A floating corset cover is when the cover of a corset is only attached at the edges of the corset, rather than being stitched into the core layers and boning along every seam. Sometimes this is done so that the boning channels are hidden from view. Other times it is done so that extra embellishment may be done to the cover which crosses panels and boning areas, like embroidery or applique. This tutorial shows how I make floating covers on corsets. In the process, I also create a floating lining.
When making a floating cover, it is absolutely essential to cut and sew with precision so your layers are all the same shape and size. If you are imprecise with your cutting and/or sewing, then when you go to put your cover layer onto your corset, you may find that it does not fit smoothly, leaving baggy areas or ripples.
Create Your Corset Core
This is the structure part of the garment, where your support and boning are located. Floating covers are purely decorative, and are not expected to add anything to the strength or stability of the finished corset.
The first step is to make the core. Use whatever method you prefer, but be sure to cut and sew with precision. The core should be a nearly finished corset, with all boning inserted and secured, and the busk included if you are using one. This particular core is made from two layers of coutil, with the boning sandwiched between the layers. If you use boning tape I recommend placing it on the inside of the core, so it won’t create obvious ridges in your cover when finished.
How to Make a Basic Two-Layer Coutil Corset (opens in new window)
Provides instructions on how to make a core like the one I made for the corset pictured in this tutorial. Follow the tutorial until you have inserted and secured the boning. Then return here.
How to Make a Corset Using the Welt-Seam Method (opens in new window)
Provides instructions on how to make a corset with the welt-seam method, which can be used to make a single-layer core. Follow the tutorial until you have inserted and secured the boning, then return here. Do not include the lining with your layers, and do not add a floating lining as described in that tutorial. If you use the method to make one coutil layer core and have raw edges at your body seams, do not worry. They will be covered by a floating lining later in this tutorial. If you use boning tape for your boning, place it on the inside of the core.
Assemble The Cover and Lining
Be sure to use precision on all your cutting so the pieces will be the same size and shape as the corresponding core pieces. In this photo, the cover silk fabric is on the right. The muslin lining fabric is on the left.
I recommend working from the back panel (back edge where the corset will lace) and working your way toward the front panel, attaching both cover and lining for each side before moving to the next panel. I have found this helps keep me from mixing up panels.
All cover pieces have had their seams top-stitched. The lining pieces do not, but you can top-stitch those as well if you wish. It’s not necessary, but it won’t hurt anything either.