The infamous inner tube corset

When I dress up for Steampunk-acceptable outings, a lot of people notice my corset. Since corsets are one of the most recognizable elements of Steampunk attire, this is important. Mine is made from a broken bicycle inner tube, which are readily available and look great in projects like this.

This project will start with a little bit of math. Now, measure yourself around your ribs at the location of your bra band(or where one would go), at your natural waist, and at your hips. Decide on a few different corset lengths, because you may want to keep your options open for this project. Measure your bicycle inner tube or tubes, both lengthwise around the inside and around the width of the tube. Write all these measurements down and label them.

Divide the width of your hips or ribs, whichever is larger, by the width of the inner tube. The number you get will be the number of rubber strips you need. Add together the lengths of your tubes, and divide that by your ideal corset length. If this number is compatible with the number of strips you need, you can move on. If not, look at any shorter corset lengths you considered.

Divide your hip measurement by the width of your inner tube strips, then by 2. That’s the number of strips you’ll have on each side of the corset. If you want your corset in one piece, don’t divide by 2. Using this information, do a rough sketch of your corset paneling. Subtract your waist measurement from your hip measurement, and then divide by 2. This is the amount you need to reduce your corset by in the middle. Decide based on the length of your corset where the waist will be. Mark and label that line on your sketch. Before moving on to the next step, make sure you still have all of your figures recorded.

Over a sink, cut the tube open at the valve, so the tube is no longer in a ring. Then, in as straight a line as you can manage, cut down the length of your tube. As you do this, rinse out the gunk found inside the tube. Once your tube has been transformed into a strip of clean, shiny rubber, start marking it into sections in the length you decided on. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I kept mine quite rough at the edges, and it added to the effect.

Sew your pieces together. I sorted mine into two piles first, so that the sides came out looking vaguely symmetrical. Then, making sure your grommet locations match front and back on both pieces and that the grommets are closer than an inch to each other, hammer ’em in.  After sewing it into one or  two rectangles of panels and lacing the eyelets, try it on inside out. Keeping in mind the measurements  you found before, mark where to take it in and sew. Keep trying it on and adjusting it until it sits evenly on your body

Entirely handsewn. Owie.




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Filed under Crafting, Sewing, Steampunk

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