How to Make a Corset Bodice

Written by erin griffith
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How to Make a Corset Bodice
Make your own corset-style bodice without the boning. (femme d'époque image by YvesBonnet from Fotolia.com)

A bodice is a form-fitting undergarment that does not use boning or attempt to cinch the waist, but covers the torso. Though traditionally worn as an undergarment, bodice tank tops and tube tops with a corset-style closure, either in front or back, have become popular. The corset trend is particularly popular among the do-it-yourself crowd, making a customised corset bodice a hot craft project. While it may be tempting to use comfortable, stretch jersey material to make the corset bodice, stiffer, non-stretch material is typically more successful.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Corset pattern
  • Material
  • Lining material (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pencil
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Ruler
  • 16 grommets
  • Grommet anvil and hammer
  • Lacing (ribbon or shoelace of your choice)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lay your pattern pieces over the material, trace them and cut the pieces out, remembering to leave excess material for seam allowance. If you are using a lining, which is recommended if your material is flimsy, do the same for the lining pieces.

  2. 2

    Assemble the separate pieces with their accompanying lining pieces. Place them facing each other outside-facing-in, and pin them together. Thread your sewing machine and sew the top and bottom sides of each piece together. Do not sew the sides together.

  3. 3

    Turn the pieces right-side-out. Pin and sew together the pieces according to the pattern instructions. This should create one long series of panels that you will wrap around yourself. Once you have attached the pieces together, there should be no raw edges showing except on the very ends of each side of the rectangle. Cut all excess threads.

  4. 4

    On each open side of the corset piece, fold the raw edge material into itself by an inch, creating an inner hem. Flatten and pin this area. Ensure there is enough room to install the grommets 1/2 to 3/4 inch away from the edge. If you do not have a lining, simply fold the edges of the corset over and hem the entire piece. However, leave a larger hem on the two sides of the corset so that when grommet holes are made, they are reinforced by two layers of material.

  5. 5

    Mark eight even dots for the grommets along each side of the corset. If necessary, use a ruler to distribute them evenly, both vertically and horizontally. They should be no less than 1/2 inch from the edge of the material.

  6. 6

    Cut a small hole at each mark and press the grommet into it, front side facing out. Hammer the grommet with the anvil and hammer, according to the grommet's instructions.

  7. 7

    Wrap the corset around yourself and lace it from top to bottom using the lacing ribbon of choice. If you'd like the corset to lace in the back, use a long piece of lacing material and lace it very loosely before putting it on. After it is around the body, pull and knot it yourself in a mirror, or get a friend to help.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have a grommet anvil or hammer, grommets can be installed roughly by hand but will not look as professional.
  • With some heavy materials, grommets are not necessary and the ribbon can be laced through simple holes in the material. Be sure to reinforce those holes with a sewing machine if you go that route.

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