The next step in constructing the corset is fixing in the eyelets. For my fan laced corset I know I need 6 eyelets to work with the 3 eyelet adjuster buckle. I mark where I want the top and bottom eyelets to be placed and measure the distance in between which in this case was 15 cm. I am inserting 6 eyelets and so there are 5 spaces in between the eyelets which means 15 cm divided by 5 = 3 cm spaces between the eyelets. I will therefore be placing eyelets as 0 cm, 3 cm, 6 cm, 9 cm, 12 cm and 15 cm. (Phew, I bet you didn’t realise how much Maths was involved in sewing!).
You can buy special pliers to insert the eyelets but I use the little device which comes with the pack of eyelets plus a hammer and block of wood. The instructions often tell you to punch a hole out of the fabric where you want to insert the eyelet. For my first attempts at eyelets I did this but found that once any force was put on the lacing the eyelet often pulled away from the fabric. I therefore began to use an awl to gently prise the threads of the fabric apart in the place where I want to insert the eyelet. In closely weaved fabric this is more difficult and instead I snip a little cross with a pair of sharp, small scissors and prise this gently apart for the eyelet. The eyelet in pushed through from the outside, a washer placed on the inside, the device applied and a quick whack with the hammer.
The final stage is the fan lacing. The adjuster buckles are threaded onto the side tapes and positioned at the side of the corset for the lacing to begin. I referred to the diagram on the front of my notebook (see Evolution: Fan Lacing Part 1) and copied the lacing pattern. You have to have your wits about you but it is not complicated. However there are 5 hole fan lacing buckles available which work with 10/12 eyelets each side and so the lacing for that would be more complicated. Fan lacing does require more lacing cord and I needed 3 metres for this corset.
I’m very pleased with how the corset has turned out in that the fan lacing was successful and the pulley system works correctly. On reflection if I was making a fan laced corset again and planning from scratch I would be tempted to use plain coloured fabric with a contrasting colour trim and lacing to enable the fan lacing to really stand out. However as it was a last minute decision to incorporate the fan lacing into this project I am still happy that I have created a different and unusual corset.