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  • Writer's pictureChristie

I Modified Simplicity 8162 Historic Corset Pattern to Make a Reversible Cottagecore Inspired Top


Introduction:


For a while now I've been wanting a corset like the one that I just made. Unfortunately, the ones that I liked were in the $200 range and at the present moment I couldn't justify the price. Also none of them looked exactly like I would've wanted. I bought one from Urban outfitters that was pretty close to what I wanted, but it ended up being defective. Due to this, I ended up using it to draft a pattern before returning it and was able to successfully make a really cute corset from the pattern. If you want to see that here's the tiktok of the process. Because that project was so successful and I wanted a more breathable cotton version, I decided to use a pattern and make it myself.


Choosing the Pattern & Fabric:


I began keeping an eye out for this particular sewing pattern- Simplicity 8162- to go on sale since there are times when Michaels and Hobby Lobby both have Simplicity patterns on sale for $1.


After waiting a few months and not seeing a sale, I finally buckled down and bought the pattern from Hobby Lobby since it was 30% off. While I was there I saw this beautiful mostly white floral fabric that I thought would look great as a corset and snatched that up as well.


For the reverse side I wanted someone a bit more neutral, but ultimately ended up purchasing this anything-but-neutral blue floral cotton fabric from High Fashion Fabrics in Houston. It's a lot of floral but I love it!

Flatlay of 2 folded squares of fabric vertically shown. The top is a light and cerulean blue floral with red and white florals scattered across it. Background is white. The bottom fabric is white with long stemmed flowers that look like daisies, mums, and yellow wildflowers.
The fabrics: The blue one was from High Fashion Fabric, the white floral one below it was from Hobby Lobby.

The Process & Modifications:


In order to make this corset, I basically didn't include the tabs at the bottom that are part of the original pattern. I followed Loepsie's video on YouTube for reference. If you plan on making a similar top, I highly recommend checking out her video which can be found here. As with Loepsie's top, my corset top only has 2 boning channels, both being near the center front to keep the eyelets from pulling the fabric.

Closeup of woman from shoulders to hips wearing a rose quartz neckace with antiqued gold details and chain, a flowy white blouse with a white floral corset layered over it. The corset has a long stemmed wildflower floral pattern and is finished with bronze eyelets. Ivory cord is laced and tied at the top. The top is tucked into mid-wash high waisted blue jeans.
The completed corset top

When I first started making the corset I spent a significant amount of time marking all the boning channels as shown on the sewing pattern. Despite this, I didn't end up using any of them after I realized that the corset would be difficult to reverse without unlacing it all the way, and also that adding boning wasn't necessary for my specific purpose. If I made this top again I will skip the "marking" step and save a lot of time.


flat-lay of a corset top with blue, red, and ivory toned floral print, ivory cord lace front corset style. Light pencil marks are visible on the front showing boning channel guides.
Here's the reverse side of the corset. If you look closely you can see the boning channel guides I drew on in pencil - I didn't end up using those.

Not adding all the boning channels also makes it easily reversible without needing to completely undo the lacing. I did sacrifice some structure but aside from it being a lot more comfortable for day-to-day wear it also can quickly function as 2 tops, which is great! Aside from this modification, I also made the sleeves slightly longer and made the back out of one piece of fabric . The pattern version laces up in the back but I didn't want that for mine so I placed the center back portion of the pattern on a center fold (this is something Loepsie also did in her video which I linked previously).

Flatlay of the backside of a white and garden floral corset top with ivory bound edges.
Here's the back side of the top. The center back was placed on a center seam so back lacing isn't required.

This corset was machine sewn together with a thick bedsheet sewn in between each piece to help give it more structure. In order to keep the pieces from sliding around, I used a technique called pad stitching to attach the blue floral side to the lining to hold them in place. This was time consuming but works better than pins. (Sidenote: Thank you, Bernadette Banner, for teaching me this trick! She has an excellent book that goes into how to do this stitch. I highly recommend her book! It's called Make, Sew and Mend and you can get it here.)


Once the pieces were attached I removed the basting thread. Once all the pieces were sewn together I hand-sewed all of the binding by using a running stitch and then a whip stitch (these are also detailed in Bernadette Banner's book - I used it multiple times for reference).

Closeup photo of the part where the top bodice and sleeve where the sleeve attach with cord. Fabric is a blue, red, and ivory floral with ivory bound edges - you can see the hand-stitched edges here done with white thread..
Closeup photo of the top bodice where the sleeve attaches - you can see the hand-stitched edges here.

These stitches end up giving it a very neat finish so that stitching is pretty much invisible whether you see it from either side, although it does look a bit cleaner from the white floral side.

Closeup photo of the sleeve and bodice attached with ivory cord through bronze eyelets. Fabric is a white cotton with garden floral print. You can see the reverse side which is a blue, red, and ivory floral.
Closeup photo of the sleeve and bodice - The hand stitching is on the inside so it's not possible to see here.

I had a bit of trouble finding the right size eyelets in a store so I ended up buying these 5 mm eyelets on Amazon. These worked out really well and both sides look pretty good. I do still feel like the front side looks a bit better, but you have to look close to see a difference.


Aside from eyelets, I also ended up purchasing a crop-a-dile eyelet and snap punch. In the past I've used a mallet and the (sometimes) included tools to attach eyelets, but this process is always finicky and the eyelets don't always come with the tools to use with a mallet or hammer. The crop-o-dile was so easy to use, and super versatile. It can be used with different sizes and types of eyelets and can also punch different size holes in everything from paper to leather. I am so happy to have it in my tool kit now!


For the cord, I used a roll of cotton cord from Hobby lobby. I've seen ribbon used but wanted something a bit more understated. After threading it through the front I added a few little beads to the ends and added a knot at each end to keep it from coming undone. This makes it a pullover style so I had to keep the ends pretty long to loosen it enough to get it over my shoulders, but I was worried that the cord would unravel if I didn't tie it in a knot. I think it turned out pretty cute.


Close up of woman from chest to hips - She's wearing a dusty purple victorian style dress with lace, pleat details, and abolone shell button front. The corset is layered underneath a white floral corset covered in multicolored stemmed wildflowers. She is holding the top of the cord which laces the front, showing the cord and the 4 bronze toned oval flat beads that decorate the ends of the cords.
Detail shot of the cord and beads at the end

Making the Stomacher


After this, I decided to make a separate piece called a "stomacher" which would slide into the center front after the front is laced and serve as a modesty panel. I didn't have a pattern for it, but based the length of it on the length of the center front top. I curved each end gently so that the corners wouldn't poke out from behind the corset. It only took me just a few hours to make. It's a simple slightly rectangular shaped piece that is also reversible simply by flipping it over.


Flatlay photo of a stomacher on a wood table. Stomacher is slightly rectangular in shape with botanical garden floral print of yellow, white and red long stem flowers. Finished at top and bottom with white binding to match the corset.
Here's the white side of the completed stomacher

Now I feel more comfortable if I want to wear it as a top by itself. That piece is intended to slide behind the front lacing and is made out of the same fabric and with the same binding trim at the top and bottom. It seems to hold itself in place pretty easily without, but for added security I would simply secure it with safety pins to ensure it stays in place.


Square photo of woman in messy bedroom with a mirror in back corner. She has a hand covering her chest. She is wearing a white and ivory floral corset with low cut. Cord tied at sleeves and chest. In the center front, the stomacher is tucked behind the lacing. Stomacher matches the corset top and looks like part of the corset.
I don't have a stylized photo of the stomacher since it was a recent make, so here it is with my pajama shorts :)

Reveal & Styling:


Overall I'm very happy with how it turned out. I would say that it doesn't fit perfectly in the sense that it seems to close tighter at my waist than it does at my bust. When I try to lace the top tighter it only seems to just lace the waist tighter instead. My minor fit imperfections might simply be because I chose not to add boning channels and that I'm not wearing it as it's meant to be worn. I like it despite this, and don't believe that it detracts from the look at all.


Below I'll share some more ways I styled the top.


Style 1: Over a white shirt (the June by Doen) and jeans (Madewell)- This is the most wearable way I came up with to wear it, and the one that is least flashy, so to speak - At least for my personal style. :)


Closeup of woman from shoulders to bottom hips wearing a rose quartz neckace with antiqued gold details and chain, a flowy white blouse with a white floral corset layered over it. The corset has a long stemmed wildflower floral pattern and is finished with bronze eyelets. Ivory cord is laced and tied at the top. The top is tucked into mid-wash high waisted blue jeans. She is standing in front of an ivory brick house with a window and tree on the right hand side.

Style 2: Over a drapey shirt dress: Here, I styled it over a flowy dress ( the Doen Joan). In my opinion this one also has a more understated look, especially compared to the following looks.

Closeup of woman from shoulders to knees wearing a rose quartz neckace with antiqued gold details and chain, a flowy ivory toned button front dress with billowy sleeves with a white floral corset layered over it. The corset has a long stemmed wildflower floral pattern and is finished with bronze eyelets. Ivory cord is laced and tied at the top. The top is tucked into mid-wash high waisted blue jeans. She is standing in front of an ivory brick house with a tree on the right hand side.

Style 3: Over a Victorian inspired mini dress: Below is a more playful look. I paired it with a slightly unlikely color, this dusty purple dress (older Free People). I think it's an eye catching combo and really cute.


Closeup of woman from neck to upper thighs wearing a rose quartz neckace with antiqued gold details and chain, a flowy with a flowy dusty purple victorian inspired mini dress featuring short puff sleeves, button front, vertical pleating details, lace inset in same color as dress, and full gathered mini length skirt with a white floral corset layered over it. The corset has a long stemmed wildflower floral pattern and is finished with bronze eyelets. Ivory cord is laced and tied at the top. The top is tucked into mid-wash high waisted blue jeans. She is standing in front of an ivory brick house with a tree on the right hand side.

Style 4: Over a pale blue ruched dress with puff sleeves: I tried it over this long flowy Doen Sol dress in a muted pale blue. This look makes me feel like a character out of the 2015 Cinderella adaptation specifically, and makes me feel really pretty.

Closeup of woman with shoulder length blond hair from bottom half of face to knees wearing a rose quartz neckace with antiqued gold details and chain, a pale blue eyelet textured low cut dress with billowy short sleeves and gathered skirt, worn with a white floral corset layered over it. The corset has a long stemmed wildflower floral pattern and is finished with bronze eyelets. The top is laced and tied at the top with ivory cord. She is standing in front of an ivory brick house with a window and tree on the right hand side.

Style 5: Reversed and worn over a blue linen dress: I wanted to try the reverse side of this corset with my blue Son De Flor Classic Short Sleeve Linen Dress (sidenote: I did a review of this dress which can be found here). It's a really fun look as well.

Closeup of woman with shoulder length blond hair from bottom half of face to knees wearing a rose quartz neckace with antiqued gold details and chain, a pale blue dress with peter pan collar, button front bodice, short sleeves edged in white, and a swishy circle skirt, worn with a blue, red, and ivory floral corset layered over it. The corset has a long stemmed wildflower bed floral pattern and is finished with bronze eyelets. The top is laced and tied at the top with ivory cord. She is standing in front of an ivory brick house with a window and tree on the right hand side.

Closing:


It's only recently that I've started sewing high quality items that I actually wear - up until pretty recently, I did not bother much with creating mock-ups to ensure a good fit, or finding the correct fabric for the design. I also had a tendency to rush through my projects - wanting to get to the end result as quickly as possible with neatness and clean edges not being a high priority. Now, I try my best to make the inside of the garment just a pretty as the outside.


Aside from choosing my sewing patterns carefully, I feel like these steps I'm taking now are helping ensure that the garments I create are ones that I will wear and also last a very long time. To be honest, sewing has never been one of my favorite activities. However, knowing how to sew, and then being able to create garments like this is extremely rewarding. To me it is still (mostly) a means to an end, but I have begun to enjoy the process much more, especially after watching people like Bernadette Banner, and Mariah Pattie as well as others who find joy in simply creating a garment.


Sewing is one of those skills that takes practice to master but if you start with a simple pattern, choose the right fabric, and make a mock-up first, you be on your way to success.



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