Corset Pattern Crafting And Why?

Obviously, comprehending exactly how to be able to sew corsets yourself or just making your own special corset lingerie could feel something like a completely alien subject, yet it is the most logical and practical how-to tuition an individual can get. Truth be told there are (undoubtedly) countless factors that can and definitely will go wrong whenever stitching bustiers and developing corset patterns and other underwear.

Comparable in the case of company bought shirts or dresses; dimensions and thus baffling shapes and sizes, really can ensure that it is as hard to come by something which fits satisfactorily as it is from an off the rack corset. Regretfully, poorly made undergarments are unquestionably far more unpleasant to wear as opposed to those ‘much too small’ jeans as well as those ill-fitting tops at the back of your wardrobe, considering that corsets are typically a good deal tighter and additionally need to hug one’s body. In short, a corset is one garment that you can’t get away with being ill-fitting.

Additionally, pre-made corsets will be seriously high-priced. There is absolutely no rationale for you to buy undergarments which never fit and cost a lot whilst you can make your very own corset lingerie plus design your own corset patterns. The key for you to develop corset pattern successfully despite all the trial and error that will come before you get it right, is discovering the fun and the joy of learning how to make corsets, plus bras, panties and all the  other forms of underwear sewing that creating corset sets entails.

Also, once you get into corset making, it is often startlingly unproblematic when you have sewing advice at your disposal on sites such as this particular one!

To help you discover how to sew corset underwear, you must incorporate the experience that it is empowering sewing corsets and lingerie on your own. You are going to realize how to resize corset patterns and how to vary the shape and style of your corset designs. Subsequently after figuring out how to build your own special corset, bra and panty sets, you are, only then, likely to finally know what it is to be comfortable at all times in your underwear.

As soon as we gain the knowledge of how to make corsets of our own, we then never need to cope with an uncomfortable corset or ill fitted corset pattern as a corset wearing individual again. Undergarments really should be manufactured for ease and comfort above looks and glamour. Not a single thing is more inviting nor appealing as compared with a person who is relaxed in their own personal undergarments.

The Best Sewing Machine For Corset Making?

When learning how to make corsets it’s important to have a good machine to work on. Some just aren’t robust enough to deal with corsetry. There are many layers of fabric in a handmade corset. I’m an avid collector of sewing machines. I use them, I love them, I’ve even been known to pet them. I own a 99-13, a 66 and a 201 Singer, and a 72 Monkey Ward and the Sears Big green ugly machine (it’s from the 60’s and it is UGLY). Of them all, 4 are electric, one is a treadle.


Usually unless the machine’s been treated awful, the motors should be ok for corset making with a little repair at most. My 99-13 (it’s a small version of the 66) is crappy, and while it does fine seams, it doesn’t do strong seams. The original motor is still there, and it still works, and it was a motor on the outside. This is not the machine I use for anything but a quick rip through of a seam or two, and really, my other machines do it better. Since this is the smaller version of the machine I use the most, it is the one that I take for demos and classes, I usually french seam anyway, so the detail work is brought home and finished on the main one. It was my first machine I bought 15 years ago when I was 15.


The 201 is an internal motor and many sewing enthusiasts swear it’s the best machine out there. I will admit, it does a variety of stitches, and it’s fairly powerful.

Singer 201 model
Singer 201 model


TBGUM and Monkey Wards were gifts, and I seldom use them, they just don’t do what I want.


My main machine is my treadle, non electric (it has a motor that was added later) and while it was leaky, the machine sat 25 years before I got it, and the first thing I did was pull it off. This is in a cabinet, and it’s the type used in corset making in the old days that you see with the women in training corsets.

Singer 66 model
Singer 66 model


I use Singers, I prefer Singers and the old machines, pre 1970’s were awesome machines. I would run, far and fast, from a new singer. That said, my corset making is only sewn on my treadle. To me, an electric goes too fast to make the boning channels right, and the treadles seem to sew through anything with the right needle. I’ve made more then one machine get hot trying to make a corset or sew pvc. The treadle doesn’t have those problems.


All that said, Elna makes the best machine out right now, and I hear many good things from people who not only sew corsets, but clothing as well.


I do know I can sew as fast on my treadle as I can on an electric, and I get much finer stitches when making corsets (not to mention my buttonhole attachment works with it) and there is a built in side table that allows for the old clothing with yards and yards of material to be sewn.


When corset making there are also other concerns about feed dogs, shanks, attachments, feet, bobbins, and the type of sewing (ie. do you need zig zig stitching) to consider.

Could An Elastic Corset Modesty Panel Work? – A Discussion

Some corsets are made to have a Modesty Panel, which is fabric, that is placed behind the corset laces. The Modesty Panel is sewn into the handmade corset at one side. A Lacing Protector is a loose part, that also is placed behind the laces. Both the Lacing Protector and the Modesty Panel are used to protect the skin from the laces and metal corset eyelets and hide the liner or skin below when the tight lacing corset isn’t closed and has a gap.

Instead of using a Modesty Panel of fabric that is sewn to the corset at one side, I have had it suggested to try using elastic fabric/material that is sewn to the corset on both sides. This will reduce the risk of the Modesty Panel getting wrinkled when the laces are tightened and the edges come closer together.

When corset making, one concern is that the material can’t strecth/reduce enough, when the corset is wide and small laced in the back.

You can read more about Modesty Panels and how they are made, in the book: “The Basics of Corset Building”  pp.45-47.


basics of corset building
basics of corset building


I may have to try this out as I find it could be interesting. I will have to do a couple of corset sewing tests to see what I like.



To me this is only two different names of the same thing doing the same job. I want my lacing protectors to be loose and not sewn at all into the corset when corset making. I also want them to be a little stiff. It is almost impossible to get them wrinkle free if they are attached. Think about it you have the corset two parts you pull together if the lacing protector is loose it means both ends will glide over if it is loose and has some stiffness to it.  if it is attached you need to somehow push one side under and also working on the corset laces.

On some of my sewn corsets when corset making, the lacing protector has been loosed but been held in place by the laces both up an down. Sorry I can not explain it better. On my leathercorset my lacing protector is a loose piece  I push in under the laces after I have started to lace my corset smaller. This is not a problem as the protector is stiff just as the underbusk on a good handmade corset and is made to follow the shape of my back. So not just a straight piece. This also means when I lace it myself the laces will just glide over it and I never have any problems at all with my protector.

The idea I think only works if you have help to lace your corset.

Cleaning A Historic Corset

So it’s a beautiful old french corset from early 1900. It was so durty, dusty, smelly, and rusty. It was a pity, this baby needed surgery quickly.
When i used to received the “patient” i used to carefuly study it to learn more about it, take photos, draw the pattern, then ask different informations sources how to clean it without damage. As the fabric was a strong coutil i decided to do the restauration and finally went with the following steps:
Using a magnet to know where the metal bones are, i have removed the 4 flat bones which were completly rusty, one was broken and there was a hole at this break point.
I have carefuly unsewn the front line and discovered the most damaged part : the busk was plenty rusty and a little protected by a surface paper.
I disliked cutting this antique paper however i still think it was the only way to do it to restore this vintage corset of some 100 years old or more. I used to keep the old steel bones and this paper rolled up in “silk-paper” as memories.
I have scraped the busk and painted it with rust preventive called “frametto”. Did the same with the rusty grommets, then painted them with the correct color oil paint. Then cleaned the 2 parts of the busk with this old stuff i saw my grandmother clean her copper pans with in france called “mirror” and wrapped it with another heavy paper.
To wash out the rust all over the right and the wrong side of the fabric I did a test on a little part using a chemical called “rubigine” as the other ‘grandma method’ of using lemon and light doesn’t really work on this specific item.
I just wet with the rubigine all rusty points, then touch nothing more and waited for 5 minutes, wet again all parts/seams that still resisted and waited again 5 minutes.
Then I ran to the bathroom to handwash the historic corset in cold water for a few minutes, carefuly washed it with natural soap “savon de Marseille”, then soaked it again in cold water with starch.
Then i put a terry towel on the floor, spread out the historic corset, overlaid it with another terry towel to carfuly remove some water and finished by drying it in my laundry room which is a really hot place.
After a little ironing, it was ready to get its new bones. To fix the 4 rusty ones i used this stuff that’s old but supposed to be rust preventive called “novelone”. I finished by hand sewing the little parts i had opened to get out the bones and placed the busk in in the same way. As there’s a hole in a front chanel where one old flat bone had broken I cut a little sample from under the lace, then placed it in the front hole seam and secured with a few hand stitches. Then I placed another satin ribbon on the lace, hleaving the antique one under the new one. And finally sewed the front hook which was falling off but fortunately still on the vintage corset.
I was pleased to notice the whole of the historic corset doesn’t reduce with the washing as i could verify with the pattern. I was quiet sad to see it back to the owner but i’m sure she loved it.


Cleaning Vintage Corsets & Clothes

Hi all,

I found this text on an old no longer active messageboard and I thought it could be helpful for some here also. This is not about corset making but cleaning vintage/antique clothes which I though would be useful for vintage corsets also.

Heads Up: It also mentions lemon. I have also heard many many times use lemon on white fabric and put them in the sun to bleach. This was posted about the use of lemon and why you should not use it –

“for instance, lemon is acidic, which is an anathema to textiles, as acid breaks down the fibers. so no lemon!  you’d have better luck with soduim perborate or orvus paste. in general, do +not+ use modern detergents, as they are too harsh for older fabrics, and you risk the piece disintergrating.”

Cleaning Vintage Corsets & Clothes


So you’re faced with the eternal question that vintage collectors/lovers face: How do i clean my treasure?

Or your item is newer/modern, but there’s no guarantee that something terrible won’t happen at the drycleaners (it might be fine, but there’s a risk).

Drycleaning isn’t actually dry (in many cases) and the chemicals can be quite harsh, especially on silk, which is prone to shattering and splitting.

Does the gown need a light freshening, or does it need a complete cleaning? if it just needs an airing out to remove musty odors, i’d air it outside (under a roof so there’s no chance of bird droppings, which CAN happen).

If you contact a textile or fashion museum, the curator might be able to direct you to a dry cleaner that is sensitive to vintage items. ie. the cincinnati art museum, which has a good textile collection or the museum of science and industry in chicago.


Here’s what kent state has to say about cleaning vintage clothes (from its web site):

We have become so accustomed to frequent washing of clothing that, for many, the act itself has become automatic. Few understand the stress washing causes to fabrics and the damage that can follow. Garments with no or few visible stain should be left as they are and not be washed.

Wisdom recommends that if it is not broken one should not fix it. There are a few exceptions. For instance, a garment stored with moth balls should never be worn by a child without removal of the chemical residue. Paradichlorobenzene,
the active ingredient in moth crystals, has been known to be fatal when in contact with an infant’s skin. Thus, infant’s and children’s clothes need to be examined carefully to make sure they can be washed if they are intended to be worn.

In the case of museum corsets and period garments and all other garments that are being saved for posterity, cleaning often means irreversible damage. If the garments have a musty smell, simply air them inside the house away from direct sunlight. To remove dust, vaccum at low speed, holding the wand of the machine at an angle just above the textile. Protect the surface with a piece of nylon mesh or window screen. Bind the edges of the screen with tape to keep it from snagging the garment. If the garments have noticeable stains, the best thing to do is to consult a textile conservator. Horror stories abound about people who, unaware of the fugitive nature of certain dyes, attempted to wash printed cotton dresses in water and detergent and ruined them as a result. Dry cleaning also is dangerous for it applies considerable strain to the fabric and seams and can dissolve some fabrics and trims such as early cellulose-based sequins.

Keep steaming and ironing to a minimum or refrain from doing it altogether. Heat accelerates the deterioration of textiles. Ironing also applies physical pressure to the structure and thus is harmful to the item.

Inspect costume items and antique corsets for insects and mildew. If anything is discovered, isolate the items in a sealed container immediately. Examine nearby items for possible infestation. If mildew is found, consult a conservator for the best cleaning advise. If insects are found, remove them and examine the garment for other insects and their eggs.


Cleaning Antique Costumes, Clothes & Vintage Corsets

A new gown should be cleaned as soon as possible after it is worn. Vintage corsets should be kept for study only, if wearing a vintage corset on a single occasion it is probably best not to wash it unless absolutely needed. Soils and stains become more difficult to remove as they age. Choosing the best method of cleaning may be difficult if no fiber content label or care instructions are on the gown. The following suggestions may help you select the best method for your gown.

Washing with water and detergent:

If fabric, trims, interfacings and linings can be successfully wet cleaned (virtually no care labels on wedding gowns say “machine wash” so this is seldom an option). If a care label allows water and detergent on all parts of the gown, avoid using chlorine bleaches which may be retained in the fabric and continue to oxidize, causing the fibers to weaken over time.

Note: Corset fabric is usually cotton which is safe to wash but the steel bones in a vintage corset are not!


Commercial dry cleaning:
  • If care label allows dry cleaning – obviously this doesn’t apply if you’re corset making or have had a corset made for you.
  • If fabric is silk, acetate or rayon.
  • If trims should not be washed with water and detergent.
  • To best remove candle wax, greasy food stains, make-up or body oils.
  • Discuss and inspect the dress with the dry cleaner. He/she can identify problems that you may not have foreseen. For example, check to be sure trims are not glued on with adhesive that may be soluble in or softened by the dry cleaning solvent. If you know of any such problems, call this to the attention of the dry cleaner; otherwise, he/she may not be responsible for possible damage.
  • Be sure to identify areas of any known soils to the dry cleaner. They can apply the prespotting chemicals needed to remove the stains.


All dry cleaners are not the same. It is always better to use a reputable, trusted and tested individual. Some dry cleaners may clean pieces individually (not putting them in the tumbler). This is preferable because it reduces the tensions on the cloth and seams but it can also be extremely costly. Ask for recommendations of dry cleaners from bridal shops and friends. Visit the dry cleaner to talk about your specific needs before you give them the gown.

Specify that the dry cleaning solvent be clean before cleaning a white or off-white gown. Soils and oils from dirty solvent will dull a fabric initially and then discolor it further as they age and oxidize.

Observe and note every detail prior to dry cleaning. Arrange to check the gown / antique corset after it has been cleaned and pressed. Look at it in sufficient light to see that all stains and soils have been removed. Be sure the entire gown has been pressed. If wrinkles are unpressed, they will be more difficult to remove later.

Discuss packaging to make sure the gown or antique corset will not be encased in plastic and that any cardboard or plastic bodice-shaper is well covered with acid-free tissue paper. You may want to request that such a form be omitted entirely. Plastic bag covers will cause the fabric to yellow.

For the safety of the gown fabric, avoid treatments to kill fungi and bacteria.

These dry cleaning suggestions apply only to sturdy fabrics and trims like training corsets. Fragile gowns requiring extra care should be cleaned only after consulting with a conservator trained in cleaning fragile textiles. Many public museums have textile conservators on staff. These individuals might also refer you to conservators in your area who would be willing to clean your garments and repair them for a fee.


If You Do Go To A Dry Cleaner With Your Antique Corset:

If you go to a dry cleaner for a handmade corset, even one that is recommended by a textile museum, ask if it does the cleaning on-site or if it ships the garments out off site to be cleaned by a third party. Also ask about “french dry cleaning” which is less invasive (so i’ve heard, but i really know nothing about it). Also ask them to switch to a new batch of cleaner when they clean your garment, or it is likely that they’ll use cleaner from a previous batch of clothing. also ask that your garment be cleaning individually and be sure to identify items on the clothing (vegetable sequins, etc.) that might dissolve when they come in contact with the dry cleaning solution.


DO NOT USE OXI-CLEAN! oxi clean can/will destroy silk corsets.

Hope this is a good place for you to start. many dealers and collectors will be able to tell you that they often send items to the dry cleaners with no problem. but remember, the problems might not begin right away, but the “seed may be sown” so to speak. also remember that many dealers are not into conservation, but buying and selling, and their goal is to sell the item quickly and not think as much about preservation.

On the other hand, many dealers and collectors can tell you drycleaning horror stories. items that looked quite strong and were modern came back in tatters from the drycleaners.

I don’t mean to scare you, just to let you know what ‘can’ happen. I think your best bet is to connect with a textile museum about vintage corset cleaning.


Cleaning Your Corset & Oder Removal Sprays – A Discussion

“General cleaning of your handmade corset can be done by spraying your corset lightly with a product such as “Febreze”, and then hanging it by the laces over a chair railing, or a plastic hanger in front of a flat fan. Be careful to not spray specialty fabrics directly (such as velvet or silk brocades), but spray the inside lining of the corset. The less you dry clean your handmade corset, the longer it will last.
A corset liner is also a terrific way to keep your corset clean longer, and make it even more comfortable to wear.”


“As a corset maker I do not recommend the use of Febreze it will shortens the life of your corset they say, this I have also heard before from others. I do not know if this is correct or not I do not use it. I have handwashed my wasp creations corsets with success but only when it has been absolutely neccassary. When you remove your corset do not roll it up or stuff it away in a closet directly let it hang from the laces over a chair or outside. No direct sun on it and let it air out before you put it away. A corset you use as dailywear can hang like this over the night and it will feel much fresher for a longer time. And of course always protect your corset by wearing something under it.”


“I have heard that Febreze does weaken some fabrics, so I don’t use it on anything. I hand wash the corsets I make and I put them in a location where they will dry the quickest. With summer approaching I will set up a place in my storage shed as it will be warmer in there and this will dry them faster. I am almost afraid to wash my vollers corset as I know when I do the bones will rust (that is my fear). I do no worry about the corsets I make since I know my bones are covered to prevent rust.”


“To me Febreze smells very strange. It could give a rash to some people,aswell. I bring mine to the dry cleaners and never had any problems.”


“I agree as this is a chemical and many are allergic to these chemicals. Febreze on a long term also damages the bones :S “