I'm pleased to say the corset making was a success and that corset construction is no longer a mystery to me. I can't believe I made one in just two days!
Here is the finished corset.. I'm pretty pleased with the result, just a few tweaks for next time but otherwise not bad.
The last time I posted I had just finished both side panels. So next was to add the busks to the back panels.
From left: conical busk, spoon busk, regular busk, spiral steel boning and flat steel bones.
The busks we use today are made of steel and used as a fastener for the center front of the corset. However from the 16th century the busk was constructed of wood, whalebone or ivory and made as a single piece without fastenings, sometimes being intricately decorated.
They were designed to flatten the stomach and keep an upright posture which as you can imagine severely restricted movement making it near enough impossible to bend forward. It wasn't until the 19th century that they were made as two separate pieces with fastenings allowing a woman to dress herself without assistance.
For my corset I used a regular busk. After sewing the center back seam together and topstitching the edge I inserted the busk between the lining and the overlay fabric close to the fold and used an awl to make holes for the studs. The busk has two studs placed closer together at one end, these two should be situated at the bottom of the corset.
I then pinned all around the busk on the outside to hold it in place and used a zipper foot to sew around the edge as closely as was possible.
I repeated the process for the other side. The difference being rather than making holes for the studs I had to leave gaps on the center back edge for the clasps to pass through. Again being careful to make sure they matched the placement of the studs on the other side.
On the center back I added in 3 extra channels for the flat steel boning and spiral steel boning, then attached the backs to the side panels. Next was sewing in the cups I had previously made. These were tacked in place first as they needed easing into place. The cups are constructed of two separate triangles which are shaped slightly differently, one for the front and one for the side front. The important bit was getting them the right way around as once sewn together it was tricky to see the difference from the front to the side.
Bias binding was then sewn in under the cup on the lining side to make a channel for the underwire to be inserted. I then folded the two halves of the corset together and chopped of any excess fabric on the top and bottom edges to make the shape even and smoother. Almost feels like cheating!
I pinned bias binding to the top edge right sides together. This was then folded over to the back and hand stitched into place.
Now for the fun part! The steel boning was laid out in order and inserted into the channels from the bottom openings. The bottom edge could then be finished the same way as the top.
On the center back pieces I marked out the positions for the 11 eyelets to be placed making sure they were evenly spaced.
All that was needed now was to punch holes in the center back and add the eyelets. Pretty scary punching holes in something you have just spent hours working on.. no pressure! Thankfully we had a press machine that made the job so much easier. My previous method being a hammer on concrete in the back garden, not so civilised!
So thats pretty much it folks, all that was left to do was the lacing and for this I chose a half inch organza ribbon. Already I'm thinking of the next corset to make! Luckily I should have enough of the same fabric to make another style of corset, probably either an underbust or basic victorian style corset.
I'll leave you with some more fancy shots
Hope you liked reading about my first venture into corset making