The Commandments of Corsetry, Continued!

Way back in February, I began work on a muslin draft corset, made my own pattern, and wrote up my “lessons learned” in a set of commandments.  Well, I’m back to add a few more!  I think there were eleven last time, so we’ll start with 12 today.  I left off right before beginning the grommet work.

12)  Mark your grommet holes with a marker pen, space them evenly, and make sure the hole locations on the other side of the corset piece match up!  This should be the first thing you do when you are getting ready to place grommets.  I left about 1.5″ in between each grommet, but I feel like this is just a matter of personal preference.  There were a total of nine grommets down each side of my corset.

13)  Even when you are sure that you have hammered the hole cutting tool more than enough to cut a hole in your fabric, hammer another 10 times for good measure.  You’ll still likely have to place the cutter tool again and hammer more after that.  Grommets are evil.  I had a nice set of tools to use, but man was I tired of hammering when all was said and done.   You’ll notice that in the picture below, the first grommet hole I was working on is NOT completely cut through.


14)  It is not possible to hammer any grommet tools too hard.  I had my husband come try to see if he could do better than I at this, and he could!  Just because he was hitting harder.  You’ll notice in the picture above, that the cutting tool leaves marks in the wood block – this is a good thing!  You know you are probably hitting the tool hard enough when you feel it starting to sink into the wood below.


15)  Don’t be ashamed to use scissors to finish cutting out the holes.  I did this almost every time.  The grommet hole cutting tool was just a good way to start the hole in most cases.  Below is one side of the corset with all the grommets placed, huzzah!


16)  There IS a right and a wrong side to a grommet!  After the holes are cut, you place the side of the grommet with the post so that it will be on the outside of the corset.  The washer piece then goes over the post on the inside (lining side) of the corset.  Then you use the setting tool and hammer the two together.  The grommet setting kit I bought was cheap ($10 or so) and had good instructions.

17)  Leave extra space when you stitch your boning channels into your corset.  I mentioned this in an earlier commandment (#7), but didn’t realize how important it truly was until I had cut my spiral steel boning pieces and tried to insert them into the channels.  I wound up with two channels that were stitched too closely together for the boning to fit through.  Also, the boning caps are slightly wider than the boning itself and need to fit in the channels.  Below is a shot of one side of the corset with grommets done and boning ready to go in.


18)  Corsets lace up better with two shorter laces over one longer lace.  I have to take my husband’s word on this since he is always the one lacing me up in my costumes before DragonCon or Renaissance fairs.  When he laced me into the draft corset with the single 5′ lace I had bought, we discovered two things.  First, 5′ of corset lace is WAY too much.  Second, closing the bottom with one lace often means the top relaxes some.  He suggested we ultimately use two laces.  I’m going to try two 2′ laces.  It may still be too long honestly, but this time I am buying lace tips so I can just adjust the length of said laces to something that works.

19)  Make a draft muslin for your corset!  And don’t just do it halfway … put the boning in, practice grommets and the busk!  It’s worth it.  I will be making minor modifications to mine, but ultimately it is really good to know the thing will fit when I get finished with the real one!  The few things I did not do on the practice were close the corset at the top and bottom and add the bias tape.  I might still do these steps, but will likely remove the boning and busk beforehand.   Here is my draft corset!



2 comments for “The Commandments of Corsetry, Continued!

  1. April 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Hooray! Sooooo much work…I’m glad the muslin was worthwhile, though. Maybe it’ll inspire me to be less lazy in the future. When I made my little practice corset, making the grommet holes was by far the worst part. I cried a time or two.

    • Tyraenna
      April 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

      I will admit that kind of like a cartoon, I actually hit my thumb once while dealing with the grommets. And I am gonna have to hammer harder on the real thing, I noticed in a picture that you can see the hole behind one of them as the lacing is pulling the grommet in.


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