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Jupiter Moon 3 “Hemp and Twill” Corset Review

This post is a summary of the “Jupiter Moon 3 Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Jupiter Moon 3 Quick Stats

Fit, length (Because JM3’s corsets are made to measure, the measurements of this corset are a bit irrelevant. But I’ve added the measurements below for the sake of completion.) The center front is 14.5 inches long. Princess seam is 10.5 inches. The side seam is 9.5 inches, and the center back is 14 inches.  Circumferential measurements: waist is 20 inches, the underbust is 26 inches, and the low hip is about 30 inches. This corset fits me with an even 4-inch wide gap.
Material Three layers (if you consider fusible interfacing a layer): fashion fabric is tea-stained cotton twill, fused to very thick non-woven interfacing, and the lining is a thin lightweight cotton.
Construction 5 panel pattern (10 panels total).
The fashion fabric was fused to heavy interfacing, and the panels look to be lock-stitched (no visible topstitch). Single boning channels on the seams. The lining is a floating layer (only attached at the front and back panels).
Binding Bias strips of tea-stained cotton twill. Neatly machine stitched on both sides (stitched-in-the-ditch on outside, and turned under on the inside. No garter tabs on this sample (but available for special corset orders).
Waist tape None detected. (See discussion below)
Modesty panel 4 inch-wide back modesty panel, finished in tea-stained cotton twill, and stitched to one side of the corset. Also unstiffened placket in front by the busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ on each side), 13 inches long with 6 loops and pins (equidistantly spaced). Close to each side of the busk are stiff flat steels that are pre-bent to give support to the busk and curve over a lower tummy.
Boning 12 total bones (6 on each side). They all seem to be 1/4″ wide flat steels, single boned on the seams. JM3 uses rigid bones and pre-bends them to curve inward at the waist and outward at the hip to accentuate the hip spring. In the front, the bones curve around a lower tummy, acting almost like a spoon busk.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in silver. Set ea bit closer together at the waistline, and they’re in good condition (set in securely and not falling out). Typical “US brand” grommets.
Laces 3/8″ wide double-faced satin ribbon in a cream color.
Price $272 USD for this exact style (as of 2016, JM3 has reduced her prices!)

 

Andi models this sample corset by Jupiter Moon 3. Photo: Viva Van Story. Click through to see JM3's Etsy shop.
Andi models this sample corset by Jupiter Moon 3. Photo: Viva Van Story. Click through to see JM3’s Etsy shop.

Jupiter Moon 3 is a one-woman business owned by Jennifer in Texas. I love the charming vintage aesthetic of this corset, with the tea staining, the lovely lace and the thick hemp flossing. I was surprised at the strength of this corset considering how lightweight it was – especially considering that the strength layer is just interfaced twill!

JM3 says that she tends not to use a waist tape, and that in the 1000+ corsets she’s ever made, she has never needed a waist tape to reinforce the waist (she’s never had a problem with the waist of her corsets stretching or seams tearing). However, she will add a waist tape to any special-ordered corset for a small markup in price.

There are more comments from JM3 and also other owners of JM3 corsets in the comments section under the Youtube review for this corset, so I encourage you to read more there if you’re interested in more opinions and information about her corsets.

See more at in Jupiter Moon 3’s Etsy shop!

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Interview with Lowana O’Shea of Vanyanis

In September of 2014 I had the pleasure of interviewing the ever-beautiful and talented corsetiere behind Vanyanis: Lowana O’Shea. I have a lot to thank Lowana for: she and the late Christine Wickham had personally launched a fundraiser to allow me to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry that year, and Lowana let me tag along during much of our adventures in England!

As filming interviews was not permitted on location in Jesus College, this interview was filmed in our hotel in London about a week after the Conference:

Timeline:

Here I'm wearing the gorgeous engraved busk loop necklace and earring set made by Vanyanis. Click through to learn more about this jewelry!
Here I’m wearing the gorgeous engraved busk loop necklace and earring set made by Vanyanis. Click through to learn more about this jewelry!

0:28 You’re looking very glamorous today, what exciting things did you get up to today before this interview?

1:05 How did you come up with the name Vanyanis?

1:35 How long have you been in business, and how did you come to love corsetry?

2:27 What is your favorite part of the creative process?

3:10 (Showcase of one of Lowana’s couture overbust corsets with over 3000 Swarovski crystals!)

4:38 What is your least favorite part of corset making?

5:20 What do you see in the future of your business? What are your aspirations for Vanyanis?

You can find more of Lowana’s work on her website, Vanyanis.

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Orchard Corset CS-345 Review

Brittney and Amber model the CS-345 underbust in a limited edition red satin.

This post is a summary of the “Orchard Corset CS-345 Underbust Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube:

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches long, the princess seam is 10 inches long, the side seam is 9 inches long, and the center back is 13 inches long (with quite a high back). Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24 (24 inches), the underbust is 30 inches (6 inch rib spring), and the low hip is about 32 inches (8 inch hip spring).
Material Three main layers – the fashion fabric on mine is a tan cotton twill finish. There is a thick interlining between the layers, and the lining is also cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the welt-seam method with the seams top-stitched between panels. Single boned on the seams.
Binding Bias strips of matching tan cotton twill, neatly machine stitched on outside and inside. 6 garter tabs
Waist tape 1-inch wide black ribbon exposed on the inside of the corset. It is a partial waist tape, first seemingly glued down (by an iron-on hemming tape) and then stitched in place, anchored at the seams/ boning channels. The waist tape is not horizontal, it slants downward in a V-shape toward the center front.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 5″ wide and finished in tan twill. Unstiffened and stitched to the corset on one side (easily removable). The center front has a 0.5″ wide, unstiffened modesty placket as well.
Busk 11.5 inches long with 5 loops and pins, the bottom two pins being positioned a bit closer together. Standard flexible busk (0.5″ on each side)
Boning 14 total bones not including busk (7 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, single boned on the seams. Two 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, about 1 inch apart, and they are holding in well.
Laces Black flat nylon shoelace style lacing, 1/4″ wide. Slightly springy but very difficult to snap. I had to relace the corset to bring the “bunny ears” down to my natural waist, as the corset came with the loops laced too high for my needs.
Price The smaller sizes (up to size 32″) is $69 USD, and the full-figure sizes (up to size 46″) is $74 USD.
Use CORSETLUCY to save 10% off your entire order! (This is a coupon, not an affiliate link.)

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Brittney and Amber model the CS-345 underbust in a limited edition red satin.
Brittney and Amber model Orchard Corset’s CS-345 underbust in a limited edition red satin.

The CS-345 is designed to fit people with a relatively broader ribcage and relatively slim hips – I can see this working well for some men as well who would like to try a corset, or athletic people (especially swimmers with well-developed lats). The high back is also fantastic for upper-back support and holding in any muffin top.

However the one bugaboo I have with this corset is the fact that the bottom point at the center front wants to bow away from my body, which creates a distracting “protrusion” under my clothing at the pubic bone. I have a naturally flat abdomen, and when wearing this corset under my clothing it makes me look like I have a protruding lower tummy (or other anatomy which I don’t naturally have). If the manufacturer were able to somehow adjust the pattern and move a bit of material from the center front (panels 1 and 2) and replace that material on the side seam (panels 3 and 4), it would make the corset lie more flat against my lower tummy and also make the hips fit more comfortably.

However, it could just be that this corset is simply not compatible with my body. I have seen some other people wear this corset beautifully with no issue (see Brittney and Amber in the pic above) – but when it comes to Orchard Corset, I will stick with my CS-426 longline corset as that remains my favorite style to date.

Use my coupon code CORSETLUCY for 10% off your entire order – this is a discount, not an affiliate code! I get no payment from people using this code.

Learn more about the CS-345 corset here on Orchard Corset’s website.

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How to Deal with Corset Modesty Panels

Struggling with your modesty panel every time you lace up? Worry not, there’s a solution! Read ahead to learn about the 3 most common types of modesty panels in corsets – and how to keep them straight and centered while you’re lacing up. If you don’t like to use modesty panels, most types are completely removable, and panels are usually not required in the first place.

Stiffened, detached modesty panels (Dark Garden)

You can choose to use it or not use it depending on your preference. If you’re wearing a silky shirt, this panel wants to slide off your back before you even wrap your corset around yourself! There are a couple of ways I get around this.

Method 1:
  1. Bend forward a bit, so you can balance the panel on your back. Hold the panel in place with one hand while you wrap the corset around yourself with the other hand. Don’t worry if it’s uneven at this point.
  2. Do up the busk. The laces and very slight tension at this point should keep the panel from falling.
  3. Look in the mirror and adjust the position of the panel so it’s centered, not tilted, and the top and bottom edges match up with the corset properly. This is best done when you’re half-finished lacing your corset (if you try to adjust it when you’re finished lacing up, there may be too much tension for you to adjust the panel easily.
Method 2:
  1. Put your corset on and do up the busk. Do not tighten the laces yet – in fact, it’s a good idea to loosen the laces even more than you usually would (if possible).
  2. Lean over slightly and slide the panel under the corset at the SIDE (if you try to do it at the back, the panel is highly likely to get tangled in the laces).

    Sliding the panel underneath the corset at the side first (to avoid tangling the laces).
    Sliding the panel underneath the corset at the side first (to avoid tangling the laces).
  3. Once the panel is in place vertically, then slide the panel to the back and center it on your back. It should not get tangled in the laces this way.
  4. Give a tug on the laces to provide enough tension to keep the panel in place. When you’re halfway done tightening up the corset, check one last time that your panel is placed where you want it, then finish up lacing.

 

Unstiffened modesty panels, stitched to the side (most OTR corsets)

This is the most popular style of modesty panel – usually a couple of layers of fabric, fastened to one side of the corset.

Keep in mind, the following steps work if the modesty panel is sewn to the left side (like Orchard Corset). If your corset has the panel sewn to the right side (like What Katie Did, Corset Story, etc.), you’ll need to do these steps in mirror image.

  1. Hold the corset in your left hand and lean to the right. As you swing the corset around your back and catching the other side in your right hand, gravity will help the panel flop towards the laces and flatten across your back.

    The panel is attached to the left side, so I have to lean to the right - gravity helps it flop in the right direction.
    The panel is attached to the left side, so I have to lean to the right – gravity helps it flop in the right direction.
  2. Wrap the corset around your body and fasten the busk.
  3. Look in the mirror. Ensure your modesty panel is flat.
  4. Tug the laces at the waistline. If your panel starts to crinkle or fold on itself. Then use your right hand to reach around your back, and grab the panel to pull it flat.
  5. Lace up your corset a little more, stopping periodically to pull and tuck the modesty panel flat again and again.
  6. Is this a pain in the butt? Yes, but there’s really no way around it (unless you want to modify the panel).
  7. Don’t expect the panel to be perfectly smooth the way the rest of your corset is. A vertical or crease fold over your spine is perfectly normal!

In a previous video I showed how to take an unstiffened modesty panel, detach it, add a stiffener (using either bones or canvas) and suspend it on the laces using grommets (some prefer to use ribbons to suspend it instead, which is also gorgeous). Here’s how I made my own modesty panel for a corset using canvas.
N.B. some types of modesty panels (like What Katie Did) are sewn into the lining of the corset such that the panel cannot be removed using a seam ripper without compromising the integrity of the corset. In such cases, if you want to completely remove the modesty panel, it’s best to simply cut the panel out while keeping the stitching undisturbed.

 

Stiffened, suspended (floating) modesty panels (Retrofolie)

This is a stiffened rectangle very much like Dark Garden’s modesty panel (the first type) except it’s suspended on the laces. Here’s how to lace up with one of these:

  1. When I initially wrap the corset around my body, I try NOT to lean too much to one side or the other – this helps keep the panel from sliding horizontally on the laces, and minimizes my work to adjust its position later on.
  2. Fasten the busk. Adjust the panel so that it’s not tilted, and the top and bottom edges of the panel is level with the top and bottom of the corset.
  3. Notice in the video that I have to make relatively few adjustments with this panel (it stays nicely in place and doesn’t crinkle too badly). This why this type of modesty panel is my personal favorite! The only disadvantage is that if you want to change your corset laces (or remove the panel) it’s quite time-consuming to unlace and relace.
    However, some modesty panels have easily-removable velcro tabs which fasten quickly and easily to suspend itself on the laces, and can be removed just as easily! Find them here in my shop.

    These awesome modesty panels are boned and they hang on the laces using small velcro loops - super easy to attach and remove.
    These awesome modesty panels are boned and they hang on the laces using small velcro loops – super easy to attach and remove.

Do you have a different way of dealing with your modesty panel while lacing up? Let me know in a comment below!

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Orchard Corset CS-201 Mesh Waspie Review

This post is a summary of the “Orchard Corset CS-201 Mesh Waspie Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube:

Fit, length Center front is 9.5 inches long, the side seam is 7.5 inches long. (Your torso should be at least 8 inches long from underbust to lap).  Circumferential measurements: waist is size 22 (22 inches), the underbust is 26.5 inches (4.5 inch rib spring), and the low hip is about 32 inches (10 inch hip spring).
Material One main layer made of black, cotton fish-net style mesh. The boning channels and binding are black cotton twill.
Construction Probably a 5-6 panel pattern, but as the corsets get larger in size, the number of boning channels increase (the number of panels do not increase, but the boning channels make it look as though there are more panels). The seams between the panels are reinforced by sewing twill boning channels to both the outside and the inside of the seam, completely covering/ sandwiching it.
Binding Bias strips of black twill, neatly machine stitched on outside and inside. No garter tabs.
Waist tape 1-inch wide black twill tape is exposed on the inside of the corset, anchored by the seams/ boning channels.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 5″ wide and finished in black twill. Unstiffened and stitched to the corset on one side (easily removable).  No modesty placket in front.
Busk 8.5 inches long with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Slightly wider and slightly stiffer than a standard flexible busk (this one is about 3/4″ wide on each side).
Boning 14 total bones not including busk (7 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, single boned on the seams. Two 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side. This is ONLY for the size 22″ (larger sizes have more bones, contact Orchard Corset for more info about other sizes).
Grommets 16 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly (about 1 inch apart) and they are holding in well.
Laces Black flat nylon shoelace style lacing, 1/4″ wide. Slightly springy but very difficult to snap. Long enough and comfortable to hold when lacing up.
Price The smaller sizes (up to size 32″) is $65 USD, and the full-figure sizes (up to size 40″) is $69 USD (as of 2016).
Use CORSETLUCY to save 10% off your entire order! (This is a coupon, not an affiliate link.)

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The CS-201 waspie replaced Orchard Corset’s older style CS-301 cincher. I am personally cool with this, as this 201 waspie is more curvy, more comfortable, has better quality construction, and basically I like it better all-around. It contains more bones (and the number of bones increase as the corset size increases!) so it doesn’t have the fabric-buckling issue that the old CS-301 did, and it had more panels which means a smoother form around the body. If you have a very short torso but you also want a cool, breezy mesh corset to wear in hot climates or during the summer, this is your answer – I haven’t come across any shorter mesh pieces on the market!

Brittney models the CS-201 mesh waspie. Photo: Orchard Corset.
Brittney models the CS-201 mesh waspie. Photo: Orchard Corset.

The center front dips down into a small point but still lays relatively flat against my abdomen. If you don’t have any lower tummy pooch (or if you only have a small one), the corset should fit – but if you have a longer torso or if you have a larger, lower hanging tummy, you may prefer to try Orchard’s mesh CS-426 longline corset instead which provides more control of the lower abdomen. That said, I have tried this corset under form-fitting dresses and the point did show through a little more compared to other corsets that are cut more straight across along the bottom edge.

Keep in mind that these mesh-style corsets don’t last forever – if I’m wearing a mesh corset on a regular basis in the summer, I can expect it to wear out within a couple of months – this is true of all “fishnet” style mesh corsets, regardless of the brand, so it’s not a strike against Orchard Corset – it’s the nature of the fabric. The CS-201 corset is available in solid fabrics as well (black cotton and black satin) if you prefer your corsets to be a little more sturdy and last a bit longer.

Use my coupon code CORSETLUCY for 10% off your entire order – this is a discount, not an affiliate code! I get no payment from people using this code.

Learn more about the CS-201 corset here on Orchard Corset’s website.

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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.

*

 

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.

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Restyle Wide Hip Corset Review

Black Brocade longline underbust by Restyle, $52

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

Restyle Quick Stats

Fit, length Center front is 12 inches long, the princess seam (under the breast to top of the lap) is 9 inches long, with about 4 of those inches from the waist up. The side seam is 12 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 11.5 inches because it sweeps up at the bottom edge slightly.  Circumferential measurements: waist is size 23″ (label is size 22), underbust is 28 inches, high hip (iliac) is 35 inches, and the low hip at the lap is about 36 inches.
Material Fashion fabric is polyester black brocade (but it’s also available in matte black cotton), the strength layer is black cotton bull denim.
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 taper in the lower front, and most of the curve of the hip is in panels 3-4.
For the construction, the fashion fabric and strength fabric have been tightly fused and the corset was constructed like a single layer corset. Panels were lock-stitched, and double boning channels were made with internal strips of black cotton twill over the seam allowances.
Binding Bias strips of black cotton twill, machine stitched on outside and inside. There are also 4 garter tabs (2 on each side).
Waist tape Waist tape has been added to all Wide Hip corsets as of May 2015.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 6.5″ wide (will cover a back gap up to 4.5 inches wide) and finished in the same black brocade as the fashion fabric. It is unstiffened, and stitched to one side of the back of the corset (can be removed if desired). 1″ front modesty placket under the busk, finished in black brocade and stiffened slightly with buckram.
Busk 10.5 inches long with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Wide heavy busk (1 inch on each side). It sounds like there’s a buckram reinforcement around the busk.
Boning 24 total bones not including busk (12 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 24 grommets total, size #00 with a small/medium flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, about an inch apart.
Laces Black flat shoelace-style laces, slightly springy, but not annoyingly so. They slide through the grommets, but I find that they snag more than flat laces.
Price About €42 on the Restyle site, which converts to around $50 USD.

This corset has added a new price bracket to the market of fairly decent OTR corsets, offering a curvy longline corset for close to $50 USD. It’s what I call a “longline corset for a short-waisted person“, offering some hip coverage and lower tummy control while not being so long that it causes more petite wearers problems with underwire entrapment or problems sitting down. For someone with a longer torso like myself, you may find that the “underbust” line of the corset stops a few inches short of your true underwire point.

The silhouette is quite curvy, and has a slightly conical ribcage. I am not able to completely fill all the space at the high hip due to my natural body shape, so there is a “pocket of air” between myself and the corset. For this reason, I say that this style corset is excellent for people who have naturally prominent hip bones or a high square hip shelf – I can’t imagine how this corset would ever press into the high hip!

When I got this corset in 2014, the corsets didn’t have a waist tape included and they also had a tendency to run slightly large (at least 1 inch bigger at the waist than the label) however this has since been rectified, and the owner Ewelina now says that all wide hip Restyle corsets come with an internal waist tape and they are checked for accurate sizing these days.

Ewelina also says that the corset is suitable for waist training or daily wear, with a two-year guarantee. As of 2016, Restyle has since added some new styles, both in the popular Wide Hip (denoted by WH) style and also in a new “CU” corset style, which I have yet to review. Find the Restyle corsets here.

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Can you Layer your Corsets?

Not long ago I received some questions regarding whether you can wear one corset on top of another, for greater control or more “effective” thermal conductivity. I’m presuming this question was actually inspired by Jessica Alba’s mysterious “double corset” from 2011 (which is now presumed to be two elastic garments, not two genuine corsets).

It is technically possible to layer one real corset on top of the other, but I don’t see the functional benefit because:

  •  corsets come in all levels of thickness and rigidity (the soft mesh corsets from Orchard Corset being the most flexible I’ve experienced, and the waist training corsets from Contour Corsets being the most rigid I’ve experienced – both with their advantages and disadvantages).
  • putting one corset on top of another is likely to increase bulk around the waistline, not decrease it.
  • layering corsets is not likely to improve the fit or comfort – on the contrary, it may worsen the fit of the corset by putting too much pressure on the ribs and hips.
  • if the corset underneath has a more delicate fashion fabric, there’s a risk of that fabric being damaged by the friction of the corset overtop.

Some corsetieres and designers may layer a cincher or a yoke on top of a corset as an accent piece, but this is more an aesthetic motive rather than a functional one – and these are typically custom made to fit perfectly overtop of one another.

But if you feel that your corset is not “strong” enough and you want more control, then you don’t need to layer your corsets – it’s just that the corset you have is not doing its job properly and it would be time to invest in a corset that has the rigidity and gives you the waist reduction you’re looking for.

Swiss Waists

In some fashion plates, you may see Victorian women wearing something similar to a waspie or underbust corset over their dresses – these were not real corsets per se; their real corsets were still underneath their clothing. The Swiss waist was simply an accessory to accentuate the waistline, usually in a darker color. Swiss waists may still have been lightly boned just to maintain some structure through the garment and keep it smooth over the bodice, but they weren’t as heavy-duty as a corset and not functional in the same sense.

Can you use a real corset as foundation under fashion corsets/ bustiers?

Absolutely – I’ve seen this a lot at conventions. Almost every costume shop stocks cheap, plastic boned fashion corsets that may be cute and interesting (especially the superheroine themed corsets around Halloween) but in my opinion, those are not the most comfortable garments. Once the plastic boning begins to warm to the body and soften, they may begin to warp and kink, poking into the body and collapsing in places which (at least on me) can create what looks like rolls on my body where rolls never existed before! By wearing a more structured, higher quality corset underneath, this provides support for the bustier and as well as protection for you against any rogue plastic bones threatening to poke you in the side. Note that the bustier is not as strong as a genuine corset, and don’t be surprised if the lacing in the back is a mess (see my video below).

A real corset almost always looks better (in my opinion) but using a cheaper garment over a higher quality corset may be a more cost-effective solution for those with smaller budgets – and corsets can transforms costumes instantaneously.

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Do Corsets Carry any Health Risks?

corset_carrot

I can and have talked for hours on this subject, but writing a dedicated article on corset health risks is undoubtedly going to open a can of worms.

Not surprisingly, I get this question a lot. When I look at my site search term referrers for the past month alone, I see:

  • dangers of waist training
  • is waist cinching dangerous
  • risks of corset waist training
  • waist trainer dangers
  • the dangers of corsets
  • health risks corsets
  • waist training risks
  • is waist training bad for you

If you search for any of these terms and happen to click on an online newspaper column or a fitness blog, they will probably parrot the same horror stories and urban legends that have been repeated for the past century – ever evolving, like a game of broken telephone.

In a previous article responding to BBC’s “Hidden Dangers of the Victorian Home”, I explained how other clothing generally considered acceptable today, especially high heels, can pose risks in certain situations.

In the interest of keeping this post short, I won’t go into specifics about every single corset-related ailment ever uttered; if you are interested in learning how the corset may affect specific systems, the Physical Effects of Corseting series is there at your disposal. You’re welcome to watch the playlist on Youtube or read the corresponding articles in this section of my site. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet, but my biochemistry degree has  given me a fair understanding of how the body works, and taught me how to do proper research.

Any time someone asks me whether corseting is dangerous, I will always tell them the same thing: if you are already in good health, if you invest in a well-made corset that actually fits your body properly, and if you are responsible about how you use the corset, then danger can be minimized. But one time a reporter tried to get me to state that I believe corsets pose zero risk. No. Even as a regular lacer and a proponent of corsetry, I will never say that corsetry poses zero risk. There is a risk with everything. Let me explain:

Carrots pose a risk to your safety

I’m sure most dieticians would tell you that carrots are very healthy, but my aunt spontaneously developed a fatal allergy to them while pregnant with my cousin (she had been able to eat them all her life, then one day she went into anaphylaxis from them). One of my friends in university once accidentally inhaled a baby carrot and it lodged in his throat.  In both situations, they were home alone. Had they not been able to take proper action in time, carrots could have killed them.

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I was chopping a carrot into sticks, and it rolled out of place and I ended up slicing my finger open! I was lucky – had the knife been sharper, had the angle of the knife been different, or had I dropped the knife, I could have lost a finger or hit a larger blood vessel and bled profusely. Sounds ridiculous, but accidents happen every day.

Everything (even corsets and carrots) comes with risks, but it depends on what conditions you’re already predisposed to (e.g. my aunt’s allergy) and it depends on how responsibly you use it (e.g. in the case of my buddy who choked due to user error). And in the case of my slicing my finger open chopping carrots? Well, the slicing was really done by the knife, and caused by myself (also user error) – not the carrot. It didn’t stop the carrot for taking the blame, though. To this day I hate chopping carrots, although I’m fine with using a sharp knife to cut up other food. Both my friend and my aunt avoid carrots, for obvious reasons. Had carrots not been so ubiquitous, I might have thought that carrots were killers, as so many think of corsets today.

Exercise poses a risk to your safety

There are tales of CrossFit athletes developing rhabdomyolysis (this is the disintegration of muscle fibers causing an influx of myoglobin carried through the circulatory system), which can overload the kidneys, and in some situations cause kidney damage or failure and the need for emergency dialysis.

Weight lifting can cause hernias, it can cause uterine/vaginal prolapse in women, and with poor form it can lead to broken bones or ruptured tendons.

People who were otherwise completely fit and healthy have been known to suddenly die of heart failure in the middle of sports or running, due to a previously asymptomatic and undiagnosed congenital heart condition.

I am not saying this to vilify carrots or any type of exercise. I have always stressed that a healthy lifestyle is not without proper nutrition and exercise. But it would be irresponsible to say that anything in this world, no matter how common or how seemingly innocuous, comes without risk. Water has risks. Heat and cold have risks. Corsets have risks too.

When you use the right tools, when you go about it with proper form, when you are responsible and you accept your body’s limitations, that’s when your risks are minimized.

For almost everyone, the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks. And for many people, for instance Sasha who survived a motorcycle accident, corsetry becomes a necessary medical tool and increases one’s quality of life – and the benefits outweigh the risks.

What are some negative risks or dangers associated with corsetry?

Here are real stories that I have heard first person from modern corset wearers (not urban legends from long ago):

  • Some find that their blood pressure can become elevated while they’re wearing a corset (although those with chronically low blood pressure have found this to be beneficial for them)
  • Others find that if they have uterine prolapse, that the pressure from the corset makes it uncomfortable.
  • In my case, a corset that is not properly made to fit me can end up pressing on a superficial nerve on my hip and causing pain, tingling or numbness in the area (although this doesn’t happen with a custom corset designed to fit me; and other people who don’t have this asymmetry do not seem to have this issue).
  • Wearing a corset regularly (especially in the heat and without a liner underneath) can potentially cause skin problems which can become worse if you don’t treat it properly and take a break from the corset.
  • Some report slight constipation (although another chronically constipated person had reported becoming more regular since the use of corsets; results vary).
  • Other individuals have experienced headaches or acid reflux (although Sarah Chrisman reported reduction in her migraines and reflux, interestingly).
  • I have also legitimately opened my closet door and had a pile of corsets drop on me before.

What are some positive risks or benefits associated with corsetry?

There is an entire section of my website called Corset Benefits that is dedicated to collecting the positive stories and benefits people have experienced since they started using corsets. It’s three pages long; covering physical, mental, emotional, societal and economical factors.

Corsets are not made for everyone, just as certain types of shoes are not made for everyone. If you have certain health conditions (including but not limited to) hypertension, certain types of hernias, or conditions that cause gastrointestinal inflammation (irritable bowel, Crohn’s, colitis, etc), you may find that certain risks outweigh the benefits. This is why I will always say to talk to your doctor if you would like to use a corset for any reason, whether it’s for fun or aesthetic reasons, whether you are waist training, or whether you wear the corset for therapeutic purposes.

Talk to your doctor.

I put that in the largest font WordPress would let me, because it’s extremely important. My family doctor, my chiropractor, and even my dentist all know about my corsets. I have also had my chiropractor take an x-ray of me while wearing one of my corsets. I’ve also had the opportunity to show some of my corsets to a clinical psychologist, a psychotherapist, and several registered nurses to see what they think. Not one of these practitioners have told me to stop wearing corsets. Nevertheless, I still have my health monitored regularly because I want to do this responsibly.

I also invest in custom corsets that fit my body and accommodate my individual quirks (like the nerve that runs over my left hip) so they don’t cause me discomfort. I listen to my body: I put on a corset when I feel like it, and I loosen or remove the corset when I feel like it. There is nothing heroic about pushing yourself further than your body can handle.

So here I am, a corset cheerleader, telling you that wearing corsets does carry some risks. If you tell me that you plan to wear a corset or that you already wear corsets, I trust that you have already done extensive research on corsetry (from multiple sources), that you are aware of corset health risks or side effects of corsets (both good and bad), that you have talked to your trusted practitioner, that you have been given the thumbs up in your health (or that your health conditions merit the therapeutic use of a corset), that you are able to read and respond appropriately to your body’s signals and go about wearing corsets responsibly. If you haven’t, then you are putting the risk of user error into your own hands.

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Review of “Oriental Princess” Ensemble – Serinde Corsets

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Corsets Boulevard Global Curvy Overbust Review

This post is a summary of the “Corsets Boulevard Global Corset Overbust review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer. Unfortunately Corsets Blvd Global’s website was hacked so I have removed all links to it. This review is staying up for posterity.

Fit, length Center front is 16.5 inches long (due to the tabs that extend down in the front), the princess seam (where you see the highest part of the sweetheart of the bust) is 16 inches long, the side seam is 15.5 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 13 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24″, full bust is between 34-35 inches, high hip (iliac) is 34-35 inches as well, and the low hip at the lap is about 37 inches in circumference. The silhouette is relatively curvy, definitely a traditional hourglass.
Material Fashion fabric is black satin (but can be specially ordered in any color satin), the strength layer is black twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total). Most of the ease for the bust is in panels 1-2, and most of the ease for the hip is in panels 3-4. The construction is the “welt-seam” method, which is different from a normal topstitch. The corset is double boned on the seams, and sandwiched between the layers.
Binding Commercial strips of 1-inch-wide black satin ribbon (so it wasn’t folded under; the edges of the ribbon were left raw). There are 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape No waist tape (at least, none could be detected when I inspected the corset carefully).
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide (will cover a back gap up to 4 inches wide) and finished in the same black satin as the fashion fabric. It is unstiffened, and stitched to one side of the back of the corset (can be removed if desired). Unstiffened front modesty placket under the busk, again finished in black satin.
Busk 14.5 inches long with 8 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side).
Boning 24 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, making a total of 12 bones on each side.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, about an inch apart.
Laces Black round cord, it is small enough and slick enough to slide through the grommets, but I find that they snag more than flat laces.
Price £55 or around $68 USD
The Curvy overbust as it appears on Corsets Blvd Global's website. Click through to learn more.
The Curvy overbust as it appeared on Corsets Blvd Global’s website. Since the site was hacked, I have removed all links to it.

This corset is definitely one of the least expensive overbust corsets for curvier wearers, offering a 10-11 inch bust spring, and a 13 inch low hip spring. This brand also offers a large range sizes for this corset, from 18″ up to 40″.

I also appreciate how high the corset comes up over bust, and continues high around the sides to control my “armpit squidge”. In the back it comes down a little lower, but not so low as to accommodate very low-back dresses.

The busk keeps my tummy flat, and doesn’t seem to bow outwards. Having 8 loops and pins, it’s one of the longest corsets I’ve tried to date!

The one feature I wasn’t crazy about are the flaps in the bottom of the center front which are not supported by any steel so they can bend upwards (and therefore don’t offer much in terms of function or support). I believe these to be a nod to the antique Edwardian suspender corsets, but obviously the suspenders/ garters were omitted in this style so the flaps is a bit “vestigial”.

Other overbust corsets of equivalent curve (and support for large cup sizes) tend to average around $300 USD, even for ready-to-wear. Yes, the satin of this piece isn’t quite as lush, and the stitchwork isn’t as pristine as the other brands — don’t expect this piece to live up to the standards as the others — but at its current price, it’s filling a place in the corset industry that other brands aren’t.

I wouldn’t personally waist train in this corset, due to the apparent lack of waist and due to the construction method causing one bone out of each pair being essentially held in by the satin fabric instead of being securely sandwiched into a denser weave cotton (there may be a risk of a steel bone popping through the fabric if this is worn daily for weeks or months). But it would be great for occasional use, special events, and possibly to use as occasional relief from a heavier bust.

On the Corsets Blvd Global site, this curvy overbust in black satin is named the “Keira” corset, and if you get it before February 15, 2016, it will be £55 or around $68 USD currently. Unfortunately Corsets Blvd Global’s website was hacked so I have removed all links to it. This review is staying up for posterity.