So starting off with the corset you need to get all your panels right. A basic corset has four panels – two front and two back. There are corsets which have a center front seam or have a continuous front center panel. I opted for the one with a seam because it gives a more fitted appearance that other one. Well, it’s totally up to your style and design.
The seam allowances will be as follows, Vertical seams – 1.2 cms; top seams – 1 cms; Hemline – 3 cms; Centre Back – 4cms
Now on the fabric, the fabric that I am using is Silk Brocade. It’s 380/- per meter; you need only a meter fabric for the corset. Now one thing you have to keep in mind while cutting is the motifs. My brocade has large motifs which I need to carefully align in my seams. The best way which I’ve found, and it works, is to mark your designs within the seams. So make your pattern on a tracing sheet, place it over the motifs and draw. So for your Centre front panel, your seam line should be at the center of the motif and not the seam allowance. Seam allowance is the excess that will go inside and so if you will align your motif with it then your motif will be gone by half an inch. I have aligned my motifs in a way that they go alternate, up and down with the contouring of the corset. There are panels where I have fully incorporated a motif.
One thing really important to note here, you need to heat test your fabric to check for any shrinkages. Cut a 10 by 10 cms piece of fabric and iron it properly. Then measure the length once again, note down the new length and calculate the shrinkage percentage. Like my fabric shrunk by 0.2 cms, that’s 2%. So depending on how much your fabric shrunk, add that amount in the seam allowance. So my original seam allowance was 1.2cms, now it is 1.4 cms.
So these are all my panels cut out and you can see how I have matched the motifs on the seams. This did cost me entire 1m of fabric but I guess its worth it.
So now once the fabric is cut you need to attach the fusing, also called interfusing or interlining. The best fusing is jacket fusing, it gives a sturdiness to the fabric and also the grains of fusing really help mold the panel for contouring which is really important for the corset. You need to first iron the fabric and fusing together so it holds, and then pass it through a fusing machine. In case you are making it at home then I’d suggest use steam and go over the panel properly. (Make sure you are taking care of grain line)
After fusing your fabric and fusing, start pining your panels from one side. So let’s say you start from the right side, so pin up the back panels first.
You need to give the first seam at 1.4 cms, the best way is to check your machine’s base, you will see these markings and 1/4, 1/2, 3/8, 1 inch. The edge of your fabric should be aligned with 1/2 inch marking. Your seam width should be 4 for the first seam.
After your first seam, flat open your fabric and check whether your panel is properly stitched, and (if you have motifs) have your motifs aligned. Once you’re sure, make another stitch on the original one, with stitch width 2.5. By doing so, the two seams with intertwine with each other thereby making the seam stronger, because your corset will be pulled very tightly at the back, you don’t need the panels to tear open.
Using the same way stitch all your panels together. Once it’s done, pin it on the dummy to check for fit.
My corset was a perfect fit on the dummy and you can see how seamlessly the motifs have been aligned. It was definitely tiring but I guess the result is worth it. Now you might see that the bust portion is popping out of the body. That could be one look if you like but I need a really fitted corset so we need to give a gather stitch on above bust line. You have to set the stitch dial to 4 and stitch along the seam line on top.
Place it on the dummy once again and start pulling threads from either side until the corset perfectly rests on the bust. Once you have it, tie the threads together so the gather doesn’t open.
So this was all about having your basic corset ready. Click on the link below for next post on boning.