October 3, 2015

It's a cinch

My lingerie corset is finished! 

I had planned to make the main body from non-stretch lingerie net covered with lace but ended up going for sturdy woven fabric for most pieces. My toile showed me that the weak the cheap net material from my stash was a bit weak for this kind of garment. The black stuff is a bit stronger than the skintone variety, but still. That, and I didn't have enough lace to cover all the panels anyway. So, for all but the center front and back panels, I used the fabric I bought for a corset for an friend and also used for the strong inner layer of my party dress

The center front panel is made from net fabric covered with lace and the back panels are from powernet. The cups are made from cut-and-sew foam and covered with the same lace. There are underwires under those cups and spiral steel bones in channels at all those vertical seams. I thought about applying waist tape but didn't know how to make that work with the stretchy back panel. Unfortunately, it is difficult to photograph.

I made some alterations based on the toile: I made the whole thing a bit tighter and put some more waist definition in the front panels. 
While I was sewing, I grew afraid that between the change in fabric and the alterations, I had made the whole thing too tight. But of course, you can never really try on a lingerie item until it is completely finished. And then, to my relief, it fit. 

When I worked in bridal stores, I used to help brides-to-be into their lingerie corsets (like the RTW one I showed you in the previous post). Some ladies insisted on a small size and I remember pulling with all my strenght just to get the first hook and eye together. 
This thing is snug but I can still hook it up behind my back myself, without anything near that kind of effort. 

It sort of looks like a proper corset when seen straight from the front or back but that is just the combination of my natural waist-to-hip ratio and a lingerie corset tailored to fit me. It does what a lingerie corset is supposed to do: It sqeezes in just a little but mostly streamlines and supports.
I'm going to see what it feels like to wear for a longer period of time and if I'm happy with it, I may make another version. I'm thinking skin-tone lingerie net (the real, high-quality stuff. I think I have found a webshop which sells it) covered with black lace with a large-scale flower motif. 

Of course, I made this thing as a sewing and pattern making experiment but now that it's finished, it would be a shame not to put it to good use. After all, I think it is underwear like this that gave ladies in the 1950's silhouettes like these:

I won't be very practical in everyday life but I think I will try and make myself at least one dress to fit over this thing.


  1. I love it! I hope you do get a bit of use out of it.
    I have experimented with a RTW corset under my vintage style makes, and I think it does enhance the silhouette. And is fun to wear (for a short time !)
    Angela x

  2. It looks fab. I finished my first corset a couple of weeks ago. It looked fab, but I found it a tad too tight at the waist. I'd gone for 2inch reduction, but I don't think I really needed that much. I like the idea of a lin

  3. Beautiful work! I think it definitely needs a dress to match. It's amazing to think how corsets were apart of everyday life in the past. While I would love to make and wear one for special occasions, I am sort of happy this isn't the norm anymore! I can believe brides would want to torture themselves with one that is too small. A well fitting one is one thing, that sounds terrible!

  4. I would call this a Merry Widow, not a corset as it isn't adjustable? It's such lovely job, I have a Warner Merry Widow, an old one which is so very similar to this. The cups are not foam of course but apart from that the style lines are very close. My merry widow has the famous Warner red tape round the waist which does make it slightly more cinching. They have got round the stretch fabric issue (on four panels) by simply leaving those panels without tape. I would love to make one similar, I love wearing it I find it very comfortable for something that has so much waist cinching power (a good two inches). If you know of website which offer suitable materials do please let me know.

  5. What types of fabric did you use for the individual parts? I am drafting my own lingerie corset to fit under my wedding dress. But I'm having a hard time deciding on the best type of fabric to use.