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Basic Flexible Busk Insertion

Basic Busk InsertionFitting a busk can be a tricky skill to master. You spend ages carefully stitching, only to find that you’ve put one half in the wrong way, or you’ve put the whole thing in back to front. And just how do you keep your stitching straight?

There are a few simple techniques that can make life a lot easier and make straight stitching a breeze!

Before We Begin

So you’ve got your busk, cut out your panels and are eager to get going. Then the mist descends: which way up does the busk go?

Usually you will find that the loop and post closures are evenly spaced apart except for two at one end which are more closely placed together. In this photo the two closely spaced closures are at the bottom.

So do they go on the top or the bottom?

Opinion seems divided, I know some people that put them at the top and others who place them at the bottom. Historically, the convention seems to have been to place them at the bottom.

I’ve tried both ways and have settled on placing them at the bottom, although I do have a few voluptuous clients who prefer them at the top of the corset, as they find it easier to close the busk that way.

Busks

Inserting The Busk

 
 The materials Label the pieces

1. Gather together your front panels (inner and outer layers) and your busk. Your inner layer should consist of either:

a. One layer of strength fabric (if you are making a single layer corset without fashion fabric), OR

b. One layer of strength fabric and one layer of lining fabric, OR

c. One layer of strength fabric and one layer of outer fashion fabric.

If you decide to go for the two layer option, I find it best to stitch them together 1/8” (3mm) from the edges and treat as one panel piece.

For demonstration purposes I will be using black coutil for my outer layer and white coutil for my inner layer.

 

2. Mark and label the pieces on the wrong side.

I usually do this in the seam allowance, but for this example I’ve written it in the centre of the panel so it’s easier for you to see.

I label my panels as they appear when laid out on a table, not as they appear on the human form. I find it easier to keep track that way, but use whatever system works for you.

Notice that the inner panels appear to be labelled the wrong way round, but this is correct as you will see later.

Spacing the busk on the fronts  Mark the top of the Busk

3. Lay your outer panels in front of you, right side up and straight edges together. Place your busk on top.

Ensure that there is plenty of room at the top and the bottom of each panel to accommodate your binding. If not, either recut your panels adding a little extra to the top and bottom, or cut and file the top and bottom of your busk and dip in tipping fluid.

Make sure the two closely spaced loop and post closures are at the right end of the corset. If your busk has all its loop and post closures evenly spaced then make sure you have fitted the busk together correctly – there should be a gap of about 4mm (3/16") in the middle.

4. Using a pencil, mark the top of each busk half to indicate the top of the busk and to which panel it belongs. I’ve used a black marker here because pencil didn’t photograph well!

  With right sides together tacking stitch the inner and outer panels together at the long straight edge  Place the loop side of the busk on the panel

5. Take the panel that will have the loop side of the busk inserted into it – for this example it is the left panel. With right sides together, baste the inner and outer panels together at the long straight edge. On the wrong side of the panel draw a line 5/8” (1.5cm) from the edge.

 6. Place the loop side of the busk on the panel, lining up the edge of the busk with the line you just drew, loops facing away from the straight edge. Make sure you leave an equal distance between the end of the busk and the top and bottom of the panel.

 Mark the position of the loops.  Stitch along your 5/8” line, stopping at the mark indicating the position on a loop and restart your stitching at the next line.

7. Mark the position of the loops.

 

 8. Stitch along your 5/8” (1.5cm) line, stopping at the mark indicating the position on a loop and restart your stitching at the next line. Remember to re-inforce your stitching with a few backstitches and don’t stitch beyond the loop marks.

PROFESSIONAL TIP: I find it easiest to follow the line and keep my stitching straight by lining up the line with the edge of my piping (zipper) foot.

 

 Remove tacking stitches and insert the busk in between the layers of fabric.  Turn the panels back on themselves so that the wrong side of the panels are together and the loops are poking through the seam.

9. Remove tacking stitches and insert the busk in between the layers of fabric.

10. Turn the panels back on themselves so that the wrong side of the panels are together and the loops are poking through the seam.

 

  Tacking stitch the busk snugly in place  Remove tacking stitches.

11. Baste the busk snugly in place. It helps to pull on the loops as you stitch. Then machine stitch the busk in place.

You want to get as close to the busk as you can, but be careful not to hit the busk or the needle will break. I find the easiest and safest way is to use my trusty piping (zipper) foot. I position the edge of the foot right up to the busk and then make sure the needle is positioned in the little hole at the side. It allows you to stitch a perfectly straight line right next to the busk without breaking your needle – I haven’t broken one yet!

12. Remove basting stitches.

 

 Now get your other panel pieces. Place them right sides together and tacking stitch along the long straight edge Machine stitch the marked line and then remove tacking stitches

13. Now take your other panel pieces – for this example it’s the right panel pieces. Place them right sides together and baste along the long straight edge. Then draw a line 5/8” (1.5cm) from the straight edge.

 

14. Machine stitch the marked line and then remove the basting stitches.

 

 Fold the outer panel back on the stitch line so that the right sides are facing up and press the seam.  With wrong sides together and right sides out, press.

15. Fold the outer panel back on the stitch line so that the right sides are facing up and press the seam.                

16. With wrong sides together and right sides out, press.

 

 Lay both sets of panels together, right side up, straight edges together.  Mark with a dot where the post would be positioned when the busk is closed

17. Lay both sets of panels together, right side up, straight edges together. Make sure that the top and both edges are equal and there are no gaps between the panels.

18. Mark with a dot where the post would be positioned when the busk is closed. I aim for the center of the square section.

 Do this for all the loops being careful not to move the panels. Then make 3mm holes through the outer layers only! Put the posts through the holes you have made.

19. Do this for all the loops, being careful not to move the panels. Then make 1/8" (3mm) holes, through the outer layer only! You can use an awl or a hole punch, but if you use a hole punch I recommend using a little fray stopper on the edges of the hole.

20. Put the posts through the holes you have made. I find it easiest to pop the posts through the holes in the outer seam allowance and then through the top layer.

 Tacking stitch the busk snugly in place and machine stitch Remove tacking stitches and you're done!

21. Baste the busk snugly in place and machine stitch using the same method described in step 11.

 

22. Remove the basting stitches and you're done!


eggiebert 06.07.2010 16:57  
Yes No   Precise layout. I like it!8-)  
 
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dcollington 06.07.2010 17:48  
Yes No   Nice clear step by step instructions. I will definately do this on my next corset. Thanks.  
 
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araneablack 06.07.2010 22:19  
Yes No   Is there really a need for yet another "How to insert a busk" picture tutorial?
It is really nice because it has a lot of sharp and clear images but still...internet is overflowing with similar tutorials and they are free.
 
 
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daisy1 07.07.2010 00:33  
Yes No   I have been trying to find out if the busk knobs/posts go though the outer fabric AND the seam allowance ,or just through the top layer , thus sandwiching the other 3 layers below, and I finally have an answer - through the two layers of fabric. Yes? Is this making the job harder, needing to line up all those under holes as well? or is this just how it is done?
thanks
daisy
 
 
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emma 07.07.2010 00:45  
Yes No   Clear and concise article. No new ideas though.  
 
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lauraloft 07.07.2010 09:54  
Yes No   Hi Daisy1,
Yes I insert the busk half with the posts through the outer layer and one layer of the seam allowance. It's not tricky to line up the holes, simply cut through the outer layer and one layer of the seam allowance at the same time. Because you have stitched the edge ready to insert that part of the busk there shouldn't be any shift between the two layers.
 
 
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lauraloft 07.07.2010 10:29  
Yes No   Hi araneablack,
As you can see the website has undergone some changes to reflect categories for each article. If you look up at the top you will see this article is in the beginners section. As I am sure you will agree, correct insertion of the busk is fundamental to creating a good quality corset and can be a tricky skill to master when you are first starting out.
One of the results from the survey carried out a few months ago was that some readers wanted articles which covered the basics of corset construction. While there may be other articles on the internet, it would be remiss to charge a fee offering help to those just starting out and then expect them to trawl through the web looking for answers to basic questions.
 
 
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08.07.2010 19:11  
Yes No   I am impressed with what I learn every day. Because of this tutorial, I realized that I have been using my zipper foot *backwards* for 15 years. I have been using my zipper foot to intall busks but my stitching just could never get "that" close, and now after looking through my accssory catalogue, I discover that litle factoid... So, Thank You! From now on, I'll snap that little bugger on the right way!  
 
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kaiponoheakeikiokaaina 23.07.2010 14:06  
Yes No   There's lots of information on the internet for free, but the nice thing about THIS site is the consistent quality. No need to worry about whether or not the method suggested is actually going to work appropriately. I'd rather be able to go to one source and find trustworthy information from people who've been "vetted" by the pros.  
 
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vegachastain 04.08.2011 03:44  
Yes No   How do you guys feel about cutting the knob side (fashion and strength layers) on the fold? Is there really a need for the seam on the knob side? As long as you're basting your layers together and then poking holes, wouldn't it be better with no seam at all?  
 
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