A corset is a versatile garment that can be made from many different types of fabric. Some fabrics are better for corsets than others, so it’s important to choose the right type of fabric when making this type of garment.
What are the best fabrics for corsets? Vintage corsets are often made from coutil, silk brocade, and velvet, often with a cotton lining to provide comfort as well as a luxurious, classic feel. Modern corsets can also be made from silk, satin, as well as vegan leather.
So, what’s the best choice for you? In this article, let’s discuss the best fabrics for corsets and why they are a good choice for this type of clothing. If you’re interested in learning more about choosing the right fabric for your next corset project, keep reading!
What Makes A Good Corset Fabric?
Corsets were originally intended as shapewear to be worn underneath clothing. The fabric used to make corsets needed to satisfy a few requirements to allow the garment to be comfortable to wear, as well as provide the necessary structure for the shape.
First of all, since corsets are tight-fitting garments that press on the skin, the fabric needs to be quite breathable and soft so that the garment won’t irritate your skin or trap sweat and odor.
If the outer layer is stiff and structured, then the lining fabric needs to be made from a breathable, lightweight fabric like cotton or silk.
In addition, a corset is quite a structured garment, with a lot of boning to support the shape. The fabric needs to be stiff and durable enough to support this structure without the risk of the boning poking out from underneath the fabric or breaking through it.
Finally, since a corset is usually fashioned with lace to be tightened at the back (although modern corsets can also have decorative lace and zipper for easy access), the fabric will need to be durable enough so that it won’t be ripped as the lace is tightened.
There are only a few types of fabric that can meet these requirements, so let’s take a look.
Best Fabrics For Corsets
As anyone who has ever worn a cotton shirt on a hot summer day knows, this natural fabric is soft, absorbent, and breathable. These same qualities make cotton an ideal choice for making corsets, especially during the summer months.
When it comes to corsets, cotton canvas is often the fabric of choice. Cotton canvas is strong yet flexible, making it able to mold to the body while still providing support.
In addition, cotton canvas is smooth and comfortable against the skin, meaning it won’t cause irritation or discomfort. Cotton is also quite low maintenance and easy to care for. It’s very durable, so a corset made from this fabric will last for many years without losing shape.
Other types of cotton fabric can also be used as a lining layer for your corset. Since it is soft and breathable, it will lay comfortably against your skin without causing discomfort while wicking away moisture throughout your day.
Since cotton is very durable and affordable, it has been a popular material for making corsets for hundreds of years.
Coutil is a specialized form of twill cotton fabric that was specifically designed for use in corsets. It is most often seen in vintage corsets with beautiful brocade or herringbone patterns.
This is a very strong and durable fabric with a tight weave that helps to hold the boning structure in place.
Additionally, coutil is able to withstand a great deal of tension without stretching or sagging, making it an ideal choice for well-fitting corsets. In addition, coutil is also very breathable, making it much more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Overall, coutil is an excellent fabric for use in corsetry and other garment construction projects that require strength and durability.
3. Silk Brocade
Silk brocade is a luxurious fabric with a rich history. It’s woven with an intricate design, often featuring embroidery, and has a lovely sheen.
The designs often resemble a sophisticated tapestry. Vintage corsets are usually made with silk brocade, resulting in a luxurious, royal look.
Silk brocade was originally made from silk, but it can also be made from other materials like polyester or nylon. The fabric is traditionally very heavy and stiff, but modern brocades are often lighter and more flexible.
Because this fabric is quite stiff and structured, it can lend structure to your corset with fewer boning ribs. However, the stiffness also means that the fabric can be difficult to sew, and it is more suitable for the winter months.
Silk brocade made from silk can also be quite airy and breathable, but modern brocade fabric is usually a blend of synthetic fabric that’s much less breathable. In this case, it often has a cotton lining to make the garment more comfortable to wear.
When it comes to opulent fabrics, few materials can match the luxurious appearance of velvet. In addition to its rich look, velvet is also very durable, making it an ideal choice for garments that need to withstand pressure, such as corsets.
While velvet was once reserved for the elites, today, it is widely available in a variety of colors and styles. As a result, this sumptuous fabric has become a popular choice for making corsets, especially for the fall and winter seasons.
Velvet was originally made from silk, but the velvet you can find in most fabric stores nowadays is often polyester, which is not as breathable or comfortable.
If you are buying velvet to make corsets, make sure to get velveteen or cotton velvet, which are often more durable and much easier to care for. Cotton velvet can also feel airier and more breathable, which is definitely desired for a tight-fitting garment.
Anyone who has ever run their fingers along a bolt of satin knows just how smooth and silky the fabric is. Satin is made from silk or synthetic fibers that imitate the look and feel of silk.
Satin gets its unique shine from the way it is woven; the threads are tightly wound together, which reflects light in a particular way. Because of its glossy appearance, satin is often used for gowns and other formal wear, especially corsets.
In addition to being smooth and shiny, satin is also very strong and durable. However, the satin fabric can be very light and slippery.
If you plan on buying satin to make corsets, make sure to get bridal satin, which has a tighter weave that results in a stiffer fabric, perfect for creating a corset structure.
It’s important to note, however, that because of its slippery nature, satin can sometimes be difficult to sew with. You will need to use a walking foot and maintain a steady hand to avoid bunching up your stitches.
However, for anyone looking for a fabric that is elegant and eye-catching, satin is a great option.
Silk is often associated with luxury and refinement, and for a good reason. This natural fabric has a smooth, lustrous texture that feels wonderful against the skin. It’s also strong and breathable, making it an ideal choice for clothing that needs to offer both support and comfort.
This is why silk has been the favorite material for making corsets for hundreds of years. It’s no wonder that silk has been prized by royalty and fashionistas alike for centuries.
Because of the price tag, corsets made from silk can be quite expensive. But silk is more than just a pretty fabric. It’s also surprisingly strong and very durable.
In addition, silk is hypoallergenic and highly resistant to wrinkles, so the elegant look is always maintained. Silk can be a bit difficult to care for, and it often requires dry cleaning to maintain its appearance and soft feel.
In addition, silk can also be quite difficult to sew because of how soft and slippery it is, so it’s only suitable for expert tailors who know what they are doing.
7. Vegan/Faux Leather
For a twist on a classic fashion item, why not try faux leather?
Faux leather can make an excellent choice of material for a corset. It is strong and durable yet remains supple and flexible. This makes it ideal for shaping the body into the desired hourglass silhouette.
Faux leather is also relatively easy to care for, simply requiring a wipe-down with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or grime. It is also very durable and stiff, so you definitely don’t have to worry about the structure or shape of the garment.
One disadvantage of faux leather is that it can be very stiff, which makes it difficult to sew, and you often need to work with leathercrafting tools to sew with faux leather.
In addition, faux leather can get very hot and sticky, so it’s only suitable for the winter months. However, it can make a great statement piece for layering, so it’s definitely worth experimenting with.