All about corset making and corsetry components

A blog with plenty of information on Corset Making and corset making supplies.

A new "From the Archives" series will be published every Wednesday and Saturday from 25 February 2023, until 26 March 2023, and these posts will contain 'old' information on corset making which will be updated for the revamped Learn Corset Making information portal whereever that may be.

 RSS Feed

Category: Corset Patterning

  1. From the Archives : Understanding Corset Patterns

    Posted on

    If you want to start making your own corset patterns, it is necessary to understand the mechanics of pattern design and cut.  Here is a quick run down of my own pattern cutting library.

    It was  my adventures in corsetry which led to my fascination with pattern cutting.  I needed to know HOW a corset works - the engineering aspect.  I am one of those types of people who needs to fully understand the reasons behind something in order to 'do it', and so I found this book in my Christmas Stocking one year.  It explains in full detail the concept of the French Block - how to draw one, make one, fit one, and then how to  design your corset or garment within it, for the French block (or sloper as it is also known), is the basis of all garment manufacture and design.This book explained very well the importance of measurements and how they relate to the paper diagram.  Most importantly, this is the ONLY book I have which explains the Bust Point well (or even at all!).  Let me just tell you ... the bust point is where your nipples are - it's different for everyone.  The distance between nipples is VITAL because when you have drawn your front block, you need to know where the dart apex should be - so you draw a line which measures half the distance between your nipples, parallel to the centre front line, and there is the line upon which your bust point should be.Being a book about corsetry, it obviously only deals with the block for the upper section of the body, but this is the hardest part to grasp when pattern making because there are so very many possibilities and one of my other obsessions is how to fit the bust properly - my own having been a constant conundrum.  This book includes instructions on how to make 2 styles of bra - not the type you may find on the high street, but a good basis to get started on your own designs and possibly to integrate into a corset.

    As corsetry ignited my interest in general dressmaking, I decided, along with finding a teacher, that I needed a more general book and this is the one I was recommended.  It's one of the industry standards for fashion students and is very very good.  There are some parts of it which are a little hard to decipher but on the whole, this book is a brilliant introduction with clear and concise diagrams, instructions and explanations.There are chapters on all aspects of flat pattern cutting for all types of garment in a  huge range of  styles.  The initial chapters focus on basic block building for bodice, arms, skirt and trousers, and then the rest has instructions on how to customise those blocks as required.

    There are also chapters in this book explaining how to cut patterns for stretch and jersey fabrics which don't need darts, and at the end, a look at the more commercial aspects of fashion design.
    This book is a new acquisition:It is all about construction of garments from the initial pattern making, to special finishes for special fabrics ...  It starts off with lots of different techniques which are not found in the previous two books - this book is much more "creative", with inspirational pictures from the catwalk and quotes from all the famous designers.
    Rather than be put off by these glamorous catwalk pictures, I find them very interesting.  At first glance these beautiful gowns look absolutely impossible!  But this book breaks them down and shows you that although they are stunning works of art, they are constructed using the same techniques as described in any pattern cutting book.  It is the mastery of these techniques by the designers, the cutters, and the people who sew them, that makes these clothes special.
    There is a whole section in this book on "support" but this doesn't just include corsetry as one might imagine.  It also includes tailoring techniques, information about interfacings and other support structures, along with descriptions and tips on how to generally sculpt, shape and manipulate your fabric.These are the books I have, but there are more on my Amazon wishlist!

    A book about draping - you drape muslin over your dress form, shape as required, and then make a pattern from it.  Fascinating! 
     This book has fantastic reviews and on looking inside as you can on Amazon, seems to be absolutely packed with information.
    Another fabulous resource which will help you to understand corset patterns, can be found in the free articles section at Foundations Revealed.  Click on the link at the bottom of this page to go there!
  2. What is wrong with Free Corset Patterns?

    Posted on

    The short answer is : nothing.  There is nothing wrong with free corset patterns.  As long as you understand that nothing worth having, is really cost free and literally everything (even free things) come at a price - that price may not be obvious, but there will be a price if the content is of any value. 

    I think free content is a great thing.  It almost without exception, acts as a gateway to bigger and better things, new skills, new passions, even new careers.  My whole business is built on a foundation of free content - in every section of this website, from the product descriptions to the free tutorials, to the links to other free tutorials, there is an abundance of free content.  

    The 'catch' - becuase there always is a catch, is that hopefully the free content inspires you and then persuades you to buy things from me :)  Other examples of exchange for free content might be where the content creator saves the real juicy info for their patreon, paid for subscription website, official course, or soon to be published book.

    free corset making content

    Free Corset making tutorials are everywhere on this website.
    Click HEREfor an index

    There are lots of free corset patterns available to download on the internet - If you use one of them  - HURRAY!  Get your supplies here and everyone is happy.

    However, there is something to be said for value.

    All my students

    Just SOME of the students, models and clients
    who have passed through my doors over the years

    Whilst I do not think that free corset patterns necessarily de-value the work of others, I do have a strong feeling of kinship within the small corset making community in general, and I do have respect for both myself and my skilled collegues and friends.  Respect in small communities is important. 

    I earn a living from corsetry and it's hard.  I have to do lots of different things, to earn less money that I would in the 'rat race' doing things I am qualified to do, like managing events and working as a board level executive assistant.  But I choose to teach, educate, help, and make corsets and corsetry.  I have lots of friends and colleges who do the same and we all have exactly the same thing in common - we are all driven by our passion for corsetry.  Some of us focus on embellshements and shinies, some focus on technical details, some focus on shape, some on structure ... we're all different and we all specialise in something.

    If you come to me for free advice on a project you're working on, you better be one of my customers or students because I generally don't work for absolutely nothing, and that is because I value what I do and I like to give value to those who seek to invest in their skills. 

    If I do not value my own work, nobody else will.  If you do not value your work, or your time, or anything else that you have, why should anybody else?  I learned a long time ago, when I was an event manager in Oxford, that people who waste their own time, are more than happy to waste everyone else's time too.  And that applies to most other things - replace the word time, with anything else - money, food, whatever. Again, it all boils down to respect - for yourself mostly..

    When things cost money - our ultimate measure of 'value', the cost includes not only the physical end product but also the years of experience that went into creating them.  My patterns include that cost and also the hours and hours of sitting at a computer working out the most comprehensive instructions so that they can easily be read, understood and actioned.  They include the years I spent teaching with those patterns, honing all aspects of fit and comfort on many many many different body types, so that they don't just fit one type of body perfectly.  Any corset pattern or course that costs money is going to be better than the free version.  Every Single Time.  

    Sew Curvy patterns have been tested on literally hundreds of women of all shapes, sizes and ages.  And it is that experience that you are paying for when you buy a Sew Curvy Corset Pattern or when you purchase any corset pattern from any other maker who is trying to earn a living in this world.  

    I have been a grateful and enthusiastic member of the corsetry community for nearly 15 years during which time, I have learned far more than I have ever taught, and I have made good friends, and some enemies - well... you know you've made it when you have haters.  But even so, I would never EVER disrespect any fellow creative in public, because whether I like what they do or not, doesn't matter.  It's their right to run their business how they see fit, for their own reasons, and make whatever money they can.  


    Spot the difference:  This comment from THIS blog post
    took my comment deliberatley out of context with the 
    specific intention of ridiculing me to other corrset makers

    On the one occassion when a high profile collegue deliberately quoted from my blog in order to riducle me on their personal facebook page, they were admonished by mutual friends and they made a very public apology to me.  That's the proper way to behave in a room full of adults. Accept responsibility, apologise and move on.  We don't all have to like eachother to be respectful.

    On the same token, and separately from the aforementioned incident, trying to destroy someone's business because they set their own mental health boundaries which conflicted with your own vanity,  is spiteful, hateful, and frankly quite unhinged!  

    Always remember, there's a reason that some things are free - either the thing is of no value whatsoever, or there is a hidden cost and the free thing is a honey pot designed to make you part with your cash eventually.  The top and bottom in any case is, that if you don't invest properly in something, then you cannot expect good results.  If you want to make a good corset, then invest in a good corset pattern, and good corset making materials and support independant artisans by supporting their work.  You wouldn't go to your day job and expect to work for free, so why should artists be expected to continually give out free resources?



  3. Q&A - Custom corset patterns

    Posted on

    Here is today's "Q&A" which is about my custom corset pattern service. 


    "I've been thinking about ordering a custom pattern from you, but I find it so hard to understand the shape and fit from just the images on your page. How is the curve over the hips? Do you have any examples on any corset made from your custom underbust or overbust pattern? I also wonder if it's possible to send you photos of how the measurements are taken to ensure that there's nothing wrong there. I have a very short waist so I'm afraid the measurements under the waist might be odd, like very far down"


    Thank you for your query and apologies for the delay responding.

    You are quite right that my diagrams on the custom corset patterns page do need updating somewhat. They should illustrate a 6 panel modern hourglass shape, but the main reason for the diagrams is to indicate the different top and bottom lines available on each corset version.  

    I do not have any examples of the corsets made from my custom patterns because each pattern is completely different as the name suggests. They are 'custom' patterns and will fit each body differently. The point of a custom corset pattern is to have a pattern that will fit your personal measurements but how it makes up is down to your own skill,  and how it fits you is only discernible once you have the toile on your body. I can pretty much guarantee that it will be better than any commercially available pattern.I build room into the rib area for comfort, and I make allowance for a 2" gap at the back however, sometimes this will close, depending upon the 'squidginess' of the person in question and sometimes the gap will be a little wider than 2" if the person is not so squidgy.  These are things I cannot predict remotely.

    As for your particular concerns, - The measurements I have asked for on the measurement sheet are the ones that I need to ensure you have a perfect fit. You can see the measurement sheet here.  There are certain measurements required to determine the length of the torso and these are included in that sheet.

    However, with that said, I do not make magic patterns. Depending on how your body behaves - you may have to make slight alterations here and there, but there are instructions included with your pattern to help you fit the corset perfectly.

    corset measurements in a diagram
    There are certain anthropomorphic clues we can get from body measurements.  And only one measurement is necessary to determine the length of the torso.