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sew in corset on halter v-neckline??

educo | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello people,

My friend needs a dress for a formal affair. She has asked me to make it for her if i had the time. We are in the beginning stages of this and my concern for her is support. She is big busted ( I think DD) and she also wants to be slenderized. I have suggested that a corset or long line be sewn in with the dress to cover both problems. My question is, could or should you attach the corset to the v neckline of the dress? what would you do in this situation?


  1. mimi | | #1

    educo:  have you thought about attaching it to the lining of the dress instead of the dress itself?  It would not distort the lines of the dress by pulling on them this way.  Susan Khalje has a great book on wedding dresses that addresses these sorts of concerns.


    1. educo | | #3

      hi all
      thank you for responding so quickly. What I wanted to do was what designers do in couture, but not to that extreme. I wanted to sandwich the corset between the lining and the garment and sew in place along the front neckline and back neckline. I was going to make a waist stay and tack the remaining seams at the sides and princess lines. My biggest concern is how to not stretch the bias in the halter v neckline. Obviously the corset is not going to take the entire neckline, I just wondered what should i do in this situation. I have recently ordered Susan's book and I'm currently waiting for it.

      1. FitnessNut | | #5

        IMO, a separate corset layer is the best way to go. You can buy a fabric especially for this purpose which I have used in wedding dresses. It is transparent and tough and once the boning is sewn on the inside of it (body side), you can't see it at all. But the support is there. You can substitute muslin if you can't find it. I attached the belt to this, tacking at the seamlines and feeding it through to the inside of the lining of the dress through buttonholes.Generally speaking, it is best if you can sew all the support to a separate foundation and layer it between the dress and the lining. If you would rather not, you can sew the boning to the lining, but there is always a chance of pulling.The neckline of the dress should be stabilized before you do anything else. Use a thin stay tape or straight grain organza strips or selvedge, cut to the same dimension as the pattern, pin and sew it on just a hair inside the seam allowance. If you leave this until later in the sewing process, you will find that the neckline has almost definitely stretched.

        1. educo | | #8

          As far as attaching the corset to the front bodice, should I just sew it to the back neckline (since it will just be a slight scoop) and stop at the side seam and leave the remainder of the top edge of the corset floating? And then continue tacking the seams and making the waist stay? Will she still be supported? I suppose so since all the seams will be tacked on in one way or another except the front neckline seam.

          1. FitnessNut | | #11

            As Galey pointed out, each garment requires its own solutions. All we can do is try to give you other options to try, things that have worked for us. They may or may not be applicable to the particular garment you are making.Having said that, the wedding gowns I've made with the separate corset layer have been either strapless or had a sheer layer over the upper chest and back (so I basically treated it as if it were strapless). The corset layer was caught in the neckline all the way around the dress. I cut the bottom several inches below the waist....no need to finish the bottom as this will be in between layers.I have a vaguely uneasy feeling about leaving anything loose in the neckline area or upper body....it seems to me that there is potential for fabric layers to shift and this could be very unattractive from the right side, with no way to get in there to smooth it out. You could baste the upper edge to the underlining if you don't want to extend it up to the shoulders, but be aware of any ridges that might show through.Remember that any separate corset-type layers should be fitted separately to assess the boning. You may find that you would like to add boning in unusual places....go for it! (Do I remember that you have the Susan Khalje book on order? It is an excellent guide in this aspect of dressmaking.) And fit the waist stay at that time too.

          2. FitnessNut | | #12

            Just re-read that this is a halter neckline. Have to think about the issue of extending the corset layer up into the straps. I doubt that I would want to do that, but would want to ensure no shifting could occur. Perhaps if you caught it in the neckline seam and around the underarm area as you suggest and then just a bit at the bottom of the V-neck? You would have to check that there would be no line at the edge, of course, but it should provide the security against shifting, I would think.Just a thought.

  2. mygaley | | #2

    I sewed a wedding gown for a size 28 bride last summer (she's also 6'3") and this is what we did:  overlayer lace, second layer satin innerlined with fine poplin (treated as one layer), lining--with boning, elastic, you name it.  We boned every princess seam from top of bosom to hipline, boned the neckline, etc.--that lining could stand alone.  None of this was actually corset-tight, but since the gown had it's own shape, the bride's figure appeared smooth and shapely (no lumps).  I do use the book that was recommended for advice about boning, etc.  To me the easiest way is to use the boning in a casing and sew it to one side of the seam.  If you need more, sew it to the other side of the seam.  On a plus size bride, be sure and watch for show-through.   This was successful for us.  God bless you.  Galey


    1. educo | | #4

      GaleyDid your friend wear a bra along with the support you did for the lining? I like this idea, she is very busty and petite.

      1. mygaley | | #6

        We bought an underwire bra, cut off the straps (her yoke was sheer) and pinned the bra on the wrong side of the lining. The cups had to be cut down in front so they wouldn't show.  I zigzagged the cup edges and then tacked the bra similar to the way you would fasten a waistline stay, front, sides and back.  Sew 4 heavy duty hooks and eyes under the zipper:  waistline, 2 at bra strap level and one in between.  We used an inexpensive bra but the boning in the dress made the difference in support. Your friend might want to consider using one of the bust-reducing styles for the sake of the fit of this gown. You must fit the gown (every layer) over this bra.     

        I'm sure you know that having a tight midriff will emphasize her large bosom.  Also, on every open neckline and especially for large-busted, I use 1/2" clear elastic and include it in the neckline seam.  I don't really stretch it, but it makes the neckline cling in a good way.  Apply this to your lining ws seamline and use a rigid stabilizer (selvedge edge) on your dress ws seamline. 

        One of the things I have learned recently (after 50 years garment-making) is the importance of stitching the neckline from shoulder to cfront, then the other side shoulder to cf.  I don't know if it reduces stretching or what, but something good happens.  Also, if you're not used to sewing for full busted women, They are longer in the front and back shoulder to waist area and you must have more fabric length there to cover it, or the neckline will be too skimpy and the waistline will be too short. God bless you, Galey


        1. educo | | #9

          I was thinking about using elastice so it would cling to the skin, do you apply in the same way as the organza strip or do you center it over the seam line? How much shorter would the elastic be in order for some cling to happen. You mentioned that you don't really stretch it that much, so is it about 1/4" shorter than the neckline measurement?Thank you all for your expertise, I'm so happy to have a forum to exchange ideas with wonderful smart people.

          1. mygaley | | #13

            Yes, about 1/4" shorter is fine for the elastic.  I center it over the seamline, and have never found this added unwanted bulk.  I have also done this with rtw garments with great success; for flat chested, it doesn't gap, for full busted it offers support.  With the halter neck you will want to put it all around the outer halter edge, extending to the back, and around the inner halter edge.  Just make sure there is no shirring from the elastic.  I always stretch this and all elastic to its full extension before I sew.  Also, boning along the lower V of the neckline works wonders (look in the book).  I can tell you have a feel for this and I'm sure you will sew a great gown.   Galey

          2. educo | | #14

            Well my friends, I have some bad news. My friend has decided to purchase a dress instead of getting one made. Since she will need it by this Saturday, she was concerned about the short notice she has given me in order to construct this dress. In any case, I am glad I asked this question, as I am full busted (D) and petite myself. I have always hesitated making these kind of garments for myself because of fitting issues (I usually fit myself, using 3 way mirrors and digital cameras). I appreciate all your comments and welcome more if you find any more information that would be useful. I'm looking forward to receiving Susan's book.Would anyone know how to find a fitting professional in NYC?

          3. FitnessNut | | #15

            THIS SATURDAY????? Yes, she had every right to be concerned about short notice! And I'm not sure its bad news for you, if you know what I mean. ;-)So now its time to make something sensational for yourself!

          4. educo | | #16

            I am relieved considering the questions I have been asking about this. If this were something for myself and I had trouble with it, I'll put it down, sleep on it and come back to the drawing board when I figured something out. With a project like this under this time frame there is no room for error.Thanks!

          5. mygaley | | #17

            A service I offer to my customers, or anyone, is that for a fee I will make a fitted muslin that they can use for a pattern.  I convert the muslin to a flat pattern.  I specialize in fitting hard to fit:  queen size, extra-petite size, unique sizes and shapes in body parts, especially for elderly customers, and adaptive clothing.  I do charge a hefty fee for this, but it has brought me more dressmaking customers, instead of losing them.  So try any dressmaker.  Also, in the sewing club I belong to we fit muslins on each other.  Galey

      2. mygaley | | #7

        Just saw the reply to you from Fitnessnut and she is correct as she usually is.  The muslin corset layer sounds good to me.  Just goes to show that every garment requires it's own solutions.  Galey

        1. FitnessNut | | #10

          <blush> Thanks for the compliment, Galey.

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