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23 May 2008 @ 12:47 pm
My method for making a corset with cups Tutorial Part 1: Patterning  
I told a few people on here who asked about making and patterning a corset with cups that I would post my method for doing so. So here is part one of that.

I am not going to teach anyone here how to draft a corset pattern, so I am doing this part of it assuming you have basic drafting skills.

The way I make a corset with cups in it starts out with your basic SLOPER. A SLOPER in case you don't know is the pattern of the basic body shape of a standard size (or custom to your size) with no seam allowances allowed. You can find sloper patterns online or if you have a college with a fashion program in your area it's usually pretty easy to talk them into letting you copy off a sloper pattern or two.

Here is one of my old beat-up ones for reference. I will be using a basic size 6 sloper with a B cup size for this tutorial, you may of course size yours to whatever you need it to be.

Basic Sloper Pattern Front and Back

As you can see the front part has a "circle" in it. This circle is the most important part for drafting your cup corset. The "Circle" is a paper representation of the full breast. With the point in the middle being the nipple.

Close-up of bust part of Sloper

The lines running throughout the sloper represent the fit lines. If you took all these lines in you would have a mold of a body shape so to speak. This is what we will essentially be doing since a corset is a tight fitted garment.

I am not going to show how to do the back part of the cupped corset since the cups have nothing to do with that part. Again I am not going over a basic corset draft. I am also not going to show how to pattern in the hips parts of the corset as I assume you all have your own methods for that. So think of this as just the upper half of the corset or a Bustier that stops at the waist.

Next you will need to copy off your sloper onto paper. Make sure and draw in ALL THE LINES as you will need these for fitting.

Drawn off Sloper. This is a crude quick drawing, done for illustration only, you should actually make your circle round, not all hand drawn and wonky like mine :)

Next you need to block in the basic lines/shape you want your corset to be. This includes the "seam" lines.

Basic blocking of shapes, shown in red.

Remember all those "fit" lines you copied on there. Now is the time to cut along each of them. There is a straight line and an "angeled" line on each fit line. You will need to cut the straight line NOT the angeled one (the straight line allows for some ease) on ALL THE LINES EXCEPT THE BOTTOM TWO. The bottom lines are the darts. Since this is a corset you want the tightest fit on anything but the bust so cut the angeled lines out of the bottom dart.

You will end up with something like this.

Next you will need to close your lines. Use tape to do this. I have used leopard print tape so you can better see what I did. Close your lines only up to any point involving your corsets shape. Your shape will now be off and wonky this is OK you will fix this in the next step. When all "darts" are taped close you will have something that looks like this:

Notice the design now looks like a cone. I have shown it above from the side as well so you can see this better. Basically if you put this on now it would mold over the bust shape.

Next you need to "true-up" aka straighten out your design lines. I always add a bit more to the height of the cup to make sure nothing will spill over.

You need to decide where the seam in your cup will be. I mark the middle of the cup "the nipple point" with a dot, on this design I have made my seam where it will match up with on of the corset seams, for a nice flow together. You can make your seam in the cup wherever esthetically pleases you most.

Next you need to cut your corset pattern out on the design lines. Make sure and mark all the pieces, especially the TOP AND BOTTOM of the cup. I use the letters T and B for this.

Lastly you need to trace all the pieces off on paper. Smooth out any wonky lines. If the cups have pointy bits at the nipple points when you cut them apart be sure and curve the line or you will have a cup that fits ala Madonna cone bra style. I also mark the nipple points on each cup piece so I can make sure and match them up right when sewing them together later on. Use whatever seam allowances you like. I use 1/4 inch on the cups and 1/2 inch on the corset side seams.

And that's it as far as making the cup part. Next you would pattern the back. Draw in your hip shapes/lines, then re-draw the whole finished corset pattern and get ready to sew.

If you want to pattern cups that do not have a gap in the middle of the two for a more "push-up/push together" boob effect just make the bottom curve of your cup closer to the center front of the pattern.

I'm off to go out of town now. When I get back I will post a sewing the cups into a corset and various ways to finish them (underwire, heavy lining, straps etc) tutorial part 2.

For quick reference here is one of our finished designs using this method of drafting a cupped corset (and yes the models boobies didn't fill it out which is why the cups don't look filled in):

peau_de_soiepeau_de_soie on May 23rd, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)

I love you!
malwae on May 23rd, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
Very useful, thanks for posting. But more important - where can one acquire leopard print tape?
twilateetwilatee on May 23rd, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
I love you for the tutorial! and am Sqeeing over the tape...
corsetrasewingcorsetrasewing on May 23rd, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
I think I have seen that at a store, but I found this website with cool tape!
Edward Elriceduardoelric on May 23rd, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tutorial!!! I love the pictured corset too. Too bad about the model.
tristagetristage on May 23rd, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
This post should be added to the memories along with the 2nd part yet to come. This is amazingly generous of you Batty, a thousand times thank you! Also, the leopard tape just makes it all the more delish. I can't wait to read the second part!
Krisskissmeforlonger on May 23rd, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
That's beautiful.
Isaraisara on May 24th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
AWESOME!!! thank you!!!
BlackRayneblackrayne on May 24th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to post this (and the second part, when you've gotten a chance to do it).

I just added it to the community memories.
Battybatty on May 24th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
thanks for adding it to the memories, glad to help out
lashblade on May 24th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
Thankyou so much for post this - that's...so totally not the way I've been working out. Looks to be less fiddly than my way too!

I am so looking forward to this term ending, I'll be able to try this out :)

Thankyou again, it's very generous of you to share this technique with us :)
ViennaBelleviennabelle on May 24th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much...One follow up question--assuming you do work with a correct sloper, should every piece get reduced equivalently to allow for "cinchage" (ie, space for tight lacing) or should more be taken out of the back (since a properly fitting corset should have 3-4" gap there)?
Battybatty on May 24th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
I always adjust my patterns per peice for allowing for cinch based on each customers measurements, or my standard cinched corset measurements based on my companies off the rack corsets. Basically after the basic pattern is worked out I turn it into a corset pattern, as making a pattern off the sloper is not a corset, just a fitted garment, until the cinch/correct shape is shaped into it.
kelly Cerconeizodiea on May 24th, 2008 06:45 am (UTC)
This is amazing, thank you.
esther_reevesesther_reeves on May 24th, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
Thank you that is wonderful.
StormChildoutinthestorm on May 24th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
This is a great tutorial.
may i just also add - with the seam allowance on the outside of the cup, remember that this will be turned out and either a) used as a casing for the underwire, or b) sit underneath the casing for the underwire.
(personally, if the underwire is not going to be sitting against the skin, ie. if the corset is lined, an actual proper "casing" for the underwire doesn't need to be used, and I think that you can get a nicer outside stitching line without it!)
So I would usually make the seam allowance bigger there.
Battybatty on May 24th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
I have a few diff methods for this as well, my preference is like yours is to not make a seperate casing either, but when I post part two I will cover all the different methods just in case people would rather use them.
ultharkitty: Walter by Cthulouisultharkitty on May 24th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC)
That is awesomely useful, thankyou for posting :D
veridianeyesveridianeyes on May 24th, 2008 10:38 am (UTC)
Thankyou! Thats really helpful :)
m_g_pm_g_p on May 24th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Is that the contoured HCC sloper? ;)
Battybatty on May 25th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
It's the one without the hip parts, the short one, yeah, lol. That thing is OLD, I've had mine since 1999 I think.
soapmastersoapmaster on September 18th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
interesting, now cup questions
So...interesting idea...now to make a DDD cup, I do it the same way??? And assuming I can adapt any pattern for adding the cups? Or is drafting from scratch easier?
Battybatty on September 20th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: interesting, now cup questions
You would do it the same way, although you will need to obviously change the size of the cups, the general rule is too add 1/8 inch to the bend of the curve of the two breats cup pieces for each cup size larger, if that makes any sense...you will also need to do to widen the width of the cups.
lieshenlieshen on February 27th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
for the true do-it-yourself-er
okay, but assume for a moment you can't get a sloper. can i draw a circle of my own breast on paper placed over the chest, then add it to a pattern for a top in my size ( i have all sorts of patterns) and cut along lines as you've shown here, and then put it all together and see if it fits?

i'm trying like heck to add bust cups to a corset that, alone, would look like an underbust.

but i LOVE this idea: http://community.livejournal.com/corsetmakers/1514422.html#cutid1

and i want to put that type of bust actually IN the corset i'm making. so far, i've scrapped three different lame attempts!
Battybatty on February 27th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
Re: for the true do-it-yourself-er
You will need to add the ease lines and dart lines into the circle you draw (ie the same lines you would close up on the sloper when forming the bust shape) but that *might* work, it's worth a shot. try it and let me know if it works. I am sure if it does some other people here without slopers might benefit from that!
lieshenlieshen on February 28th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: for the true do-it-yourself-er
i've done this and cut the pattern pieces for the cups. i've chosen to seam the cups up the middle rather than side to side. i also really like the ribbon idea for under the bust and may try that as well, running the ribbon up the sides as straps of some sort. my chest is wide and my breast area is wide, so straps may be quite necessary.

will post when the corset is done. and thank you for the help. i'll find out if i'm a dork or if it works!
Cryptinvoke_thee on March 8th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
It's amazing the places I find you. How come we never got to know each other whilst I was living in Houston? Creative minds some how parallel now and then. I have had many ideas for some corsets I wanted to make. I found you here in my search for knowledge.