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How to Draft a Corset Pattern

corset pattern

Drafting a corset pattern is a not easy task, but it's possible and I'm going to show you how.

Without further ado let get into it! How to make a pattern for a perfect corset or bodice after your own individual measurements?  Those who are not familiar with my technique yet are going to be surprised or perhaps even a little shocked. I urge all beginners NOT to use any calculated methods of construction of the pattern. If the measurements are not standard, in most cases the result will be poor. You will be going the wrong way from a start! You will be designing a corset for an unshapely figure and will therefore end up with an unshapely corset! Afterwards you will have to start making changes and adjustments. There is another aspect to it. Different fabrics act differently. Professional sewers are going to agree with me. One first of all needs to learn to sew and to explore properties of fabric.

Only afterwards you can start making patterns. It is especially true for the sewing of corset garments. The thing is that during the process the parts that get sewn together undergo significant changes. Easing in, pressing flat, stretching, pressing open. With our hands and with the help of an iron we shape the parts that need to be sewn together as if we were sculptors. You won’t be able to construct a quality pattern until you understand what and how you are joining together, and how a pattern piece is deformed during the sewing process. Beginners usually learn it the hard way. Failures in pattern construction stand in the way of making a good corset.  This just might put you off the further studying of the material. That’s where the common misconception comes from: it’s almost impossible to make a high-end wedding dress by yourself! I show my students exactly the opposite - it is simple to make! To have a guaranteed good result you should just follow my recommendations, the ready-made sewing algorithm, the right sequence of actions and techniques. But this sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it? If you can’t sew - you can’t make patterns, but you need a perfect pattern if you want to learn sewing. What shall we do? Pay attention, because what I’m about to say will probably blow your mind (unless you already know that). In most case haute couture individual pattern drafting is actually an alteration of a pre-made pattern.  A pattern isn’t drafted from a scratch for every client all over again and again. The ready-made standard pattern is adjusted for the individual measurements – therefore the new pattern is created.  This is how professionals are working. Now I am going to explain you how to create your very first pattern.  Using these methods, you can create a good working pattern but it won’t be perfect from a start. You will need to improve it further. The initial pattern is created using the draping method. But the final perfect pattern has been tried out for years. It isn’t constructed for every customer individually; it is made once and forever - only its proportions and shape need to be worked-off taking into account further deformation during the process of sewing and steam-pressing.

It often happens that a pattern looks rather decent on paper but it’s not the same when it comes to sewing - for example when I was quilting in the boning forming the shape of the cups there would be some unexpected creases. I had to correct the pattern again, trim it, cover the 1-2mm gores at the crease spots and try again. At the end I got what I wanted!

My patterns are made in such a way that after all the work - sewing -on the boning, easing in here and stretching out there, intense pressing – the garment would be perfect! Side note: Suppose you have cut a corset after your own patterns, sewn it together and then undone it wanting to take a pattern of the unstitched pieces. No such luck! If you decide to make such an experiment you will see how deformed the pieces will have become. You cannot take a pattern of a ready corset! During the second sewing the corset will be all curved awry. The same way you couldn’t construct a pattern using calculation methods - no formulae can take account of fabric behavior during the further process of sewing. Those who have already had such a disappointing experience will agree with me, and if you haven’t tried it yet - just do it and you will be convinced.

So, what IS the easiest way to draft a pattern? I suggest using the draping method to make the pattern. We need a dress-form that will be from now on used for working on our corset. It is a usual ex-display foam mannequin that I describe in the tutorial devoted to the equipment and all things necessary for corset making. I draw a plain shape corset on the dress-form using a disappearing ink marking pen. I tie cords horizontally around the bust-line, the under-bust line, the waistline and the stomach at around 4.5-5 inch distance from the waist. Then I trace all these lines with the marking pen and remove the cords. I mark the middle of the front, back and side seams very carefully. Afterwards the location of the vertical curves of the corset can be marked.

Now I take 4-5 straps of polyethylene foil or overwrap regardless of how many pieces we need to make. The straps are around 8-inch-wide and 17-19 inch long.

I take one of the straps and pin it: long side to the middle of the corset. I trace the seen-through central piece of the corset with the pen - from the crease to the curve.

Then I remove the strap with the drawn piece. I pin the next strap to the side of the corset and trace it as precisely as possible.

Then I do the same thing with the back pieces.

All the pieces have now been transferred from the dress-form.

I compare the curve lines to make sure they are the same and interfit well. Then I add seam allowances to the patterns. Remember, one should cut a corset after patterns with all seam allowances for all sewn-together cuts accounted for. It is another of those tricks that significantly facilitate the work of a dressmaker.

All cuts are going to fit together perfectly, the seams will be matched, the lines will be clear and flowing, and the cutting process will go faster and easier. Then test it and make the necessary adjustments until you are satisfied. For the least patient ones who don’t want to waste any time on working their pattern off I recommend to join the Corset Academy membership.

We offer professional ready-to-sew patterns and the unique automatic Pattern Alterations Calculation Software.

Watch the next tutorials: learn how to take measurements correctly, how to work with a pattern, how to alter is for a perfect fit for any size IN SECONDS and afterwards - you can make your choice. I’m sure that some questions are now to follow: what size those patterns are? The answer is - it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to worry about it at all! Let us look at the definition of a corset. Corset is a garment worn primarily by women; it is designed in the shape of a belt with sewn-in elastic plates tightly embracing the lower part of the bust and the stomach in order to shape the body in a desirable way. If you construct a pattern after measurements that are far from ideal, you will later have to take it in, restrict the waist, change the bust shape and you will nevertheless end up with no good result.

You should go the other way around. Suppose you have constructed a corset for a perfect slender figure of an unknown size, for example - for your mannequin.  Now your task is - I apologize to squash your client into it 😊

Well the whole point of my method is teaching how to take measurements correctly, how to calculate and expand patterns perfectly after a specific off-standard size preserving the proportions, the flow of lines and the shape. In this case your garment will have a perfect beautiful shape regardless of the size.

Take a look at these photos please. It’s the works of our students. For sewing these garments, they used patterns with small standard sizes, but it was adjusted to the required size using my methods.

By Ivetta Palant, Israe

By Alina Hilalova, Russia

I shall say as an annotation to my methods that I use the principle of an expanding mannequin:

I spin wheels to change the dimensions of the mannequin without changing its shape and proportions.

This is exactly how my methods work. Having created a form once you can expand it and re-shape off-standard figures with the corset.

In order to change the pattern you need to know the sizes of pattern pieces along the main lines - there, where you take measurements of your client (bust-line, under-bust, waistline, stomach and a couple other areas). I won’t focus on it now because it’s going to be explained in detail in the next tutorials. But how does one measure a pattern? It is very easy. The pattern pieces need to be laid out the way you can see now in the picture, and the length of the corresponding lines is then measured. The total of the seam allowances is taken away from it and thereby you get the semi-circumference of the corresponding measurement.

It will be even more precise if you sew a mock-up sample, put it on the mannequin, trace the lines and measure them. I prefer to do it this way.

All the changes are recorded in a calculation table; we will discuss this as well in the next tutorials. I believe now the things are getting clearer for you!

Continue with my classes and you’ll make incredible garments in no-time!

 

In Corset Academy you will receive the knowledge and the tools required for the creation of high-end wedding and evening dresses. These skills and know-hows will enable you to stand out among your competition. There is a varying of different sewing techniques and I commit myself to teach you them all. And don’t forget that theory should be backed up by practice. Here are some works my students who had acquire the necessary skills and applied them to create their own masterpieces .

By Olga Muratova, Russia

By Judy Gao, New Zealand

By Abigail Atawodi, Nigeria

By Elena Aryamova, Russia

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