A very tardy corset update

The past month or so have been busy for me, both at work and home, and I’ve had far less time to sew of late. But, little by little, I’ve been making progress on the custom designed corset. I hope to have it finished in the next few days, but thought I might as well give an update for the moment.

The muslin took three attempts to get a really great fit. Sadly, the photos don’t do it justice, as my molded plastic dress form doesn’t respond quite the same as a real body does to being squished into stiff tight fabric. We lengthened the front, added more fullness in the rear, and altered it to be a sweetheart neckline. The final version here really did create the desired effect on its wearer – but you’ll have to trust me on that.

The actual corset is a soft pink satin that its wearer chose. The particular satin chosen though wasn’t nearly stiff or heavy enough to create a shaping garment, so the heavier woven cotton used for our muslin ended up serving as a middle layer for the corset, lined inside and covered with the pink satin on the outside.

We chose a spiral steel boning as it’s a bit sturdier than plastic boning. Since spiral steel boning isn’t sold already in casings, the process is a little different. One can sew a casing for the steel boning, insert the boning, and sew the casing to the garment as you would for plastic boning. Alternately, one can use what is called the “sandwich” method by sewing two layers of corset fabric together, and topstitching channels into which the boning can be inserted. I opted for the latter.

Once the right shape was established, two layers sewn together, and boning installed I was able to work on the outer layer (which I have not yet photographed – you’ll just have to wait for the final product to see that!), which was made of pink satin and lace, with black velvet ribbons topstitched over the seam lines. Our design plan included a little ruffle at the top, and a fuller one at the bottom, made from a sheer black fabric that would be crisp enough to hold its shape. The fabric store had limited offerings when we went, but ultimately a shimmery crepon sheer was selected.

The fabric is lovely, but it’s a woven fabric, which means it’s strongest desire in life is to unravel. I suggested we pick up some thin pink ribbon, which I could stitch along the raw edge to finish it. In fact, I found it easiest to stitch the ribbon down close to, but not right at the edge, and then trim the excess. After I sewed the first length and trimmed, I found that this did nothing to prevent the fabric unraveling (it just slowed it slightly as the threads had to work their was around the stitching). When I gathered the crepon to make a ruffle, the result was a lovely sheer black fabric, trimmed in pink ribbon, with hairy threads sticking up all over the place above. Not the effect we’d wanted. The solution? A thin bead of clear flexible fabric glue applied to the back side of the fabric along the length of the ribbon. No more fraying!

At present, all of the corset layers have been sewn together and the ruffles added, and it’s just waiting on the zipper and the final bit of trim before it will be complete! I hope to post the final pics in the next day or so. See you then!


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