How to Make Corsets: Tutorials & Communities
Waxing grateful once more, as I did last year, I am particularly thankful for the amazing and ever-growing resources for aspiring corsetieres. If your corset addiction has reached the point where you must begin making your own or start selling your furniture to finance your addiction, this is the page for you. (Be warned that you will soon develop a fabric addiction instead.) Much of my corsetmaking knowledge was gleaned from key (and free!) online resources well before I officially launched Pop Antique. A couple of these may sound familiar from last year’s So You Want to Be a Lingerie Designer, and there are also some new ones. Stay tuned for future features on corsetry classes (no university ID required) and resources in the printed word (aka books).
Bridges on the Body is an amazingly inspiring blog, though it’s been somewhat dormant recently (grad school has that effect on folks). In short, the concept is to try to create every corset in Norah Waugh’s book, Corsets and Crinolines. There is no shortage of “action tutorials” as the author teaches herself new skills for each corset she makes.
CorsetMakers (LiveJournal) was instrumental in my early growth as a corsetmaker. Not only can you seek advice on this community, you can share your process to help others and reference their extensive post archives for information on, say, fan-lacing.
Farthingales, which used to have a shop in Los Angeles when I lived in the area, sells corsetry supplies. They are based in Canada, and their Tips & Tricks page has an impressive list of tutorials on hardware usage and techniques for corsetry and other historic underpinnings.
Foundations Revealed is probably the best current resource for corsetieres. They also do features on other undergarments, from bloomers to bras. The skill range of the articles goes from “absolute beginner” on up to “seasoned professional.” In fact, of the several pieces I’ve written for them, many were on skills for developing a corsetmaking business. Also among their writers are Jenni Hampshire of Sparklewren, Alexis Black of Electra Designs, the eponymous Flo Foxworthy, and Alison Campbell of Crikey Aphrodite. The techniques covered include construction, embellishment, and patterning, with both experimental and tried and true techniques being discussed. Most of the articles are subscriber-only, but with four new pieces a month, the subscription is worth every penny.
Learn How to Make Corsets Like a Pro!, run by Alexis Black of Electra Designs, was created to support her “Making Corsets Is a Cinch!” Kickstarter. The first tutorial will be released soon (list price TBA); in the meantime, a cross-section of professional, hobbyist, and up-and-coming are highly active in both new posts and comments.
Lucy’s Corsetry (YouTube) I am amazed that I went as long as I did without being familiar with Lucy, aka bishonenrancher. Lucy is extremely knowledgeable through both research and personal experience with wearing corsets (and waist training) as well as making them. She is very open-minded and easy to relate to in her approach, and her YouTube channel is just utterly fascinating with an astonishing breadth of knowledge.
Oxford Conference of Corsetry (attendees group), aka OCOC, still has nine spaces available for next year’s event. Attendees from 2013’s inaugural OCOC have access to a private Facebook group where we can continue to talk shop to our heart’s content, sharing our work and asking questions about construction or business. This group is smaller and more close-knit than the other communities.
Ralph Pink sells patterns, including an assortment of corset patterns, in a digital print-it-yourself format. There’s also a sampler pack with several free corset patterns, and tutorials on creating digital patterns from books as well as corsetry construction.
Sew Curvy is run by Julia Bremble, the organizer of the Oxford Conference of Corsetry. As well as selling high-quality corsetry materials, her website has a sampler of tutorials teaching essential corsetmaking skills such as mockup fitting and binding a corset.
Sidney Eileen has quite a few free tutorials on her website. From trims, to corset care, to construction, to drafting, she shares her wealth of knowledge freely. It was from her tutorial that I learned how to floss a corset, a skill I had hitherto been intimidated by, but quickly came to love.
PS: I am also very thankful that I get to write for The Lingerie Addict, which has recently been posting some very thoughtful articles, and I am thankful for the loyal readers whose recurring names in the comments give me a little glow. If you are a corsetmaker, seasoned or aspiring, what resources have you found valuable? Have you used any of the tutorials or communities mentioned above?