Book Review – The Basics of Corset Building – A Handbook for Beginners

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

I came across this book at the corset making workshop we did back in November 2016. Instructor Kate Pinfold had it with her as a reference for the clients and then lent me it so I could get cracking with my own creation (a Dupion silk, strapless number that isn’t finished yet – you’ll be the first to see it I promise!)

Written by Linda Sparks this book literally contains everything you need to know to make a corset. Linda claims that as long as you know how to sew a straight line then you can use this book to corset success. She calls it building a corset because making a corset calls for more than just sewing skills. You’ll learn to work with tin snips, needle-nose pliers, hammers, eylets and all sorts of other paraphernalia. But don’t let that put you off. Linda covers in details the different steps involved and they are all well illustrated. She even helps with material choice and styling.

Her tone in the book is re-assuring and she explains everything in a way that makes it all very easy to understand. The only thing I felt was lacking was colour photography – it’s all black and white illustrations and photographs, but don’t let that put you off.

This is great, easy to use book that’s definitely worth getting your hands on if you’re new to corset making, or just interested in seeing how one comes together. Enjoy.

Available at Amazon and priced from £12 to £20 depending on seller.


Choosing the right pattern size

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Sticking with the commercial pattern theme, I thought I’d share some tips on choosing the right size for you. This topic tends to confuse because many think that if they’re a size 12 in the shops, they’ll need a size 12 pattern. But it doesn’t work like that. It’s all in the measurements. Before buying a pattern, take all your measurements and compare these to the pattern measurements, which should be on the packet. You’ll probably find that you need a size or two up from your normal size – but don’t despair, you haven’t put weight on, it’s just different that’s all. Then choose the size nearest to your measurements.

However few of us have a standard figure, so there are often discrepancies between the pattern measurement and ours. Depending on the pattern, it’s best to choose the size that corresponds to the most important area of fit.

  • For a dress or jacket, choose the pattern nearest to your bust size and adjust the other measurements to fit if need be
  • For skirts and trousers it’s the hip measurement that’s important so choose a size that matches your hips and adjust the waist to fit
  • If you choose a pattern which has several different garments in the one packet (skirt, top and dress for instance) it’s best to select the size that corresponds to your bust measurement and adjust all the rest if needed. If there’s a large difference or you don’t feel confident adjusting the pattern to fit, buy two sizes of the same pattern and mix and match the pieces until you get the closest fit for you. Most patterns these days though come in multi-sized options all within the one packet, which makes life so much easier as you can use whichever size you need for the different ares of the body.
  • Take note of the description on the packet. For instance a blouse may be loose fit, very loose fit or fitted. If you don’t want it too fitted, choose a size up. Or a size down if you don’t want it too loose.



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Here it's not just about 'how to' but also 'why not?' We're not experts, more like curious enthusiasts and this is the place where we can all learn to be successful at sewing together. Helpful (hopefully), inspiring (ditto) and we promise not to take ourselves too seriously. Let's put some fun into fabric.

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