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.
So we’re learning how to make a corset? Then why not have some fun with it and make yourself a corset you can’t get anywhere else?
That sounds difficult, I’m only a beginner Scarlet! Ah but I’m not talking about fancy lacework or intricate design features. You can start with a unique fabric!
If your thinking its going to be difficult or expensive to imprint your personality on your own corset then think again. If your having a corset training corset custom made it quickly becomes expensive, but when your sewing it yourself whats stopping you being more flamboyant? There really are so many beautiful fabrics out there, along with trims and iron on appliqués. When it comes to buying fabric you need so little for a corset that you can go for the expensive luxury stuff. If it doesn’t have a large and obvious pattern for you to match up then a half meter is plenty. I’ve gotten short underbusts out of a quarter meter before! This is about the only aspect of making such a small and somewhat fiddly garment that works in the seamstresses favour.
You really can pick literally anything when it comes to picking a material for the outside of your corset, I recommend you avoid Lycra’s, very thin fabrics and stretch fabrics however, as these can be difficult to sew. I love quilting fabrics myself, but they don’t sit as smoothly as brocades and luxury upholstery fabrics which are more commonly used in corsets and really are perfect for the beginner. If you do go for a light-weight material like quilting cottons, then use an iron on backing fabric for added strength and to stop the wrinkling that occurs with thinner fabrics when used for corsetry.
If your completely new to corsetry and need full instructions check out my Express Corsetry Course which includes illustrated step-by-step instructions, 10 corset patterns and a full video on how to make a corset – it costs about what you’d pay for 2-3 shop bought corset patterns!
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.
Corset Pattern Piece Numbers
Another important thing to look for when choosing your corset pattern is the number of pattern pieces it has. This may not be obvious to the novice corset maker but the more pieces the better the shape and the stronger the corset.
Imagine the corset as a three-dimensional and fairly ridged shape, like the cubes and pyramids you played with in kindergarden. To follow the curves of the body closely it needs as many sides as possible. This allows for more comfort and a better fit.
As well as a better shape, more pieces also makes for a stronger garment. Corset bones are normally placed at the seams; either one bone next to the seam or two with the seam running down between them. Thus the more seams the more bones and the more bones the stronger the corset structure. A plus size corset especially should have at least 5 or 6 pieces per side (the corset pattern will normally make up just one side, when you make a corset you cut two lots of materials – flipping the pattern over in between). A corset training corset will often have 8 or more pieces per side if its custom made by a specialist maker who designs for serious tight lacers.
There are even more corset pattern shapes to choose from than lengths (on hips, over hips etc, see last few posts for more details). Below are examples of the main ones, the top line shows those commonly used for corset training, the second row are the more exotic but also more problematic corset styles that I don’t recommend for waist training, they’re included for educational purposes.
The waist cincher has been covered in the previous posts – this is the same as a ‘waspie’ or short underbust and is for active wear. The two main types you’ll have to choose between are the hour glass and the conical shape.
The hour glass corset pattern is named after – you guessed it – the hour glass, the ones filled with sand, as its wide at both the top and bottom but goes in dramatically in the middle. The important thing to note here is that this pattern allows for the ribs, you should have little or n trouble taking full lung-fulls of air while waist training in this style. The conical corset however, squashes the ribs which are forced into an upside-down cone shape that tapers down to the waist. This style will restrict lung capacity and over time corset training with a conical corset is said to change the shape of the ribs permanently. A lot of tight-lacers consider this the proper corseted body shape.
You need to find a pattern that suits you in shape, some people prefer over the hips, some on the hips, the active person may want a waspie (shorter corset that allows more freedom but less stomach support).
The next thing to consider is the number of pattern pieces. A better more comfortable shape is always achieved with a larger number of pieces but this will also mean more work for the seamstress or corset maker.
Custom sizing is also important to consider. If your not confident enough to custom fit to the wearers measurement you need to try to get the hips and bust measurements as close to the wearers personal measurements as possible (remembering that a corset should be roughly 2 inches smaller than the wearers natural measurements at the hips/bust). You should also take care to make sure the waist is around 4 inches smaller than that of the wearer.
Construction is all important too but this is not a direct issue when finding a corset pattern to work from unless your relying on the instructions that come with it. (For a comprehensive corset making course check out my Express Corsetry Course for everything on how to make a corset for corset training purposes).
In the next few blog posts I’ll go into corset pattern shape/style, pattern piece numbers, sizing, and construction in more detail. In the meantime if you want to try a simple corset belt pattern try my free corset pattern at the bottom of the patterns page.
When learning how to make a bodice or corset you will come across a number of corset patterns and knowing how to discern between a good shaped corset or bodice pattern is essential.
In a corset pattern the number of pattern pieces is a great way to tell if a corset is going to hug the body well, 4 pieces is a little low, 5 or more per side will give a good fit. Shape also plays a big part. If the pattern pieces are all very straight in shape the corset will not curve in at the waist enough. They should all look pinched in the middle.
For learning how to make a bodice – bodice pattern pieces will not ‘pinch’ in the middle as the Elizabethan bodice had straight sides. Instead make sure that all the edges of your pattern meet up from top to bottom.
I’ve been asked by an inexperienced corset maker – what might be an easy way to make a corset look exciting without too much extra effort or sewing. Well that’s an easy one as their are lots of ways to customise your corset training corset easily and effectively with little or no extra effort. One method in particular jumps out at me…
Without any extra effort at all, the simplest way to spice up your corset making whether your designing a fashion only corset or a proper corset training one is to use 2 or more materials. Your corset pattern is made of panels and by cutting alternating panels from two different materials you can create a dramatically different look. Try quilted panels either side of the front panels, or completely different materials for each panel.
I have just taken some lovely photos of a set of three historic corsets I have been acquiring over the last couple of years. They will be the next set of patterns in my printable corset patterns series and I couldn’t help but share a picture of one of them with you! It didn’t look quite right on a mannequin so I have carefully tried it on to get a proper idea of the shape. I will post a few more photos and some more details about the corsets in the coming weeks.
I have another new downloadable and printable corset pattern for sale! The Angel Underbust which is made with a larger number of panels to make it super curvey and allow for more seamed boning – this means you can use it to make corset training strength corsets. It also has a few special features to make it extra versatile!
It’s low cut at the front which allows for a lot more movement than you would normally get in a corset thus making it my most comfortable corset yet.
It also has two separate bottom edges on the pattern marked in black and red giving you a chose of styles.
Lastly it comes with two front panels so you can chose to have a busk hiding front flap like in the picture below which creates the look of a front closed corset while allowing you the convenience of a front closure, brilliant! (If I do say so myself)
So if your learning how to make a corset you might want to try this corset pattern on for size
The Angel Underbust Corset Pattern (click pic for a bigger version)
I had a request for a corset pattern today from Jill who has my DVD but would like a pattern with bra cups. Traditionally that type of pattern is more of an underwear garment to be made from stretch lace but they can be made up as very appealing boned corsets. I promised to add this to a list of ‘Customer Wants’ – you can check out the email below. But it got me thinking….
I’ve had a few requests for specific patterns and as a result am a day away from releasing my first printable pattern – the ‘Cupid Corset’ – the one I make in my how-to video (thanks for your patience its been a hard one to scale in 6 different sizes!) and will be releasing a beautiful bustle pattern next week (secrets out!). But how many people out there have potencial pattern requests? That elusive style of corset or perhaps a corset accessory like a flouncy petticoat to accentuate the waist, or a modern day equivalent of the chemise to wear between skin and corset?
And so this is the big idea: – Rather than guessing what patterns you all want why don’t I just ask for your requests?
So I am opening my doors, or rather inbox, to requests! If theres a corset or garment pattern you’ve been dying to get your hands on lets hear it! If selected I’ll design, mock up, perfect and scale it to create a beautiful printable pattern for the new range! You can comment below on this post or email me your pattern requests at CorsetTraining@gmail.com
I have your DVD, I had bought it last year. All the patterns supplied do not include one with bra cups – do you do a pattern for one?
kind regards Jill
I’m afraid I have no ‘merry widow’ style corset patterns, there is one with bust gores – pattern pieces that go in at the bust to create a fuller bust line. I will add that to my ‘customer want list’ for the new printable pattern collection.