April 24, 2009

cording fear

Cording would be done between the outer layer of fabric and another layer of fabric underneath. But since this corset will be just one layer of mesh I had to come up with another solution, running cord under mesh didn’t seem like a good idea. While figuring out how to do the cording I thought, why not just skip it? Or why not do quilting instead of cording? But one of the reasons for this whole crazy corset project is to tackle sewing techniques new to me. I can’t back off from cording just because I’ve never done it. And I’ll never be able to do more complicated cording if I avoid the easy stuff. There’s no whining in corsetry.

My solution? Make a corded patch and apply it to the mesh before I sew the pieces together. I started by transferring the cording placement from the mock-up to the pattern.

Each section matched up at the seam line, but they were not the same height overall, one side was 1 5/8 inches from top to bottom, the other was 1 7/8. When I drew them each at 1 3/4 inches the edges didn’t match because of the angle. Stupid geometry.

I need the same distance because of the cording. If it were just fabric I wouldn’t stress, but a couple extra rows of cording on one side will be too noticeable. I decided to make each piece 1 3/4 inches and will tuck the edges under a little more on one side, and a little less on the other, when I sew them on. Here are the finished pattern pieces.

I cut a piece from coutil. This will be the back of the cording. I sewed it near the top edge to a larger piece of unpatterned coutil, wrong side to wrong side, leaving extra on the larger piece to fold over later.

The first line is sewn with red because I will stitch right on this line with the proper color when I attach the appliquĂ© to the corset, and I’ll remove the red thread once everything is secure. After sewing this first line I got nervous about keeping my stitching straight so I sewed some test cording. It helped. With my confidence buoyed, I went back to the real cording. I flipped the piece I'd sewn over, laid a piece of cotton string snuggly between the pieces of fabric, and sewed right against the string. I did this for every cord.

The red thread was used again at the bottom. The edges were turned under, pressed, then I traced the pattern piece onto the finished piece.

I’ll trim the excess from the ends and repeat the whole process three more times. When I saw these pictures I realized my thread tension is off, I can see the thread from the bobbin at each stitch. Not pretty. But if I fix it now I’ll have one piece that doesn’t match the others. Maybe I’ll sew all the cording with the tension off so they look the same, then fix the tension. Or maybe there will be enough coutil scraps that I can redo this entire piece. Stupid thread tension.


  1. I'm loving your blog. And it's good to now I'm not the only one who has a nightmare with tension when using a zipper foot!

    Sometimes if you push the foot ever so slightly further over, so that the needle is really really close to it, this helps apply pressure to the fabric and improves the stitch a bit. Sometimes it doesn't help at all though!

  2. Thanks for the tip! I 'll have to try that.