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Preparing your PDF corset pattern

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Hey folks! I’ve just published the second NZ Corsetry corset pattern, so I thought it might be a good time to give you a few pointers on how you can prepare these patterns to (hopefully!) save a bit of frustration during the mock up and fitting process.

Firstly, you need to print the pattern! This can be a bit daunting if you haven’t used a PDF pattern before, but it’s super easy and non-stressful, I promise!

To print the test page and check the scale, go ahead and print off page number 2 of the PDF. You need to make sure you have ‘Print at 100%’ or ‘Do not scale’ or ‘Actual size’ selected – the wording may differ depending on your software.

Use a ruler to check that the scale box on the page measures 8cm x 8cm. If it does, then go ahead and print the rest of the file. If for some reason the scale isn’t quite right, you may just need to play around with the printer settings a little. Try tweaking the custom scale percentage and re-printing the test page. Once you get that square measuring 8cm x 8cm, print the rest.

Pattern printed = great success!

Next, you’ll need to decide which size to use. Follow through the ‘Taking Measurements’ instructions (or see my previous blog post on this topic) to get your measurements. DON’T WORRY if these don’t completely match up with the measurements in the table, it is fairly unlikely that you will fit perfectly in to a standard size, it doesn't seem that too many people actually do. If your measurements do happen to match up nicely to one size (or close enough), go ahead and cut your pattern out at that size.

If your measurements are all over the show, we can tailor the pattern to fit.

For this example, I’m using the side back panel from the NZ Corsetry ‘Classic Underbust’ pattern, but you can apply the same principal to any corset pattern (or any other pattern in general, really).

For this pattern, we need our underbust, waist and high hip measurements. For the sake of this exercise, let’s say that my measurements are:

Underbust – 84cm

Natural waist – 84cm

High hip – 96cm

On the size chart, these measurements take me across sizes 14, 16 and 18.

*A quick note - if you fall between sizes, I would recommend using the larger size. It's easier to take a bit of room out of your mockup than it is to add more room in.

Have a look at the pattern marking legend and figure out which lines match your sizes for the underbust, waist and high hip, and mark those points on your pattern piece

So, to tailor this pattern to my size, I want to use the size 16 pattern at the top/underbust (black dashed line), the size 18 pattern at the waist (red solid line), and the size 14 pattern at the mid hip (black solid line).

Now that you’ve established which parts of the pattern you need, all you have to do is use a ruler/French curve (or free-hand if you’re feeling brave!) to join these points up. It can sometimes be easier to draw a straight line between your points first as a rough guide and then add the curve. You want to try to keep the curves as similar as possible to the standard sizes, but don’t worry if they’re not exactly the same. A handy little trick that may help is to cut away the larger sizes and then use the edge of the cut away piece as a template for drawing in your curves.

So, first, draw in straight lines between the points (green line)

Then use your French curve to make a curve between the two sizes that blends in smoothly at both ends (blue lines). And that's it! Not so scary, huh?

Or, if you're not keen on free-styling the curves, you can try the template method: cut away the larger size/s (if you’re using the largest size, you can still cut along the edge and use the excess paper as the template)

Match up the waist line and hip on the template with your marked waist and hip points on the pattern. They might not match up perfectly, that's fine. Just position the template so that it joins the pattern piece smoothly

Draw along the edge of the template to produce your new line. Repeat for the waist to underbust line.

Now cut along your new lines, et voila! A new, custom pattern piece.

Now simply repeat this process for the other pieces, and then you’re set to go. You need never be constrained by standard sizing again, embrace those unique proportions! (in a super stylish custom corset that only fits YOUR shape!)

A quick disclaimer though - please don’t expect these alterations to produce a perfectly fitting corset right away, every body carries weight and compresses differently, so you will still need to make a mockup and fit your corset properly. This is just an extra step you can do to get you a bit closer to your body shape before you start, and hopefully save some time and frustration with your mockup.

Now, go forth and customize ALL the patterns!

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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