Adding a Corset Back to Your Dress…Option #2

You may have already read my post on Adding a Corset Back To Your Wedding Dress.

Today I am going to show you another way to add a corset back to your dress.

A customer brought me  her prom dress this week:

It didn’t zip all the way up in back, so she opted for the corset back addition.

Only, instead of loops, she wanted to use satin ribbon for the loops and ties.

I took this roll of satin ribbon and cut it into 2 inch lengths:

For this dress, I needed 10 of them. I like to use and odd number when possible. It just looks better to me.

I folded each of these 2 inch pieces in half and stitched close to the cut edges:

Then, I took out the zipper as far down the back as neccessary.

In this case, I took the zipper out to the waist area.

I trimmed the zipper leaving an extra inch or two.

Make sure you add thread bar tacks across the top of both sides of the zipper.

That way, when you zip up, the zipper tab won’t come off of the zipper tape:

In the photo above, you see that the lining is separate from the dress fabric.

I like to open up only what I need to to get the job done.

That way, when I’m finished, I don’t have to sew up alot.

On this dress, I also needed to make a new center back line. I couldn’t use the original center back line or you wouldn’t be able to see the ribbons and the corset back.

So, I drew a line from the waist diagonally up near the princess seam under the spaghetti strap and folded it back. I couldn’t fold it back all the way to the princess seam because of the boning in the dress.

On this dress, I couldn’t press the fabric on that line with an iron due to the sequins that were on it.

So, I topstitched that fold in place.

But my preference would have been to just press it in place.

Be sure and turn back the lining the same amount and press it.

Don’t forget to check the content of the lining fabric. It may need a cooler iron than the main dress fabric.

Now, sandwich those ribbon tabs that you made earlier, between the lining and the dress fabric. Make sure that each one sticks out the same amount (in this case, I thought 1/2 inch would look best):

Stitch these into place:

You’ll notice that I ended up using only four on each side. I realized that if I used five, the bottom two tabs would be smooshed together and the dress wouldn’t lay flat along the back, so I took the bottom ones out.

Now take the rest of your ribbon and “thread” it through the loops.

That’s all there is to it!

(I didn’t thread the ribbon through this dress because I didn’t want to wrinkle the ribbon for the customer, but you get the idea.)

You can thread the ribbon from bottom to top or from top to bottom.

Either way, it gives you a whole new way to solve the problem with a dress that doesn’t fit through the bust or back.

As I mentioned in the first post, you can put a modesty panel behind this area to cover the back if you don’t want the skin to show there.

Just add that piece when you sew in the ribbon tabs, leaving one side of it open so you can get into the dress.

See my first post on corset backs, for more details on that.

If you feel that a corset back isn’t for you, you can put in gussets instead.

To learn that technique, read this post on How to Put in Gussets.


18 Responses

  1. can I buy the corset loops for a wedding dress I’m making for my daughter? i’m trying to find something I can buy by the yard as her top is longer than normal. Her dress is ivory.
    Thanks for your help.

  2. You may be able to buy ivory covered cording by the yard at your local fabric store. However, with a wedding dress, it may be hard to find a good match. If you read this post: it will show you how to make them out of fabric easily.

    Hope that helps!

  3. I wish you had a photo of the finished product! Thanks for posting the instructions.

    • As I mentioned in the post, I didn’t want to wrinkle the ribbon tha tthe customer brought to me, but I was hoping you’d get the idea of what it looks like by looking at the last photo and imagining a ribbon tied in it. You can also look at the first post I wrote on putting in a corset back.

  4. Hi. I have the opposite problem. I bought a dress for my daughter and it´s a little big for her. I don´t want to cut it or sew it as she is only 7 and I want her to wear the dress in the future. How can I make a corset to pull the back so the dress fits better ? Thank you !

    • I don’t think a corset back will work for you since the dress is too big and you don’t want to cut or sew it. My suggestion is to make some ties and insert them in the side seams either at the waist or just under the bust area and cinch the dress in that way. I think that will be your simplest option.

      Hope that helps!

  5. do most alterations places do this?

  6. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and
    starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  7. Hello Linda,

    Was the ribbon strong enough for the dress. I have done something similar but created more work by making the loops myself because I felt that ribbon would not be secure enough. Also, could you add boning to give more structure to the opening? Or is that necessary?

    Look forward to your reply as I am trying to decide what method to use for a bridesmaid dress.

    Thank you,
    Linda M.

    • Hi Linda. I would use ribbon on lightweight fabrics, so it depends on whether you think that dress needs stronger ties than that. I have never needed boning, and I think it would be more work than is necessary, but you are the best judge of that. Hope I got back quick enough!

      • Hi Linda,

        That project came out beautifully, especially with the boning added for more structure.

        I recently got a bridesmaid dress with 1-1/2″ shoulder straps that has the same problem of being too small. It also has an invisible zipper. Do you think this method will work for this dress too? I mean, a dress doesn’t need to be strapless with a regular zipper for this to work well, right?

        Linda M.
        Jacksonville, FL

  8. Thank you for providing this website. It has been very helpful with alterations for hemming a bubble dress.

  9. I know this is an older post, but it’s exactly what I was looking for…I bought. A second hand wedding dress without trying it on so I think this is the perfect solution. Now I have a question I’m also wanting to turn this dress into a high low do you have any tips for doing this….thank you

    • I’m not familiar with your term “high low”. Can you spell that out for me or perhaps send a photo of what you mean? Thanks!

      • Right now the dress is floor length with a short train in the back I want to bring it up to about midcalf in the front but leave the back long. It would be similar to this one

      • I didn’t receive a photo, would you mind sending one to me? Thanks so much!

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