Category Archive: Corset Reviews

Review of “Oriental Princess” Ensemble – Serinde Corsets

This post is a summary of the “Serindë “Oriental Princess” Corset Outfit review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 10 inches long, the shortest part of the corset at the side seam is 7.5 inches (cut very high over the hip), and the enter back is also 11.5 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 24″, ribcage 26″ (measured about 3 inches above the waist), high hip 32″. The silhouette is very mild in silhouette; gently curved in the waist.
Material Fashion fabric is red brocade, the strength layer is coutil, and the lining is a lightweight black cotton.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Fashion fabric and strength fabric were flatlined, panels assembled with a top-stich, and it’s double-boned on the seams. Floating liner.
Binding Red taffeta which matches the rest of the ensemble (halter and skirt), machine stitched on outside and hand-finished inside. Gold-tone beads and coins also attached by hand every inch or so around the top and bottom edges.
Waist tape 1 inch wide twill waist tape, invisibly stitched between the layers.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (red brocade and black lining). Stiffened with 2 steel bones (criss-crossed on the panel) and suspended on the laces. There is also a 1/2″ wide modesty placket in the front by the busk.
Busk 9 inches long with 5 pins, last two closer together. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). Finished in a gold-tone.
Boning 26 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/4″ flat steel by the busk on each side, making a total of 13 bones on each side.
Grommets Size 5mm Prym eyelets (very good 2-part eyelets and washers) with medium flange, finished in gold to match the rest of the hardware. Set a little closer at the waistline for ease of cinching. They’ve all rolled nicely.
Laces 1/2″ red double faced satin ribbon. Zero spring. They glide well through the laces.
"Oriental Princess" ensemble made by Serinde Corsets. Modelled by myself (Lucia Corsetti), photo by Remedy Photography.

“Oriental Princess” ensemble made by Serinde Corsets. Modelled by myself (Lucia Corsetti), photo by Remedy Photography.

If memory serves correctly, this is the first time that I’m reviewing an entire outfit / ensemble, as opposed to simply a corset – I’m very fortunate that this fit well enough to review even though it wasn’t made to my measurements. This outfit was originally called “The Oriental Princess” by Serinde Corsets.

The halter is directly sewn onto the top edge of the corset, and they can be adjusted with ties in the back of the neck. There is enough curve to conceivably give enough room for even quite large cup sizes, but it can also be pulled very tightly to fit smaller cups.

The mermaid skirt is also in a matching taffeta-texture fabric, with hand-sewn gold beads set approximately knee-level. This skirt is unfortunately just a little short for me, as it was made for a model a bit shorter than I am, but if I wear the outfit in flat slippers it’s not too noticeable. The back of the skirt is a little longer than the front – not a train per se, but it flares out beautifully behind me when worn. 

Lastly, the lace shawl was ingeniously created from a simple tube of lace fabric, and again gold-tone beads were fastened on the edge of the “sleeves” and scattered throughout as well.

Serinde is currently on hiatus from commissions, but you can visit her Facebook fanpage here.

Dark Garden Cincher Review

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

 

Fit, length Center front is 11 inches long, the side-front (princess seam) is 9.5 inches, the side seam is 9 inches, and the enter back is also 12 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, ribcage 28″ (measured about 4 inches above the waist), high hip 32″ (measured about 5 inches below the waist). Gives an hourglass silhouette; a very slightly rounded ribcage and moderate curve.
Material Fashion fabric is silk/rayon brocade with a black diamond motif, 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 Bias strips of matching black diamond brocade, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible on the outside. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 0.75 inch wide black cotton 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 (black diamond brocade) 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 10.5 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.
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 28 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 $365 if you want an identical style to this (with black diamond brocade).
Cincher: Dark Garden. Photo: Remedy Photography. Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry)

Cincher: Dark Garden. Photo: Remedy Photography. Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry)

This is the second of four reviews of Dark Garden’s ready-to-wear signature corset line, including the Corselette, the classic Valentine and the Risqué Valentine

While I normally categorize a “cincher” as being a shorter underbust corset (8″ or less on the side seam), this cincher fits average length torsos very well and extends down 5″ below the waist. The thing that I noticed about this corset in particular is how incredibly quickly it seasoned to my body and how comfortable it is. As this was a sample and I didn’t know which fashion fabrics to expect, I was really pleasantly surprised with the black diamond brocade – it looked polished and professional, and it would have been easy to add this to a business suit. I did a photo shoot on the hottest day in June with this corset, and found that this cincher was surprisingly more cool and breathable than I had anticipated.

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 Cincher can be viewed on Dark Garden’s website HERE.

Roberto Cavalli Waistcoat Corset

This post is a summary of the “Roberto Cavalli Corset-Style Vest/ Waistcoat” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 9.5 inches long, the side seam is 11 inches (from the armscye to the hip), and the center back is 19 inches from the collar to the bottom. Circumferential measurements: waist is 26″, full bust is 32″, high hip is also 32″. The silhouette is modern slim – not made for tightlacing or waist training.
Material Fashion fabric is a dusty blush colored wool/viscose blend, and the lining and back panels are 100% silk.
Construction 12 panel pattern. The panels were cut to look like a ribbon cincher on the fashion layer. The floating lining is more simple and streamlined.
Binding None. The garment was sewn right-sides together, flipped right-side out, and the lower seam was hand-finished and pressed so the seam is hidden.
Waist tape None (didn’t expect to find one as it’s not a genuine corset, and also ribbon cinchers tend not to have waist tapes in general).
Modesty panel None. The exposed gap in the back allows heat and perspiration to escape, like the vents in other garments.
Busk 9 inches long with 5 pins, the last two of which are closer together. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side).
Boning 10 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, all plastic / acrylic. Three bones on each side panel, and two more 1/4″ wide bones sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 24 grommets total – very tiny (size #X00) 2-part eyelets with very narrow flange, finished in gold 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 teeny as well, but they do their job.
Laces 1/4″ pale pink flat polyester shoelace. Zero spring. The garment game laced with the bow at the bottom as opposed to at the waistline.

Kristin Chenoweth in Roberto Cavalli at the 2014 Oscars

 

 

 

I fully admit that I’m a bit of a Cavalli fan, even though this is the first designer piece I’ve ever owned. I found this garment on Ebay whilst 2nd-hand corset hunting, and after many months of contemplation, decided it would be worth checking out – because of the circumstances, I haven’t been able to track down the year / season of this piece or the retail value. But if this is a genuine Cavalli, then going by the price of his current designs, I would say that I got a decent deal on this.

Jennifer Lopez in Roberto Cavalli at the AMFAR in 2011.

 

 

 

 

Although this waistcoat is not a genuine corset per se, it has some interesting “corsetty” aspects (the ribbon cincher panelling, the front busk, the back laces) so I thought it would be interesting to compare this piece (which is the product of a mainstream fashion designer) and see how it measures up in the context of my normal corset reviews.

It is actually well-constructed with lovely muted fabrics and surprisingly strong despite the tiny eyelets and the lack of a true strength fabric, and the sparingly-used acrylic boning kept the lines smooth, so I was pleasantly surprised. 

My one mild annoyance was at the faux pockets actually, as I prefer not to carry around handbags and would love to see more women’s clothing with useable pockets – but I can understand how having functional pockets on such a small and fitted garment might ruin the silhouette or stretch out the lining. But all in all, I’m pleased with this garment and will be keeping it in my wardrobe as a fun accessory and a nod to corsetry.

Dark Garden Corselette Review

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

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.

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