Lucy Corsetry Interview and NACLS

The North American Corsetry and Lingerie Symposium happened on July 18, 19, and 20.  I was mistaken about the weekend when it was happening and had to pack in a rush to head out the door for the symposium.  The corded corset did not get finished, and I have barely done anything with it since.

That said, the weekend was absolutely amazing!  One of the biggest highlights for me was meeting Lucy of Lucy’s Corsetry in person.  Most of you probably know her because of her site and YouTube channel where she shares her wealth of knowledge about corsets, corset makers, and corset brands.  For me the connection is much more personal, because when I announced I was sick she offered to run a funding campaign for me to help pay for me medical expenses.  The campaign was a success, and without it I am fairly certain I would still not be able to take the antibiotics I needed because all of my expenses have been out of pocket, without any help from insurance.  At the end of the weekend we had time to film an interview for her vlog.

 

In other news I met lot of other amazing people, and had a fantastic time.  In the classes learned a new technique for pattern matching from Amber Welch of Lovely Rats Corsets, an interesting method of draping a ribbon corset so it does not have a side panel from Jasmine Ines of Sin and Satin Corsetry, and learned more about ready-to-wear corsetry from Jessica of Ties That Bynd Designs, Inc.  On the second day of classes I also got to prattle for several hours about hand sewing and embroidery.  I was tired enough by that point in the weekend that I had trouble staying on focus and on topic, but despite my issues I saw a lot of ah-ha moments, which always makes me happy.

Zessina took a number of candid photos on the first day of classes.  These first two are from the pattern matching class, where we were using tracing paper to pattern match across panels.

Photo  of NACLS 2015, by Zessina https://www.facebook.com/Zessinna

Photo of NACLS 2015, by Zessina

Photo  of NACLS 2015, by Zessina https://www.facebook.com/Zessinna

Photo of NACLS 2015, by Zessina

I love the fabric I ended up with, but I didn’t get far enough along during the class to cut into it, so at some point down the road I will use one of my own patterns and that fabric to make a corset using the method Amber Welch taught.

Floral Cotton Print Fabric

Floral print cotton fabric I received at NACLS 2015 for the pattern matching workshop.

Lastly, I want to include a candid photo of Zessina the photographer, model, and all-around delightful person who took the candid photos above.  Here she was trying on one of the Lovely Rats corsets with the assistance of Amber Welch, ahead of the photo shoots that happened the next day.

Photo of Zessina and Amber Welch, NACLS 2015

Photo of Zessina and Amber Welch, NACLS 2015

Later that same day we also had a fun corset trying-on session, where any of us who were interested got to try on the corsets various makers had brought with them to the conference.  Some of the corsets from Ties that Bynde were close enough to my measurements to try on, so I did so with delight.  They were a little too long for me to sit in (a very typical problem for me with ready-to-wear corsets), but otherwise delightfully comfortable and with a much larger reduction than I currently have on any of my personal corsets.

The next NACLS is tentatively planned for 2017, and I’m looking very much forward to it.  I hope to see more of you there! :)

Red Silk Sweetheart – WIP 1

This is one of the projects currently on my sewing machine.  It’s a re-make of a red silk sweetheart overbust, with flossing and lace edging on the top.  The first version will be staying in my personal collection as an example of flossing, because I made a rather silly mistake in the final draft and it will never fit properly on an actual human being.

WIP image from earlier this week (click the image for larger size):

WIP image from this evening (click the image for larger size):

Drab Green, Plus-Sized Dupioni Silk Overbust

Drab Green Silk Overbust Corset - Quarter Front View, by Sidney Eileen

Drab Green Silk Overbust Corset  

This is a plus-sized Victorian overbust corset I made for a friend.  It has drab green dupioni silk cover material, flossing, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Core: Two layers of corset coutil
Cover: Drab green dupioni silk
Flossing: Beige buttonhole thread
Edging: Matching dupioni silk bias tape
Boning: 1/4″ flat spring steel and spiral bones
Piecing: 6 panels per side
Busk: 14″ metal straight double busk

Merry Widow Corset Portfolios

The Merry Widow corset as it was meant to be, fully boned and functional, but with a modern bra top for a fully modern fashion profile.


Linen and Velvet Merry Widow


This is a merry widow corset I made for myself. It has a pattern matched linen and velveteen cover, black velveteen gores and cups, a lacing panel, ribbon shoulder straps, and riveted speed-lacing for the front closure.

Low-Back Striped Merry Widow


This is a bespoke plus-sized merry widow corset. It has a low back, white satin cover, black satin boning embellishments, a metal busk, and a lacing panel.

 

Tabbed Stays Portfolios

Conical stays with tabs were historically used throughout the 1600’s and 1700’s. The simplest designs are created with the price-conscious reenactor in mind. Fancier designs and subtle variations in silhouette are possible when using complex panel piecing and decorative elements.


Brown Silk Renaissance Stays


This is a bespoke conical corset for Renaissance reenactment. It has a brown dupioni silk cover, busk pocket, and leather edging.

Blue Taffeta Silk Stays with Busk Pocket


This is a bespoke conical corset for Renaissance reenactment. It has a blue silk taffeta cover, busk pocket, and offset lacing.

Fully Boned Silk Renaissance Stays


This is a bespoke conical corset for Renaissance reenactment. It has beige dupioni silk cover material, is fully boned, and has a pocket for a wooden busk.

Basic Renaissance Stays


These are basic "renaissance" stays, all partially boned and created using modern methods and materials.

Fully Boned Basic Renaissance Stays


These basic "renaissance" stays are all fully boned.

Non-Tabbed Black Satin Conical Corset


This is a bespoke non-tabbed conical corset with black satin cover material.

 

Overbust Corset Portfolios

Non-conical, non-bra overbust corsets. Popular for modern wear. Historic periods range throughout the Victorian and Edwardian, and include all manner of piecing styles involving panels and gores.


Corded Regency Corset


This is a bespoke plus-sized corded regency corset, made with drill cover and coutil interlining, with padded shoulder straps, a busk pocket, and fan lacing.

Drab Green Silk Overbust Corset


This is a plus-sized Victorian overbust corset I made for a friend. It has drab green dupioni silk cover material, flossing, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

1880's Blue and Cream Silk Sweetheart


This is a bespoke 1800's style Victorian sweetheart overbust corset. It has cream dupioni silk cover material, blue flossing, blue lace edging, lacing panel, and metal busk.

Purple and Black Lace Sweetheart


This is a bespoke plus-sized sweetheart overbust corset. It has purple satin cover material overlaid with pattern matched black and purple lace, a lacing panel, and a split metal busk.

Red Silk Overbust with Black Flossing


This is a bespoke sweetheart overbust corset. It has red dupioni silk cover material, contrast black stitching, flossing, lacing panel, lace edging, and split metal busk.

Quilted and Flossed Silk Overbust v.2


This is a quilted gore Victorian overbust corset I made for a friend. It has peacock dupioni silk cover material, contrast quilting on the gores, flossing, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Quilted and Flossed Silk Overbust


This is a quilted gore Victorian overbust corset. It has peacock dupioni silk cover material, contrast quilting on the gores, flossing, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Plum Dupioni Sweetheart


This is a bespoke Victorian sweetheart overbust corset. It has a plum dupioni silk cover, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Brown Silk Steampunk Overbust


This is an overbust corset I made for myself. It has a brown raw silk cover, yellow ribbon embroidery gears, and a split metal busk.

Gothic Brocade Overbust


This is a bespoke overbust corset. It has a pattern matched brocade cover, black satin ribbon boning embellishments, a split metal busk, and black satin edging.

Tea Stained Spoon Busk Victorian


This is a bespoke Victorian mid-bust corset. It is made with two layers of tea stained corset coutil and split metal spoon busk.

Plus-Sized Edwardian Long-Line Overbust


This is a bespoke plus sized long-line Edwardian mid-bust corset. It is made with two layers of tea stained corset coutil, lace edging, and split metal busk.

Blue Silk Sweetheart


This is a bespoke plus sized sweetheart overbust corset. It is made with blue dupioni silk cover, black lace accent on the bust, split metal busk, and a lacing panel.

Plain Back Plus-Sized Overbust


This is a bespoke plus sized mid-bust Victorian corset. It is made from two layers of corset coutil and has a split metal busk.

Black Lace Edwardian Sweetheart


This corset is a bespokeoverbust corset. It is made with gored piecing, with burgundy satin cover overlaid with black lace. It is edged with black satin ribbon and has a metal busk, lacing panel, and removable modesty panel.

 

Underbust Corset Portfolios

These corsets are styled after the fashion profiles of the late Victorian and Edwardian. Underbusts come up to right under the bust, or just a bit below. Waist cinchers usually just cover from the bottom of the rib cage to the top of the hips.


Cream Silk Underbust with Lace Edging


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned underbust, with a cream silk cover, a lacing panel, lace edging on the top and bottom, and a split metal busk.

Brown Herringbone Underbust


This corset is a lightweight underbust, with a single layer of coutil, rich brown herringbone cover material, a lacing panel, and a split metal busk.

Leather and Coutil Grommeted Underbust


This corset is a light lacing underbust I made for myself. It uses two layers of unbleached corset coutil, covered along the waist and at the front and back with leather, grommeted in place. It is also edged with leather, is flossed, has a lacing panel, and is front lacing.

Tightlacing Mesh Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, made from black sport mesh, with low hips and a split metal busk.

Diamond Brocade Coutil Tight Lacing Corset


This corset is a custom created tight lacing underbust, using two layers of brocade corset coutil, with low hips, a lacing panel, and front lacing.

Black Low-Hipped Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, using two layers of black corset coutil, with low hips, a lacing panel, and split metal double busk.

Brocade and Leather Steam


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned underbust, with a pattern-matched brocade cover, leather edging, faux buckle accents, a lacing panel, and a split metal double-busk.

"Rag Doll" Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned underbust, using two layers of tea-stained corset coutil, with appliqued silk hearts, a lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Plus-Size Tight Lacing with Garters


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, using two layers of black corset coutil, with dramatic attached garters and front lacing.

Plain Black Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, using two layers of black corset coutil, with a lacing panel and a split metal busk.

Reversible Waist Cincher


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned reversible waist cincher. Cover material is red satin on one side and black satin on the other, with black satin ribbon edging and black boning channel stitching through all layers.

Tight-Lacing Lavender Silk Waist Cincher


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing waist cincher, with lavender silk cover material, lace edging, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Front-Lacing Tight Lacing Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, using two layers of black corset coutil, with lacing panels in front and back, and front lacing.

Plain Tea-Stained Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned underbust, using two layers of tea stained corset coutil, with a lacing panel and split metal busk.

Brocade Underbust With Attached Garters


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned underbust, with black rose brocade cover material, split metal busk, and attached garters.

Satin Underbust Corset With Black Boning Embellishments


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, with white satin cover, black satin ribbon boning embellishments, a split metal busk, and a lacing panel.

Plus-Sized White Satin Underbust with Black Boning


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned plus-sized underbust, with white satin cover material, black satin ribbon boning embellishments, lacing panel, and split metal busk.

Man's Tea Stained Tight-Lacing Underbust


This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned tight lacing underbust, using two layers of tea stained corset coutil, with a lacing panel and split metal busk.

Black Linen Underbust with Pink Flossing


This corset is an underbust corset I originally made for myself years ago. It has a black linen cover, pink boning channel stitching, pink flossing, and a split metal busk.

 

How to Insert a Corset Busk

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney EileenThere 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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

Use a tapered awl to make an opening for each busk peg.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

Carefully work each peg through the holes before making the next hole.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

Both sides of the busk, secured in place.

How to Insert a Corset Busk, by Sidney Eileen

 

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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Corset Making Tutorials – Start to Finish


How to Make a Corset Using the Welt-Seam Method


This tutorial will walk you through the process of making a basic, boned Victorian underbust style corset from scratch. It is written with the novice corset maker in mind, providing start-to-finish instructions using a method that is much more straightforward and forgiving of imprecision and errors than most of the methods described in my tutorials.

How to Make a Basic Two-Layer Coutil Corset


The most basic kind of corset I make is a two-layer, plain coutil corset, using vertical panel piecing. This tutorial describes exactly how I make these corsets, and will note any simple variations you may want to try for yourself.

How to Make a Basic Ribbon Corset


This tutorial describes how to make a ribbon corset using actual ribbon. It has coutil and boning only on the busk, sides, and grommets. Part one covers how to create the ribbon panels and attach them to the grommet and side coutil panels. Part two covers the creation of the busk panels and inserting the busk, as well as how to finish the edging on the busk panels. Part three covers finishing the side panels. Part four covers finishing the grommet panels.

How to Make a Sport Mesh Corset


This tutorial demonstrates in detail how to make an underbust or waist cincher Victorian 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.

Construction Demo - Quilted Gore Victorian Corset


This is detailed construction walk-through of a Victorian-style corset with quilted gore piecing. The core is two layers of coutil on the panels, three layers of coutil on the gores. The cover material is peacock blue dupioni silk. Boning is spring steel flats, flossed in place. The first part of this demo covers the assembly of the body panels, and the creation of the boning channels. The second part covers how to quilt and insert the gores, and how to edge the corset.

How to Make a Corded Regency Corset


This tutorial will walk you through the process I used to create a full-length corded Regency corset with a busk pocket and period style fan lacing. This is one type of support garment worn during the Regency period, roughly 1800-1815, and a common choice for modern costumers seeking to reproduce the fashions of the Regency and early Victorian.

Sewing Basic Strapless “Renaissance” Stays with Modern Materials


This tutorial shows how to make basic strapless Renaissance stays or bodies, which will work as a foundation garment for any costume requiring a conical silhouette. The goal of this method is to create stays as easily and simply as possible, using readily available modern materials, while still providing a proper Renaissance fashion silhouette. If your goal is to create an historically accurate pair of stays, this is NOT the method you will want to use.