Where we’re at:
- Bones cut, tipped, numbered
- Lining is ready
- Corset is ready
- Warned any neighbours about hammering
What you need
- A healthy supply of sewing machine needles
- Bias Tape
- A hammer
- Eyelet setter/anvil thing
- Eyelet squeezer thing
- Small snips, a Seam ripper or an awl
- A lot of pins
- e6000 and an open-able window
- disposable Chopstick or popsicle stick
- this is to smooth over any burrs or sharp bits on your eyelets
Walk the Lining
Let’s all pretend we had the lining ready before we started this post. BUT for the sake of anyone here whose name might start with a C and rhyme with ‘Falamity’ who didn’t have the lining prepped, I’ll cover the basics here.
Cut out your lining pieces using your adjusted muslin, and do the same with the interfacing.
While you can use whatever lining material you’d like, I suggest high cotton content. The corset will be right against your skin and synthetics don’t breathe the same way natural fabrics do.
Since it doesn’t matter what colour the lining is I used some leftovers from an earlier project, bringing the cost of this corset to: 1 destroyed bra, scraps of fabric, grommets, boning, lacing, interfacing, and the McCall’s pattern itself… Aka I made A corset for under 40$.
Don’t feel limited to boring fabric for your lining. No one will see it but you’ll know you’ve got Deadpool’s face smooshed into your tummy all day long, but you’ll know.
When ironing on the interfacing, I used shots of steam to really stick the interfacing on anywhere I could still see the glue dots. Since I was using cotton this wasn’t a problem, but remember to test out the heat on the fabric before ironing your good pieces.
Protip: The ‘bumpy’ side of the interfacing is the glue side. ALWAYS check before putting your iron down or you’ll end up with interfacing stuck onto your ironing board.
Then sew together the seams, pressing after each. Remember we don’t have to make channels this time so we only need to worry about the actual seams.
Done? Cool. Me uh me too! I totally finished this weeks ago.
*koff* MOVING ON.
I’m going to lay some truth on you here: sewing the lining onto your corset feels weird and slightly dirty… because you pin it wrong sides together and sew along the top and DON’t flip it. We’ll be covering the edges with bias tape and the usual flip-it-real-good method of lining or facing will just add unnecessary bulk to your corset.
Notice how I said the only top? I do corset linings a bit weird, but bear with me because there’s logic behind it, honest. I’ll get to it below.
But Calamity what about the bottom seam?
Silly cosplayer, we have to put the bones in first! While the spiral bones will move around alright, dem spring steel boys will get in your way with every seam you sew once they’re in. So instead of putting them in now, I skip ahead to put in the boob cups and handle those bad girls while I can still bend, roll and manipulate the fabric of the corset body how I want to fit it through the machine.
A Boob-Cup Intermission
Note: If you follow the pattern’s directions and make the boob-cups out of foam yourself or you’re using a foam cup with less padding, your corset will look tidier and it will be easier to sew into place than the images you’re about to see.
I’m not proud of the initial look of the installation of the boobs, but I believe in showing all steps of the process, and how not all seams need to be perfect right away. We’ll tidy it all up before we finish the corset, promise.
Like the main body of the corset, sew the top of the boob-cup lining, outer layers, and foam (if you’re following the pattern) together. If you are using a pre-made foam cup, slide it in now and sew it in as the instructions offer. If you’re like me and using a bra that you’ve ripped to bits, slide it in and baste the bottom closed so it doesn’t shift for the next bit. Be sure that you tack the cup in somehow so it doesn’t shift around while you’re wearing the corset. By hand, machine, or along the top… your choice!
Okay. Sewing curves to curves can be daunting, but there’s a good guide online at Sweet Briar Sisters. The trick is use a lot of pins, sew slowly and don’t be afraid to stop and adjust the fabric as you go.
Since my corset will be a support and not visible for costumes, I took an extra step to stay-stitch the seam flatter so it lay against the body of the corset. I was… mostly successful.
This will add a visible line of stitching on the outside of your corset though, so unless you’re okay with that, you can skip this step.
Bad to the Bones… and Lining
With the boobs sewn in, now’s the time to slide in your bones that you totally numbered according to which seam they go into right? RIGHT.
Slide them in and pin the lining down to the outer fabric, matching the seams as best you’re able. I put the pin in perpendicularly to the seams at the very tips of the bones so I know where they end so as not to sew into them. This will break your needle. You will probably break a needle…or 4… if you’re not careful where you’re sewing from here on.
Working from the centre out makes sure that the lining doesn’t ‘twist’ oddly as you sew. The seams may stop lining up, and that’s alright, just make sure that they’re close and the fabric of the edges lay flat along each other.
Once that’s sewn down, gently tug the sides out a bit so the lining lies flat to the outer layers and trim any excess, leaving a half inch past the edge (and final bone). Using that extra bit I fold the lining under itself to make a neat edge before I sew it down, top to bottom.
Hooray! Your corset is now all enclosed, meaning it’s time to put in the eyelets.
Wallace and Grommet(s)
Okay, there’s three main ways to put in eyelets, that will let us lace ourselves up all pretty like. I’ll cover them quickly before I move on to actually installing them.
L-R Eyelet anvil and striker, snips, aircraft shears (to adjust bone length that I got wrong for seam #5), grommet pliers
These grommets can be found at hardware stores or Tandy Leather shops. They’re sturdy and come in two pieces. You’ll need some special equipment to put them together, but the little striker and anvil combo are fairly inexpensive. So are hammers. Basically you bash the two pieces together until they’re set. This will be noisy and you may hit your fingers.
Drinking is not advised while using this method. Warning your neighbours IS advised though, especially if they live below you.
Again, these type of eyelets/grommets can be found at hardware stores along with the special pliers that set them. The pliers are more expensive than the anvil/striker combo, but you’re paying for sweet, sweet, silence here so it might be worthwhile if you want to set grommets without risking life and thumb.
The downside is the underside of these eyelets can sometimes be rough, so I hammered them anyways to get rid of sharp burrs or edges. Alternatively you can carefully cover the sharp parts with e6000 and let it dry. It’ll form a save cover over teh sharp bit.
I like hitting things with my hammer, okay?
If you follow Doxiequeen at all you’ll notice she does hand-sewn eyelets. This doesn’t require any special equipment and it’s also quiet, but takes… awhile. If you choose this method, that’s fine, but be aware that tight lacing is no longer an option as the lacing might tear your fabric.
Though, I suppose you could sew on one of the flat parts of grommets from hammering time above to help support the eyelet structure.
Bang Bang Bang
Now that you’ve chosen your eyelet/grommet method, mark where the eyelets are to go. Luckily the pattern has dots laid out on it to mark out where to put the eyelets. Since I added a full inch to the waist, I had to add another eyelet at the bottom. I’m working with the first two grommet options listed above.
Working mark by mark, pierce the mark with the tips of your snips, awl, or seam ripper. Wiggle it around to make a small hole and then using a pencil or your snips, widen the hole until you can just barreeeely squeeze in the ‘trumpet’ grommet piece through. Cut the fabric as little as possible, the more you cut the weaker you’ll make the eyelet in the end.
You can set the eyelet in place either by hammer shouting I AM THOR, or by the pliers while whispering ‘I am not thor but I can drink while I do this’.
Then repeat over and over and over and over… until you’ve put an eyelet over each dot you marked.
Hiding your shame
Whew. Done. Wow. That took a while. But our corset’s lookin’ pretty snazzy now right?
Well, from the outside, but the boob cups are still weirdly soft and the seam inside is pretty gross. Time to cover it up. I mean, you don’t need to, but you DO need somewhere to put your underwires so, might as well handle both issues at the same time.
I’ve used twill tape here but you could use bias tape as well. Pin down your tape along the cup’s seam with perpendicular pins. Sew very, very, carefully along either side of bias tape along the curve. Remember that your bones might poke up against this seam and be careful! You might break a needle here.Or… a couple. Like I did.
Once you’ve finished sewing the channels on either cup, the corset should look neater, and you can slide in the under-wires carefully to give the corset that last bit of support.
Good news! We’re ALMOST DONE.
That tape is Biased!
Second to last step, and I won’t go into this too much. There’s tons of tutorials on how to sew bias tape so I’ll list some resources below. Just pay attention to wear you’re sewing, because now you’re watching out for the tips of bones and grommets as you sew the tape down.
Broken needle count: 3.
- 1 to bones,
- 1 to an eyelet
- 1 because it was a quitter >:|
Face the Lace
DEEP BREATH FOLKS. All you’ve got to do is lace up your corset and trim the ties. Then you, my friend, are done your overbust corset. Like with the bias tape finishing, I’ll include a link on how to lace your corset ‘bunny ears style’ so you can tie it yourself. The youtuber I’ve linked below also has some other great lacing tutorials that are worth watching.
And We. Are. Done!
Note: the gap in the lacing and slight overlap at the top are partially related to the fact I didn’t tighten the corset fully, and partially because I made the top section too loose. Something to fix on the next iteration.
If you want to embellish your corset, feel free! Since mine will be an under-cosplay corset, I kept it simple. This time.
I’ll write a proper review up for next week about the pattern itself, but I hope you found this sew-along series informative and fun. I’m planning to do more soon! Hopefully this time with less interruptions in the posting schedule.
Love to all,