Monday, January 3, 2011

Wedding Corset 101- the muslin

My first project of the new year is to make a wedding dress. A pretty simple wedding dress by Vera Wang standards, but you want perfection anyway. I know the bride does!! :-)
Thought I go, step-by-step, through the process. I will spend most of my blog time on construction, but fit is VERY important. If I knew how to explain it better, I would.
First, get yourself a pattern according to your (or whoevers) measurements, not the size you get from the store. This is important, especially if you use a pattern from a specialty company like Mantua Maker, Truly Victorian, or Laughing Moon Patterns out of Sac City Dry Goods.

For this particular corset, I am using Simplicity 5006 with a sweetheart neckline.

The fabric I am using for the muslin is a white heavyweight twill. Canvas works well, something with no stretch. Save the coutil for the one you'll be wearing. The final corset will have a canvas foundation, a cotton lining and a white silk cover with a turquoise net and sparkle overlay. It is sooooo pretty!!

 Cut your pattern pieces to your size or the next size up. It's easier to subtract that it is to me!

 Lay everything out and label like your life dependied on it!. 
Use some tape on the wrong side of the fabric and mark your pieces.

I started at the center front seam and worked my way out to the center back.

Now, set your machine to 2.5 (normal) stitch length and start from the center out. 
First the right, then the left and then join them in the middle.
I don't know if you can tell, but I stitched across the seam line so the vertical seam wouldn't pull apart when we tightened the lacing.

It should look like this. 
Don't worry if all you connecting parts are 1/16" off. It will work out in the end. Honest!

See these little pre-grommeted strips of fabric. Get some!!! Seriously, it will be the best money you ever spent if you are making and fitting a corset, or in my case, several.

You just sew these suckers on, add a piece of metal boning in the boning channel and you are ready to go!
Leave them long, that way they can be used on long or short corsets. If the corset isn't going to be seen, you can use the strip as your grommets for a quickie corset. This one will be seen so I have to do it the hard way. LOL  Press this link for directions.

Your muslin is now ready for a first fitting. It isn't boned yet. This was just a starting point. It wouldn't hurt to sew down a few of the seam allowances and put in a bone to get a better fit.


Not bad for a first fitting. I wrote all over the fabric since I knew I wouldn't be using it as part of the finished product. That being said, I would've marked it up with water soluble maker if I was using it. Since I had to add length and some more coverage, these pieces are too short to use as the base. 

Have the person getting fitted wear the underthings that will go under the corset!!!!!! Your fit could be way off if you will be wearing it over a chemise and/petticoats and a skirt. Also, if the person will be wearing a spanx, have that too. It IS important.

We decided to add and inch to the bust area at the top for a little more coverage. Once the boning is in, the ''girls'' will be ready to say howdy and we don't want them fallin' out. And an inch and a half to the front and sides tapering to the original back length. She likes the opening, although I may adjust it after the next fitting with the boning in place.

Next time........................................

The final fitting and what kind, what size, and how-to insert boning.

Be forewarned....I will NOT be following the instructions that came with this pattern. I will be using a modifed version of the instructions for Laughing Moon's Victorian Corset #100. There will be no busk in the front and the fashion fabric will hide the boning channels. Feel free to use the instructions, but the corset will not be sturdy enough for multiple wearings and washings. just sayin'.......................

Happy sewing!!!



  1. wow that is so impressive! you are so brave!

  2. Brave will be when I cut into the silk dupioni!

  3. It seems as if there isn't anything you can't do, I'm proud to know you!

  4. What a lucky young lady to have you to make her very special dress :)

  5. I hope she feels that way when it's done. LOL

  6. Whoa... I can't wait to see your dress! I just came across your site via Totally Tutorials.

  7. Great job!!!! Wow!! I cant wait to read more!

  8. hey this looks really good... im working on this same corset but i lost the second page to my sewing directions can u put up the directions please

  9. Nel, I did not use the directions that came with the pattern. I will, however send you a pdf of the instructions if you send me your email.