Pictured: one steampunk corset belt. Photo by George Major.
I had some leftover pleather from the remnant bin at Joann Fabrics after our goggles extravaganza, so I decided I wanted to make a corset belt (a la EPBOT again). Unfortunately, I found no patterns anywhere. But never fear! My sister in law is amazing and can whip patterns out of thin air!
- Fabric of your choice (preferably something heavy/thick, like pleather, vinyl, etc.)
- cording of your choice (I used suede cord, but if I could have found something less stiff I would have preferred that instead)
- Eyelet kit (found with the snaps, velcro, etc. in the craft store)
- A helper
- Duct tape
- An old shirt or saran wrap or something of that sort (I used a very thin sheet of foam padding stuff)
First, get your helper. Wrap yourself (with their help) with the saran wrap or stuff of that nature, or just put on an old shirt you don't mind cutting up. Then wrap duct tape around your waist until it covers about the area you want the corset belt to cover. Carefully cut it off of you once you are satisfied. (Your helper will probably be doing most of this, actually.)
Now you have a basic pattern. Add bits and pieces as you deem fit to make it look approximately the shape you want. I made it so that mine went up a bit to follow the bust line and down a bit over my waist, but you can't really tell in the picture.
Decide if you want your corset belt to lace up the front, or the front AND back. I decided to do front and back so that it didn't bunch up as much. (Also because it was easier to fit the pattern onto the cloth I had.) My tutorial will reflect that decision.
Cut your pattern in half (the short way) so that you have two pieces that each fit around half of your waist. Trace them onto your fabric. If you are hemming the tops and bottoms (long ends) of your fabric, be sure to adjust for a seam allowance. You do not need to adjust for a seam allowance on the short ends because you need some extra room to lace it up anyway.
Cut out your fabric. If hemming the long ends, do so now. If not (I didn't - pleather doesn't fray really), continue on to the next step.
Pin and hem your short ends. I did 3/4 of an inch for this part, allowing plenty of room for my eyelets (but not tons extra).
Put in the eyelets. We did this by poking a hole in the fabric with a nail/Exacto knife and then widening it bit by bit with scissors, though you may have a more appropriate tool selection to aid you in this endeavor. If you got the eyelet kit, it will come with the tools you need to secure the eyelets in the holes you just made; I simply followed the instructions on the back of my kit. It was pretty straightforward. You do need to be careful not to cut the holes too big or your eyelets will pop out easily.
Finally, lace up your corset in the front and back, an enjoy!
Note: if you are more curvy, or want it to fit more specifically to your shape, you can add more panels than just two, but I was running short on time so I skipped out on that. I'm no expert on how that would work exactly, but I know it involves making the corset belt go in more in the middle and out more at the top and bottom.
Again, I want to give a big THANK YOU to my sister in law for figuring this all out for me. She is a pattern genius! She does the hard part, and I just do the sewing. :)