A disclaimer here: This is only the second time I’ve actually put together a corset, not including the one I made age 16/17, which wasn’t really a corset and used strips from detergent bottles as bones. A second disclaimer is that I technically havent finished this yet: I still need to put the binding across the top and bottom, but that’s a task that will be completed tomorrow.
When making this corset, I did a lot of research beforehand. I looked up as many details from as many people as possible. General wisdom is that this corset runs on the large side. I can agree. The internet suggested to make it a size smaller than the pattern said, so I did so. Turns out that this was ONLY JUST small enough, and when looking at the finished item, another size smaller would probably have been even better. I have to admit that it’s a nice feeling to need to make things SMALLER than expected! General wisdom also suggested that the Dore was a better corset for those with larger busts. I bowed to this wisdom and I must say I’m glad I did so!
Anyhow. I made a toile for the corset, as recommended by literally everyone. It was hilarious getting my partner to fit it to me though – a job that should have taken a couple of minutes actually ended up taking almost an hour, but by the end of it we had a decent idea of the fit. Ish. It looked at this point like the corset would be VERY tight, so I actually considered adding a little more onto the backpiece. Luckily I decided not to!
Anyhow, then it was on to cutting the fabrics for the corset itself. I had a nice offcut of a natural heavy canvas-like fabric with a twill weave to it, so I decided to use that for my main fabric, and some simple unbleached cotton from ikea for the lining. Fabricwise, this meant that it was ridiculously cheap to make: the fabric itself only cost something like £1.30. This went by without a hitch. I then proceeded to make it up.
First off, I’d never made anything with a busk at the front before. The Aviatrix corset used box clasps instead at the front, and so this was a completely new skill to learn. Turns out it’s FAR simpler than I realised. It only took a couple of minutes to do! This also meant that I got the chance to try out my new Awl, which is genuinely possibly the best item I’ve ever purchased. So what if it looks a bit like a witchfinder’s bodkin, it certainly makes putting in busks and grommets easy.
Ah yes, speaking of which, the grommets turned out to be quite easy to do too. I enlisted the partner again at that point to do the hammering ( I’m good with sledgehammers and wrecking fences with them, not so good with hammering tiny things.) This turned out to be really good as I could put one grommet into place on one side whilst he hammered another into the other, then we swapped pieces. This meant that the whole affair of putting in 18 grommets per side took less than 20 minutes. I must however state that the grommets I used were really small, meaning that my usual paracord won’t fit through the holes.
Once the grommets were in it was time to attach the rest of the main bits, then the lining pieces. that went without a hitch. I had my toile next to me which helped with remembering to fit stuff properly. I used some of my grandmother’s stash of tapes to tape the waistline at this point, and it seems to be pretty decent stuff. the lines where it is sewn in aren’t visible either, which is great.
Making the boning channels was easier than I expected too: usually I dread it, but I actually managed to get hem all done in one day, and all of the bones in, and the sewing along the top and bottom. This corset contains an impressive 26 bones, and I must admit its incredibly comfortable. The fabric has more give in it than I expected, which is a little disappointing, but that’s something I’m sure I’ll learn with practice.
In terms of ease of making, I’d say that this one is far far easier than the Harlots and Angels one, though I think a lot of that is because busks are far easier than I expected, and because I didn’t spend three weeks trying to sew with conductive thread without getting any short circuits.
Yes: this may be a bit premature as I still need to finish it off top and bottom, but I’m really pleased with how this has turned out and the shape I get from it, though not as tight as I might sometimes lace myself, is really quite good! I must also say it’s VERY comfortable. A bit hard to self-lace as there are more grommets to deal with than I usually have, but overall definitely something I would make again.
I must admit, at first I had a little trepidation over the price of the LM#100 pattern, but I’ve already made three items using the pattern and I think it’s likely to be a staple of my pattern collection for a long long time to come!