Tuesday, September 8, 2015

5 Ways to Save Money in Corsetry

I am sooo excited to be on my way with my corset. The grommets are installed, the busk is in, and just fiddling with it more before I sew the boning chanels. I tried it on, and wow! The coutil behaves completely differently, and is much more firm. I could barely get it on, and completely laced has 3'' spring (before tightening the laces, there is about 5'' of spring, so you can imagine how tight it feels when first putting it on). The mockup only had 1 1/2'', so it makes it more difficult to get on. I'm afraid I have no pictures of what the corset looks now, and mockup pictures aren't so great. BUT...pictures will be coming!

The coutil is way more stiff and thick than I thought it would be. Next time, maybe I will try the imported coutil from corsetmaking.com instead of the domestic coutil; there was only a $5 price difference. After a little debate, I decided to try making a single layer corset, but line with twill. After working with it, I think it was a good decision because my sewing machine couldn't make up it's mind going over some of the double layers, particularly over the seams.

With each corset, the price gets lower and lower. Here is some of the breakdown of what my costs are, and some comparison of how you can plan ahead and save money on your next corset by making wise purchases now. No matter how much you hate making corsets (which I don't, it's growing on me), or how long you think your corset will last, you will eventually have to make another one.

My first corset was:

$15 busk
$10 Boning
$25 grommet setting kit
$10 Cotton twill (the mockup became the finished product)

All in all, shipping is expensive, so the total was around $70-$75.

The second corset:

$15 busk
$8 boning
$25 1 yard cotton coutil
$6 cotton twill (I bought it for the mockup, but it'll also be used for the finished product)

I ordered 4 dozen grommets for a different project and used 2 dozen, so I'll have enough for this particular one and be able to consider it stash. Also, there are a couple different boning sizes I have from my last corset to use in this one that will fit somewhere in the side and back. The front in this new one is considerably longer, 2'', plus more flare vs. straight up and down. Total cost = $65

With potential preparations for a corset for someone else, I will have enough for one layer to be coutil, which is a huge savings, and I may be able to use my original busk which doesn't fit my new corset. Grommets, once you have the kit, are inexpensive in bulk. I ordered 4 dozen on Amazon last time for $8, and it's nice to have enough for more than one project.

Here are what the price is looking for the next one:

Re-Used Busk - free
Stash Coutil - free
$6 cotton twill mockup
$8 boning
$8 Grommets

Corsetmaking.com is a great resource, but their shipping is expensive for even small orders. For something like this, I will probably try The Button Baron; each boning piece is a little more expensive, but the shipping is way better on smaller orders. So, the total we're looking at for the next corset is between $25-$40, depending on whether the old 11'' busk works or not.

All in all, here is the breakdown of ways to save money:

1. One thing that I haven't had to buy is plastic zip ties for the mockup. I keep reusing it over and over, and very rarely does it get put in a finished project. That is kind of a one-time buy, if you hang on to them once you're done with the mockup. Another thing you can use for each project is a set of grommet tape; I bought eyelets from Joanns for a different project, and they were so cruddy that they are now only used for mockups. However, after tearing apart my old corset, I decided to not recycle the back panels with grommets because of the stretching and have upgraded my mockup just by switching to something I can put boning in.

2. If you and your friends are looking to make corsets, order from Richard the Thread. You must buy at least 5 yards, but the breakdown is $15 a yard all in all.
Also, I just discoverd this Etsy seller has very affordable fabric, but the shipping can be expensive for people outside the UK like me.

3. Making single-layer corsets or double layer with the inner layer being some other stable fabric is another way to stretch one yard. I also recommend that any bias strips you use to bind or make boning casings with you use something other than coutil; it has no bias stretch whatsoever and could be more of a headache than it's worth.

4. You don't need any fancy grommet setting kits, but after buying the simple kit for $25 and using the grommets from that, buy in bulk enough to make 2 or 3 corsets. You'll save on shipping, and the more you buy the less expensive they are by the dozen.

Grommets available at Vogue Fabrics

5. As far as busks go, there isn't really any place to get them for less than $15, and the best bet is buy from either the same place you buy boning or fabric. If you have an old corset, reuse it if you can. My friend Tiana over at Adventures in Costuming found an old corset at a thrift shop and reused the busk. I go thrifting all the time, but I never think to look for sewing supplies.

If you buy boning, it never hurts to buy a couple extra bones in case you want more. If you don't use them, they can be used either in a mockup or in the next corset.

Know of any other good tips to save money in corsetry? I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. Can't wait for some photos. I have to make a new corset soon. My current one has been repaired far more than it should have.