Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Corset making 101: Pattern and materials

I adore corsets, ever since working on 'The Rocky Horror Show' I got really into them. And from what I found out over the years, just about everyone loves them. Now corset making is a great skill to have, and they are not all that difficult to make. I personally love making them for my friends. (see last post about Julia's corset)
So when Marieken, a good friend of mine asked me to make her a corset for her upcoming trip to the US, I naturally obliged.
And of course a very good reason to teach you all about the production of corsets.
Lets begin!

The Pattern.

For this corset I used the Laughin Moon, Dore Corset pattern which you can order on-line.
I highly recomend this pattern, it has easy to use instructions and it's beautifull.
In this case I personally altered the pattern to inlude shoulder straps.
Before I started assembling the final corset I made a mockup (toile) of the corset out of muslin fabric. and tried this on my friend Marieken. This way you can see the alterations you need to make to the pattern before you start cutting your expensive fabric.

(note: cup sice is to small on pattern, causing deformation of the breast)


(note: the black lace is an optional decoration on this corset)

You will need:

- A stiff cotton fabric.
Preferably coutil which is specially designed for corset making. but any stiff and thick cotton will do. (In the picture this is the black fabric)
-A top fabric.
This will be the fabric and color of the outer layer, this can be every sort of fabric you want it to be. In this case, it is old pink silk.
For making the lacing holes at the back of the corset.

(From left to right, flat boning, busk, spiral boning + end caps)

I always use flat steel bones and spiral steel bones.
Flat steel is used for straight bone line (usually centre front or centre back)
Spiral steel is bendable and used for all non-straight bone lines
All these bone types are available in different pre cut lengths, but I like to cut it to my own specific lengths and use boning on a roll, which is sold by the meter or the yard.
In this case I will also be inserting a busk, which is a piece of boning with hooks attached. This is a closure which makes it easier for the wearer to put the corset on his or herself.

Let's continue...


  1. Replies
    1. The best places online that I've found for corsetry suplies:




  2. I saw a comment you posted, and thank god you chose to shamelessly self-advertise, as you put it! I'm so excited to see saw an in-depth description of corset making! Thank you so much :D

  3. Hi Mr. Seamstress thank you so much for the clear discription of the corset, can you give me any advice on making a corset with bra cups in it? I am making my daughters wedding dress and would like to add the bra into the corset. I have made a corset when I did my post grad on pattern cutting so know the basics however it was just a taster and we only made one and went through the motions of getting all the materials needed for our particular design. However I am not sure about inserting a corset inside a dress?

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  5. I really hate to be this harsh, but I have been told that I simply cannot help it. so to seem less assaultive I will choose to go with that explanation__...the entire post was misguided, nonsensical, (and even if only .1875 below).....illegible. and to add insult to lack of intelligence, there is only one comment that I have read on this blog questioning your instruction. I simply cannot imagine anyone with the most basic of sewing skills or even the most minor common sense thanking or praising you for below amateur advice and unconstructive construction methods.
    let me say now that I already know your argumentative response to this comment. it will start with your most recent attempt at a broadening in POPular recognition (last posted an audition for a overseas knock off project runway)...sad in itself, but I am quite sure that you would have something more recent and just as(if not more)pathetic to defend your.."credibility"..PSHAW..as a "professional seamstress". I grew up in the theatre love. I have known many a "Dresser". and for those reading this that are not aware of the entailments of your admitted job title...you are simply in charge of a costume change between scenes. you are a backstage worker bee. nothing more. I will give you absolute acknowledgement and deserved credit as to how important that job is. and in no way do I want to discourage your aspirations. however, I do discourage any imprudently boasted not to mention incomplete instruction on such a daunting task as constructing a corset. that sir, is not a challenge to be taken lightly. you should very frankly be quite ashamed of yourself for posting instructions to an art that you have very clearly not mastered. and, just in case you were asking yourself "who the F*CK is this C^NT to critique me"? I am a simple 5th generation southern bred girl who's gran-gran taught to sew as soon as I asked her. age 6. after teaching me the common sense of threading a needle, doubling the catch knot and basic hand darning, stitching, and mending. she sat me down directly in front of her 1956 singer, gave me two pieces of fabric and told me to make a seam. I knew how to make a pattern before I had ever followed one. and if you are questioning now my background in the theatre due to the easiest common misconception (AKA bigotry)that *none of us southern girls could ever be as cultured*...my mother was in 17 Broadway(not off Broadway, not off off Broadway),BROADWAY shows. including the first US tour of Cabaret.and in case you were hoping...no, not bit parts, not stand-in or extra, lead or second tear roles. she has had many a dresser. F*ck, I have had a handful of dressers. but even bolstering your job title by putting "costumer/" in front does not change the title. I had intended to point out every common sense and ill trained flaw in your instruction. but honestly, I don't really feel the need to anymore. if you do want to question me on the subject however, I will be ready and more than willing to do so.

    1. Lots of hate huh?? It's ok other people are happy.

  6. Dear Sara

    Thank you for your your very lengthy reaction. I'm quite interested to know why you felt the need to write it. A simply "You suck!" would have sufficed. and would have given me roughly the same information. without you having to spend so much of your precious time on it. You give me no single concrete point or flaw because you don't feel the need. No no please humor me! I'd love to know.

    Now I'm not the best corset maker in the world and I've never claimed to be. These are just my ow humble little projects that I like to share. Yes I am a free lance dresser, and a free lance costumier. I actually do both. I've never made a secret of this. things work a little bit different here then in american theater (I've worked on american productions so i have that frame of reference, but what do you know about the dutch costume world?) And yes I did actually get on my "overseas project runway knockoff" as you call it, and because of this I don't have the time anymore to upkeep this blog. but most people seem happy with the corset post, so I've left it on.
    However Sara, it is you that calls the kettle black with your boasting about your years of experience and your mothers career which is nice for her, but not relevant to you or most of all me!
    You boast and don't put your money where your mouth is.
    Really Sara I could go on and on, but most of all your post made me (and my colleagues) laugh. But since you are such a fantastic seamstress, I suggest you use you valuable time to do something creative instead of posting essays on other people's well intentioned blogs.


    1. wohhh!!!, you go girl friend!! :D, you know i dint expect to see such a stupid comment on a corset making page :D ha!

      keep doing what makes you happy :D

    2. Thank you for sharing and blogging Mr. Seamstress. There will be haters no matter how good you are. They are happy being unhappy and hateful. Most of us are not like that, not me anyway. I really appreciate your blog and hope you keep up the good work.

  7. Wow. I wonder why her panties are in such a twist. Ultimately, her ire is irrelevant.

    I've just found you while researching a corseting project. Thank you so much for blogging about your experience! I've just signed up for Kenneth King's bustier class on PatternReview, and I am eating up as much information as I can get my hands on. Your series here is a big help. Thanks. Don't let the rabids get you down.


  8. yes, I would just like to say that I found your instructions the single best resource on the internet to help me make my corset, so that Sara chick is smoking something weird... and whatever it is, I want some. Cuz she is seriously messed up in the head!

  9. I love your blog Stefan. You are fantastic. Can't wait for you to make me one!!
    Lots of Love,


  10. I'm trying my hand at making an underbust corset, as I had a custom corset made for me but found it to be too long in the front to be comfortable for tight lacing. So I've been researching how to insert busks and all other assortments of corset tips, and I must say I enjoy your blog the most. I like the pictures you use and how you write, and that you have probably been one of the most helpful sources of information I have found. I just wanted to say thank you for your hard work, I appreciate it! Thanks to your entries, I can now fathom how to tackle this busk.

    As for Sara, I have a little sewing skill and I'm pretty sure more than a small amount of common sense, as I haven't been hit by a car while crossing the street (I always look both ways, lol) but I tend to stick to more quilt based projects. I find it insulting for you to insinuate that the other readers of Mr. Stefan's blog are so dimwitted they cannot gain from reading it. I, however, learn new skills better while following someone else's projects. It's unfortunate that you feel this was unhelpful, but your keyboard thrashing was entertaining. Too bad you resorted to foul language and poor grammar, it gives the rest of us "uncultured" southern girls a bad name.

  11. Stefan this post is awesome and it your amazing pics and instructions have helped me a lot. please don't pay attention what "person" says. it must be jealousy or as some people said, she is on something!!! hahaha
    i really wish you had time to keep up your blog, but i'm sure you are on to better things in your life and career. but thank you for keeping this. i always come back here to refresh my memory when i have to make a corset!!!!
    your tips and advices are priceless!!! =D

  12. Dear Mr. Seamstress,

    As a rural Texas girl who learned how to sew as soon as she could sit up, I'd like to apologize for the outrageously long diatribe, which did not seem to have ANYTHING to do with you, of that *self proclaimed southern girl*. O.O We *real* southern girls were taught to behave BETTER than THAT. o.O


    I'm *very* sorry building a corset is so hard for you. Go ask your grandmother to teach you more. She seems to left quite a bit out of your education.

    Much Love,


  13. where can i read the rest?

  14. This was a great resouce and thanks for posting it I'm actually getting ready to design my wedding dress and i was looking for the material to get started. I really to appreciate the help and like everyone said not really sure what sara problem was but southern bells don't act like that and have way better manner keep up the great work

  15. WOW Sara went a bit OTT! (don't listen)

    The laughing moon pattern is a good one for starters but I've ended up making patterns myself as historical patterns can get a bit 'samey' and theres a lack of modern sexy/contemporary corset patterns out there. ( I also have a video course on making them if you'd like a copy mr Seamstress)

    Its always nice to talk to another corset maker, don't pay too much attention to people that give you an earful for no reason xxx

    1. Where can we get a copy of this video? Good review by the way.

  16. Uhh, as someone who is JUST LEARNING, frankly, I found even just the terminology paired with the pictures to be very helpful. Maybe Miss Sara was expecting a more advanced showing? Regardless, I'm trying to learn how to make corsets, and your friendly attitude and helpful tips on this post were lovely. Is it continued on another page? I haven't looked yet, but I hope so!!

  17. Great blog .....

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  18. This is really interesting to read its very nice post ! Hope you will post many more!

    For best deal of Corsets tops visit https://www.corsetsqueen.com/

  19. Mr. Seamstress,
    I have made a few corsets but none of them have a busk. I read through all of your corset tutorial and I find it to be the best detailed tutorial I've read. I don't uderstand why someone would feel the need to attack you for something you posted as a helpful guideline to the public. I look forward to seeing other helpful tutorials from you. You are extremely talented. I would love to ask you ah few questions about one of the paper dresses you posted.
    Thank you,

  20. Awesome stuff shared.Thanks for sharing the pattern and materials used in making corsets.I simply adore corsets.Cheers!

  21. Mr Seamtress, Thanks for the information. It was very helpful.

    And, Ms Sara if this tutorial wasn't something you needed, move on. Here is some advice, for you..... Work on YOU, instead of spending time criticizing someone else... Sara INSECURE.

  22. Great job Mr. Seamstress!

    Don't be discouraged by Sara, clearly off her medication!

    Anne x

  23. Wow! Thanks! This was so helpful! I'm thinking about having a simple corset top for the bridesmaids at my wedding but don't want them to spend too much since it'll probably be a one-time-wear thing. This was so helpful in assisting me in find what materials I actually need and how to make it.

    & ignore that rude girl up there. Someone ought to teach her some manners.

  24. Hello, I've been looking through the weblog a pair of times and basically needed to say that the way with phrases is best notch. All the best.
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  25. Incredible story there. What happened after? Take care!

    Kitchen Curtains

  26. Speaking as an individual attempting to take the plunge into making a corset, as a practical seamstress with moderate experience, I stumbled on your site because the step by step instructions were very easy to follow and have helped give me the courage to try! After reading the comments I was blown away by the troll! Some people.
    Thanks for taking the time to teach

  27. Hi Mr Seamstress!

    Can you recommend a corset manufacturer in Los Angeles? I'm working on getting my trademark and I need samples made to sell in marketplace.


I'd like to know your opinion.