Something new: Making Corset

Have you ever caught something like this? I think it can be called seamstress’ block. These past few weeks I’ve been really wanting to sew something but no idea at all. No, not another dress or skirt or top or pants, I need something new! And my fabric stash is so boring! It didn’t help that the sight of those fabrics made me feel guilty for not wanting them.

After days of browsing for ideas, I stumbled upon corset making. I’m not unfamiliar of wearing one as I wore a medical corset in my teenage years to help my scoliosis. Sadly, it was sort of a traumatic experience. Wearing a full body corset while living in a tropical country is not pleasant to put it mildly. Not to mention the whole teenage and body image thing. But now people often comment on how straight my posture is, so maybe the traumatic experience worth it. My spine is still curved though and I often have back pain.

I don’t want to remember corset as that white, rigid, unpleasant thing that caged my body (and soul) decades ago. From what I’ve seen, (non-medical) corsets are supposed to be pretty and hug your body in a loving way. Not to mention that it can also help posture or relieve back pain. Maybe my handmade corset can help my back pain as well.

Coincidentally I found a pretty Japanese pattern book for corsets, the title is かわいいコルセットstyle, or Cute Corset Style. It was just published several months ago in Japan. As the title suggested, the corsets are indeed very cute worn by doll-like models. Here’s several sneak peeks:
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)

The book also list all the materials needed for corset making and step by step pictures. This is something that I love about Japanese pattern books, they always have a lot of pictures and diagrams instead of text. It is really helpful for me as my Japanese skill is laughable (Sidra never laughs at me though, he is very supportive of my half-assed attempt to learn Japanese).
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)

So I decided to order a corset making kit from Sew Curvy Corsetry, a UK online shop owned by Julia Bremble. It was delivered very quickly and arrived yesterday in beautifully wrapped package. My kit is Laughing Moon Underbust corset kit, and the content is Laughing Moon Underbust Corset Pattern which includes patterns and instructions for 2 additional corsets,  0.5 m coutil fabric;  flat and spiral steel boning with end caps, boning tape, 1 busk fastener, 1 eyelet kit, stay tape, cotton lacing, and bias binding. Underbust corset will be a good project for a beginner since I don’t have to deal with the bust area!

Sew Curvy Underbust Corset Making kit Sew Curvy Underbust Corset Making kit

I’m still not sure if I will use the underbust pattern from Laughing Moon or from the Cute Corset book. The biggest size on the Cute Corset Book (LL) is equivalent to size 14 on Laughing Moon pattern, while the smallest size (S) is even smaller than size 4 in LM pattern. Not that I’m that small, I don’t have 18″ waist! However I find Japanese pattern usually more suitable in length for my petite body so I don’t have to shorten them. I think I should compare the pattern and decide later which one I want to use!

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  • Melissa

    I have made the Underbust from the LM pattern from that exact kit. Btw: Did you get Julia’s book on DVD? It’s very good and it’s in English. I did have to shorten the pattern and take it in (as I’m 5″2 and quite small) but it a lovely pattern. Just make sure to curve the bottom bit as I found it a bit pointy. Good luck! Melissa

  • Ooh 🙂 I’ll be watching this with a keen eye… this is something I want to do, and soon. Looking forward to seeing how it pans out for you.. and whether or not it can bring a more positive spin on a garment much maligned. Personally I think they’ve got a bad wrap – so many benefits, better posture just one of them 🙂

  • Oh wow! You are embarking on an exciting and interesting adventure! I can’t agree with you more about the Japanese craft books: they offer the clearest visual explanations!

  • Amy

    This looks like a fun new project, and what a cool kit and book! I know I will make one at some point just for some new skills. I’ve been thinking it’d be fun to update one with some elastic fabric for a bit of flexibility. Incidentally, a friend of mine is pregnant with her 5th child and has taken up wearing underbust wraps made of strong stretch fabric to support her belly and back (at this stage the muscles are so stretched out there is a lot of back pain). Something like this might have really practical benefits!

  • DarkSunMoon

    Good luck with this endeavour; corsets are a work of patience, but seeing how you did with lingerie so far, I think you’ll do good! 🙂

  • So glad to hear you’ve got your inspiration back with something that might well make your life easier and help your back pain – do hope it does so 🙂

  • jenn

    oooh, exciting! good luck with this new project. i look forward to seeing it once you’re finished. 🙂

  • I’m really curious to hear if a corset like this would help with your scoliosis pain and posture. I have mild scoliosis, and I have a hard time keeping good posture.

  • Eva

    I have made corsets and I recommend you use the pattern that fits your waist and shorten it. In this case it is much easier to change the height, but the waist must fit perfectly.

    • It makes sense! Thank you for sharing your tip! 🙂

  • Regina

    I can’t wait to see how it looks. My daughter also has scoliosis. She was lucky enough to receive an operation but she still has back,hip and leg pains.

  • The Japanese corset book looks lovely. If i owned that, i too would be tempted into making a corset. I look forward to seeing what you finally make.

  • What a great adventure! I love Japanese sewing books- is there a place where you get them? I had a source in Portland (uwajimaya book store), but now that I’m on the east coast, I’m having a really hard time finding them.

    • I’m not sure where you can get them outside Japan. You might want to try I’ve seen several etsy sellers who have japanese pattern books, but I’ve never bought from them.

  • The Book looks great an the Idea to make your own corsett… great! I´m looking forward for pictures of your corsett. And also for your description how hard it is to make one of your own.
    Best regards
    Michaela (from Germany)

  • Wow that book looks beautiful. I’m also corset making at the moment, I just ripped apart a corset I made years ago (huge fitting issues) and am now going to attempt a new one. Good luck on your corset adventure!

  • The book looks lovely! I would directly buy it but I can’t understand japanese 🙁

    I have scoliosis, too and this corset was so terrible >_<