While cleaning up for our recent Garage Sale (stay tuned for another coming towards the end of February), I found a bag of our Cotton Jersey Pulls cut into 4” lengths. Most likely, these were prepared for button loops, but no one in the studio can remember exactly why they were prepared and cut.
While talking on the phone that day, I was playing with the bag in lieu of taking up pen and paper for my constant doodling and I started tying knots in the little ropes. After a dozen or so were lined up, I realized that they looked really beautiful and would be a perfect accent for a neckline. Hence, a “Tie the Knot” Corset for our Week of Love.
(Valentine’s Day must begin a little early for those of us who will make our gifts…)
In many cultures, including Hindu, Egyptian, and Celtic, the hands of a bride and groom are tied together as a symbol of their new bond and commitment to the marriage; hence, a possible origin of the expression “Tying the knot”.
No matter the origin, make this corset by following the instructions from page 144 of Alabama Stitch Book. The pattern is included on the pattern sheet at the back of the book. We made our version of this corset with our medium-weight organic cotton jersey fabric, but it would be just as easy, and beautiful, with recycled t-shirts. This technique will also be a good embellishment for any pattern or shape with a scoop neck or existing garments in your closet. I can even imagine this technique working beautifully around a hem or down the front of a blouse/jacket/coat placket—perhaps for next Valentine’s Day.
Corset pattern from Alabama Stitch Book
1 yard of 60” wide medium-weight organic cotton jersey fabric for top layer
1 yard of 60” wide medium-weight organic cotton jersey fabric for backing layer
Scraps of medium-weight organic cotton jersey fabric for Cotton Jersey Pulls
Button Craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: fabric scissors, pins, needles, tailor’s chalk, ruler, rotary cutter,
Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, or Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: All three of these books contain the basic sewing, construction, and embroidery techniques necessary to complete this project.
Photocopy the Corset pattern and cut the photocopied pattern to your desired size, cutting as close as possible to the black cutting line. The Corset pattern has five pattern pieces – three front panels and two back panels- with a ¼” seam allowance built into all pattern edges.
Lay the top-layer of fabric flat and fold to create two layers and position the front pattern on top of that yardage, making sure the pattern and fabric grain lines run in the same direction. With tailor’s chalk, trace around the pattern’s edges, remove the pattern, and cut out the traced pattern, cutting just inside the chalked line to remove it entirely. Repeat this step on the remaining top-layer fabric the top layers of your corset.
Lay out the backing-layer fabric flat and fold to create two layers, and repeat the process in Step 2 to cut your backing-layer pieces.
Align each cut top-layer piece on the corresponding backing-layer piece, with both fabrics facing right side up, and pat the layers into place with your fingertips so that their edges match. Securely pin the two layers of each piece together.
Thread your needle, love your thread, and knot off. Following the instructions from page 144 of Alabama Stitch Book, construct your corset. We used a Cretan stitch for our neckline.
Using fabric scissors, or a rotary cutter, prepare 1″ Cotton Jersey Pulls in the color of your choice. Cut your Cotton Jersey Pulls into about 4” lengths and tie one knot in the middle of each cut pull.
Place your knotted pulls around the front neckline of the corset and just below the sewn ribbing. We used a double row of knotted pulls towards the center front and deepest part of the corset and decreased to one around the shoulder points, gradually going back to two knotted pulls at the center back.
We found it worked well to decide on a placement for our knotted pulls, take a picture of that placement, and then remove the knotted pulls, attaching each pull to the neckline individually. Since you can only sew one at a time, you can turn the corset inside out for easier access in attaching. We sewed through each pull one time with a double strand of Button Craft thread and using a whip stitch.
Once you have attached all of your desired knotted pulls, add your label, and wear or gift.
Fabric weight – Alabama Chanin 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Fabric color for Corset– Dark Grey
Fabric color for Knotted Pulls – Natural
Button Craft thread – Coats & Clark Colors #26 (Slate)
Seam – Outside Felled
Neckline – Cretan stitch used to bind neckline