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Get the look without the discomfort of tight lacing
This top was born out of a love of corsets and their look, coupled with a lack of time/funds to actually make one. When I came across a leather corset with rhinestones on corsets-uk.com, I was inspired to make myself a shiny new clubbing top. I decided to embellish it with beads instead though, since I already had some on hand. When it came time to design the beading pattern, I came across the second inspiration by Heather Wilson of Heart Gallery Blog, and voila! New top for me, and a free pattern/tutorial for everyone else :)

Made of denim with an organza overlay and satin binding. Lightly boned for support with a zipper closure at the front. Embellished with hand-sewn seed beads, bugle beads, and sequins.

Posted by Kaeleira from La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States • Published See Kaeleira's 15 projects »
  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 1
    Step 1

    Draft your pattern. For this you'll need a few measurements.

    1) bust circumference
    2) waist
    3) hip
    4) bust to waist length
    5) waist to hip length
    6) desired total length
    7) armscye circumference (around the arm at the armpit)

    A) Use your widest measurement and your desired length to make a rectangle.
    B) Divide the rectangle in half exactly, then divide each half a little unevenly to make the front and back panels wider than the sides. I just eyeballed this step.
    C) Find the difference between the widest point and all other circumferences, and distribute this along the three dividing lines to make diamond shapes.
    D) Draw in your top and bottom seams. Again, I mostly eyeballed this part. I brought the front seam down to a point, but you can leave it straight if you like.

    **I used a picture from www.leenas.com as a reference for the neckline, which is attached to this tutorial. It is more to scale than the pattern ref that I drew.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 2
    Step 2

    Gather your materials. There are refreshingly few compared to a real full corset. No grommet holes to punch either!

    I had a ton of organza and denim on hand, so I just used what I needed. The amount you'll need depends on your measurements.

    The wide satin ribbon that I used for binding is about the same width as blanket binding (~2.5in). I pressed and folded it to make my own shiny binding, since I couldn't find any premade. I used the narrow satin ribbon for the "laces" and the straps, and it's about 3/4in wide.

    The plastic that I used for my (uber ghetto) boning was scavenged from a cheap chest of drawers. It's a couple millimeters thick, and I cut my strips about 4 millimeters wide. You can also cut up old orange juice jugs, but make sure your strip is long enough to reach top to bottom, minus about 1 inch for binding.

    **Make sure to leave extra wide seam allowances so that your boning channels are wide enough to fit the plastic. You may need to double up two bones per channel if your plastic is too thin or bendy.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 3
    Step 3


    This will save you lots of potential tears and heartache at the end if your pattern doesn't fit properly. I actually went through two trial runs before I was finished tweaking things. It's also handy for doodling on if you're contemplating adding decorative stitching or changing the seam placement. It's best to use the fabric you're going to use in the actual garment, but I usually used some cheap stuff because I was feeling a bit miserly.

    Ooh, look at that fabric. The colour, the polka dots. So sexy.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 4
    Step 4

    Cut out your pattern pieces, trace them onto the fabric, and cut. This is the boring part, in my opinion.

    **My pattern does not include seam allowances. The lines you draw will be the actual seam lines. I usually just eyeball my seam allowances, but remember to leave extra wide ones (~1 inch) on the inner 3 seams for boning channels.

    Slip your fabric pieces underneath the organza and cut out enough to cover the piece. Baste the organza to the denim, making sure to stitch only on the seam allowances. Lightly tug on the organza while you're basting to make sure it doesn't bunch up too much.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 5
    Step 5

    Make your tucks. This is where you'll secure your ribbon using stitches instead of grommets.

    Arrange one half of your back panel in front of you with the wrong side up and the middle seam edge closest to you. Pinch about 1/2in of fabric in both hands, then fold it over away from you. What you're aiming for is a little flap that runs top to bottom and opens towards what will be the middle of the back panel on the right side. On the wrong side it should open towards the side of the back panel.

    On the wrong side, sew the open flap closed along the outer edge.

    **the photo ref is completely backwards here. Use it only to see how deep the flap should be and approximate placement.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 6
    Step 6

    Once your tucks are finished, sew the back panels together and press the tucks open. Take two lengths of ribbon and criss-cross them one at a time, pinning the folds to the inner creases of the tucks. Hide the ends of ribbon in the tucks and sew along the pinned folds of ribbon to secure. Press the tucks closed and sew the open edge of the flap to secure.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 7
    Step 7

    Install your zipper along the middle seam of the front panel. If you're new at this I highly recommend taeliac's zipper tutorial. I followed her instructions and had no problems putting in my very first zipper! And to think I was nervous because I had heard bad things about the dreaded zipper.


    **Don't make my mistake of buying just any old zipper. If you want your top to open completely like a jacket you need to buy a zipper that opens at the end. Mine doesn't. Therefore my top doesn't. I'll replace the zipper later if I can *grumbles*

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 8
    Step 8

    Sew the other pieces together. Serge your inner seam allowances at least half an inch away from your seam. Cut your boning and slip it into the seam allowances, making sure to leave space at the ends to sew on your binding.

    Press your new boning channels to one side and sew to secure. Reverse the top so that the right side faces up and sew along your seam to create a double row of stitches. This looks much nicer than having a ditch and a line of stitches beside it. Make sure to sew just beside the ditch though, or you won't be able to see the stitches clearly.

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 9
    Step 9

    Add your binding. Pretty straightforward if you've done it before. If you haven't, google it and there are plenty of free resources detailing the steps required.

    Yay for before and after pics! Hours of hand stitching condensed into the milliseconds it takes to glance from one to the other :D (Can you tell I don't like binding?)

  • How to make a corset. Beaded Corset Style Top - Step 10
    Step 10

    Optional step: embellishment.

    Here you can sew on beads, rhinestones, buttons, fringes, frills, lace, you name it!

    This step took me about 4 hours, mostly because I didn't have a proper seed bead needle and half the beads didn't fit over the eye. The final product is well worth the effort though. That added sparkle is just what was needed for a great finishing touch.

  • Step 11

    Put on your finished top and rejoice!

    If you have any questions or clarifications needed please feel free to ask. I consider myself a novice seamstress (only a step or two above complete newbie) but I'm happy to help if I can. Thanks for reading! <3

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