Renaissance Corset Tutorial

 Here’s a tutorial for the renaissance corset that I made as part of my renaissance costume! I really loved sewing this outfit and seeing it come together in the end. 
Renaissance Corset Tutorial|Designers Sweet Spot|www/
I am featuring Simplicity Pattern # 3809.
The first two pieces in this outfit went together rather quickly.

The Corset is another matter. There are lots of pieces with this one and I found the pattern directions very unclear.

The key to success in this piece is the muslin. Muslin is inexpensive. Designers always make a muslin of a garment first, fit it, then use the muslin to make the finished pattern and ultimately the finished garment. This corset pattern is very fitted (it’s supposed to hold your girls in place without any additional help!) and can be tricky when trying to alter it.

According to my measurements, I needed to add 3″ to the pattern. I spent an entire afternoon cutting and altering the pattern only to make up the muslin and realize it was too big. I suggest that you purchase the pattern closest to your measurements, cut out the muslin, baste it together and fit it before doing any other altering. You may be surprised, I sure was.

The other thing is that the seam allowance on this pattern is 1″ instead of the standard 5/8″. It is only marked in one spot that I could find on the pattern. Can you say CONFUSING????? DON’T YOU THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE PLASTERED THIS JUICY LITTLE BIT OF INFORMATION EVERYWHERE???

I chose to ignore the 1″ seam allowance and used the 5/8″. It does give you a bit of room for error, even though it’s rather annoying since the rest of the pattern making world uses a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Construction Basics:

There is a lining and an interlining (muslin) that are first basted together and contain the boning. This part is not hard.

This is the right side of the interlining. The back interlining pieces are constructed the same way, basted together and then have the boning added. It took me FOREVER to decipher the pattern directions. Why don’t they use color pictures???

Then you begin construction on the exterior pieces. The braid over the bodice seam is added next. Repeat on garment back pieces.

Put the interlining and exterior pieces together with right sides, sewing along armhole, strap and center front seams, leaving the bottom and side seams open to turn the garment right side out. Press, then baste raw edges together.

Top stitch the trim on to the neck and shoulder. The peplum gets added next with the same process as before, first sewing the interlining, then the exterior pieces get added to it. Repeat for back pieces.

Technically, the peplum can be added before the trim is put on and you can run the trim right down to the lower front edge, I decided not to do this and added my trim first.

You can see my trim stops at the waist.

The final step is to put front and back pieces together at the side seams, then add the grommets and lacings.

I will say that once I figured out what in the world the pattern was asking for, the sewing went rather quickly. However, it was VERY time consuming. If I make another corset it will be much easier because now I understand how it should work.
I will say that there really aren’t many short cuts to this one. You pretty much have to follow the directions, which are no doubt confusing. The only changes to the construction I made were to eliminate the bias tape used to enclose the inside lower waist/peplum seam. This is a costume after all, and you really don’t need to clean finish the inside unless you will be washing and wearing an item repeatedly. Corsets are not washable because of their delicate construction, but are merely aired out when needed.
Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. You can read more about constructing the Chemise and the Skirt by clicking on the link.
Off to link up to the Costume Linky party! Come on over and see the fun ideas at
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Renaissance Corset Tutorial|Designers Sweet Spot|

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7 thoughts on “Renaissance Corset Tutorial

  1. Thanks for the informative explanation of this pattern. Your outfit is lovely! I’m about to undertake the corset for a summer ren-faire event, and was going to skimp on the muslin as Simplicity seems to fit me fairly well, but now, I think I better not. I probably would have missed the 1″ seam allowance, too, as I’m kindof a visual person and tend to focus on the pictures. Good job!

    1. Thanks for reading my blog, I hope to have more sewing tutorials in the future. My sons need some Renn Faire costumes too! Good luck with your project!

  2. Maybe I missed something. I was looking for where and how to do the boning. What I read was your experience in putting it together. I found no instructions unless there is a video link that I missed.

    1. Hi, The boning is pictured in the lining and inter-lining photos. If you look carefully, the seams are next to it. You can purchase boning in a fabric casing that makes it easy to stitch on. Mark your pattern, lay the casing on top (easiest to sew without the boning inside), then stitch along the sides. Add the boning and sew across the opening at the bottom to keep it secure. That’s it! Thanks for your question!

  3. Thanks for sharing this – particularly the bit about doing the muslin pieces first! This is going to save me a lot of heartache in my piece. Now if I can just find period-appropriate grommets, I’ll be cherry!

    1. I used regular grommets on my corset. You could also use handmade buttonholes, they would be appropriate for the period. Thanks for reading!

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