Yesterday, I finally posted a tutorial on how to make your own corsets and waist cinchers. Originally, I had this post as part of that post, but it started to get so long that I separated them. The purpose of this post is to answer a few questions about corset making that I have had at some point during my sewing journey. If you have additional questions, please ask, and I will do my best to add them to this post!
1) What kinds of fabric should I be using to make a corset?
For the outer layer, I use brocade fabrics, though others are also acceptable, such as satin (if you really want to torture yourself), silk, etc. Not all brocades are created equal, make sure to test the quality by feel and pulling on it a bit first.
For the middle layer, I use down proof ticking ($8 a yard here), which is a coutil substitute. Coutil is expensive (about $30 a yard). Any tightly woven fabric should work well here.
For the inner layer, I have tried three different kinds of fabric – (a) crappy discount satin, (b) more expensive sturdy satin, and (c) a thin matte lining fabric. Out of the three, I would recommend the expensive satin, but ultimately my results were not significantly better with any one fabric.
2) How much fabric do I need to make a corset?
I usually pick up a yard of each fabric layer. It’s more than enough and gives me a little bit of room in case I make a mistake.
3) The lining layer of my corset is all wonky looking and the bias tape doesn’t cover the edges in all spots. What can I do to fix this?
If your inner layer looks like the above, and your bias tape won’t reach to cover all your lining layer edges, you are experiencing some of the same issues I have had! The good news is this is the inside of your corset and no one will see it 😛
I read about (but have not yet tried) underlining the inner layer. Essentially, this takes the middle layer and the lining layer pieces and stitches each panel of these two different fabrics together, prior to connecting the panels to one another in a SINGLE layer. Then you are only connecting two layers to one another and you shouldn’t have so much movement happening. If you are curious about doing this process with the middle and inner corset layers, I found this blog that talks about the process pretty nicely.
4) Where do you buy all your corset making items?
I get most of my stuff from CorsetMakingSupplies.com. They have great customer service, and I love all the things I have bought from them. Decent prices for the materials – you can get a roll of boning for about $10, and that is enough for at least two corsets. I am partial to the spiral steel boning, the boning caps, grommets, and I have purchased several busks from there as well. They also have some very handy grommet tape that I have bought to use with muslins or other practice builds, and it is just lovely. I’ve been tempted to use it on the real thing!
I also supplement those purchases with items from Amazon, mostly the down proof ticking I mentioned above.
5) What tools do you use to set grommets?
I have some manual grommet tools that I purchased.
Setting the grommets is easy enough to do, but cutting the holes in the fabric with these tools is really frustrating, especially when you have three layers to cut through.
I am considering buying this grommet press, which does both the cutting of the fabric and the setting of the grommet.
6) Help! I installed a grommet badly and want to remove it. How do I do that?
Ever done this?
That is not a happy grommet. Thankfully, it’s not too bad to remove a grommet. Dig out some pliers – I recommend a pair that is flat on one side – and start using the pliers to bend the metal pieces of the grommet up until they come away from the fabric.
7) I can’t find satin bias tape in a color I want. Any ideas?
For Fluttershy, I actually purchased satin blanket binding, and then cut it to a more appropriate size, folded over the edges, and ironed so that it looked and functioned like bias tape. One package of it as plenty for a single corset, since blankets are generally a decent size – you get more in a package of this stuff than a standard bias tape.