Corset Making

Model wears a King and Company corset.

I admit I’ve never made a corset before, but I’m very excited to try one day soon. I’m truly fascinated by lingerie. I would make all my underthings if I could. If I’m not careful, that might be a new goal. Better reign myself in!

If you fancy yourself a corsetmaker, or are keen to give it a go for the first time, there are some brilliant patterns and tutorials out there. I had a great deal of fun following up the Art of Corsetry blog post today chasing up patterns and tutorials. A great book available about corsetmaking is The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook For Beginners. Pair this with Couture Sewing Techniques and you’re guaranteed to have a great time and learn a thing or two.

Vintage cloth tape measure.

The very first place to start with making your corset is by taking your measurements. This way, you will know what is the right size pattern for you to purchase, or, for the particularly ambitious, so that you can draft your very own custom corset pattern.

Celine Underbust Corset by King and Company on Etsy.

Mantua Maker late Victorian corset pattern available from voguefabricstore.

Arguably the safer place to start is with a purchased pattern, particularly for the rookie corsetmaker. My advice is to go with the specialist corset patterns rather than the big sewing pattern companies, who make corsets as part of costumes. A few great companies to check out are King and Company, Laughing Moon, Past Patterns and Ralph Pink.

Corset pieces.

There are also great tutorials out there if you want to make a corset from scratch and custom made to fit your body. I will say it helps to have a bit of sewing experience under your belt before tackling this approach. But if you’re determined, why not? I was never one to do things the ‘easy’ way either. Here’s an underbust corset tutorial from Katafalk and another from Leena’s.

If you’re really keen, there is a great series of corsetry video tutorials from Ralph Pink, I believe nine in all.  His videos have fantastic, detailed information to use with his free (yes, I said free) corset patterns. Ralph Pink’s website smacks of awesomeness, so I recommend you check it out sometime.

Rye and Ginger’s steampunk corset kit.

If you want to get on with the corsetmaking quickly with minimum fuss, there are kits already prepared with all the fabric and notions you will need. Farthingale’s has a corset kit ready for a Laughing Moon corset pattern. Rye and Ginger have kits made for their own underbust corset patterns with fabric pieces even pre-cut for you if you don’t want to mess about with tissue and too much measuring.

Glorious peach-pink coutil fabric from bettylabamba on Etsy.

Do you want to know a secret? The secret to creating a fabulous corset is using coutil fabric. It is a special cotton fabric, often with a herringbone pattern – it’s very durable and does not stretch. You can most easily find this from corsetmaking suppliers online. Then there is the matter of boning. Purists will argue that steel stays are the only way to go, although I’d say that plastic boning is surely fine for your first time out.

Spiral steel bones for your corset.

White metal spring steel bones.

A bit of burlesque inspiration before you begin to fashion your corset…

What Katie Did burlesque corsets.

Alice in Wonderland burlesque corset byolgaitaly.

Have you ever made a corset? How did it turn out?

x Rena

The Art of Corsetry

Burlesque artist Dita von Teese in a corset.

What fun we’re having with lingerie and accessories this week! Time to turn our attention to corsetry, the fine art of making corsets. Although nowadays corsets are usually not worn to shape the female waist into hourglass shapes, the bone stays and lacing remain. There truly are some amazing corsets out there. I had the recent experience of helping my sister with her custom corset as part of her wedding day attire – lacing and fastening a corset is another skilled art in itself.

18th century silk corset.

Corsets were popularized in the 1550s, when Catherine de’ Medici famously declared that there would be no thick waists in her court. Did you know that our earliest knowledge of corsets comes from drawings recovered from a Neolithic archaeological site in England? Corsets may be controversial, but they’ve been around for a long time. If you’re curious, you can read up on the subject with The Corset: A Cultural History.

Gothic corset.

Corsets usually come in two main types, underbust and overbust. The underbust corset is designed to reduce the waist to create an hourglass silhouette. The overbust corset is designed to lift and shape cleavage.

Stylish underbust corset by Fairygothmother.

Shapely overbust corset.

And some more beautiful corsets for your viewing pleasure…

Beautiful black corset.

Elegant underbust corset.

Steampunk corset.

Spring green corset.

KidThink Etsy corset.

And another one of Dita just because I can.  She is one of my favouritest girl crushes.

Pin up Dita strikes a pose.

Enjoy the corset shopping out there! And for you creative types out there, I may do a sequel about making your own corset if you’re keen.

x Rena

Retro-Style Fitted Bloomers

Fitted bloomers.

Keeping with the recent theme of spring accessories and fine underthings, today’s post is all about fitted retro-style bloomers. There are so many fun choices out there!

Bloomers by Free People.

Bloomers were popularized during the Victorian times by a Ms. Bloomer who simply wanted to ride her bicycle and needed appropriate underthings to do so. Today, you can still find bloomers ranging from knee length to hipster short length.

Sofia Bloomer by Undrest.

There’s even some fabulous bloomers to go with your steampunk outfits.

Steampunk bloomers by RomanyRapture.

And some more pretty bloomers…

Pretty bloomers.

Find some bloomers to go with your favourite spring dress. The best part is that they’re your secret unless you want to share!

x Rena