Tag Archive: isabella corsetry

Isabella Corsetry Victorian Underbust Review

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.

Where to buy Conical Corsets for Training the Ribs

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Christian Dior’s “New Look” (1947) required a tight wasp waist with a preferably conical ribcage.

Rather than an hourglass silhouette, some people prefer their corsets to give them a more conical, tapered ribcage like what was so popular around the 1950’s New Look era. A human’s floating ribs (the 11th and 12th ribs) often have flexible joints, and they’re designed to swing in and out like a hinge with each breath you take. It is also possible for some individuals to train their ribs to be pushed inward, so they have a slightly tapered ribcage with or without the corset on.  There are arguably over 100 different makers who can cater to the conical ribcage to give that 50’s “wasp waist” look, but I will just show some of my personal favourites, and some particularly impressive corsets that I’ve found to give this shape.

As mentioned before, different ‘schools’ of corsetry have different definitions for silhouettes. I was first introduced to this style as the “wasp waist” silhouette, as rib shaping is often more demanding to wear compared to more rounded hourglass silhouettes. Others may call this the conical silhouette, or the ice-cream cone silhouette – so when purchasing a corset, do clarify what kind of silhouette you’re looking for.

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Where to buy waist cincher corsets for under $200

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Please note that this article may be outdated! To be sure that you are getting the most up-to-date selection, see the permanent page for curvy cinchers and waspies under $200.

Waist cinchers are short corsets, usually cut high over the hip and in some cases stop a couple inches below the underbust line. I usually measure cinchers by the height of the side seam – if it’s 8″ or less on the side, it may fall into the “cincher” range, and most cinchers are 6-7″ high (although I have seen cinchers or ‘waspies’ as short as 4″ on the side!).

Those with shorter waists (or who are short of stature) may wear a cincher and have it fit like a full-length corset, so petite women can save money on waist training by purchasing a made-to-measure cincher, so it fits her body perfectly. A cincher can also accentuate outfits as a wide belt on those with longer waists. There is one caveat though; many companies don’t make cinchers in larger sizes as they don’t provide any support for soft and low-hanging tummies. The following corsetieres and businesses deliver curves in a teeny package.

Orchard Corset CS-301, starts at $65

Orchard Corset has taken the OTR corset industry by storm due to their curviness and affordability. Their CS-301 waspie (mini-corset) has a front length of 8″ and a size length of 7″ and is offered in sizes 16″ up to 46″ (they recommend natural waists up to 54″). Be sure to use the code CORSETLUCY15 to save 15% off any purchase for an even better deal.

Isabella Corsetry Octopus classic cincher, $180

Isabella Corsetry offers incredibly curvy ready-to-wear cinchers made in the USA. She offers novelty prints, like the Octopus Classic Cincher above, or more conventional designs like floral and pinstripe in sizes up to 36″ (for waists up to 41″). Isabella holds constant sales where you can sometimes catch cinchers for as low as $95.

Aranea Black made-to-measure waspie cincher, $150

Aranea Black is a one-woman corset company in Croatia whose creations are underrated. She offers this curvy made-to-measure waspie/ cincher for only $150 on Etsy, made with closed front and your choice of coutil, spot broche or floral broche.

SnowBlack Corsets made-to-measure raw silk cincher, $170

SnowBlack Corsets is another underrated corsetiere, although Marta’s designs have been featured many times in Polish alt fashion magazines. She offers custom-fit cinchers with a maximum side length of 18cm (7″), finished in raw silk for only $170.

Morgana Femme Couture MF1329 cincher, £95

Morgana Femme Couture makes a beautiful and simple made-to-order silk dupion cincher for £95 (about $150). It’s only 6″ on the side seam and is offered in 19 different colours of silk. The only caveat is that they’re only offered in sizes 18-24 (they recommend up to 28″ waist).

Meschantes Corsetry Mischief waist cincher, $160

Meschantes Corsetry offers two shorter-style corsets, both made-to-measure: the Mischief corset (shown above) or the Etoile corset which is more pointed. These corsets start at $160, but if you check their Etsy shop, they often have ready-to-wear Etoile cinchers for as low as $99.

Sugarkitty Corsets Waspie, $164.

Sugarkitty Corsets offers the tiniest waist cincher I’ve ever seen. The front and back of the corset are around 7″ high, and the side seams are incredibly short (likely 4-5 inches). It’s still made curvy to nip in the waist and is offered in standard sizes up to 32″ (natural waists up to 36″). Please note that Sugarkitty is only offering custom corsets up till the end of 2013.

Heavenly Corsets Bébé cincher, £120

Heavenly Corsets‘ newest addition is the Bébé corset, which is less than 7″ high. For £120 (about $190) it is made-to-measure, and Elle guarantees that it will hold up to even 23/7 tightlacing/ waist training. Elle recommends a maximum natural waist of 32″ for this corset.

If you can stretch your budget a bit more…

Pop Antique Bombshell buskless waspie, $205

Pop Antique‘s Bombshell waspie is so close to $200 that it may as well be up in the other section! Marianne’s super curvy and fun waspie for $205 is standard-sized but will fit most figures like it was made-to-measure. It’s sure to liven any outfit, and can be upgraded with a front closure for $50.

Madame Sher mesh ribbon-style cincher, $220

Madame Sher mesh ribbon-style cincher, $220

Madame Sher offers this breezy mesh cincher for a cool $220. This custom-fit cincher is perfect for summer days and hot climates, and with a side seam of a bit over 8″, it should fit most body types. As Madame Sher’s corsets are made-to-measure, the range of sizes is unknown.

What Katie Did Baby corset, £130

Where would we be without WKD? I wouldn’t feel right not mentioning What Katie Did‘s Baby corset, even though it’s a little over the $200 budget. At only 7″ high and boasting at least 10″ hip spring, this is the curviest of OTR cinchers (it’s patterned from their famous Morticia underbust!). It’s made up to size 34″ (may fit natural waists up to ~40″).

*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.

Ready-to-wear corsets made in the US and UK

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Many of my readers wish to start with an affordable OTR corset, but they may feel moral or economical obligations to purchase from the US or UK, as working conditions are generally better regulated here than in developing countries. For conscientious corset shoppers, the following list features some well-known corset manufacturers or businesses that have at one point or another stated that their corsets are produced locally and are highly likely to employ corsetieres under fair working conditions.

UK Corset Businesses:

Axfords C210 ribbon underbust corset, £95

Axfords Corsets is one of the UK’s oldest corset companies, having been in business since 1880. Their standard-sized corsets are made by a team of corsetieres in their facility in Brighton England, but they still have a competitive edge on the industry due to their reasonable prices. Axfords also sells some men’s corsets that still maintain a masculine physique.

Vollers Paradise overbust (1808) in white satin and lace, £295

Vollers: The Corset Company has been around since 1899 and also employs corsetieres in Portsmouth, England. Their corsets are usually standard-sized but they do offer a made-to-measure service for a markup. As of July 2013, they have also established a lifetime guarantee on all of their corsets.

Morgana Femme Couture MF1323, starts at £310

Morgana Femme Couture is a relatively recent corset manufacturer, but they have made a huge impact on the corset industry with their affordable prices for custom couture pieces. All of their corsets are made in their UK atelier, including their ready-to-wear, standard-sized pieces available from their Etsy shop.

US Corset Businesses:

Romantasy Custom Fundamentals line: Victorian underbust by Jill Hoverman, $285

Romantasy Exquisite Corsetry has been in business since 1990, and the president, Ann Grogan, is one of the world’s most respected modern corset mentors and educators. Romantasy offers both in-stock corsets and custom corsets, standard-sized or made to measure, and every corset is quality-checked and wrapped by Ann herself. The Romantasy corsetiere team proudly featured notables such as Michael Garrod (True Grace Corsets) and Ruth Johnson (BR Creations), and Romantasy continues to employ talented corsetieres in the US today.

Versatile Corsets Valerian overbust, $438

Versatile Corsets had its beginnings in “Versatile Fashions by Ms Antoinette” in the 1990’s. After the company had switched hands to Cameo Designs some years ago, their quality has only improved and have dressed performers like Mosh, Ru Paul and Dita Von Teese. Versatile’s corsetieres have always been based in California, USA, and have over 20 years corset-making experience. They offer both standard-sized and made-to-measure corsets, and carry a small stock of ready-to-wear pieces.

Meschantes Thunder overbust, starts at $255

Meschantes Corsetry was established in 2000, and makes their corsets in their North Carolina studio in the USA. The business offers custom-fit corsets in 21 different styles and literally hundreds of fabrics, and they also offer deals on their RTW corsets in their Etsy shop.

Period Corsets Victorian reenactment corset, $725

Period Corsets employs a team of corset makers based in Seattle to make some of the most gorgeous historically-accurate corsets I’ve ever seen, basing their pieces off genuine vintage patterns. They have made some modern/contemporary corsets for the likes of Madonna, Fergie and the base corsets in Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and they are also regularly employed by opera houses – but they also offer standard-sized and custom-fit corsets from 16th to 20th centuries on their regular site and their Etsy shop.

Isabella Corsetry Edwardian overbust (immediate line), $199

As of the last several years, Isabella Corsetry‘s pieces have been hand made in California. Isabella is ‘home’ to the famous Josephine underbust, which is said to be the curviest of OTR corsets (having the largest hip spring I know of) and is also strong enough to stand up to daily wear. The business offers ready-to-wear corsets in a variety of colors and styles, and also accommodates custom/ made-to-measure orders.

Dark Garden Risqué Sweetheart overbust with lace, $505

Dark Garden Corsetry & Couture was created in 1989 by Autumn Adamme, and like Ms Grogan she also employs a team of talented corsetieres in California, having included respected designers like Anachronism in Action and Pop Antique. Dark Garden offers corsets for men and women alike and accommodate both ready-to-wear and custom-fit pieces, promoted by celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Kelly Osbourne.

*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.

The Corset Gap: What does it mean?

This entry is a summary of the review video “Shape of your Corset Gap – What does it mean?” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 Shape/ meaning

Brands to avoid for your body type

Brands to consider for your body type

A shape

The A Shape

The A shape

This means that your hips are too wide for this corset pattern. This type of gap is common for women who are naturally a pear shape. Do NOT try to force the hips smaller because then you may get an odd bump at the lower edge of the corset, and it can also make your hips go numb.

Avoid any corsets that say “modern slim” silhouette or “gentle curves.” This may include any of the “Level 1” corsets from Orchard Corset, or the underbust corsets from Corsets-UK. For those who have a larger hipspring, look for corsets for vintage figures: What Katie Did or Isabella Corsetry are good choices. They have a hipspring of more than 12-14 inches.

V shape

The V shape

The V shape

This means that your ribcage or shoulders are too broad or fleshy for the corset. While it is possible to train down your ribcage, it’s unlikely that you can train it right from the very top edge.  This often occurs in swimmers or in men who wear women’s corsets.

Corsets that have a relatively narrow ribcage, which include some WKD underbusts. For standard corsets with a larger ribcage, try Timeless Trends and the CS-426 from Orchard Corset.

() shape

The () shape

The () shape

This is when you have gaping at the waist – the bones in the back are either too flexible, or the waist is too small than you’re ready for. This CAN ruin the corset because it’s forcing the bones to twist in their channels. It can even make the bones kink outward or inward into your back, which is quite uncomfortable.

Avoid corset patterns that are curvier than you are ready for. If you have a very “unyielding” figure, you may have to train down before buying corsets like WKD or Isabella.  I’d recommend you start with a larger corset size, or go for a corset that makes more gentle/ natural hourglass or slim silhouettes like Timeless Trends.

)( shape

The )( shape

The )( shape

This is when your body is more of an hourglass shape than the corset itself! The corset doesn’t have enough curve in it. BEWARE of this common trick on websites! They will use models who are naturally quite curvy and this will make their corsets curvier. A corset that is modelled with a gap like this in the back will likely look more tubular when it’s laced straight.

Avoid any corsets that say “modern slim” silhouette or “gentle curves.” This may include any of the “Level 1” corsets from Orchard Corset, the underbust corsets from Corsets-UK. Try What Katie Did Morticia corset, the Curvy Girl corset from Azrael’s Accomplice, or several options available from Isabella Corsetry or Ms Martha’s corset shop.


Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 2.33.47 AM

The // shape

A diagonal but fairly parallel gap means that the corset fits your ribcage, waist and hips reasonably well but it is twisting on the body. There are several reasons why this may be happening: 1. If the corset is made with twill and all of the panels have the twill running in the same direction. Twill, while strong, has an asymmetric weave so stretches more on one bias than another. To test if your corset has stretched differently on either side, measure the ½ circumference on each side of your corset at ribcage, waist and hips. See if both sides are equal. 2. It may just have been how you put the corset on that day! Always lace in front of a mirror to avoid tying it skewed. If you notice your corset is twisted, take it off immediately and put it on again straight. It is possible for a corset to season into a permanent twisted shape! 3. It may not be the corset, but rather your body that is asymmetric. If you have any of the following then this can make a symmetric corset look asymmetric:

  • scoliosis
  • a previously broken rib
  • one leg longer than the other
  • some other skeletal or muscular asymmetry
In the first situation, I recommend not buying corsets made with twill – or if they are made with twill, make sure the corsetiere is experienced enough to sew it perfectly on grain, and to flip every other panel so that the bias of all panels don’t run in the same direction.Also, as bad as it sounds, avoid “risky investments.” Ensure that your corsetiere is scrutinous about making each half of the corset the same way, and to specification (whether symmetric or asymmetric). In the last situation (physical asymmetry), I strongly suggest finding an experienced corsetiere who can fit you with an asymmetric corset, which will then end up looking symmetric on you!


This is the coveted vertical parallel gap! Some people prefer to have no space in the back, while others like about 2 inches of space so the back edges don’t touch the spine. Either way, your corset fits you well. Congratulations!

 Make sure that your corset is not too big for you; when the corset is closed there shouldn’t be any significant gaping between your ribcage and the top edge of the corset, or your hips and the bottom edge of your corset.  You’re very lucky, my friend! If  You’ve found an off-the-rack corset that fits you nearly as well as a custom corset. If it makes you look good and feel good, then take it and run!

Final Thoughts: Many people have no problem with the shape of their corset gap (after all, the wearer doesn’t have to see it!). If this is you, then continue rocking your corset just the way you like it. However if you, like me, are a little more conscientious about achieving the vertical parallel lines of a well-fit corset, I hope these suggestions can help you choose a better off-the-rack corset for next time – and if all else fails, go custom! If you enjoyed this article, or even if you need clarification, you may also like my “Addendum to Corset Gaps: Troubleshooting More Fitting Issues

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