When sewing a corset you have a choice as to how you want the front panels: You can have a closure like the traditional busk (loops and nobs attached to steel bones) or laces which makes your corset front opening. Or you can choose to make your corset with the front closed which is less convenient to put on but makes for a dressier garment eg a wedding dress or a prom gown would be front closed.
When making a front opening corset you will still need to have laces at the back but you will not have to undo them every time you take your corset on or off. You can simply loosen them enough to undo the front. Besides the traditional busk or lacing there are a few other modern alternatives that I have seen used. Industrial strength zips are a common one although they’re not as strong as the busk. Buckles are another, the type you get on a belt with the buckle attached one side and the strap with holes in the other. Buckles are usually used in conjunction with another fastening (like over a zip) to provide additional support or just for aesthetic style.
If your not familiar with making a front closed corset; maybe you’ve just bought your first corset pattern and are unsure what to do with the front piece, it couldn’t be simpler. Corset patterns come as one set of pieces that make up one side of the corset, you cut them out then flip them over to cut out the other side. When making a closed fronted corset you are essentially cutting the two front panels as one. To do this you simply take your front piece and cut it ‘on the fold’. If your not familiar with the term ‘on the fold’ it means you take your material and fold it in half, then place the front pattern piece on it with the front edge up against the fold. You then cut around the piece (but not along the folded edge) and when you open up the cut piece you have your two front pieces cut as one.
When you make up your corset front closed with this extra large panel to the front you will not be placing boning down the middle like you would with a busk or laces – it wouldn’t look right. However you may want to add boning, especially if the panel is very wide or it is a plus sized corset that needs extra support. To do this it is best to place two bones a little way in from the edges of the front panel. It is best to just do this by eye; place your pattern piece down in front of you and lay two bones on top. Then move them in and out to see what looks best for your pattern. Take care to place them evenly (equal distance from each edge so they don’t look lopsided).