Corsets – Maker Resources

Corset Making Resources, by Sidney Eileen

 

This article is all about corset making resources.  It doesn’t discuss the details of how to do it.  Instead it focuses on where to find information and supplies, including online tutorials, books, commercial corset patterns, corset kits, sources of corset making supplies, workshops, and lots more.

Some Basics to Keep in Mind:

  • There is more than one way to make a quality corset.
  • Previous sewing experience is a huge help.
  • Patience and precision will save you a lot of headache.
  • Join an online corset community you like, and don’t be afraid to show your projects and ask for advice.
  • No matter how good you get at making corsets, there is always something new to learn.

 

Where to Start?

Lucy’s Corsetry

This is one resource I will mention again and again, because it is without a doubt the largest FREE online resource, mostly in video form, for corseting and corset making information.

Main Site – http://lucycorsetry.com/

YouTube Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/bishonenrancher/

Playlist – Corseting: General Information (START HERE) – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC6B380E5D1D41A14

 

Book Resources

Corsets & Crinolines by Norah Waugh – http://www.amazon.com/Corsets-Crinolines-Norah-Waugh/dp/0878305262/

The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners by Linda Sparks – http://www.amazon.com/Basics-Corset-Building-Handbook-Beginners/dp/0312535732/

Corset Making for Beginners to Intermediate by Julia Bremble – http://www.amazon.com/Corset-Making-Beginners-Interme-Bremble/dp/1906314233/

Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques by Jill Salen – http://www.amazon.com/Corsets-Historical-Techniques-Jill-Salen/dp/0896762610/

Waisted Efforts: An Illustrated Guide to Corset Making by Robert Doyle – http://www.amazon.com/Waisted-Efforts-Illustrated-Corset-Making/dp/0968303900/

 

Online Learning Resources

Lucy’s Corsetry – Corset Making Videos Playlist – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8EACEB0EE25ED3A6

By Sidney Eileen – Corset Making Tutorials – http://sidneyeileen.com/tutorials/sewing/

Foundations Revealed (subscription site with some free articles) – http://foundationsrevealed.com/

Sew Curvy Corsetry (tutorials section) – http://www.sewcurvy.com/corsetmakingtutorials.html

The LiveJournal CorsetMakers Community – http://corsetmakers.livejournal.com/

Farthingales Corset Making Supplies – Tips & Tricks – http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/tips-index.php

 

Corset Making Kits

Keep in mind that with very rare exception, you will need to modify your pattern to fit properly.  This means when you buy your pattern it is best to purchase all of your supplies except the busk, because the lengths you need will probably change after modifying the pattern to fit.  Once you have a fitting mock-up measure the actual lengths of boning you need, and the length of the busk (about 3/4” shorter than the center front – leave room for your edge binding).  Modifying the pattern usually changes the lengths needed from those listed.  Most major corset making suppliers will carry corset making kits, with all the materials normally needed to construct a corset using the particular commercial pattern included.  These corset kits do not usually contain any of the tools needed, so be prepared to purchase a few additional items if they are not already in your sewing toolkit.

 

Commercial Corset Patterns

You basically have two options in commercially available corset patterns.  You can buy from a historic pattern company that seeks to create reproduction patterns for historic garments, or you can buy from one of the major pattern companies available at every fabric store.  I strongly recommend the historic pattern companies, because in the realm of historic garments in general, and corsets in particular, they will be simpler, easier to use, and easier to get a good fit with as little fuss as possible.  There are more companies than just the ones listed here, but these are usually the easiest to find.  The two most commonly used are Laughing Moon’s patterns and Truly Victorian’s patterns, and a search of the internet should turn up multiple blogs written by people who have used these patterns.

Laughing Moon

Truly Victorian

Past Patterns

Ageless Patterns

Mantua Maker

Reconstructing History

 

Custom Patterns

If you start from a pattern that is drafted to your measurements, it will be far less work to achieve a final product that fits properly and comfortably.  There are not very many places where a custom pattern can be purchased, and expect it to cost a lot more than a conventional commercial pattern.  There are only two places you can buy a custom pattern that I know of.

Sew Curvy Corsetry – http://www.sewcurvy.com/corsetmakingsupplies/cat_406430-Custom-patterns.html

Marie Cooley’s Fitting Room – http://www.fittingroomcorsets.com/patterns.php

 

Free Patterns

Most free corset patterns that can be found on the internet are one-offs.  That is, someone makes a corset, blogs about it, and posts an image of the pattern used.  There are tons of them out there, and they can be very difficult to find.  You’re likely to have more luck if you narrow your search by the particular kind of corset you want to make, like “Regency short stays pattern”.  Whenever I come across one of these patterns I add them to my Pinterest board for corset patterns, so rather than list any of those one-offs here, I refer you to my pin board, which will undoubtedly be updated more frequently than this article.

Google Patent Search (put “corset” in as your search term) – http://www.google.com/patents

Ralph Pink – http://www.ralphpink.com/pattern-cutting/womenswear/corsets

My Pinterest Board “Corsets – Patterns & Tutorials” – http://pinterest.com/sidneyeileen/corsets-patterns-tutorials/

 

Draft Your Own Patterns

I strongly recommend starting from a completed pattern you source somewhere, rather than trying to self-draft right off the bat.  By starting with an established pattern that works as a corset, even if it requires modification to fit you, it will allow you to focus on the skills of assembling the corset.  It will also help to familiarize you with at least some of the aspects of how a corset fits and how the pattern translates into a fitting garment.  However, when you are ready to start attempting the self draft, there are a few resources at your disposal.  The books I recommended above are at the top of the list.

Lucy’s Corsetry
Custom Corset Pattern Using Duct Tape – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZTF2h17i_I
Cutting the Duct Tape Form into Pattern Pieces – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNB8MGGlFqE

By Sidney Eileen – Corset Pattern Drafting Tutorials – http://sidneyeileen.com/tutorials/sewing/corset-drafting/

Foundations Revealed (subscription site with some free articles) – http://foundationsrevealed.com/

My Pinterest Board “Corsets – Patterns & Tutorials” – http://pinterest.com/sidneyeileen/corsets-patterns-tutorials/

 

Workshops

It can be an invaluable thing to attend a corset making workshop and receive first-hand instruction on how to make a corset, but they can be hard to find.  In most parts of the world they happen infrequently, if at all, so attending a workshop will potentially involve travel.  I strongly suggest doing an internet search for corset making and sewing classes in your area, and inquiring with any locations which offer sewing workshops.  You may very well find classes I am not aware exist, or be able to arrange a special workshop with a local corset maker if you can get together enough friends who are also interested in taking the class.  These are a couple of the places where I know corset making workshops have been offered in the past, or are offered intermittently.  Be sure to take a course in genuine corsetry, not corsets for stage or theater, because the needs are completely different.

Sew Curvy Corsetry (England) – http://www.sewcurvy.com/corsetmakingsupplies/cat_327295-Workshops.html

Of Corset (California) – Of Corset – Corset Workshops

Marie Cooley’s Fitting Room (Seattle, WA) – http://fittingroomcorsets.com/blog/2010/01/do-you-teach-corset-making-classes/

Costume College (annual event, Los Angeles, CA) – http://www.costumecollege.net/index.html

Oxford Conference of Corsetry (annual event, England) – https://www.facebook.com/oxfordconferenceofcorsetry

Electra Designs (Texas) – http://www.meetup.com/Make-Corsets/

Orchid Corsetry (England) – http://www.orchidcorsetry.co.uk/corsetry-courses/

Anna Antczak (Scotland) – http://corsetworkshop.com/

 

Corset Making Supplies

Shop around.  Corset making suppliers come and go, and different sources will offer different materials, and sometimes different qualities or sizes of the same materials.  Also, don’t be afraid to look at non-corset making supply sites for specific materials, because they can sometimes be purchased more easily or for less money from other sources.

CorsetMaking.com (USA) – http://www.corsetmaking.com/

Farthingales Corset Making Supplies (Canada) – http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/

Dragontown Corset Supply (USA) – http://www.dragontowncorsetsupply.com/index.html

Vogue Fabrics (USA) – http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/Corset-Making-Supplies/

Richard the Thread (USA) – http://www.richardthethread.com/

Sew Curvy Corsetry (England) – http://www.sewcurvy.com/

Vena Cava Design (England) – http://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/Products/

King and Company on Etsy (USA) – https://www.etsy.com/shop/KingAndCompany

Lacis (Berkeley, CA) – http://lacis.com/catalog/

Corset Moment on Etsy (China) – https://www.etsy.com/shop/CorsetMoment

Aussie Corset Supply (Australia) – http://www.aussiecorsetsupplies.com.au/

Tutu.com (coutil in “linings” section) (USA) – http://www.tutu.com/fab_lining.html

 

Other Resources, Blogs, and Sites of Note

Making Corsets is a Cinch with Electra Designs (Kickstarter Project) – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1066830195/making-corsets-is-a-cinch-with-electra-designs

Steam Ingenious (steampunk focused blog with some fantastic tutorials and links to info) – http://steamingenious.blogspot.com/

Bridges on the Body (corset making blog) – http://bridgesonthebody.blogspot.com/

 

Online Gathering Places

There are lots more, but these are the two places I haunt and can personally recommend.  They are both safe, friendly, maker-focused groups.

FaceBook: Stitched Up, Corsetry – https://www.facebook.com/groups/472700926130651/

FaceBook: Learn How to Make Corsets Like a Pro – https://www.facebook.com/groups/353021271395703/

 

 

 

Thank you for reading, and as always, feel free to leave any comments, questions, or thoughts down below.

 

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