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Inserting a busk

Inserting a busk into your corset can seem like a huge task, but it’s really not too complicated. Here I’ll walk you through the method that I use, one little step at a time!

Firstly, the most important thing is to remember which side of the busk goes where! The loop side will be on the RIGHT side of your body when wearing the corset, so it goes on the LEFT side when your front panels are laying on the table in front of you. For the sake of this tutorial, I’ll refer to the sides as they are laid out on the table. To get yourself oriented and make sure you’ve got all the pieces, lay out your centre front panels, front facings and busk.

The front facings in this example are 5.5cm wide – 1.5cm seam, 1.5cm to cover the busk, 1cm for a boning channel next to the busk, 0.5cm for a bit of stitching leeway, and 1cm to fold under to finish the inside neatly.

Now, we’ll start with the left (loop) side. Put the busk to the side and place your left front facing on top of your left centre front panel, right sides together. Mark out your seam allowance on the facing (1.5cm in this case). Make sure that your facing is the same length as the centre front panel at the seam allowance line.

Place the loop side of your busk on top of the facing, making sure it’s centred between the top and bottom edges. Make sure you leave enough room for binding and to cut down the top and bottom (if you’ve cut your corset with extra length). Now, mark both side of each loop along your seam line

Remove the busk and pin the facing and front panel together. Stitch down the seam line, back tacking at each side of each loop marking. Skip over the loop spaces without cutting the threads. If desired you can stitch directly over this line a second time for extra strength.

Press your seam open and trim the facing seam allowance to around 5mm. If you are adding a waist tape to your corset you can add that now. Pin it in along the waistline, with the end sitting on top of the front panel seam allowance.

Now, slide the loop half of the busk in to place, slipping the loops through the gaps you’ve left in the stitching. Fold the facing over to cover the busk, flip the whole thing over and pin. (I’m sorry, I forgot to photograph part way through this stage – let me know if it’s unclear and I’ll make another sample!)

This is what you should have now:

Using a zipper foot, stitch through the front panel and facing as close as possible to the busk. Don’t forget to pull the waist tape pin out from underneath so you don't stitch over it! If your layers are slipping a bit, you can baste them together first. It takes a little practice to get this line of stitching nice and straight, don’t despair if you don’t get it perfect the first time! Now flip your panel over and fold under the 1cm allowance of the facing.

From the front of the panel, measure and stitch your boning channel. And that’s the loop side done, we’re halfway there!

Now for the post side of the busk. Once again, put the facing on top of the panel, right sides together, mark out the seam allowance and pin.

Stitch straight along the seam allowance – twice if you’re worried about the strength. Press open the seam and trim the facing allowance to 5mm. If you’re using a waist tape, pin that in now, just like on the loop side.

Fold under the facing and line the panel up with the loop panel, centre fronts together and top and bottom edges even.

Now, using a fine marker, make small marks inside the busk loops to determine where the busk posts need to be positioned. Make sure that your right hand panel is sitting as straight and flat as possible so that the marks are spaced evenly. Also make sure that your marks are in the centre of the smaller part of the busk loop, furthest away from the edge of the panel.

Using a tapered awl, make a small hole at the first mark. Try to be gentle and move the fibres aside rather than tearing through them. Fold your facing back out for this stage - the hole should only go through the front panel, not through any of the seam allowances or the facing.

Now, gently push the busk post through the awl hole. It can sometimes be easier to hook half of the post through the hole first, then ease the fabric back over the rest of the post, rather than trying to jam the whole thing through at once.

Take your time with this stage. It can be a bit fiddly but you’ll get the hang of it. If your hole starts to close a bit before you get the post through, just use the awl to open it up again. Try not to make the hole too big, you want the fabric to be snug against the posts once they’re through. It’s also easier to work through one at a time, don’t make all the holes at once, they’ll just close up and need re-awling (I don’t think re-awling is actually a word, but you get what I mean).

The rest is the same as for the first half. Fold the facing back under, pin and stitch as we did for the loop side (don’t forget to pull out the waist tape pin from underneath!). Fold under the 1cm seam allowance on the facing and then measure and stitch your boning channel.

Now, put your two halves together, trim the facing to match the panel at the top and bottom edges, and you’re done!

Now you have a nice tidy busk ready for your corset! Please note that this is not the only way to insert a busk, techniques may vary based on the corset style/adding a front modesty panel etc. This is just one way of doing it, so play around and find what works best for you!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you've found this post helpful. Please feel free to comment with questions/feedback/suggestions for future posts!

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