How wide should corset seam allowances be?

So, how wide should they be?

We start by learning how to add seam allowances. Doesn’t have to be fancy, basics are always a good start so check out tutorial “How to Add Seam Allowances to a Corset Pattern”!

Now that you know how to add them, let’s build on that knowledge!

This tutorial focuses on three key parts of a corset and will teach you how to refine your choices and corsetry skills. When you work with, instead against, the special needs of certain corset parts, you instantly make them prettier!

Some extra width over the busk will give you a smoother front on a corset. That’s the first part everyone will see! Extra width on seam allowances on corsets back, creates a smooth, strong and durable piece. All that simply because grommets have more fabric to bite in to! Finally, spending a little bit of extra fabric on seam allowances for corset edges can save your project in the most literal sense. When you work with a fabric that is prone to fraying, it is very easy to create some irreparable damage. No project should suffer like that.

Continue reading to learn how wide should seam allowances for corsets be. Arm yourself with this knowledge!
Go forth! Sew ALL the corsets!!!

Happy sewing!

Method is demonstrated on an Underbust corset pattern LOLITA though the same principle can be applied to any other corset patterns.

Free corset patterns

Aside from the instructional tutorial being available online, it can also be DOWNLOADED as a PDF file for offline viewing.

Tutorial on how wide should seam allowances for corsets be

I want to dive deep and cover the real basics of corset making.

There are many special and strange differences between making regular clothing and making corsets. Small details that I’ve condensed in this tutorial will give that extra something to make better corsets.

Introduction on planing seam allowances for corsets

Different makers have different methods & preferences when it comes to seam allowance widths for corset making.

There are other factors that also have an effect on the width of seam allowances.

Some of the bigger ones are :

  • seam type
  • corset construction method
  • fabric thickness
  • number of layers
  • boning width & thickness

Pattern used as the example is Underbust Corset Pattern LOLITA by AraneaBlack.

Purpose of the tutorial on how wide should seam allowances for corsets be

This tutorial will demonstrate some of my personal preferences, & the reasons why I do it like that, for three key parts of a corset.

These three key parts :

  • Center Front
  • Center Back
  • Top & Bottom Edges

Seam allowances for the rest of the corset a.k.a. for connecting seam lines, will be addressed in a different tutorial as they are a bit different for almost every seam type and corset construction method.

Adding seam allowances on edges of the corset to stop fabric fraying

While many corset-makers don’t add seam allowances on top & bottom edges, you don’t have to either, there is a benefit to it. When working with a fashion fabric that frays a lot, a seam allowance on edges keeps the main fabric safe.

Having a little extra makes it easier to grip when pinning together & allows for smaller edge shape adjustments.

Seam allowance size:
0.5 to 1.5cm 1/4” to 1/2”

Use large seam allowances when working with a fabric that frays A LOT. In contrast, use the smallest if chosen fabric doesn’t fray much or at all. This will give you just enough to make pinning easier.

Instructions on adding seam allowances for a straight corset busk

When working with a straight busk (including swing hooks) as a front closure,  seam allowances should be wider that the busk itself.

Little extra width prevents the edge of the fabric running right over the busk,which can be visible on the outside.

Seam allowance size:
Busk Width + 0.5cm or 1/4”

Extra tip!
When you are adding an extra bone next to the front busk for that extra oomph, add the width of that bone channel in to your seam allowance width calculations.

Instructions on adding seam allowances for a tapered or spoon corset busk

For tapered and spoon front busks, the shape of the seam allowance should mirror the shape of the busk as much as it’s possible.

With this, we will cover  the full width of the busk, making the center front smooth.

Seam allowance size:
Busk Width + 0.5cm or 1/4”

Width for seam allowances when using a zipper front on a corset

If working with a zipper front closure, seam allowances should cover all boning channels sewn next to the zipper, to reinforce & stabilize it.

Seam allowance size:
Busk Channel Width x Number of Channels + 0.5cm or 1/4”

Extra Tip!
Be sure to use a heavy duty zipper! Repairing a busted zipper on a corset is not for the faint of heart.

Width of seam allowances for when using front lacing on a corset

When using lacing as a front closure, it should be constructed almost the same as the back lacing, in terms of stability  and strength.

This way, allowance fabric adds strength to grommets as well.

Seam allowance size:
Busk Channel Width x Number of Channels + Grommet “strip” + 0.5cm or 1/4”

Extra Tip!
Use grommets/eyelets that connect with a washer. They are also known as two part grommets/eyelets.
Example of two part grommets by Prym (not sponsored)

Split eyelets are made for use on leather, not fabric. Their jagged edges can damage your corset, other clothing or you!

Adding seam allowances on the back lacing of a corset

As with front lacing, back lacing seam allowances should be wide enough to cover all bone channels, grommet “strip”, plus a bit extra.

Space between boning channels should be just enough to fit grommets.

Seam allowance size:
Busk Channel Width x Number of Channels + Grommet “strip” + 0.5cm or 1/4”

End of the tutorial on how wide should seam allowances for a corset be

Knowing this information, you can decide what seam allowance widths suit your project the best, and you can apply themon these three key parts of your corset.

Adding seam allowances can be finished in any desired style, depending on your preference and goal.

With all said and done, go make magic!

Happy sewing!!!