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Unread 07-11-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
Yummy Gamorah
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Getting that Corset hour glass shape

Hi All,

I'm working on a corset right now and I am having a massively difficult time getting that extreme house glass shape. Here's the type of shape I'm trying to get -

http://ornamentedbeing.tumblr.com/post/6830552066

I'm using a satin that is full reinforced with interfacing and cotton and feels pretty sturdy. I'm also using boning casing to put the boning in and the boning I have been using is spiral steel boning. Everytime I think I'm getting close I lace into it and it still doesn't pull in well enough. I understand that this is not easy on a body not trained for wearing the corsets but I still think I'm doing something wrong here on the construction end. Can anyone offer some advice on the issue?
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Unread 07-11-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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When you say "reinforced with cotton", does that mean you have a layer of sturdy cotton fabric like denim, canvas, or twill? For the kind of reduction you're looking for, you need a layer like that: it's called the strength layer, and it usually goes between the outer facing fabric and the lining (if you use a lining, they're optional). It does most of the work.

For an hourglass shape specifically, don't forget that everything squished out of the waist will have to go somewhere else. You may need more room in the upper half of your corset so the squish can fit there.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 11:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangochutney View Post
When you say "reinforced with cotton", does that mean you have a layer of sturdy cotton fabric like denim, canvas, or twill? For the kind of reduction you're looking for, you need a layer like that: it's called the strength layer, and it usually goes between the outer facing fabric and the lining (if you use a lining, they're optional). It does most of the work.

For an hourglass shape specifically, don't forget that everything squished out of the waist will have to go somewhere else. You may need more room in the upper half of your corset so the squish can fit there.
Its lined with cotton and I am using a medium thickness interfacing in the middle layer to really stiffen things up. It feels like ti should be thick enough.

Do you think I should maybe switch to steel boning instead of spiral steel? Or would that not make a difference?

Even when I skip lacing the bottom hoops in an effort to let it stick out more around the hips it's not really resolved. I have a 24 inch waist and there's still room in the top/ bust portion for things to "displace" shall we say?There just isn't much to displace so in theory it should pull in. But when it's pulled tight It's just not making that shape..

Could this be a seaming issue? I'm wondering if I should exaggerate the curves more in the seams but I'm not sure if this is the seaming or a boning problem.
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Last edited by Yummy Gamorah : 07-11-2011 at 11:53 AM.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 12:05 PM   #4
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Interfacing doesn't work the same as a woven fabric, especially under tension. What kind of cotton fabric did you use? i.e. which weave?

I think your boning is fine.

It probably a seaming issue; at least it's very unlikely to be a boning issue. Whatever the shape of the corset is, that's the shape of your torso in it. If the corset's shape doesn't nip in at the waist as much as you'd like than neither will you. It may be time to pick your seams apart, add that strength layer, and adjust the shape of the pieces.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangochutney View Post
Interfacing doesn't work the same as a woven fabric, especially under tension. What kind of cotton fabric did you use? i.e. which weave?

I think your boning is fine.

It probably a seaming issue; at least it's very unlikely to be a boning issue. Whatever the shape of the corset is, that's the shape of your torso in it. If the corset's shape doesn't nip in at the waist as much as you'd like than neither will you. It may be time to pick your seams apart, add that strength layer, and adjust the shape of the pieces.
Oh man that's what I was worried about.

The cotton is a really cheap poly cotton blend that I was using just to make it comfortable inside so I srsly doubt it's making any difference. I thought the interfacing would be enough. O.o

I'll try readjusting a few seams and see if that does it... If it doesn't resolve the issues I might just have to start fresh I think.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 02:09 PM   #6
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I agree with Mangochutney -- you need a good strength layer. Interfacing doesn't work for corsets, period, outside of maybe making a silk outer layer lay flat. It isn't the stiffness of the interfacing that matters, it's the tension of the weave, and you'll only get that with a tightly woven fabric.

The best stuff for strength layer is a specialty fabric called coutil, which you can order online, but you can get away with heavy 100% cotton twill or duck. Anything less, and even if you can get good compression, the fabric likely won't hold up to the strain long-term. So it's best to start out with the correct fabric.

I would highly recommend checking out the LiveJournal community CorsetMakers. It's all about this kind of construction issue, and has great, really well organized archives of posts from people tackling similar problems. If you post pictures of your corset on you, and the pattern pieces you used to make the corset, they should be able to give you spot-on suggestions for how to fix the fit.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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The strength of the fabric is definitely an issue but not your main issue - it's definitely worth the upgrade but if this is your first corset, since coutil is very expensive, consider picking up a large pair of non-stretch jeans from a second hand clothing shop - corset pieces are usually small enough to fit. I don't like to use denim regularly as it's not to my tastes but it's a very good cheap alternative.

As far as the hourglass shaping is concerned, what pattern are you using? Most patterns are drafted to a block 10 and then scaled, which means even corset patterns don't really have the shaping to deal with serious curves. Here's a picture I found of a decently curvy corset pattern laid out, so you can get an idea of the kind of shaping you want on the flat for an hourglass corset.
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Unread 07-12-2011, 10:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post

As far as the hourglass shaping is concerned, what pattern are you using? Most patterns are drafted to a block 10 and then scaled, which means even corset patterns don't really have the shaping to deal with serious curves. Here's a picture I found of a decently curvy corset pattern laid out, so you can get an idea of the kind of shaping you want on the flat for an hourglass corset.
That picture is REALLY helpful. I've been looking at a few patterns for a remake but non of them seemed to offer the correct curve - this helps me figure our where alterations are needed. Thank You!
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Unread 07-13-2011, 12:53 AM   #9
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Also, if you have a 24" waist, there just might not be a lot you can do.

I'm guessing you don't have much or any fat over your ribs to move and shape. You have to move your ribs to change that shape. If you only move the soft area under your ribs, you get a much different shape and most people don't find it appealing : http://www.candsconstructions.com/im...rontpage_2.jpg , though some do - and it's not what you're after.

And there's this : http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gWl17ZlACv...4eimo1_500.jpg . While I do believe it's perfectly possible to wear corsets safely, you have to be mindful of what you're doing and the risks you're taking. Be mindful of any medical considerations you might have and be aware that this might be very uncomfortable. Everyone is different - some people can throw on a corset like it's nothing, others find that certain shapes or changes or any at all become very painful. A bit is probably going to be fine, just be careful (I urge caution because I've seen some pretty bad things happen to those that ignore it, scars, bruises, et cetera).

I would recommend using straight steel anywhere that you can, anywhere that the bones do not need to move laterally. This will make it stronger although you'll get less movement.


And a lot of the Victorian shape came not just from pinching in the waist, but padding out the hips and bust. Maybe consider that ? It makes the waist look smaller in comparison, and if you have a small rip-cage or not much hip-spring, it will be much easier and more comfortable than trying to move your bones around.
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Unread 07-13-2011, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelley View Post
Also, if you have a 24" waist, there just might not be a lot you can do.

I would recommend using straight steel anywhere that you can, anywhere that the bones do not need to move laterally. This will make it stronger although you'll get less movement.


And a lot of the Victorian shape came not just from pinching in the waist, but padding out the hips and bust. Maybe consider that ? It makes the waist look smaller in comparison, and if you have a small rip-cage or not much hip-spring, it will be much easier and more comfortable than trying to move your bones around.
Yea that's my main concern - I can't pull in a whole lot cause I start hitting bones so this has been a conundrum for me.

Padding sounds like a really helpful idea to fake this. Do you happen to know what they used to pad things out? Was it like a body forming pillow? or something more involved?
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Unread 07-13-2011, 06:45 PM   #11
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I'm going to second the corsetmakers livejournal. Specifically this post about making an hourglass, and this one about padding. There's a lot of info about construction and materials and shaping too, but it's easiest to wade through if you start with solving specific problems.
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