So here it is at last, the under bust pattern tutorial! At one moment in the making of this tutorial my portable hard drive crashed and all the data for this tutorial was lost with it, I was almost done with it all it was just a matter of putting the text and the pictures together, I had a pdf version of it, on Swedish which was in one way a good thing but it was not totally finished and had a few things that needed to be fixed in the Illustrator made diagrams that were lost.
It kind of killed me to loose all my data, so I kind of gave up on it all but yesterday I had some luck with the hard drive and managed to save the files needed for this tutorial. I was beyond thrilled!
So I present to you all the under bust corset pattern tutorial!
The biggest prejudices about corsets are that they are really uncomfortable to wear and that one cannot breath properly in them, this of course is all wrong. Sure there is a special feeling to wear a corset, you body is heald together in another way than most people are used to but there are no problem breathing, a corset that fits YOU well will ONLY reduce your measurements were it should, and that is the waistline. The problem with of the rack corsets are that they not necessarily fit you body type, you might have smaller hips then what the corset is made for and therefore you need to lace it more over the hips. This makes you lace your chest more tightly to be able to get the lacing as straight as it should be and that will make you feel like you cannot breathe properly. It says itself that to lace your chest tightly it is not healthy and can lead to problems. But as I said, a corset should only be reducing your waist measurement; a place where most of us have some squishy material anyway.
A lot of people fear pattern drafting, it seems hard, like there is a lot of math involved, but really it is not hard at all. All that is required is some logical thinking. There is no complicated math, no complicated techniques. It is all about drawing lines on a paper based on measurements taken from you own body.
What this text describes is how you, from measurements taken from your body makes a personal under bust corset pattern. What you will need is paper, pen, ruler and tape measure. This tutorial is based on how I make my patterns, after my personal pattern layout which is a corset in 12 pieces without side seam that will reduce more in the side and in the back. This gives a corset that is flat fronted and can if you want to have very dramatic curve in the without having any problems. Not having a side seam also means that you will not have any boning in the middle of the side.
But this tutorial is written so that you yourself can decide where to put our seams and how many pieces you want to use. How many pieces is not only a question about taste but also how large a person the corset is for. A very petit person does not require as many pattern pieces as someone three times as large.
In this tutorial we will use the measurements of a girl in my class who was kind enough to be my guinea pig, but remember that it is only so that we will have some numbers to relate to, where her measurements are in this tutorial you will of course fill in your own.
We will start with taking measurements; put a plain cotton string in your waist after you taking that measurement, that way the other measurements will be easy to take.
The measurements needed:
|Under bust:||28,3 inches||(72cm)|
(or were you want the bottom part of the corset to be)
|Waist to under bust:||3,9 inches||(10cm)|
|Waist to hip:||6,3 inches||(16cm)|
|Raise on the hip||1,2 inches||(3cm)|
(If you want a corset that is totally straight in the bottom this measurement is not needed but we want the corset to go up on the hip)
|Length of corset in the front:||11,2 inches||(28,5cm)|
(this measurement is waist to under bust + waist to hip + what we want the corset to go up a bit in the front), 1 inch (2,5 cm))
(The reduction is what the corset reduces on the waist measurement. Standard is to reduce 10 cm, but if you have a fuller figure you are often able to reduce more than if you are petit. If you are not used to corsets 10 cm is a good thing to start with)
|Opening in back:||2,4 inches||(6cm)|
How much you want is a matter of taste, it all depends on how much you want to see under the lacing. Some people want their corsets to be laces all closed and some wants much of the skin to show.
When you are drafting your pattern you will only draft one half, so there are some measurements that you will need to split in half.
|½ under bust:||14,2 inches||(36cm)|
|½ waist||12,6 inches||(32cm)|
|½ hip||15,7 inches||(40cm)|
|½ opening in back||1,2 inches||(3cm)|
Now it is time to actually start the drafting
Draw a center front line.
Draw a waist line that is about in the middle of the center front line.
Draw a hip line, according to my measurements 6,3 inches (16cm) down from the waist line.
Draw a under bust line, according to my measurements 3,9 inches (10cm) up from the waist line.
Put out half a hip according to my measurements 15,7 inches (40 cm) both on the under bust line and on the hip line and connect them so that you now have a rectangle.
Mark out were the side is, according to my measurements it is half of 15,7 inches (40 cm), in other words 7,9 inches (20cm).
Mark out the opening in the back, according to my measurements 1,2 inches (3cm)
Now it is time to decide on how many pieces you want your corset to have, mine will have 12 pieces. Because we only draft half a corset that makes six pieces, no seam in the side but a piece instead, three pieces in front and two in the back. If I would have made a corset that laced fully shut I would have had three pieces in the back as well.
As you often want a flat tummy when you wear a corset, my corset will not reduce anything against the canter front piece. You place the seams entirely were you want them but remember that you might want to accommodate a bust in front and that you want to have space for your grommets with boning around in the back, so don’t make those pieces to narrow.
My first seam goes 1 inch (2,5 cm) into the bottom and 2,4 inches (6 cm) into the top, and as I said I will not reduce anything against this seam as I wish to have a totally flat front.
After that I draft my side panel, it is 1,2 inches (3 cm) in the waist and 2,4 inches (6 cm) in the top and bottom. These numbers are all up to what you think looks good. Draft half on each side of the side line, in other words 1,2 inches (3 cm) of each side of the side line in the top and bottom and 0,6 inches (1,5 cm) of each side of the side line in the waist.
Connect with straight lines.
The reduction you make with a corset is 3,9inches (10 cm) as a standard, but as I said, if you have a fuller figure you can probably reduce more due to extra squishy material.
These 3,9 inches (10 cm) can either be taken out evenly on all the pattern pieces, but I think that it gives the best shape if you take most in the sides a bit in the back and not much at all in the front. This gives a curvy nice shape seen from the front and a straight front and flat tummy seen from the side.
Since we are working with a block that is based on your hip measurement the reduction will be like this, hang on now because here comes the most “complicated” math part in the entire tutorial!
Hip 31,5 inches (80 cm) – waist 25,2 inches (64 cm) + reduction 3,9 inches (10 cm) = 10,2 inches (26 cm)
Divide this in two since we are only working with half a pattern. That gives you the number 5,1 inches (13 cm)
The measurement that you will remove from your pattern in the waist is therefore 5,1 inches (13 cm)
I will do that this way
1,6 inches (4 cm) on each side of the side piece
1,2 inches (3 cm) in the back
0,8 inches (2 cm) in the front
Mark out 1,6 inches (4 cm) on the waistline on each side of the side panel and connect them with straight lines were the side panels lines reaches the under bust line.
Connect with the side panel’s bottom edge with a nice curve; this curve gives the shape of the hips. It can take some practice to make them look exactly alike and nice in the shape, I get some help by using a tailor’s ruler with a curve on.
Now you are going to draft the other two pieces on the front of the corset, what you are drafting is the last seam dividing these to pieces. I choose to divide the space between the other two seams in half to get two even pieces. Here the distance was 3,9 inches (10 cm), so I put a mark on the middle; at 2,5 inches (5 cm)
Then I mark out the 0,8 inches (2 cm) I am going to reduce in this seam. In other words put 0,4 inches (1 cm) on each side of the mark you just did.
Draw a perpendicular line from the waist to the hip line and under bust line.
Connect the marks from waist to hip line and under bust line with straight lines.
Because I want two panels on the back to so I do the same thing here as I did on the front. I measure the distance between the seam at the side panel and the line of the back opening and divide that measurement; which is here 4,5 inches (11,5 cm) in two.
In the same way as of the front pieces I put a mark in the middle and put out my reduction 1,2 inches (3 cm), in other words 0,6 inches (1,5 cm) on each side of the mark you just did.
Even here you draw a perpendicular line from waist and to hip line and under bust line and then connect the marks from waist to under bust line and from waist to hip line with straight lines.
Control measure that the waist measurement on the pattern is correct. The measurement you should have is your waist measurement – reduction – opening in back, divided in two. According to my measurements 25,2 inches (64 cm) – 3,9 inches (10cm) – 2,4 inches (6 cm) /2 = 9,4 inches (24 cm)
One could think that now this whole pattern drafting ordeal is finished, but that is not really the case, not yet but we are getting there I promise.
Because we started out using the hip measurement when we drafted the block in the beginning, the measurement that is now on the under bust line is not correct. (if you have the same measurement of your under bust as your hip you can ignore the steps that is about this and go on to the ones after this).
The hip measurement is 31,5 inches (80 cm) when the under bust measurement is 28,3 inches (72 cm), this makes it to big in the top at the moment, to see how much you need to remove we will make some calculations.
Hip 31,5 inches (80 cm) – opening in back 2,4 inches (6 cm) = 29,1 inches (74 cm)
Under bust 28,3 inches (72 cm) – opening in back 2,4 inches (6 cm) = 26 inches (66 cm)
29,1 inches (74 cm) – 26 inches (66 cm) = 3,1 inches (8 cm)
3,1 inches (8 cm) is the difference between the under bust measurement and the hip measurement – the opening in the back. This we need to divide in two since we are only drafting half a corset. 3,1 inches (8 cm) /2 = 1,6 inches (4 cm)
You have to remove 1,6 inches (4 cm) from the width of the top of your pattern, this we do evenly over the whole pattern and as we have 4 seams that we have reduced in we will take out 0,4 inches (1 cm) from every seam, evenly on both parts of the pattern pieces.
A little exception from what I just said is that we do not remove anything from the side piece. There we remove the 0,4 inches (1 cm) from the pieces connected with it in stead.
Put out 0,4 inches (1cm) on the panels, draw new lines and erase the old.
In the seams in front and back you put out 0,2 inches on each side of the middle line (0,4 inches (1 cm) together), draw new lines and erase the old.
It is time to control the measurement of your under bust line. The measurement of your pattern pieces together should be under bust measurement – opening in back divided in two. According to my measurements 28,3 inches (72 cm) – 2,4 inches (6 cm)/2 = 13 inches (33 cm)
Now it is time to draw the shape of the bottom of your corset and also the top.
We decided from the beginning that it should dip down in the front, or the same thing it goes up over the hip. 1,2 inches (3 cm) to be exact, mark out 1,2 inches (3 cm) up on the middle line on the side piece.
Draw a perpendicular line straight over the side piece.
Connect the raise on the hip with the front and the back pieces in a nice shape.
We also wanted it to go up a bit in the front. We raise the center front line with 1 inch (2,5 cm). Then you draw your desired shape, the shape can be made in a thousand different ways, I like it slightly rounded.
On this corset we also wanted a “high back”, that is also a matter of taste but it helps preventing bulging in the back, a muffin top as it is also called.
We chose to have it 7,9 inches (20 cm) up from the waistlines, elongate your middle back line (the opening in back line to be exactly) and draw a perpendicular line from that.
Then form your “high back”, remember the side piece, it can be strenuous if your “high back” started to early, it might chafe.
The seam of your back pieces follows up in your “high back”, extend your middle line of the seam that you made before and continue your seams until they meet naturally, after that what becomes your seams is the middle line.
Now measure your seams so that they correspond, be extra careful at the panels connected with the side panel, there one line is straight and one is curved. You almost always need to make the straight line longer to accommodate for the curve. I had to make my lines 0,2 inch (4mm) longer, it might look odd on the paper but a curved line is longer than a straight so it works out in the end.
Even out the sharp angles that are in the waist.
Number your pattern pieces.
I also put out letters in the bottom corners, this makes it really simple what parts belongs together.
Cut your pieces out, you are now finished with your pattern!
Some words along the way
We are all difference and out bodies act different, this makes it harder when It comes to pattern drafting a piece with such a tight fit, nothing is 100% secure. Some can lace in more and some can lace in less. This does that I cannot promise you that the pattern you get from this tutorial will fit just perfect right away, but this is the way that I draft my patterns. Before completing this tutorial I made a corset out of the pattern I got from this tutorial for Sofia whose measurements we have used all along this tutorial, without making mock up, ant it fitted beautifully
If you have a really expensive fabric It can be smart to make a mock up before cutting in it. When it comes to corset sewing you cannot really tell if the corset fits and works before it is almost done. A corset mockup should be sewn in to layers of non stretch fabric (twill works fine, coutil is the best and when working with coutil you only need one layer for the mock up) and all the boning and grommets need to be put in to get a accurate fit on the mock up and to be able to see the shape.