When making your corset training corset you should now know from my last post that steel bones are the way to go. You’ll also know that spiral steels are a lot more flexible and bend in many more directions than sprung steels. What you might not know is that when you make a corset, visually the effect of using the two different steels can give your corset different looks.
Again it’s to do with the bendable nature of the two steels. Sprung steel bends less so will actually give you a sleeker look, holding the original cut of the corset pattern. Where as spiral will conform to your body shape more closely. For example a round tummy will be held flatter by a corset training corset with sprung steels.
We talked in the last post about the perils of using plastic bones to make a corset with, but which type of steel will suit you and your corset?
The main difference between sprung (the flat strips) and spiral (the wire wound tightly into strips) is their bendability. Unlike plastic that weakens if it bends too much, steels can bend a great deal further without developing weak points and kinks. This is great as the body needs to bend and stretch during everyday activities. A corset training corset needs to be robust and allow for this movement as it is worn for 8 hours plus a day.
Both steel types are springy enough for everyday corset training but spiral steel bones will give more movement as they bend a lot easier than their solid counterparts which like to spring back into their original position, hence the name ‘sprung steel bones’.
Spirals also bend in directions the solid steels can’t. Spiral will bend sideways and twist which means it’s the only type you can use for boning diagonally over say the curve of the hips. Creative boning you see on high end corsets is normally done with thin 5mm spiral which puts up little resistance but is great for boning whole panels or panel sections. I recently boned a whole bodice with a few hundred of these.
So if you need more support for say plus sized corsets or back support, use sprung steel bones. If your priority is freedom of movement, eg you lead an active lifestyle or your making a corset for an inexperienced corset wearer who won’t be used to the restrictive garment, opt for spiral steel boning.
We all know the traditional front opening method for a corset is the busk – a series of metal loops and knobs welded to two sprung steel corset bones. Nice and solid, unlikely to brake or bend.
But what if you want to make a corset with a zipper closure? Well, while using a zipper down the front to close your corset isn’t likely to be as problem free or as strong a method as the busk, it can still be used. Be warned though, buying a zip-up corset ‘off the peg’ means it’s very unlikely to be of a corset training standard.
If you do decide to zip-up when you make a corset, make sure you get an industrial strength zip! More the sort you get on sofa cushions than summer dresses
So how about other closures? Well we’ll talk more about other options in the next post…
Continuing from yesterday’s discussion on outer corset fabrics, there are a number of heavyweight materials that add that feeling of quality you just don’t get from cheap ready mades.
Brocades are a very popular choice, the heavy ones of course, not the cheaper ones you can get. You should be able to tell from handling a fabric if it is of a decent thickness.
For corset training the heavy duty twills and cottons are a good choice as they add much needed strength. Corset making coutil comes in satin finishes which is ideal but very expensive. You can often buy it by the half or quarter meter however, so you only need pay for what you plan to use.
If your looking to make a corset on the cheap but still want too quality try recycling old cushions! This is a great little tip as the thick fabrics used to upholster cushions, sofas and curtains are made to take the wear,tear and body weight of an active family using them. Scan the local thrift shops for vintage drapes, heavyweight bed sheets and scatter cushions.
Have you ever noticed those cheap corsets you see for sale online, or on girls in adverts for premium *ahem* men’s lines. They’re normally covered in a lightweight satin fabric that wrinkles and puckers around the seams.
Using cheap or light weight material on a corset is the quickest way to make the corset -look- cheap! A corset training corset is a very small and highly curved garment that has to change shape with the different positions of the body. You need an outer material that will lay flat over the thick cotton lining.
If your more experienced at making a corset and really want to use lighter weight materials I suggest getting an iron on backing fabric for them. If your going to make a corset for the first time however, your best bet is to go for something heavyweight. Upholstery fabrics are the best, they lay flatter on account of their thickness and add strength for corset training purposes.
…Measuring a plus sized figure for a corset training corset may mean the usual sizing method – taking the waist size minus 4inches and picking the corset pattern size that matches – results in a corset too big at the bust and hips. instead go by the bust/hips measurements instead.
Measure the bust at the fullest part with a well fitting non-padded bra on. This measurement should also have 4inches removed to get the ideal fit. The hip measurement can be taken at either (or both) the hip bone or the fullest part of the hips (normally level with the fullest part of the bum). This will depend on the corset pattern – whether it’s an on the hips or over the hips style. The hips measurement should have 2inches removed from it.
So why 4inches off the bust and waist but only 2inches off the hips? Well 2inches should be taken off everywhere to allow a 2inch gap at the laces but the waist is being compressed further for the corseted shape so we remove another 2inches. The bust is also traditionally pushed in and upward so we also take an extra 2inches off this measurement. Thus giving us the classic corset training shape.
When learning how to make a corset, sizing is everything. If the corset pattern is drawn up too small it will be impossible to get on (or at least uncomfortably tight) if it is too big it won’t be any good for corset training.
When measuring someone for a training corset the most important measurement is the waist – obviously. The waist is not where you wear your jeans but the point at which the body dips in the most, this is just above the belly button if you are fitting someone large who does not have this natural indent at the waistline.
Now you need to take off 4inches from the waist measurement you have taken. You should pick the size on your corset pattern that has a waist size closest to this. If the wearer’s waist is very round you should size for the bust and hips but plus sized figures can be tricky to fit well and I wouldn’t recommend it for a first time corset maker.
I will go into fitting plus sized figures for corset training corsets in the next post.
I’m patterning an overbust with the lines for the underbust top edge drawn on as I’m planning an overbust of a similar style as well as a bra potentially for the underbust, so it’ll be handy to have a pattern for the bust area. Hope that makes sense!
I’ve added a scalloped edge to the corset pattern, although I may drop it from the design. We’ll see.
Here’s a picture of the planned design, i’ll have images of the planned lace placement on the mock up tomorrow -
Corset training corsets can often be a little bland if you buy off the peg, but while making your own corsets it can be a little hard to find inspiration.
This week I’ve been looking at lace motifs, appliqués and lace overlays. Lace is a great way to spice up your corset making but a lot of people shy away from using it because they’re not sure how. It’s a very delicate fabric and one you don’t instantly associate with Corsetry but used as an outer decoration it can transform even the most dull corset into something quite stunning.
So next week I plan to start an underwear corset I’ve been designing for a while and add two layers of lace to the outside. I’ll be posting pictures and details on how I go about it so you can apply the same techniques to your own home made corset training corsets.
Here’s the basic design and the materials I’ve picked:
Make an Elizabethan Corset – Video & Pattern
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Do you have a corset training posse yet? Yes I’m serious, no I’m not pulling your leg :p
With the advent of the internet and the onset of You Tube our whole world has gotten a lot smaller, which is a bad thing if your my mum and still can’t write a facebook post without it magically appearing under the wrong photo, but a great thing if your a tight-lacer. You can now watch several corset trainers on You Tube and track their progress inch by inch. You can also learn how to make a corset, put on a corset and check out before and after pictures online. Fantastic! But some are going that step further and getting a tight-lacing community together as well as pairing up with waist training buddies the other side of the globe! If you think you’d like to get involved with the corseted community you could do worse than join the facebook group we have at www.facebook.com/groups/corsettraining you’ll make friends and get advice.
Do you have to make a choice between comfort and glamour? I’ve found that with everything from shoes to underwear the world of fashion insists we make that choice, but does it have to be that way with the corset?
The obvious answer to the outsider would be yes, the corset is the epitome of vanity over comfort and only those with an extreme gratification for pain would disagree. Well I’m no seeker of discomfort and I definitely don’t enjoy the pain my 4 inch stilettos bring me, but I do enjoy a well made corset. It seems that (like with a custom made pair of shoes) the more expensive a corset the more comfortable. So yes you can have your cake and eat it but its going to cost you! The alternative is the home made route, obviously my favourite. The day I win the lottery I’ll pay Mr Pearl several thousand a pop to make my corsets, but until that day I’ll stay at my sewing machine thank you very much. Because a comfortable corset means a custom made one designed to fit your body specifically. So if you’ve not got the cash for a custom made every 6 months or so, but your adamant your going to take up corset training, take up corsetry too! Learn how to make a corset and you’ll save a packet as well as having the added satisfaction of being able to casually say – “What this? O I made this myself.”
Check out the new Corset Related Articles page for full length articles on corset training and corset making. Its new up today and I’d love your feedback and more importantly your requests for future articles to add to this new page.
Future article topics will include bodice patterns and corset patterns as well as information on healthy diet and exercise while tight-lacing.
So check out the page and comment below with your suggestions.
Yes I have another Printable Pattern out! Not a corset pattern but a bustle! The Pandora Bustle. I’m very happy with this little beauty!
Check it out on my Corset Patterns Page
So what is bone casing? How do I recognise it and then how do I use it? These are all questions covered in todays quick-guide as I take you through what bone casing looks like and how to sew it into your corset.