Topstitching Corset Seams - Dress Fabric To Lining

Topstitching the corset main pieces to the coutil lining.

Step-by-step method of top stitching the main corset to your strong coutil lining. 

On the final corset there will be three lines of topstitching showing on each seam.

All the stitching is shown in white contrasting thred for visibility reasons. Usually, it would match the fabric color.


There will be three rows of topstitching on each seam.

Start by sewing the centre row of the topstitching.

Fold the main coutil lining from the busk panel so it does not get sewn accidentally.

Fold the seam allowance on first bust seam toward the center back. 

This tutorial will assume you will use 12mm 1/2″ steel bone width, Take care that any clipped or notched seam allowances sit smoothly as you sew.

Sew the middle row of top stitching approx. 9mm from the seam, sewing through the corset and seam allowance. 

Repeat for all the seams on both sides of corset. This is the middle row complete.

Showing the middle row of topstitching that holds the seam allowances folded towards the centre back of the corset

Turn the corset over, you can see the seam allowances all stitched down. 

The next step is to join and attach the main lining which is the real strength of the corset. 

Fold the coutil centre front lining back into position as in the picture. This next stage is so much easier if you have starched your fabric as instructed.

Fold the seam allowance back along the line of the seam on your main corset. Press with your fingers to make a sharp crease along the seamline. If you have sewn perfect seams it will make a crease exactly the same width all the way down but don’t worry if it’s not completely perfect. 

Mark your creased line with the edge of the tailor’s chalk. 

Open the lining back up, and lay the next pattern piece in position.

Pin and Baste in a contrasting color thread, then machine stitch to join the lining pieces exactly along the creased chalked line. 

The coutil lining seam lines must match the main corset seam lines exactly. Fold the sewn lining back and check they align perfectly, then clip / notch any curved seams, and topstitch the seam allowance toward the back, same as you did for the main corset. 

It’s best to sew one piece of lining at a time when you are learning. There can be no gaping or misalignment. Unpick and resew if it’s not perfect. 

Do not rush and hand-baste your lining in position.

Turn corset back to front – the hand basting shown in orange here next to the bust seam. 

The next row of the topstitching you will sew is the one closest to the seam, approx. 3mm  1/4″ from the seam and this sews the corset to the coutil lining.

Make sure the lining is kept aligned and taught by checking underneath as you sew. 

On larger corset sizes, you can now sew the third row of topstitching, which is 6mm 1/4″  from the middle row.  Personally, we leave the last rows until the corset is fully joined, then we sew the third rows in on each seam.

By leaving the third rows until the lining is fully on, you have more freedom when joining your next piece, this will become clear as you work. 

Once the third row is stitched you have formed your bone channel. 

Repeat these steps, folding back the coutil lining along the seam, creasing, chalking the crease, joining the next piece lining, turning back to the right side, and topstitch from the right side, until all the main coutil lining pieces are joined and topstitched into place.  Remove hand basting.

Showing the corset with all three layers fully top stitched. 

The next step is to do a final measurement of the waist, bust, and hips, then onto marking and folding the back center line.

Adding this point here,  you need to understand there is no one single correct method to sew a corset, My aunt always sews her full lining like this, still folding each piece and creasing, chalking the crease, and joining the next, but she does not top stitch until her full lining is joined. 

This method is harder to perfect and needs basting, but is easier on very small sizes as the panels are narrower.

If you are very confident of your accuracy it’s an option. Not recommended for your first corset though!

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