Introduction: How to Make an Underbust Corset

About: I'm a designer, Illustrator, seamstress, jewelery maker, jack of all crafts. I love to bring my imagination to life for everyone to enjoy. I hope that these tutorials will help you bring your own imaginations …

This tutorial will show you how to make your very own
Unique under bust corset.

This one I'm making here is an air themed one.
Better photos to come.

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Step 1: What You'll Need

1. A Corset pattern (I'm using a vogue pattern here but really any overbust corset pattern will do)

2. 1/8wide Spiral steel bones (or flat steel your choice)
for a more sturdy corset you can also use 1/4wide or 1/2 wide

3. 1.5 yards fashion fabric, I'm using dupioni silk

4. 1.5 yards imported Coutil fabric

5. size 00 grommets and setter

6. an awl

7. sewing machine & essentials (pins, duck strength sewing machine needles seam ripper, matching thread, scissors)

8. beads or swarovski crystals

9. clear beading thread

10. fuseable web you can find it with the interfacing at the fabric store. It looks like a sheet made of spiderwebs

11. An iron with a good steam setting

12. optional a 3-4 thread serger

13. 1 busk

Step 2: Mock Up 1

I always start by making a mock up. (Trust me this will save you
a lot of stress and wasted fabric later. It's worth the time I promise ^_~)

I use very heavy duck fabric to make them out of.
Look for something that is really stiff and can hold it's own shape.
You could use coutil, but it tends to run about $30 a yard so I
don't really find it worth it.

Once I got my fabric I started by cutting out my corset pattern.
Be sure to mark your grain lines on the mockup as we'll be using it
as a pattern once it's fitted.

Now If you are using the vogue pattern I am keep in mind it's kind of silly and we're just using it for a basic shape.
ignore the 2 facing panels entirely and renumber the pieces so they are in a progressive order from 1-6.
Theirs seem to have a wacky numbering scheme that is confusing when you try to put the pieces together.

Step 3: Mock Up 2

pin together pieces 1+2 3+4 5+6 along seams and stitch down.
Set your seam allowance at 5/8

Then stitch together 2 and 3 seam & 4 and 5 seam so you get one piece.
For ease fitting sew together the two sides at center front.

press seams over to once side and sew down. These are your boning channels
for your mockup. slip bones into the channels.

Step 4: Mock Up 3

Cut out a 2 strips of coutil and set it with grommets and sew it to the edge of piece 6
these are handy dandy lacing rails. they can be pulled off and attached for every corset you make
so you don't have to set every mock up with grommets.

Step 5: Mock Up 4

Lace yourself or your model into the mockup. mark on it where it needs
adjusting, and draw the line along the top for where you want the corset to sit under the bust.

seam rip apart 1/2 of the mockup and trim or recut pieces however they need to be adjusted.
now we have our pattern!

Step 6: Cut Out Your Pieces

Lay out your mock up pieces onto your fashion fabric.
Make sure the arrows are going with the grain of your fabric.
This is very important for a corset to stretch around your correctly.

Cut out pieces
2 of each of fashion fabric
2 each of coutil
2 each of fuseable web

Step 7: Fuseing Your Fashion Layer

For each piece, trim down the fuseable web so it is just a little smaller
than your fashion & coutil pieces.

Lay down your coutil piece, then lay the web on top, and lastly place the wrong side of your fashion
fabric down on top of the web. Heat your iron up to a heavy steam layer and got over the piece
until the layers are firmly glued together without any bubbles or wrinkles.

Step 8: Optional

I like to serge the edges of the fashion fabric pieces to prevent fraying.
If you own a serger just serge around all of the sides of the pieces.
If not just skip this step and head onwards.

Step 9: Putting Your Pieces Together

Just as you did with your mockup
pin together pieces 1+2 3+4 5+6 along seams and stitch down.
Set your seam allowance at 5/8

Then stitch together 2 and 3 seam & 4 and 5 seam so you get one piece.
clip the curves

press seams over to once side and sew down. These are your boning channels
for your mockup. slip bones into the channels.

Step 10: Adding Your Bones

Measure your casings leaving 1/4 of an inch top and bottom.
Order bones for each casing according to measurements.

I tend to get mine here
You can get your busks, washers and Grommets here as well.

Slip your bones into their appropriate casings until you have them in
with 1/4 and inch of fabric above and below each bone.

Step 11: Getting Fancy With It

If you want to get fancy with your corset, now is the time to do it
so that your paint goes all the way to the binding and the busk and all
of the ragged knot eds of your beading thread will be hidden inside of your lining.

Lay each side of your corset next to each other.
In light pencil draw out your design.
With a fine paint brush, paint the design onto the fabric.
I used Lumiere gold fabric paint. You really just need a little creativity, some confidence, and a thin brush.
Don't worry, if you make a mistake, generally you can make it into something cool that looks intentional.
Allow the paint to dry.

With clear thread thread the needle and make a large knot. Go through the fabric leaving the knot on the wrong side,
pass through the bead and back through the fabric. Go through the bead 3-4 times before knotting the thread on the wrong side.
It is important to knot after each bead, if you don't and one bead comes off, your whole line will fall off. I used Swarovski crystals
for my beading here. Make sure to keep your beads 1/2 inch away from all the seams & the center front so you can sew your pieces together.

Step 12: Lineing

Next sew together the lining just as you sewed the outer layer together.
Do not serge the edges or it will be slightly smaller than your fashion layer.

Step 13: Setting the Busk

Turn under & press both sides of the center front & the lining 1/4inch.
Lay the two pieces of the center front together and lay busk sides on top of each side.
Move it until you have an even space above and below the busk.
Mark the top and bottom with a pin.

Slip the busk side with the hooks in between the lining & fashion fabrics and pin.
With invisable zipper foot stitch along the edge until you get to a hook pick up the presser foot
and needle and move to the inside of hook, stitch until other side, pick it up again and stitch to
the next hook & repeat until you hit the end.

Slip the knob side in between the layers on the other side of the corset.
With a pen mark where each knob is and take busk side out.
With an awl gently make a hole at each marking and slide the knobs into each hole.
Stitch down lining & fashion fabric at center front.

Step 14: Binding

At center back Turn under your lining and fashion fabric and sew down.
Sew a straight line 1/4 of an inch from each edge & slip a bone in.
This bone will keep your grommets from taking too much strain.

Measure along the top and bottom of each side of your corset.
Cut 4 strips of your fashion fabric about 1.5 inches wide and long enough to go
along each side with 1/4 of an inch extra on each side.

Pin strips at top and bottom of each side with right sides together leaving 1/4 inch of binding
overlapping each side. Stitch down with machine.
Pull over the fabric and turn over & pin on the inside of the corset.
Slip stitch the binding down by hand to the lining.
Finish the edges like this

Step 15: Grommets.

For a simple easy way to space your grommets I tend to buy a lacing bone to use as a quick template.
Lay the lacing bone next to the edge bone and make the holes with a sharpie or pen.
Carefully cut out each hole and set the grommets in them with the Grommet setter.

Step 16: Finished!

Tah Dah!
Your corset is done.
If you prefer you can also make yourself a modesty panel to go underneith
your laces, I myself prefer to always make one, but that's really up to your taste.

For more of my costumes please visit

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Photos by M.G. Norris Contemporary Photography

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