Cost of corset-making

Close up on the D-ring and PVC accent panel on the ghost-print corset

Close up on the D-ring and PVC accent panel on the ghost-print corset

When I’ve taught my in-person corset-making class, one of the questions I get is “what can I expect to spend?”
Sometimes it’s more like “why do they cost so much?”…

In this post I’ll explore what you can expect to spend if you want to make your own corset. It might also explain why custom-made corsets can cost so much – and likewise where corners might be getting cut if you’re buying something factory-made for a bargain.

I have two tables below – one table of costs for corsets is on the low end, this is a good guideline for your first corset when you won’t make a huge investment. The second is for a moderately priced corset where you’ll use higher quality materials.

Low end

Material Description Quantity Cost Subtotal
 Outer material  Cotton twill  1.2  7.99  9.59
 Interfacing  Fusible  2.4  3.00  7.2
 Interlining  Cotton twill  1.2  7.99  9.59
 Lining  Cotton broadcloth  1.2  9.00  10.8
 Boning  Lumber strapping  5  0  0
 Bone casing  self-made from scraps  0  0  0
 Busk/front opening  zipper  1  3.75  3.75
 Twill tape – waist stay  Wide  2  3.75  7.5
 Twill tape – edging support  none  0  0  0
 Grommets  packaged  2  4.75  9.5
 Lacing boot laces  2  4.99  9.98
 Lacing tips  none  0  0  0
 Pattern  none – self-drafted  0  0  0
 Shipping  none  0  0  0
 Subtotal        $67.91

Moderately priced

Material Description Quantity Cost Subtotal
 Outer material  Dupioni silk  1.2 34.00  40.80
 Interfacing  Fusible  2.4  5.00  12.00
 Interlining  Coutil  1.2  18.00  21.60
 Lining  Cotton lining  1.2  12.00  14.40
 Boning  Spring steel, spiral steel  16  2  32.00
 Bone casing  purchased 5  2.00  10.00
 Busk/front opening  Busk  1  25.00  25.00
 Twill tape – waist stay  Wide  2  3.75  7.50
 Twill tape – edging support  narrow  2.4  3.99  9.58
 Grommets  3 piece   32  .25  8.00
 Lacing corset lacing  8 2  16.00
 Lacing tips purchased  2  .50  1.00
 Pattern  Purchased  1  20.00  20.00
 Shipping  on select items  1  10.00  10.00
 Subtotal        $227.88

I’ve noted this as a subtotal because this all is before tax, and the cost of all of your shop materials:

  • Sewing machine
  • iron, ironing board and pressing hams
  • scissors, thread, needles, pins
  • grommet press or hammer & setter, hole punch or awl
  • pattern drafting materials (paper, rulers, drafting classes, tape measure, etc)
  • etc…
Exposed PVC bone casings on a ghost-print cotton couture, custom-made corset

Exposed PVC bone casings

You’ll probably already have all of these tools in your sewing room though if you’re thinking of making your first corset.

The tables also don’t take into account the labour and skill needed to make a corset, the cost of a class to learn the skill, or any embellishment you might want to add to your corset like lace, rhinestones, etc.

The measurements here are obviously dependant on the corset size as well. Someone small might need less, but someone larger might need more. However, this won’t impact the cost a lot – buying 1 meter of fabric versus 1.2 meters won’t make a big difference, though little by little the cost can add up.

Some of the items needed also come in a larger quantity than you’ll need for one corset – which makes it more affordable to spread out over several. (Like in a class you’ll share with a friend!) For instance, I buy things like my corset lacing and 3-piece grommets wholesale so pay substantially less than retail pricing – but I’m also buying 100 meters of lacing at a time!

All of these costs are just estimates based on retail prices. If you know your materials in advance, you can also shop sales, charity shops, or salvage things like boning and lacing from used corsets. For instance, even though the retail price of dupioni silk is about $34.00/meter at Fabricland, if I wait for a sale I can usually get it for about $17.00. If I go to one of the Indian fabric stores like Bhatia’s, they sell it for $15.00, though I find the quality is sometimes not as high.

Inside close up of the white silk overbust corset showing the grommets, ribbon, and the slight pink of the waist stay

Inside close up of the white silk overbust corset showing the grommets, ribbon, and the slight pink of the waist stay

Want to make your own corset?

Raspberry red Duchess Satin underbust corset

Raspberry red Duchess Satin underbust corset

Follow all of my Corset Class posts by clicking the Corset Class category to read more.

In the meantime, give me feedback about what else you’d like me to cover in my online “class” in the comments below, or follow me on Facebook on my Facebook page. You can also Follow me on Instagram where I show off all of my various costuming and sewing projects including lots of how-to videos as I’m making things.

 

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