Sew the back seam of the Outer fabric, at your normal seam allowance. Repeat for the lining.
Press the back seam open. Repeat with the lining.
Sew the fronts to the assembled back, and press the seams open. Repeat with the lining.
To assemble the bodice, place the outer fabric right side up on top if the interlining.
Place the lining fabric upside-down on the outer fabric.
Pin the snot out of it. Once the layers are all neatly together, I usually work on the interlining side, because it's easier to avoid the boning that way.
Start sewing a the bottom of the corset, to the front of the side seam. Sew, at your normal seam allowance, all around the bodice. When you come to a corner, pivot at the seam allowance for the next segment.
The finished seam leaves the bottom of the back open so we can turn the bodice out.
Now, we’ve really just sewn the straps totally shut at the ends. (Missa, why’d we just do that? It seems like a Bad Idea!) Here’s the deal: I hate having to hand-stitch an armscye shut. I do. It’s annoying. And there are a lot of ways around the problem, but there’s only one that works for both doll and human scale. We’re completely finishing each end of each strap, and then we’re going to butt the finished edges together and overhand them – there’s still hand sewing involved, but it’s minimal and it’s not on a curved seam.
Trim back the seam allowances of the interlining.
Snip off corners and clip the seam allowances near curves, so that everything will turn properly.
Prepare to turn the bodice out. You will need a variety of pokey implements. I have a round-tipped needle, a flat tipped needle, and a size 8 knitting needle.
If you have small children or other sensitive ears around, this might be a good time to blockade yourself in a relatively sound-proofed area. Turning a boned bodice out is often quite the fight, especially in human sizes with serious boning. On the bright side, I’m pretty sure it counts as a workout….
To begin, put your thumb (or arm, at human sizes) inside the bodice between the lining and outer layers. Your goal is to grab on of the upper corners of the bodice and pull it out the back bottom opening.
Repeat with the other corner. You should now have something hopeless looking.
Using your selection of pokey implements, push out the front corners and the back straps. This is the easy part.
Push the front straps out. This is the annoying part.
The problem is that the fabric sort of wants to tie itself into hopelessly immoveable knots inside of the strap. Try to stay calm, work slowly, and go in small nudges rather than trying to ram it all through at once. Take some comfort in the knowledge that this would be infinitely worse if you were working in cotton velvet. (Unless you are working in cotton velvet, and then I am very sorry…)
Turn in the seam allowances at the bottom back of the bodice. Pin and hand stitch closed.
Butt the ends of the straps to form an armhole. Sew these by hand, neatly.
A finished armhole.
You will need to add eyelets or grommets. They should be spaced evenly.
I can never do this by sheer force of math, so I usually lie the eyelets out on a ruler and push them around until I like the spacing.
In general, on a human size I never want to go more than 1 1/2″ (center to center) between grommets. I want the top and bottom grommets no more than 1″ and no less than 1/2″ from the edges of the bodice. For the doll, I’m using 3/8″ centered spacing and staying 1/8″ away from top and bottom.
Mark the eyelet positions. I am lazy, so I usually only mark one side. Once I've gotten the eyelets into the first side, I fold the bodice in half, line up the fronts, and mark the second side off the first.
You will now need to set the eyelets, or set your grommets. You could decide to do hand-bound eyelets, which would be very lovely but is probably overkill for a bodice like this.
Put your bodice on, and wear it proudly (even if it's 3am and you're the only one still awake in the house!)
Ain’t she cute? I swear, I’ve never so much wanted to hand a doll a big ol’ tankard of ale! Tee hee….
If you are human, and you’ve never worn a corset or boned bodice before, you should know that getting it laced up will probably require some degree of manual readjustment in the boobal area. There’s really no way to avoid this.
This is why we just boned a bodice for a dolly... While she doesn't really need the support, the boning gives the bodice the nice, straight line we expect.
From the back, it looks pretty much like you'd expect...
There’s a subtle design lesson going on here: if you combine primary red and black, especially in a fitted black bodice, you have a pirate. True story. We’ve all seen at least a dozen women dressed almost exactly like this at faires. They are all wearing pirate boots. Hmmm…. I should make dolly boots! Heh. That would be ridiculously fab.
Anyway, congrats – you’ve got a bodice. Wear it with a circle skirt and a drawstring chemise, and you match my dolly!