This pattern is for intermediate to advanced dressmakers. It is more about accuracy in marking, patience and following instructions carefully than actual complicated sewing. Allow at least a whole day or 8 hours for this project. Plus add time to make your muslin mock up first.
1. Mark both centre front outer fabric panels with chalk lines placed on wrong side 1 3/4” (42mm) from centre raw edge.
2. Using bondaweb strips fuse strips of quality lining –cotton drill or coutil 3cm x 35cm. these help support the fabric where the swing clips are attached.
3. Depending how strong outer fabric is I like to iron on a piece of quality tailoring woven interfacing to lower half of centre front. This prevents wrinkles and strengthens the corset.
4. Lay centre front outer fabric panels onto middle linings right side facing upwards.
5. Now lay the main lining pieces right side down onto the front panels so the outer fabric and main linings are right sides together. Pin along raw centre edge.
6. Mark chalk line 1 5/8” (40 mm) from centre edge and sew seam through all three thickness's.
7. Turn to right side and pull seam allowances to lining side. Top stitch close to join seam on lining side through all thickness’s.
8. Showing the right centre front panel, note the outer fabric and middle lining are loose.
9. On number 2 panels iron on support panels use high quality woven tailoring interfacing to lower halves of pattern. Do not use cheap nonwoven, if you can’t source tailoring interfacing use starched thin cotton fabric and bondaweb fusing.
10. Place reinforcing strip 4mm from the centre join seam of centre front panel and then sew the strip 5mm from edge of strip – so on right side the top stitch line will be exactly 8mm from the seam joining main lining. I know the maths doesn’t add up there but the folded fabric on curve right side of seam takes a little!!
11. Then still sewing on wrong side stitch another line 10mm away from first so you have two lines top stitching showing on right side
12. Sew 1 ½” (38mm) petersham on edge of centre front close to centre join seam –sew along both edges petersham through seam allowance but fold main body of main lining out of way. trim excess seam allowance to edge of petersham.
13. Showing that petersham tape is sewn to seam allowance only and NOT main lining.
14. Open up centre panels and mark placement of holes for your swing clips. They should sit level in between topstitching lines and allow clips to close with the corset edges meeting perfectly. Check this before you punch holes in your fabric.
15. Punch holes through outer fabric and reinforcing strip but not petersham and lining. Attach swing clips with rivets and set the rivets using suitable tool.
16. Turn lining back under centre front panel, pull tightly and sew two lines of top stitching one as close to edge of swing clips as your machine allows. This makes the channels to add the support bone behind the clips.
Trim the raw edges if needed to neaten the panels when centre seam is folded back. Both left and right panels need to be perfectly symmetrical. Trim top and lower edges of corset very slightly if necessary. Sew top main fabric to middle lining on seam edge but leave main lining free.
17. On no. 2 panels iron on support panels use high quality woven tailoring interfacing to lower halves of pattern. Do not use cheap non woven, if you can’t source tailoring interfacing use starched thin cotton fabric and bondaweb fusing.
18. Lay out the middle lining (interlining) in order from no’s 2 panels onwards. Lay dress fabrics on top so wrong sides are together and right side of main fabric is facing upwards. These pieces should be machine baste stitched ¼” (6mm) from edges. After joining these pieces must have no wrinkles. Press. Mark each piece with tailors chalk on middle lining with arrows towards top and centre back to stop you sewing any pieces upside down or facing wrong way
(PLEASE NOTE i AM USING A BLUE MIDDLE LINING TO SHOW EASILY ON THIS TUTORIAL! CHOOSE A COLOUR CLOSE TO YOUR MAIN OUTER FABRIC OR MAIN LINING)
19. Join centre fronts to no 2 panels with a ¾” (20mm) seam allowance. Clip curved part of bust seam.
20. Join all rest of pieces together and it should start to look like this. Now measure the waist at narrowest point and along top under bust line which is approx. 4 inch (100 mm) higher than waist line. Subtract 2” (50mm) from each end at centre back panel as this will be turned under (as marked on pattern). These are the approx measurements of your finished corset. I find I lose approx a further ¼” when top stitching over the length of a corset during the stage of attaching second lining. adjust seams now if necessary. They should be at least ¾” (20mm) wide. Now check for symmetry – lay both halves of corset right sides together and check they are identical, and general positioning and shape.
21. Showing joined corset from wrong side. Larger sized patterns will have more panels than the smaller sizes.
22. Turn corset so right side facing up. Make sure seam allowance is always folded towards the back of corset. Top stitch each seam approx 1/3” (10 mm) from the seam and on the side of seam closest to back of corset. Ease the bust curve to keep neat and smooth. Once happy the corset is correct size and symmetrical you can start to do the first row of top stitching down. Start centre front and from right side of corset, making sure it’s even and doesn't get bunched up. Repeat along the corset until each seam is top stitched all laying flat towards back.
23. Now to join the main lining. Again start at centre front. The centre panel already has its main lining joined. Fold this first piece of main lining back along the seam and mark exactly where the seam line is using tailors chalk on wrong side.
23. Lay the main lining pieces onto a table and mark on wrong side with arrows marking direction same as you did for the main corset. Attach the number 2 panels sewing along the marked chalk line.
24. Turn seam allowance of main lining towards centre back ( same as you did with main corset) and topstitch the seam allowance. Note you are only sewing through the main lining here NOT the whole corset at this step.
25. Showing the same stage from wrong side of corset.
26. Now pull the main lining into place underneath so it’s laying neat and flat under main corset. From right side of corset top stitch the main lining to corset neatly and carefully close to the seam join line. As always the top stitching is done on the side of seam closest to the centre back. The lining should lay perfectly flat with the top layer. Any twisting or unevenness at this stage- unpick and resew. Top and bottom edges of corset should be even with lining. Continue joining each panel of main lining and top stitch down.
27. After main lining is attached it should look something like this. Measure waistline again and full bust and hips. There may be a slight reduction after joining lining. Pin the open edges of centre back panel to keep together. On each seam now sew a third row of topstitching. These make the boning channels. The third row of top stitching should be even in distance other side from the centre row.
28 showing close up of making boning channels with third row of top stitching.
29. Measure again. From centre front at waistline to half the desired waist length +1/4” (5 mm). Mark with tailors chalk. Measure underbust the same and mark. Draw a line –if correct this should be approx 2” (50mm) from raw edge of centre back and even. Sew along this line.
30. The back section underneath the eyelets has to be reinforced and the best commercially available tape for this is petersham tape. A leather or strong thic canvas strip can also be used. 1 ½” (38mm) tape is best, sew a double layer of 1 ½” (38mm) along the marked line of both centre back panels. Repeat for other side of corset.
31. Turn the raw edge of centre back panel over reinforcing strip and sew under to neaten on both halves of corset. One part of corset will be finished without a modesty panel.
32. Fold under the reinforcing strip and make three rows of top stitching to make channel for eyelets with a bone at each side.
33. For the modesty panel either cut one piece from main lining and neaten edges, either by overlocking (serging), narrow hemming or binding. Or you may cut two pieces, one main fabric and one lining and join right sides together on three sides (leave one long side open to attach to corset) and turn through.
34. Press and join to corset. Sew modesty panel to end of remaining centre back panel before turning under and sewing bone and eyelet channels. NOTE: keep panel pulled back out of the way when sewing centre back channels of corset then fold towards centre when finished for lacing.
35. The corset may now need a little trimming along top and bottom edges. Take as little as possible.
36. Next to prepare the fabric for where the vents will sit. Mark vent position in chalk using guide and sew around. Carefully spread some latex glue or flexible glue over the centre section. Allow to dry. After attaching the bias binding refer to the vent tutorial that is listed separately.
37. To attach the bias binding either use a shop bought quality double folded bias binding min ¾” (20mm) wide. Or make your own using a binding folder. Open one edge of bias binding and leaving a good ¾” (20mm) overhang sew rights sides together to lower edge of corset.
38. Turn the binding over raw edge and carefully tucking the end of binding inside sew from right side to top stitch the binding and finish. I know this stage is hard for beginners. Practice, practice, practice on scrap fabric first.
39. Insert the eyelets. Mark out the placement of eyelets with a ruler, approx 1 ¼” (30 mm) apart into middle channel. You can adjust this as required but remember the closer you place the eyelets the longer lacing cord you will require. Punch holes and apply fraycheck. Set the two piece eyelets with the tool matching the eyes.
40. The bones can now be inserted. Using either shop bought lengths or cut to size make sure the ends are correctly protected with caps or sealant. Insert bones into the channels of each seam. Push bones down into place and then sew bias binding along top edge same as you did along bottom.
41. For the neck strap supports cut 2 in a stiff canvas or any strong stiff fabric. Pvc or leather can be used too. Cutmain fabric larger and sew canvas piece close to edge. Make a mirrored pair.
42, Trim excess fabric to edge of canvas.
43. Attach bias binding to both strap supports starting and finishing at the corner points.
44. Use template to mark holes and punch holes for straps. Fix rivets and straps into place and set rivets.
45. Align the strap supports –sit them at least ¾” (20 mm) under the top of corset. The front edge of the support just nudges past the bust seam as in the picture. Sew through all the layers. Use a large gauge needle for this (size 16 or 18) on machine.
Attach the neck strap to buckles. Lace up the back of corset as shown in written instructions and finished!