There are many ways to insert a busk in a corset. As long as the busk is held in place and can close, it will work. I use a dual-core method for constructing almost all my corsets, so the method I use takes advantage of the two layers. If you are constructing a single-core corset, this method can still be used, but the busk panel must be two-layer.
Another similar method for a single-layer corset would involve placket-like pockets, just wide enough for the busk, that is then sandwiched around the busk at the front ends of the front panels.
Any other variations that I think of will be described where appropriate. I am sure there are additional variations and alternatives I am not familiar with. As with anything else, try multiple methods until you find one you like.
I almost always make the busk integral to the center front panel of the corset. On the hook side, the panel is cut in two pieces. On the peg side, the panel is cut on the fold.
The first thing I do is prepare the hook side of the busk. Place the busk where it should seat when the corset is complete, and mark the hooks with a pencil or chalk.
The hooks need to be able to stick out from the panel, so I sew the seam only between the hooks. This means the front edge of the busk will be seated directly against the seam, so I re-enforce the stitches by lock stitching.
After sewing the seam section, I turn around the panel and sew back over the first row of stitches. Then I turn around the panel again and stitch it a third time.
When I get back to the mark for the hook opening, I lift the needle and presser foot, skip over the hook opening, and repeat the triple-lock-stitch process between the next two hooks. When I finish sewing, there are no stitches where the hooks will stick out, and the body of the seam has been stitched over three times.
Variation: I have seen the hook side of the busk inserted into a solid panel, with button holes for the openings. If your sewing machine can make consistently beautiful button holes, this is a good alternative method to try.
Slip the hook side of the busk through the holes for the hooks.
Change your machine to a zipper foot (or other narrow foot that will allow you to stitch directly next to the busk). Pull the busk as tight against the seam as possible, try to keep the seam itself directly against the front edge of the busk (not rolled slightly to the back or front). Seat the presser foot as tight against the busk as possible before inserting the needle, and use the side of the presser foot to keep the stitches straight and tight. Be careful as you go along to make sure the busk is still seated tight and even against the seam along the entire length. If you stop to adjust the fabric, be sure your needle is fully inserted first. If the needle is not down, you may move the panel slightly and create a crooked spot in your stitching.
The hook side of the busk should now be secure in the panel. If you would like, you can also stitch horizontally at the top and bottom edges of the busk, but this isn’t strictly necessary.
Make sure the leading edge of the peg-side panel is folded straight and even. Scoot it up against the hook side of the busk, placed where it should sit when the corset is complete. Mark the locations of the pegs using the hooks as a guide.
Use a tapered awl to make an opening for each busk peg.
Carefully work each peg through the holes before making the next hole.
Since there is not a front seam to guide the edge of the busk, I match the two layers of the corset at the first seam and pin them together. Then I use the zipper foot to secure the peg side of the busk exactly like the hook side.
Variation: Make the peg side panel from two pieces with a front seam, just like the the hook side. I do not do this because of the added bulk and sewing steps. However, it might be worth doing if you are having trouble accurately seating the peg side of your busk.
Both sides of the busk, secured in place.
If you are planning to add a backing bone (double-busk) or a modesty panel, it should be added after the corset is complete. If you try to add it now, it will make it much more difficult to edge the corset.
Thank you for reading!
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