How to Make a Pirate Corset

Written by michelle labbe
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How to Make a Pirate Corset
Dress up as a daring pirate wench. (Young girl in pirate style image by Yulia Podlesnova from

Swashbuckling pirates out of romance and legend capture our imaginations year after year. Though women pirates were few, today the female pirate costume is common on Halloween and at Renaissance fairs. Pirate costumes for women are versatile, allowing for trousers or bloomers rather than a heavy skirt, but they still include a corset to show off feminine curves. Corsets, with their laces and boning, can be complicated to make from scratch, but making a pirate wench's corset that falls under the bust is a little less labour-intensive.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Old leather jacket
  • Lining fabric, medium-weight
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Bamboo mat
  • Roll of wide ribbon

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  1. 1

    Take your measurements under your bust and at the narrowest point of your waist. Transfer these measurements to a sheet of paper. Use the measurements to create a simple sleeveless underbust corset pattern. Cut out the pattern. Fit the pattern around your waist again to check for fit and comfort.

  2. 2

    Lay the fabric of the leather jacket and the lining fabric out flat. Transfer the pattern onto both the jacket and the lining, and cut out the pieces with a rotary cutter.

  3. 3

    Pin the leather and lining fabric together, right sides facing out. Baste together along the bottom edge of the waist with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Run the stitch along the back centre on each side, working from the bottom to the top.

  4. 4

    Take apart the bamboo mat to separate the bamboo shafts. These will become your boning. On the inside of the corset, mark channels to inside the boning. Make a symmetrical series of channels along each side of the bodice. As long as channels are symmetrical, the exact number and placement is not important. Make each channel slightly wider than the bamboo shafts. Sew straight lines along the marks to create channels for inserting the boning. Sew in the same direction, from top to bottom or from bottom to top, for each channel to avoid wrinkling the fabric. Cut bamboo to length and insert into the channels.

  5. 5

    Finish all edges except the top edge of the corset by folding the ribbon over the raw edges and stitching in place with a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

  6. 6

    Cut bamboo shafts to length and insert into the boning channels from the top of the corset. Finish the top edge of the corset with a length of ribbon folded over the edge, using a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

  7. 7

    Fold in the two ends of the corset where they meet at the front of the waist, about 1 1/2 inches. Sew two parallel lines an inch apart along each edge, running from the top to the bottom.

  8. 8

    Cut four slits down the seams on each side of the corset. Thread the ribbon through the corset to lace up. Tie a bow if desired, and leave generous lengths of ribbon on either side when corset is fully laced. A ribbon cut too short will be difficult to lace up.

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