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True Corset Mesh Cincher Review

This post is a summary of the “True Corset Mesh Cincher Review” videos.

Below you will find the first review I did for True Corset (May 13 2014), when they didn’t have the full waist tape – this was their OLD stock.

When I notified True Corset of a few improvements they could make to their products, they added a few changes (include a full waist tape instead of a partial tape, and seemingly stronger grommet panel) so below is my second review (August 26, 2014)  with the amendments:

Fit, length Front and back are about 9.5 inches long, and the sides are slightly less than 9 inches. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 8″ bigger than the waist. (Original measurements: ribcage 29″, waist 24″, high hip 32″) Recommended for people of shorter stature or shorter waists. If you have any issues with lower tummy pooch, choose a longer corset as this one doesn’t extend down to cover the lower abdomen.
Material Single layer of mesh, with twill reinforcements on the busk and grommet area, and grosgrain boning channels.
Construction 5 panel pattern, all panels looking fairly parallel. Single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels straddling each seam to strengthen it.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon, not folded under. Machine stitched on the outside and inside. 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Waist tape 1-inch wide black satin ribbon, exposed on the inside of the corset. It does not extend through all panels though; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, and ends between panels 4-5, so that panel 1 and panel 5 are not reinforced.
Modesty panel No modesty panel or placket on my corset.
Busk 8.5 inches long with 5 pins (equidistantly spaced). Fairly stiff, just short of 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 12 total bones not including busk. On each side there are four 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels) and the bones seem to be coated or covered in a kind of black heat shrink tubing, probably to help it match the rest of the black corset. 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 NEW stock of corsets appear to have extra reinforcement at the back; the grommets fortunately don’t pull out the same way that they did in the older stock version.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided nylon shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring.
Price At this time, it sells for $39 on Amazon.com.

 

This cincher is designed for beginners, as it has an attractive price and a modern slim silhouette. When I tried True Corset’s Dragon cincher in early 2014, I noticed that the size 22″ didn’t close very far in the back due to my ribcage and hips, so I went with the size 24″ this time in the mesh and found that it closed entirely in the back, and fit my circumferential measurements quite comfortably.

La Esmeralda models the black mesh cincher by True Corset. This corset also comes in red and white.
La Esmeralda models the black mesh cincher by True Corset. This corset also comes in red and white.

The mesh is a “fishnet” style (very common among OTR corsets) and on the delicate side – I have noticed that there is some expansion of the mesh at the waistline (which is why they recommend you purchase one size smaller than usual, even though I personally didn’t do so – in fact, I recommend ordering one size up due to the gentle curve).

In the old stock, I noticed the grommets had begun to pull out at the waistline after a few wears. I recommended to True Corset that the grommet panel be reinforced with another layer of twill; this would give the grommets more fabric to “grab onto”. I also suggested using grommets with a wider flange. Their newer stock corsets seemed to use the same grommets, but they must have made some other changes as my newer stock mesh corset didn’t have any grommets pull out.

I must stress what True Corset said to me: that this piece is not a waist training nor a tight lacing corset – I would say it should only be used for occasional light lacing. I used this corset for “stealthing” under some of my favorite dresses in the summer as it provided some shaping while keeping me cool. Mesh corsets are difficult to review, because they really only have resurfaced in the last couple of years and as of yet there is no set standard of quality (the way there is a standard with other strength fabrics e.g. twill, coutil, etc.). Because it is not identical in strength or construction to a cotton twill corset, this piece should not be used the same way as a twill corset.

True Corset is a bit brave to have been one of the first OTR companies to take on the challenge of affordable mesh corsetry. These pieces, despite being single layer, may be more difficult to construct due to the lightweight, easily malleable and porous nature of the mesh. Certain mesh types may be more difficult to source or more expensive than twill. This corset has been the least expensive mesh corset I have ever tried, now priced at less than half it was originally in 2014 – just keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to mesh corsetry; don’t expect it to hold up the way a custom waist training corset would!

You can find the True Corset mesh cincher in three different colors (white, black and red) on here on Amazon.

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Dark Garden Risqué Overbust Review

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Risqué Valentine Overbust Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube (below the table of quick stats) if you prefer:

Dark Garden Risqué Valentine Quick Stats

Fit, length Center front is 15 inches long, the princess seam (under the breast to top of the lap) is 16.75 inches long. The side seam is 14 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 13.5 inches.  Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24 (24 inches), the full bust is 34 inches, and the low hip is about 36 inches.
Material Two layers in the center front and center back satin panels (satin can also come in red or black). One layer of ivory transparent nylon mesh (also can be ordered in black)
Construction 5 panel pattern (10 panels total). Bust ease is distributed between panels 1-2, and most of the curve of the hip is in panels 3-4 (and a bit of panel 2 as well).
For the construction, as most of the corset is single layer, panels were assembled with a top stitch with seam allowance facing outward, and external double boning channels were made with peach satin over the seams. (The boning channels straddle the seam to reinforce it.)
Binding Bias strips of vintage pink satin, neatly machine stitched on outside and inside. There are also 8 garter tabs (4 on each side). You also receive 8 matching garters (included in the base price).
Waist tape White twill tape (0.75 inch wide) is exposed on the inside of the corset, anchored by the seams/ boning channels, and is covered by a 1″ wide vintage pink petersham ribbon.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 5″ wide and finished in the same vintage pink silk satin. It is stiffened with 4 bones to resist wrinkling or collapsing, and it remains loose (not sewn in and not suspended on the laces) so it can be used or not used depending on your preference.
No modesty placket in front, but a topstitch of fabric by the busk prevents gaping in the center front.
Busk 14 inches long with 7 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). It’s further supported by a half inch bone on each side, slightly shorter (stops at the underbust level to allow for more ease in the bust)
Boning 22 total bones not including busk (11 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, less than an inch apart.
Laces Pink double faced satin ribbon, half-inch wide, no stretch or spring to it. Sufficiently long and laced in DG’s typical “chevron” pattern.
Price Sweetheart overbust (4 panels per side) version is $505 USD which includes the modesty panel and 8 garters. The Risqué can be ordered specially for $555 USD (including accessories).

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The Risqué corset is aptly named as it has breezy, transparent side mesh panels. If you indeed wanted to dress a little risqué, you could wear this corset with nothing underneath and show a little skin (note, “side boob” will be very visible). Dark Garden’s website points out that it would look incredible if you happen to have a rib tattoo you wanted to show off! Or, you can wear a matching (or complementary color) dress underneath as I have shown in the video above to create a striking effect.

This overbust is a specially-made Valentine overbust instead of Dark Garden’s more common Sweetheart. The Valentine is designed to flatter fuller / curvier figures; it has a very similar silhouette to the Sweetheart, and similar proportions, but it has 5 panels per side (the Sweetheart has only 4 panels) and it contours over the bust and hips more smoothly.

This is quite a long corset, nearly 17 inches at the longest part. Dark Garden distributes more length from the waist up (and less length from the waist down) so even with my long torso, the corset covers my bust sufficiently and feels very secure, while the shorter length at the bottom allows me mobility and helps me sit down comfortably without the lower edge hitting my lap. Other corsets I’ve reviewed in the past were sometimes a similar overall length, but had less length distributed from the waist up (which meant that my bust didn’t feel as safely held into the corset) and more length from the waist down (which meant I had a harder time sitting) – those other corsets were clearly meant for someone with a shorter ribcage or higher waistline than myself. It’s useful to know that Dark Garden corsets fit my personal proportions so well!

The Dark Garden Risqué Valentine overbust is available in standard sizes from 18 up to 38, but one can commission Dark Garden for a made-to-measure version if you fall out of this size range. See more at Dark Garden’s website here.

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Corset and Strapless Bra: low-back solution for fuller busts!

In Summer of 2014, I purchased this lovely dress from Zumel & Co in Toronto. Although I love the dress, it has a bit of a low back (enough that my bra band shows in the back). One question I receive quite often, especially from brides, is whether it’s possible to have a low back overbust corset for precisely this reason, and it got me thinking.

This Contessa Gothique corset has a lower back made possible with the help of shoulder straps. Photo: DiaIF. Model: Nea Dune.
This Contessa Gothique corset has a low back made possible with the help of shoulder straps.
Photo: DiaIF. Model: Nea Dune.

If you commission a custom-made overbust, creating a somewhat-low back is theoretically possible (to a point). However, a problem arises especially if you are heavy busted: you’re not going to get the same breast support if you have a very low back. You’ll notice that most overbust corsets don’t have a back that stop close to nipple-height, and not usually lower than under the shoulder blades. This prevents the front of the corset from flopping forward, away from your body. You may be able to adjust that support with halter straps for instance, or even (cringe) heavy duty double sided tape. In any sense, it’s going to be mighty difficult if not impossible to achieve a corseted silhouette with a backless dress.

If there were a cupped overbust corset that allowed you to wear backless, strapless dresses (think Jessica Rabbit) with perfect support, I believe that thousands of people would be all over that! However, in my journey though corsetry, I have never actually found a corset that’s been able to achieve this.

If you want full support along the fullest part of your breasts, you must rely on the fabric wrapping around the entire torso at that same line.
The same premise holds with long line corsets – if you want a lot of control of the lower tummy, you could put many stiff, rigid steel bones in the front, but if you have a protruding lower tummy that resists these bones, the whole bottom front of the corset could end up bowing outwards (especially if the front of the corset extends down into a point and is cut high over the hips). With a longline corset, it helps pull in a lower tummy easily because it has extra fabric that starts at the pubic bone and wraps around the hip area along a similar height, and around to the back.  The tension of the fabric wrapping around the body acts as leverage to help pull that protruding tummy inward.

Seriously, Jessica's dress goes down to the tailbone and has no straps. This defies physics. There has to be skintone mesh, or double sided tape, or something.
Seriously, Jessica’s dress goes down to the tailbone and has no straps. This defies physics. There has to be skintone mesh, or double sided tape, or something.

So, what can be done if you want to wear a low back wedding dress, especially if you’re quite heavy-busted? What I did in the above video was a trick that Ashley (Lisa Freemont Street) taught me a few years back:

Find yourself a well-fitting strapless, longline bra. The Goddess brand strapless low-back bra works great for my purposes, and I love that the lightly boned cups provide support while retaining the roundness of the breast and it gives a slightly vintage shape to my bustline (it doesn’t flatten my bustline like most modern cut strapless bras seem to do). There is a silicone band around the top to help keep it in place on my skin as well.

As it’s a longline bra, it also has a few bones coming down and stopping at around navel height – this helps keep the garment smooth and prevent it from rolling up. If you plan to wear this bra underneath corsets, you can absolutely remove some of the bones in the bra so as not to irritate your skin by having the stays smushed up against your ribs under the corset. I like to wear this bra with an underbust corset (usually a cincher or waspie, which stops lower on the ribcage) worn over the bra – the corset also helps anchor the bra in place so it’s less likely to slide down over the course of the day. Even if I don’t utilize all the hooks and eyes of the bra (you can fold some of the top ones down if you need to accommodate for a lower back), the bra still stays in place due to the silicone strip and the anchoring of my corset.

One thing to look out for, however, is having a bit of “muffin top” with this combination. When you wear very short cinchers or waspies, the more of your ribcage it leaves exposed/ unsupported, the bigger the risk of it giving you “muffin top” (a roll of skin that folds over the top of the corset when worn). The fact that it’s combined with a longline bra in this case does help to somewhat combat this, but how much “muffin” occurs will depend on the person as well (how long your torso is, how low the back of your dress is, and whether your body tends to ‘displace upward’ or ‘displace downward’ in a corset).

The Goddess Longline bra can be partially folded under to accommodate for an even lower back.
The Goddess Longline bra can be partially folded under to accommodate for an even lower back.

There is rhyme and reason to the corset I chose to wear over my longline corset as well! In this video, I’m wearing the True Corset mesh cincher because it’s cut quite straight across at the ribcage and hips – there are no “points” to bow outwards and protrude underneath clothing. As a mesh corset, although it may not last quite as long as other corsets, it makes for more breathable, lightweight undergarments, and therefore a more comfortable experience – especially if you’re planning to wear a warm outfit in a warm venue!

Other inexpensive mesh corsets that hide well under clothing is Orchard Corset’s mesh CS-411 and mesh CS-426 (for those who prefer longline), as well as Madame Sher’s mesh cincher. As much as I adore custom fit corsets, I understand that weddings can be exorbitant. Even the cost of an OTR mesh corset combined with the Goddess bra comes up as cheaper (and quicker to ship) than commissioning a custom overbust corset with a lower back (and, of course, they can be combined with other outfits after the wedding!). Even though a mesh corset may not last a lifetime, it should at least last through your wedding day!

If you have ideas for other corset and bra combinations that work well underneath your low-back outfits, leave a comment down below and help out some other potential brides on a budget!

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Scoundrelle’s Keep Sabine Corset Review

This post is a summary of the “Scoundrelle’s Keep Sabine Underbust Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Scoundrelle’s Keep Sabine Quick Stats

Fit, length The Sabine is custom fit to the individual wearer, so the measurements will be different for each. In my corset, the center front is 10.5 inches long. The side seam is 7.5 inches, and the center back is 15 inches (not including the adjustable, detachable shoulder harness).  Circumferential measurements: waist is 26 inches, the underbust is 29 inches, and the low hip is about 33 inches.
Material Three layers: fashion fabric is maroon dupioni silk, the strength layer is a thick cotton interlining, and the lining is black black cotton twill.
Construction 5 panel pattern (10 panels total) for the main underbust corset (the harness is 1 panel).
The fashion fabric and strength fabric were flatlined and treated as one. Panels were assembled using a lock-stitch with seams probably pressed open. Double boning channels on the seams, possibly using extra strips of fabric internally or possibly using the seam allowances. The lining is somewhat a floating layer.
Binding Bias strips of fuzzy brushed black, probably knit fabric. Neatly machine stitched on outside, not turned under on the inside (the knit fabric resists fraying). There are also 6 D-rings at the lower edge, probably for garters or attaching other accessories.
Waist tape None detected.
Modesty panel None in back or front. (Be careful not to pinch your skin in the zipper!)
Zipper Heavy duty metal zip, reinforced with 1/4 inch wide flat steel bones on each side. Very strong, 10 inches long.
Boning 22 total bones (11 on each side). They all seem to be 1/4″ wide flat steels, double boned on the seams.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, an inch apart. Typical “US brand” grommets.
Price About $340 USD for the dupioni silk brocade you see in this video. Leather starts at $390.

 

I loved this corset for the brief time I owned it. Although the fit wasn’t perfect for me (I purchased it from a previous owner with similar – but not identical – measurements), I found it very comfortable to wear while sitting at my desk. It encouraged me to sit with my legs uncrossed and my feet flat on the floor, while keeping my back straight and my shoulders down and back – encouraging proper posture and ergonomics and preventing fatigue while I worked. To boot, the corset’s overall aesthetic is very steampunk and fun!

The harness attaches with 6 adjustable straps which fasten with buckles. If you prefer to wear the corset without the harness, you can remove it. The laces are separate between the underbust corset and the harness so you can adjust the width of them individually (if you happen to have broad shoulders and a smaller waist, or vice-versa). There are enough belt ‘holes’ to allow you to adjust the height of the harness if you happen to have a long torso or high shoulders.

Although there is no waist tape in this corset – and I’m usually apprehensive about using a corset with no waist tape on a daily basis – I felt that the construction of this corset was very hardy (it survived 3 different wearers!) and at the light, 2-inch reduction it gave my waist, it felt sturdy enough to wear regularly while sitting at my desk.

The only reason I sold this corset was because the buyer was desperate to purchase it from me as she needed full posture support as quickly as possible. If not for her request, I would have loved to keep this piece in my collection!

The Sabine corset is available in sizes from 20 up to 38 and beyond, in custom/ made-to-measure sizes. See more at Scoundrelle’s Keep website here! Or see my gallery of other corsets that contain shoulder straps.

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Introducing the new Corset Measurements Calculator!

I may not have been posting often these last several weeks, but that’s because many things have been happening behind the scenes – including this dynamic calculator that will tell you the approximate dimensions of the most popular corset styles.

This calculator will have a permanent spot on my Corset Dimensions Directory page, over HERE!

Type in the corset size you’re interested in (for instance, if you have a 26 inch natural waist and you want to see if a size 22″ corset would fit you in X brand and Y style, then simply plunk in the number 22 in the first field), choose your corset of interest in the dropdown, and it will automatically tell you the bust, ribcage and hip circumference measurements of that particular size!

It also gives notices when you choose a corset that tends to stop lower on the ribcage (a cincher or waspie style), when you have chosen a longline style, and also any styles that feature adjustable side hip ties.

This calculator is in the very early stages, so at the moment it only lists the current most popular brands and styles I’m asked about. I will flesh it out with more corset styles as time goes on, and will also be adding other important info like the torso length and size restrictions on each brand. But in the meantime, play and enjoy with what’s there, and let me know what you think! <3
~Lucy

 

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Dark Garden Valentine Overbust Corset Review

Dark-Garden-Valentine-overbust-22

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Valentine Overbust Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube (below the table of quick stats) if you prefer:

Dark Garden Valentine Quick Stats

Fit, length Center front is 15 inches long, the princess seam (under the breast to top of the lap) is 16.75 inches long, with about 4 of those inches from the waist up. The side seam is 14 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 13.5 inches.  Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24 (24 inches), the full bust is 34 inches, and the low hip is about 36 inches.
Material Two layers: fashion fabric is black diamond brocade pattern (fiber content is a combination silk and rayon), the strength layer is black black cotton canvas. Dark Garden is relatively unique in that they use a strong canvas instead of twill or coutil as their strength fabric.
Construction 5 panel pattern (10 panels total). Bust ease is distributed between panels 1-2, and most of the curve of the hip is in panels 3-4 (and a bit of panel 2 as well).
For the construction, the fashion fabric and strength fabric were flatlined, and the corset was constructed like a single layer corset. Panels were top-stitched with seam allowance facing outward, and external double boning channels were made with matching black diamond brocade over the seams.
Binding Bias strips of matching black diamond brocade, neatly machine stitched on outside and inside. There are also 8 garter tabs (4 on each side).
Waist tape Black twill tape (0.75 inch wide) is exposed on the inside of the corset, anchored by the seams/ boning channels.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 5″ wide and finished in the same black brocade as the fashion fabric. It is stiffened with 4 bones to resist wrinkling or collapsing, and it remains loose (not sewn in and not suspended on the laces) so it can be used or not used depending on your preference.
No modesty placket in front, but a topstitch of fabric by the busk prevents gaping in the center front.
Busk 14 inches long with 7 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). It’s further supported by a half inch bone on each side, slightly shorter (stops at the underbust level to allow for more ease in the bust)
Boning 22 total bones not including busk (11 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in black. Set equidistantly, less than an inch apart.
Laces Black double faced satin ribbon, half-inch wide, no stretch or spring to it. Sufficiently long and laced in DG’s typical “chevron” pattern.
Price About $440 USD for black cotton poplin, or $490 for the silk brocade you see in this video.

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The Valentine overbust is designed to flatter fuller figures and curvier figures better than their original Sweetheart overbust. It has a very similar silhouette to the Sweetheart, and similar proportions, but it has 5 panels per side (the Sweetheart has only 4 panels) and it contours over the bust and hips a bit more smoothly.

This is quite a long corset, nearly 17 inches at the longest part. However, Dark Garden distributes more length from the waist up (and less length from the waist down) so even with my long torso, the corset covers my bust sufficiently and feels very secure, while the shorter length at the bottom allows me mobility and helps me sit down comfortably without the lower edge hitting my lap. Other corsets I’ve reviewed in the past were sometimes a similar overall length, but had less length distributed from the waist up (which meant that my bust didn’t feel as safely held into the corset) and more length from the waist down (which meant I had a harder time sitting) – those other corsets were clearly meant for someone with a shorter ribcage or higher waistline than myself. It’s useful to know that Dark Garden corsets fit my personal proportions so well.

The Dark Garden Valentine overbust is available in standard sizes from 18 up to 38, but one can commission Dark Garden for a made-to-measure version if you fall out of this size range. See more at Dark Garden’s website here.