Tutorial For Joining and Lining Tight Lacing Corset Panels
This post is to help you join and align your corset panels for a perfect finish.
This tutorial is for tight laced corsets that are going to have considerable stress on the seams and waistline.
I have been sewing corsets for many years, there is no single right way to do it but this is reliable and will make a corset that will last many years.
There is only one rule here, do not take short cuts or skip any steps!
Step 1 is to say that most tightlacing corsets depend on the linings for strength.
My corsets are always three layers thick. There is the top fashion layer, the middle lining which is a tightly woven cotton or poly cotton, and the main lining which is coutil.
The top / outer layer is your decorative fashion fabric. the choice is huge here but quality counts.
Simple natural fabrics are the easiest and most rewards – but really anything goes if you can sew it., and it is not too heavy or bulky.
The middle lining helps to stabilise your fashion fabric.
Each corset panel is flat lined with pre washed cotton lining. mine is 135g per metre if the weight help. dar for dak fabrics and white for lights.
The main lining is coutil, again pre washed for shrinkage. Press.
All pieces have been cut out with the waistline on the straight grain for max strength, unless a pattern piece indicates otherwise.
Seam allowances for joining the corset seams on most of my corsets is 20mm or 22mm (approx 3/4 inch).
This allows for the bone channels to be made from the seam allwances and provides perfect padding so no poking sticking bones ever.
This tutorial starts with the centre busk panel ready and lined as this stage is covered in the inserting a busk tutorial here. Mark the waistline point on all pieces.
Set seam guide to correct width on sewing machine.
lay out all pieces of middle lining for left and right as they will go together. arrows to top and towards centre back.
Lay dress fabric on top of each pieces of middle lining. If fashion fabric is very slippy or velvet (arrgghhh velvet you say!) pin and baste before flat lining by sewing each side edge 4mm or 1/4 inch from edges. top and bottom may be left open on cottons and tight weaves.
Once all the pieces are flat lined with fashion fabric on top of middle linings you can start to join the pieces. Double check all pieces are laying correctly, arrows to top and towards centre back
If you are not experienced then pin or peg your pieces and double check the waistlines are matching.
If unsure then use soluble temporary basting thread for your first seam joins, but you must then sew each seam with real proper thread after checking the measurement are correct! It may seem long winded but when you are learning going slow is the best.
Sew each seam together with a small to medium stitch length.
Do first waist, bust and hip check. The corset will lose approx 10mm or half inch overall (5mm 1/4 inch each side when topstitched and second lining is added.
Now is the time to do any fine adjustments by taking in a seam.
Clip and bust curves now, small snips not big wide chunks, the fabric needs the fullness taking out not big gaps left that will show and weaken the bone channels.
First row of top stitching is done – this is through your main dress fabric and middle lining layers & will sit in the middle of the bone channel, although it will vary approx 6mm away from first row. and 7 – 8mm from seam join.
Hold the seam allowance flat underneath, no lumps or bumps and ease over curves.
Now the main lining is sewn on piece by piece, starting with joining to your already attached centre front main lining.
Fold the lining back along the seam and mark inside of main lining with edge of tailors chalk. even when cut out perfectly you can get movement and you want this lining to fit so near perfect.
Th main lining is stitched on from the right side. you may want to baste each row by hand. When you have sewn alot you can easily do this by feel, one hand underneath to make sure lining is laying smooth.
Top stitch close to seam join on the side closest to centre back through all thicknesses.
In a perfect corset the main lining will be the teeniest bit smaller then the outer, this is so fractional and comes with experience, imagine the inside ring of an athletics track is smaller than he next row out, circumferences and layers work like this.
The best way to achieve this tiny difference it to hold the lining underneath so there is a slight curve as you join. But don’t worry too much over this – most commercial ones are sewn completely flat.
Clip curved bust seam same as for the top layers and top stitch the main lining seam towards the centre back -Only the lining!
Turn corset to back and check the main lining is running perfectly with top fabric, no bagging or tightness its should all be as one so if you pull tight the three layers are flat together.
Turn to back and fold main lining back along the next seam line and repeat the chalk line. Pin / baste next lining segment, right sides together and repeat topstitching.