I’ve started messing around with corsets, and got a little excited about making stylized Disney corset costumes. I originally made a mock up corset with some left over grey fabric and pink thread which made me think of Dumbo. I haven’t seen Dumbo in a very long time, so I googled him, and realized he wears a little red and yellow collar thing.
So I went to Joanns to get some red and yellow fabric for my corset. I used McCall’s 4861 pattern A for this corset. I’m thinking I’ll make some grey and pink high waisted shorts to go with this. I decided to take pictures along the way as a makeshift tutorial.
First, lay out your pattern pieces on your fabric. I laid my red top fabric and my yellow contrast (lining) fabric on top of each other just to make it easier and faster, that way I could cut out all pieces at once.
This method worked really well for me when I was working with basic cotton materials, but I chose to make this corset with a fancy satin type fabric for the front, which was hard to keep straight and so some pieces weren’t exactly the same as their yellow cotton counterparts.
I made sure to put my pieces on the grainline the best I could. I wasn’t sure exactly what the grainline was but I found a video on youtube that just said to line the arrow up with the selvedge edge.
After cutting out each piece and marking the notches, I marked all the other lines, including eyelet placement dots.
Once I had my pieces cut out, I laid them out in the order they will be put together.
And then laid my fabric pieces over.
This helps me visually understand what pieces go where, and ensures that I don’t accidentally attach a right side to a wrong side (which I tend to do a lot, and not notice until after I’ve stitched them together).
I attached the front and side front pieces, below.
And then ironed the seams flat.
With wrong sides together, I lined up the front and lining pieces, and then “stitched in the ditch.” Which is just top stitching over your previous seam. I’m still learning how to do this. I realized when I did this correctly, you almost couldn’t see the stitches, but I liked being able to see my top stitching because I was using the contrasting thread.
After stitching in the ditch, you create the boning channels. These are just two straight seams 1/2 an inch apart from each other that your boning will slip into.
For this corset, you will have two boning channels in the center front
one on each side front, and one on each front side back for a total of 6 in just the front section.
In the photo above, the boning is already in the boning channels, sticking up slightly. How to prepare boning will be described a little later on, so don’t worry about that step. As of right now your boning should not be in your corset, but the channels for it should be sewn. Also in the photo above, the decorative top stitches have already been sewn, but that comes after sewing the boning channels, which is why you don’t want the boning in the channels yet. It would make it hard to sew the top stitches. Sorry if using this image causes any confusion, but it was the only good one I had showing the boning channels.
On the back pieces, you’ll have one in each center back, one in each side back, and one in each back side back. (if that doesn’t make sense here’s a picture of what the back boning channels should look like) :
So, as mentioned before, you should have your boning stitches sewn, but not have the boning in the channels yet. Before you get started on the boning, you want to create your pretty decorative top stitches first. This corset calls for top stitching 1/2 inch away from the previous stitch, which was marked on the pattern piece, it is also just 1/2 inch away from the boning channel. I like to mark mine with chalk.
When sewing the top stitches, make sure to end your stitching when you meet the boning channel stitches, as shown above.
Now for the exciting part, boning!
Round the ends of the boning pieces you just cut.
Take the boning out of the casing it comes in. Press your boning pieces. Otherwise your corset will curl just like your boning.
Insert the boning into it’s appropriate channels.
Once all your boning pieces are in place, stitch around the outside of your corset. Stitch really close to the edge, not along the seam allowance. This stitching line will be covered later by the bias tape, if you stitch too far in, it will be not be able to be covered by the bias tape, and will be visible when you’re finished.
Take out your double fold bias tape, and encase all the raw edges in it. For pretty mitered corners, I watched some youtube videos like this one . I had a hard time with the edges because my machine gets angry about sewing through too much fabric. Especially because they are edges, because my machine doesn’t want to pull the fabric, and ends up stitching in one place continuously.
Then mark where your eyelets will go. I marked this originally in the first few steps, but It got a little hard to see after a while, so I went back and marked them again.
You’re going to want this tool, it’s super useful, you can buy it at Joanns for like 13$. But you can always find coupons, even for 50% one item, so that’s good.
So you’re going to use this tool to punch a hole in your fabric.
Then you can cut the hole open a little bit.
Insert the longer side of the grommet/eyelet into the top side of the corset, put the wider side of the eyelet on the backside of the corset and use the tool to press them together. Follow the packages descriptions of how long to cut the ribbon.
And you’re done!