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How a Corset is Made

How a Corset is Made

makes all the difference.  You can achieve the perfect fit but still, have inadequate construction.

A true corset is substantially made with several layers of heavy-duty fabric and durable boning of some form.  Since the withdrawal of whalebone, steel has been the preferred reinforcement.

There must also be a frontal steel busk and heavy-duty grommets at the back lacing. These are the minimal requirements for a well-made corset that will stand the test of time. Even a quality lingerie corset needs to have the structural support of dependable grommets and lacing to do the job.

Starting with the outer layer

The outer layer can be made of a variety of fabrics. The more durable the fabric the more permanence it will have over time. There are many layers of different fabrics in a true corset.

A Sultry Lady Corset will almost feel like a well-made flak jacket when finished. We can proudly say that our corset can “stand alone” on its own merit!

The Final Pattern Is Made For A Custom Corset

 

The Central Part of the Corset

In a very well made corset, you will find an inner layer (or two) of interfacing. The interfacing is inside the outer layers or layers, and inside the lining layer that sets against the body.

At Sultry Lady Corsets, How a Corset is Made is key to our business. We use a layer of ’hair canvas’ that is made from goat hair, polyester, cotton and wool of different amounts. This is the same type of interfacing fabric used to give body and shape to men’s tailored suits. It is quite a costly though unseen part of the corset. Without this particular material, the quality of the corset drops dramatically.

Many companies will skimp on this important part of the construction because it is not visible. To skip this part, however, is like building a body with bones but no muscle! The added expense means you get what you paid for; the quality that stands the test of time.

The Inside Lining

The inner layer or lining can also be made of a variety of fabrics. This is to protect the body of the corset from wear and tear. It is also used to provide structure and comfort. The corsets ability to breathe is of real significance as well. No one likes the thought of wearing a garment that makes them feel like they ‘can’t breathe in it’.

At Sultry Lady Corsets, we use only the highest quality cotton coutil fabric for the liner. Coutil cotton has been the standard in the corset industry for many centuries. It is a cotton fabric that is tightly woven to prevent penetration of the corset boning and is resistant to stretching. This particular fabric also has an incredible capacity for comfort, absorbing body heat and perspiration. Because of this, it is the only lining material that we will use. Although it is much more expensive than other fabrics that we could use for the lining of a corset, we prefer the quality material.

The Front Closure

The early 19th century brought a very different style of corset (still called “stays” at the time). A return to the natural or classical form was embraced by fashionistas. And for the first time in corset history, the bust was separated. To achieve and enhance the separation of the bust, the front “busk” was used. The busk was essentially a large rigid “Popsicle stick” shaped bone, inserted into a casing down the center front of the corset.

The front closure of a corset today contains a metal busk, usually made of a rigid steel. This busk consists of two long pieces of flat steel, one side with loops and the other with posts. They function in the same way as hook and eye fastenings on a garment. This is to allow a person to easily get in and out of a corset by themselves. It also helps to keep the corset straight and upright.  The opening of the corset by using busks did not come into use until the mid-1800’s.

The busk pieces are sewn into the corset on either side of the center front. Lacing is still used on the back section. In earlier times the busks were “made of wood, ivory or bone slipped into a pocket and tied in place with a lace called the busk point. These busks were often carved and decorated. They were sometimes inscribed with messages, and were popular gifts from men to their sweethearts”.

The Boning Support

Boning on a corset can be done with many different types of materials.  Corsets of the 17th and 18th century were most often heavily boned. They allowed for little or no space between the bone channels. This was necessary to force the body to conform to the desired shape of the era. At the time the most popular materials used for the boning were giant reeds or whalebone. Whalebone consists of a horny material from the upper jaws of baleen whales and used as “stays” in corsets.

At Sultry Lady Corsets, we use only steel and very heavy duty nylon boning. The nylon boning does not warp from body heat or collapse with wear. This allows for maximum comfort while maintaining consistent, uniform shape. During the cleaning process, the heavy nylon boning does not rust. This can easily happen with un-coated steel. Rust can also leave a nasty permanent stain on the inside and outside of your corset, completely ruining the garment.

The Back Closure

Finally, you have the grommets and the lacing at the back closure of the corset.

At Sultry Lady Corsets, we use only heavy-duty grommets. We install them with a grommet machine to ensure the durability and placement of the grommet. Since the majority of the strain on the garment is during the lacing and unlacing of the corset, it is imperative that the grommets be installed correctly.

It is also of utmost importance to apply the grommets to a substantial foundation. If this is not a priority for the corset maker in the construction process, the grommets can pull free from the back fabric. One the grommet is free, the lacing can cause damage to the corset that cannot be repaired.

We also install boning on both sides of the row of grommets. This is to stabilize and provide a rigid form for the lacing to pull evenly against. Thus reducing the strain on your corset back.

 

The Back Modesty Panel

The majority of well-made corsets will also have a back modesty panel. This is underneath the back lacing and sometimes a front piece under the busk. Certain corsets will not have modesty panels, however, for the look and design of that corset.

It is customary to apply the front piece under the busk only when necessary for comfort. The front closure should be tight enough to prevent any peeking of the skin. The front piece may also interfere with easily hooking the busk together.

It is important to note when purchasing a corset that even the back panel should be as well constructed as the corset itself.

At Sultry Lady Corsets, we do not cut corners on the back modesty panel. Our modesty panel is constructed with the same quality materials as the rest of the corset. We line and interfaced the modesty panel the same as the corset to hold shape and body. There is even boning and loops to hold the lacing and panel in place for a uniform, finished look to the back when needed.  The only time we do not attach a modesty panel is for appearances. Sometimes the desire is to have the skin showing at the back.

 

The Finished Edges

The top and bottom edge finishing are one of the most important parts of the corset for personal comfort. How a Corset is Made is a key element to this! You can’t wear a corset for an extended period of time if you have boning that is constantly poking you! And wearing a corset for an extended period of time to “train your waist” would be agonizing at best.

Having the edge correctly and securely sewn down is extremely important for the looks, comfort, and endurance of your corset.

Hopefully, this article has been interestingly informative. We believe it can assist you with the purchase of a new corset.

We at Sultry Lady Corsets look forward to providing you a well made, one of a kind unique and beautiful corset.  And, as always we’d like the opportunity of doing business with you!

 

References

Richard The Thread- http://www.richardthethread.com/

Farthingales Corset Making Supplies-http://www.farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/

Wikipedia-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corset

***The Free Dictionary by Farlex

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