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“The Bad Button” Bridal Underbust Corset Review

This post is a summary of the Bad Button Bridal Corset Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length This corset was a sample from Etsy, so it was not made to measure – however any corset you commission from The Bad Button will be custom fit to your measurements, so the measurements of my piece is a bit moot. But for the curious: Center front is about 11″ high, but on the sides the corset is only 9″. The silhouette is an hourglass, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are also about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Material Likely 3 main layers: fashion fabric is white bridal satin, backed onto a strength layer (The Bad Button always uses coutil for custom commission) and a sturdy white canvas-style lining.
Construction 11 panels, with an extra wide center front panel (closed front). External boning channels laid down over the seams, and floating liner. No garter tabs.
Binding Blue contrasting satin bias strips (matches the boning channels/ embellishment), hand-finished with an invisible stitch; incredibly tidy.
Waist tape White waist tape (perhaps 1/2″ or 3/4″ wide) extending through all panels of the corset – invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset.
Modesty panel No modesty panel in this sample, but if you requested one in a custom commission it can be accommodated. Closed front, so no placket needed.
Busk No busk (closed front) – instead, there are four 1/4″ wide flat steel bones keeping the center front sturdy. I call these “magic bones” because the stitching for the boning channels are not visible on the outside or inside of this corset!
Boning 18 total bones (including the four magic bones in front). Single boned on the seams with 1/4″ wide spirals, in external channels. Flat steels sandwich the grommets in back.
Grommets 22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with medium/large flange; set equidistantly – held in very well.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-faced satin in matching blue – extremely long.
Price At the time that I’m writing this, to commission this piece (or something similar) custom made for you would be $425 USD.

Final Thoughts

The Bad Button is run by a delightful and meticulous woman named Alisha in Kentucky, USA. Her careful attention to detail is nicely demonstrated in the embellishment on this bridal piece – it looks rather simple at first, but the more I studied it, the more care I realize went into this piece. It takes a lot of patience and careful measuring to keep the criss-cross ribbons perfectly symmetric, and over 100 pearls in the front were all carefully hand-stitched – additionally, the entire motif was hand-stitched onto the closed front of the corset, which also features the “magical bones” that keep the center front flat, yet do not show any channel stitching on the outside nor inside. The finishing must have taken an incredible amount of time and does not go unappreciated.

A similar bridal underbust by Alisha, finished with sage green contrast instead of blue.

I love how the grommet panel is done; there is another purely decorative “channel” of blue contrasting satin laid down before the grommets were set. The grommets have to be set perfectly aligned in order to make the back look tidy, and Alisha does an extremely good job of this. She mentions that she also uses a 2-part setting process in the grommets (hammer and press) to ensure that they are set very securely.

The ribbon laces in the back are extremely long (at least 10 meters) which are both useful for widening the back of the corset to get in and out of it (since it’s a closed front), and they would also be lovely trailing down the train of a wedding gown. But if you don’t like having such long laces, you can easily cut them shorter and seal the ends with a flame or hotknife.

If you would like to see some other creations by The Bad Button, visit the main website or Etsy store.

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What is the BEST corset for waist training / tight lacing?

This article is a summary of the following video “What is the BEST corset brand?” which you are free to watch below, skip to the text below to read the main points.

*

About half of all the emails/messages/ comments, I receive ask me the same thing:

“What is the BEST corset for waist training that I can start with?”
“What’s the cheapest amount I can go and still get a good quality corset?”
“What corset gives the BEST shape or fastest results?”

I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as the BEST corset brand. There are a few dominating OTR corset brands out there in social media including Orchard Corset [7], Isabella Corsetry [3], Timeless Trends [5] and What Katie Did [10]. The numbers beside each brand are the number of corsets I have owned from them over the past few years. I can recognize these brands at a glance, even if they are being resold by other distributors under a different name. But please bear in mind that I said these were the DOMINATING brands. These brands are popular and consistently do well in business, like the McDonalds, Walmart, and Apple of the corset world. But these aren’t the only brands, and they are not suitable for every body type and every purpose.
If you would like to know which of these are the best corset for waist training in terms of strength, curve and customer service, see my table on this page: Can I Waist Train in That Corset?
(But also know that before you buy just any one of them, you should do further research into their length, silhouette and proportions so it fits you properly!)
 
Many people approach corseting with an over simplistic view. They want fast and clear answers, as if corsetry were a black and white practice. I can understand that prospective corseters are super excited to get started, but too many skip over an important research phase, or they figure they will ‘learn as they go along’. From my observations, those who are too impatient to properly research corsetry before purchasing, also have a higher chance of being impatient in their tightlacing practice – and sooner or later, either the corset or the wearer suffers the consequences:
  • They may experience pain or injury (muscle cramps, headaches, bruising) from pushing themselves too hard
  • The corset may break prematurely due to misuse and abuse.
  • The corseter may fall off the wagon or become disenchanted with corsetry, their money and their efforts wasted, because they went into corseting with unrealistic expectations.
Please remember these words:

Corseting is not for the impatient.

 
All that said, I know how frustrating it can be to find a corset that does everything you want it to do – fits comfortably, shapes you nicely, strong and doesn’t cost and arm and a leg. It’s taken me many, many years of searching to find a corset that suits my needs, and over time I’m just getting pickier and pickier about what I want in a good training corset. This is why I started doing corset reviews: so others could learn from my past mistakes and make wiser purchases. Since everyone has a different body, it stands to reason that the same corset is not going to fit two different people the same way. For this reason, there cannot be ONE corset that is perfect for everyone. It’s not like the magic travelling pants.
Buyer's remorse also happens when you don't properly research the best corset for waist training. Do your research.
Also applies to corsetry. Do your research.
 
Several years ago, I used to recommend 1-2 brands to everyone regardless of their body type, silhouete preferences etc., because those brands are what worked for me at the time. I now regret that I did, because over time I learned that what works for me may not work for you. So if you are a beginner and you ask someone for corset recommendations, and they immediately direct you to one brand without even looking at your measurements or your use for the corset, practice caution – you don’t know if they’re affiliated with a certain company, or maybe they don’t have much experience with many different brands. Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen various corset companies hire bloggers and vloggers to push and promote their brand. On Fiverr, there are literally thousands of people willing to give fraudulent positive reviews and testimonials. I’m not saying this to scare you or make you believe that you can’t trust any brand, but I would advise that for any brand you’re looking at, get a second, third or fourth opinion if anything you hear doesn’t sit right with you. That applies to anything that I say, too. I have always said to take information with a grain of salt and do your own research.
 
But if you do value my opinion, then for those of you who remember my consultations last year, I have finally brought back the consultations. I refuse to be ‘bought’ by corset companies; all recommendations in these consults are coming from my heart. I’m much more interested in you being safe and comfortable in a corset that suits you, than running with your money. Why? Because in the long run, more happy and healthy corseters drown out the naysayers and those who believe that all corsets are the same (“painful and dangerous”). With so many different brands, cuts and styles available, clearly they are not all the same and they don’t all do the same thing. More happy corseters means less corset fearmongering.
Bottom line: There is no such thing as the “perfect corset brand” for everybody. But there very well may be a suitable corset for each.
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“True Corset” Blue Brocade Overbust Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 15″ inches long, the longest area (peak of bust to the lap) is 16″, the back is 16″ high. Very shallow/slight sweetheart bustline. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the bust is 8″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 10-11″ bigger than the waist. Recommended for people taller stature or longer waists.
Material 2 main layers: fashion fabric is royal blue brocade, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill). The internal boning channels are likely petersham ribbon.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitched between the channels, single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels. 6 garter tabs included as well.
Binding Matching blue brocade bias strips, machine stitched on the outside and inside.
Waist tape 1-inch wide black petersham, 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 5-6.
Modesty panel 5 inch wide modesty panel at the back, unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching blue brocade. Un-boned modesty placket made from black denim under the busk.
Busk 14 inches long with 6 pins (equidistantly spaced). 1/2″ wide on each side (standard width), fairly sturdy.
Boning 14 total bones not including busk. On each side there are three 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels), but no bone on the seam between panels 4-5. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. The brocade is fraying around the grommets unfortunately. However the bull denim underneath are still holding the grommets so I will watch them and see if they need replacing. A few split grommets, but doesn’t catch the back.
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 £55 in the UK or $80 in the US.

Final Thoughts

Bernie Dexter models the True Corset blue sweetheart overbust
Bernie Dexter models the True Corset blue sweetheart overbust

This overbust is designed for beginners or for those who would like something nice to wear out for a special occasion, as it has an attractive price and an un-intimidating silhouette. I would say that this corset is largely patterned for someone with a small bust/ small ribcage, long torso, and who may be slightly pear shaped as I noticed that this corset had much more room in the hips compared to the bust. I initially went with a size 24″ but I found that it nearly closed at the hips, but at the ribcage and bust I was too large for the corset. However, had I gone one size up to size 26″, although the corset would have been better in the bust and waist, it would have almost certainly been too large in the hips.

As mentioned in the table, the brocade was on the delicate side and began to fray around the grommets. The grommets haven’t pulled out completely, because the sturdy bull denim lining is currently keeping them in place – but I will keep an eye on this corset and see if there are any changes in the future. I have plans to slightly modify this overbust into an underbust in the future, as the brocade is such a beautiful weave but I don’t wear overbusts as often.

You can find the True Corset overbust on their website and also on Amazon.

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Velda Lauder Bridal Overbust Corset Study

This post is a summary of the “Velda Lauder Bridal Overbust Corset Study” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches, and the longest part from peak of the bust to the lap is 14.5 inches. It would be more suitable for a short to average length waist. Interesting sweetheart/plunge bustline, which is cut low on the side and back. I consider this on the border of modern slim/Victorian hourglass silhouette.
Material Likely 2 main layers: fashion fabric is pure white satin – the fashion layer is also the strength layer. (seems to be a thick cotton-backed satin or very-well fused piece), inside is a floating liner of a softer off-white satin.
Construction Technically 5 panel pattern (+ one bust gore in the 2nd panel). Panels assembled using a top-stitch, with grosgrain boning channels laid down under the fashion layer. Floating liner hides the work.
Binding + Embellishment Commercial white satin ribbon, with the edges not folded under. There is another ribbon with attached beadwork, stitched down under most of the top and bottom binding.
Waist tape 1.5-inch wide grosgrain tape invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset; extends across all panels.
Modesty panel 7.5 inch wide modesty panel at the back (about 5.5 inches of useable space), unstiffened, attached to one side, made with white satin.
Busk No busk, only one very thick flat steel bone running down the center front of the corset.
Boning 11 total bones. Single boned on the seams, with very wide bones (I believe 1/2″ wide) and only one supporting bone on the very back edge of the grommets. (The grommets aren’t sandwiched.)
Eyelets 20 grommets total, size #0 single-part eyelets with small to moderate flange; set equidistantly. All the eyelets have rolled nicely, but because there it no back/ supporting washer, there is some concern that an eyelet might come out with rigorous lacing of this corset.
Price I’m not completely sure what this corset was worth when it was still being sold, but I estimate that it would be close to £250 in the UK. (I bought mine for close to half that, because it was a shop/ display sample)

Final Thoughts

Velda Lauder was a well-respected corsetiere, designer, author and educator. You may have remembered when I reviewed her book nearly a year ago, which contained some interesting corset history. Ms Lauder passed away unexpectedly in March 2013; you can read the lovely tribute to her on The Lingerie Addict. After her website was pulled down, I thought I had lost the opportunity to own a piece of her design – until I stumbled across a few overbust corsets in Fairy Goth Mother’s clearance section. I was quite surprised that they were sold for about half price, as I thought the corsets’ relative rarity (now that they’re not longer in production)

The same beautiful white duchess satin curved overbust on a stunning model.

would have caused the corsets to appreciate over time. I didn’t want to pass the chance to own a piece of history.

So this video and study is more meant to be a posthumous tribute and respectful study of a part of Velda Lauder history, rather than a “product review” per se. It is still structured like a review however, if you would ever like to compare side-by-side the construction methods of Lauder’s corsets to others and appreciate the similarities and differences.

Although I must admit that this overbust is not really suited to my body type (and it breaks my heart), I still find many aspects of this corset to be lovely – and quite unique! I think this is the first time I have seen a sweetheart corset that is cut so low along the sides and back – but this allows me to maintain a relaxed posture in the corset and elongate my neck, which is a wonderful feeling (I’m used to looking/feeling like a linebacker in overbust corsets). The thick, 1/2″ wide boning under the seams for the corset were also different, as was the presence of only one bone by the eyelets and not the ‘traditional’ two. I’m sure that many people were equally surprised by the construction of this corset, but it shows that corsets can be made in a multitude of ways, and I’m finding more and more often that notable corset designers don’t play by all the “rules” of corset making! This was one of the most fascinating things about studying corsetry.

Rest in peace, Ms Lauder – thank you for leaving behind such a beautiful legacy that can be studied and appreciated for generations to come.

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True Corset “Waist Training Long Cincher” Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 13 inches long, but on the sides the corset is only 8.5 inches, which I suspect is why this corset was named the “long cincher”. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 6″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are also about 6-7″ bigger than the waist. Recommended for average/long waists.
Material Likely 3 main layers: fashion fabric is black taffeta, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill) and I’m guessing that it has a cotton interlining (the taffeta by itself would normally be too thin to contain the bones on the fashion side, but these ones are holding fast).
Construction Technically 6 panel pattern. Assembled using sandwich method, and double-boned on the seams (this is explained in further detail in the video). Also has 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Binding Matching black taffeta bias strips, machine stitched on both sides (the 2nd seam was stitched in the ditch).
Waist tape 1-inch wide black satin ribbon, through all panels of the corset – invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset.
Modesty panel 6 inch wide modesty panel at the back (about 4 inches of useable space), unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching black taffeta. No placket in the front by the busk.
Busk 12 inches long with 5 pins (the lowest two pins are closer together, which is typical). 1/2″ wide on each side.
Boning 24 total bones not including busk. (Double boned on the seams with 1/4″ spiral steel bones, and very stiff 1/4″ wide flat steel bones on either side of the grommets.
Grommets 22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. The taffeta seems to be holding up better around the grommets compared to my True Corset finished in brocade.
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 £75 in the UK or $120 in the US.

Final Thoughts

I was initially a bit confused by the name, as “long cincher” is a bit of an oxymoron to me. But I presume they mean that it is long on the front and short on the sides – nevertheless, I would say that those with a very short torso should choose a different corset style, as it may be too long in the front for you.

Bernie Dexter models the True Corset taffeta corset

 

Like I had mentioned in my review for True Corset’s Dragon Brocade cincher, this corset has a very gentle curve which is not designed for a huge amount of reduction. Unless you have quite narrow hips, I would recommend ordering a size up from what you’d usually get from an OTR corset company, because the modern-slim silhouette doesn’t accommodate a huge waist reduction. I initially went with a size 22″ but in retrospect I would have gone with a size 24″ instead, as I like my corsets to be more closed in the back. 

My taffeta underbust seems to be keeping in the grommets much more securely compared to the two brocade corsets I have from True Corset (the dragon underbust and blue overbust). This is surprising, as I’m usually used to taffeta being thinner and brocade being thicker and more hardy in other corset brands. I’m not sure if this case is due to the taffeta having a denser weave, or if it is due to the slightly different construction of their “waist training” style corsets; nevertheless they seem to be holding fast. I am going to continue keeping an eye on these grommets – but if you’re considering a True Corset underbust and you’re indifferent about the fashion fabric, I would recommend the taffeta over the brocade.

Is this a true “waist training” corset? I talk about waist training corsets in this particular video, if you’re interested.

You can find the True Corset cincher on their website and also on Amazon.

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Corsets and their Effect on Muscle Tone, Sculpting & Flexibility

Corseting obviously affects many parts of the body, some systems more obviously than others. One of the more obvious parts that corsetry affects are the underlying core muscles – almost every week, someone asks me if corsets have caused any muscle weakness or atrophy in my core. I would argue that my core has only improved its strength since beginning tightlacing, because it’s made me more conscientious about my posture and muscle tone.

Can Corsets Cause Muscle Atrophy? Can Corsets Worsen your Posture?

If you wear your corset 23 hours a day, 7 days a week (taking it off only to shower and change), it is true that you may experience muscle atrophy, especially in your oblique muscles. Those who do experience atrophy may notice that they get fatigued easily when standing unsupported by their corset for long periods of time. However, nobody has ever flopped over at the waist or snapped their spine in half, from my research. This scenario is simply not realistic.

The risk and amount of atrophy depends on how long and how tight you wear your corset. If you’re wearing your corset with more than a 4-6″ reduction, it’s more likely that the corset will encourage muscle stretching, and by extension relaxation – this is great for people who have overtense muscles who experience back cramping or spasms, but relaxation over too long a time is what can cause atrophy.

It is of my opinion that wearing your corset to the point of atrophy is not beneficial. I try to maintain moderation in my tightlacing, where I enjoy wearing corsets but I also enjoy my uncorseted time. I don’t want to feel dependent (physically or psychologically) on the corset.

Not everyone experiences atrophy, however. Some corseters have even experienced that wearing their corset at a slightly lighter reduction has helped them improve their posture at all times (even when uncorseted) through muscle memory. Further, being lightly corseted has encouraged them to keep their abdominals engaged at all times. There are small things you can do to engage your muscles while wearing your corset. While I don’t necessarily condone trying to force your muscles to flex in a corset (typically you should not have to “fight” nor “help” a well-constructed corset), I occasionally push my abdominal muscles against the front wall of the corset as an isotonic exercise, and then I try to pull my abdominals inward, away from the front wall of the corset as much as possible, with a focus on the latter exercise. Even when you’re wearing your corset, it’s still possible to engage some of those muscles, at least up to a certain reduction – so atrophy of your core muscles while wearing a corset is not absolutely true.

1870 posture corset, to keep the shoulders back and spine erect. Click through for a lovely case study by Creative Couture
1870 posture corset, to keep the shoulders back and spine erect. Click through for a lovely case study by Creative Couture
Corsets, through encouraging a consistently proper posture, may help the vertebral ligaments to adapt and support the spine to maintain erect posture at all times

In a recent SciShow talk show, Michael Aranda and Hank Green discussed spinal posture and how slouching is encouraged by the ligaments between the vertebrae stretching over time. It was also proposed that this process is eventually reversible, and by maintaining a consistently erect posture, then the ligaments may shorten again (and the muscles of the back may become accustomed to holding this position) so that one’s “neutral” posture is naturally erect and can be enjoyed effortlessly.

 However, until the day arrives that your ligaments do shorten, many people find it exhausting to hold an erect posture, or they may often forget and begin to slouch again. Wearing a corset can serve as a reminder to maintain proper posture at all times that its worn. While overbust corsets or corsets with shoulder straps help to also keep your shoulders back, even wearing a normal underbust can help correct posture in the lumbar and low-thoracic area, and may help to set up the proper “stacking” of the rest of your vertebrae. By keeping your spine in this position, the ligaments may eventually shorten, whether or not your core muscles are engaged. Of course, if you do want to consistently use more of your own core muscles, you can simply wear your corset at a relatively light reduction, using it just as a rigid reminder to maintain proper posture but you’re depend more on yourself.

 

Does muscle tone impede your waist training progress?

Many people avoid exercising their core muscles because they believe that muscle is less compressible than fat (technically true), that well-toned muscles become larger over time (not necessarily), and therefore it will be more difficult to achieve their corseting goals (not necessarily). But in my opinion, this idea is not so simple.

The functional part of your muscles are called sarcomeres, which are contained inside the myofibrils, inside the muscle cells (myocytes). These are the fibers which are responsible for contraction. Surrounding your sarcomeres is the sarcoplasm, which is rich with glycogen, nutrients, and proteins like myoglobin that brings oxygen to the muscle cells.

There are two elements to muscle growth (hypertrophy): sarcomere hypertrophy, which increases muscle density, tone and strength but not so much size. This is why some people are little but mighty. Then there’s sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which makes the muscle bigger and puffier by increasing glycogen stores around the fibers, but this doesn’t directly affect the strength of the muscle.

Exercising your core can increase the size of the muscles, but most women don’t have to worry about this (there’s a genetic predisposition). But if you’re concerned about this, it’s worth researching ways to increase muscle tone without changing their size too much. I didn’t study exercise science in-depth but there are hundreds of forums that go into more detail about this – I personally just stick with the exercises I mention in the next section. (Click through the “read more” tab if you’re on the main site page)

  Continue reading Corsets and their Effect on Muscle Tone, Sculpting & Flexibility

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Interview with Mina LaFleur of L’Atelier de LaFleur!

Last week, I travelled to Toronto to visit with Mina LaFleur, Canada’s Burlesque sweetheart/ pin-up model, and corsetiere of L’Atelier de LaFleur! She kindly agreed to an interview for my channel, and I asked her a bit about her past notable work (including her experience as a costume maker for Cirque du Soleil!) and she also shares some tips and advice for budding corsetieres.

Use the following time frame to jump to your question of interest:

0:30 What came first, the Burlesque career or the sewing career?
1:30 Mina’s experience making costumes for Cirque du Soleil and Thierry Mugler
5:45 Mina’s reflections as a former judge on reality TV show “ReVamped”
7:50 How Mina’s work stands out as a corsetiere
10:25 What equipment and tools Mina uses in her work
12:05 Mina’s advice for budding corset makers

Huge thanks to Mina for allowing me to come to her studio, try on her corsets, and agreeing to the interview!