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06 December 2005 @ 03:07 pm
Again one of those "how do you make your seams" post ... ;-)  


Those last times, I really have thought a lot about the best way to construct a corset, particularly the numerous ways of making the seams.

Some posts have already been made about the subject, for example : http://www.livejournal.com/community/corsetmakers/499000.html http://www.livejournal.com/community/corsetmakers/464730.html

But I never found any sketch describing one method: the one I spontaneously used for all my first corsets... Since that time, I've constantly been trying other ways, like the "sandwich method" described in, for example, "The basics of corset building" by Linda Sparks from Farthingales (sewing separately two layers, the lining and the shell, and assembling them at the busk then behind), etc. But no method gave me entire satisfaction, and I'm inclined to return to my first method.

So what is the problem? Well, that no one (to my knowledge) ever made a drawing of that kind of seams here, which makes me think it must be unefficient or stupid.

So what do you think about it? :

Step 1 : sew the seam allowance (the front/busk would be on the left, the lacing on the right)

Note : a waistband, that I forgot to draw, is inserted very easily between fashion farbic and lining, thus provoking no itching by direct contact with the skin - but it could be as easily sewn after, against the skin, while sewing additional bone casing inside.

Step 2 : fold and sew boning channels

This is what a "complete" corset would look like with this method, with busk and grommets inserted (of course it is very simplified: it would be only three pieces by side!). And of course too, the fabrics come very flat and always in touch, not with that huge space between them, that was only necessary to make the drawing clear! ;-)

To avoid wrinkles, the seam allowances can be clipped without really weakening the boning channel, if not too close of the seam line.

It could look bulky, but really is not that much compared to almost every other methods, for example the one of Linda Sparks which gives almost the same bulk :

I really can't see why it should be weak, and don't think it's particularly bulky (every corset seam is bulky, just think about turn lap seam); at least, in the corsets I made that way, the bulk is really not that frightening. You can see more details in that post on my LJ (of course the only one I photographied entirely WAS made with three quite bulky layers, so it IS bulkier than most of my corsets...):


So WHAT is the problem with it?

Because there MUST be one since, as it is a quite quick method, that always seemed efficient to me, it SHOULD by used by many... Or maybe it is, but I never saw it described.

Please open my eyes! ;-)

Current Mood: curiouscurious
(Deleted comment)
voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
Yeees! I'm not alone lost in the space! ;-)
edith_mfedith_mf on December 6th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
I like it. I may try it. the thing is I like putting two 1/4 inch bones down either side of the seam. I would want to use 1 half inch bone instead this way perhaps.
voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC)
I'm happy to both seem to have made you and some other people "disover" a new method... AND that you like it! ;-)
In fact, the issue of the double boning is my biggest problem. i'd like to do this (two bones on each side of the seam) but this method isn't very cool for that.
Maybe by putting carefully an additional bone casing (like drawn in violet in my sketches) along each seam, on the side that is not already boned of course?...
Let me know if you try, and what kind of results you have! ;-)
mrpet: staremrpet on December 6th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC)
I use the sandwich method with one difference from your drawings. I seperate the seam allowances and iron flat using a ham on both top and lining as opposed to your welt seam examples. Once shaped I sew the top and lining together via stitching in the ditch. I then slide bone up to this seam and top stitch a channel with a zipper foot.

In terms of bulk there is four layers of fabric at the thickest part since I leave the entire seam allowance in there. This allows me to slide the bone in between the center trapped seam allowances so as to distance the bone from the outer shell. In the case of spirals it makes the outer shell smoother since you can't see the sprials through two layers. It also means that there is more fabric b/w the bone and the person just in case it wears through.
voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your precise comment, but... I tried to figure out really precisely your description and failed! I must miss some neurons this evening...
I'll try again when fresher. it will obviously make more sense when I'll come back on it. Sorry to be so dumb! ;-) Did you by chance put a sketch of your kind of seam somewhere in LJ?...
(no subject) - mrpet on December 6th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - justtobeme2 on December 6th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - volutelady on December 6th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mrpet on December 6th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mrpet on December 6th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
justtobeme2justtobeme2 on December 6th, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC)
I usually do the method where all the boning channels are on the inside (forget what I call it) and I put 2 bones per seam but this looks interesting to me also. I may try it. I am only worried about the bulk. I guess it would depend on what fabric one was using. This wouldn't work for a 3 layer corset though that I can tell. Sometimes if I am using a heavy (non stretch) fashion fabric then I only do three layers. Thanks for sharing..
voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
Following your description, it seems to me that you use more or less the same method as electradesign. It gives a very attractive aspect of the inside of the corset, that shows the construction very well and looks a bit like an armour - I LOVE that look. And most people, not used to corsetry, better see that way how complicated it is, which is not always the case when the inside is all smooth ("why is it so expansive, it finally seem quite simple"...).
But... I'm inclined to think that all those hard ribbons (waistband, sturdy bone casing...) tend to itch when the corset is worn a long time on the nude skin. Tighlacers often know it and use a "tube" under the corset, as did the victorian women with their chemise; but today, people wearing corsets often wear it directly on nude skin (gothic girls dancing and swearing all the night, brides wearing it all the day...) and I prefer to hide all that structure between the layers to avoid itching, keeping the lining as smooth as possible.
As for the matter of the 3 layers: I do almost only 3 layers corsets. But it's exactly the same thing! I treat the thin lining and the central coutil as one piece, that's all. I may use double face fusible interfacing (BondaWeb...) in the future to make it still easier.
Many thanks for your comment! I see that, for now, no one told me it was a non-sense, on the contrary... Cool!
(no subject) - mrpet on December 6th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - justtobeme2 on December 6th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mrpet: staremrpet on December 6th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
I may try your first method on a simple underbust with symetric seam reductions and see how much faster it is. I tend to do a lot of curved seam overbusts in which the seams are not totally mirrored. In that case, trying to line up everthing while keeping the 6* stacked layers of fabric all lined up would be a nightmare. Ever try and sew a circle of one fabric into a hole in another? Now imagine trying to do that with a lining at the same time ;)

* counting all of the seam allowances as well.
voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, I agree this is a flaw of that method: the necessity of each pieces to mirror each other (don't know if we are clear for someone that hasn't been in confront with the thing).
but sinc i make all my pattenrs myself, I learnt to deal with it withtou too much problems. Of course it wouldn't work, at least work that well, with some commercial patterns - but with caution, I already did it with non-morroring pieces and it went quite well.
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
If I may ask, why did you stop, and which one did you choose after leaving this one?...
shaerie raulli meadlc_corsetry on December 6th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
for custom made corsets, i generally use the method described by mrpet, except i add additional boning strips to the outside to put the boning in - same fabric or contrast. that way, all the construction on the inside is hidden by the lining so it is more comfortable and looks more finished. like this:

voluteladyvolutelady on December 6th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's very very nice!!
Looks so smooth... So you put the external boning before joining shell eand lining parts, so that the seams are no visble on the inside?...
(no subject) - lc_corsetry on December 6th, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lc_corsetry on December 6th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lc_corsetry on December 6th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lc_corsetry on December 6th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 7th, 2005 04:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deco_doll on December 7th, 2005 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lc_corsetry on December 7th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deco_doll on December 7th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
electradesignselectradesigns on December 6th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
I think it looks great. I have used something very much like it for a long time, myself. I never mentioned it because I "invented it" myself and didn't want anyone to know how I did it. I had no idea it was taught anywhere else. I have tried lots of different methods before, but I like this one the most. You are right, you can clip curves and the seam is not compromised in the least. I top stitch 1/8" from the seam and about 1/4" from the seam, for a total of four rows of stitching. I think it's the strongest method I have ever seen and the easiest. It's how my corset always come out so smooth and why they are impossible to alter once constructed. Where did you learn this method? I thought I made it up. The one thing I don't do is place any bones inside the seam allowances necause it creates too much bulk for me, and I grade my seam allowances. How totally bizarre that you just described my "secret" method!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pitufina on December 7th, 2005 11:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - volutelady on December 7th, 2005 11:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 8th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mariepandaemonaeum on December 6th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
I use a few methods, depending on what fabrics required, etc.

My usual one is to make up three layers - the outside (fashion) layer, an inner layer with the majority of the boning, and a lining. On the fashion layer, I will often use a basted-on backing as fashion fabrics are often a loose weave. I flat-fell the seams on this layer to prevent fraying. I then sew all three layers together, adding the busk and the support bones for the grommets. Then I put in the boning and add the binding. This is the method I devised about 12 years ago for my first corset and I have been using it ever since. I've had corsets last quite a long time using this method, and I very rarely get wrinkling/ bones poking, etc. I also find I can line the panels up exactly, but when you've been making several corsets a week for about 8 years, it's automatic really!

I might give your method a try, as it looks very quick. I'm sure it's described in Jean Hunisett's 'Costumes for Stage and Screen', if I am reading her description correctly :)
Laralaracorsets on December 6th, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC)
I do nearly the same thing but I like to fuse weaker face fabrics to a layer of coutil for strength.
(no subject) - pandaemonaeum on December 6th, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - justtobeme2 on December 7th, 2005 04:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Laralaracorsets on December 6th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
The method mentioned by volutelady in the original post is the method I use to insert a stretch panel into a corset (For my theatrical corsets, not my usual ones). I do that type of seam on either side of the stretch panel and find it to be extremely durable. I do not prefer to use it otherwise but I feel I need to experiment more. I can be very stubborn and "set in my ways".

I have a few methods I use for different types of corsets. I dis-like the "sandwitch method" and feel it is not strong anough. Besides all the basting time kills me. I do like to use a separetly sewn lining to make a pretty inside. I thought I had invented my own systems as well. How funny we all are! We nearly all think the same!
Mariepandaemonaeum on December 6th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, we all think like engineers and not seamstresses! :D
(no subject) - laracorsets on December 6th, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - laracorsets on December 6th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lc_corsetry on December 6th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - justtobeme2 on December 7th, 2005 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - volutelady on December 7th, 2005 10:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 9th, 2005 12:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - electradesigns on December 6th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - volutelady on December 7th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - justtobeme2 on December 7th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
_luminosity_ on December 6th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
I use the same method lc_corsetry uses and with the extra twill tape my corsets are very strong - even with stitching in the ditch. The biggest problem by far is liing everything up. Coincidentally that's what I'm doing right now! I have to line up the fashion and core layers with 2 layers of twill tape for the bone casing in between (I stitch the tape together seperately). Once that's done I attach the lining which makes everything smooth next to the skin. I also double stitch every layer to reinforce everything.

This method has worked well in the past, and I can usually get the seams precise within 1mm, but now that I'm using the 3/8" spiral they have to be exact without fail! This is where I'm stuck with my current corset and it looks like I'll just have to finish off the 1/4" boning I have left.

I love this method because it makes for very smooth corsets, but the time and frustration + the wider bones I'm now using are proving to be too much! I think I'll give this method a try on my next corset and see if I like it.

Here's a pic of what happens (the green stitches are basting). Even if I'm perfect on the outside seam it still can be a little off on the core. The layers are thick enough so that when I'm basting if I don't stitch exactly the same angle as my machine it'll be off. I have no room for error with the wider boning. Time for something new :) the black side is the fashion layer...
the walking contradiction: christmasangeron0 on December 7th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
may i suggest that this entry becomes a memory? It would be a great alternate for corset construction methods...
voluteladyvolutelady on December 7th, 2005 10:09 am (UTC)
Thanks to all for that huge nummer of answers!
I so happy to finally have posted those sketches, and solved a question I've been asking myself for one year and half now: is the method I "invented" (as dozens of other people ;-) ) really good or not? Why do I not see its flaws? Because if it has no major flaw, why is it not a commonly used method: it is quicker AND easier AND stronger than many others!
After all that approval, I'll naturally continue to use it, while those last times I was constantly experimenting others ways to find something better - but never satisfied. Of course, it is subjects to a lot of changes, depending on if you use 2, 3 or 4 layers, fused together or not, if the customer want visible outside and or/inside stitching or not, etc...
Thanks again, I feel more confident now!!
the_bats_meow on December 7th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
I found out about this method here: http://nus.irgends.de/klamotten/classic/make/korseinfach.html

Sorry - it`s in German, but there are pictures!!!

How would it work with gores??? I never tried it with gores. But I will tomorrow (I have a deadline tomorrow. The cat barfed on the corset - I have to start from scratch. I need something FAST).

Anyone want a cat?
Minniearoussa on December 7th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
offtopic, but:
lol :')
(no subject) - deco_doll on December 7th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fireshaper87 on February 13th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
abitofanenigmaabitofanenigma on December 9th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
I'm really looking for new ways of sewing my corsets, because at the moment I'm using a method similar to the sandwich method. Three layers of fabric, in two sections i.e. the fashion fabric flatlined to cotton duck, and a lining layer. I sew the panels together, then press the seams open. then I connect the outer layer and the lining at the busk, and they are held together mostly by boning channels.

I really like the methods described above, it seems very streamlined. But I'm confused as to how to add bone casings. I love it when the stitching for a bone case is visible. I would keep the bone casings in between the outer layer and the lining, and have to boning mostly on the seams, and normally I would baste them inside the corset, then put the layers together and sew through them all so that the bone is encased between the fashion fabric and interlining/canvas (at the front of the bone) and a bone casing of twill/cotton tape and the lining at the back of the bone. I really cant see how this could work with this method without having to stitch the bone casings so the tape is visible on the inside of the corset. How could I stitch the bone casing inside before the panels are sewn together, as when they are I can no longer access between the layers to insert the boning tape? Dpes this make sense? I'm babbling...
voluteladyvolutelady on December 9th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Hello! ;-)

Yes your question makes sense, and the answer is very simple: it is possible to insert easily bone casing between the two layers, so that it is visible on the outside but doesn't show inside. In fact, I do exactly like you would like to do: most of the bone casing is on the seams, and there is additional bone casing in the middle of the pattern pieces.

The only thing you have to change to your habits is to put the additional bone casing, not at the very end of the construction (like required by the sandwich method), but sooner while you are building the corset.

You have two possibilities:
- sewing all the bone casings in the middle of the flat pieces before beginning the construction. Just take care, in the narrowest pieces, that you leave the seam allowances free on each side
- or beginning the construction (insert the busk) and sew the bone casing piece after piece. If you take my very first drawings (on the original post), for example you join the pieces, flip only the external fabric, sew the bone casing on it, and flip the internal fabric over it. Does it make sense ?...

This method is quite versatile. You can choose to put boning on each seam, or not ; you can choose to add bone casings, or not ; you can sew the bone casings through all layers, so that it shows inside and outside, or only to the external fabric, or only to the internal fabric.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This last solution is sometimes necessary, like electradesigns did in one of her last corset (sorry to give you as an example! ;-)):

Hope I'm clear! ;-)
If not, like always, it is just needed to experiment yourself, you'll immediately understand it in front of the thing, like I did.

(no subject) - abitofanenigma on December 9th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)