I've managed to make a corset for the first time, as a birthday gift for a friend. I spent a lot of time before-hand reading about corsets, on craftster and elsewhere.
I read everything here:http://www.elizabethancostume.net/corsets/
Then I drafted a pattern using this method:http://www.threadbanger.com/post/5651/corset-pattern
but for my construction I used a hybrid of this:http://www.threadbanger.com/post/5655/how-to-make-a-corset
New addition(April 2009). The corset being worn by the birthday girl:
I did use spiral steel boning, purchased from ebay, but I only boned it lightly.
I used two lines of boning along each side of the front and back, and did not use a busk. I also used grommets. This corset was intended to look cool and give light support, not for real waist-reduction or anything that dramatic.
For the inside, I used black canvas. Here is the spiral steel sitting on top of the black canvas:
For the outside, I found this lovely fabric at JoAnn's that was black satin embroidered with red flowers.
Before I but out the pattern, I covered the entire back side of this satin fabric with fusible interfacing to add strength. It took a while! Since this seemed like delicate fabric, every time I pressed it, I used a dish-towel between the iron and the satin.
I made my pattern, a la Threadbanger, and cut it out, being very sure to add on enough for seam allowance
. Remember, the Threadbanger pattern does not include seam allowance! I sewed it together (wrong sides of fabric together of course) across the bottom and up the front and back edges, leaving the top un-sewn. I turned it right-side out and pressed it.
Leaving enough space to later put in grommets, I sewed two lines of stitching up where I wanted the front and back boning to go. This makes a channel you can slide the bones into from the top. I did the same for the rest of the boning.
Once the bones were in their channels(talk about sore hands after cutting and capping those bones!), I laid the grommets out on the canvas side of the corset where I wanted them to go. I used a white charcoal pencil to put dots in those spots. Try this on a scrap first.
Trying this on a scrap, I realized it was important to make my holes going through from the canvas side, as when I started from the satin side, it tended to put runs in the satin. Do not put grommets more than 1 inch apart, so there will not be gapping places later when the corset is worn. An important word about making the holes! Learn from my mistake and never try to use one side of a sharp new pair of sewing scissors to make the holes!
The scissors will suddenly slip right through the fabric and slice through your finger on the way. I ended with a nasty gash on my finger and had to stop the project for a week to heal, and I've a nice scar on my index finger to remind me.
After recovery, I made my holes by first pushing in a seam ripper's sharp point, then sliding in the tip of a sharp pair of cuticle scissors and opening then to widen the hole. So simple, much safer, and worked quite well.
Once you have your holes and grommets taken care of, then you need to finish the top edge. I used wide grosgrain ribbon, folded over.
Now here are a few pictures of the finished item! Perhaps later I can manage to add one of the birthday girl wearing it, but for now, just the garment.
What would I do differently? Next time, I would change the design so that it doesn't lace up both front and back. While this looks great, it's more of a challenge to get on and off. So if you're concentrating on looks, this is neat, but if you want to get it on and off quickly, only use lacings on one side.
I went very slowly with every step, scared to ruin that beautiful fabric, but it's not as bad as you think.