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Before you go on, look at this picture of the finished effect at the centre front. We need to get the look of three layers at the front - the ivory innermost layer with the eyelets, the goldy cream layer with the lace (which we haven't cut yet), and the red outer layer.

First of all we'll tackle the inner layer with the cream background and the eyelets.

1. Take your boned front sections and the fronts pieces in the secondary fabric/cotton interlining. With right sides together, sew up the centre front edge, around the top centre front corner (see below for a hint) and halfway along the top. Backstitch here for strength and clip carefully from the edge inwards to about 1/8" from your stitching. Sew across the corner (see below), clip the corner, then turn and press.

That corner needs to look sharp. Try sewing it like this, and then turn carefully and push the corner out using a blunt instrument like a not-very-sharp pencil!


2. Baste down the remaining raw edges to hold them in place. (Another important difference between your pattern and mine - I had to join the front and side front pieces and bone across the two before getting to this stage - when you baste around the rest of this piece, you'll just be basting around the seam allowances of one piece. Again, buy the pattern, not the book!)

3. Then make holes and insert the eyelets down the center front edge, just as you would in a corset. I tend to place them around 1.5cm (1/2") from the edge and 2.5cm (1") apart. I recommend Prym 5mm eyelets and washers. They're strong, two piece eyelets and in the packet you get all the instructions and bits you need to insert them, except a punch or awl to make the holes and a hammer. Find the eyelets and the punch at the aforementioned websites.

4. Join all the inner half (strength layer) pieces together to make a complete "inner half" of the bodice.


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