For me, the boning is the one single element that distinguishes this garment from, say the bustier or a camisole. But in devising a simplified version for the doll, my chief obstacle was finding boning small enough to trace the miniscule torso of my dolls. Finally I discovered twist ties (the kind that comes wrapped around small electronics). These have just the right proportions. And though I did use these little "under wires" for three of the four corsets featured here, my feeling was that, by folding over the seams and topstitching them in place (a.k.a. flat felled seams), you don't always need the boning. The lace used here is really hem tape because it is the easiest to find.
Though rare, in France, there still exists the "corsetieres," crafts persons specializing in the art of made-to-order bras and corsets. As with Haute Couture, the woman is measured and a "second skin" undergarment is created perfectly conforming to the curves beneath. Though my technique has nothing to do with that employed by this highly skilled specialist, it is my way of paying homage to this disappearing art. I wanted the "boning" to be noticeable, but yours can be more discreet if you prefer. I begin by wrapping a narrow piece of tape around the doll sticky side up. Cut the twist ties in lengths that line up along the body's side front, back side back and side seams. Lay each one against the body on the tape. Lay the lace in between the "bones" and pin well in place.
bra pattern (minus the seam allowance), aligning the top with the border of the lace. Overlap the bottom of the bra to the outside of the corset. Pin. Hand stitch in place. Join the center of the bra and stitch by hand. Now add the finishing touches. Cut away the edging from the lace trim and apply to the lower edge of the corset. You can also cut away some of the flowers from the trim and applique onto the bra. I've also added a tiny bow dotted a tiny rhinestone. Leave strapless or add small lengths of 1/8-inch ribbon for straps. You can also tack on tiny bits of ribbon at the lower edge of the corset to simulate garters!
At the back, I sewed on hooks to each side of the opening close to the boning. Catch the ribbon through the hooks and tie into a bow. Note: This garment will fit different types of Barbie!
The doll is wearing panties featured on the "Petites Culottes" posting. Because I'm closing them with Velcro on one side, I covered each side with a lace flower motif, dotted with a single rhinestone.
The red version features lacing up the front. For this I used 5/8-inch lace hem tape which was a bit harder to work with.
Off the Rack Corset
I used pale pink satin for my corset. Press the seams to the side and topstitch. Here, I've used a double row of topstitching to give the feeling of boning. I gathered 5/8-inch tape and added it to the bottom of the corset. You can attach the bra pattern to the top edge, however for this version, I've simply cut away a few lace embroidered motifs and added them to the top. I added a bow over the bust and tiny, adhesive backed pearls down the center front. The back is held closed with hooks.
For my last corset, I wanted to make a more contemporary version of the traditional corset. I used the same pattern as above and a heavyweight silk fabric which provides additional structure to the garment.
You can also use a lighter fabric and stiffen it with iron-on interface (as we did for Ken's jacket).
These corsets not only make for sexy lingerie, they can be combined with tulle, sheer fabric or full skirts to make a dramatic evening ensemble.
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