How to Make a Corset Top for Children

Things You'll Need

  • Vest in the child's size
  • Duct tape
  • Fabric shears
  • Poster board
  • Pencil or tailor's chalk
  • Tape measure
  • 3/4 yard scrap fabric
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Plastic bones
  • 3/4 yard cotton based fabric or brocade coutil fabric
  • Under-bust busk piece
  • Iron
  • Awl
  • 3 yards bone casing
  • 2 under-bust lacing bones
  • Grommet setting tool
  • Grommets and eyelets
  • 3 yards of ribbon

Child-size corsets require some modifications on the traditional over-bust corset design with steel boning inserts. Plastic boning strips are more appropriate for the side seams around the corset as children are not accustomed to having the limited range of movement adults experience in steel boned corsets. Alternately, leave the boning inserts out altogether for the sake of comfort, especially if the child is very young or if a fully open range of motion and flexibility is required.

Have the child put on the vest. Wrap duct tape around her hips and torso all the way up to the neckline you want for the corset.

Cut the front of the vest open starting from the center of the lower abdomen up to the center of the chest and neckline. Cut the back panel of the vest in half down the center. You now have a left section and a right section. Cut both of these sections in half vertically. Trace the sections on the poster board. Label the sections LF for left front, LB for left back, RF for right front and RB for right back.

Trim one inch off of the vertical length on the inner sides of the left and right back poster board pattern sections. Lay the pattern sections on the scrap fabric and pin them down. Trace the poster board pattern sections onto the fabric. Draw the sections one inch out on all sides and cut along this set of lines for each piece.

Machine-stitch the outer sides of the sections to join the right front with the right back and the left front with the left back. Leave the center front and back seams open. Machine-stitch across the bottom edge of all of the sections.

Slide the plastic boning strips in the seams between the sections. Machine-stitch the top edge of the joined sections.

Draw a rectangle on the poster board that is the length of the center back sections and the width you want to have between the grommets at the back of the corset.

Pin the poster board to the scrap fabric and trace the rectangle onto the fabric. Cut the rectangle out of the fabric and sew the long sides of the rectangle to the open-ended back center sections on the underside of the top layer of fabric.

Draw all pattern sections 1/2 inch out from the existing lines on the cotton or coutil fabric. Label the sections and remove the pins from the poster board pieces. Cut the sections out. Repeat. Lay matching sections together so the undersides of the sections are touching.

Set the looped half on the busk piece on the left side of the knobby half. Place the busk inside the gap between the open front center sections. Sew a line vertical line 1/2 inch in from the edge of the fabric alongside the knobby half of the busk.

Turn the fabric right side out. Press the seam line you stitched in Step 9. Make a second seam line 1/16 inch in from the edge of the fabric on the same side of the corset. Position the knobby half of the busk on this seam.

Trace around the knobs. and slide the knobby half of the busk between the two seam lines you created in Steps 9 and 10. Push the awl through the traced knob holes and insert the knobs in the holes. Sew the open side of the knobby piece down.

Pull the left half of the corset inside out and draw a vertical line 1/2 inch in from the edge of the fabric.

Lay the looped half of busk 1/2 inch in from the edge of the fabric and trace the loops. Sew the looped half of the busk in place, lifting your needle over each loop as you sew.

Pull the corset right side out. Press the seam lines and push pins through the loop holes. Machine-stitch a line 1/8 inch in from the edge of the fabric, lifting the needle over the pinned loopholes while you stitch.

Insert the looped half of the busk between the seams on the bottom layer of the fabric. Stitch the open side of the looped busk piece in place.

Flip the corset over. Sew the sides of the bone casing between the side seams and the corresponding seam allowances on the underside of the bottom layer of fabric. Stitch the top and bottom layers of the corset together.

Press all seam lines and machine-stitch another seam line on the top layer of the corset 1/8 inch in from the open edge of a back center section. Lay the lacing bone on this seam on the underside of the top layer of the corset. Trace the lacing holes.

Cut out the lacing holes using a grommet setting tool. Lay the remaining lacing bone on the opposite side of the corset and repeat Step 17 on this side. Set the grommets and eyelets in the lacing holes with the grommet setting tool.

Sew around the lacing bones. Machine-stitch along the bottom edge of the sections. Slide the boning into the casings and machine-stitch across the top edge of the sections.

Fold the bottom edge of the fabric under 5/8-inch. Repeat.

Fold the top edge of the fabric under 5/8-inch. Repeat and sew the folds down.Sew the folds down. Crisscross lace the ribbon through the lacing holes.


  • "How to Make a Corset;" Kirsty Sapsford; 2011

About the Author

Lina Schofield began writing professionally in 2005. She is a professional freelance writer who has worked on a variety of projects, including the founding of the quarterly publication "Propaganda." Schofield also has been published in several student collections. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English at University of Wales Trinity Carmarthen.