I love using dupioni silk as the cover material of corsets. It’s gorgeous, interesting, hides sins and imperfections (yes, yes it does), and is less expensive than most silks. Silk taffeta is fantastic too, gorgeous, smooth, and luscious. The problem with both these materials (and a lot of inexpensive polyester materials too), is that sometimes when you grommet you end up with something that looks like this:
This is a plum dupioni silk corset. This particular dupioni was a soft enough weave that the silk threads split terribly along the entire length of the grommets. The splits to the right of the above photo had already been fixed, which is the only reason they are not displaying brilliant white as well. If I had planned ahead for this possibility I could have used black coutil for the core instead of white, which would have been significantly less noticeable. The other way to avoid it with dupioni is to orient the textured threads horizontally instead of vertically, but you still might end up with little arrows of visible coutil to the left and right of each grommet.
Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to fix in dupioni using a technique called re-weaving, most commonly used to mend small holes in wool. When this happens in taffeta you can use the same technique, but it’s likely to be far more noticeable when finished because the re-woven area will have a less smooth texture than the rest of the cover material.
Find a matching thread, or pull threads from leftover cover material. I chose to use threads from the cover material because they are always a perfect color match. The downside is that these threads are not meant to be used in a needle and won’t hold up to hand-stitching for very long. I had to pull a new thread for every patch and the threads did break multiple times while I was working. The softness of the threads won’t matter once it’s woven because the area will have zero stress on the rewoven threads.
Secure the thread at the back of the affected area, hiding the tail in the corset. Pull the thread through to the front as close to the grommet as possible.
Now comes the tricky part, and this is a prime example of why I only use very high quality needles. You want to work the needle through the cross-threads of the cover material, being careful not to catch the coutil. Ideally in re-weaving you would pick each cross thread to re-create an even weave, but with the grommets in the way it’s really not possible here. That is why doing this in taffeta will produce a less-than perfect result. In dupioni it just looks like another slub or interesting spot in the weave.
So, yes, you are fighting against the needle, the boning to either side of the grommets, and the grommets themselves. This will bend your needle!
Do not use brittle needles or they can SHATTER and do bad, bad, bad things to you.
Even high-quality needles can eventually snap when used like this, so be aware that you might get speared. Use caution!
You have been warned!
I only use needles made in countries which I know produce high-quality, non-brittle steel. That includes the UK, Germany, and the US (nearly impossible to find US-made anymore). I specifically avoid needles made in China, Japan, or Korea. Czech needles seem to be OK. I don’t know about any other countries. When you are trying a new brand test one of the needles. Put on safety glasses and leather gloves, take a couple pairs of pliers, and bend one of the needles. If it shatters Don’t Use Them. If it snaps Be Very Careful. If it bends, you’re probably all good.
And now, no one ever needs to know unless you want to show off your handiwork by pointing it out. :)