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23 June 2009 @ 11:39 pm
Photo journal!  
EDIT! Final photos here on Etsy:

Here is my photo journal how-to on this bridal corset I'm almost finished with. These are my personal methods - there are a million ways to do everything, so you may have learned other ways that work just as well! But this is my system, and it works for me, so there you go.

First up, I cut all of my pieces. For this one, it's a layer of dupioni silk flatlined to broadcloth, with cotton coutil for a strength layer, and cotton twill for a lining. That's pretty typical for me. The layers are roll-pinned, which allows for the outer layer of fabric to have a larger circumference than the inner layer, presenting a beautiful smooth look when around the body. It looks puckery laid flat, but that all goes away while it's on. This is why it's not a good idea to design a corset to be reversible - because roll-pinning is really really important!


From right side

Look how lovely when laid on a tubular object!

The layers are flatlined together on the largest stitch length 1/4" from the seam line. This is conveniently the width of my presser foot. On a side note, all pieces are marked with stitch lines. Stitching by seam allowance is not a very accurate method, especially for something very fitted like a corset, so I do all of my work by pinning stitch line to stitch line.

I cut a waist tape out of 3/8" twill tape or tailors tape, and shrink the bejeebers out of it by wetting and pressing dry. I mark where each seam should hit on the tape for the best accuracy.

I mark the busk on the front pieces, and set it using a piping foot. I don't know how I ever got anything done before using a piping foot... I use it for zippers too. I can't imagine setting a busk without one!

For the knob side, I build in a modesty placket by extending the front seam allowance an extra 1/2" and then putting an extra line of stitching at center front for where the busk actually begins. This prevents any peek-a-boo of clothing or skin (ouch!).

Now for the stitching. I sandwich the waist tape between my layers, by the way. I lay right side to right side of my fashion fabric unit (silk, broadcloth, coutil), and then the same for the lining pieces. I stitch though all pieces at once right on the stitch line, through the waist tape, and then I go back in and restitch over the waist portion just inside the seam allowance for extra reinforcement. The pinning is tricky to match stitch lines on all four pieces, but you get used to it after a bit of practice. It's way harder on overbust corsets where there are bust curves to be dealt with!

Then I trim my seam allowance, clip at the waist slightly, and press the living daylight out of it! Then I topstitch on that seam to further strengthen it.

At the center backs, I trim my CB seam allowance to 1 3/4". I press it back as a facing to the wrong side, and then press under the edge again so that I have a 1 3/8" facing. Then I stitch in 2 casings for my back bones, with a 1/2" space in between them for the grommets.

Next up, external boning casings. They're a layer of silk laid over a tube of coutil. First mark my casings with chalk. Then I stitch them right next to my seams (they're a little bulky to put the casings directly on top).

Then I mark all of the in-between-the-seams ones with chalk. I pin the fabric around them carefully so that the excess silk from roll-pinning is evenly distributed.

The lace is laid down along the top edge and stitched into place. Then the binding goes on. When I use a thin silk like this to bind it, I like to use a double layer binding for extra strength. It's so thin that it really doesn't bulk up the edge too much.

The binding is machined onto the right side and then hand slip stitched onto the lining side. This makes for neatness inside and out! Remember, always press after every step - it makes the difference between a garment looking homemade and a garment looking handmade!

And that's pretty much it besides grommets and other boring things! :) If there are any clarifications that need to be made, I'd be happy to take more photos so just let me know. My corsets are for sale through Etsy (http://espalore.etsy.com) and through me privately at info(at)angelafriedman(dot)com.

Thanks for reading!
lilithsatynelilithsatyne on June 24th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
that is just divine.

everytime i start to think i'm getting pretty good, i see something like this and realise how far i have to go.
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
Oh, I really hope I didn't make anyone feel badly about their work by posting this!! I just wanted to share all that I've learned and encourage others. I hope I haven't come off as haughty or something. We all have to start somewhere, and once upon a time I didn't even know where to begin!

Best of luck!
(no subject) - glassk on June 24th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lilithsatyne on June 24th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ravenraven_ on June 24th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
OMG wow. That looks incredible.
Betsy: [MA] masquemacbeemer on June 24th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Oo, this is so brilliant. I'm definitely saving this to my memories! :D
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'll show you in person if you like :)
Noxtheassassinnox on June 24th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
This is stunning (and very informative). I've saved it to my personal memories. I really hope that we will get to see it on a person at some point.
akireeakiree on June 24th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
I love the front modesty panel. That's very nifty.

And I agree the roll pinning really helps to keep the outer layers from pulling. I made a corset once out of cross dyed fabric and it eventually got those "runs" at the waist where the threads pulled away from the seam. It was so noticable because the fabric threads were one color one way and one color the other. That's what made me start rolling corsets.

What does the inside look like when done? I especially would be interested in seeing the inside center back. It looks like you end up facing the inside where the grommets go in the silk? Is that correct?
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
Hi, Erika! I'm LJ-friending you!

Yes, that is exactly why I roll-pin! It's so sad to see those little runs happen after you put so many hours of hard work into a corset. :(

The inside looks kind of like this... http://ny-image1.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.51594881.jpg If you can see the black-on-black ok. It's only faced for a space wide enough for a bone at CB, the grommets, and then another bone immediately next to it. The rest of it is lined. Does that make sense? I can take a photo tomorrow if I remember.
(no subject) - akiree on June 24th, 2009 05:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - akiree on June 24th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Eggie: Eggies Red Dresseggies_red_dres on June 24th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
So for accounting for bend, you don't trim any of the pieces to match?

Sandra Betzina's book talks about turn of cloth being accounted for by rolling the wrong sides together, and trimming away excess on the under layer seam allowance (on a pair of pants from her book power Sewing). I'm not making any arguments that this is a good method, just wanting your thoughts about this contrasting process. Good Bad Indifferent?
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about... With trimming the pieces to match or rolling the wrong sides together. Can you explain in more detail for me? I'm sure there are several methods for accommodating the turn-of-cloth, and I think as long as you find some way to accommodate it, you're in good shape! It's if you ignore the turn-of-cloth completely that you'll really run into some problems!

(no subject) - eggies_red_dres on June 24th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eggies_red_dres on June 24th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eggies_red_dres on June 24th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eggies_red_dres on June 24th, 2009 05:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
dragonflymndragonflymn on June 24th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
Would you explain your term 'roll pinning'? I've been sewing for 25 years but I'm entirly self taught (except for drafting, and my instructor, bless her, is very knowledgeable but is from Mexico and doesn't speak English very well so I may actually know what it is you're talking about but use a different term) and it's not a term I'm familiar with.

*considers the sentence* Ya know, I'm gonna leave it as is since it makes sense after a fashion, but huzzah for dr. pepper and baseball games an hour away that run late. My brain, it's not here right now.
hrhlaurahrhlaura on June 24th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
Roll pinning?
Excuse my absolute ignorance, but how do you roll pin? I can understand why you need to do it, and it would account for some of my "issues", but I cant understand how you do it.

Thank you
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Roll pinning?
No problem. You just lay your pieces against a curved object (large tube, dress form, etc), right side out, and pin from the right side. Then you can transfer your pins to the wrong side for stitching.

The amount that you roll the piece is a matter of practice - it depends on the size of the panel, the size of the girl, the type of fabric, the number of layers, etc etc etc.

Re: Roll pinning? - hrhlaura on July 21st, 2009 11:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
ultharkittyultharkitty on June 24th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
Such an excellent post, thankyou :D And such an utterly wonderful corset. I really like the idea of a modesty placket - I don't remember seeing that done before, but I shall certainly try it on my next project!
ravenriganravenrigan on June 24th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on that one! The number of times I've sworn over getting bits of shift (or worse, bits of me) in between the edges of the busk!
ravenrigan: Frock fairyravenrigan on June 24th, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
Fantastic post! So many learning points for me. One thing that may seem obvious, but when you do your bone casings is there a seam, and where does it lie? on the side? Underneath? And I'm joining those who are curious for an explanation of exactly how to roll pin.
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
I think you're asking where the seam is in the tube of coutil that makes the casing? It's right in the center, pressed open.
(no subject) - ravenrigan on June 24th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Jane Starz: Me - Vanyajanestarz on June 24th, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
So very neat to have a peek into your craftsmanship. Thank you for sharing this!
Donnademi_x on June 24th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC)

I have the same ironing board as you and the same grading ruler too.
Just sayin'.
sparklewrensparklewren on June 24th, 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
Mmm... stitching... [drool]

Very nicely done, excellent points about turn-of-cloth too. This is why I tend to pipe up when someone asks it they can make a reversible corset :-)
Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 26th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, I always try to say the same to those folks, but no one seems to ever understand. Maybe this will help?
Karenpiercedgirl23 on June 24th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)

I really like the way you stop skin/under corset fabrics showing. Very nice seeing an in depth construction, especially a way I've not seen before (roll pinning).

Thank you for sharing this, I've added it to my memories for future re-reading.
withered_roses_withered_roses_ on June 24th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
I think that this is one of the best corset I have seen from you!

Angela Friedmanlizcostumes on June 24th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's one of my favorites to date, and the bride is already drooling over it, so I think I've done a pretty good job :)