This is the first technical eBook I have read and also the first book on corsetry. I wanted to read this book as I would love to try and make a corset sometime in the future and therefore I put my hand up to review it when Vivebooks were looking for volunteers. Now having read it I'm glad I didn't just go buy a corset pattern and try to make one off the bat! There is so much more to corset making than I had originally imagined- negative ease and pressure points to take into consideration for example- and this book covers it well.
The author (Julia Bremble) states that her aim of this book is "pass on the most practical methods of corset building knowledge, built up through years of making corsets and researching the subject in many different, and sometimes hard to find, places. "
And that she hopes it will be
“a good beginner's grounding, an intermediate's reference and a source of inspiration."
As a would-be novice corset maker I think this will be a very useful introduction to the craft.
This book includes videos of the author demonstrating various techniques, plus an introduction video from the author herself which is lovely as you get to see a bit of what the person behind the book is like. Highlighted words within the book will are linked back to more detailed explanations, which make it easy to look up a particular word definition or technique as you go along – rather than having to scroll back through all the pages. If you are internet connected while reading there are hyperlinks listed within the book and at the online resources section at the end of the book, which when clicked will take you directly the site.
Other features of using this eBook is the ability to print off pages for future reference and to zoom in on photos or text – great for late night reading! This and other hints for making the most of the e-book format are given in a section at the beginning of the book.
Plenty of high quality photographs are given in this book, in fact I am pretty sure that every technique or material/tool mentioned has at least 1 good quality clear photograph accompanying it. Quite often there are several photographs showing step by step how to do something plus a video as well, wonderful if you are someone who has to see something done to “get it”.
Topics covered in this eBook:
-The history of corsets (brief but well covered and interesting).
- How a corset works (the dynamics of corset fitting).
- Tools and hardware required for corset making. Great photographs are given clearly showing all the different types of fittings, bonings/busks and tools required. With regards to boning Julia explains the pros and cons of each particular type (plastic, flat steel and spiral steel), what situations they are best suited for and options for finishing the ends on each of these (if they come unfinished). I particularly like how the author suggests vintage sewing machines as a suitable and economical alternative to more expensive modern machine for corset making. This is good if you are just trying out corset making and are not sure if it’s the thing for you.
-Building a framework. Covers how to work with bones, insert eyelets and busks.
-Fabrication. Covers different fabrics, interfacing and tapes that can be used. This chapter discusses roll pinning and has a video demonstrating roll pinning, a technique to avoid wrinkles and to give a smooth finish to your corset. Other reviewers who have previously made corsets have praised the author highly for her coverage of this technique within the book.
-Sewing Techniques. Includes how to sew different types of seams, how to make channels and casings for boning, inserting a waist stay and finishing techniques.
-Vital underpinnings: How to construct and fit a toile of your pattern, and the measurements required to do so. How to make adjustments to your pattern from the toile fitting.
- Making a corset: walks you through the construction of two types of corsets (single and double layer) , with different fabric options for each, from beginning to end. The whole book emphasises the need to piece together corsets in an orderly and methodical manner and this section includes printable worksheets which enable you to organise yourself and the materials, then tick off each step as you go.
Julia writes in a very engaging manner for such a technical topic and clearly explains everything so that the beginner – like me!- can understand what she is saying without having to analyse and reread each section.
I would recommend this book as a must have to anyone who is seriously looking into making a corset for the first time. Speaking to an experienced dressmaker friend (who has actually made corsets throughout her career) about this book she said that the author’s blog is highly regarded as a good source of information on corset making. Considering the amount of effort that can go into making a corset (not to mention money if you want to use the better quality material) this book could be very useful in helping you to avoid time consuming and/or costly mistakes and possibly make the whole experience a lot more fun, creative and exciting, like sewing should be :)