How to Insert a Corset Busk

Here’s a step-by-step sewing method to add a metal busk to a corset with three layers.

This tutorial will guide you through all the steps for inserting a metal corset busk into the center front panel.

We’ll use a  contrasting thread colour to make the sewing process more visible.

With this sew-along, you’ll be able to create a professional-looking corset front panel with ease.

To begin creating your corset, cut out the centre busk corset panel (no. 1) in your main dress fabric, the middle lining (which should be a tight woven shirt weight fabric in cotton or poly cotton mix), and the main lining (made from coutil or a cotton drill).

Before cutting, make sure that your lining fabrics have been prewashed and starched to prevent shrinkage.

Once your pieces are cut out, mark the centre front fold line on each panel using chalk or a fabric marking pen. The line should measure 3cm (1 1/4 inch), as indicated on the pattern piece. This will help ensure that your corset comes out looking perfectly aligned and symmetrical.

Let’s continue with the next step of our corset-making process!

Take your dress fabric piece and align it on top of the middle lining, then baste them together to create one piece of fabric.

If you’re working with cotton or other natural fibres, be sure to starch the fabric to help it hold its shape. However, if your outer dress fabric is unsuitable for starching, you can prewash and starch the middle and main lining fabrics instead.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your corset will have a professional look with clean lines and a sturdy structure. 

Great job so far! The next step is to take your dress fabric piece and place it on top of the middle lining, then baste them together to make one piece of fabric. Don’t forget to do this for all corset pieces!

If you’re working with natural fibre fabrics like linen, starching the lining will help keep your corset looking crisp and neat. You can even starch the top layer if it’s possible.

However, be careful when working with synthetic or silk textiles as they can be more delicate.

This will help create a beautiful and durable corset that will last you for years to come.

Take the left side pieces. Lay the back main lining onto the dress / middle lining with the right sides together.

Pin and sew along the marked fold line.

On the left side layer the back main lining same onto dress / middle lining right sides together.

For the left side of the corset centre front sew 2 lines of topstitching, the 2nd approx. 4mm 1-4 inch from the first. the holes for the knobs will go inside these lines. 

Lay the hook side of the busk onto the left side of the corset and mark the placement of the holes. they need to be marked precisely both height and distance from center seam.

The holes can be made with a spiked tool, you can use a strong thick darn needle followed by a fine knitting needle, we often use a small hole punch or a scalpel, if we are making a small button hole to secure the holes. The fabric 

The advantage of using a spike tool, is that you can break fewer threads of the fabric and just gently wiggle the hole to push the thread apart enough to push the knob of the busk through. 

For the Knob side of the busk which is left side, there are 2 methods to make the holes. 

Either use a spiked tool, a large darning needle followed by a fine knitting needle to enlarge the hole, or make small buttonholes or eyelets if your sewing machine has an eyelet shape setting. Push the needle between the threads and wiggle around, then increase the size to the knitting needle and increase hole size. 

The 2nd method is to make small buttonholes, square or eyelet shaped if your sewing machine has the setting. Then use v small scalpel to cut holes or a holepunch for eyelet shape button holes.

There is the third, traditional  way of hand-sewing the eyelets too

Insert the busk knobs into the corset from the back, fold the lining and pin / baste and then sew the busk channel same as for right side.

Showing the corset center front left side with busk sewn and bone channel sewn down. 

To complete the right side.

Mark the sewing lines in between the hooks of the busk. Sew the sections in a short stitch and reinforce with a back stitch.

To ensure strength, always reinforce this seam with a piece of strong starched linen, cotton or a lightweight petersham tape. 

Use 38mm wide (1 1/2 inch) tape and draw line down the center, mark the hook placement, and cut out with care the hook holes. make sure this strip of fabric or tape matches the lining or fabric color. 

Use a strip of bondaweb for the most accurate placement, or pin / baste into place then topstitch 3 -4 mm (1/4 inch) either side of the join between lining and main corset pieces as shown.

Showing the busk inserted into the seam, before the channel is stitched down.

Insert the busk into the holes, making sure busk stays firmly pushed to the edge so hooks are fully through, sew close to the busk edge using a zipper foot, to enclose it as shown. 

If you are going to reinforce the busk with 2nd flat steel bone behind it, leave enough room to slide the bone in.

When both sides of the busk are in their channels you are ready to assemble the rest of the corset, always working from center front towards center back. 

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