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Dark Garden Corselette Review

17 Jun

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Corselette Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 11 inches long, the shortest part of the corset at the side seam is 5.5 inches (cut very high over the hip), and the enter back is also 8.5 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, ribcage 26″ (measured about 3 inches above the waist), high hip 28″ (measured about 2.5 inches below the waist). The silhouette is quite dramatic; I consider this a wasp waist. Side bones are pre-bent to give a nipped-in waist.
Material Fashion fabric is red poplin, with a black lace overlay (every panel is mirror-matched), and the strength fabric (lining) is densely-woven black canvas.
Construction 4 panel pattern. It seems as though all layers were flatlined for each panel, panels were assembled with seam allowances facing outward, and these seams were then covered with external boning channels (2 bones per seam).
Binding Black satin bias binding, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible on the outside. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 0.75 inch wide twill waist tape, exposed on the lining side of the corset. It starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at the center back seam.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (red poplin with black lace) and black canvas lining. Stiffened with 4 steel bones and left separate to slip under the laces when worn (or you can choose to not wear the modesty panel). There is a teensy seam in the center front which is not a modesty placket per se, but it does help prevent a visible gap between the busk.
Busk 10 inches long with 5 pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). There is also a 1/2″ wide flat steel on either side of the busk for reinforcement. In the pointed cinchers, the busk seems to be shaved down on an angle so the tips follow the same line as the fabric!
Boning 18 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, double boned on the seams. The side seams must be flat steel since they are pre-bent. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/2″ flat steel by the busk, making a total of 9 bones on each side.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #00 with medium flange, finished in black and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely and don’t catch on the laces. Washers are large to prevent the grommets from falling out.
Laces 3/8″ black double faced satin ribbon. Zero spring. They glide well through the laces.
Price Available from sizes 18-38, and at the time that I’m writing this review, the corselette costs $315 for plain black poplin, and $395 if you want an identical style to this (with coloured poplin and mirror-matched lace overlay).

Dark Garden Corselette, modelled by Victoria Dagger and photographed by Joel Aron photography

I’m extremely pleased to say that this is the first of four reviews of Dark Garden’s RTW (ready-to-wear) corset selection, including the Cincher, the classic Valentine and the Risqué Valentine

The Corselette is one of the shortest corsets I’ve ever tried, with a side length of only 5.5 inches which may fit even the shortest of waists. This particular style is pointed in the front with a 10 inch busk; but if you don’t like pointed corsets or you prefer something that is more conducive to hiding under clothing, you can request that the Corselette be made with a more rounded center front instead (the center front may be slightly shorter in this case). If you think you need more control around the sides and back to control flesh spillover, or if you want your lower tummy pulled flat, I would suggest trying one of their slightly longer underbust corsets.

I love how they used flat steel bones along the side seams that had been pre-curved to nip in the waist and kick out the hip, making a very curvy and comfortable corset from the first time I wore it – no numbness around the hips.

But one of the things I appreciate most about Dark Garden is their ethics. Every one of their corsets are made from start to finish in the US and they take enormous pride in their construction, which is evident in the pattern matching in their lace or brocade corsets for a luxurious final effect.

The Corselette can be viewed on Dark Garden’s website HERE.

RetroFolie Alyssum Underbust Corset Review

9 Jun

This post is a summary of the “RetroFolie Alyssum Underbust Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 11 inches long, along the princess seam (underbust to lap) is 9.5 inches, and the enter back is also 12.5 inches. The corset is cut low in the center front to control lower tummy, and then the corset gradually cuts upwards in the back to give a high back at the top, and stops just above the tailbone on me. The Alyssum corset is not longline (stops around the iliac crest). Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, underbust 30″, high hip 32″ (this is her standard-sized option). The silhouette is a gentle hourglass.
Material 3 main layers – fashion fabric is printed cotton sateen (interfaced twice), featuring “L’escarpolette” (The Swing) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.  There is a twill interlining between the fashion fabric (note that Julianne has started using herringbone coutil as the strength fabric in her corsets now). The floating liner is black cotton as well.
Construction 6 panel pattern, with some of the panels in the front tapering toward the lower tummy. Fashion layer (interfaced) and cotton interlining were flatlined (lining is floating). Panels assembled with a top-stitch at the seams (quadruple stitched). I requested double boning on the seams; channels are sandwiched between fashion and interlining layers.
Binding Commercial black bias binding, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the layers. It starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at the seam of the last panel (between panels 5-6).
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 6.5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (featuring the shoe flying off the lady’s foot) and black cotton lining. Stiffened with what I presume is buckram (the same stiffener found in hats, Julianne says) and suspended on the laces with grommets near the top and bottom. There is also a 1″ wide modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk.
Busk 10 inches long with 5 pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). There is also a 1/4″ wide flat steel on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 28 total bones not including busk (remember I requested double bones in my corset). On each side there are eleven 1/4″ spiral steel bones. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/4″ flat steel by the busk, making a total of 14 bones on each side.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 with medium flange, finished in silver and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely. Washers are large to prevent the grommets from falling out.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring. There is quite a bit of friction while lacing up, but this might be due to the modesty panel more than anything else.
Price At the time that I’m writing this review, a historical artwork Alyssum underbust starts at $270 – $290 USD through her Etsy store. Several upgrades are available such as a modesty panel (extra $20), and custom fit (extra $25).

Other Thoughts/ Observations:

From her Facebook fanpage: L’Escarpolette corset is RetroFolie’s best seller

 

RetroFolie is the business name of Julianne Coriandoli, who was also the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the Foundations Revealed “geometric” theme corset contest. Today she is more known for her incredible “Historical Artwork” corsets, in which she takes beautiful historical paintings and turns them into 3-dimensional pieces of wearable art.

Many people initially thought that the corsets were put into a printer after completing construction – in fact, the paintings are printed onto flat fabric (cotton sateen) and each panel is carefully cut out and stitched to match the others by the millimetre – the picture spans beautifully unbroken over the front of the corset, and I know from personal experience how much time and care is necessary for such a project.

Julianne says that she’s happy to take custom requests for paintings, as long as they are within the public domain (the artist has been deceased for 70-100 years, depending on the country and laws).

When I ordered this corset this past spring, default RetroFolie corsets had a cotton twill interlining and single boning. Today, it seems that all of her corsets now feature double boning and a herringbone coutil strength interlining, so you no longer have to order those as markups!

In the near future I will also be reviewing RetroFolie’s longline Azalea corset, which was also made-to-measure.

You can see what other corsets Julianne has for sale in the RetroFolie Etsy shop HERE, or check out her main website HERE.

Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique Cream Fan-Laced Overbust Corset Review

21 May

This post is a summary of the “Boom Boom Baby Cream Overbust Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Center front is 14.5 inches long, and from the peak of the bust to the lap along the princess seam is 15 inches. Center back is also 15 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 21″, full bust is 29-30″, high hip is around 29″ too). The silhouette is a gentle hourglass, bordering on modern slim.
Material 3 main layers – fashion fabric is cream colored densely-woven canvas and twill. There is an interlining between the fashion fabric and lining. The floating liner is black herringbone coutil.
Construction 5 panel pattern, with some of the panels in the front tapering toward the lower tummy. Fashion layer and interlining were flatlined (lining is floating). Panels assembled with a top-stitch at the seams. Single boned on the seams; channels are sandwiched between fashion and interlining layers.
Binding Bias strips of matching cream-colored twill, machine stitched on both sides (slight top-stitch on the outside). No garter tabs but there are suspenders (black elastic garters) tacked to the outside of the corset as embellishment.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the layers. It does not extend through all panels; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, ending towards the back of the corset.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is slightly under 6″ wide (about 4″ of usable width), finished in the same cream fashion fabric and black coutil lining. Secured to one side of the corset with a simple row of stitching. No modesty placket in the front.
Busk 13 inches long with 6 pins (bottom two are closer together). Fairly stiff, heavy duty busk, 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 12 total bones not including busk. On each side there are four 1/4″ spiral steel bones. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 30 eyelets total, size 5mm Prym brand two-part eyelets with medium flange; set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided shoe-lace style laces (feels like a cotton blend). Virtually unbreakable. Has zero spring. It seems that a few of them have been sewn together for length, which caused a little “bump” when lacing up, but otherwise seems to be holding together.
Price At the time that I’m writing, an overbust in your size starts at around $240 USD in the Boom Boom Baby Etsy shop.

Little Twiglet models the corset by Kirsteen Wythe.

Other Thoughts/ Observations:

For this review I had to do something I never had to do before (although I have a feeling that it won’t be the last time) – I had to model this corset on a pillow, because the fit of this corset on me was so unfortunate that I don’t think I would do it justice wearing it for the review. However, this is no fault of the maker herself; the corset had been a sample originally modelled by Little Twiglet, and it was not at all made with my measurements in mind. I am disappointed, but only at the circumstances, not the designer.

This corset has no shortage of embellishments: decorative fan-lacing details cover the bustline, with laces anchored at the grommets along the top edge converging down into the fan-lacing slides below. Black elastic suspenders run over the shoulders, resembling a bit of a harness. A pair of garters on each side to keep stockings up (knowing me, I would probably hang a chatelaine or other doodad from them instead!). On the back of this corset, unfortunately away from view, there is also semi-functional fan-lacing (the laces in the back must go through the fan-laced details, although the slides are anchored and cannot be pulled to easily tighten the corset). All the strappy details transform an otherwise sterile-looking off-white sweetheart overbust into a truly intriguing piece of art.

You can see what other corsets Kirsteen Wythe (Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique) has for sale in her Etsy shop HERE, or read what she is up to on her main website HERE.

True Corset Mesh Cincher Review

13 May

This post is a summary of the “True Corset Mesh Cincher Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Front and back are about 9.5 inches long, and the sides are slightly less than 9 inches. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 8″ bigger than the waist. (Original measurements: ribcage 29″, waist 24″, high hip 32″) Recommended for people of shorter stature or shorter waists. If you have any issues with lower tummy pooch, choose a longer corset as this one doesn’t extend down to cover the lower abdomen. This corset is not designed for tightlacing or waist training.
Material Single layer of mesh, with twill reinforcements on the busk and grommet area, and grosgrain boning channels.
Construction 5 panel pattern, all panels looking fairly parallel. Single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels straddling each seam to strengthen it.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon, not folded under. Machine stitched on the outside and inside. 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Waist tape 1-inch wide black satin ribbon, exposed on the inside of the corset. It does not extend through all panels though; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, and ends between panels 4-5, so that panel 1 and panel 5 are not reinforced.
Modesty panel No modesty panel or placket on my corset.
Busk 8.5 inches long with 5 pins (equidistantly spaced). Fairly stiff, just short of 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 12 total bones not including busk. On each side there are four 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels). Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. Unfortunately the grommets are not holding in tightly at the waistline and I will be repairing this corset in the near future.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided nylon shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring.
Price At the time that I’m writing, it is £56 in the UK or $84 in the US.

True Corset mesh cincher in white, modelled by Threnody in Velvet

Although the corset is only advertised in white mesh on their website, they do currently have black mesh in stock – you only have to send them an email to be able to order the black mesh, until they get the product photos and sale page up for the black version.

This cincher is designed for beginners, as it has an attractive price and an modern slim silhouette. When I tried True Corset’s Dragon cincher last year, I noticed that the size 22″ didn’t close very far in the back due to my ribcage and hips, so I went with the size 24″ this time and found that it closed entirely in the back, and fit my circumferential measurements quite comfortably.

The mesh is on the delicate side and I have noticed that there is some expansion of the mesh at the waistline (which is why they recommend you purchase one size smaller than usual, even though I personally didn’t do so – in fact, I recommend ordering one size up), and also the grommets had begun to pull out at the waistline. I would recommend that the grommet panel be reinforced with another layer of twill to give the grommets more to “grab hold of”, and also possibly using grommets with a wider flange.

As this stock stands, what with the partial waist tape and the condition of the grommets, I must stress what True Corset said to me: that this piece is not a waist training or tightlacing corset – I would say it should only be used for occasional light lacing. Which is a bit of a disappointment, as this corset was remarkably comfy for OTR. Mesh corsets are difficult to review, because they really only have resurfaced in the last couple of years and as of yet there is no set standard of quality, the way there is with other strength fabrics (twill, coutil, etc). Because it is not identical in strength or construction to a cotton twill corset, this piece should not be used the same way as a twill corset.

True Corset is a bit brave to have been one of the first OTR companies to take on the challenge of affordable mesh corsetry – while there is certainly room for improvement, I can also see that these changes may drive up the price. These pieces, despite being single layer, may be more difficult to construct due to the lightweight and porous nature of the mesh. Certain mesh types may be more difficult to source or more expensive than twill. This corset has been the least expensive mesh corset I have ever tried – just keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to mesh corsetry.

You can read more about the True Corset mesh cincher on their website here.

JC Creations Men’s Corset – Case Study

6 May

This entry is a summary of the review video “JC Creations Men’s Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset has a bit more of a masculine shape, but still has a fairly cinched in waist. the underbust is 33″, waist 27″, hips 34″. Center front length is about 11 inches, side seam is 9 inches and back is 12 inches long.
Material 2 main layers: outer layer is a black spot broche (comparable to coutil in strength, but also nice as a fashion fabric), and a lightweight plain black cotton lining.
Construction 5 panel pattern, with seams (and bones) converging in the bottom center front. Panels are assembled using a lock stitch. Double boned in internal boning channels.
Binding Black satin bias tape, machine stitched on the outside and inside (top-stitched on both sides). No garter tabs.
Waist tape 3cm (a bit over 1 inch) wide waist tape, exposed on the inside, only supporting panels 2-4 (does not extend from the busk to the back laces).
Modesty panel There was no matching modesty panel that came with this corset, but on the website, all prices include a modesty panel that appears to be separate and stiffened. There is an unstiffened placket on the knob side of the busk.
Busk 26cm (a bit over 10 inches long), standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 5 knobs and loops (the lowest two are a bit closer together for control over the lower tummy).
Boning 20 bones total (10 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ (or a bit wider) wide spiral steels, double boned on all the seams. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets 28 two-part grommets, size #00 (possibly), small to medium flange, set equidistantly. There is some damage to the grommets at the waistline, but I’m not sure how old or how used this corset is. Good wide washers; no splits on the back.
Laces Laces are 1/4″ wide, flat black nylon braided laces – very little stretch, very difficult to break.
Price On the website, the ready-made (standard-sized) corsets for men are advertised as €210, which converts to $290 USD.

This corset was a gift from EgapTesroc for me to study, along with the Creations L’Escarpolette corsets I showed in January 2014. But because I don’t know the full history of this corset, it’s difficult to gauge its quality: whether it’s standard-sized or custom-fit and if it has stretched out over time; how well it stood up to training since I’m not sure how old the corset is and how rigorous its use, or even if the pattern and construction are still current are all variables. However, JC Creations remains a respected business with a high reputation, even having made corsets for notables like Cathie Jung and various European celebrities. If you have any questions about the corsets by JCC, I recommend contacting them directly with your questions. (Please note that their website is NSFW.)

Huge thanks to EgapTesroc for giving me the opportunity to study and share this lovely corset with my viewers and readers. If you currently own a corset made by JC Creations and you can confirm if the quality and construction are current, as well as share your own experience with the corsets, leave a comment below!

Serindë Short Hip Fan-Lace Corset Review

30 Apr

This entry is a summary of the review video “Serindë Short Hip Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is a standard-size 22″ by Serindë: the underbust is 27″, waist 22″, hips 32″. Center front length is about 10.5 inches, the princess seam is 9″ long and the side seam is 8.5″ long. I consider this corset to have a short hip (not longline) and is a moderate hourglass silhouette.
Material 3 main layers: outer layer is gorgeous heavyweight burgundy brocade, strength fabric is coutil, and a lightweight plain black cotton floating lining.
Construction 6 panel pattern, with seams (and bones) converging in the bottom center front. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers, with both bones on one side of the seam.
Binding Black satin bias tape, machine stitched on the outside and inside (top-stitched on both sides). No garter tabs.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel is about 4″ wide, boned in a criss-cross fashion with two bones, and suspended on the laces. 1/2″ wide modesty placket on knob side of the busk.
Busk 9 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 5 knobs and loops (the lowest two are a bit closer together for control over the lower tummy).
Boning 24 bones total (12 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide spiral steels, double boned on all the seams. There is a flat steel on either side of the busk as well, and two flat steels sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets 24 two-part Prym brand eyelets, size #0 (5mm), large flange, held in strongly. Set a little closer together at the waist. Good wide washers; no splits on the back.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in black.
Embellishment Decorative fan-lacing drapes across the front, with silver hardware and black ribbon – skillfully done, as it lies smoothly across the body when worn!

This lovely short underbust from Serindë was made last year, just before I launched the 30,000 subscriber giveaway – some of you may even remember the corset from that video! Serindë was also the corsetiere who kindly gave her time and efforts to create the corsets for the three winners of that giveaway.

This is the third corset I’ve reviewed from Serindë and her corsets are consistently high quality – even though her standard sized underbust pattern is tight for me in the ribcage, the construction is flawless – the fabric lays smooth over the body; and she typically chooses just one or two focal points for embellishment on each piece so her work is never boring, but never overdone. The decorative fan-lacing featured on this corset is expertly 

Such a short-hipped corset feels almost like a cincher to me, and the moderate silhouette lends itself well to back and posture support, allowing good mobility and sitting for long periods, and matching fairly well with a good chunk of my wardrobe as burgundy is one of my favourite colours. If this corset had been custom-drafted to fit my ribcage better, that would be the only improvement I could see.

If you would like to learn more about Serindë and her work, be sure to check out her Facebook page here, or her Etsy page here!

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.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was a bit of a serendipitous find. I had been meaning to try a corset from Xandriana for awhile, as one of my acquaintances (a previous client of Xandriana’s) had positive things to say about the craftsmanship.

So when I joined the Corsets On Sale group on Facebook and found another person who was selling their old Xandriana corset, with measurements very close to my own, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! The lovely pearlescent finish and the cheery flossing were even cuter in person, and I was pleased to see that the corset was not actually white, but actually the palest, most delicate shade of pink. I also 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. After uploading this video, I had the opportunity to talk with the corsetiere, and discovered that the flossing was actually done by the first owner of the corset.

Although this particular corset is not advertised for waist training, its construction is stronger than many other corsets out there that do claim waist-training-friendliness – one of my favourite features in this corset is the distribution of the boning. In corsets that are simply double boned on the seams, it can sometimes feel like the double bones make it “too rigid” in places, while there are vast spans of wrinkled, unsupported fabric between the bones. When you have one bone on the seam and one on the channel (as in this corset), the distribution is more even, which can help prevent pressure points on your body and prevent ugly wrinkling in the corset, resulting in a beautifully smooth and comfortable corset. 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.

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.

Looking at the different  listings in Xandriana’s Etsy shop, it seems that the tightlacing underbust has only 1 layer of coutil, and a non-specific number of bones; while the waist training version has 2 layers of coutil and a guaranteed minimum of 26 bones, and more depending on the size and reduction. If you would like to learn more about the different options Xandriana offers, do visit her website here.

Electra Designs Longline Underbust Corset Review

7 Mar

This entry is a summary of the review video “Electra Designs Long Hip Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:


 

Fit, length Center front is about 11 inches long, 9 inches long. Wasp waist silhouette. Standard size 22T long hip underbust – the underbust is 28″, waist is 22″, hips at iliac creast is 33″ (which is where my iliac crest hits). Gives a flat profile (doesn’t make me look thicker from the side) and the hips are slightly squared instead of rounded.
Material Fashion layer is blue satin (fused to soft interlining); strength layer (lining) is cotton herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Many many sandwiched bones. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Black bias strips of satin, machine stitched on both sides and very tidy.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape invisibly secured between the layers.
Modesty panel No modesty panel came with this sample, but is available for a markup. Unstiffened placket in front made from a matching blue satin.
Busk Standard width flexible busk, 10 inches long (5 pins, the last two closer together). Reinforcing flat steel bone on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 steel bones (13 on each side), 1/4″ wide spiral bones on each seam and also in the middle of the wider panels. 1/4″ wide flat steel bones in front and back, and special lacing bones in the back (bones with holes drilled into them so the grommets won’t ever rip out).
Eyelets 20 in total, size #00 two-part eyelets with small flange; set equidistantly (they have to be because they’re set into a lacing bone); high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. Washer on the back is larger than the top-hat flange of the eyelet for extra support.
Laces Matching blue double-face satin ribbon, 1/2 inch wide. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up, zero stretchiness.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the standard sized long hip underbust with the gently-rounded top and bottom edges is $400 USD. You can see other style options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

 

A close-up view of myself in Electra Designs’ standard size long hip underbust.

This corset was a sample sent to me on loan so that Alexis could test the fit of her new standard size corsets, as a bit of a glorified mockup fitting – I asked her if I could also review this corset on my channel before returning the corset to her, and she graceously agreed. I believe Alexis had modified and updated her old standard size chart, modelling the new proportions off an average of her past many clients, and off her realistic Alvaform dress forms. I was very happy to try the new standard size corsets and find that it is slightly broader through the ribcage compared to the old standard sizes, so the corset holds in all of my flesh and doesn’t give me any ‘muffin top’ in the back. I would just need the corset to have a bit of a longer torso for it to fit very closely to some of my other custom-fit corsets! 

The flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I feel that this style of lacing would be excellent for those who have lordosis (swayback) as it doesn’t force the wearer to “flatten” the lumbar spine or hunch over. Additionally, I feel that this corset preserves my naturally flat profile and doesn’t make me look “thicker” from the side, the way that some other corsets do. Because the lacing bones are so flexible though, you must take care to tighten the corset with as parallel a gap as possible – otherwise the back may bow outwards at the waist, and look like “( )”.

As always, Alexis’ construction technique is extremely strong and definitely suitable for waist training – Alexis remains one of my favourite corsetieres and I look forward to commissioning her for a custom in the near future. At the moment she is busy creating a multimedia corset making instructional course, which you can learn more about on this page!

To see other styles from Electra Designs, do visit the official website here.

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