As a student of the Advanced Couture Sewing Techniques course at The Art Institute of Colorado and current intern of First Class Fashionista, I wanted to share a replica of an Yves Saint Laurent corset I created with you. This corset was created with techniques I learned while taking the course, as well as inspiration from my visit to the YSL Retrospective Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum back in May 2012.
After creating and determining the design details within the garment, I went to the fabric store and chose the fabrics, lining, trim, interlining, underlining and notions. I selected 1 ½” yards 100% Dupioni Silk as a fashion fabric, 1 ½” yards of 100% Bemberg Rayon as the lining, 1 yard of wool underlining, 1 yard of horsehair interlining, spiral steel boning for all seams at measured amounts, two packages of ¾ inch twill tape, 1 yard of grosgrain ribbon, 1 package of grommets, 2 yards of lace and matching thread for the lining and fashion fabric.
To begin the process of constructing the corset, first adjust the pattern pieces. Determine the waistline and mark ½-3/4″ below the actual waistline of all pattern pieces. This part of the process will keep the corset from sliding down as it is worn. Next make the waistline of the lining pattern pieces ¾” narrower than original pattern pieces. Make the fashion fabric pattern pieces ¾ wider than original pattern pieces, this step will create a well-structured corset due to the many layers within the corset. The amount taken away or added will be divided by the number of panels within the corset design.
For the construction of the boned corset top, cut the lining pattern pieces out of the horsehair interfacing. Cut the grosgrain ribbon the length of the waistline, minus ¾”. Construct the horsehair interfacing with a plain stitch with ½” seam allowance. Construct the center fronts to the left and right side front, side fronts to the left and right side backs and the side backs to both the left and right cbacks.
Step 3. Use the couture technique of catch stitching the seam allowance of the horsehair interfacing down to ensure for correct form and shape.
To use steel boning, first you must create the casing for the boning. Create the casing for the boning buy utilizing plain edge stitch and an entire package of twill tape. After plain stitching the twill tape, slide the determined boning into the twill tape, cut off the allowance (leaving enough to finish the edges) and secure the ends. Once all boning pieces are encased, create a bar stitch at the edge of the twill tape to ensure the boning will not slide out of the casing.
After the boning is encased, attach the boning and casing within the horsehair interlining seams. Plain stitch the edges of the casing in the seams of the horsehair interlining. Make sure to only stitch the edge or you will likely break a needle. Also make sure the boning does not stick out of the seam allowance or else your corset will have bulky edges. Insert the boning to the side front, side back and center back seams using the plain stitch. Insert the grosgrain ribbon through all panels ending 1″ from the closure at each end. Edge stitch the grosgrain ribbon down to the horsehair interlining. Using a plain stitch, make sure to skipping over the boning.
Construct the corset fashion fabric using a plain stitch with right sides together. Construct the center front to the side front using ½” seam allowance. Plain stitch the side front to the side back and the side back to the center back on both left and right sides using ½” seam allowance. Press seams open. Insert the wool flannel without seam allowance into the seam allowance of the fashion fabric. Get the flannel as close to the edge and under the seam allowance as possible. Once all flannel is in place catch stitch the seam allowances down to the flannel, making sure to not go through the fashion fabric’s right side.
Create the four bound button holes on the center front right panel. Construct the collar for the top of the corset. Plain stitch the two matching collar pieces right sides together. Leaving the top end open, trim the seam allowance and push corners out. Repeat this step for the second collar. With right sides together, plain stitch the opening of the collar to the top neck line corset on both left and right sides using ½” seam allowance.
Make the facing/lining for the corset. Plain stitch with right sides together the center front facings to the center front linings, using ¼” seam allowance press seams open. Plain stitch the side front facing to the side front lining, as well as the side back facing to the side back lining and the center back facing to the center back lining. Press all seams open. Next construct the center front lining and facing to the side front lining and facing. Construct the side front lining and facing to the side back lining and facing using 1/2” seam allowance. Then connect the side back lining and facing to the center back lining and facing, press seams open.
Create the bound button holes on the lining center front right by cutting a slit the same size as the button hole. Slip stitch the raw edge to the wrong side. Create the button hole lips from the fashion fabric and insert them to the lining button hole slit by slip stitching.
Sandwich the lining/facing right side up, fashion fabrics facing down and the underlining structure with boning facing up. Pin seams and plain stitch around the neckline, left and right sides and center back, leaving the hem open. Trim the corners and seam allowance down, turn right side out, push corners out and press all seams flat. Twice fold the hem of the corset with a slip stitch to finish the hem.
Step 10: Insert five grommets spaced 2” apart on the left and right center back and add lace as a finishing touch.
After following the above steps, you’ve now successfully created a professional corset from the inside out, congratulations!!! It is a lot of work, but it’s well worth it and a project you will never forget.
Here is mine.
First Class Fashionista fans that attempt this time consuming but rewarding project, send your final pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will showcase your fashion designs.
(Facebook shout outs of the week go to Jessica Davis and Amber Jessica Thoutt in Arvada, Colorado, Erin L. McCrory in Denver, Colorado, Amy Moody in Jacksonville, North Carolina and Rose Lundeen in Mesa, Arizona)