Curved Front Corset


I noticed a while back that most of the bodices in Alcega’s
book and several other period tailor’s books show a slight backwards S curve
at the front edge. That seemed like it would accommodate the bust and belly
a little, and I was feeling like being comfortable, so I decided to give it
a shot. I included a picture of what was left of the fabric after I cut the
pieces, because it looked surprisingly like bodice cutting diagrams shown in
period resources. The last picture is a boning diagram, just in case anyone
was curious.

Results and Notes:The resulting corset was quite
comfortable, and gives a very nice line. I was pretty happy with it. I didn’t
get that terrible sinking feeling you can sometimes get from a heavily boned
corset with a straight front

Would I do it again?: Yes. In fact, I’m actually planning to repair the one I made (the boning wore through wool surprisingly quickly, much to my dismay). But, honestly, to do it right I’d have had to remake all of my bodices with a curved front, and that was like work. Not sure I’ll do that. Trimming things gets complicated.


  1. I made my own pattern. If I recall correctly, I modified my effigy corset pattern, by adding the slight curve out for the bust, and slight curve in under it. The total difference between the outermost part of the bust and the innermost part of the under-bust is about 1.5″. I was about a 36C when I first drafted this. It works for a D cup as well, but for DD and above, I’d adjust the amount of curve to accommodate the, well, curves. I’ve no idea how the design works below a C cup, and I’d love input from anyone in that range who’s tried this. Frankly, having the chest to fill a corset isn’t my problem — supporting it and keeping it from descending below the equator rather is. (There’s always something for a girl to complain about, isn’t there?)

    1. I drafted my own, based loosely on pictures in Alcega’s pattern book. It’s a fairly easy modification of a standard front opening corset draft.

  2. Did you use just hemp boning with this one? Since I’m a 38G I’ve gotta admit that this sounds like a very good idea. But with the curve running down the front I’m not seeing this working with heavy riptie boning.

  3. Hi, Rebecca – This is boned with heavy-duty cable ties. The curve looks like it shouldn’t work if you think about it flat, because the ziptie would have to manage to squiggle (something they’re really designed to refuse to do). But if you think about it three dimensionally, that curve translates into a smooth series of hills, for lack of a better term – that’s something zip ties do brilliantly. I’ve done one of these with strimmer line, which also worked out fine. I can’t think of a reason why hemp wouldn’t work.

  4. I love the idea of using trimmer line. What weight/size of trimline do you usually use? I can see what you mean on the rip ties though. I really love the line you achieved in the s curve here but also with your trimmer line boned corset. I’m hoping to emulate that balance between smooth line/a bit of soft curve/and a period appropriate amount of ‘boobage’ BTW I like that term. I’ve been trying to achive that type of line for awhile. Since its very much in evidence in 1500’s Venetian fashion, my addiction of preference.

    1. Um…. It has a size and weight? Good to know…. I use whatever I can get on sale. Ideally, you want to use the really crap kind that’s just round in profile – the stuff that grass just sort of laughs at and dodges. The good stuff, with the star-shaped profile, is harder to get into the channels and seems to cut through the fabric over time. Hope that helps!

  5. Actually yes that does help. I’m not sure I would have stopped and thought ‘gee if it can cut grass it will most likely cut linen’ LOL. Thanks for the heads up as I’m heading out to Lowes as we speak.

  6. *laugh* You know, when you put it just like that, I feel a little sheepish for not realizing it was a problem until it started happening…. Good luck!

  7. I’m teaching a corsetry class in the beginning of April….would it be ok if I use some of the pictures and content from your site as visual aids? I’ve learned a great deal from your site. I will of course give you credit for all of it.

    1. Surely! Thank you for asking, and I’m totally flattered. :) if your students are interested in drafting techniques, they might also like the block party ebook.

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