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Karin | Posted in The Archives on

Has anyone ever had much to do with building in a corset in a strapless dress. I am a dressmaker in Melbourne, Australia and more and more I find I am having to build in corsets in these type of dresses. I don’t have any huge problems with this but I am interested if their is anyone else who does this. I use poly boning on a cotton fabric with bra cups. Then this is placed between lining and outer fabric. Is there an easier way?



  1. Bill_Stewart | | #1

    Karin, its the only way I know to get the proper support, unless the dress is so light weight and closely fitted through cup area that it stays up without it. I don't always use the cups, just the in-between foundation and boning. I prefer rigilene - 6 strands of monofilamnet held together with a weft of polyester cords - thin and can stitch right through it - no casing required, just lap scraps around the cut ends when stitching down to foundation. Insome I have resorted to almost a canvas to have the strength for the control the client wants and had to use a heavy metal separating zipper anmd waist 1/2 belt to be able to close it, then close dress with a second zipper. Some clients need all the help they can get and more. Bill

    1. Karin | | #2

      *Thanks Bill for your info and I too use the rigilene 6 strands. I have found that the best and quickest way of putting boning in, bust sometimes it's hard to get cups in the right spot. Most of the girls are quiet shy about not wearing a bra at all and feel more secure about having cups in the dress. I make them myself most of the time from wadding covered in stocking. Do you do this at all?

      1. Bill_Stewart | | #3

        *Karin, being male and fitting females is even more of a challenge. I won't fit without a chaperone or my wife present. As to making them, no I don't - mainly becasue of the ease of buying readymade in 3-4 styles. Getting them in the right place is hard alright. I normally put a pin where the apex of the bust appears to be and then have the person remove the item so I can pin them inside and try again. Sometimes, mainly the Mother, is most co-operative in placaement and adjustment. PS> This is so neat to talk to someone 1/2 way around the world. Bill

        1. Karin | | #4

          *Dear Bill I too think it's fantastic to speak to someone on in another part of the world. Where abouts are you from exactly? i never really thought of it about you being a male, of course it would be so difficult trying to fit and understand how it "feels" around the breast area. LOL :)I know of the ready made corsets that you can buy but most of the girls are too scumbag to purchase them. Little do they realise it ends up costing them more for me to build them in, but it comes down to being "penny wise and pound foolish" I hate doing corsets and so I charge them a fortune to do it! What do you mainly sew? Do you do mens and ladies wear? What sort of setup do you have? Is it in your home or a shopfront? I'd love to know all these questions because I don't have anyone I know of in Australia close enough to ask these sorts of things. What sort of mirror situation do you have and what do you have on the floor in you sewing room? We are building another house and I'm not sure what to put on the floor. My current house has a seperate studio from the house and is about 10 feet by 16 feet but my new house has a bigger room for me about 19 feet by 12 feet, so I can't wait till it's finnished being built. Would love to keep chatting to you, you sound interesting. Regards Karin

          1. Donna_Posey | | #5

            *Hi KarinI just read your message. A "Threads" article named "Wedding Gown Tips" No. 39 and another article describing how to bone Bustiers {I have to locate that mag or I WILL RE-ORDER IT} helped me tremendously when I made my daughters wedding dress. The articles gave great and easly to follow advice and the notions sources are invaluable. I have also use what I have learned in a dress made for myself. I use the article on how to make a dressform for yourself for fittings. Try them also and good luck!

          2. DeniseJ | | #6

            *I made myself a strapless dress that was quite comfortable, even though I needed a lot of support. I could not find a strapless brassiere that would work. Instead, I underlined the dress fabric to get it to drape the way I wanted. Then I added a corset with a separate zipper, boning and waistband. Finally, I took an old underwire brassiere, cut the straps off and added stiff cups (intended for swimwear). I sewed the top edge of the front of the brassiere to the corset and tacked the underwire to the front and side boning, leaving the back of the brassiere free. Getting into the dress requires several steps: fasten the brassiere in place, fasten the corset waistband, zip the corset, then zip the dress. The bra fastened in the back is not really noticeable through all the layers. This approach is unorthodox and would not work for a backless design, but the dress is very comfortable (once I get into it).

          3. Virginia_Crawford | | #7

            *VirginiaDressmaker, Wellington, New ZealandDear Karin, I was most interested to see your query - I have recently started making this kind of bodice inner too. As reference material I use dressmaking books from the '50s and '60s. They show a method where two layers of cotton fabric are used for the bust area, with a thin wadding inserted between. The bra cup area is then quilted in a spiral from the bust point out. This is quite successful, and comfortable, and an underwire can be stitched in as well. I hadn't thought of using pre-made bra cups, but will give them a try to see what difference they make. I found Denise's experience quite humourous, and a darn fine example of perseverance and lateral thinking! Excellent stuff. Bill seems to handle his fittings with a good deal of grace and consideration for his clients. He mentions zips, though, which interests me because I find I get more fitting control with either lacing or hooks and eyes. I hope you are still checking this page for replies, as I would like to chat with you further. V.

          4. Bill_Stewart | | #8

            *Virginia, the main reason for the zips is the laziness, I guess you call it, on the part of my clients. Their idea of dressing is putting on hose and slipping the dress on, zip it up and go. We Americans are too used to the go-go idea of do it now. I have made several with the inner bustier requiring a separating zipper to mould the figure into shape and then a separate dress over it attached at the "neckline". Are Australians into the fast way or do they still dress properly? I think the only reason the styles of the 50's and early 60's ( so gorgeous) are out is because of the undergarments that shaped the body for the clothes to look right. Bill

          5. Karin | | #9

            *Dear Bill, Do you use open ended zips in your corsets? I have been usuing the hook and eye tapes but these are fairly expensive here in Australia. I am curious about the quilted bra cups and wonder how you determine the circle size and pattern. Do you just draft a very fitted bodice and fit a toillé with a good bra and then draw the circumfrence around the breast? I can only imagine doing it this way and then cut out the circle and then remake my pattern and sew together with boning in position and quilted bra cups. Please oh please someone email or send a copy of these instructions from Charles James. I searched my library and can only find biography books on him. I'd love to see this wonderful work you talk about.

          6. Virginia_Crawford | | #10

            *Karin, hi!There's a Vogue bustier pattern that I use, I'll hunt out the catalogue number for you. Basically, just think of a bodice pattern with bra cup sections, instead of just the ordinary panel lines. Over the top of this foundation, you can drape any design you like in the 'real' fabric. I'll get back to you soon!V

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