Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A basic list of components for the underbust corset

  • 1 eyelet per .75 inch (so a 15 inch underbust corset will have 20 eyelets)
    Or pre-made eyelet tape up to 1 inch longer than your measurement (when they cut it for you make sure that you are getting an even amount of material top and bottom)
  • Between 6 and 10 yards of lacing or go here to use this handy calculator:
  • Busk - Now when picking up a busk pick one that allows for the space you will need to sew in your binding... if it significantly shorter but you still want that nice smooth stiff finish you can place an extra bit of boning in the channel behind the busk that gets as close to the bound edge as possible.
    For example:  If you have a  13 inch  edge at the front the best busk will be 12.5 inches giving you a quarter inch to bind the top and bottom edges. But if you can only get a 12 inch or 11.5 inch busk then you will need to place slim bone behind the busk in each channel at the desired length.
  • I use this formula 2 bones for the back at the lacing, 2 bones per seam or gusset and one per busk if needed (see above). You may or may not want extra bones depending on how many panels your corset is made up of.
    For example: I used a 5 panel design to I ended up with 18 bones of various heights. I used steel bones for the channels by the lacing and cable ties cut down for the rest. This equal to one package of 20" cable ties.  Note if you are using steel bones you can't cut down measure carefully and remember the space you need for seam binding.
  • Fabric should be between 7/8 to 1 yard per layer. Now I know you might be freaking out cause coutil is major bank (approx. $25 to $50 per yard). But when you first start out you can use canvas at $12 dollars a yard or med. weight cotton twill for as little as $5 per yard.
  • Thread... lots of thread in matching colors to your fabric
  • Needles suitable for your machine and fabric types  
  • Pattern (make or buy one)
  • sharps
  • Binding. This is the trim binding for the edge of the corset. You can making bias tape out of material (buy extra) or use petersham ribbon. This will be a about 3 yards... just think of your measurements at hip and bust add 10 inches for wiggle room and there you have it.
    Example: My ribcage under bust measurement is 43 inches, my hip measurement is 54 inches for a total of 97 inches. I add 10 to get 107 inches and then divided by 36 to get the yardage (estimating up) for 3 yards of binding. You will need the same amount for your trims depending on the desired finish. 
  • A thimble. Yes, really otherwise you will end up bloody.
  • A sewing machine
  • Utility scissors
  • Basic sewing equipment (pins, scissors, a ruler, tailor chalk and the like.)

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