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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!

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Orchard Corset CS-511 Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset CS-511 Overbust Review”. If you want visual close-ups, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 15″, the longest part from peak of the bust to lap is just under 16″.  Gentle sweetheart neckline, and slightly longline in the hips. This is a Level 3 silhouette, which is their curviest silhouette – so the bust is 8″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 10-11″ bigger than the waist.
Material 3 main layers – the outer fashion fabric (which may be brocade, satin etc as I have two different types in this review), flatlined to a sturdy cotton interlining, which is then treated as one layer, and also lined in twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Constructed with a slightly modified sandwich technique and double boned on the seams, just like the CS-411 and CS-426 style corsets.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from commercial black satin bias strips if the corset is made from a heavier brocade, OR made with matching colored satin if the overbust is finished in a satin fashion layer. Binding is machine stitched on both sides. There are also 6 garter tabs, 3 on each side.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers. I did not check to see if there was glue used in this one (see my CS-426 review if you want to know more about that particular corset).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of a layer of black satin and a layer of twill if you have a brocade or tartan corset, but if you buy the blue satin CS-511, then it will be in matching blue satin. Panel is 5.5” wide (~4″ usable space) and attached to one side with a line of stitching. The old stock didn’t have a modesty placket by the busk, but the new stock does.
Busk Busk is 1/2″ wide on each side and 13” long, with 6 pins (the bottom two pins are slightly closer together, as is normal). It is fairly sturdy; less bendy than some other 1/2″ busks I’ve had.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset. On each side, 8 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide (double boned on the seams, except for between panels 5-6) and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24 2-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side), with a small flange, spaced equidistantly. On the underside of the old stock corsets, every grommet is split and quite scratchy. On the new stock corsets, the grommets have rolled smoothly, they don’t tarnish and don’t catch on the laces.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, but also rather springy. However, Orchard has some higher quality laces (in several colours) available on their website – I very much prefer their ribbon laces to the standard shoelace style laces.
Price Currently $79 USD on Orchard Corset’s website.

Final Thoughts:

It was an interesting venture to compare the old stock Orchard Corset pieces to the new stock. Of all the corset companies that I have dealt with, Orchard seems to be the most responsive to the requests of their clientele and eager to improve their designs, which is appreciated. The main changes to the corsets include the satin having matching modesty panels (not just black satin like in the brocade or Tartan pieces), better quality grommets that don’t tarnish or split as much, and the modesty placket by the knob side of the busk. I believe that their prices have dropped over time as well.

If I could choose only one colour or fabric of the CS-511, I would prefer the tartan more than satin – the sturdy and coarse weave of the tartan makes the corset look less wrinkly, and it’s also more resistant to abrasion and pulls, and feels more heavy weight and sturdy. The stripes in the tartan also match up fairly well – all this makes me a bit sad that this style is now on clearance (but that means that it’s only $59 at the moment, and I’m interested to see what new styles Orchard may bring in the future).

This corset also received 4 stars out of 4 on the Bust Test, as the bustline came up high enough on my chest to hold me in during activity. The pattern around the bust is very gently cupped (meaning it comes up and over the breast, not just pushes everything upward but it contains the bust) so I felt comfortable jumping, shrugging my shoulders, raising my arms and leaning over without feeling like I’m going to pop out.

Orchard Corset has graciously provided my viewers and readers with a non-expiring coupon code – enter CORSETLUCY to receive a 10% discount on your purchase. This corset and the other styles I’ve reviewed (including the CS-411 and the CS-426 underbusts) are available on the Orchard Corset website.

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“Waist Cinchers” VS Corsets: Which Should You Start With?

Elastic latex/rubber waist cincher or faja
Elastic latex/rubber waist cincher or faja

In the past month or so, I’ve received the same question from over a dozen people: “Should I start with a waist cincher before buying a corset?”

This causes a lot of confusion, because two different markets are both referring to two completely different garments as “waist cinchers”. Within the corsetry community, “waist cinchers” are still genuine corsets – but simply shorter than a full underbust corset. Essentially, what I consider a cincher is simply a particularly short underbust corset.

However, within a certain market, it seems that “waist cincher” has become synonymous with latex/rubber elastic fajas that only reduce your waist 1-2 inches, and are designed to not let your skin breathe, overheat your body and make you sweat to reduce water retention. Below the video break, I’ve made a comparison chart between a genuine corset “waist cincher”, the other elastic “waist cincher”, and a full underbust corset:

Elastic “waist cincher” Corset “waist cincher” Full underbust corset
Length/height is irrelevant to its definition. May be 6-8″ long on the side seam. Doesn’t come right up to underbust, and stops short on the hips. May be 9″ or more on the side seam. Comes right up to underbust, and may be short hip or longline.
Very few bones, often plastic. Wrinkles at the waistline. Fair number of steel bones. Should not wrinkle. Fair number of steel bones. Should not wrinkle.
Stretchy, unbreathable panels made from latex/rubber. 100% cotton strength layer, breathable and not stretchy. 100% cotton strength layer, breathable and not stretchy.
Fastens with hook and eye tape (not as strong) Fastens with a steel busk Fastens with a steel busk
No laces in the back. Ties up with laces. Ties up with laces.
Gives perhaps 2″ waist reduction Can give 6-8″+ waist reduction Can give 6-8″+ waist reduction

The Grey Area

Corset waist cincher (genuine corset, but shorter than an underbust)
Corset waist cincher (genuine corset, but shorter than an underbust)

It’s important to note that calling a corset a “cincher” vs “underbust” depends on the person, whether you are the corsetiere or the client. A short corset that is advertised as a “cincher” by a certain brand, may fit like a full underbust corset on a client with a particularly short torso. Corsets that are between 8″ – 10″ on the side seam I often consider to be a grey area, because depending on your height and torso length, it may fit either like a cincher or a full underbust corset.

Who can wear corset cinchers?

I recommend corset cinchers to people who are short of stature or who have a short torso (because full underbust corsets on the market are often too long, which pushes up the breasts unnaturally and/or may dig into the lap when sitting down). Someone of average to longer waist may also enjoy a cincher because it provides more mobility and less rib contouring than a full underbust.

Which companies sell genuine Corset Cinchers?

I’m glad you asked! I have a whole gallery dedicated to Cinchers for $200 or Less.

Are Latex/ Rubber Cinchers good to start with, to get me used to corsets later?

Truthfully, I think a latex cincher and a genuine corset feel totally different. The few weak bones in the latex cincher don’t support it enough, and if they are plastic then they can warp and poke into me. The fabrics ends up wrinkling and bunching into rolls, making my figure look worse. I also find the non-breathable, sweaty, grippy, itchy fabric almost unbearable. Although a genuine corset is more rigid and can be bulkier with more layers, I find it more breathable, more comfortable and much more effective at giving a dramatic waist reduction. If you’re looking for a starter corset to test out tightlacing, go for a corset cincher that doesn’t come up as high on the ribcage. This will allow the ribcage to expand more freely, will give you more mobility, and may be able to hide under your clothing more easily compared with a full underbust or an overbust corset.

Full underbust corset. Longer than a cincher corset.

Which is more cost-effective, a Latex Cincher or a Corset Cincher?

Many people buy a latex cincher because it seems to be a cheaper/smaller investment (around $40 for some brands, as opposed to $75-$100 for an entry-level corset). But even a not-so-great OTR corset may still give you useful experience in corseting, and can help you reach a 4″ reduction in your waist, even if it falls apart within a month or two. By contrast, a latex cincher may cost less but also won’t give you as much waist training progress, won’t give you useful experience to see if you want to continue waist training, and will also not last forever, as latex can stretch out and dry-rot over time.

You really hate rubber cinchers, huh?

They might suit some people. If you want to keep a small waist reduction at night but you’re claustrophobic about sleeping in a genuine corset, then an elastic cincher may be a better option. Likewise, you’re not supposed to exercise in a genuine corset, so perhaps wearing a latex cincher would be better then (only if you insist on wearing one for exercise; I don’t). But if you are genuinely interested in tightlacing or waist training, I would encourage you to save your money and buy a worthwhile authentic corset.

 

 

 

*Now that you know to start with a corset cincher, check out my buying guide for curvy cinchers for under $200.

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“True Corset” Dragon Brocade Cincher Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 9″ inches long, as well as the sides and back because they are all cut to be the same height. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 7″ bigger than the waist. 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.
Material 2 main layers: fashion fabric is red and gold on black dragon brocade, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill). The internal boning channels are likely petersham ribbon.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Top-stitched between the channels, single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon, not folded under. Machine stitched on the outside and inside.
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.
Modesty panel 5.5 inch wide modesty panel at the back, unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching dragon brocade. Un-boned modesty placket made from black denim under the busk.
Busk 8.5 inches long with 5 pins (equidistantly spaced). Fairly stiff, just short of 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 10 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 20 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 £40 in the UK or $60 in the US.

Final Thoughts

This cincher is designed for beginners, as it has an attractive price and an un-intimidating silhouette. Unless you have quite narrow hips, I would now recommend ordering a size up from what you’d usually get (or what would usually be recommended to you) 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.

I had originally requested this piece in black taffeta but I was sent the dragon brocade instead. I notified the True Corset company by email, even if it only resulted in them fixing the number of corsets in their stock. They were quite gracious and acted quickly to fix the mistake. Although I ended up keeping this piece in the end (shipping things over the US/Canada border is expensive), I appreciate that True Corset had such responsible customer service.

Unfortunately, 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. In a later post I will show how the taffeta underbust by True Corset seems to hold the grommets in a little better. I’m not sure if this 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 – but if you’re considering this piece and are truly indifferent about the fashion fabric, I would recommend the taffeta instead of the brocade.

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

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(Small) Gallery for Designer Users!

Gentle readers!

Click here to go to the gallery!
Click here to go to the gallery!

Thank you for your overwhelmingly positive response to the Corset Designer Doll program launched last week! It warms my heart to be part of something that can be used and enjoyed again and again. I know that Jason and Christine are both very pleased with the feedback as well.

The only issue seems to be one ISP in Australia that doesn’t bring up the updated version of the website. After talking with a few others, this unfortunately seems to be out of our hands until the provider decides to update their records. Most likely those having trouble accessing the designer game won’t see this post either. :\

Onto the meat of the post: while some people are busy bringing their visions to life, some other users may be lacking in inspiration. I’ve put up a gallery of corset styles for you to check out – a few are my own samples, but most of them are made by users like you! Each picture links back to that style on the designer page so you can request that exact style yourself, or use it as a starting point for your own creation.

Feel free to submit your creations by emailing the unique URL of your design (or using the “Request Quote” tool) and you might see your design up on the user gallery. Be sure to include your first name or nickname so you can be given proper credit for your creation!

 

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Madame Sher Mesh underbust corset Review

This post is a summary of the Madame Sher black mesh cincher Review, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Front is about 11 inches long, from the shortest part (close to the side seam) is 8.5 inches long. The top and bottom edges in front and back are slightly pointed, as many ribbon cincher styles seem to be. I consider this a “modern” hourglass shape (cupped ribs and cupped hips) although some may consider it a wasp waist silhouette. I submitted my measurements to Madame Sher, so this corset was custom made for my figure.
Material 1 main layer: it’s mostly a black soft mesh, which feels like cotton (it feels similar to cross-stich canvas). It has a small amount of stretch, but still strong. Vertical panels (in front, side and back) is black cotton twill.
Construction 13 literal panels, but technically you can consider it a 5 panel pattern. The horizontal “ribbon” panels are assembled with a flat-felled seam, then are sandwiched between the twill vertical panels (which are also double-stitched).
Binding Black binding made from bias strips of matching black twill. Machine stitched on outside and inside (Madame Sher mentions that it’s stronger this way).
Waist tape Most ribbon cinchers don’t incorporate a waist tape usually, but the center “ribbon” panels closest to the waist are also lined in black twill, which helps reinforce this area. Although it might stretch a little bit, the corset itself still gives me a great silhouette.
Modesty panel Interesting modesty panel – fully boned (the bones going vertically) and covered in black twill. My corset came with 2 panels (one was 6″ wide, one was 8″ wide) and they are removable/ interchangeable using small ribbons and grommets. Also, this has an unstiffened modesty placket under the busk.
Busk Sturdy special busk, about 3/4″ wide about 10.5″ long (5 pins). The busk is cut on an angle, and te binding is sewn only a couple of millimeters away from the end of the busk! Madame Sher commissions a local jeweller to make her busks, which are easily recognisable from the square loops!
Boning 8 total bones not including busk. On each side there are two 1/2″ wide heavy spiral steel bones. On the back by the grommets there are two pairs  On each side they are double boned on the seams (1/4″ wide), 2 sturdier flat-steel bones sandwiching the grommets which are closer to 1/4″ wide.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets, but many splits. However they don’t seem to catch on the laces much.
Laces Very thin (less than 1/8″ wide) nylon rat-tail laces, very strong, glides through the grommets quite well.
Price At the time that I’m writing, it is $220 USD on Madame Sher’s website in the Tight Comfort section.

Final Thoughts:

I adore this corset. It is one of my least expensive custom fit corsets that I own, yet it is one of the most comfortable. When I’m having a “lazy” or comfortable day, or if it feels too hot to wear a full cotton corset, then I’ll wear this mesh piece. It feels breezy and looks wonderful under dresses as well.

There is only one small thing to note about wearing this corset under clothing – because the cincher has horizontal “ribbon” panels, then the lines or bulges under a dress is not vertical (as would be usual, due to boning channels, mostly) but rather in this case the cincher creates horizontal bulges. Depending on who you are and what your BMI is, you may find that it looks a little bit like a ribcage under your dress. However, I do find that this corset is MUCH less conspicuous under clothing compared to some other corsets! Another perk is that this corset is so soft and lightweight that it’s one of the few that I feel comfortable directly next to my skin, if I want to wear stealth on hot days. Because it came with two modesty panels that can be quickly and easily switched out, it means I can have one in the wash and one to wear.

I was intrigues with Madame Sher’s corsets because of her unique construction and materials: I have never had a soft summer mesh corset like this before (I had owned the Contour Corsets summer mesh corset, but that one is very heavy duty!), and also have relatively little experience with ribbon cinchers. The modesty panel’s full horizontal boning and attachment are also unique, as is the special square busk, and even the rat-tail lacing! This is a beautiful example of ingenuity, and it goes to show that not all corsets have to be created the same way.

If I were to go back and order another mesh corset from Madame Sher, I would likely spend the $50 more to try out the full mesh underbust (both to try something different, and also because I think it would be more sturdy due to more boning and satin waist tape). I have no complaints about the cincher, but I think I might prefer the full underbust in the future. Although this corset is so unique that I cannot really compare it to anything else, I would say it’s excellent for the value.

You can find the summer mesh cincher and other styles on Madame Sher’s website here.

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Introducing the new Corset “Paper Doll” Designer!

One of my own corset creations, "cartoonized" in the paper doll corset designer.
One of my own corset creations, “cartoonized” in the paper doll corset designer.

This is the project I’ve been waiting so long to tell you about (well, one of them).
It started around springtime of 2012, when I was talking with another corsetiere about effective communication between maker and client. A bespoke corsetiere is supposed to take the client’s vision and bring it to life – but sometimes, due to language barriers or other circumstances, miscommunication can happen and the end product doesn’t match the client’s vision.

My wish was to create a virtual “paper doll” game (that are so popular today on little princess websites) that applies specifically to corsetry. Length, shape of the edges, colour, fabric, boning channel options and closures would all be adjustable.
More importantly, anyone can use this – whether you’re a client or a corsetiere – to help you communicate more effectively.

It took a long time and quite a bit of money to get the project to this point – it was only August of 2012 before I actually found a program developer (J Artis) who would take on this project, and finally in November I found the perfect graphic artist (Christine) to create the doll itself. It’s been a long road, and I’m certain we will be ironing out some wrinkles (and with any luck, adding a couple more features) over time.

There are opportunities for collaboration regarding this project e.g. corsetieres can submit unique fabric swatches from their stock (which will be credited) and sponsor the project which will help keep this app going and help keep it free. The “red tiger stripe” print option is a placeholder that shows you the concept behind a print/brocade fabric underlay.

One note: although the button that says “Request a Quote” is functional, I’m not currently accepting bespoke commissions. If you intend to send this form to another corsetiere for a different commission, I would be 100% happy to forward the form to you for reference, and/or keep your selections and measurements for reference when I resume consultations.

Without further ado, I present to you the Designer. Go play!

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Corset Connection (Versatile Corsets) Dita Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile Corsets Dita underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, from underbust to the lap at the “princess seam” (the side-front) is 9 inches long – appropriate for average-to-long torsos. The bottom of the corset swoops down to cover lower-tummy pooch. This is not a longline corset; it’s cut higher over the hips at the side.  Modern slim silhouette, reminiscent of the traditional Victorian hourglass silhouette, except with gentler curves. Also includes a halter strap (see the Final Thoughts for more info). This corset can accommodate about a 9-10 inch hip spring, and the ribs are about 6″ larger than the waist.
Material 2 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton black twill (although custom commissioned corsets from Versatile will contain herringbone coutil lining). Fashion fabric is a medium-weight pink satin (interfaced for strength) with black accent boning channels and binding made from black shiny pleather.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Twill lining is flatlined/rollpinned to satin fashion layer; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. Also contains 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of black PVC, trimmed short on the inside rather than folded under (this is typical of leather/ pleather binding, and fine because it won’t fray).
Waist tape 1″ wide petersham waist tape exposed on the inside. If you had ordered a corset without external boning channels, then the waist tape would be sandwiched between two layers of material.
Modesty panel Attached 8″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in matching pink satin (more breathable than the PVC or pleather), stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk made from matching black PVC.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins), reinforced with a flat steel bone on each side.
Boning 22 total bones not including busk, all flat (spring) steel bones. On each side they are double boned on the seams (1/4″ wide), 2 sturdier flats sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces 1/8 inch wide round nylon cord – strong, virtually unbreakable, not stretchy, glides well through the grommets and doesn’t catch, but they’re slippery.
Price Currently $358 USD for the standard size and basic fabric on the Versatile website. For contrasting channels, there is no price markup!

Final Thoughts:

This is the third of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. The samples were originally agree to be sent back, but the owner of Corset Connection asked me to sell them here on my website (90% funds still go to Versatile) instead of sending them back.

I don’t often wear materials like pleather or PVC because I find it doesn’t breathe very well – however, since the main fashion fabric is satin and the pleather is just contrast, this style is a bit more comfortable. Still, if I were to go back and order this piece custom, I would likely have chosen a different fabric combination. The perk to Versatile Corsets that I have not seen in any other company – if you want external boning channels, there is no mark-up in price! You can also choose from dozens of fabric and colour choices for the binding, trim, and channels – or make them all different colours or fabrics if that’s your preference. There are many different possibilities!

The thick halter strap was comfortable around my neck; it was covered with black pleather/ PVC material to match the binding and boning channels, and was adjustable with hooks and eyes (similar to bra hooks). I didn’t personally find that the straps pulled too much on my neck, and I was able to keep my shoulders and my neck back – however, for those with forward-head posture looking for a solution, this corset will not miraculously help. I like how the fabric of the corset wraps up and around the side of the torso, which both helps to flatten any breast tissue that wraps around the side and in the armpits, and for those with smaller busts this cut helps to lift the bust and push it together to create cleavage. 

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset. I find the Dita underbust to be much more suited to my figure, as I have a longer torso. It’s a great corset for lengthening the line of the torso, thanks to the vertical contrasting boning channels, and the swooping line of the lower edge down to the pubic bone. It makes me look much leaner and taller compared to the Snapdragon cincher that I reviewed before – however, those with shorter torsos may prefer the Snapdragon for its length. The one perk is that both the Dita and the Snapdragon corsets are the exact same price, so neither the taller nor the shorter lacer has to worry about paying more for the style that suits them. To see other models in the Dita corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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The “30 days of corsets” challenge!

Over the course of late June to early August, I participated in the “30 days of corsets” challenge as made by Waisted Lives blog on Tumblr.
In this tag, you may post one blog per day on Tumblr and each day you answer a question about yourself and your corseting experience.
I decided to move this tag over to Youtube, as making videos feels more comfortable than writing – however I did post regularly on Tumblr during this period as well.
As usual, some unexpected “fun” popped up (my computer died in the middle of the 30 days tag) and I was forced to continue the challenge using whatever I had on hand (usually my phone). Posting on average 6 days a week during this time, it was a test of stamina/ perseverance – but it was also a lot of fun, as I had the opportunity to speak from a more subjective viewpoint than I usually do in my videos.

Rather than post one blog entry per video, I’ll link you to the start of that playlist if you’re interested:

Here are the links to the questions (and their answers) below, if you’d rather jump around than watch the whole playlist. :)

  1. What initially sparked your interest in corsets?
  2. Post a picture of yourself in a corset.
  3. How many corsets do you own? (Post a picture of your collection!)
  4. How often do you wear corsets?

    Waisted Lives is a corset community blog, dedicated to the wonderful garment of a corset and the people who love them. (Click on the photo to go to their 30 Days of Corsets post)
  5. Preference: busk, zipper, lacing, or no front closure?
  6. Who is your favorite corset maker?
  7. Have you ever made a corset yourself?
  8. Have you ever had a custom corset made for you?
  9. Post a picture of your favorite corset that you own.
  10. Post a picture of your favorite corset of all time.
  11. Post a picture of you favorite historical style of corset.
  12. Preference: waist cincher, underbust, or overbust?
  13. “Corsetgasms”: weird or really cool?
  14. Can you lace yourself into a corset or do you require assistance?
  15. How much did your first corset cost?
  16. How much did your best corset cost?
  17. Have you ever worn plastic boning?
  18. Who is your favorite designer that incorporates corsets into their designs?
  19. How long have you been interested in corsets?
  20. What is your favorite occasion to wear corsets? (e.g. formal wear, an evening in, casual wear. etc.)
  21. Why do you wear corsets? (e.g. body modification, posture correction, fashion, etc.)
  22. What is your favorite way to buy corsets? (e.g. online, in person)
  23. How do you usually buy corsets? (e.g. online, in person)
  24. Do you wear corsets year round or just seasonally?
  25. What is your favorite outer fabric for corsets?
  26. What is your favorite type of embellishment on corsets?
  27. Do you prefer to show off your corset or wear it stealth?
  28. What is your favorite corset silhouette? (wasp waist, pipe stem, etc.)
  29. What is your favorite corset myth?
  30. What is your favorite thing about corsets?
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Corset Connection (Versatile) Lotus Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile Corsets Lotus underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 16 inches long, from peak of the bust (longest part) is 18 inches long. Slim silhouette. This is not exactly a longline corset, most of the length is from the waist up so it cups around and covers the bust quite well. Suitable for people with longer waists. The cups may accommodate up to an E cup. However the back was a bit small on me, so this corset may be suitable for those with a larger bust and smaller ribcage. This corset can accommodate about a 12-inch hip spring
Material 3 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton black twill (although custom commissioned corsets from Versatile will contain herringbone coutil lining). Fashion fabric is a heavyweight pink glitter PVC with black accent boning channels.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Twill lining is flatlined/rollpinned to PVC fashion layer; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. Also contains 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of black PVC, folded under on the inside
Waist tape 1″ wide petersham waist tape exposed on the inside.
Modesty panel Attached 8″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in black satin (more breathable than the PVC or pleather), stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk made from matching black PVC.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins), reinforced with a flat steel bone on each side. An additional 3″ on top of the busk contains grommets to adjust the bust area.
Boning 20 total bones not including busk, all flat (spring) steel bones. On each side they are double boned on the seams, 2 sturdier flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 32 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces 1/8 inch wide round nylon cord – strong, but slippery.
Price Currently $398 USD for the standard size and basic fabric on the Versatile website. For the glitter PVC, there is a $60 markup.

Final Thoughts:

This is the third of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. The samples were originally agree to be sent back, but the owner of Corset Connection asked me to sell them here on my website (90% funds still go to Versatile) instead of sending them back.

As I mentioned in the video review, this corset passes the bust test with flying colours. There is little-to-no chance of boobling out of this corset, even if you have a long torso, because this corset is so high from waist to

The exact same Lotus overbust on another model with a different body shape, for comparison.

top edge, and the cups are very nicely shaped and they curve up and over the breast to encapsulate it, not just squish it. Despite the fact that this is a relatively modern slim silhouette, I felt like a Barbie doll in this corset (and not only from the pink!). The bust area can accommodate close to a DD/E cup size (as long as the ribcage in the back is relatively small) and the hips accommodate a relatively generous 12-inch hipspring which is indicative of other corsets that are considered quite curvy. Perhaps the length of this corset gives the illusion of “diluting” the curviness.

If I had ordered the Lotus overbust custom made, I would request to have the back just about 2 inches larger to accommodate my ribcage and keep in my back fat/ muffin top. I would likely have ordered it in a lovely brocade instead of PVC – as fun as pink, shiny, glittery plastic can be, I don’t do well with non-breathable synthetic fabrics.

 The Lotus corset (like all the other corsets by Versatile) is available in various colour combinations as you can choose the main fabric, have a choice of lace overlay if you wish, then at no extra charge you can choose a different fabric or colour for the trim, external boning channels, and binding – they can all be different fabrics if you wish! I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences in construction between the various different corsets depending on the styling choices.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset; I think of all the Versatile overbusts I’ve tried, this one was my second favourite (next only to the Mimosa cupped overbust). To see other models in the Lotus corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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Another Day, Another Dollar – is that corset worth it?

 

This is what my dollar looks like.

There’s an old saying that goes, “Another day, another dollar” which originally meant a humdrum work day (if I understand it correctly). However, as of late I’ve put another spin on this saying.

To me, it means that however many dollars I spend on an object, it had better last me at least that many days.

Take this in the context of corsets: If I buy a corset for $60, it had better last me two months’ worth of wear. I once had a corset that cost me close to $45, but it only lasted me perhaps 20 or 30 wears before falling apart. I consider this to be a bad investment, no matter how cheap it is. However, a $400 corset that lasts me 600 wears over a two year span is a much wiser investment, because if I follow through with my intention of wearing a corset on a nearly daily basis  and I’m on a budget, I don’t want to be continually buying a new corset every couple of months. Even if the price tag hurts now, you will find that it’s more economic in the long run.

It works for more than just corsets, too.

Electronics: My $1000 at-the-time laptop lasted me 5 years before crashing. I spent approximately 55 cents a day owning this computer.

Junk Food/restaurants: If you buy a chocolate bar for $2, break it in half and enjoy each half on a different day. This method has greatly helped me deal with my binge issues. I also rarely go to restaurants. If I dine out once a month, I have no problem spending $30 on a meal.

Other clothes: apart from corsets, I almost never buy “designer” clothing. If I buy a decently nice shirt for $40, I’ll likely wear that shirt once every two weeks, over two years (a total of 52 wears). In the past, I’ve purchased a cheap bra for only $15. I’m not sure if it even lasted me 15 wears, because it was so uncomfortable.

Other examples:

  • I purchased an elliptical machine off Craigslist for $50. Since gym membership is between $1-2 a day in my area, I told myself that if I could use the elliptical 5-6 times a week for a month, I would consider the machine “paid off”. I’ve had the machine for 2-3 years now and used it well over 50 times.
  • I purchased a CD for $20 and put the album into my playlist to listen to while I sew. I’ve listened to the playlist almost 80 times over the course of the last year, which means I paid about 25 cents for each playthrough of that album.
  • My parents purchased a $2000 piano when we moved into this house. I played it nearly every day between the age of 13 and 19, and I still play it occasionally today, so I would estimate that it cost about 75 cents per day that it’s used.

An example of something I don’t buy/ don’t consider “worth it”: I don’t go to the movies or buy DVDs unless they are in the bargain bin for $2. It’s unlikely that I’ll watch any movie more than a couple of times. I tend not to buy books (unless they’re classics/ collectors’ edition) when I can simply go to the library instead.

Examples where this sentiment doesn’t work:

  • Housing and transportation – an $18,000 car won’t last you 50 years being driven every day, even with the best upkeep. Likewise, you will probably not live 250 years in a $100,000
    Can luxury purchases be justified?
    Can luxury purchases be justified? Corset: Sparklewren, MUA: Stella Amore, Photo: Trillance

    house (or any house, really).

  • Good food/meals – at one point I was able to live on $5/ week for food. It was a lot of beans, carrots and apples. However it’s not the most nutritious, and it’s not long before insanity from meal boredom sets in.
  • Luxuries – I don’t know how else to put this: luxury means that you don’t worry about the cost. That’s why it’s a luxury. There is a certain threshold (with any item, not just corsets) where the hardiness and utility of an object sort of levels off compared with price. The corset that’s worth over $1000 sitting wrapped in acid-free tissue paper in an engraved box in my room isn’t going to be worn 1000 times. Probably not even 100 times. But just owning it and admiring it as a piece of art brings me joy, and I hope that it will stay in the family for 100 years or more.

Is that corset worth it?

I’ve mentioned before that an affordable “starter” corset off a place like Ebay may cost $50, but it may only last you 500 hours or even less, and come with no warranty. If you purchase a corset for $500 but it lasts you 10,000 hours of wear, that’s double the return on your investment, because you spent 10x more, but you gained 20x more use out of it.

I’m not saying to never buy cheaper corsets, because they have their place too – for instance, if you buy a $100 corset but only wear it for 3 months before losing interest, or only wearing it once in awhile, it’s a lot better to have only spent $100 instead of $500. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy more than one corset either. I’m certainly guilty of owning many corsets – I consider them luxuries. What I am saying is that when it comes to medium-to-large investments, consider the realistic long-term benefits and consequences of your purchase.

Above all else, never expect a $50 corset to perform like a $300 corset. Swindlers and crooks aside, you get what you pay for. After having wasted thousands of dollars on cheap corsets, I’ve never found a loophole in the quality/price relationship. I’ve created an enormous playlist of reviews, available for free, so that you can make an informed purchase and save your money. My loss is your gain. Please use it to your advantage.

If you liked this article, you may also like “The 5 Most Important Factors of an OTR corset“.

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Milestone & new things to come!

Gentle Reader,

It’s been a little over 1.5 years since I launched this website, and it’s brought me more joy than I could have expected. Last night, I finally reached 500 followers on this blog! When I think of this number (compared to the nearly 30,000 subscribers on Youtube), I have to wonder which group I cherish more.

I believe that you’re part of a small, special crowd who still values reading. You value knowledge rather than gawking. You know the convenience of a blog where I can edit and refine my posts to bring you information that is up-to-date, clear, whole, and translatable in your native language. This is something that’s not possible on Youtube.

You also know that I publish information and posts here that never make it to Youtube, so being subscribed to Youtube doesn’t give you all the information and tools available here! And now I’m going to reveal a bit more information – you read it here first.

For almost an entire year, I’ve been working on a fun project with two other talented people, and I’m eager to show you! I hope it will be a useful and entertaining tool, and very much hope that I’m not over-hyping it. In order to make this project work on my website, I’ll also be moving my site over from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org. Don’t worry, the URL won’t change and your subscription to my blog updates will remain.

I was hoping to also do a major overhaul of the look of my website, but I’ve been running into difficulties in terms of communication with the person who was supposed to help me, so this may just have to happen later on. I don’t want to wait any longer!

Effective immediately, my online corset store is now up with more corset styles. The three sections of the store are now re-labeled Bronze line (samples and gently used corsets), Silver Line (the affordable, new OTR corsets that were so popular before), and the Gold Line which will be launched in the next month or two and will be the most expensive but highest quality option.

Thank you for sticking by me through the whirlwind of the last 1.5 years, and here’s to another 15.

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Corset Vlogger Interview at Orchard Corset

Some of you may have already known that back in early June 2013, I and several other corset vloggers (including Phoenix [mmsnafaioopoofeeker], Byrdi [silentsongbyrd], Meghann [LadyTigerLily] and Andrea [RandomCorset]) travelled from across the continent to meet up at Orchard Corset headquarters to have a group interview, participate in a photoshoot, and have the opportunity to form friendships and make history.

Below you’ll find the interview, organized in a playlist of 7 parts for your convenience. If you would like to see the interview in one 40-minute long video, click here to go to Orchard Corset’s upload!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYVxPPEHz0g&list=SPd2O_kYv6eJwkA8QRHCb3OddP-mSdAd_C]