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Frequently asked questions from customers about products and services.

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    The split busk, or two part busk, was invented by the Victorians.  It was at the time a revolution for women because for the first time they were able to put their corsets on un-assisted.  There are many types of split busk.  The regular 'flexible' busk which is the most widely used and the one with which people are most familiar.  These are about 12mm wide on either side, and coated in a white powder coating - this white powder coating, as a matter of interest, has replaced the older plastic coating, as it is more environmentally friendly.  In Victorian times of course, all busks were made of uncoated steel.  

    busk

    The other types of busk are variously made from galvanised steel or stainless steel.  There are wide busks which are an inch wide on either side, conical or tapered busks which are true to the Edwardian period and Spoon Busks which are true to the Victorian period.  In modern corsetry, different types of busks can be used for different purposes depending upon design, body type, and effect

    Usefull Links:

    Buy a corset busk

    How to insert a busk fastner

    More about corset busks, what they do and how to use them.

     

  2. Q:  I want to order a corset kit  - what is the busk measurement I need? I am not sure what to measure.

    A:  Busk size depends on the corset pattern you are using - all of the corset kits on this website have details of the correct busk size needed, except the 'deluxe kit' which does not come with a pattern.  The delux corset kit is a generic kit designed for use with any pattern so that people can work with patterns not available on this site, or their own patterns that they have made - the busk size therefore must be determined before purchase.

    Commercial corset patterns will always have busk measuring instructions included because busk size is pattern specific - it depends upon whether the corset is an underbust, mid bust or overbust, and then it depends upon the sub-style - longline, plunge, closed front etc.,    Patterns will include instructions on how to alter the pattern if required and then whether or not the busk size should be altered.  If your busk size needs to be altered, then it is likely that your bones will need to be longer or shorter too.  Nevertheless, commercial patterns cater for the average body and in most sizes fit well with the busk size provided, regardless of alterations required.

    If you are making your own pattern then you must measure your torso whilst sitting down, from where you want the top edge of your corset to be, to where you want the bottom edge to be, making sure that you leave enough space at the bottom to be comfortable when sitting and to ensure that the corset is not too long for you when seated otherwise it will rise up and buckle in a very unsightly way, or prod you in your nether regions, and we don't want that!

    Useful links:

    What is a corset busk?

    Corset kits - a full range of complete corset kits which contain everything you need to get you started with an obsession

    Two part busk fastner - stainless steel split busks in a wide range of sizes to fit every size of corset.

    Flat busks - Sturdy wide flat metal busks in various sizes which are suitable for flat front corsets - ie: corsets which do not open at the front

    Corset patterns - A range of corset making patterns which work first time with no fuss and bother.  I only stock patterns which work for beginners first time and all of the patterns have the appropriate busk size listed in the description, even where this is size specific.

    corset busk

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

    Question:

    "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"

    Answer:

    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.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

  4. swisstulle bobbinet

    I find the story of the fabric known as bobbinet quite fascinating.  Like coutil it is a very rare, difficult to find material and it is only made by a very few factories in the world.  Like coutil there is a certain 'snobbishness' tied to it when put into the context of couture and fashion.  You must have 'genuine' bobbinet and it must be made of the right stuff and in the right way.

    Luckily, here at Sew Curvy we have genuine bobbinet, manufactured by one of the UK's only remaining factories and even more luckily, because I was able to get a narrower (but no less useful) width, the cost per metre is extremely competitive - the best you'll find anywhere on the net I think (haha! pun intended!)!

    Bobbinet is a very special tulle fabric - sometimes even known as 'genuine tulle' it has been around since 1806 when it was invented by a very clever man called John Heathcoate.  Mr Heathcoate coined the term 'bobbinet' from two words, 'bobbin' and 'net' because it is a lace type net fabric - lace is made with bobbins - but made on a machine which he also invented.  Modern lace is made on similar machines and these days, the design for bobbinet machines, like many Victorian inventions,  is largely unchanged from the original Heathcoate design.

    bobbinet fabric structure
    The structure of bobbinet tulle is hexaganol and this is what makes it so strong and durable.

    Bobbinet tulle is constructed from warp and weft yarns,  but unlike regular woven fabrics and nets, the horizontal weft yarn is looped diagonally around the vertical warp yarn to form a regular and distinctive hexagonal mesh which is completely stable, has minimal stretch and is durable, sheer and very very strong in comparison to it's weight.  This is why it is ideal for foundation garments within dresses and has been favoured by designers since the early 20th century for supporting haute couture gowns.  It is the hexagonal mesh which makes the difference here, without the hexagons, it's not bobbinet.

    Bobbinet was originally made from cotton, and it is now available in many different fibres including silk, nylon and special 'technical' fabrics. The threads of bobbinet can be coated in all sorts of non fabricy things including metal and this makes it's range of use outside the fashion industry quite vast!   It is used for theatre back drops, military applications, medical patches,  parachutes, cryogenic insulation, electromagnetic shielding, flexible electronics, fishing nets, high quality wig making and a whole other raft of 'craft' applications including porcelain statue decoration - who knew!!??

    bobbinet dress foundation dior couture
                 Dior dress foundation with bobbinete corselette

    In fashion, which is what we're interested in of course,  bobbinet mesh is still used for couture style dressmaking including bridal wear, corsetry and lingerie or as a base cloth for fine embrodery.  In the world of costume, bobbinet is used in wig making because it is fine, strong, and more or less invisible when hair is woven through it.

    bobbinet dress foundation balmain couture
    Balmain gown inside and out, with bobbinet corselette foundation

    What to use bobbinet for?  I would use it for dress foundations (sometimes called a built in corselete), and I am intending to try it out in light corsetry or as a stand alone corselete.  You can use bobbinet for petticoats but if I were to make a floaty tulle petticoat I would use a more standard silk tulle - not a specialist silk bobbinet.  Why?  Because regular silk tulle is much less expensive than silk bobbinet and just as effective, it also comes in a wider range of colours.  The point of using bobbinet in dressmaking is for strength and lighness to create something fine and elegant.  Bobbinet is not really a fabric to be used for it's looks in any application.

    Useful links:

    Buy 100% cotton bobbinet here at Sew Curvy - priced at £16.50/m in white only (actualy 'off' white)

    Anatomy of a gown by Morua Designs - see how bobbinet is used to create a dress foundation, this is one of my favourite ever posts on the internet.  Very inspirational.

    A post from Gerties Blog for Better Sewing regarding bobbinet corselettes in haute couture dress foundations.  I actually disagree that underwear should be worn in a dress with a foundation - a properly constructed couture dress foundation negates the requirement for separate underwear.

    Interesting post by Alison of Crikey Aphrodite on the OCOC blog about a lace factory in Scotland.  Lace is mounted on net and these machines are very similar to dedicated bobbinet machines.  A very interesting article with a nice video.

    Pictures of a beautiful beaded and goldworked Balmain gown bodice with bobbinet foundation that I found on my quest for bobbinet knowledge.  This is just superb!