Making Advice suggested by customers
Firstly thank to Madeleine for sharing her methods of busk insertion and boning channels.
How to Insert a Busk
Make sure you get your busk the right way round : when the corset is finished the loops are on the right and the grommits on the left. If your busk has two of the loops closer spaced than the rest, this is the bottom edge.
With your right centre front panel wrong-side up, lay the loop side next to the centre-front sewing line and mark with a pencil either side of each loop on this line.
EITHER : Make a buttonhole, using your pencil marks as a guide, for each loop, and cut it open. TIP : use a quick-unpick to cut the buttonhole, placing a pin at either end to stop you going too far! OR : Take another strip of coutil cut on the straight grain, the same length as your centre-front panel and about 2” wide. Lay it underneath your centre-front panel, right sides together, leaving about 1.5cm seam allowance beyond the centre front, and stitch between all your pencil marks. Press the seam open.
Put your busk in, slotting the loops into the buttonholes or the gaps in the seam, and fold the seam allowance back.
Tack close to the edge of the busk and then machine, using a zip foot.
Take the left centre front panel and press the seam allowance under along the centre front line.
On a nice flat surface line the right front up alongside the left, making sure that your top and bottom edge stitching lines match. If you line the fabric of the two halves against each other the loops will lie over the left-hand side. Mark through the centre of each loop with a pencil
Using a fabric hole punch, make a hole IN THE TOP SIDE OF THE LEFT FRONT ONLY : do NOT punch a hole through the fabric that will cover the back of the busk. TIP : You probably need to use the second smallest hole of your punch. If you look at the grommit you will see that the head is larger than the shank. You want to make the hole as small as possible to avoid fraying. You will find that the fabric will ‘pop’ over the head of the grommit without any trouble. TIP : If you have covered your base coutil with another fabric like dupion that might fray, put a dab of Fraycheck on your pencil mark and let it dry before you punch the hole.
Pop the grommits of the busk through the holes you have made, fold back, tack and stitch as before.
NOTE : If you are using a spoon busk, the technique is exactly the same, but you have to be a little more careful when you mark your loops and grommits, as the busk is curved outwards at the bottom edge, so you cannot lay it absolutely flat on the table.
Press your seam open – you may need to clip it a little at the waist – leave about ¼” un-cut.
The easiest way is to centre the tape over the seam itself and tack through, either by hand or using a big machine stitch. This means you have your tape centred and anchored. Now trim away some of the seam allowance behind the tape, so that when you stitch the edges of the tape down you won’t see any of the seam allowance.
Now just stitch down either side, and remove your tacking from down the centre of the tape and slide your bone in.
NB Make sure you use good strong tape – a twill weave, or grosgrain ( petersham) ribbon are both good. Don’t use bias binding – you don’t need the stretch in it, and it isn’t strong enough.
NB2 You can also get special tape which is two layers thick, with the edges fused together. You stitch down either edge, and slide your bone into the channel down the middle. This particularly good when you don’t want to see the ‘shadow’ of the bone on the top side, as there is another layer of cloth between the bone.
Method 2. – the difficult way! Casing in the seam.
This is the way most commercial corsets are made, but they have special machines that turn the seam allowance under automatically.
Press your seam towards the centre back. If you want to you can topstitch just 1/8th away from the original seam ( towards the back – i.e. going through your top fabric plus your two layers of seam allowance.)
Now carefully and evenly trim the underneath layer of seam allowance, so it ends up being just about the width of your bone.
Press the raw edge of the top layer of seam allowance under the raw edge of your trimmed seam allowance.
Repress the whole seam to make sure you have everything flat.
Now stitch close to the edge of the pressed edge.
Method 3. To be used if your corset is made of three layers of fabric.
If you use this method you will not see the topstitching on the finished corset ( unless you want to),
but you will see the seam-allowance on the inside of the corset, and you will need twice as many bones. Only suitable for narrow width bones.
This is useful if the corset might need to be altered.
This is assuming that you have three layers of fabric :
Bottom layer – drill or coutil
Middle layer – any firm cotton ( not as heavy as the coutil)
Top layer - pretty fabric! Can be quite lightweight – silk dupion or taffeta maybe, or printed cotton.
Starting off with each panel individually:
Lay your bottom layer on top of your middle layer, and tack the two layers together round the edges just outside the seam line.
Machine down the actual seam lines, and then again just a little bit more than the width of your bone – not in the seam allowance, but in the actual body of the panel.
Now iron, and lay the 2-layer sandwich, coutil upwards, onto the wrong side of your top fabric. Tack the three layers together and make up, treating each 3-layer sandwich as one piece of fabric.
Sew your seam and press open.
Note : you will need to finish the raw edges of your seam, as it will be seen on the inside of the corset.
Sew your seam and press open. Now stitch again, just a little more than the width of your bone, going through both the seam allowance and the top fabric. You slide your bone in between the top fabric and the seam allowance.