This tutorial demonstrates in detail how to make a mesh corset using a synthetic sport mesh. Mesh corsets were made in the late Victorian, but they were constructed using strong, natural-fiber mesh, like linen canvas for embroidery. Heavy-duty sport mesh is a much more economical choice and works very well. Be sure to choose a mesh that is described for heavy-duty use, which has a mesh hole size of no more than 1/8″.
This is very different from the “corset mesh” that has become available since the original writing of this tutorial. “Corset mesh” can be patterned and sewn just like coutil or other solid fabric. From what I understand, the only special handling required is lots and lots of pins since it has a tendency to slip.
The corset shown is a commissioned tight-lacing corset, with an 18″ waist when fully closed. The mesh is a heavy duty sport mesh. The boning channels are made from black coutil. The 8″ busk is backed with a 1/2″ spring steel bone. The horizontal re-enforcement is high quality polyester double-satin ribbon.
Piecing for a sport mesh corset is unlike piecing for any other kind of corset. I want to place the boning along each seamline, like with a normal corset. It will need to be cased in coutil, and that coutil is also needed to secure the mesh in such a way that it does not tear free. At scale size (graph paper) I drafted up a normal, vertical-panel underbust corset.
I decided to make 3/4″ wide (finished width) coutil strips for the boning and mesh anchoring. The center of that 3/4″ is the location of the seam line on a standard pattern, so to create the boning panels I removed 3/8″ from both sides of each normal vertical panel developed at scale. Between each of those mostly-normal patterns, I created a 3/4″ wide strip panel. Thus, the final pattern has 13 panels per side. The “normal” 6 are mesh, and each mesh panel is couched with perfectly straight coutil panels.
I decided that rolling over the mesh and coutil together would create a strong seat for the mesh, so the coutil panels have 5/8″ seam allowance and the mesh panels have 1.5″ seam allowance.
The three following images are the entire pattern for the corset. Sorry for the poor quality of the images. They are drawn in pencil, and the lighting was not ideal. The right-most panel on the top image is the grommet panel at the back of the corset. The left-most panels on the third image are for the busk.
These are the cut out panels for the sport mesh corset. The mesh panels refused to hold chalk with any amount of handling, making them extremely difficult to mark. I decided to keep the mesh panels stacked with the pattern piece so I didn’t lose track of which was which, and then mark each with chalk immediately before sewing each piece.