Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Corset Week, Part Two

Spiral steel boning (left) and flat steel boning (right)
Readers! As always, your comments delight, impress, and educate me. Thank you for your words of wisdom on yesterday's corset post. As I continue my journey with Laughing Moon #113 Underbust pattern, here are some things I've decided upon:
  • Thanks to your feedback, I have opted to take a bit more room out of the pattern to account for the corset's reduction when laced up. I was originally going for a two-inch gap at the back, but now I'm looking at 3".
  • I also reshaped some of the seams, giving them a more nipped-in waist. As several of you noted, this pattern seems a bit tubular rather than hourglass. And we don't want that, now do we?! 
  • Several of you warned about messing with taking the pattern in at the tummy area. I confess that I still did it, just a teeeeny bit (like a scant 1/4" total). I've noticed that when the tummy is loose in shapewear, I tend to compensate by sticking my belly out (attractive, I know), and it gives me a lower backache. We'll see how this goes.
  • After poking around a bit on the internet, I discovered that it is essential practice to use flat steel bones in the front and back of the corset, and spiral bones on the other seams. Flat steel bones (the white ones above) are very strong and move back and forth but not side to side. Spiral steel bones move in all directions, but they don't give quite the support that is needed at the straight front and back seams, and cause rippling at center front and back. So I stopped by Steinlauf and Stoller in NYC yesterday between classes and picked up some flat steel bones. (FYI, I went to Pacific Trim first. The last time I was there, I noticed that they had added lots of corsetry supplies, but they do not have flat steel bones. So I'll be going straight to Steinlauf and Stoller next time.)
  • Helpful lacing hints! Many commenters recommended lacing in a "bunny ears" fashion (rather than ending at the bottom, as the pattern instructs), with two long loops at the waist. Apparently doing this is a lot easier than I would have guessed; see very helpful PDF instructions here.
Last but not least, here are a few fun corset resources on the web:
  •  The Merry Corsetier is a very lively and active Live Journal corsetry group.
  • Check out Bridges on the Body, a fantastic corsetry blog by talented reader and commenter Jo. 
  • Foundations Revealed is an amazing resource of articles on corsets, bras, and other foundation garments. Most of the site is member-only, but membership is reasonably priced and an excellent value for the information.
  • Julia of Sew Curvy just released an ebook! It looks fantastic.
See you back here tomorrow for Part Three!


  1. Oh goodie! All of that looks like useful info. But aside from the lacing, I figured most of that was pattern related, and it's better to follow an unfamiliar pattern and learn from it, that to willy-nilly assume that you know better! :-P

    I'm looking forward to seeing part three!

  2. Hi Gertie, I have done Kirsty Sapsford’s dvd course on the subject and she suggests to add a gross grain ribbon at the waist in between the layers, to enhance the hourglass.
    here is the link to the course- http://corsettraining.net/how-to-make-a-corset,
    and the patterns - http://corsettraining.net/corset-patterns (there's one free!)
    p.s. I have a new baby blog, and you are welcome to visit.

  3. I cannot say enough good things about http://corsetmaking.com/

    Their service and selection is fantastic! And their boning is super affordable.

  4. Hi Gretchen - Your blog has been so inspiring to me, I decided to start my own in Los Angeles to index all of the sewing resources! And I'm so thrilled to see your corset week posts, too. I recently visited a small shop here called Richard the Thread and they have ever supply imaginable. You can also order online and I thought I would share in case you find it useful. Here is the full post: http://wp.me/p1PrJn-7R. Cheers to you! So excited to get your book! :)
    -Mary Ann Williams

  5. Excellent post. Thanks for all the great resources to check out!

  6. Love your post!!! Can't wait to see the final project!!! Love corsets!!!

  7. I'd definitely recommend putting in a waist tape. It helps to keep the waist of the corset defined and stops it from deforming if you're going for more of an hourglass tuck. If you've got a bit of a sway to your back I'd also warn against heavy straight steel in the back of the corset. You want at least one straight bone along the back of the lacing, but too many heavy bones can be hard on your back if they resist curving with your spine. ;)

  8. I love The Merry Corsetier! The community there is so helpful. :)

  9. OK, Gertie!! This is starting to look as a BIG project. Maybe it deserves a holiday period and everything. Resarch, get the right pattern, hunt for materials, construction... I know some sewers specialise in corsets, and it trully deserves it.
    About confort, don't expect to feel like you were wearing pyjamas, it is suposed to be unconfortable. Ladies fainted often in this, because it reduces the lung capacity so much!! and they are only for special ocasions, but still... I think a wedding dress for example, is only possible with a corset...

  10. Thank's for mentioning the blog! I know your finished corset will be just stunning. If you have any questions along the way I'm happy to help, just drop my a line!

  11. This is the first time I'v posted on this blog, regardless of following it for some time now. Thank you SO MUCH for this corset rundown! I recently finished a year of fashion design training and did a very nice corset at the end, but I cannot improve as a corsetier until I research on how it's REALLY done from the pros, rather than just making it up as I go along. Your links will be integral to me getting to a professional level, they were EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thanks! (PS: corset I made is here: http://www.leetalplatt.com/images/fashion/bluedress.jpg) PPS: your book looks amazing.

  12. Hi! This is really interesting to read! Hope you will post many more!

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  13. Please post other pattern for corsets.....

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  14. Also you can look:http://www.lovecorset.co.uk

  15. Beautiful corsets. Interesting blog, thank you. :-)


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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