The corset for this costume is an underbust corset. I’ve only made one corset before (a regular corset, I guess) that was kind of a hot mess so I was determined to make this one look nice.
It was super labor intensive for me and took about four days to finish.
I forgot to take a picture of the pattern layout I had before I cut the pieces out. However, there were only four pieces: front panels (x4), side front panels (x4), side back panels (x4) and back panels (x4). The reason I have (x4) is because instead of using a lining of another color or fabric, I had so much red fabric left over, I decided to use it as well. The fabric is cotton broadcloth, by the way.
After I cut the pieces out, I decided to baste them together. Usually I just pin things, but I think that’s where I went wrong with my last corset because things weren’t staying together properly. So, it took me about an hour to get everything basted.
After everything was basted together, I needed to sew the front panels together at the center seam, then attach the side front panels to that. All seams were 5/8″ and then I trimmed them down to 1/4″.
(Don’t mind my dog, she loves to “help”)
After sewing the front pieces together, I sewed the side back panels to the back panels. Then, I sewed the front half and the back halves together at the side seams, creating the corset.
This is where things started to get a bit complicated for me. I cut lengths of boning (1/4″ boning in 1/2″ casing) the same length as the seams. Then, I carefully marked which boning piece went where and removed the boning from the casing (making sure to mark the boning pieces with the corresponding casing number).
This corset uses grommets to lace up the back so I needed to get that part ready. I folded the fabric on a fold line (1 1/2″) and then turned the raw edge under 1/4″ and stitched that in place. Then I stitched 3/8″ away from that stitch line, as well as 3/8″ away from the fold line. I was left with 1/4″ in between to put the grommets in.
After that, I put the boning pieces in their casings to a) ensure they fit and b) to iron them flat. Then I removed the basting stitches.
Inside of corset: (featuring my other dog in the bottom corner don’t mind him either)
Outside of corset:
Then came time to get this corset lookin’ fancy. I took 1/2″ wide single fold bias tape and cut strips the length of the three center seams of the corset. (I had since removed the boning from the casing at this point). And stitched them down in place, trying my best not to encroach on the seams already on the casings.
I trimmed down the ends so that there were no odd angles sticking out anymore.
I kind of did this next part as one step in my mind. I basted the trim down to the corset edges (on the top and bottom) and then using the bias tape and stitching 1/4″ away from the raw edge of the corset, I stitched that all down.
To get the nice look as seen at the bottom, I whip stitched the other edge of the bias tape to the inside of the corset instead of using the machine to stitch it.
The next part was to put the grommets in (grommets usually have two pieces of metal and eyelets usually have one or are hand sewn).
I marked the spaces the grommets would go in (1 1/2″ apart from each other and starting/ending 1/2″ from the top and bottom of the corset).
Then on those marks I took one half of the grommet and traced around the inside of it.
Then, instead of completely cutting the circle out, I just cut a + shape inside the circle so that the grommets would have more to grab onto.
Then, I put the bottom half of the grommet into the hole from the right side of the fabric. I slid the bottom half of the grommet punch underneath it as well.
After that, I put the top half of the grommet over the bottom half. Using a hammer, I pounded (the instructions said to “gently” tap but that was getting me nowhere) the top half of the press down.
The grommet closed on itself for the most part (if I used a hand press, the one that looks like pliers, I would’ve been better off but I couldn’t find it) so I had to also just pound the top half of the grommet directly to finish closing it. That did mangle the grommets a little bit, but they are all closed and secured, which is really all that matters.
After I got the grommets in, I decided to sew in the elastic button loops. I took two 4″ pieces of elastic cording and tied knots on the ends. Then I marked where they were supposed to be sewn down and thought that created too large of a button loop, so I sewed the elastic cording straight underneath the binding.
Lastly, I needed ribbon for the corset. I was supposed to use 72″ (two yards) but that was not enough ribbon at all. When I went to put it on, the ribbon completely came out of the bottom grommet. I went back and cut an 85″ piece of ribbon instead. The larger piece actually allows me to not only lace the entire corset (gasp!) but to create a nice bow. To ensure the ends of the ribbon would not fray, I took a lighter and melted the ends (I made sure the ribbon was 100% polyester before doing so).
Reminder that this is my sister’s Halloween costume, but she doesn’t live with me so I have to make sure it at least fits me. She’s shorter than I am, so I had to make sure the collar and corset wouldn’t be too far apart for her. By doing that, I made it too short for me so I felt like I was in the stocks a bit.