Should I add seam allowance?
No. There is 5/8” seam allowance included.
What size should I cut?
There is a 2-inch gap built in to the corsets
at the back where it laces. Measure your waist and cut the corset
closest to that measurement. Take it in or let it out until it fits as desired.
What if I am between sizes?
You have two options. Either cut the larger size
and take it in or cut the smaller and have a bigger gap than
two inches across
the back. Either is fine.
I am usually a size 8 when I buy clothes in a department store.
Should I cut an 8?
No. Retail sizes are bigger than sewing sizes. Measure yourself with a tape.
I have measured myself and your pattern says I should cut a 12.
I have never been a 12 in my life. I buy clothing
in a size 8.
Cut the 12 in a muslin and check the fit.
I want to reduce my waist by 4 inches. Should I cut a smaller
Only if you want to reduce your bust and hips
by the same amount. Cut the size closest to your waist, hips and
bust or under bust and
then take it in at the waist.
Won’t taking it in at the waist by 4 inches make
the rest of the corset look strange?
No. Look at it this way. Let’s say you have 4 seams where you
can take it in. That really makes 8 since there are 2
halves of a corset.
Divide 4 inches by 8 for a result of ½ inch. You take in a
seam ¼” for
a total reduction of ½”. This means you are only taking
in each seam by ¼ inch at the waist. That is easily done
changing the silhouette very much.
The corset I cut is too big. What should I do?
Take it in or recut it in a smaller size.
The corset I cut is too small. What should I do?
Let it out. If it does not fit after letting
it out you will need to cut a new corset in a bigger size.
I am a size 14 on top and a 16 at the waist and a 20 at the hips.
What should I cut?
Draw a line from the 14 at the top to the 16
at the waist. Then curve it to the 20 at the bottom. Take it in
or let it out until it
fits as desired.
My corset doesn’t make my waist any smaller. Did
I do something wrong?
Probably not. Some people squish more than others.
If you wish a smaller waist, take it in.
Can I make the corset longer or shorter?
The ribbon corset in pattern #113 is best made
the length it is. The others can be lengthened or shortened on
the line designated.
Remember you may need to use a different
length busk and bones depending on how much you change the length.
Can I use fewer or more bones?
Where should I put them?
Where ever you need more or less support. Put
them parallel to the grain of the fabric.
The cut edges don’t line up. What is wrong?
The cut edges don’t always line up, but the
lines 5/8” away from the cut edge will.
There are so many lines. How can I keep from being confused?
Putting all the sizes in the same envelope allows
the pattern to be used by the maximum
number of people. If you are confused by
the lines get a red pencil. Trace your
size ahead of time so it is very obvious
when it comes time to cut. Or, cut your size out of
the pattern ahead of time – before you pin the pattern
to the fabric.
There are so many pieces that look similar. How can I keep from
sewing them together wrong?
Before you unpin the pattern from the fabric, mark an
X on the wrong side of each piece of fabric. Also, all
the notches are above
the waist, so your notches will tell you where the top
of the pattern piece is. For good measure, you might
want to mark “top” on
each pattern piece as well. When you are finished with
your corset put a bow or some other way of marking the
top front. This will prevent
you from putting the corset on upside down.
I want to use the pattern again but the tissue is so flimsy. What
can I do?
Get some spray adhesive and some non woven interfacing.
Stick the pattern to the interfacing. This will give the pattern
I have never sewn anything before. Will I be able to make this
The patterns are not designed to teach someone
how to sew. You will need basic sewing skills to make these garments.
I have looked and looked at the fabric stores in my area
find any of the supplies, like the busk and bones. The people working
there don’t even know what they are. Where can I find them?
Very few sewing/craft retail outlets carry the supplies
or are even familiar with them. There is a list of mail
I am a female docent at a historical site depicting (any date
from 1837 to 1900). They tell me I need to wear a corset.
Will a waist cincher give me the correct silhouette without making
a full corset?
Can I wear something else until I have a full corset?
No. The silhouette in #113 is historically correct from
only about 1900 to 1906. Even so the period descriptions
of the “corset
girdles” were that they were appropriate for “young,
Also, during that time, more full corsets were advertised
than corset girdles (though they were getting shorter
on top). If you are doing
an impression for the years from 1837-1900, I suggest the corset pattern #100. There is no modern
that I know of that approximates
the shape of a corset.
Would you call the women’s waist cinchers in the pattern
#113 “Victorian corsets”?
No. The earliest patent date found was 1899 for the
corset and the other waist cincher was popular from 1901
to about 1906.
So, technically, except for a few years, it would probably
correct to call them Edwardian “corset girdles”. Pattern
100 has Victorian corsets.
Would you call the man’s waist cincher a “Victorian
Yes. Victorian and Edwardian as well. Gentlemen had all
sorts of reasons to want a smooth line under their
clothing. It would
them look better in their tight fitting evening clothes
or at court. Military officers would want them to make
straight and fit
well into their uniforms while on parade or during inspection.
What is coutil? (pronounced coo-teel)
Coutil is a fabric specially woven for strength
for corsets. It comes in plain
or fancy weaves and in different colors. It's unlikely to find coutil at your local fabric store.
See the section called “Suppliers” in the pattern envelope
for places to purchase it. Coutil is the
best fabric for corsets but medium weight
twill will also work.
When I make a full corset, I use an 11-inch busk. Won’t
a ten inch busk be too long in the waist cincher?
If you are comfortable with an 11-inch busk you
will probably be comfortable with a 10 or 9 inch busk in the waist
cinchers. If you
are concerned, cut the front of the corset in
scrap fabric. Mark the waist. Hold it up to your body in front
and see where the top hits.
About 90% of women are comfortable with a 12- inch busk in the full length corsets of pattern #100.
I cut the size that equals my waist measurement. When I laced
it, the corset closed in the back. Does this mean your
corset runs big?
No, it means you were able to achieve a 2-inch reduction.
It is not possible to anticipate how much reduction,
and where, each individual
can compress their bodies. This is called the “Squish
Therefore, the corset measurement should be considered the
point and each individual must alter it to achieve the
custom fit they
In addition, it is impossible to anticipate how
will cut out and stitch the corset. The difference between
only 1/8” on each seam line in some cases and not everyone
be exactly precise in cutting and sewing. For instance, if
out View A in pattern 113 and stitched the seams at ½”
your corset would be 3 inches too big.
I thought a corset would make my bust bigger. Should it?
The purpose of a Victorian corset is to maximize
the difference between the waist and the hips/bust.
can reduce their waist, some can’t. Corsets don’t
create bigger breasts. If you want a larger difference
between your waist and bust,
cut a corset that is too large in the bust and stuff it.
I have read on the internet that this corset is too big
in the bust and doesn’t reduce the waist enough. Is this
Did the individual who made this generalization
happen to mention whether they are a
size 6 Cup B or a size 26 Cup DDD? Is their bust
the same size as their waist? It is best
to take what any given individual’s
experience has been with a grain of salt.
Each individual is unique in size and desired waist reduction.
all the different
requirements from each individual I would
have to be a miracle worker, psychic, or offer as many different
patterns as there are different
bras in a retail store lingerie department.
(Actually more, since bras only address the bust and corsets
waist and hip.)
Why should I make a mock-up or “muslin” of
A muslin will get you in the ball park as far as size.
It will also tell you if the corset is too long or short. If the
too long from waist to bust point, you can cut
it off or shorten it at the lengthen/shorten line. If your
full length corset (pattern
#100) is too short, you will need to lengthen
it at the lengthen/shorten lines or it will be too short to support
your bust. For instance,
a friend fit a tall slender lady who needed the
size 6, but had to lengthen it by 4 inches.
I wear a size 40 EEE cup bra. I want to make the Silverado corset.
What size should I cut?
Start with your waist measurement. If you have
a build like Rosie O’Donnell, use a small bust gore. If you
have a build like Dolly Parton, use bigger bust
I want huge masses of cleavage. What should I do?
Change your mind or shop at Fredericks of Hollywood
for a non-period look.
I should I cut the B, C or D cup?
If in doubt, cut the D. You can always take it
Are your measurements modern or Victorian?
They are the standard measurements used today
by the large American pattern companies.
What are the finished measurements of the corset?
For #100, the B cup corset is 2 inches smaller
than the listed measurements. The C and D cups have a larger
bust measurement. For
#113, the corsets are 2 inches smaller than the measurements.
Does the Silverado give more support to the bust?
Both the corsets support the bust very well and
the silhouettes are very similar, although the Silverado is longer
in the hip. The
Dore takes less time to sew and less time to fit.
I have heard that plastic cable ties, available at home improvement
stores, work just as well as steel bones. Is
I prefer steel.