So for the purposes of introducing myself, I have decided to share my 7 steps for highly effective corset making.
Placing steel bones on the outside of a corset makes for a really flattering old-fashioned finish. However, it can also be tricky if you are using petersham on the waist line too. I’ve had to try out different methods of making this work. I finally decided to cut back the coutil seam and tuck the silk underneath whilst sewing in the petersham and the bone casing on the front side. This is very difficult work - you are having to sew in three different pieces all at once; the petersham, the binding for the boning on the front and all whilst tucking in the seams neatly. Oh la la...this takes a lot of tenacity. I always leave at least 1.5cm at the top and bottom of the steels to allow for movement and to ensure they don’t burst through the bias binding even though they are capped, it can happen.
One problem with being a Corsetiere, your nails are in bits! But I do think it's important to be able to strengthen and look after them, because they are really handy for putting tiny seams in between very skinny binding. They are also handy for lacing up the back, so the modesty panel is nice and neat in behind. And let's face it ladies, you don't want a night out on the town dressed up in a beautiful corset with scraggy nails.
Anyone who has a cat will identify with this one. A corsetiere must train one’s cat not to jump up on beautiful expensive fabric just as you have laid pattern pieces and are about to cut, they make a habit of doing this, all in the name of attention seeking! So in essence cats are like corset wearers, they love the attention, they love being stroked, tied up with ribbon and purrrrrrring.
Get used to using a thimble however cumbersome they are. The number of times I have shed blood from pins, needles, rippers and scissors. Corset-making is not for the faint hearted, ladies. It can also make for messy work, and unless you are designing costumes for Sweeney Todd it's not a good look.
The busk on the front should have at least 2 inches either side to allow for overlap. Also when inserting the loop side, first sew the flap on the wrong side and cut edges allowing for loops to fit in. It should be face down to allow for it to turn over itself.
Keep your iron clean, de-scaling every few weeks with a mix of vinegar and water or buy a de-scaler from the supermarket especially if you live in a hard water area.
Eyelets are a bugger to get right. I started doing them by hand, and, several disasters later, it's professional machines all the way. I have a nice man (one of my suppliers) who helps me out with these, so at least I can guarantee a good secure finish after all that hard work. However, as this is not necessarily his line of business I keep him sweet with home-made cupcakes. It's amazing what a man will do for something sweet.
Until next time and with much love
Mistress Savage xxx