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Tighter Corsets “Ref R” Underbust Review

18 Apr

This entry is a summary of the review video “Tighter Corsets ‘Ref R’ Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 13 inches high, and the side seam is 9 inches high. A true Victorian hourglass silhouette, as this pattern is a modified version of Atelier Sylphe’s “Ref R” antique corset pattern.
Material 3 main layers: outer layer is “Beacon Hill” dupioni silk from Silk Baron; strength fabric is coutil, and floating lining is a cute printed lightweight cotton.
Construction 9 panel pattern, the first 6 panels are narrow and in the front. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers.
Binding Matching “Beacon Hill” dupioni silk bias tape, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel No back modesty panel or front placket.
Busk 12 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 6 knobs and loops, equidistantly spaced. Finished in antique gold/brass.
Boning 28 bones total (14 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide flat steels, single boned on all the seams plus extra bones in the middle of the wider panels. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well; the outer-most ones are 1/2″ flats.
Grommets 24 two-part grommets, size #0, large flange, held in strongly. Finished in antique gold/brass and set equidistantly. Good wide washers; some splits in the back but none catch on the laces.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in antique gold.
Price At the time I’m writing this, a custom underbust starts at $300 USD.

 

Ref R from Atelier Sylphe. Click to see the pattern.

The pattern for this corset is a very heavily modified version of the “Ref R” Jackson corset pattern sold in Atelier Sylphe’s Etsy store. The original version is a standard-sized overbust (seen right), while my corset had been cut down to an underbust with a high-cut hip. The pattern was also adjusted in length and in proportion for a custom fit, which I find very impressive – having done this in the past with different patterns, this can almost be more laborious than making a new pattern from scratch sometimes!

The embellishment in this corset is elegant and understated, which reflects a lot about the corsetiere’s skills (she’s confident enough in her work that she doesn’t have to make a corset “loud”). Each panel is accentuated with narrow piping made from foiled gold leather, which matches the antique brass hardware (the busk and grommets) in a beautiful way. The multitude of narrow panels, piping and the smooth Victorian hourglass silhouette elongates the waist while not sacrificing a decent reduction (this corset closes just short of 23″).

In the center front there are four tiny flossed arrows, which adds some further interest to the corset but doesn’t overwhelm it. April knew that I loved flossing (especially styles that venture beyond traditional Xs and Vs), and I trusted her to choose the style of flossing. I had also opted for a remote mockup fitting (seen left); April was very professional and pointed out little areas she wanted to tweak that even I had overlooked.

 

Mockup fitting for this corset

Mockup fitting for this corset, cut down and adjusted for my measurements

All in all, I’m quite happy with the outcome of this commission – the only complication was that the bones in the back by the grommets were on the flexible side (which was good as it curved to my lumbar spine and didn’t dig into my tailbone at all), but I simply had to switch the lacing method of this corset so as to increase the control of cinch around the waist – in all honesty, the flexibility of the back bones was less extreme than in many other corsets I had reviewed in the past, but April and I still discussed the cause of bowing and came up with some solutions to fix it in her future corsets; she’s very responsive to her clients’ concerns and eager to experiment and improve – I have nothing but positive things to say about the way April conducts her business.

If you would like to learn more about Tighter Corsets, be sure to check out her Facebook page here, or email her here.

Stormy Leather Lombard Overbust Corset Review

11 Apr

This entry is a summary of the review video “Stormy Leather Lombard Overbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 16 inches high, and there are adjustable shoulder straps so there is no real point where the bustline “peaks”. Measurements of the size Small: Waist 22″, underbust 26″, full bust 28″, high hip (iliac) 32″. Gentle hourglass, slightly 18th-century-inspired hybrid.
Material 1 layer of unlined leather. While this corset does pull me in, the website mentions to expect the regular leather to stretch a couple of inches over time with regular use. The center-front panel is treated (patent leather), so less stretchy than the other leather.
Construction 5 panel pattern, very flat front. For assembly, there is nothing to flatline as it’s a single layer. Panels were stitched together, with internal cotton boning channels straddling each side of the seams for extra strength, while at the same time covering the seam allowances. Single boned on seams.
Binding Matching strips of leather, machine stitched on outside and inside (stitched in the ditch). Inside has a raw edge (normal for leather binding) but edges were not folded over, rather just cut off at the corners.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel is 4.5 inches wide, continuously boned with six 1/2″ wide steel bones. Finished in leather, stitched to one side. Front placket is a single layer of patent leather.
Busk 14 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 7 knobs and loops, equidistantly spaced.
Boning 10 bones total (5 bones per side). All 1/2″ wide flat steel bones, single boned on the seams, and in the back by the grommets there is only a single bone in the center back edge (not sandwiched on each side).
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, large flange, held in strongly, set equidistantly. Nice washers, grommet rolled on the back with no splits.
Laces The original laces were 1/8″ wide round nylon cord, too slippery and frustrating to use so I switched it out with some longer, gripper flat laces.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the silk/satin version is $380 while the leather version is $409.

 This corset was admittedly not purchased directly from Stormy Leather’s website (so I’m not sure about the quality of their customer service), but I had found this piece at discount from a previous owner and had verified that this was indeed a genuine Stormy Leather style. This corset intrigued me as it seemed to have a slight 18th-century-stays inspired style or silhouette – the very flat front, straighter bustline and conical ribs seemed to be a nod towards an almost “Marie Antoinette” style, and had this corset been made from a light-coloured linen or cotton, and tied at the shoulders with ribbons instead of buckles, this corset certainly would have passed as modernized, hybrid stays (it has more of a hip curve and no tabs at the bottom edge compared to reproduction stays). Nevertheless, the pattern of the corset didn’t work with my body.

For a relatively simple 10-panel corset, there is a lot going on in it: the leather gives it a tough ‘biker’ or nightclub look – yet if you choose, you can thread a pretty pastel-coloured satin ribbon through the decorative grommets in the front panel to soften it and create a juxtaposition. The shoulder straps are adjustable based on your body type and comfort level, and the incorporated roller buckles makes sure that the leather doesn’t get damaged from stress/ abrasion.

The continuously-boned modesty panel is one of my favourite parts of this corset, as it laid nice and flat as I was lacing up – it didn’t wrinkle or warp, and although I had quite a large lacing gap, I felt fully supported partially thanks to the structure of this panel.

If you would like to learn more about the Lombard corset, check out Stormy Leather San Francisco’s online store (NSFW).

Xandriana Custom Tightlacing Underbust Corset Review

14 Mar

This entry is a summary of the review video “Xandriana Tightlacing Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 12 inches high, and the side seam is 9 inches high, back is 15 inches high. Modern hourglass silhouette – rounded over the ribcage and rounded over the hips. Slightly longline.
Material Outer layer is pale pink satin (might be satin coutil). Lined in white herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers, double boned (one on the seam and one in the center of the panel).
Binding Matching strips of pale pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is suspended on the laces and boned in a criss-cross fashion. A 1″ wide unstiffened placket in front.
Busk 11 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 6 knobs and loops, the bottom two a little closer together. Reinforced flat bones on either side.
Boning 28 bones total (14 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide spiral steels, single boned on the seams plus extra bones in the middle of the panels. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well, and two flats by the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part Prym eyelets, size #0, medium/large, held in strongly. Finished in silver and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Good wide washers, few splits but don’t catch on the laces.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in pale pink.
Price At the time I’m writing this, a custom underbust starts at $300 USD (suitable for tightlacing but not waist training). For a waist training custom corset, the price starts at $400.

This corset was custom made for a different person, not myself – I purchased this corset 2nd hand and the measurements seemed to have matched my own reasonably well. I liked the very high back of this corset as it provided excellent support while sitting at my desk, and it made muffin top virtually impossible.

The darker pink flossing in a clean V shape on the boning channels was also a nice visual touch, and highlighted the fact that this corset had quite even bone distribution (the corset was boned both on the seams and also in the center of the panels, so there was very little wrinkling or risk of pressure points in this corset – this is how I prefer to bone my own corsets as well).

The corset I have seems to be two layers thick, with a cotton-backed-satin fashion layer (although it could be sturdy interfaced satin) and a herringbone coutil layer – however it’s said that this particular corset is appropriate for occasional tightlacing but not everyday waist training. Xandriana does have a listing for a waist-training corset on Etsy, which is said to have at least 2 layers of coutil.

This is a lovely little corset; the only changes I would make is to perhaps have the bones in the very back bow a little less – but as I am the 2nd owner of this corset, I know nothing of its previous treatment nor anything about the customer service from Xandriana.

If you would like to learn more about Xandriana Corsets, be sure to check out her website and her Etsy store.

Isabella Corsetry Victorian Underbust Review

31 Jan

This entry is a summary of the review video “Isabella Corsetry Victorian Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is about 11.5 inches high, and from underbust to lap is 9 inches, center back is 12.5 inches. Slightly wasp-waist silhouette (conical ribcage). Waist is 22″, top edge (underbust) is 29″, iliac crest is 31″. There is a discrepancy between the proportions of this corset vs. my Josephine corset from Isabella. The photo of the Victorian underbust on Isabella’s website does not do the corset justice!
Material 3 main layers: Outer layer is black polyester satin, cotton interlining, lining is cotton twill (with a pinstripe pattern).
Construction 6 panel pattern, panels assembled using the sandwich method and double-boned on the seams, sandwiched between two layers.
Binding Bias tape is a matching black satin; machine stitched on the inside and outside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel 7 inch wide unstiffened modesty panel attached to one side. No modesty placket
Busk 10 inch long, heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side), 5 pins equidistantly spaced.
Boning 22 bones, mostly double-boned on the seams except for the one seam adjacent to the grommet panel. Side bones are 1/4″ wide spirals, and there are two flats sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 30 two-part grommets, size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Finished in black (a nice touch). Set a little closer together at the waistline. Large washers on the underside, a few splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces and the grommets aren’t pulling out so it’s not a problem.
Laces Laces are 1/8″ wide round nylon cord, rather slippery and annoying but it’s easy to replace. (My Josephine corset had come with ribbon though which was fine.)
Price At the time I’m writing this, the Victorian underbust in the Immediate line is $175 normally, $230 for made-to-order (standard sized but custom fabric), and $350 for both made-to-measure and custom fabric.

Other Thoughts:

Victorian underbust as it looks on the website…. looks VERY different in silhouette to the product I tried! Perhaps the model is wearing a piece 1-2 sizes too big for her.

I was quite excited about reviewing this Victorian corset, as it had been over 3 years since I purchased the Josephine corset from Isabella Corsetry and I wanted to see if there were any tweaks or improvements to her construction. Although it seemed as though the pattern between the Victorian and the Josephine looked extremely similar (save for the 2nd panel), the fit of this corset is actually quite different on me – this corset is cut for less curves, and the ribcage is more straight and conical compared to the Josephine. While this corset is size 22″, and the underbust is 29″ and hips are 31″; my 3-year-old standard sized Josephine is a size 20″ but has a ribcage of about 30″ and a low hip of over 35″. So perhaps they’re not quite that similar after all?

Talking with some other people who have purchased the Josephine underbust more recently, they have told me that their versions are far less curvy than the piece I own. It seems as though the sizing is inconsistent from style to style of these corsets, and even from corset to corset in the Josephine pieces! But for those who are curious, it is said that the average “spring” drafted for is somewhere in the range of 7″ bigger in the underbust, and 11″ bigger in the hips compared to the waist size.

Sizing issues aside, I am in love with the strong and smooth construction of this corset. Satin is notoriously difficult to work with and make it lie flat and smooth, but Isabella Corsetry does this with the highest skill. And while I can’t cinch down as far as usual in this little piece, it does give me a lovely silhouette.

For those interested in seeing the Victorian underbust in the Immediate Line (the cheapest line where the corsets are standard sized and have fixed colors/ fabrics, visit Isabella’s shop here.

Vollers “Aida” Review and Revision

24 Jan

This entry is a summary of the two video “Vollers Aida underbust review” and “NEW & IMPROVED Aida Corset (Mini Review)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

*****

 

Fit, length Center front is 9.5″ high, center back is 9″ high, side seam is 7″ high (cuts over the iliac crest) – I would consider this a cincher. Modern slim silhouette; this size 24″ corset has an underbust 28″ and high hips of about 30″. But Vollers has a made-to-measure service, you can get this corset made to your specifications for a 25% markup.
Material 2 main layers; outer layer is ivory satin and inner layer is ivory twill.
Construction 13 panel pattern (closed front), panels assembled with a top-stitch and single-boned on the seams (internal boning channels). The original Aida corset had twill channels, while the revised Aida has herringbone coutil boning channels.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of commercial black satin ribbon, machine stitched on the outside and inside (not folded under, as the ribbon has a finished edge)
Waist tape The original Aida had no waist tape, but the revised version does have a partial internal waist tape.
Modesty panel 6-inch wide modesty panel finished in same ivory satin/ twill under the laces in the back, and a modesty placket under the side zipper (the revised version has a boned placket).
Zipper Closure The Aida has a 6″ long heavy-duty metal Riri zipper; the original version had no bones around the zipper, while the revised version has double boning in the modesty placket under the zipper for greater stabilization.
Boning Original Aida had 13 bones total, with none in the center front and none by the zipper. Revised Aida has 16 bones; a large 1-inch wide heavy duty bone in the center front, and two in the zipper’s modesty placket.
Grommets 18 one-part eyelets, size #00, small-to-medium, quite sturdy. Silver finish, and set equidistantly. The eyelets splay outwards in the back and grab onto the back of the twill; they are not coming out but then again I don’t lace this corset very tightly (about a 3-inch reduction)
Embellishment Closed front with black decorative laces; the original Aida corset had a bow at the bottom, while the revised Aida omitted the bow.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the Aida is £195 in the UK, or $310 USD.

Other Thoughts:

Model shows the location of the heavy zipper.

After the first review of the Aida corset, I’m quite pleased that Vollers had decided to make some revisions and improvements to the Aida corset and loan me their newer version for a mini review. The differences in the new Aida include sturdier herringbone weave boning channels (instead of twill); an added waist tape on the inside of the corset (the original had none); more bones including a double-boned modesty placket under the zipper, and a heavy-duty 1-inch bone in the center front; and the omission of the little black ribbon bow in the center front of the corset. The extra bones contributed to a sturdier-feeling corset, and helped to keep the corset’s silhouette more symmetric on the body. I also feel that the extra stability around the zipper would potentially lead to a longer-lasting corset in general.

Vollers mentioned that they wanted to introduce this new line of zip-up corsets to cater to their Burlesque clientele, who need quick and easy access into and out of their corsets onstage.

It shows great integrity in a corset company that they are willing to listen to the ideas of their customers and change their construction accordingly, so I have to thank Vollers for giving me this opportunity to try out their products and share them with my viewers and readers. You can read more about the Aida corset on the Vollers website here.

Lovely Rats/ Romantasy DIANA Underbust Corset Review

17 Jan

This entry is a summary of the review video “Lovely Rats/ Romantasy DIANA underbust corset review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length My corset is made-to-measure; center front is about 8.5 inches high (at the dip of the “sweetheart) and from underbust to lap is 9.5 inches. Hourglass silhouette despite only giving me a 3 inch reduction in the waist! Amber is very good at drafting corsets to look very curvy with relatively gentle reductions.
Material 3 main layers (4 if you count the fusible webbing). Outer layer is dupioni silk (gold shot with blue) fused to twill, and then a layer of brown herringbone coutil as lining.
Construction 6 panel pattern, panels assembled using the sandwich method (lock-stitched 3 times so very sturdy), and double-boned on the seams, sandwiched between two layers.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of complementary blue satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back lacing protector because I didn’t order one – however, all corsets purchased in the Custom Fundamental line of Romantasy will have an included back panel and front placket under the busk.
Busk None, my corset has a closed front (four very sturdy 1/2″ wide flats in the front instead). But all Romantasy corsets will have a flexible busk by default, unless otherwise requested.
Boning 28 bones total, 14 on each side. There are four 1/2″ wide flats in the closed front, two more flats in the back (the outer edge one is wider than the inner side of the grommets) and the others on the side are 1/4″ spiral steels, double boned on the seams.
Grommets 24 two-part grommets, size #00, fairly large flange, quite sturdy. Gold finish. Set more or less equidistantly. Large washers on the underside, a few splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces and the grommets aren’t pulling out so it’s not a problem.
Embellishment Thistle image with curlicue and cross-hatch details, done by machine. Done in complementary blue thread that matches the binding and cross-threads of the shot dupioni. As long as an image can be made into a file readable by this machine, the options for what you’d like embroidered are technically limitless (so you’re not limited to thistles).
Price Diana underbust from the Custom Elegant line starts at $365, with a markup for the embroidery or any other embellishment. If you’d like less fusing and twill strength layer instead of coutil, it brings the price down to $230 (this is the Ceres corset in the Custom Fundamental line).

Other Thoughts:

This Diana underbust corset is made by Amber Welch, owner of Lovely Rat’s Quality Custom Clothing and the newest member of the Romantasy team. The particular corset I own from Amber was before she joined Romantasy, which is why my corset had a closed front and no modesty panel as they weren’t standard inclusions at the time – but this also gave me the unique opportunity to work directly with Amber on this commission. Amber herself is a joy to work with. Her service and communication were excellent throughout, and she is fun yet professional. During the construction process we had an easy rapport and she eagerly shared updates with me without prompting. She worked quickly and efficiently (when she gets going, she can make a corset within a day or two). 

Another view of my underbust from Amber

The Diana underbust is part of the Custom Elegant Line which is the most couture line that Romantasy offers, and the most expensive. This is due to the extra attention and care given to your corset, such as using a coutil strength layer; fusing the silk for strength, smoothness and durability; allowing for changes in the contouring/ line of the top and bottom edges; including a busk, double boning, modesty panel etc. into the price of the corset; etc.

This corset is named “Diana” because Amber’s construction process makes for a very sturdy, strong and unyielding corset, not unlike the qualities of Diana the Huntress/ Goddess of the Moon. Practice patience while breaking in her corsets, because they can be quite strong and rigid – after the seasoning is when these pieces really ‘come to life”, once they’re allowed to soften and form around the curves. Rest assured these pieces are built to last.

However if the Diana corset sounds too hardcore for you, Ann Grogan (president and owner of Romantasy) mentions that she has trained in twill corsets with no problem in the past, and if you would like a more affordable option then Amber also offers the Ceres underbust corset in Romantasy’s Custom Fundamentals Line. The Ceres corset has two layers instead of three, it has a twill strength layer instead of coutil, and fusing for the fashion fabrics is not standard (although it is a paid upgrade). But like the Diana corset, it is still made to your measurements, it comes with a modesty panel/placket, and a front busk – for a very reasonable price of $230.

For a limited time, Romantasy is offering the Ceres corset for $220 (a $10 discount) and a free corset storage bag for the first twenty customers.

Burleska Corsets Athena Underbust Review

3 Jan

This entry is a summary of the review video “Burleska Athena underbust review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14.5 inches high (the longest OTR underbust I have ever tried!) and side seam is 12 inches. Not recommended for shorter torsos. Gentle hourglass / modern slim silhouette. Underbust circumference is 30″, waist 24″, low hip is 36″ (gives an impressive 12″ hip spring).
Material 2 main layers. Fashion fabric is black poly satin, lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, fashion fabric and lining were flatlining together, panels assembled using a topstitch. External boning channels (double boned on the seams)
Binding Hand-made bias strips of matching black satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 3/4-inch wide waist tape made from ribbon, stretching from panels 2-5 (first and last panels don’t have a waist tape)
Modesty panel 6 inches wide back modesty panel (4″ usable space). Two layers, unstiffened, attached to one side of the corset. No modesty placket in front by busk.
Busk 12.5 inches long, standard flexible busk with 6 pins (bottom two closer together). Supported by flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, 13 on each side. The flats by the busk in the front and in the back by the grommets are steel boned, but the side bones in the external channels are plastic boned.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #0 or #1, fairly small flange. silver finish. Set equidistantly. Back of the grommets have multiple splits but don’t catch on the laces.
Embellishment 1/8 inch thick round, dense nylon cord. Quite grippy and holds bows well.
Price At the time that I’m writing this: £50 in the UK, or around $80 in the US.

Other Thoughts:

Burleska Athena corset as it is seen on the website

This is the second corset I’ve reviewed from Burleska (the first review you can read here). Two years later, Burleska had contacted me directly and mentioned that their line of corsets have improved and asked if I would be interested in trying some of their new stock. I agreed to trying this Athena underbust as it seemed to have the most unique construction and the most impressive curves! When I tried on the corset, indeed it gave a flattering silhouette, but unfortunately this piece had been plastic boned as well. The Burleska executives didn’t know that they were plastic as they had been told by their own manufacturer that they were steel – so these corsets are currently receiving an overhaul and Burleska says that they will be more careful about this in the future. I taught them the “magnet trick” to check for ferrous substances inside of a corset (like the steel bones) without having to open up the corsets. I’m not upset about this though; it takes great integrity in a company to admit that they were mistaken, to listen to their customers and to commit to changing their product to keep the trust of their clientele. So all is well that ends well; I wish Burleska success in the future and look forward to seeing what new items they design for their upcoming genuine steel boned line.

You can find the Athena corset on Burleska’s website, here.

Sugarkitty Corsets Abigail II Custom Underbust Review

20 Dec

This entry is a summary of the review video “Sugarkitty Abigail II Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is made-to-measure so highly customized; therefore the hard numbers are moot. Dramatic, very nipped-in modern hourglass silhouette. I can lace down smaller and more comfortably in corsets with this type of silhouette, as it doesn’t compress my ribs.
Material 5 layers (if you count the fusible webbing). Outside and inside are both black twill and there is also a strength layer between them (interlining).
Construction 5 panel pattern; panels assembled using the sandwich method (lock-stitched and very sturdy), and double-boned on the seams, sandwiched between two layers. Sugarkitty mentions that she no longer uses the sandwich method but more recently uses a more sturdy construction.
Binding Hand-made bias strips matching in black twill, machine stitched on the outside and inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel Boned and suspended panel in the back, and panel is contoured in an hourglass shape (very comfy). Also has modesty placket under knob side of busk.
Busk 10″ long standard flexible busk, with 5 loops/ pins set equidistantly. 1/2″ wide, but reinforced with other flat bones on either side.
Boning 24 bones total, 12 on each side (not including the busk). This corset has an upgrade of 1/2″ spiral bones (instead of traditional 1/4″ bones), double-boned on the seams – there is hardly any “unboned” space around the waist.
Grommets 32 two-part grommets, size #00, fairly large flange, quite sturdy. Black finish. Set closer at the waistline for easier cinching. Large washers on the underside, virtually no splits in the back, no catching.
Laces Very long, super strong polypropylene laces (another upgrade from Sugarkitty). No stretch, virtually impossible to break, holds knots and bows well.
Price At the time I reviewed this piece, the standard size Abigail II was $377, and custom fit was $481.

Other Thoughts:

Sugarkitty Corset as it appears on her Facebook Fanpage.

 

This corset was sold to me 2nd hand from a friend with very similar measurements (she’s just a touch shorter in the torso compared to me). It has such an awesome silhouette that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add it to my collection. Because the corset was made to fit her specifically, and also drafted to have this specific shape with the rounded ribcage and nipped-in waistline, the measurements of this corset are a tad moot – although I will say that the “free” rounded ribcage area makes this corset extraordinarily comfy! I lovingly call this my “almost-pipestem” corset.

Because this corset was made around early 2012, it was around 1.5 years old by the time I reviewed it so Sugarkitty had changed some of her construction techniques between now and then. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to review any of her more modern pieces anytime soon as she has retired from making corsets (at least for the time being) in favour of other artistic ventures. I personally know that I will be keeping this unique piece in my collection though, and will be waiting in line for a custom piece of my own should she ever decide to resume taking corset commissions!

If you would like to see what Sugarkitty is up to these days and to buy some of her samples and accessories, be sure to check out her website here.

L’Atelier de LaFleur Longline Underbust Corset Review

13 Dec

This entry is a summary of the video “L’Atelier de LaFleur Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length My corset has a standard size 24″ base (ribcage 30″, hips 32-34″), but had been semi-customized. I asked for more length from waist to ribcage, a high-back, and for the waist to be nipped in another inch. Modern hourglass silhouette.
Material 3 main layers. Fashion fabric is silk Chinese brocade, strength fabric of herringbone coutil, floating lining of special cooling cotton fabric.
Construction Probably 5-panel pattern, fashion fabric flatlined to coutil, external boning channels (some on the seams, some in the middle of the panel), and floating liner.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of complementary pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back lacing protector because I didn’t order one – but one can be ordered if desired. The front has a boned underbusk/ placket which helps keep the front flat.
Busk 12.5 inches long and standard width (0.5 inch wide) matte-black busk with 6 loops/pins, with the two lowest ones closer together.
Boning 24 bones total. On each side there are 9 spirals in external channels; the remainder are flats by the grommets or supporting the busk.
Grommets 34 two-part grommets (because of the very high back), size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Black finish. Equidistantly spaced, few splits but don’t catch on the laces. The laces themselves are a great nylon flat shoelace that is grippy like cotton.
Flossing Mina’s unique design on the bottom of the external boning channels, almost reminds me of a T4 bacteriophage – very cool!
Price At the time I’m writing this, it would cost $375 for a standard size longline corset, and a recreation of my own corset would be $565 CAD.

My first wearing of the completed corset, in Mina’s studio in Toronto.

It’s no secret that this corset has become one of my instant favourites in my collection. Mina’s work is absolutely pristine, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be personally fitted by her (and to have my own measurements match her standard measurements so closely!). It’s difficult not to wax poetic about this corset; not a stitch is out of place. I can see myself ordering from her again a few years down the line.

Despite the rather thin flexible busk I provided (only because I wanted all matte black hardware), Mina had supported it enough with bones on either side and also a heavy boned underbusk (modesty placket) so that the profile remains beautifully straight and flat. The bones are dispersed around the waist such that there is no more than 1 inch around the waist that is unsupported, which leads to a very sturdy and comfortable wearing experience. The high back is wonderful for my posture and the extra length in the ribcage helps prevent me from slouching like few other corsets are able to do.

If anyone would like a breakdown for the cost of my corset:
Longline underbust $375
High back modification: $10
Single external bone casings instead of double $25
Brocade fashion fabric $15
Contrast casings/trim (the pink against the brocade) $15
Bone flossing on bottom edge, and floating lining $125
Total $565

However, I’m not hyperbolizing when I say that this corset is worth every penny. The entire experience, from meeting with the designer, consulting, fitting and receiving the final product, has been nothing but a joy. If you would like to see more work by L’Atelier de LaFleur, you can visit Mina’s website here.

Romantasy “Simple Pleasures” Victorian Cincher Review

6 Dec

This entry is a summary of the review video “Romantasy Simple Pleasures Reversible Cincher Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is about 10″ long and the shortest part of the corset (close to the side seam) is about 6.5″ – so this corset would be able to fit short waisted wearers. Gentle hourglass silhouette; the ribcage is about 4-5″ larger than the waist, and the hips are about 6-7″ larger than the waist (but it comes high over the hips so doesn’t squeeze my iliac crest).
Material 2 layers; the outer fabric is denim and the inner fabric is satin coutil (cotton-backed satin).
Construction 6 panel pattern, panels are assembled using a top-stitch, single boned on the seams (sandwiched).
Binding Bias binding in matching bias strips of satin coutil, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape A 0.5″ wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the two layers.
Modesty panel No back lacing protector, no front placket. This corset is designed to be economic without add-ons. Also with its reversibility, a modesty panel would somewhat complicate its use. (They can be purchased from Romantasy separately, though!)
Busk Standard flexible busk with 4 pins (bottom two are closer together), about 9.5 inches long. Further reinforced by a wide flat steel on either side of the busk.
Boning 16 bones (not including busk): single boned on the seams with 1/4″ spirals, flats sandwiching the grommets and stiff wide flat steels beside the busk.
Grommets 18 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; absolutely no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommet.
Laces 1/2″ wide, double-face satin ribbon. Great strength, no stretching, but a little slippery. Can be easily replaced with your favourite type of laces though.
Price Starts at $185, with pricing markups for natural waists 32″ through 60″.

Other Thoughts:

This little Simple Pleasures cincher (from the Romantasy private label) was made by Jill Hoverman, just one of the team of 4-5 corsetieres that represent Romantasy. It was introduced as an answer to the cheaper OTR corsets out there, but designed to have a more comfortable fit and more flattering silhouette. It also gives you a more personal experience since you still get to choose your fashion fabric and can talk to Ann about other small upgrades and embellishments, while still paying the same amount as you would for some higher end OTR corsets.

Because this is a lightweight corset, it’s designed to be used for lighter reductions of 3-4 inches (perfect for beginners), for some gentle back support, and to be used as a sleeping corset.

This is my first corset from Romantasy but will certainly not be my last, as it is very comfortable and doesn’t cut into my ribs or hips. Because I have a bit of a fleshy torso, I personally get a bit of muffin top while wearing it, but that is something I usually experience anyway in almost all of my cinchers. I was surprised at how remarkably smooth this corset is for being a reversible piece; I was always under the impression that a corset must be roll-pinned in order to create a smooth line on the body, which is not possible with reversible corsets. However, this one was clearly not roll-pinned yet still super smooth on both sides!

Since this is a standard size, I’d recommend this for lacers who are rather balanced in their weight distribution on top and bottom, and are looking for light support. I’m quite pleased with this little cincher, especially as a made-to-order corset for such a small investment. You can find Romantasy’s Simple Pleasures Cincher on this page.