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.

From the Archives : Understanding Corset Patterns

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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!

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