Instructables

How to Make a Steampunk Corset

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Estimated Cost: ~$30-$50 (more if you don't already own the necessary tools)
Estimated completion time: 10-15 hours
Difficulty: Moderate but accessible to newcomers
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I have been making corsets for a few years now and I frequently receive emails from
people requesting tips and advice on how to get started. Also, I understand that depending
on their nature, corsets can be quite expensive and therefore not accessible to everyone.

I have spent considerable effort constructing a method for making a corset requiring the
least amount of technical knowledge, expensive tools and tedium I could manage. Even
so, there is still a lot of work involved. Please read the entire instructable before beginning.

If you have trouble seeing the details in any of the images click in on the little i in the top
left corner to view the image in its original format. Feel free to ask questions if something
is unclear or left out. The first image of each step is out of order so as to better illustrate
what that step entails in the thumbnails.

Also, please leave a comment with a photo of your finished work should you make your
own. I would love to see what people come up with!

UPDATE 8/11/2011: Corset pattern updated to include a better range of sizes and to allow for printing
on printers unable to print to the edge of 8x11 paper.

 
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I know I am a dude, but I have always been interested in Victorian/Steampunk fashions and I would like to make one of these for my wife. Here's the problem. i am not sure I can adjust the pattern to fit her properly. She is a good sized women, which I love :o), so I am not sure how this will translate for the larger size folks. Any tips you can give me would be greatly apperciated. Thanks.
lw119 (author)  mrscarlet34343 years ago
Give me a week or so to find the time but I will draft a plus size version of the pattern and upload it along size the other. I have made corsets for a very wide range of sizes and I find them universally appealing. Generally the technique is the same, however often times (and this applies to any size) if you're unsure the pattern is going to fit properly it's best to make a test run with some less expensive fabric and make adjustments based of that.

If you run into any trouble with the new pattern feel free to PM me and I can give you more detailed help. My apologies for not accommodating all sizes initially. Best of luck!
Thank you for the reply. I really apperciate it and so does my wife. I will keep checking back.
Kvozza133 years ago
Wonderful instructable been meaning to make a corset for some time really heavy into steampunk, i'm having a hard time printing your pattern it comes out to small and off center in certain areas i turned of page scaling any tips. thank you.
lw119 (author)  Kvozza133 years ago
Try this:

1. Click the pattern link.
2. Click on file (top left)
3. Click download original and save it to your computer
4. Open it locally in the latest copy of Adobe reader

If you are still having trouble it is most likely that your printer software is doing something. When you go to print click on properties and browse through your printer options and see if there is another scaling feature enabled. Hope this helps.
Jenn Nelson3 years ago
Nicely done!

@Zanaji- I did a leather corset recently with a medium weight leather, a good viking sewing machine, and regular needles. It came out just fine. However, you will need a leather punch to make the grommet holes. Good luck!
Zanaji3 years ago
Could these instructions be used with real leather? I have some wonderful soft deer leather that I would love to use for this. It is thin enough that you could probably sew it with standard needles instead of a bladed leather needle.
lw119 (author)  Zanaji3 years ago

I have never attempted it with real leather, but I suppose if the leather were thin enough it would work just fine. You might even be able you forgo the coutil layer. I wish I could be more help but I do not have much experience with leather working. Best of luck to you!

lw119 (author)  lw1193 years ago
Helpful tip someone posted on facebook

Petra wrote:
"Great instructable! Just a quick note for the person who asked if it could be done with real leather, it can, but you would need the coutil layer. Leather, especially soft, thin leather stretches like crazy and tears quite easy."
alake31 month ago

Hi. I love the look of the corset! I will be dressing up as Steampunk Ariel from the Little Mermaid and wanted to use this pattern. However I'm having trouble following the instructions (I've never made anything like this before). I was wondering if you had a YouTube video tutorial on how to put this pattern together?

Thanks!

ghadden5 months ago
What modifications would I need to make to this pattern to get the "green hemp twill underbust corset"? Do you think this pattern would be easily modified?
rossanneh1 year ago
Hi, um, should the back left and back side left be the same length? Mine aren't and I'm sure I've done it right. Also, I'm not sure which bits fit together :(. Is there anyone that could help please?
ah ok I know what half the problem is - I crossed over my left and right when marking the pattern. But I'm still not sure about which bits go where
rossanneh1 year ago
Hi, Which sewing machine needles are you using for this? I'm having trouble getting the settings right to stop the thread looping on the underside of the fabric. I'm using one layer of coutil and one of faux suede. I've just sent off for the exact threads you use to see if that helps. Thankyou :)
lw119 (author)  rossanneh1 year ago
I used the general purpose Singer style 2020 needles. But I think the issue you are having is from incorrect thread tension. In your case it is probably the lower one, so try tightening it to see is that helps. Also try seating your bobbin and tugging on the thread to make sure it turns freely. It could be that your bobbin is obstructed or warped.
rossanneh1 year ago
I have a tip for people cellotaping the pattern together - use electrical tape first. It peels off easily and you can use it to get it just right, and then use normal cellotape. I had to bin my first pattern because by the time I got to sticking the last page on I'd realised I hadn't been half as perfectionist as I'd needed to be when matching the circles
rossanneh1 year ago
Hi, Could someone help me with something please? I'm adjusting the pattern vertically at the moment, but the "side front" piece doesn't have an underbust line. Does that mean I need to measure from the top of the piece to the waist instead? Sorry if that's a dumb question, I'm new to clothes making.
rossanneh1 year ago
Sorry found it and get it now :)
rossanneh1 year ago
Hi, Thankyou so much for this! I'm really looking forward to giving it a go. I'm spending time first reading through it to make sure I understand all the steps.

I have a question - I can't seem to find figure 4-5? Have I just overlooked it? I'm having trouble understanding the instructions - how to find the intersections when changing the pattern to fit your body shape.
ata1anta1 year ago
Thank you. I haven't tried making a steel boned corset yet, but these instructions look great! I plan on making the outer layer leather (and having done leather work for years, I know how stretchy it is!). IMO if you have a good sturdy foundation, the outer layer can be a more decorative fabric, like a brocade or leather. I'm going to pair this with a cargo kilt adapted to a skirt for my costume.

Pics when complete.
PuzzleJenn1 year ago
I can't access the edge pattern file. I really want to try making one of these, I'll be using real leather, though, and wonder what you think of that, and if you have any suggestions for the liner fabric if using leather, should I still go with your original recommendation? This will be my first corset (making, not wearing) and I want it to be really comfortable, even though I know I'm CRAZY for wanting to wear a leather corset in the heat of the summer....

Anyway, I'm getting off track. I can't get the edge pattern, and would really appreciate it if you could fix the link? Please? :)
The link for the pdf (so i can print the pattern ) is not working, is there an other way to get it? or is the link elsewhere ?
many thanks
Erika.
eosophobik1 year ago
I cannot get the link for the Edge Pattern in Step 9 to work. Is that PDF still available?
heavensent1 year ago
Hello I am looking for a corset pattern that has yet too be made so I'm going to try and make it myself any tips on how to would be great. It's like an underbust but with a underwire bustier { underwire bra built right in } please if anyone has any tips I would realy appreciate them. Thanks Gena
Chance271 year ago
Did I miss something? I've looked a number of times, and I didn't see anywhere that your Instructable says what size of busk to you? It's great, but I think I am missing something.

Chance
CsPele2 years ago
I was just wondering if after step 1 do you remove the machine basting?
lw119 (author)  CsPele2 years ago
There is probably no need to remove the machine basting but you can if you want. If you have a very tight waist though leaving it in might facilitate puckering in which case you defiantly want to take it out.
RavenT692 years ago
Where do you get your coutil? I have had a very hard time finding any online, or anywhere in person.
lw119 (author)  RavenT692 years ago
My favorite is Richard the Thread (you can order online). They have everything you need for corsets and I usually get my items within two business days of placing my order.
I am extremely over gifted in the bust region, and every corset I have purchased has failed at holding up the ladies. I was wondering if you had any advise towards this issue. I am thinking about adding straps to my latest waist of money, and see if that helps, but the straps will probably tear at the weight of my lady lumps. Any ideas are welcome!
I have the same problem. I think the best solution for women like us is to use a different top underneath and wear a shorter corset actually under the bust. This works for me. Here is a picture of kind of what I am talking about. http://www.yzemall.com/images/v/201107/13119304890.jpg
lw119 (author)  dandries bauswell2 years ago
I am afraid that with an underbust corset the best thing you can do to give yourselves the proper support (particularly the over gifted) is to wear a bra with your corset. The bustier type bras are the bust because the corset will overlap it. Otherwise you might find the the top edge of the corset will trying to turn under the lower edge of your bra.

If you could get your hands on an overbust that would be a different story. At some point in the far distance future I might make an overbust pattern but I just don't have the time for it right now. I recommend finding a custom corset seller on Etsy that will make you a bespoke overbust corset. Just make sure they use coutil fabric and steel bones. Message me is you want a recommendation.

Shoulder straps would help center the breasts over the front of the corset but I don't think it will give you what your are looking for.
Another website I love is Fabric.com. They have a...thing where when they restock a fabric it's $1.95/yd no matter what the fabric is. Not to mention some awesome sales. :)
lw119 (author)  GirlOfAllTrades2 years ago
I order from them quite frequently too. They are great.
polymathone2 years ago
I absolutely adore your instructable, and the fact that I've finally found a corset instructable that even I, as a novice, can follow! However.... I've come unstuck at the first hurdle, i.e. printing US letter size on A4. Do you happen to have any idea how someone like me (read: no pattern adjustment experience), could convert the pattern to A4? Apologies, if this sounds a bit dumb, but thought I'd ask. :S
lw119 (author)  polymathone2 years ago
Sorry, for taking forever to get back. I have not been logging in a lot lately. I imagine you have found a solution by now but it not...

I think you will be all right if you let your printer use it's shrink to fit function. A4 is only a touch narrow then Letter size but longer in length. As long as your match the corner marks correctly you should end up with a corset that is only marginally tighter then if you had printed it on Letter size paper.
TerriMcD3 years ago
I would LOVE to try this pattern and instructions. There appears to be a table missing for knowing which pattern size to use...might this be available soon? Thank you so much! These are amongst the best instructions I have seen for corset making. Your time and expertise is greatly appreciated.
lw119 (author)  TerriMcD3 years ago
The table is back but I made a calculation error when I graded the pattern so is is only available in small sizes at the moment. I will be uploading an improved version in the next day or two that will accommodate a much wider range of sizes. Thanks.
TerriMcD lw1193 years ago
Thank you! I will eagerly keep checking back :)
lw119 (author)  TerriMcD2 years ago
Just letting you know it won't be much longer now. I accidentally saved over the original pattern so I had to redraft the whole thing lol. Will teach me to create backups of my patterns.
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