This tutorial was created using photographs from the corded Regency corset. It shows how to make a very basic busk pocket, applied to the front of a corset which does not have boning in the busk area. If you are adding a busk pocket to a fully boned corset (like fully boned stays), it must be added after boning, but the boning cannot be stitched through. That means you must either leave unboned space where the pocket will be stitched down, or attach it by hand.
The pocket on this particular corset opened on the bottom of the corset, and laces hold the busk in place. If you are orienting your pocket to open up, just reverse the orientation when you attach it to the corset. The busk pocket can also be added on the inside of the corset instead of the outside.
I highly recommend finishing the edge of the corset where the pocket will open before attaching the busk pocket. The pocket does add some bulk at that area, and it can make it more difficult to smoothly attach the edging unless you are edging entirely by hand.
To make the busk pocket, cut a rectangle of cover fabric longer than the front of the corset is tall. The width is 2x the width of the busk, plus 2x seam allowance, plus 1/4″. That will give you a pocket which is about 1/4″ wider than the busk, providing room to stitch it down without making your pocket too small to fit the busk.
Fold the piece of fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch the open sides together.
Press open the seam, placing it at the center of the panel.
Stitch it closed at one end.
Turn it and press. The closed end is to the left in this photo
Mark the body of the corset and the busk pocket cover for eyelets. Make sure they will match up when finished. The bottom edge is bound before creating the eyelets, so there is no fear of the eyelets or pocket creating bulk too close to the bottom edge.
For the bottom of the busk pocket I decided to make hand-worked eyelets using a looped buttonhole stitch. You can use any buttonhole stitch you want, or use metal eyelets.
The first step when hand-stitching eyelets is to define them. Then create a running stitch just outside the circumference of the hole size you want. The running stitch will help the eyelet hold its shape, and provide a guide while you create the buttonhole stitches.
Open the eyelet hole with an awl. Depending upon the material, you may need to use a small hole punch or slash the material inside the eyelet hole so that it will evenly fold back away from the hole. I had to do that for the busk pocket because the material was too thick to nicely open with just the tapered awl.
Each stitch starts from the back side of the eyelet, pulled through to the front. These stitches define the outer edge of the eyelet hole, so try to keep your stitches an even distance out from the circle of running stitches.
Next drop your needle down through the eyelet and have it emerge to the front next to the prior stitch, maintaining your distance from the circle of running stitches. Make sure the tail end of the previous stitch goes around the outside of the needle before dropping through the eyelet hole. It is that loop which creates the border edge. To finish the stitch just pull the thread tight (as tight as you can) and you will be back at the photo above.
If you do not want to create the edge border to your eyelets, work from the back side of the garment instead of the front, so the border will be hidden.
When you have completed the eyelet, instead of dropping the needle through the eyelet hole, run it down through the same place the very first stitch emerged. This will create a loop to complete the edging. As you can see, it’s been a while since I’ve done this and the circle is not even. Practice is the only way to fix this problem.
The busk pocket cover, with both eyelets stitched.
Pin the busk cover in place down the center front of the corset.
Topstitch the busk pocket cover, staying as close as possible to the sides.
Close the busk pocket on the unfinished edge with a narrow zig-zag stitch. The photo is from the outside of the corset, but I actually stitched this with the lining up so I could see the border edge of the corset.
Trim it to the edge of the corset, and you’re ready to continue with the next step of your project.