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  1. With the rise in popularity of home dressmaking and couture style DIY fashion as well as the popularity of programmes like The Great British Sewing Bee (#GBSB) and the sell out success of the recent incredible Dior Retrospectives in both Paris and London, there is a lot of renewed interest in shape, cinched waists and making Dior shaped dresses and clothes.  Hand in hand with this, there has also been much talk of proper metal corset boning and how 'difficult' it is to use.

    All sorts of corset boning types

    What is corset boning used for?

    Spiral steel boning is used in corsets and in couture garments for strong and enduring boning support.  It is made of steel which has been formed into a continuous spring which has then been flattened. 

    curve over bust

    Because spiral wire boning is a flattened spring, it is extremely flexible and can bend horizontally and vertically (backwards, forwards and sideways), making it perfect for boning over and around curves.

    Dior dress foundation ballgowns v and a

    In couture garments - ie: within a dress foundation, it is used in conjunction with 2 layers of tulle or bobbinet which is a very fine and very strong netting material which when layered together, has no stretch but provides a fine, non bulky foundation inside a gown.

    Spiral boning cut

    In corsetry, sprial wire boning is most commonly used in conjunction with coutil fabric and often in partnership with flat sprung steel bones which are not as flexible and therefore useful when a firmer, straighter support is required. Both types of steel boning were invented during the Victorian age and used instead of whalebone.

    spiral boning width

    Spiral steel boning, sometimes known as spiral wire,  comes in various different widths, from 4mm-15mm, and various different thicknesses making it possible to 'mix and match' your boning to achieve whichever level of support is required for any particular project. For instance, you may only need a light 5mm wire to bone a net bodice, but you may need a more robust 7-10mm wire to bone a multi-layer corset for tightlacing. With all boning, there is flexibility!

    Flat steel boning, sometimes known as spring steel, also comes in various different widths and thicknesses from 2mm-20mm and is used for a huge range of applications including dressmaking, costume making, corsetry and for making hoop petticoats.  In corsetry it can be used all over the corset, but is always used in the centre back panels either side of the eyelets.  This is becuase the back of the corset absolutely must be straight and strong.

    Back of corset with flat steel boning

    All types of boning, whether steel or plastic, comes either in pre-cut lengths or in continuous reels. It isn't any more economical to buy your steel in a roll and cut it yourself so you have a vast choice - corset makers who make 'standard size RTW corsets' know which lengths of bones they need and will order each length in bulk.  Corsetieres who favour a more bespoke approach will order in rolls and cut to length as required for each project. Sometimes you cant get pre-cut steel that's long enough, for instance in a corset dress which will go over the knee or below the hip. Many are  put off by the supposed requirement for 'brute force' with which to cut it.

    How to cut metal corset boning

    Flat steel can be cut with tin snips - there's a knack though, or plain old bolt cutters which will treat flat steel of any thickness like butter.  You can cut spiral steel with bolt cutters too if you have them. 

    However, if you don't have bolt cutters, spiral wire boning is easy peasy to cut and tip and there is a tutorial on how to do this right HERE.

    cut one side of spiral steel boning

  2. Online course coming soon

    This week, after having my course outlines prepared for ages, i've finally taken the plunge, chosen a host, and put the first class outline, online.  Wait!  That doesn't mean it's live, just that we're much nearer to live than we were last week.  There's still a bit of work to do, but it shouldn't take too long.

    Many people know that I stopped teaching large corsetry classes during the summer of 2018, preferring to focus on individual students who were at a more advanced level.  These were and are my own past students, professional designers, and contour/fashion/costume students who already understand the rudimentries of corsetry.   I gave up my dedicated teaching space and have been doing private lessons in my own atelier ever since.

    The reasons for deciding to stop teaching corsetry classes in person were many and varied, however at the end of the day, the one big reason which surpassed all others,  was weekends.  After nearly 8 years of teaching two full weekends a month and not being able to take time off in leui, I became burned out, and decided that a new direction would be more fulfilling for me and my students!

    As my 'thing' is really teaching, and I do love teaching the art of corsetry, I needed to find a more sustainable, less exhausting way to do it, and ofcourse, technology came to the rescue!

    At the latter end of last year, I enrolled in an unrelated to corsetry, online course - about Instagram actually if you must know - but one of the reasons I did the course, was not so much to find out about Instagram (frankly the money wasn't worth it and my 'growth' has been stagnant ever since*), but to find out how it was presented.  I learned a lot at least from that side and as a result, have signed up to the same platform, Teachable.

    My new online Beginners Corsetry course will have 7 modules, plus a Facebook support group and a bonus section of information including sources of inspiration, tips and tricks, a glossary and a bibliography of other online resources both free and paid for. 

    As I intend to take a very hands on role in mentoring each corsetry course, the online course will not be 'open all hours'.  I will teach several courses a year and there will be a maxiumum number of students per intake.  Each student will be invited to join a special Facebook group where we can share progress, information, tricks/tips and there will be a 'Live' with me every week during the course, where students can ask questions about the module they are on.  Access to the course and the group will be for life, so the learning opportunities will be infinate to those signed up.

    Cost is yet to be worked out.  The format is based on my in person beginners corsetry course but the information load will be much much higher than in person classes.  This is because, working at a more relaxed pace,  each student will be able to absorb much more information per week, than was ever possible over an intense three day corset making course in the English countryside.  

    I have alot of work to do still - all the writing is more or less done.  Now I have to brave the video part!  I don't really like being on camera, but mostly it is my hands that will be doing the talking.  

    If you'd like to sign up for progress reports and to be first in line to join up, then head over to my School of Corsetry website, and sign up to the mailing list HERE.

    If you're not sure what to expect, take a look at the testemonials page HERE.

     online corset making classes