New underbust corset

Remember how my last underbust corset started out as a mock-up? When I started the mock-up I already had the fabric I wanted to make the corset in. Those plans got delayed though, as I decided to just fully finish the mock-up. I’ve now finally finished the underbust it was supposed to be!

This was the fabric that inspired me:

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I slightly adapted the pattern from the last fit, making it a little smaller in the lower front section. Next was cutting out the fabric. This actually took quite some time, as I had a printed cotton I wanted to use, and I wanted to keep the image intact. It took some laying out (and laying out, and laying out), but I think it worked (after shifting everything about 5 times) and I even have quite some fabric left. Not knowing how I’d need to space the pieces I made sure to get enough. The final lay-out:

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As you can see in the image, both the left & right side are layed out here. I used the pattern pieces from the original underbust to fill the other side, the differences were quite small and this allowed me to see if I had enough fabric. Obviously, I used the correct ones for cutting out.

I didn’t take any pictures during construction this time, but I did try something new! (aside from the pattern-matching, because doing that for the first time was a perfect moment to try a new technique…). Previously I’ve used the ‘stitch-in-the-ditch’ method, using very wide seam allowances and folding them back on both sides to create channels, using bone-casings on the inside not following the seams and using bone-casings on the outside following the seams. For this corset, I used the welt-seam method, constructing it both layers at the same time front to back while enclosing the seam allowances between them. I think it worked okay, and I quite like the technique, although I’m not sure it’s best for pattern matching. It requires you to pin both the strength layer and the fashion layer at separate sides to the previous panel, which makes it a bit fiddly. It gives a very nice finish though! I used coutil (also a first, it’s a lot sturdier than previous corsets now!), and I didn’t line the corset as all the seams are nicely hidden.

I’m not 100% happy with how the pattern-matching turned out, but for a first try I think it worked okay. I was also too lazy to un-pick anything, as it’s only noticeable from up close where the matching is not perfect, so it’s entirely my own fault.

I do still really like the fabric for corsetry, and it was another good learning experience doing new things! Some images of the finished corset.

The front:

& the back:

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And laying flat (sort off). As you can see, it’s a lot smoother on me, but this shows off the pattern.

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Modern Underbust corset – with a traditional touch

Corset making is addictive. It can be frustrating, fiddly and there’s little room for error, but as soon as I finish one I’m thinking ‘I want to make more!’. Because despite being all of the above, they’re also incredibly rewarding. I guess this comes from it being so fiddly and precise work, if you do succeed it’s something to be proud of. And there’s so much which can go wrong, it’s difficult to get it to be perfect.

After finishing my Edwardian corset, I started to plan the next one. A modern corset this time, and an underbust. Both firsts for me. Of course, this didn’t stop me from trying to completely draft the pattern from scratch, which I’ve never done before either.

I drafted the pattern using a couple of tutorials and making them my own. I didn’t follow these exactly, but the over-all method I used is described really well here: https://katafalk.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/underbust-pattern-tutorial/ and here: http://ultharkitty.livejournal.com/641477.html . I decided on a 6-panel (per side) pattern.

I made the mock-up of a shiny, sturdy black polyester I had left-over from another project, and it actually worked really well right away. I hadn’t planned on doing anything with the mock-up, but then I followed a workshop on fabric decoration with paint, and the black mock-up fabric was perfect for it. As the pattern seemed to work pretty well, I took a leap and decided to finish it properly.

The fabric decoration technique I used is called ‘dotwork’, and is traditional to the Dutch town of Staphorst. They use it in their traditional clothing as a form of decoration. It came into existence to replace embroidery, which was more expensive because it took more time. Essentially, it’s a technique where you paint dots on fabric using the heads of nails to form patterns. If you get really good at it, this looks something like this:

The traditional colors are red, blue, yellow, green, purple and white. The background is traditionally dark blue or black. The patterns can be made quicker by using stamps, where multiple nails have been hammered into a piece of wood. A special paint is used, which has a plastic base. It applies well to fabric, and doesn’t wash out.

As a friend of mine followed a course in this technique, I was able to use some of her stamps and paint to decorate this corset. Making the stamps is one of the most difficult things of the whole process, so it made things a lot easier and quicker for me. Even so, it took me 2 afternoons to place all the dots. Once the paint touches the fabric, there’s no going back, so it’s a job which requires a lot of patience and concentration. It’s wonderfully relaxing to do though.

I ended up using only red and white, as I believed it looked best with the corset. In Staphorst they like very busy patterns, so this is a slightly more modern variation. The corset was constructed of 3 layers, the black as outside, a strong canvas-like cotton for the strength layer and a floating black cotton lining. It has a waist-tape and external red boning channels out of bias tape. The bones in the center-back are flat steel, all the others spiral.

I’m really happy with how it came out, and I love the shape it gives me. I’m planning to make another corset with this pattern, so I want to wear this one a bit to check if the fit stays right over time. There’s probably some small things I’ll change, such as adding a little extra room in the hip at the back, and raising the top, but overall it looks pretty good.

 

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And lying flat, outside and in.

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A little detail of the dots, binding and lining

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