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Serindë Short Hip Fan-Lace Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Serindë Short Hip Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is a standard-size 22″ by Serindë: the underbust is 27″, waist 22″, hips 32″. Center front length is about 10.5 inches, the princess seam is 9″ long and the side seam is 8.5″ long. I consider this corset to have a short hip (not longline) and is a moderate hourglass silhouette.
Material 3 main layers: outer layer is gorgeous heavyweight burgundy brocade, strength fabric is coutil, and a lightweight plain black cotton floating lining.
Construction 6 panel pattern, with seams (and bones) converging in the bottom center front. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers, with both bones on one side of the seam.
Binding Black satin bias tape, machine stitched on the outside and inside (top-stitched on both sides). No garter tabs.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel is about 4″ wide, boned in a criss-cross fashion with two bones, and suspended on the laces. 1/2″ wide modesty placket on knob side of the busk.
Busk 9 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 5 knobs and loops (the lowest two are a bit closer together for control over the lower tummy).
Boning 24 bones total (12 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide spiral steels, double boned on all the seams. There is a flat steel on either side of the busk as well, and two flat steels sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets 24 two-part Prym brand eyelets, size #0 (5mm), large flange, held in strongly. Set a little closer together at the waist. Good wide washers; no splits on the back.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in black.
Embellishment Decorative fan-lacing drapes across the front, with silver hardware and black ribbon – skillfully done, as it lies smoothly across the body when worn!

This lovely short underbust from Serindë was made last year, just before I launched the 30,000 subscriber giveaway – some of you may even remember the corset from that video! Serindë was also the corsetiere who kindly gave her time and efforts to create the corsets for the three winners of that giveaway.

This is the third corset I’ve reviewed from Serindë and her corsets are consistently high quality – even though her standard sized underbust pattern is tight for me in the ribcage, the construction is flawless – the fabric lays smooth over the body; and she typically chooses just one or two focal points for embellishment on each piece so her work is never boring, but never overdone. The decorative fan-lacing featured on this corset is expertly 

Such a short-hipped corset feels almost like a cincher to me, and the moderate silhouette lends itself well to back and posture support, allowing good mobility and sitting for long periods, and matching fairly well with a good chunk of my wardrobe as burgundy is one of my favourite colours. If this corset had been custom-drafted to fit my ribcage better, that would be the only improvement I could see.

If you would like to learn more about Serindë and her work, be sure to check out her Facebook page here, or her Etsy page here!

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Interview with Sarah Chrisman of “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself”

In March 2014, after the blogger conference at Orchard Corset headquarters, some friends and I took the ferry to visit Port Townsend and stay with Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman. For those who don’t remember, Sarah Chrisman is the author of “Waisted Curves”, which I had reviewed last year. Since then, the corset has been officially published by Skyhorse and renamed “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself“. During our brief visit, Sarah gave us a walking tour of Port Townsend, allowed us to study her and Gabriel’s large collection of antique artifacts an read some original Victorian and Edwardian literature, cooked up a feast for my friends and myself, and sat down for an interview. It was a quick but packed weekend!

I enjoyed seeing first-hand Gabriel and Sarah’s ongoing life project; how they’ve already placed Tesla lightbulbs in their house and use oil lamps at night; they own a wood-burning oven and they are working on refurbishing a vintage ice-box to replace their refrigerator – which leads into their aim of eating locally and seasonally, growing their own food, and wasting as little as possible.

Below you’ll find the interview in full on my Youtube channel! Scroll down below the video to see the list of the questions.

  • It’s been several years since you’ve written your memoir; how has life changed for you since then? Has your book been received well?
  • Are you recognized more often in your hometown? When you travel? If so, do you enjoy being recognized?
  • Have any of your friends and family been inspired to use a corset after seeing your own personal journey? Have you found yourself becoming a mentor to others in lifestyle corseting?
  • What are some reasons that you and Gabriel love Victoriana and the Victorian way of living, or what important lessons could the layperson learn from this? (e.g. adornment, the mannerisms, a possible economic or ‘greener’ lifestyle, the tendency to mend/ repair instead of dispose, etc.)
  • It must be wonderful having a supportive partner who shares your tastes and passions. Who do you think was the instigator to move from simply ‘collecting’ antique items to really living as if you were in the era?
  • Has Gabriel experienced any personal growth during these years that you have been transforming?
  • If you had to pin down a specific year or decade where most of your style or your favorite pieces come from, what would that be?
  • You mentioned in your book that you used to do martial arts. Do you still do that? What are some of your other favorite pastimes apart from reading, writing and bicycling?
  • What are your ambitions for the future? Are there plans for a “Victorian Secrets Part 2”  in the future?

Huge thanks to Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman for their incredible hospitality and for kindly answering our questions!
If you’d like to learn more about Sarah’s book “Victorian Secrets”, find it on Amazon here.

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Tighter Corsets “Ref R” Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Tighter Corsets ‘Ref R’ Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 13 inches high, and the side seam is 9 inches high. A true Victorian hourglass silhouette, as this pattern is a modified version of Atelier Sylphe’s “Ref R” antique corset pattern.
Material 3 main layers: outer layer is “Beacon Hill” dupioni silk from Silk Baron; strength fabric is coutil, and floating lining is a cute printed lightweight cotton.
Construction 9 panel pattern, the first 6 panels are narrow and in the front. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers.
Binding Matching “Beacon Hill” dupioni silk bias tape, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel No back modesty panel or front placket.
Busk 12 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 6 knobs and loops, equidistantly spaced. Finished in antique gold/brass.
Boning 28 bones total (14 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide flat steels, single boned on all the seams plus extra bones in the middle of the wider panels. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well; the outer-most ones are 1/2″ flats.
Grommets 24 two-part grommets, size #0, large flange, held in strongly. Finished in antique gold/brass and set equidistantly. Good wide washers; some splits in the back but none catch on the laces.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in antique gold.
Price At the time I’m writing this, a custom underbust starts at $300 USD.

 

Ref R from Atelier Sylphe. Click to see the pattern.

The pattern for this corset is a very heavily modified version of the “Ref R” Jackson corset pattern sold in Atelier Sylphe’s Etsy store. The original version is a standard-sized overbust (seen right), while my corset had been cut down to an underbust with a high-cut hip. The pattern was also adjusted in length and in proportion for a custom fit, which I find very impressive – having done this in the past with different patterns, this can almost be more laborious than making a new pattern from scratch sometimes!

The embellishment in this corset is elegant and understated, which reflects a lot about the corsetiere’s skills (she’s confident enough in her work that she doesn’t have to make a corset “loud”). Each panel is accentuated with narrow piping made from foiled gold leather, which matches the antique brass hardware (the busk and grommets) in a beautiful way. The multitude of narrow panels, piping and the smooth Victorian hourglass silhouette elongates the waist while not sacrificing a decent reduction (this corset closes just short of 23″).

In the center front there are four tiny flossed arrows, which adds some further interest to the corset but doesn’t overwhelm it. April knew that I loved flossing (especially styles that venture beyond traditional Xs and Vs), and I trusted her to choose the style of flossing. I had also opted for a remote mockup fitting (seen left); April was very professional and pointed out little areas she wanted to tweak that even I had overlooked.

 

Mockup fitting for this corset
Mockup fitting for this corset, cut down and adjusted for my measurements

All in all, I’m quite happy with the outcome of this commission – the only complication was that the bones in the back by the grommets were on the flexible side (which was good as it curved to my lumbar spine and didn’t dig into my tailbone at all), but I simply had to switch the lacing method of this corset so as to increase the control of cinch around the waist – in all honesty, the flexibility of the back bones was less extreme than in many other corsets I had reviewed in the past, but April and I still discussed the cause of bowing and came up with some solutions to fix it in her future corsets; she’s very responsive to her clients’ concerns and eager to experiment and improve – I have nothing but positive things to say about the way April conducts her business.

If you would like to learn more about Tighter Corsets, be sure to check out her Facebook page here, or email her here.

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An Interview with Cora of The Lingerie Addict!!

Back in March 2014 while visiting Orchard Corset headquarters in Wenatchee, Washington, USA, I had the immense honour of sitting down with Cora Harrington, founder of The Lingerie Addict. In this interview, you will learn: 

  • How many years Cora has been blogging and how she got her start
  • From where or from whom Cora drew inspiration when she was just starting out with her first blog
  • At what point Cora felt that she was ready to move from the role of a hobbyist blogger to a full-time writer
  • The work that Cora is proudest of to date
  • What Cora does when she’s not being a Lingerie Addict
  • What to expect from The Lingerie Addict in the near future

If you’d like to learn the answers to these questions and more, see the video below!

Once again, huge thanks to Cora for taking the time to answer my questions and let me pick her brain – it has been a dream come true. :)
You can learn more about Cora and read her blog here at The Lingerie Addict.

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Stormy Leather Lombard Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Stormy Leather Lombard Overbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 16 inches high, and there are adjustable shoulder straps so there is no real point where the bustline “peaks”. Measurements of the size Small: Waist 22″, underbust 26″, full bust 28″, high hip (iliac) 32″. Gentle hourglass, slightly 18th-century-inspired hybrid.
Material 1 layer of unlined leather. While this corset does pull me in, the website mentions to expect the regular leather to stretch a couple of inches over time with regular use. The center-front panel is treated (patent leather), so less stretchy than the other leather.
Construction 5 panel pattern, very flat front. For assembly, there is nothing to flatline as it’s a single layer. Panels were stitched together, with internal cotton boning channels straddling each side of the seams for extra strength, while at the same time covering the seam allowances. Single boned on seams.
Binding Matching strips of leather, machine stitched on outside and inside (stitched in the ditch). Inside has a raw edge (normal for leather binding) but edges were not folded over, rather just cut off at the corners.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel is 4.5 inches wide, continuously boned with six 1/2″ wide steel bones. Finished in leather, stitched to one side. Front placket is a single layer of patent leather.
Busk 14 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 7 knobs and loops, equidistantly spaced.
Boning 10 bones total (5 bones per side). All 1/2″ wide flat steel bones, single boned on the seams, and in the back by the grommets there is only a single bone in the center back edge (not sandwiched on each side).
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, large flange, held in strongly, set equidistantly. Nice washers, grommet rolled on the back with no splits.
Laces The original laces were 1/8″ wide round nylon cord, too slippery and frustrating to use so I switched it out with some longer, gripper flat laces.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the silk/satin version is $380 while the leather version is $409.

 This corset was admittedly not purchased directly from Stormy Leather’s website (so I’m not sure about the quality of their customer service), but I had found this piece at discount from a previous owner and had verified that this was indeed a genuine Stormy Leather style. This corset intrigued me as it seemed to have a slight 18th-century-stays inspired style or silhouette – the very flat front, straighter bustline and conical ribs seemed to be a nod towards an almost “Marie Antoinette” style, and had this corset been made from a light-coloured linen or cotton, and tied at the shoulders with ribbons instead of buckles, this corset certainly would have passed as modernized, hybrid stays (it has more of a hip curve and no tabs at the bottom edge compared to reproduction stays). Nevertheless, the pattern of the corset didn’t work with my body.

For a relatively simple 10-panel corset, there is a lot going on in it: the leather gives it a tough ‘biker’ or nightclub look – yet if you choose, you can thread a pretty pastel-coloured satin ribbon through the decorative grommets in the front panel to soften it and create a juxtaposition. The shoulder straps are adjustable based on your body type and comfort level, and the incorporated roller buckles makes sure that the leather doesn’t get damaged from stress/ abrasion.

The continuously-boned modesty panel is one of my favourite parts of this corset, as it laid nice and flat as I was lacing up – it didn’t wrinkle or warp, and although I had quite a large lacing gap, I felt fully supported partially thanks to the structure of this panel.

If you would like to learn more about the Lombard corset, check out Stormy Leather San Francisco’s online store (NSFW).

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How much to Size Down, and why too-wide Corset Gaps are BAD

Last week we discussed how you can tell when you’re ready to size down, and what to do with your older, bigger corset – today we’ll discuss what you need to consider when choosing your next, smaller corset. You can watch the video below, or skip over the video and read the article – they contain the same information.

Once again, remember that sizing down is a personal choice – you don’t have to if you don’t want to. And as usual if you’re ever concerned with the idea of training down in the first place, talk to a trusted medical professional.

Stick with the same brand for your smaller corset, or try a new brand?

If you’re elated with the brand you previously owned, then by all means you can order from them again. This is especially beneficial if you’re ordering custom from the same corsetiere; you get to build a rapport with them, they are familiar with your body and they may be able to improve on any possible minor fitting issues that you may have had from previous corsets. Some of them also keep your pattern and notes on hand, and a few corsetieres also offer loyalty discounts for repeat customers – this is the great advantage to practicing brand loyalty!

But if you’re going with a standard sized corset, then just be aware that when you size down, you may have to order a curvier style.  Remember that as corsets go smaller in size, the underbust, waist and hips all get proportionally smaller, not just the waist. So if you’re sizing down in the waist but your natural underbust and hips measurements haven’t changed, then if you try to put yourself into a smaller version of your first corset, you might experience muffin top or flesh spillover; your hips might feel pinched and the bones in the back of the corset may twist warp as you try to close the waist while the top and bottom edges refuse to meet.

If these things sound familiar, it may be because it’s been covered in my “corset gaps” article with respect to the )( shaped gap – the gap that signifies that the corset is

Click the photo to see my seasoning series, where I talk about flaring in more detail.
If you are losing weight and find that the top and bottom edges of your old corset are loose on you when it’s fully closed, you can likely size down with the same cut and style.

not curvy enough for your natural figure and experience level!

However, there’s one situation that you may be able to stick with the exact same OTR corset brand and style, just a size smaller – if you have lost weight and you find that you’ve dropped inches all over (including underbust, waist and hips) proportionally, then the same corset may fit you in the smaller size.

Should I choose a corset one size smaller, or skip one and go two sizes smaller?

The amount that you size down depends on your starting numbers, whether you’re more squishy/compressible or more muscular/uncompressible, how quickly you’re reducing in size, and whether you’re combining waist training with a change in your meal plan or fitness regimen to lose a large amount of weight (or more accurately, volume).

Some reasons that you may want to go down only one size, or the equivalent of two inches:

  • if you are smaller or more muscular to begin with.
  • if you are training very slowly.
  • if you are maintaining your weight or body composition.
  • if your corset, when worn completely closed, feels still kinda snug but not tight; and you’re not able to feel a large space between yourself and the internal wall of the corset.

Some reasons that you may consider going down by two sizes, or the equivalent of 4 inches:

  • if you are larger and softer to begin with, perhaps with a natural waist size exceeding 40 inches.
  • if you may find yourself extra compressible and training much quicker than expected (you’ve closed your first corset within a month or so).
  • if you are ACTIVELY and steadily losing weight. (Note that this doesn’t count those who simply have intentions of losing weight and haven’t started yet.)
  • if the corset is literally falling off you, and you can put yourself plus both your hands into the corset, or pull your abdomen away from the internal wall of the corset and create a space.

It also depends on what you feel comfortable with. If you are not comfortable or don’t feel ready to size down two sizes, one size, or at all, then don’t! Nobody is forcing you.

Special considerations for those experiencing rapid weight change:

In the case of rapid and copious amounts of weight loss (or gain, but generally quick loss is the more common situation I hear about), if you have limited funds I would advise that you wait until your loss has slowed down to around 1 pound a week, or your weight has stabilized completely. One reason for this is that it obviously stinks to buy a corset and have it be too big even a month later, and another reason is that during a process of a drastic body transformation, not a lot of people can predict exactly where they’re going to lose the next inch. When you’re losing 10 or more pounds a month, over the course of one month you may find that you’re losing more from your breasts or abdomen, while the next month you might find your hips and bum are reducing – and in the case of such a close-fitting garment such as a corset, these small changes of just a few inches can drastically affect how a corset fits and feels.

“Mind the gap!”

A too-small corset (the gap is too wide, even if the back edges are parallel).
A too-small corset (the gap is too wide, even if the back edges are parallel).

The last topic is to please once again, mind the gap in the back of your corset when trying on your new, smaller corset! Even when you’re sticking with the same brand you trust (just in a new smaller size) you should still keep in mind the shape and the size of the gap in the back. As we discussed above: just because one particular corset cut worked for you the first time, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for the smaller size!

A new corset, when unseasoned and worn at a comfortable reduction, often has a gap of 2-4 inches if it’s designed to close completely in the back, or possibly a slightly larger gap of 4-6 inches if the corset is designed to always have a small gap in the back (which some corsetieres do draft for).

I know that a lot of people out there want to save money and they don’t want to keep spending money to buy smaller and smaller corsets, so even if they have a 35 inch natural waist, they might be tempted to buy a size 20”. But sizing down gradually is important for the corset to fit and be comfortable.

If the gap in the back is too large (more than 4-6 inches while you’re gently seasoning, depending on the experience level of the waist trainer), the corset might be too small for you in general or too advanced for your level. Even if a custom corset has all the measurements and curves to theoretically fit you perfectly when closed, you might not be ready for that kind of reduction on the get-go.

Why is too large a gap bad, even when kept parallel and true?

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 1.10.15 AM
The hips of the corset are angled too forward compared to my own hips. This creates a “pocket” in the front, and uneven pressure at the back of my hip.

With such a huge gap in the back, you may also feel tempted to lace the corset tighter than your body is ready for in order to minimize that gap faster, and you may end up hurting yourself, or damaging the corset, or becoming discouraged by what you feel is a relative lack of progress (or all three!). And if you end up breaking your corset and having to pay for a replacement or repair, then your waist training regimen may not end up being any less expensive than if you had sized down gradually with several different corsets.

Remember when you size down a little at a time, those old larger training corsets not necessarily a waste! See my last article on what to do with your old corsets when you feel that you’re done with them. 

I  hope this article and the last one helped some readers determine when it’s time to size down and by how much to size down. If you have any other tips and tricks to add, do let me know in a comment below!

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Orchard Corset CS-301 Waspie (Mini Corset) Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset CS-301 Waspie Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is about 8 inches high, and the side seam is 6.5 inches high. Hourglass silhouette. Waist is 22″, top edge is 26″ (whether that is the underbust or lower ribcage on you depends on the length of your torso), bottom edge (iliac crest) is 28″.
Material 2 main layers: Outer layer is black suiting fabric with a pile/nap and herringbone design, and lining is cotton twill.
Construction 4 panel pattern, panels assembled using a topstitch and is single boned with internal boning channels on the seams.
Binding Bias tape is a commercial black satin; machine stitched on the inside and outside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide partial waist tape, exposed on the inside of the corset on the side panels (panels 2-3). Unfortunately I don’t see that it extends through the entire corset.
Modesty panel 5.5 inch wide unstiffened modesty panel attached to one side finished in the same fabric as the rest of the corset. There is also an unstiffened modesty placket in the front, made of black twill.
Busk 6.5 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 3 knobs and loops, equidistantly spaced.
Boning 10 bones total (5 bones per side). On each side, there are three 1/4″ wide spiral steel bones, single boned on the seams. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well.
Grommets 16 two-part grommets, size #00, small to medium flange, quite sturdy. Finished in silver and set equidistantly. The washers are nice and large. The corset is laced higher than I would prefer, which is typical of Orchard Corset.
Laces Laces are 1/4″ wide nylon flat laces, a bit springy but difficult to break.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the price starts at $65 for sizes 16-30″. Starting at size 32″, the price increases by $1 per size, up to a maximum size and price of $73 for size 46″.
Not the same fabric style, but another pretty version of the CS-301 shown on the Orchard Corset website

The CS-301 is the newest cut offered by Orchard Corset, and it’s called the “waspie/ mini-corset” for a reason – it packs a surprising amount of curve for such a little corset! Because this piece is only 6.5 inches high at the side seam, nearly everybody (whether their torso is long or short) should be able to sit down comfortably in this corset – however, be aware that if you have any protrusion of your lower tummy, this corset is not likely to cover and pull it in, and indeed may make a lower tummy look more pronounced (if you would like to prevent lower-tummy protrusion, a longer corset will help, as well as a ‘tucking’ technique shown here). Additionally, if you have a fleshy torso like I do and you have a tendency of getting ‘muffin top’, you may want to consider a different corset with a higher back if you are interested in preventing this. However, if you have a ribcage that is the same size or smaller than your natural waist or you don’t carry much weight on your upper torso or back, then muffin top shouldn’t be an issue for you.

I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to try this (so far exclusive) design with the lovely plush fashion fabric, but in retrospect perhaps this was not wise in the context of a review, because I don’t have the ability to test their currently-available black satin version and see how well it stands up to the test of time. So while I will keep an eye on how this corset fares with use, please be aware that it may not directly apply to how the satin version behaves.

This corset is stocked from size 16″ to 46″. It starts at $65 in price up to a maximum of $73, but you will be able to save 10% by using the discount code CORSETLUCY . Be aware that I don’t earn a dime from this coupon code; it is simply a token of thanks by them to be used for any of my Youtube subscribers. Purchasing and additional information can be found on the Orchard Corset website here.

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Sizing Down in your Corset, plus What to Do with your Old, Bigger Corset

When you’re waist training, sizing down is a natural part of the process. Your first corset may be 4-6 inches smaller than your natural waist, but what happens if and when you “outshrink” your first corset, and you still want to train down further? How do you know when it’s time to get a new, smaller corset? Read ahead, or watch the video linked below (which gives the same information):

(Please note that sizing down is in the context of someone who is actually waist training; if you’re just an occasional corset wearer or you have no desire to size down, just disregard this post!)

When do I know it’s time to size down in my corset?

I suppose the question to precede this one is when do you know that a corset is fitting correctly before you even size down? We’ve discussed corset gap shapes and other fitting issues, but what about the size of your corset gap? A new corset that properly fits often initially has a gap of 2-4 inches (if it’s designed to eventually close completely in the back), or possibly a slightly larger gap of 4-6 inches (if the corset is designed to always have a small gap in the back, which some corsetieres do draft for). If you ever put a corset on for the first time, lace it loosely (as in the case of seasoning it), and it closes all the way in the back from top to bottom, your corset is probably too large to begin with and you need to size down immediately. Let’s say you’ve started with a well-fitting corset though, and you’ve been wearing it for several months. Today, for the first time, you were able to close your corset fully from top to bottom! Congratulations – do you go out and buy your next corset that very day? Not yet.

I would say that it’s time to size down when you can do one or more of the following:
  • you can easily and consistently close the corset every time you put it on, for at least a month.
  • your ability to close the corset is typically not affected by your menstrual cycle, water retention, small weight fluctuations or other natural fluctuations.
  • you can stick an arm down inside of the corset while it’s closed, or perhaps pull your abdomen away from internal wall of the corset while sucking in.

In the next post in this series, I will discuss what to consider when sizing down choosing your next, smaller corset. But for now, let’s discuss what you can do with your old corset that you no longer need as a primary corset:

What can you do with your old corset?

Can you alter your corset to be smaller?

Theoretically yes, but if you don’t sew, good luck finding a corsetiere who is willing to alter another person’s work. Many corset makers would rather make a new corset from scratch, rather than modify an old one – this is because if you want a “perfectly” altered corset that has no evidence of alteration, you’d have to:

  1. make friends with your seam ripper, and then:
  2. remove the binding
  3. remove the bones
  4. take apart the seams (and hope that the fabric survives this trauma as the seamlines are now perforated)
  5. likely cut through the waist tape (which weakens the corset), or put in a new, smaller waist tape
  6. reshape every panel (it’s not a good idea to do just one seam, if you want to ensure that the hips are not angled forward or backward in the end product)
  7. put the corset back together again, including reassembling the panels, adding the smaller waist tape, inserting the bones, and adding the binding!

Personally, I don’t consider this level of alteration worth the time or frustration when I can make a new corset in half that time! If you’re still interested in seeing how other people “took in” their corsets so they’re smaller, check out this video by CorsetRookie who sewed darts and pleats into his Axfords corset, although I should note that by doing this (especially in a thicker corset) the pleat may form a ridge or bump that can be felt when you’re wearing the corset and may result in pressure points. Another alteration walk-through by Snowblack Corsets shows her taking a larger WKD corset and cutting it down smaller and curvier, and adding embellishment like external contrasting channels and lace.

So, if you don’t feel like altering your old corset to be smaller, what can you do with it?

Click here to learn more about sleeping in your corset!
Click here to learn more about sleeping in your corset!

1: Use your old corset as a night/ sleeping corset.

If you have ever tried sleeping in your corset, you may find you’re the type who needs to loosen the laces a little when you sleep. So if you buy or make a new, smaller corset, you can designate the old larger one as a sleeping corset. Sleeping in a corset can be a bit traumatic to the corset (it can cause warping or abrasion) but since your old, bigger corset is no longer your primary training corset, you don’t have to worry as much about getting dander or oil on it, or if the satin fabric sees any thinning or wear if you’re rolling around and putting uneven pressure on it through the night.

2: Trade or sell your old corset 2nd hand.

If your old corset is still relatively good quality, you can sell it second hand or trade for a different corset! There’s a ton of old corsets sold on Ebay or Craigslist, and if your corset is more than 20 years old, it qualifies as an “Vintage” item on Etsy. There are also corset sale groups on Facebook, Tumblr, and my own consignment shop (the Bronze Line) as well. You can use the funds from selling your old corset to put towards your new corset! Before listing your corset, do some research into how much similar-quality corsets are being sold for. Presuming that your old corset is still decent quality/ wearable, then a 2nd hand corset will often sell for 50% – 75% of the original price (depending on who made it and how rare it is).

3: Cannibalize your old corset for materials for future sewing projects.

This corset had been sacrificed for hardware.
This corset had been sacrificed for hardware.

If your corsets are in poor condition and not appropriate for resale (and they don’t hold much sentimental value for you), then you can harvest parts of your old corset to be recycled in new corsets. Hardware like the busk and bones can be used over and over again for mockups or in future completed corsets as long as they’re not rusted or warped, and salvageable embellishments like large pieces of lace appliqué or crystals may be reused as well. You can also cut out the grommet panel of your old corset (making sure you leave a seam allowance) and you can quickly and easily sew that grommet panel onto all your future mockups and toiles, saving you time and grommets. There you have it – how you know when to size down from your current corset, and three suggestions of what to do with your old corsets. What are your requirements as to when to size down, and what do you do with your larger corsets? Let me know in a comment below!

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Xandriana Custom Tightlacing Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Xandriana Tightlacing Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 12 inches high, and the side seam is 9 inches high, back is 15 inches high. Modern hourglass silhouette – rounded over the ribcage and rounded over the hips. Slightly longline.
Material Outer layer is pale pink satin (might be satin coutil). Lined in white herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers, double boned (one on the seam and one in the center of the panel).
Binding Matching strips of pale pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is suspended on the laces and boned in a criss-cross fashion. A 1″ wide unstiffened placket in front.
Busk 11 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 6 knobs and loops, the bottom two a little closer together. Reinforced flat bones on either side.
Boning 28 bones total (14 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide spiral steels, single boned on the seams plus extra bones in the middle of the panels. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well, and two flats by the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part Prym eyelets, size #0, medium/large, held in strongly. Finished in silver and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Good wide washers, few splits but don’t catch on the laces.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in pale pink.
Price At the time I’m writing this, a custom underbust starts at $300 USD (suitable for tightlacing but not waist training). For a waist training custom corset, the price starts at $400.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was a bit of a serendipitous find. I had been meaning to try a corset from Xandriana for awhile, as one of my acquaintances (a previous client of Xandriana’s) had positive things to say about the craftsmanship.

So when I joined the Corsets On Sale group on Facebook and found another person who was selling their old Xandriana corset, with measurements very close to my own, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! The lovely pearlescent finish and the cheery flossing were even cuter in person, and I was pleased to see that the corset was not actually white, but actually the palest, most delicate shade of pink. I also liked the very high back of this corset as it provided excellent support while sitting at my desk, and it made muffin top virtually impossible. After uploading this video, I had the opportunity to talk with the corsetiere, and discovered that the flossing was actually done by the first owner of the corset.

Although this particular corset is not advertised for waist training, its construction is stronger than many other corsets out there that do claim waist-training-friendliness – one of my favourite features in this corset is the distribution of the boning. In corsets that are simply double boned on the seams, it can sometimes feel like the double bones make it “too rigid” in places, while there are vast spans of wrinkled, unsupported fabric between the bones. When you have one bone on the seam and one on the channel (as in this corset), the distribution is more even, which can help prevent pressure points on your body and prevent ugly wrinkling in the corset, resulting in a beautifully smooth and comfortable corset. The darker pink flossing in a clean V shape on the boning channels was also a nice visual touch, and highlighted the fact that this corset had quite even bone distribution.

This is a lovely little corset; the only changes I would make is to perhaps have the bones in the very back bow a little less – but as I am the 2nd owner of this corset, I know nothing of its previous treatment nor anything about the customer service from Xandriana.

Looking at the different  listings in Xandriana’s Etsy shop, it seems that the tightlacing underbust has only 1 layer of coutil, and a non-specific number of bones; while the waist training version has 2 layers of coutil and a guaranteed minimum of 26 bones, and more depending on the size and reduction. If you would like to learn more about the different options Xandriana offers, do visit her website here.

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Where to Buy Corset Dresses

This gorgeous plunge corset dress embellished with lace and crystals was designed by Viola Lahger (Sweden). Model: Insanitea Photo: Josephine Jonsson.

This post is a duplicate of the permanent page Guided Galleries –> Corset Dresses. The guided galleries are part of the corset brand research tools, which are designed to help prospective corset customers shop more wisely. This post may be out of date in the future, please refer to the permanent page linked above to get the most up to date information.

Beyoncé Knowles in a Thierry Mugler gold corset dress
Beyoncé Knowles in a Thierry Mugler gold corset dress

Corset dresses are highly specialized garments, which can be used for foundation under other dresses (such as those that Puimond provides for other designers to “build upon”), for weddings, or for clubbing / other fun events. They can act like combination shapewear, supporting the bustline and allowing the use of strapless dresses overtop (rather than using a strapless bra), cinching in the waist (instead of using a cincher), and smoothing over the hips (in lieu of a girdle).

Searching “corset dresses” on Google tends to yield poor results because many clothing lines simply offer dresses with boned bodices. True corset dresses (a structured garment where the back of the dress laces up the entire length) are sometimes not that easy to find, but they come in several variations which I’ll try to cover in this gallery.

*Corset makers, if you have made a corset dress and would like your work showcased in this gallery, please email me a photo of your best work and include a 1-sentence description and website or shop URL. Safe-for-work photos are preferred! Thank you!

A bride in Morùa Designs (who works in both the US and UK) shows off the back of her stunning corset wedding dress.
This floor length dress is boned down and laced to the knee, and expertly sculpted in true Bizarre Design fashion (Netherlands). Model: Dena Massque. Photo: Me-Chiel.
This gorgeous plunge corset dress embellished with lace and crystals was designed by Viola Lahger (Sweden). Model: Insanitea Photo: Josephine Jonsson.
Sparklewren (UK) is experienced in making incredibly smooth and ethereal custom corset dresses, here shown with detachable stole. What an enviable hip spring.
This floor-length corset gown by Royal Black (Austria) laces to the knee and is cut for serious curves. Model/styling: Červená Fox, Photo: Julian M Kilsby (ShadowFlux)
Bibian Blue (Spain) always has a selection of corset dresses in her various collections, like this Lys Ensemble with printed angels and handmade flowers, €695. Model: SINderella Rockafella. Photo/styling: Iberian Black Arts
KMKDesigns Located in MN, can make custom corset dresses to order in many styles, this mermaid style corset dress is made from blue silk with hand stitched lace and rhinestones.
KMKDesigns, located in MN, can make custom corset dresses to order in many styles; this mermaid style corset dress is made from blue silk with hand stitched lace and rhinestones.
Puimond (USA) makes awe-inspiring corset dresses, ranging from simple and sleek to highly customized like this ensemble estimated at $10,000.
This stunning corset dress with sheer fluted skirt by Persephone Corsetry (UK) won the Young Designer Award in 2014. Photo: Stuart McClay. MUA: SC Makeup. Model: Michaela Crompton
This stunning corset dress with sheer fluted skirt by Persephone Corsetry (UK) won the Young Designer Award in 2014. Photo: Stuart McClay. MUA: SC Makeup. Model: Michaela Crompton
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The Swallowtail Corset Dress by The Bad Button (USA) features a fully corseted form from shoulders to hips, while freefloating layers of silk gauze create the illusion of a wings when walking. Model: Samantha Jean Moore. Photo: Aesthetic Aperture
This sweet and lovely Lolita underbust corset dress features a full skirt to accommodate a blouse and petticoat underneath. By Skeletons in the Closet Corsetry (Netherlands).
This sweet and lovely Lolita underbust corset dress features a full skirt to accommodate a blouse and petticoat underneath. By Skeletons in the Closet Corsetry (Netherlands).
“The Love Warrior”, designed by Maison Moginot (France) with help from Mr. Pearl, is dripping with jewels. Model: Amanda Lepore
This audio-sensitive fiber optic dress lights up when the music gets loud! Designed by Rachael Reichert in NY, USA.
Contessa Gothique Design recently shared this radiant plunge, full-skirted corset dress – those curious to make their own can also read her 2-part tutorial on Foundations Revealed.
Stunning lattice-embellished corset dress made by Lace Embrace (Canada)
Designer Maya Hansen (Spain) always includes at least one corset dress in her collections. This one is modelled by Porcylin.
Red sweetheart corset dress with black lace appliqué, a custom design by Sweet Carousel Corsetry (Canada).
Scoundrelle’s Keep has four different styles of corset dresses, including overbust or underbust, long skirt or short. Currently shown is the Evangeline corset dress for $500.
While not likely available for purchase, I cannot complete a gallery of corset dresses without this piece by Ziad Ghanem (modelled by Immodesty Blaize, Fall 2010)
While not likely available for purchase, I cannot complete a gallery of corset dresses without this piece co-designed by Ziad Ghanem, made by Ian Frazer Wallace and modelled by Immodesty Blaize (Fall 2010)
This Jessica Rabbit inspired mini corset dress was designed by Orchid Corsetry (UK). Model: Miss Anne Thropy. Photo: Damona Art.
Atelier Sylphe (France) made this lovely zippered and ruffled creative corset dress, modelled by her client (Virginie).
Marvelous Mayhem (USA) makes both full-skirt and fitted custom corset dresses
Vollers Corsets has a few different corset dress styles, but my current favorite is this Veco floor-length custom dress for £950

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

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Electra Designs Longline Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Electra Designs Long Hip Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:


 

Fit, length Center front is about 11 inches long, 9 inches long. Wasp waist silhouette. Standard size 22T long hip underbust – the underbust is 28″, waist is 22″, hips at iliac creast is 33″ (which is where my iliac crest hits). Gives a flat profile (doesn’t make me look thicker from the side) and the hips are slightly squared instead of rounded.
Material Fashion layer is blue satin (fused to soft interlining); strength layer (lining) is cotton herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Many many sandwiched bones. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Black bias strips of satin, machine stitched on both sides and very tidy.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape invisibly secured between the layers.
Modesty panel No modesty panel came with this sample, but is available for a markup. Unstiffened placket in front made from a matching blue satin.
Busk Standard width flexible busk, 10 inches long (5 pins, the last two closer together). Reinforcing flat steel bone on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 steel bones (13 on each side), 1/4″ wide spiral bones on each seam and also in the middle of the wider panels. 1/4″ wide flat steel bones in front and back, and special lacing bones in the back (bones with holes drilled into them so the grommets won’t ever rip out).
Eyelets 20 in total, size #00 two-part eyelets with small flange; set equidistantly (they have to be because they’re set into a lacing bone); high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. Washer on the back is larger than the top-hat flange of the eyelet for extra support.
Laces Matching blue double-face satin ribbon, 1/2 inch wide. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up, zero stretchiness.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the standard sized long hip underbust with the gently-rounded top and bottom edges is $400 USD. You can see other style options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

 

A close-up view of myself in Electra Designs’ standard size long hip underbust.

This corset was a sample sent to me on loan so that Alexis could test the fit of her new standard size corsets, as a bit of a glorified mockup fitting – I asked her if I could also review this corset on my channel before returning the corset to her, and she graceously agreed. I believe Alexis had modified and updated her old standard size chart, modelling the new proportions off an average of her past many clients, and off her realistic Alvaform dress forms. I was very happy to try the new standard size corsets and find that it is slightly broader through the ribcage compared to the old standard sizes, so the corset holds in all of my flesh and doesn’t give me any ‘muffin top’ in the back. I would just need the corset to have a bit of a longer torso for it to fit very closely to some of my other custom-fit corsets! 

The flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I feel that this style of lacing would be excellent for those who have lordosis (swayback) as it doesn’t force the wearer to “flatten” the lumbar spine or hunch over. Additionally, I feel that this corset preserves my naturally flat profile and doesn’t make me look “thicker” from the side, the way that some other corsets do. Because the lacing bones are so flexible though, you must take care to tighten the corset with as parallel a gap as possible – otherwise the back may bow outwards at the waist, and look like “( )”.

As always, Alexis’ construction technique is extremely strong and definitely suitable for waist training – Alexis remains one of my favourite corsetieres and I look forward to commissioning her for a custom in the near future. At the moment she is busy creating a multimedia corset making instructional course, which you can learn more about on this page!

To see other styles from Electra Designs, do visit the official website here.

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How to measure your corsets with precision

For a detailed look at how I measure various corsets, see my in-depth tutorial below:

This is the third and final part to my OTR fitting mini series. In part 1 I taught you the various ways that an OTR corset company may share their fitting information (if at all), and the takeaway message from part 1 was to urge more OTR companies to display more than just the waist size – proportions are important too! Measurements of the ribcage, hips, and torso length all play a factor in proper fit, as well as the bust circumference if it’s an overbust corset.

In part 2 I showed you some case studies in determining if an OTR corset would at least approximately fit you. The point of this video is to show how to take your own body measurements and compare it with a sizing chart provided by your OTR company of interest – and really explain in detail why this exercise is so important. If you know for a fact that a corset is not going to fit your ribcage or hips properly for a given waist size, don’t waste your time and money! Move on and find a different brand that will fit you better. You will be more comfortable and your training will be better for it.

Here, in part 3, I will show you how exactly I measure my corsets. When I first receive a corset in the mail, I will take 5-8 measurements:

  • Circumference measurements: bust (if overbust), underbust, closed waist, high hip (iliac), and low hip (if longline).
  • Vertical measurements: center front, princess seam from underbust to lap, and sometimes side seam and/or center back.

I now log these measurements in the Corset Dimensions Directory, for everyone’s use. You can compare these measurements with your own measurements and see which corsets may fit best on you!

If the corset gets a lot of use, I may measure it again in a year’s time and see if it has stretched out at all.

Once you get the hang of measuring your corsets, it becomes intuitive: circumferential measurements should be perpendicular to the busk and back edge of the corset, or parallel to the waist-tape. Vertical measurements are always parallel with the busk or the back edge of the corset.  You may choose to measure your corsets several times and take an average, since the location of an iliac crest circumference or true underbust circumference may not be entirely obvious in some corsets.

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Where to buy Fan-Laced Corsets

This post is a duplicate of the permanent page Guided Galleries –> Corsets with Fan Lacing. The guided galleries are part of the corset brand research tools, which are designed to help prospective corset customers shop more wisely. This particular article may be out of date in the future, please refer to the main page to get the most up to date information.

Two variations of metal sliders for fan-lacing (suppied by Vena Cava Design)
Two variations of metal sliders for fan-lacing (suppied by Vena Cava Design)

Fan lacing may also be referred to as “Camp” lacing, “Cross” lacing, or “Cluster” lacing. Fan-laced corsets are relatively rare today, but they can be useful for those who have limited strength or dexterity. Fan-laced corsets differ from ‘regular’ corsets by their utilization of metal slides (usually, but not always!). These slides have grommet-like small holes on one end through which the laces are secured, and an adjustable serrated slot which grabs securely onto a grosgrain tape or belt. This allows the wearer to tighten their corset the same way that they would adjust a bra strap; simply by pulling on a pair of belts on either side of the lacing panel. For those who are unable to reach behind them and ‘pluck’ the individual X’s of the laces, a fan-laced corset may be just the trick for quickly and easily adjusting one’s own corset; for those with disabilities who use corsets for medical purposes, the use of fan lacing can contribute to one’s independence when dressing oneself. For those who would like a fan-laced corset as a fashion statement, you will find this page useful as well. Scroll down to see a gallery of corset makers who are experienced with making fan-laced corsets!

*Corset makers: if you have made fan-laced corsets and would like to be included in the gallery, please submit your best photo to my email here with a 1-sentence description and your website URL. Safe-for-work photos are preferred! Thank you!*

Functional Fan-Lacing:

The following corsets employ fan lacing to actually tighten and loosen the corset, rather than being used simply for embellishment. Scroll down the page if you’d like to see corsets which simply use fan-lacing for embellishment.

PureOne Corset Works in Japan has an entire line of fan-laced corsets in various styles.
Fan-laced medical-inspired corset by Contessa Gothique Design in Croatia
Fan-laced medical-inspired corset by Contessa Gothique Design in Croatia
Contemporary fan-lacing design by Lovesick Corrective Apparel in Canada.
Dark Garden (San Francisco, USA) custom Victorian underbust with
Dark Garden (San Francisco, USA) custom Victorian underbust with “cross-lacing”.
Alice Corsets in Ukraine made this beautiful pristine fan-laced corset.
Alice Corsets in Ukraine made this beautiful pristine fan-laced corset.
Lovely Rat's Quality Custom Clothing (Texas, USA) made this cute and feminine "meta corset", a fan-laced corset with printed corset fashion fabric.
Lovely Rat’s Quality Custom Clothing (Texas, USA) made this fan-laced corset with printed corset fashion fabric.
Fan-laced underbust corset by Serindë Corsets (France)
Fan-laced underbust corset by Serindë Corsets (France)
A gorgeous fan-laced corset made by Ivy's Custom Corsetry in the USA.
A gorgeous fan-laced corset made by Ivy’s Custom Corsetry in the USA.
AusAsche on Etsy has made this smart-looking men's fan-laced corset. (USA)
Tyler’s Chalk on Etsy has made this smart-looking men’s fan-laced corset. (USA)
This gorgeous fan-aced corset was apparently made by
This gorgeous fan-aced corset was apparently made by “CorsetWonderland” on Etsy, but unfortunately further information could not be found on it.
Cicatrix Design (New Mexico, USA) is another talented corset maker who has unfortunately been inactive recently, but still shares pictures of her lovely designs.
Tailor of Two Cities is a costuming company in Oklahoma USA, which is experienced in making various types of corsets.
Fan-laced underbust made by Jill of the Romantasy team in USA, $390.
Dark Knits Boutique in Edmonton, AB Canada offers custom overbust fan-laced corsets ($344 CAD)
Dark Knits Boutique in Edmonton, AB Canada offers custom overbust fan-laced corsets ($344 CAD)
Fan-laced custom underbust corset made by SparkleyJem in the UK (£180)
Fan-laced custom underbust corset made by SparkleyJem in the UK (£180)

 Decorative Fan Lacing:

The following corsets have a fan-lacing embellishment, but their use is not imperative to the actual function of the corset. Faux fan lacing can have a stunning effect on corsets, especially when contrast laces are used.

V-Couture in Germany has made this decorative fan-laced overbust with 4 non-adjustable slides.
Decorative fan-laced overbust by Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique in the UK, modelled by Twig (£140).
Decorative fan-laced overbust by Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique in the UK, modelled by Twig (£140).
BattieClothing in the UK has made this oxblood faux-leather underbust with non-functional fan-lacing (£260).
Oxblood faux-leather underbust with non-functional fan-lacing (£260) by BattieClothing in the UK.
Gorgeous silver underbust with decorative fan lacing, by Atelier Sylphe (France)
While fan-lace sliders were not utilized here, Anachronism in Action (USA) gets an honorable mention for her amazing fan-lace-like embellishment in this ensemble.

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

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Electra Designs Pointed Cincher Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Electra Designs Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is about 11 inches long, side length is about 6.5″ long. Wasp waist silhouette. Standard size 20T cincher – the low ribcage is 24″, waist is 20″, hips at the bottom edge is 32″ (which is where my iliac crest hits).
Material Fashion layer is black floral broche (strong in itself, but fused to a sturdy interlining to help it lie smooth); strength layer (lining) is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Many many sandwiched bones. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Black bias strips of satin, machine stitched on both sides and very tidy.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape invisibly secured between the layers.
Modesty panel Unstiffened floating modesty panel in the back, and unstiffened placket in front (made by the first owner of this corset, not by Alexis the corsetiere).
Busk No busk in this corset, the original owner had requested both front and back functional lacing.
Boning 36 steel bones (18 on each side!), an average of 3-4 spiral bones on each panel, plus flat steel bones in front and back, and special lacing bones in the back.
Eyelets 18 in total, size #00 two-part eyelets with small flange; set equidistantly (they have to be because they’re set into a lacing bone); high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. Washer on the back is larger than flange for extra support. In the front, the eyelets are set between two flat bones, unlike the special lacing bone in the back.
Laces Matching black double-face satin ribbon on the back and also the front. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the standard sized pointed cincher is $260. There’s a $60 markup for functional front lacing instead of a busk, and another $50 markup for double boning, for a total of $370. You can see the options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was purchased 2nd hand from my friend and corset double. The only difference between our measurements is that she is a bit shorter in the torso than I am, so where this corset would come up higher on her ribcage, it fits like a cincher on me and only nips in my floating ribs and waist underneath. This is Electra Designs’ standard sized corset from her old size chart, and it’s a little small in the ribcage for me, as I have a fleshy torso and broad back – but the hips fit nearly perfectly, I get no pinching or irritation in the hip area. In her newer size chart, the fit is close to perfect for me (which you will see in a future review!).

The flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I feel that this style of lacing would be excellent for those who have lordosis (swayback) as it doesn’t force the wearer to “flatten” the lumbar spine or hunch over.

The construction is remarkably strong and it’s sturdy enough for waist training – Alexis remains one of my favourite corsetieres and I look forward to commissioning her for a custom in the near future. At the moment she is busy creating a multimedia corset making instructional course, which you can learn more about on this page.

To see other styles from Electra Designs, do visit the official website here!

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Using Measurements to Predict the Fit of OTR Corsets Online

Way back on January 7th, I posted Part 1 of this 3 part mini series on fitting OTR corsets, wherein I discussed the different ways that some corset companies use to describe the curviness or the proportions of the corsets they sell. To summarize this first part, there are 3 main ways: the use of size charts; recommending that clients’ natural measurements be within a certain range; or discussing the rib-spring and hip-spring of these corsets. If this does not make sense to you, I recommend going back and refreshing yourself on these points.

This is important because corsets don’t have ease the way that other clothes do – for the most, part they’re not supposed to stretch. In fact, corsets can be said to have what’s called “negative ease” (instead of your body manipulating the clothing around you, the clothing instead manipulates your body).

My favorite way for corsetiers and businesses to display their information is through the use of a size chart, because I can see everything at a glance. But why is it so important to know the precise underbust, waist and hip measurements of a corset before you buy it? Why not just go strictly by the waist size? By making the most of the size charts you may be able to fairly accurately predict whether a corset is going to fit you or not, before you ever buy it or try it on. Let’s look at some case studies. If you’d rather watch the video instead of reading through these case studies, I won’t blame you:

Let’s take a look at my natural measurements:

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 8.07.14 PM

I take my measurements to the closest cm (or in this specific case, the closest half-inch). Bodies are squishy though, so there is an acceptable range for the corsets I wear – especially if the corset is designed to have a small gap in the back instead of being worn completely closed (many corset makers draft their pieces to have a 2″ gap in the back, so I accommodate for this in my regular range). For the upper range, this is the maximum measurement I can wear before the corset starts to look visibly baggy on me (despite wearing jeans, poofy clothing underneath etc. that fill out the space).

Now let’s go hypothetical corset-shopping!

Case Study A:

 Corset_A

The waist of Corset A is 22″. As an experienced corset wearer, I already know that I can wear a size 22” corset – it’s a 6” reduction, which is fine for me. A corset is supposed to compress the waist, but not the ribs and hips.

But the underbust measurement of Corset A is far too small for me! On a good day, I can perhaps tighten the top edge of a corset to 28” but it’s not comfortable for me. This corset has an underbust of 26”. No matter how much I try, it’s not likely that the top edge of the corset will ever close on me, and I can’t expect it to stretch out because corsets aren’t supposed to stretch. It will likely cause muffin top/ flesh spillover, and if I pull it too tight then it may hinder my breathing. This is NOT supposed to happen with a well-fitting corset, so this corset is not right for me.

The hips are a little small as well, but as it’s only 1 inch smaller than my natural hips, I will be able to wear it with a small gap in the back and it would still look fine. If I could go up one size in Corset A, then the circumference measurements would be (underbust 28″, waist 24″, hips 34″) and would fit my body much better, albeit not perfectly.

But it’s also important to look at the length as well! Corset A is 2 inches longer than my own torso. I would probably be able to wear it fine when I’m standing up, but if I sit down, then the top of the corset may push up on my bust uncomfortably, or the bottom of the corset will dig into my lap – it’s probably best to just pass on this corset altogether.

Case Study B:

Corset_B

This corset would fit reasonably well in the underbust and waist. If I try to close it all the way, it may create a tiny bit of muffin top, but it won’t be that uncomfortable on me. However the hips of the corset (being 30”) is too small for my own iliac measurement of 33”. Knowing my own body, trying to wear this corset closed will likely result in my hips feeling very pinched and they may begin to hurt or go numb.

I can tell from looking at the length of this corset (7″ tall) that it’s more of a cincher. It’s 4” shorter than my own torso. I don’t have a protruding tummy so wearing a short corset is not a huge issue for me, but if you have any lower-tummy pooch or a pendulous abdomen, then you may want to bypass this corset and try a longer one that you know will hold in your tummy better. I explain why you may want a longline corset for low tummies in this video.

Case Study C:

Example corset C

I can immediately tell from the measurements that this is a super curvy corset! I know this because by the numbers, the ribcage is 8″ larger than the waist, and the hips are 12″ larger than the waist. The waist and the length measurements are fine for me, but both the underbust and the hips will be too large (larger than my wearable range). I would likely be able to close this corset right away from the first wear, and will still have room to spare in the ribs and hips – they’ll be gaping away from my body. In this situation, I don’t necessarily have to go with a different style, but I might want to try going a size down:

Corset C_size_smaller

Here is Corset C except a size 22″ instead of size 24″, and it looks like we hit the jackpot! Here is a standard sized corset that fits my natural measurements reasonably well in all four areas. If, however, I have no desire to go down a size and make my waist smaller, then I will need to find a different corset that is less curvy, and my search will continue.

When you’re shopping for an OTR corset, read everything you can on the website. Look for a size chart or fitting notes; and if you don’t see it, then email and ASK customer service if they have the proportions of the corset you’re looking to buy! Be sure to check out my Corset Dimensions Directory, where I have measured almost all of the standard sized corsets I’ve tried and logged their measurements so you can do this same fitting practice: use your own natural measurements, and compare them to the corset’s measurements. Try to find a brand and size that fits your ribs and hips within one inch!

I hope these case studies showed you how important it is to know the underbust, waist, and hip circumference measurements, as well as the length of the corset. In part 3 of this mini series, I will show you my own method of fairly precisely measuring my corsets – you can use this method to  corsets that you own as well, and we can share sizing information with one another in the Lace-Base.

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Versatile Corsets Foxglove Underbust Review

Foxglove Blue underbust corset Versatile

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

 

Fit, length Center front is about 13.5 inches long, from underbust to the lap at the “princess seam” (the side-front) is 12.5 inches long. This is one of the longest corsets by Versatile, appropriate for people with long waists or tall stature. Longline corset, covering the hips and controlling the lower tummy.A bit conical through the ribs, but the hip ties allow for a dramatic hip spring. The underbust is about 6″ larger than the waist, and the hips can be expanded from 7-16+ inches greater than the waist. This corset is also available as a custom-fit option.
Material 2 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton white twill (although custom commissioned corsets from Versatile will contain herringbone coutil lining). Fashion fabric is hot pink dupioni silk (interfaced for strength), and a pretty patterned Thai silk in the center front (the large motif expertly matched).
Construction 6 panel pattern. Twill lining is flatlined/rollpinned to silk fashion layer; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), sandwiched boning channels between strips of fabric and the lining. The fashion layer is mostly a floating layer. Also contains 8 garter tabs (4 on each side).
Binding Made from bias strips of printed Thai silk to match the center front panels. Machine stitched on outside and inside.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape exposed on the inside, sandwiched between two main layers of material.
Modesty panel Attached 7.5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in matching pink silk, stitched on one side of the corset. Unstiffened placket under busk made from matching Thai silk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins, equidistantly spaced), reinforced with a flat steel bone on each side.
Boning 22 total bones not including busk, all flat (spring) steel bones. On each side they are double boned on the seams (1/4″ wide), 2 sturdier flats sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces 1/8 inch wide round nylon cord – strong, virtually unbreakable, not stretchy, glides well through the grommets and doesn’t catch, but they’re slippery.
Price Currently $329 USD for the standard size and basic fabric on the Versatile website. For the Candy Garden special summer version, it starts at $369

Final Thoughts:

This is part of a collection of reviews that I did for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. In addition to the Foxglove corset, I also reviewed the Dita underbust, the Snapdragon underbust, the Valerian overbust, the Scarlett overbust, the Lotus overbust and the Mimosa overbust.

 

Special “Candy Garden” version of the Foxglove corset (click through the photo to see this version on their website).

This particular Foxglove was one of a kind, with its hot pink dupioni silk, frilly trim and perfectly print-matched center front motif. For those who think there is too much going on for their tastes, the Foxglove underbust is available in solid colors without the frills or fun center motifs. Shown to the left is the special “summer” version, which, while not like the one I had modelled, features a gorgeous floral motif instead. This might be one of the happiest-looking corsets I’ve tried in person.

I found the length and the dimensions of this corset to be very similar to the “Nicole” corset by Vollers reviewed HERE, but this style is very gently swooping on the top and bottom edges instead of cut straight across, and of course the side hip ties are extremely useful for achieving a serious cinch in the waist while keeping the hips comfortable. Because of this, the corset is adjustable depending on your own hip spring, and may be able to fit a variety of body types regardless of your natural hip spring.

Do note that this corset is available as a custom piece for a markup in price – this means that you can have the corset made shorter, made with more or less rib-spring and hip spring, and also made with any combination of fabrics available. You can see the regular Foxglove corset on the Versatile website HERE, and the Candy Garden version HERE.