I worked a couple hours a couple days last week, taking photos as I went. Today I did a lot more work, and it is now assembled and corded on the front and side panels.
As I worked, I found that it was easier to insert the cording if I did not run the thread through the center of the tape. Instead I cut the leading tape to only about 1cm of length, tied the thread to the cording, and I added another piece of tape over all of that and extending out just past the end of the cording. That way the second piece of tape held the thread to the cording and also provided a smaller start to work into the channels.
Just like on the bust, I used pins to hold the two layers together while creating the cording channels. The bulk added by the cording makes sewing problematic, so I stitched as many channels as I could before inserting the cording. First are the channels directly underneath the bust.
I used the drawn line for the uppermost seam, and after that spaced relative to the presser foot. As you can see, the spacing changed slightly from the drawing, and the squiggly cording in the center will need to be adjusted.
Next I stitched the four lower channels, again spacing relative to the presser foot. If you have a clear presser foot this will be much easier than the way I am doing it with a standard foot. I decided to omit the last straight channel so there would be more room for the squiggly channels.
I extended the curves on the squiggly channels and widened them a little in order to make it easier to insert the cording while still retaining the interesting shape.
After stitching the squiggly channels, I pinned to stabilize the two layers of the corset while stitching the sweeping horizontal channels.
I inserted the cording only after stitching all horizontal channels on the front panel. I made some adjustments to the placement of the sweeping channels while sewing. I also made a couple of the channels too small in a couple places, so I popped the stitches to get the cording through. I re-stitched those spots after taking this photo.
The cording has a gathering effect on the material, effectively shortening the width perpendicular to the channel because the fabric is forced to go out and around the cording. The difference is slight, but it is enough that in places where the cording channels end (most notably the upper hip exit of the sweeping channels) it creates shaping without a joined fabric seam. The front panel is no longer flat. Instead, it lets out slightly at the front of the hip.
Even after adding the last cording channels to the front panel, there is a gentle shaping at the front of the hip just below the waist.
This photo shows the front panel, photographed from the inside where it is free of pencil marks and smudges. This is a much more accurate impression of what the outside of the corset will look like after it is finished and washed.
I added the side panes by sandwiching the front panel between the two layers of the side panel. In the photo it is the wrong side of the side panel cover which is shown. All layers are pinned along the seam before stitching.
To help ensure the seam is strong, I lock stitched. That is, after sewing the seam I went back along the exact same seam with another line of stitches. While not technically necessary, it does add to the durability of the corset.
I pressed both layers of the side panel away from the front panel and top stitched to hold them in place.
The pencil marks along the waist are a guideline for cording placement. Since this corset is plus-sized I am fully cording the side to ensure it does not buckle when worn. I stitched the three channels closest to the open side first, to make sure the two layers stay together and even.
I also stitched three channels parallel to the front/side panel seam. The ruler marks the first seam for the cording channels to go down the body of the side panel.
This is how the corset looks right now. Both halves are to this point, fully corded. Depending upon whether or not I pick up some white buttonhole thread before sewing again, I will either be reinforcing the bust gores or adding the back panels.
Project: Regency Corset