Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leather 'Underworld' Replica Tutorial...

I get a lot of request for Leather 'Underworld' Corsets particularly around this time of year (pre Halloween/convention time), so I tend to take on a couple of orders for it each year. I  really enjoy doing a little replica work  from time to time (not only is it a good skill to have as a costume maker, but with anything that I have to repeat again and again there is the potential for improvement in my work).

*Please note this tutorial is for somebody who has previous corset making experience and understanding (as I will not be going into detailed corset making techniques).*

Anyway onto the making of my most recent version of this well loved replica. I tend to prefer recycled leather for this project as the corset needs a little bit of a worn look. I start by drawing out the design which is seen on the corsets front panel  (kinda looks like a Celtic Knot), then I transfer it on to pattern paper, I have found this the easiest for the purpose,plus it's easy enough to nip off a commercial pattern you may already have laying around . Once on the pattern paper the design is then cut in half - this is because I will be doing the embroidery onto the two central font panels separately.

So begins the rather slow process of machine stitching the design on (of course there are other more simple methods, but this how I do it) with the pattern paper laying over the leather I stitch right through both the paper (leaving enough room for the seam), the leather and  the canvas following the outline of the design. After I have completed this I rip the paper away leaving the outline on leather as seen in the picture above on the left (you might like tweezers to get the little bits that get stuck).

Next the two center front panels are stitched together carefully matching the the design so it is perfectly mirrored on each side (well as close to matching as possible would be more accurate).

Now for the fun part (lol) you need good machine control for this, the alternative is to turn the wheel of your machine by hand. The internal areas of the design need to be filled in, I do this by stitching continuous lines back and forth. You may also have noticed I am using a Teflon foot (I can't recommend this enough) leather has the same 'slip properties' as PVC and if you insist on using a normal foot it will become very difficult (even if you have a walking foot - at this stage you really need to use a Teflon).

Time to make loads of strapping (cut, fold, sew), you need two sizes of clips also known as parachute clips. X6 smaller for both sides on the waist and x2 larger for one side on the hips. It's best to thread the strapping right through the clips so the clip can't be opened, since the are only for decoration.

Now it's time to start adding the other panels (add central bone channel before joining). Remember one side has the hip strapping, so it needs to be lined up and sewn into the seam. The top stitching for the bone channels is best done with a zipper foot (those buckles can get right in the way, so depending on your supplies it can be easier to thread the clips on afterward).

The following panel has the smaller clips, x3 on each side (it's the same process again for both sides).

Once you get around the back it's time to get the ends of the strapping closed off DO NOT JUST LAY FLAT AND SEW INTO THE SEAMS it's important that you use a dress makers doll, mannequin or even a pillow to create a body shape, so you can rest the strapping around the actual shape desired to find the correct  placement (once something is moved from flat to concave or convex your required ease will change, particularly with overlaying pieces).

Once the lining it added it's time for binding (this is where you would well love a walking foot).

Bones are cut and finished to size so they can be inserted.

Then it's finishing up the binding and eyelets.

My Finished Order:-

With the matching boned cuffs:-

EDIT 29/04/2012
Because of popular demand I am offering 2x Custom Made Replicas, or 'Underworld' Selene Corset Sets via my ETY Store for anyone who's interested:-


SnowBlackCorsets said...

I think it is absolutely fantastic! the way you embroided the leather - stunning! said...

That's really neat!

Laura said...

Thanks for such a great tutorial! Just wondered if I could ask your advice on something though. When stitching the boning channels how do you stop the leather from walking? I'm making a leather corset for a friend and usually I would tack the bone tape to the "wrong" side and stitch from the "right" side. With the leather I can't pin or tack it as it would put holes in it and am instead pinning it from the wrong side to the coutil strength layer. I'm finding though that even with using a walking foot the leather walks and distorts when I come to stitch it from the right side. I don't know how to secure it while stitching.

If you could give any advice I'd really appreciate it!

Corsets Costume an Fashion said...

Thanks everyone.....

Hey Laura,
mmmm I'm not sure I have the exact answer....... but here's a few things I quiet often do:-
I sometimes sew from the inside/wrong side, I also find double sided tape comes in very handy when working with leather. As for the walking foot or using a teflon foot, even though that helps I still find I have to stop regularly lift the foot and gently push back the fabric to avoid any gathering/movement.
Hope that helps :)
Kind Regards

Laura said...

Thanks a million Abbey! :)

Renée-Denyse Labardini said...

You have an awesome Tutorial here! And some relly nice leather work. Love the corset. One doubt though, what type of boning tdo you use where? Thanks!!

Renée-Denyse Labardini said...

You have a really awesome tutorial! and I think your leather work is amazing!! Love the corset, both versions of it!
I have a doubt though, where do you place the different kind of bonings?

Abbey said...

Hey Renée-Denyse Labardini
I use both Flat and spiral steals....flats next to the eyelets and center front, with spirals every where else :)