Butterick B5797 is not a very popular pattern. It is a so-called “fashion corset”, which will NOT give the support or desired waist-cinching effect of a real corset. It definitely offers some support though.
However, I was looking for something I could wear out dancing (currently preparing for Uproar in the Dam), something that would give me the look of a corset, while also offering light support. Most importantly, I didn’t want to deal with grommets or clasps. I wanted something I could whip up and then close with a zip.
Seeing the pattern, I thought it was perfect for me. I really liked the option to put shoulder straps on, although I ended up not doing it, as I found it supported itself nicely (with a bit of additional boning) and stayed up without any problems.
The sizing on Butterick patterns is relatively confusing to me. I tend to go for a US size 14, which would put me at a UK 16. Famously, there is usually some ease calculated into the pattern size one is meant to choose. If I went by their sizing chart, I would end up at a size 20, which I would absolutely swim in. As B5797 is only available in size 6-14 or 14-22, I thought I’d rather take in something that is too big, so I went for the bigger one.
I made the size 14, but graded the chest area up to a 16. It fit pretty ok when I made a muslin, but it was very hard to see the final form before putting the bones in. Once I had done that, I ended up taking the back and front seam in by about 1 cm each.
I must say though, I am pretty glad I got away with using the size 14. There is almost no pattern I can use in just one size without either grading it down in the waist or grading it up in the bust and hips, but I find Butterick especially difficult and often find significant sizing differences between their patterns.
I used black duchess satin for the outside of the corset and lined it with a purple owl print cotton. The satin is quite thick and a lovely quality. However, I overlocked all the edges on it, as it frays terribly.
The owl print is so cute, I could wear the corset inside out. It is possible, although closing and opening a zip from the inside is quite hard. Also, unfortunately, the lining has some wrinkling issues.
The boning I used was Rigilene. It is very lightweight, but gave exactly the support I want. Contrary to the pattern, I added boning channels on the outside of all the seams (except the front seam) by making my own binding out of the satin I used. I also added additional boning by putting two more boning channels on the inside of either side of the garment, as well as two boning channels next to the zip.
Rigilene can be sewn through. It feels a bit like cheating, but it was the only way I could get additional boning in, as I decided to do that quite late. Some of the boning channels cross, so with steel or even “normal”plastic boning, that would have been a much more difficult task. In addition, once I did the topstitching, I could just sew over the ends of the boning to secure it.
Making corsets is fun
I very much enjoyed making this and will probably make it again. I really like the look it gives me without being uncomfortably tight. I plan on wearing this with a colourful tulle skirt, which I am also currently working on, but I am sure it would also look good with jeans or a circle skirt and petticoat.
I know it is not perfect. There is an amount of rippling in the fabric that any corsetmaker would snuff at, my topstitching is never entirely straight and the lining has all sorts of wrinkling problems. For my very first corset, I thought it was a great project though.