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corset making

reddragonfly | Posted in General Discussion on

I am thinking about starting a custom corsetry buisiness.   Has anyone out there ever done anything like this before.  I’m currently making samples indifferent styles.  I did my wedding dress and I’m doing a mermaid costume for Halloween.  Any information or advice would be appreciated.  Thanks


  1. ryansmum | | #1

    I live in Los angeles and knew a talented designer who was studying welding for fashion design purposes!!!  I was stunned. He said that Madonna's corsets were welded. Who would have thought.

    1. lin327 | | #2

      I'm not surprised! I have an old German book of costume history and in it are engravings and wood cuttings of heavy metal corsets...for men.  They seemed to be of thick iron bars.  And in an old Mid Victorian magazine there's an ad for a lightweight flexible spring steel corset, with patented moving rivets, to offer the paragon of comfort for the modern active woman.   Suddenly, underwires in the bra don't seem so bad.

      1. ElonaM | | #3

        Amazing what people do to alter their shape, isn't it?

        Back in the 70s, I think it was, Raquel Welch was in a terrific version of The Three Musketeers. She said that the costumes were pretty authentic, so the ladies wore the ferocious corsets of the time, but as if that wasn't enough, they also were supposed to wear the "stomacher," which was a kind of board that you put from navel to bosom to kind of flatten them from below, and push 'em as high as possible. The other female leads, Faye Dunaway and Geraldine Chaplin, had rather slight builds, and they could wear the stomacher without problem. Welch said she tried it, and it was just too much! She overflowed and then some. She said she looked like a cartoon, and told the director she wasn't going to do it, so she alone got a costume waiver. Probably just as well. From the sound of things, if she had worn the stomacher, no one would have noticed anything else on the screen.

        1. lin327 | | #4

          It's also surprising the number of historical re-enacters who insist on that level of authenticity, in spite of the discomfort. I prefer to make things inspired by history, yet comforatable to my modern spoiled-by-lycra body Yet, in the theater...such as Stratford... they try to make the actors somewhat comfortable.  I took a tour of their costume department...(My fanatasy job)  and as one designer worded it..."They need enough breathing space to belt out the arias and the soliloquies.  It looks bad if our stars faint during performances."

          **suddenly imagining raquel welch in stomacher...trying to erase picture from head**

          1. carolfresia | | #5

            I was just looking at a website (http://www.tutu.com) on making professional tutus, and they said that tutu bodices have about 1/2 inch of ease. I wondered if this is possible--how could a dancer move or breath with that little space? These bodices are not meant to be made of stretch fabric. But it's rare to see a ballerina faint, I guess, so it must be OK?!


          2. User avater
            ehBeth | | #6

            I went to a performance of Iphegenie en Tauride by Opera Atelier on Saturday night.  Their amazing costume designer, Dora Rust D-eye, was one of the pre-concert speakers.  She talked about the corsets for this show - 15 metal rods and hockey laces to get the right shape.  It was amazing to here about the sources of fabric etc - and of her assistant who did 5 metres of cartridge pleating on each of 14 costumes!

            Here's something by Dora about historical costuming and corsets ... http://www.operaatelier.com/making/figaro/costume.shtml

            You know hearing her speak - and seeing the costumes - just makes me want to change careers (insane I know - but she is simply inspirational).

          3. lin327 | | #7

            I once made a figure skating costume based on a tutu pattern.  Normally, when I base a skating costume on a non-costume pattern;  I have to cut the patterns back so the fabric will stretch and not sag.  I didn't need to on this  and I wondered if was a mistake on my part...now I know it wasn't.

            I think with all else that pains a ballerina...what with little pointe shoes and the like...the tutu might still be the most comfortable thing. :-)

          4. anneelsberry | | #8

            A lot of times the ease comes from the fabric stretching because its wet with perspiration. We sometimes have to take bodices in from show to show because of the stretch.

          5. Barbaran8 | | #9

            Having been one of the historical re-enacters, I will just state for the record, that I would ***MUCH*** rather wear a properly fitted corset, than an overly tight pair of jeans - something that many modern day women think nothing of....

          6. callie1 | | #10

                 I have to agree, a well-made corset is much more comfortable than a tight pair of jeans, or high heels.  If you've never tried it you can't decry it.  Especially with the spiral steel boning available today which bends side to side and gives a lot more freedom of movement.  I wore one for my wedding and recently made a mermaid costume for Halloween with a corset top.  I wore it to work on Friday and my back has never felt better after sitting in a crappy computer chair all day.  I'm considering making a plain one to wear on the sly to work.  Just a thought.  I'm glad we have a choice to wear them or not though, there are a lot of activities I wouldn't want to wear a corset for. 

          7. CTI | | #11

            "I wore it to work on Friday and my back has never felt better after sitting in a crappy computer chair all day. "

            Wow, I am interested! I doubt I'm skilled enough to make one, but I'd like to know the general style of yours, such as how far up your back does it go, does it extend below your waist, lace up the front?

            Your mermaid costume sounds wonderful. Do you have a picture? 

          8. callie1 | | #16

            I will have pictures of the costume soon and I'll try to scan one in.  It's just a simple corset that comes to just over the nipple in front and goes pretty much straight around to the back.  The front comes to a bit of a point and the length is about 8 inches below the waist.  It has a busk in front and laces up the back. 

          9. Crafty_Manx | | #12

            A properly-made, properly-fitting corset can be SO comfortable.  I wouldn't want to wear one on a daily basis, but there have been times (especially those days when you wake up with a sore achy back) that I've been tempted to put it on instead of a bra :-P


          10. FitnessNut | | #13

            Why not? Sounds like a good plan to me!!!!

  2. BlueSwan | | #14

    Hi,  I have done just that myself. Around a bit over a year ago I started my own corset business, http://www.blueswancorsets.com.  Be careful it is allot of work and time. I have been making corsets on my own for over 12 years. It has been an obession for me for years.  The main thing is you have to have extremely good patterning skills.  You cannot be even a 1/16th of an inch off.  Also your mail man will hate you when you recive orders of steel boning in gross. 


    1. callie1 | | #15

      Wow! I looked at your site and your corsets are amazing.  How many people do you have working for you?  Do you do most of your sales on the internet or do you have a retail site?  How did you first start selling your corsets? 

      I've been sewing for 25 years and I started making corsets about three years ago.  Compared to making art quilts or many other things, corsets seem to me to be not that hard to do.  Except the grommets.  Got to hate the grommets.  It seems like an item that people actually appreciate the hand sewn quality of and are willing to pay a price that's worth my time.  Plus I have fallen in love with making them and can't just continue to make them for myself. 

      Any advice would be much appreciated.  thanks so much.

      1. BlueSwan | | #17

        Wow thanks,

        Auctually It is just my partner and I who make them.  I do almost all my business through the internet and Ebay.  I decided to start the business a little over a year ago when I lost my job doing interior design,and decided to venture off on my own. Suzanne my partner joined in.  I personally do not find them difficult to make, but I understand allot of people do.  The biggest challange I have found is Vinyl, that stuff is a nightmare.   We make ours in a very 1700's way.  We have 3 layers, and then quilt the channels verses the boning tape method. 

        Check out the site I just updated the gallery to include some more work.


        1. User avater
          ehBeth | | #18

          FAbulous! I am saving your site to favourites. I can imagine a wonderful gift for myself. Happy birthday to me!

    2. rjf | | #19

      Are those gorgeous fabrics hidden by outer wear?  Too bad!!  I love your swan logo...so elegant.        rjf

      1. BlueSwan | | #20

        Most of our corsets are for outerwear, for under clothing or utility we often do simple cottons so they beathe better. Thanks, on the logo I designed it myself.

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