Frequently asked questions from customers about products and services.

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  1. For good corsetry, you need two part metal eyelets with a wide'ish collar - not too wide so as to look clumpy and bulky, and not so narrow that the fabric soon works its way from under the rim and the eyelet falls out, ruining the corset.  Also the shank of the eyelet must be not too long so the eyelet is loose when set, and not too short so that the eyelet cuts the fabric when set.  It's a fine balance !

    You need two part eyelets because the washer part of the eyelet, sandwiches and encloses the fabric safely and ensures a smooth finish to the inside of the corset.  One part eyelets which do not come with a washer,  are not strong enough for corsetry.  One part eyelets are commonly used for leather work - in belts or as a decorative feature, or in paper craft.  They are made of softer metal and when hammered, the back of the eyelet shaft collapses and can become jagged.  This will not only feel scratchy against the wearer and possibly cause injury or damage to other clothing, but it will certainly decrease the life of the corset substantially by causing wear to the fabric of the corset around the eyelet. 

    My favourite eyelets for corsetry are 5mm wide  however, not all eyelets are created equal!  You need different dies to set different eyelets. Dies are the little tools which help to set the eyelets properly either by pliers or by hammer.   Prym make it easy by providing an all inclusive eyelet kit which includes a set of dies that fit the separate Prym pliers which in turn do a marvellous job of not only punching a small hole for the eyelet, but setting them too, with hardly any effort.  However, these pliers only work with Prym eyelets and the same is true of all other eyelets - they only work with the die's that are made for them.  Annoying, but true.  Therefore, in order to make a good job of setting your eyelets, you do need the correct set of dies.

    Find your Prym Eylets in the shop here:  Prym Eyelets and pliers for corset making.



  2. Sew Curvy corset lacing is specially made for Sew Curvy in a British Factory.  It 100% cotton and woven in a flat tube 7mm wide. This flat tubular weave provides maximum strength and durability.  Sew Curvy lacing is used by the world famous Cirque du Soleil for their trapeze artists' costumes - they like it because it is strong, yet flexible and soft.  

    roll of laces
    Because the lacing is cotton, it can easily be dyed to match the colour of your corset.  There are instructions on how to do this in the Tutorials section of the website.  Try using tea or green tea to dye your laces a 'natural' colour.

    I do not supply finished laces, that is to say, with metal ends in given lengths.  Why?  Because those laces are exactly the same, but cost at least three times as much. However I do supply it either by the metre, or in a whole roll of 100m.  Continuous lacing is economical.
    Ends can be finished with a knot - which will be invisible when your corset is laced, or you can whip the ends with embroidery floss or stitch on special cord ends or aglets.

    For corsets, you only need one length of lacing which is tied in the middle via 'bunny ears'.  I would recommend 4m for a short underbust corset, and up to 7m for a long overbust.

    Click here to buy corset lacing.

    how to lace a corset

  3. I often put a little freebie into my parcels going out to regular customers - only something little as a token of appreciation for their continued support of my business.  I bought a big bag of seam rippers from my wholesaler, to sell on the site, but also to use as a little free gift.  However,  so far, haven't put any of these into a package unless they have been ordered.  Why? I  am frightened people might get the wrong idea about my opinion of their sewing! - a bit like giving someone smellies for Christmas .. 

    The thing is, a sharp seam ripper is an absolutely vital tool for any seamstress or corsetiere.  Believe it or not, seam rippers get blunt very quickly.  The better you are at sewing, the blunter your seam ripper is likely to be.  It's a sad fact but I probably use my seam ripper, more than my sewing machine! 

    Now these seam rippers are the best I can find and the cheapest!  They cost £0.50p.  I don't believe in spending lots of money on a seam ripper because you do have to replace them so often.  Before I bought in bulk, I would buy 4 or 5 of these seam rippers at a time from my local haberdasher.   I still always make sure I have a personal stock of these and mark my current one with a blob of nail varnish - this way, the new sharp ones don't get used until the current one is blunt and in the bin. 

    If you get into the habit of using a sharp seam ripper, you will soon know and appreciate the difference between a sharp one and a blunt one - a sharp seam ripper will unpick your stitches faster and with much less risk to the rest of your sewing.  So! If you haven't replaced your seam ripper for a while, I urge you to assess the situation and replace  your seam rippers frequently for best sewing results. And if you do happen to get one from me that you didn't order, it's a gift but not in a bad way ;)

    seam rippers

  4. The nice people at Laughing Moon Patterns in Sacramento, California, have written to me to tell me all about their new format patterns.   Here's what they say:

    "After using a commercial printer for nearly 20 years, we at Laughing Moon decided to make a change.  Although the old printing process had advantages, after looking at both the plus and minus sides of ‘old way’ versus ‘in house‘, the decision to print in house easily was the best choice.  The following is an explanation of the reasons for the change.

    The advantages of using the old commercial printer were:

    • Light weight tissue paper for the patterns.
    • Because the paper was so thin, the packages were relatively small.
    • There was a certain economy of scale as the commercial printers could print a large number of patterns very economically.
    • There was a weight advantage using tissue paper patterns.

    The advantages of printing in house using state of the art printers are:

    • Many customers do not like the flimsy tissue paper and prefer a light bond for durability and ease of use.  The tissue paper ripped easily even with light handling and was not suitable for multiple use.
    • The old printing process had technology problems and was not keeping up with improvements.  Color was not possible, for instance, on anything but the envelopes.
    • The old printing process used heavy low quality newsprint for the instructions.  The instructions now are printed on white bond.  There are no longer any restrictions on how the instructions must be formatted.  They can now be any size or color.
    • The patterns are now printed on white bond.  The printing is crisp and exact rather than the brown tissue which often was light in places and sometimes smeared.
    • Gray shading and color create crisp clear images and photos.  The old black and white printing lacked definition, and was similar to a low quality fax or a black and white printer.  Photos and complicated images were reduced to black and white blobs.
    • The multiple lines on the pattern pieces which delineate the grading of different sizes can now be printed in colors.  This makes it very clear on which line to cut, which reduces confusion and makes multiple size patterns very easy to use.
    • The old paper pattern envelopes were flimsy and tore easily.  They were, in fact, too small to contain the pattern again once it had been unfolded.  The new high quality plastic zipper bag can not only easily contain the pattern and instructions once they are unfolded, it is also water resistant (nearly water proof), and provides more protection to the contents.  The pieces of the pattern are much more likely to stay together and in reusable shape in the new bag.  All you need to appreciate this is to have your shipping carrier deliver a sopping wet box of patterns, all of which are completely unusable (interminable insurance problems ensue).
    • The old paper envelopes were easily damaged, becoming shop worn or damaged just by the shipping process.  The new bag keeps the contents crisp and clean.
    • The new inks will not smear or fade and are guaranteed for 100 years.  With the high quality paper and high tech inks the pattern can be ironed without damage.  This is important because some people like to iron the creases out of the pattern pieces so they will lie completely flat.  The process of ironing tissue paper usually involved tearing or creating more creases than you were flattening out.
    • The fronts of the patterns are printed on a glossy, high quality paper that presents an eye-catching and professional image.  The images are bigger and better than were possible on the old pattern envelopes.  We always use photos of the real garments made from the pattern.  We have had customers tell us over and over again how much they appreciate that.  Many independent patternmakers provide amateurish sketches or highly idealized images on their pattern envelopes which do not realistically or completely depict the garment patterns contained therein.  Not only do we have photos on the front, but we also have flat illustrations on the back which show the different styles of garments that can be made from the same pattern.  We also show front and back, which is generally missing in other patterns.  The larger format allows us to provide more and better information about the pattern on the outside.
    • We will be able to react immediately to any errors or omissions.  We hope our patterns are perfect when we publish them.  However, sometimes errors occur.  Since our patterns are no longer printed in huge quantities, we can correct any errors and add any omissions immediately, greatly improving our responsiveness to our customers.