Attach the Mesh Panels
I took each mesh panel one at a time and set it over the pattern piece to mark. I used a rolling chalk marker, like the kinds marketed for quilting. I marked the seam lines, and the waistline point. The yellow chalk was willing to adhere to the polyester mesh just long enough to sew the mesh panel to the coutil on both sides.
After the mesh was marked, I pinned it to the coutil with the two seamlines matched up. On the coutil the seam allowance was 5/8″, and on the mesh the seam allowance was 1.5″. The mesh was marked along the entire seam, and I used the ruler to double-check that I was lining it up 5/8″ from the edge of the coutil.
I used a very small stitch length (just a hair above 1) to sew the seam. That ensured that the mesh was captured completely, despite the small lines of fabric.
After the seam was in place, I pinned the other side of the mesh to its coutil. Then I stitched it into place.
After attaching each mesh panel, I secured it in place by rolling the seams.
First I folded the excess mesh seam allowance over the coutil seam allowance and stitched it down. The huge range of stretch in the mesh fabric allows it to be folded over without altering the coutil, no matter how curvy the mesh panel is.
Be very careful while sewing at all stages of rolling the seam. The biggest problem I had was a tendency to catch tiny bits of the body of the mesh panel into the seam. Trust me, it’s very difficult to pick out the very very tiny stitches without harming the mesh.
Keeping the same side of the seam up, I folded over the coutil seam allowance by just less than 1/4″ (slightly less than 1/2 of the seam allowance) and stitched it down. As I folded the seam allowance like this, it sandwiched in the full length of the mesh fabric, seating the tension of the garment along the full width of the fabric, rather than along a line of stitches.
Next I unfolded the garment completely, so it was laying flat with the fold of coutil/mesh facing upward. I then folded the seam allowance of the coutil onto the coutil panel and stitched it down. While stitching, be sure to hold tension outward on the mesh and the coutil panels, to keep the first seam as open and tight as possible. If you let it relax, you can end up with the garment not laying flat due to uneven amounts of fabric in one layer or another. Tension is also critical to ensure that the original seam (the one that defines the shape of the corset) is at the very edge of the coutil panel, without being rolled one way or the other.
After sewing together all the panels of the corset, this is what it looked like. Some of the panels were a little longer or shorter than others. I took care of that when I trimmed the top and bottom edges.