Monday, September 22, 2008


The two problems with corset, as I see it, are the usually high price, and the difficulty of getting into and out of them. Laces! They look great, and they give you a certain degree of size flexibility, but they're a pain when it comes to getting dressed and undressed.

I was a little tired of my old corsets anyway, and wanted a new one for the Pirate Festival this past weekend.

What you'll need:

  • A dress with simple lines, sleeveless
  • Loopy braid trim to coordinate with the dress
  • Lacing cord or ribbon

Here's what I did:

Start with a dress that fits reasonably well, and has simple lines. A Princess-line is ideal. You might have one in your closet already, or you might need to buy one. It's tempting to get one that's a little small, or a little big. Resist the temptation. If it isn't at least close to your size, you'll have to make adjustments in the back and/or shoulders.

This one was half off at Goodwill, making it just $4.50:

Fold the dress exactly in half, lay it flat, and split it up the middle.

Make sure it's exactly halved, or the front edges will be skewed.

Turn under and stitch a narrow hem on the newly cut edges. If there's a facing at the top, open it out, and keep hemming.

Now you'll want to try the dress on, to see how much you'll need to turn under on the front edges to get the gap you want. I opted for about 2-2/15" (5.1-6.4cm) Press that much to the inside, and stitch close to the edge. You've just created a self-faced front opening.

Turn the corner sharply when you reach the bottom hem, and continue, to complete top-stitching detail.

Sew your loopy trim on, turning the top end to the inside, and adding a rosette to cover the bottom end.

You'll want the trim to extend over the garment edge, for ease in lacing:

Hope you can see what I mean!

Sew the folded-back top edge invisibly to secure it, and to hide the end of the braid:

Ready to lace up!

Add the laces, try on the corset, adjust, and tie with a bow. Unzip the back to remove!


As you can see, I left the dress its full length, which gave me long panels over the red taffeta skirt. That's one option, but you might want to cut it off waist-length, or leave a bit of a peplum. It's all good.

I didn't get a good photo of me in the bodice. That would have happened the first day, when I didn't get a photo of me at all. Lame, I know. The second day, it turned cold and rained like a pig, and all I have is this one, with layers upon layers of clothing, the "wrong" blouse, and not standing up. Ah, well. Such is life, yes?

Layered and bedraggled, with fearsomely fun pirate comrade

The trim I needed for this project happened to be on sale when I went to Joann Fabrics. The entire thing cost me less than $10!


blackfeatherfarm said...

So clever and it looks GREAT !

GeorgiaPeachez said...

Hi Anitra, that was a great tutorial and a great project! xo, suzy

DrD said...

Gonna grab my sewing machine and give it a go sis......NOT!

You sure got talent tho!

Myfanwy said...

What an excellent idea. Love it.

Carnival of Green Crafts said...

Hi, can we link to this in the next Carnival of Green Crafts? Let me know!


Rose Works Jewelry said...

That's awesome! Yippee for innovation!

Dayna said...

That's a cute pirate you are with too!

EyePopArt said...

That is awesome! What a great idea. Looks beautiful on you too!

storybeader said...

very creative! We have a living history interpreter at our museum - he doesn't wear a corset, though...He's a indian trader! looks like you interpret a different time.

Becky said...

Oh, that is too fun! said...

This is SUCH a great idea! I'll be linking to this!

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