to be reinforced so that grommets don’t pop out. Sometimes if the grommets are split and the laces catch, it irks me, but this (for the most part) hasn’t done damage to the corset or me, and I know how to repair this. I like the look of #00 grommets with a moderate flange, although I will also use #0 grommets with a larger flange. It’s been my experience that the smaller the difference between the shank and flange of a grommet, the higher the risk of the grommet pulling out (unless a lacing bone is used). A popped grommet within the seasoning period (first month of wearing) is a deal-breaker for me, even when I can replace grommets myself.

Comfort/ Shape – If a corset is uncomfortable/ painful, I’m never going to wear it and it’s a waste of money. This goes for corsets that are too tubular, corsets that are too extreme and corsets that have odd or unrealistic dimensions/ length. Corsets that twist on me is unfortunately common as my hips are not aligned and I cinch more readily on one side of my body compared to the other, but when I’m doing reviews for others I try not to take this into account as there are buyers who are more symmetric than I am. Whenever possible I recommend certain style corsets for people of certain heights, torso lengths and body shapes, depending on what I believe would fit them most comfortably and what would be most flattering.

In the near future I will write about some of my positive and negative experiences as an unofficial-official corset reviewer.

What parts of a corset do YOU observe with more scrutiny? Let me know in the comments!
Posted on 2 Comments

“Disco Armadillo” PVC Ribbon Cincher Case Study

This entry is a summary of the video “‘DISCO ARMADILLO’ PVC Ribbon Corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

***

This was my first attempt at sewing a corset from vinyl. I have to thank Marta “Snowblack” for her wonderful  Foundations Revealed tutorial on sewing leather and vinyl corsetry. Just a few things that I have learned about handling vinyl:

  • The material stretches (so you must back it with coutil) however it does not drape like most other fabrics.
  • It is also not a self-healing fabric, and will show all pinpricks. Therefore you should pin your panels only in the seam allowances.
  • Using a teflon foot (or a piece of tissue between the vinyl and the presser foot) will help the vinyl to feed smoothly without dragging or sticking to the presser foot.
  • Lastly, feed dogs will leave permanent marks into the bottom of the vinyl, especially if it has a metallic foil finish. Putting tissue or masking tape on the underside of your fabric (where your seam line will be) will protect your fabric from the feed dogs digging in.
***

Here is the overview of my Disco Armadillo, in typical review form:

Fit, length Center front is 10.5″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 24″ and hips 34″.
Material Just two layers; the outer PVC ribbon and the inner coutil.
Construction 5-panel pattern – three vertical panels at front/side/back to hold the bones, and two ribbon panels. I learned how to draft a ribbon corset from Sidney Eileen’s ribbon corset sewing tutorial. The coutil panels aren’t “ribboned” like the outer pieces; rather they are in one piece. Most seams are topstitched as I was afraid that lockstitching would cause the PVC to become too perforated and tear apart. However at the busk, seams were lockstitched nonetheless as it looked better. Some edges of the ribbon were left raw, as folding those edges under would be too bulky.
Binding There is binding at the top and bottom of the vertical panels only; the ribbon panels do not have binding. I also left the inside edge of the binding raw – this is normal with binding made out of leathers or vinyls.
Waist tape Ribbon corsets typically don’t have a waist tape; a horizontal piece of ribbon running around the waist will act like a waist tape anyway.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long. Although it is quite flexible, having 3 layers of PVC ribbon surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite stiff and sturdy.
Boning Only 8 bones total in this corset (not including the busk), only boned on the vertical panels. There are two spring steel bones sandwiching each row of grommets at the back, and an additional two bones on each side panel, all 3/8″ wide.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 grommets (10 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets and a new press to insert these, and they work very well with the PVC. I placed a layer of heavy canvas in the grommet panel to give the grommets more to “grab onto” and to prevent the PVC from stretching. There are no splits and the grommets are holding up quite well with regular use.
Laces I used some 100% nylon purple paracord – it’s extremely strong (holds tension up to 500 lbs) and has no stretch, is resistant to fraying but has a tendancy to twist. You will definitely need a square knot or bow (not a round one) to keep your corset securely tied at the back.
Price Ribbon corsets in general are not particularly difficult but they are time-consuming and require a bit of pre-planning. I would most likely place a typical satin-and-coutil ribbon corset at around $150. However, because the PVC ribbon is extremely challenging to work with and also quite expensive ($10/meter when not on sale, and this corset used 9 meters), I wouldn’t remake this corset for less than $250.
Posted on Leave a comment

“Waffle Iron” Skeleton Corset

This is a summary of the video “Waffle Iron” Skeleton Corset Experiment. If you’d like more information on how this corset is made and more in-depth explanations, please watch the video available on Youtube here:

I called this corset my “Waffle Iron,” because of the way my skin and flesh pokes through the holes of this skeleton corset prototype, and the lines it leaves afterward. I was inspired to make this due to the recent warming weather and ventilated corsets such as this.

I wanted to push my limits and my knowledge of corsetry, and break down corsetry to its “bare bones” so to speak. To experiment with “corset minimalism” and to get to know the “architecture” of corsets better – to see where the most important lines are.

While I agree that mesh on the open areas would have been more flattering, that wasn’t really the point. Skeleton corsets have existed in the past (with no mesh) and women wore chemises underneath which helped prevent the “oozing”. I still intend to use liners under this corset if/when I wear it in the future.

How this corset was made (please see the video as I did record the steps as I made this):

  1. The “fabric” is the most-densely-weaved twill tape I could find  – this is the only textile I used, other than a bit of canvas to reinforce the grommet area.
  2. I started with a custom-drafted 6-panel corset pattern, then sewed a quick single-layer “corset” from a soft tear-away stabilizer.
  3. I centered the tape on the seams of the stabilizer “corset” and also laid tape on the top/bottom edges and across the waist. (I considered adding another horizontal strip at mid-rib height, but I wanted to see how little I could “get away with.”)
  4. Once I had the outline I wanted, I tore away the stabilizer, laid down another layer of vertical strips to create the bone casings/busk/grommet areas.
  5. I added boning to the channels, folded the top/bottom edges over double to cover the raw bone-casing edges, and added grommets.

Once I put on the corset, I noticed a bit of an “Easter Egg” – I was able to perfectly see and understand my problem areas and my body’s asymmetry within a corset. Only by using a “transparent” corset such as this one would I ever have started to understand these little complications and how they can best be fixed. Let’s see a few pictures:

 In this front view, you can see that my left iliac crest protrudes more than my right one, and also even one side of my body cinches more readily than the other side, which can be measured in hip-spring on each side vs. “rib spring.”

In the profile view,  the bone of the corset is right in front of my iliac crest and pushing back on it slightly. This wouldn’t normally happen in a regular corset, because the fabric would prevent my hip from freely jutting out behind it. Instead, the bone would rest directly on my hipbone and cause discomfort.

Here is a picture of the right side, by comparison. You can see that the right hip doesn’t protrude behind the corset bone in the same way. In the past I would try to alleviate the discomfort on my left hip by simply drafting the hips of my patterns larger and larger, but now I see that I have to completely change my drafting technique and move the panels and bones away from the problem area.

In the first picture of the 3/4 view, you can see the “waffle iron” visual effect. The way that fat pads are genetically distributed, many women (and some men) have a little pocket of fat directly under their navel, and it’s no different for me. This is likely why so many skeleton corsets in the past had a diamond-shaped belt (2nd photo, same angle) or waist tape to hold that flesh in. The diamond could be shallow and stop just around the natural waist, or continue up to the sternum.

While I do realize that the “flesh oozing” is undesirable to many people, I have discovered that seeing the bulges is actually useful. I see it as a topographical map telling me how much support/pressure is required in each “grid” of the body – the more oozing in one pocketed area, the more tension and support that area requires. This means I can take more care and attention in shaping those areas in my drafting, while other areas can simply gently cup or lay flat over the flesh without restriction. If I were to put mesh between the panels, I wouldn’t be able to see this “map” quite as well. 

In the future I will make this with coutil instead of twill, as the twill tape is fairly flimsy and makes for wobbly lines. I think I will have the same number of bones (or more) but instead of having “two bones on each seam” like I did here, I’ll likely have one bone on the “seam of the panel” and another bone in the “middle of the panel”. I will also likely add the mid-rib horizontal piece, and widen the area at the waist /make it a diamond shape to hold in more abdominal flesh. Lastly, I’ll make the top/bottom “binding” twice as wide so it will lay flat on the body without rolling and twisting funkily like it is here, and the bones may even extend (at least partway) through that width of the binding just to prevent twisting.

I’m quite excited about how much I’ve learned from this little project, and I’m looking forward to improving upon this first prototype. As they say, “Excelsior!”

Posted on Leave a comment

“Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of the review video “Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

***

Note: the following are the differences between the “Wrinkly Pig” and the “Tickled Pink” corset in terms of construction:

  Wrinkly Pig Tickled Pink
Fusing Fused the brocade to a layer of woven fusible interfacing, then flatlined that to coutil. Fused the brocade directly to a layer of coutil using “Heat n’ Bond” (fiddly sheet of glue, I don’t recommend it).
Roll-pinning Everything was flat-pinned, not roll-pinned. Some roll-pinning was done on the side panels.
Seams Lock-stitched seams; allowances were not trimmed or clipped at curves. Seams were trimmed and flat-felled.
Boning channels Double-boned at the seams, sandwiched between two layers of coutil. Single boned at the seams, used external boning channels (cuts down on wrinkles slightly)

***

And here is my review:

Fit, length Decent curves. Used to be a slightly long-line corset but I later shortened the hips so it is more of a cincher now. Center front is about 11″ long.
Material 4 layers including the interfacing: brocade fashion fabric fused to interfacing, then flatlined to interlining of coutil and another lining of coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern. Seams were lock-stitched (stitched twice) at the seams, the allowances were pressed open. The brocade/interfacing/coutil flatlined panels were all assembled, then the coutil lining was assembled. The layers were then stitched together at first/last panels, flipped right-side out and stitched in the ditch between panels and also secured at boning channels.  Bones are sandwiched between the two layers of coutil.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of commercial hot pink cotton bias tape, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape 1” wide twill tape between the coutil lining and interlining, stitched invisibly so it’s not noticeable.
Modesty panel Suspended modesty panel made from brocade fused to twill, and stiffened with plastic canvas. 7″ wide.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long.
Boning 22 steel bones in this corset not including the busk. The seams between the panels are double-boned (except the seam closest to the grommets with ¼” inch wide spirals, and there are a pair of flats sandwiching each column of grommets.
Grommets There are 30 2-part size #X00 eyelets (15 on each side). They have a medium flange around and are spaced out 3/4 inches apart. No pulling away of fabric yet but they are very small so many types of fat cord is hard to thread through.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-face satin ribbon, baby pink in colour. About 5 meters and not really long enough for my tastes. I think I may change out the laces for some longer ones.
Price If I were to re-make this corset, I would roll-pin the panels and also use wonder-under or stitch-witchery to directly fuse the brocade to a layer of coutil to eliminate wrinkling. Keeping other construction techniques the same, I would likely charge around $260 USD for a corset like this.
Posted on Leave a comment

Baby Blue Ribbon Cincher Case Study

This entry is a summary of the review video “Homemade Blue Ribbon Corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Short cincher about 12″ high in the center front, comes up high on the hips. Pointed in the front and in back.
Material Almost entirely 2.25″ wide double faced satin ribbon, with coutil flatlined to the ribbon on the vertical panels in front, side and back.
Construction Pattern is from page 88 of the book Corsets and Crinolines. The horizontal ribbons were draped into the correct shape and tacked on the sides, then sandwiched between two pieces of coutil-flatlined-to-ribbon vertical panels which were then topstitched. The bones sandwiched in the vertical panels only.
Binding There is only binding at the top and bottom of the vertical panels, also made with blue ribbon.
Waist tape None (ribbon corsets generally don’t have waist tapes).
Modesty panel None.
Busk Standard flexible busk, about 9.5″ long with 5 clasps.
Boning 14 bones in this corset; 8 bones on the side panels (4 on each side), 2 flats on either side of the busk and another 4 in the back sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 26 gold #X00 2-part grommets (13 on each side). Gold was the only colour I had at the time.
Laces Simple white round shoe-lace style cord, about 7 meters.
Price Cost in materials was close to $35. A standard ribbon cincher is often sold for about $150-$200 depending on the maker. Custom fit ribbon cinchers often are more expensive.
Posted on Leave a comment

Princess Tamina Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of my videos for the Princess Tamina costume. If you would like more  information and side notes about the corset and costume, you can watch the videos on YouTube here:

 

 

Fit, length Self-drafted underbust corset with a peaked front top and bottom edge. Stops just at the hips, and features a high back (7″ above waist). Made to close at 21″ at the waist. I took 3 horizontal measurements and 5 vertical measurements to draft this.
Material 4 layers of material; fashion fabric is a very stretchy gold-on-beige lamé, two layers of down-proof cotton ticking (labelled “coutil” in French) as strength layer, and ivory satin lining.
Construction Drafted from a 5-panel pattern. Lining was flatlined to ticking and lockstitched between the seams, then joined to another layer of ticking (wrong sides together) via the sandwich method. Sandwiched boning channels were sewn through those 3 layers, then the fashion fabric was redesigned to look like a ribbon corset and was tacked down at center front and back seams; floating in all other places. Embellishment was hand-sewn.
Binding Made from bias strips of lamé and machine stitched on both front and back. Back of binding was not folded under but left raw; as it’s a knit it doesn’t fray.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the two layers of ticking.
Modesty panel None.
Busk None; closed front.
Boning Only 12 bones including center front; all half-inch wide steels. Two at center front and one on each seam between panels; only a bone on the outer edge of the grommets, not the inner edge.
Grommets There are 22, 2-part size #X00 grommets (11 on each side), finished in gold to match the rest of the corset. This corset being the first time I hammered in grommets, the back of some of them are rough and catch a bit on the laces.
Laces Round nylon utility cord made for outdoor/sports use. It was loosely woven, frayed easily, slippery and didn’t hold bows very well.
Price The cost for materials was close to $70 because the only store that supplied steel bones near me charged me an arm and a leg for them. Otherwise this corset would have been closer to $35-$40 in supplies. If I were to remake this corset today and sell it, it would cost around $315 USD.
($225 underbust corset + $15 half-inch boning upgrade (I’d use spiral at seams) + $20 double (proper) coutil strength layer upgrade + $40 pattern modification + $15 hand-sewn embellishments)
Posted on Leave a comment

Grey & Green Longline Underbust Case Study

This entry is a summary of the review video “Grey & Green underbust case study”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Self-drafted, longline (low over the hips) underbust corset with a peaked front top and a straight bottom edge. Made to close at 22″ at the waist. I took 5 horizontal measurements and 9 vertical measurements to draft this.
Material Fashion fabric is a black/white fine herringbone weave with metallic gold thread pinstripes This was fused to herringbone coutil interlining and lined in fern green satin.
Construction Drafted from a 6-panel pattern and both topstitched and lockstitched for extra strength. Boning channels are external (made from green satin fused to coutil) and the lining floats.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made from 2-inch-wide strips of green satin, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the coutil and the lining.
Modesty panel Suspended modesty panel stiffened with plastic canvas and finished the same way as the corset – covered in the pinstripe fabric and bound with green satin on top and bottom.
Busk Heavy duty stainless steel busk (1″ wide on each side) and was cut to 13″ long, with 5 pins.
Boning 20 bones not including the busk; I had used 1/4″ wide spirals double-boned at each seam (except the one adjacent to the busk) in the external channels. By the grommets there’s a 1/2″ wide flat bone on the outer edges and 1/4″ wide flat bone on the inner side.
Grommets There are 32, 2-part size #0 grommets (16 on each side), finished in silver (Chelsea’s choice). The grommets have a large lip around and are spaced 3/4″ inch apart down the length.
Laces Flat nylon braided shoelace-style laces; 8 yards long. They grip well, are densely woven and are resistant to catching, fraying or snapping.
Price The retail price for something similar is around $280 (underbust corset + heavy busk upgrade + double boning upgrade + external boning channels upgrade).
Posted on 2 Comments

Homemade Corset: Grey Longline Closed-Front Underbust

This entry is a summary of the review video “Showing my homemade corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Drafted from Foundations Revealed pattern tutorial. It’s a longline underbust corset with a center front of about 13″ and a waist of about 23″, with an extreme hourglass silhouette. I made the ribcage a little too large so the back seams look like / instead of ||
Material Made out of a black/white fine herringbone weave (I call it grey because that’s how it looks from afar) with gold metallic thread as an outer layer, and one layer of down-proof cotton ticking as a strength layer, which generally doesn’t stretch, but isn’t as strong as coutil.
Construction Drafted from a 5-panel pattern and constructed in the “sandwich” technique in which each layer has its panels individually assembled and then the two layers are attached at the ends, flipped right-side out and then bones are sandwiched between the layers.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of bias strips of the same white/black herringbone fabric.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the two layers. It’s slightly tighter than the panels of the corset which is what causes the “groove” around the waistline of the corset.
Modesty panel None.
Busk None, this was before I knew where to buy busks (other than the overpriced ones at anime conventions) so I made this with a closed front
Boning 22 bones including the bones at the center front; I had used 1/2″ wide hoop steel for the center front and by the grommets, and 1/4″ wide flats double-boned at each seam. These particular flats were flimsy, which is how I got the silhouette without resistance to the bones.
Grommets There are 24, 2-part size #X00 grommets (12 on each side), finished in gold (the only colour I could find at the time). The grommets have a small size lip around. One of the grommets later popped out at the waistline.
Laces Flat cotton braided shoelace-style laces bought at Timeless Trends; 7 yards long. They grip well, have no spring and are very easy to tighten, however they do snap after about a year of regular use.
Price Cost me probably around $40-$50 in materials, and around 24 hours total to make – this was my 3rd corset so I was still moving very slowly through the steps.
Posted on 6 Comments

My First Corset

This entry is a summary of the review video “Case Study: My First Corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Made from Simplicity 9769 pattern. The pattern is larger than expected, so I recommend grading it in at the waist if you want an accurate reduction. Demibust, not longline. Has some slight curve – it was supposed to be a Victorian hourglass shape but it stretched in places. The center front is about 14”.
Material Made out of a single layer of a bedsheet, which has stretched over the years. The fabric is now more transparent. One part of the material ripped when I was letting out the seams and I was a little too vigorous with my seam ripper.There are some pink marks stained on the fabric from using sidewalk chalk instead of tailor’s chalk to mark the seams.
Construction This was my first time flat-felling seams. Internal boning channels made from 1-inch wide twill tape folded over double and sewn down.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are white cotton bias tape.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel None.
Busk Standard flexible busk,  about 12″ long. I didn’t double-stitch it so it started popping out. I had to repair it several times with an overcast stitch. One of the loops are now bent from too much stress.
Boning 22 bones not inlcuding busk; I cannibalized a vintage corset it for its flat steel bones. Some of the steel bones were too short, and so I doubled up the boning with plastic featherweight boning along the full length of the channel, and then just the metal bit in the very centre of the bone at the waist. This is why you saw the corset buckling in places like in the demibust area when it was on.
Grommets There are 30, 2-part size grommets (15 on each side), finished in nickel. The grommets are sturdy with small size lip around. One of the grommets popped out at the waistline.
Laces White round nylon braided cord style. It has no spring, but tends to catch on grommet edges. Cuts into my hands when I’m tightening the corset.
Price Cost me probably around $35 in materials. As an end product, I would probably have to pay you to take it.