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Guide to Corset Making

Beginners guide to corset making

This introductory guide to corset making has been kindly provided by corset maker, and corset accessory supplier Julia Bremble own of Sew Curvy Corsetry.  You can find a series of other great corsetry tutorials here.

This is my “quick guide” to building a corset. This is based on the 9769 Simplicity Pattern which I am making for display purposes.  This is a quick guide – an overview of the steps need to make a corset.  For more detailed guides please look at my tutorial section. 

Corsetry patterns

First of all, this pattern reduces the waist automatically, by 2.5 inches. But I need a bigger reduction than that, so I start off by tracing the pattern, and reducing the waist size. How? You take the amount you want to reduce – 2 further inches and divide that number by the number of seams which are “take inable” – 10 in this case. I don’t take in the centre front seam or the centre back seam as these have to remain straight. So, 2 inches divided by 10 seams is 0.5cm reduction on each seam. As you can see, I have done this inside of the seam allowances for accuracy.

All 12 pieces of the corset are then laid on the fabric, cut and marked up. The two sides are kept separate, and I work on one side at a time.

This is a single layer corset, so the boning channels which are not over seams, are sewn on first. It’s easier to do them ‘flat’ as when the pieces are sewn together, there are curves to negotiate! I do not sew the channels nearest the front or back edges yet.

Sew Curvy Corsetry

After all the ‘flat channels’ are sewn on, I sew all the pieces of each side together. The reason I don’t sew the bone channels over the seams right now, is because I need to be able to adjust the fitting if necessary at a later stage.

Buy supplies for corset making in UK

When working with satin it’s best to pin in the seam allowances only. The curvy seams are then ironed over my tailors ham…

Easy corsetry techniques

And here’s both sides after pressing ..

Corset sewing patterns

Already a corset shape … now it’s time to do the front and back edges…

Sewing a corset

As the back edge will have 20 eyelets in each side and this is a single layer corset, I am re-inforcing the back facing with some fusible interfacing – just a precaution.

Reinforcing a corset

I like to top stitch all my edges VERY close to the edge, for extra strength and because I think it looks nice. For corsetry, I mainly use two machine feet – my zipper foot as you can see, and my applique foot, so that I can see where I’m going when sewing bone channels.

Adding boning to a corset

After sewing down the back facing, and making sure the final bone channels are in place (remember I didn’t sew these at the beginning), I mark my eyelets using a template and chalk, on the right sides of the back edges of the corset. This one doesn’t have enough holes in it – I need 20 holes on each side, this only has 10. I need to make a new one! After the positions are marked, I use an eyelet punch or an awl, or both, to make holes, and the eyelets are then inserted with a hammer. Mr Marmalade usually helps with this part.

Julia Bremble guide to corset making
When the eyelets at the back are done, I insert the busk fastner at the front. I always cover my busk first as this adds strength and a nicer finish – and if i’m a bit rusty, it’s good practice before doing the real thing..
Corsetry supplies from Sew Curvy
Now I can insert bones into the channels I have already sewn and try the corset on to check that it fits. This one needs a bit of adjustment around the boobs – the front two seams need to be taken in by 1cm each. The bust area is usually where the adjustments need to be made. Luckily the waist seems fine – certainly the shape is what I was after.
Styles of corsetry
If you would like to learn more about how to make a corset you can buy Julia’s brilliant book Corset Making for beginner’s to intermediate here.   You can also find many corset making patterns and supplies on her website

You may also find our guide to corset fabrics useful.