Caroline's corset blog

Musings and progress from Caroline - projects she's working on, tips and tricks, and thoughts on corsetry

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  1. I find some aspects of corsetry tiresome - putting in eyelets for instance. I also don't like creating boning channels from strips of fabric or bias binding and lining them up so they are symmetrical with the other side - it's a right faff! I now create my mid-panel boning channels so they are intrinsic to the panels themselves. Each channel needs 2cm of extra fabric. They are so neat when executed properly - and if you mark the parallel lines accurately and in line with the grainline, they are always going to be exactly symmetrical with the other side. They look like lapped seams so if ironed to the correct side they will look like the seams and be consistent across the corset. Try it!


  2. The subject of fit and comfort is central to corsetry and as a pattern maker it is imperative that my designs can be worn, with ease, by everyone who makes them. It would be great to have a set of rules to draft by, but one set of rules, whilst effective for one body, will not work for another, and so corset makers need to know how to design and tweak their patterns for optimal fit and comfort. This subject is often over-looked in pattern instructions and literature, with only sizing and construction techniques being covered.

    By creating this short survey I wanted to reach out to the corset wearing community and tap into their experience so I could expand on my own literature that I send out with my patterns, but also by sharing these findings it will hopefully help makers who are currently struggling with creating a truly comfortable corset.

    Here are the charts from the survey:

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    • Fit is key for comfort. There are no surprises here but it does illustrate that an off-the-rail corset is not going to be as comfortable as a made-to-measure, and all patterns will need to be ‘tweaked’. Even if a corset wearer conforms exactly to a standardised measuring system, there will be improvements that can be made to comfort by making a toile. Distribution of flesh has an effect on comfort and the look of the corset and making a toile is the only way to assess this.
    • The jury seems to be out with regards to number of panels. More panels to a corset do seem to be slightly more favourable however with fewer panels, less mistakes are made, so precision is better.
    • There seems to be a preference for lots of bones. I was surprised that there was little mention of bone placement as being a factor in comfort.
    • Over-busts are often sought as a replacement for bras – there is huge potential here, especially in the larger bust fraternity. More patterns concentrating on bust support are required!
    • More training and coaching would be good for those wanting to move to digital drafting.
    • Unusual body shapes are not catered for in the commercial pattern market – especially those with short waists and large hip springs.
    • Bust and hip gores get the thumbs up.
    • Room for the ribs was cited often as being a factor in comfort.