Tutorial 1. Getting Acquainted with the Model. Cutting a Mock-up.
I am about to begin working on the first corset sewn in a simplified technique. I will describe the whole work process in detail, step by step. Moreover, in the framework of this course I will address important issues that many of you are concerned with: what is a corset mock-up, how to measure patterns correctly to be able to adjust them after your client’s measurements, how to model a corset (change its bottom line, shape, length, certain details or pieces and curves). In other words I will explain you all about how it should be done.
So, what is this simplified technique for sewing a corset?
Let me make a technical drawing and you’ll see!
We will sew a corset shaped like this.
It has a usual corset back; the only difference is that I will add two extra curved seams (princess seams) that will provide more opportunities for alteration. Using two extra curves at the back makes it much easier to alter and adjust the pattern after individual measurements. The drawing represents the structure of the corset we will sew.
This type of a corset is peculiar in that its cup piece has no face part. All the corset will have at the front is a beautiful drapery! This drapery will pass onto the back and end there.
What kind of fabric will be used for sewing this corset?
The base is mesh fabric typically used for corsets.
There have been broad discussions among members of my online forum on where to find this kind of fabric. As far as I know, such mesh fabric is used for silk-screen printing and for producing beach bags, beach sandals or summer sandals. In short it is used in small wares and footwear industry. It is see-through, very light and very strong.
The lining used against skin will be made of multi chiffon, thin see-through material.
I will use Armani satin for draping the corset and for finishing its bones:
This fabric has a Lycra kind of structure widthwise and a very noble kind of shimmer.
And now it’s time to start calculating our pattern.
Before I start calculating the pattern for my client’s body, I would like to show you how to make a corset mock-up using the original printable pattern enclosed with this manual. I will then measure the original mock-up and use resulting values in our further work.
I tear off a suitable piece of fabric and arrange the patterns on it. You can arrange them any way you like.
There is only one rule: the waistline should be perpendicular either to the lengthwise or to the crosswise grain. And the material should by no means be strained. I trace the original patterns as accurately as possible. In my case I look to the selvage of the fabric as a guideline for the waistline.
Now I take the back pieces. I flip one piece (below) to use the fabric more wisely making sure the waistline stays perpendicular to the selvage.
There’s no need of using that many pins when you’re working with only one kind of cotton fabric that is non-stretch. You just need to secure the layers in order to prevent them from shifting against each other.
And now I cut out the patterns.
Why do I recommend sewing a pilot sample when you get your first pattern? Suppose you have carefully measured my pattern after transferring it onto a piece of cardboard. But when you go into sewing, you notice that every individual has their own personal habits related to cutting and sewing (or in other cases such habits are yet to develop). And taking your very own peculiarities into account your garment might turn out to have a totally different size than mine. Actual sizes can differ by 1-2cm.
There are a number of possible reasons. The result can for example depend on the type of seam allowance you’re used to working with. Maybe you prefer using a 1cm seam allowance. It doesn’t really make a difference for vertical seams – you can easily sew them with a 1cm allowance. Or suppose that you trace patterns in such a way that there is one extra millimeter left from each side. And now count how many cuts there are in total! You will end up with a size deviation of at least 1cm from each side.
That’s exactly what I mean by an individual manner of cutting or sewing! In any case, if you aspire to sew corsets professionally, I believe you will need to sew at least a hundred corsets before you really get the hang of it and learn to recognize the right pattern without a moment’s hesitation. It takes time to remember all these fine points that come into play in sewing! And that is why I find sewing a single pilot sample very sensible.
If you don’t know your patterns by heart, I suggest you mark the top and bottom of each piece because they look similar. And if you haven’t memorized their configuration yet, mark the top of each pattern with an up-arrow.
Next you should join all these patterns along their vertical edges (sew their princess seams) using any kind of thread.