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Reflections on 2015, Looking to 2016

Some of the attendees of the North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium - photo credit to Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame

Every year I write a personal post about the accomplishments and challenges of the year, and what I look forward to next year. You’re welcome to read the reflections from 2014, 2013, and 2012.

This year was a big one, as I had spent nearly 2 cumulative months in travel. Additionally, I’ve been making Youtube videos for 5 years now, and have had the blog for 4 years. I admit that in the last two years my frequency in updating the blog has decreased considerably, but I do make an effort to post about the most important topics, some of which I’ll discuss below.

The first few months of this year were spent largely grinding with work, slowly recovering from my car accident from November 2014, and spending some time reading more about small business, productivity, and personal growth. I took a short course with Cathy Hay (of Foundations Revealed) on running a creative business which has revolutionized my perspective and given me the edge I needed to, say, hop on a plane heading halfway around the world with only a few days’ notice and follow my dreams.

 

Business and Website changes

Consultations had returned for the first half of the year, with the new Skype option being highly successful – but this was put on hiatus during the second half of the year due to my international travel and then going back to school. I hope to resume consultations next year on a limited basis during spring, and return to them full time after August with a new option for nutritional coaching once I pass my board exams.

In January the highly successful Before / After page was created, to showcase the success stories of corset wearers and waist trainers of many different shapes and sizes. Next year I plan to add even more stories, and update the success stories from the original contributors. It remains one of my most popular posts on my website today.

black-leather-hourglass-corset
The 2015 hourglass silhouette underbust for Timeless Trends, one of my major redesign projects this year.

In March 2015 I also gave my website a makeover, as well as launching my WooCommerce store. By August, the Hourglass silhouette corsets had been launched and it’s been a wild ride ever since.

This year I also had my name and logo officially trademarked which was an exciting step forward for my business!

Other highlights of this year included making a case study of 3 Wasp Creations corsets, giving an interview with Kitty from girly-girl’s osteotomy blog, doing a walkthrough for a bespoke overbust corset from Dark Garden, and discussing this year’s findings of the anthropological study on how corsets affected the spine and ribcage of impoverished Victorian women.

As always, the Lace Base and the Corsetiere Map continue to grow and improve. The Lace Base has now become a more interactive and easily searchable table, and its corresponding corset dimensions calculator has had more corset brands and styles added to it over the year. The Corsetiere Map has seen some corset makers go out of business this year unfortunately, but the trend is still slowly upward with the total number of makers now at 325 and counting.

 

Youtube videos

I admit that my Youtube channel has been relatively “meh” over 2015. With my accident recovery, my unexpected travelling schedule, and then school starting, videos fell on the back burner and that’s one regret I have this year. However, I completed my goal to upload at least 60 videos this year (in fact, I completed 67 public videos in 2015, for a grand total of 528 videos in the last 5 years!).

Included in this year’s videos were 22 corset reviews, 6 unboxings, and 7 interviews (if you include the written interviews with Rebecca Gibson and Kitty!)

 

Decluttering and confronting materialism

Over the past year and a half I have been indulging in a deep purge.  Even though I had moved house 4 years ago, I had to admit that I hadn’t fully finished unpacking those last few “miscellaneous” boxes, and I probably didn’t miss what was in them! I was one of the many people who jumped the KonMarie bandwagon around February. I read it twice, six months apart – and today I still find items I can discard or donate. To say that I’ve purged at least 25% of my total belongings wouldn’t be an exaggeration!

It was interesting to confront my relationship with material things, and how I value items differently depending on whether I had purchased them vs whether I received them as gifts, regardless of their price. I would say that I reduced my corset collection by at least 25% as well – and I had to admit that my pride of having a very large corset collection was interfering with my mental well-being of being constantly surrounded by just too many corsets. I got rid of a lot of my fabric stash as well – coming to grips with the fact that I am simply no longer interested in finishing certain sewing projects or costumes for which that fabric was originally purchased. I also got rid of a lot of my paper clutter, including the notes of my least favourite courses from high school. By selling my clothing to local consignment shops, I ended up making a few hundred dollars – and when I have fewer items and I spend less on trivial items, I don’t feel bad about upgrading the few things I really do use on a daily basis (like finally getting a new cell phone, after using a broken old one for 3 years).

 

Travel

This year I did a huge amount of traveling. In March I went to NYC with Mina of L’atelier de LaFleur for the Grand Corset Ball. Getting to meet Melanie Talkington of Lace Embrace, Cathie and Bob Jung (the Guinness World Record holder of the smallest corseted waist on a living person) and model/ activist Kelly Lee Dekay was an amazing experience.

In June I flew to Thailand to work with Timeless Trends on their new hourglass corset line, and to prepare for some future corset styles. Taking in the food and culture in Bangkok was incredibly eye-opening and humbling. It was two weeks of extremely hard work but I loved every moment of it, partially because of Sarah’s wit! Even when absolutely exhausted, everyday was full of laughter. I’m very grateful for Jim and Black’s hospitality and we’re already talking of planning another work trip in the future, and perhaps spend a bit more time to appreciate more of what the beautiful country has to offer.

LovelyRats
With Amber of Lovely Rats Corsetry

In July I spent three weeks in Texas, partially filming videos for TT, partially catching up with old school friends and partially spending time with Amber Welch of Lovely Rats Corsetry. During the couple of weeks with Amber, we filmed an interview, made a corset together and shared our corset construction techniques, and she introduced me to Steven Universe – after which point I became a barnacle on her couch and watched all the available episodes. Amber and I flew straight from Texas to the North American Corsetry and Lingerie Symposium in California, where we met so many amazing corsetieres from across the US, including Sidney Eileen (and did an interview with her here), Jasmine of Sin & Satin, Alisha of The Bad Button, and I saw many friends again including Jessica of Ties that Bynde, and Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame.

Some of the attendees of the North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium - photo credit to Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame
Some (sleepy) attendees of the North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium. Photo: Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame

 

After the Symposium, I spent a few more days in Los Angeles with model-photographer Zessinna, taking in a few of the things LA had to offer. We spent a day with Puimond (his interview can be found here), we went to Venice beach another day, and we went shopping in Burbank, known as being the shopping area for corsets and pin-up attire. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Disneyland, but I resolve to go one day!

I returned home for about three weeks in August. During this time I was able to squeeze in a corset commission and register to go back to school. During this time period there were also a few losses – including one of my oldest school friends who passed away after a long battle with cancer. It was a highly emotional time, but I had to push forward.

Hugging a tree somewhere near where Quidditch matches are held, with Joni of Rainbow Curve Corsetry
Hugging a tree somewhere near where Quidditch matches are held, with Joni of Rainbow Curve Corsetry

Later in August I travelled to England to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry (for my second year, and their third year running). Highlights of the trip included meeting Mr. Pearl and Immodesty Blaize amongst all the other wonderful corsetieres who attended this year for the first time, and seeing some wonderful people again like Lowana of Vanyanis, Cora of The Lingerie Addict, and Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden (the keynote speaker from the previous year).

After the conference was over, I spent a few days with Katie of What Katie Did which was a joy (see our interview here), and then spent my last few days in England down in Portsmouth with Ian and Corina Voller of Voller’s Corsets where I got to see their factory and interview them as well.

 

Returning to School

Only 4 days after returning home from my England trip in September, school started where I’m studying to become a registered Holistic Nutritionist – and have been studying ever since with a standing average of 98.9 % for the first quarter. While it’s prohibited to give away any specific details about the curriculum, I’ve been absolutely loving the material and coursework and I can’t wait to graduate and combine my new knowledge with my previous skills in this industry.

 

 

Looking to 2016: upcoming projects

In late 2015 I announced my upcoming corset benefits compilation book, which I hope will be ready by spring 2016 (so far, corresponding with 100+ contributors have been like herding cats!).

In 2016 I would again like to create at least 60 Youtube videos, although the majority of my time and energy will be in getting my book out and studying for the first few months this year.

I’m also creating another curvier design for Timeless Trends, which I hope will be in production by May (there’s a special reason that I want it completed by May!) and have ideas for at least 4 other corset designs, and depending on which are approved, some may be produced by the end of 2016.

Later in 2016 I will also be graduating from nutrition school, and I hope to travel more once my studies are completed.

I also hope to have more giveaway contests in 2016 compared to 2015; I’ve missed giving back so much and I want my followers to feel appreciated for their incredible support over this past half a decade.

Thank you all for sticking by my side – I am thrilled for what 2016 will bring. Do you have any exciting plans for 2016? Let me know in a comment below! <3

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Quick Corset OOTD (Holiday Stealth)

Some of you may find this outfit familiar, as I wore it in my “Washington Adventures” video in 2014 when I was visiting with Gabriel and Sarah Chrisman in Portsmouth, WA. (What can I say? It’s a comfy outfit!)

Obviously this is not “period accurate”, but rather a blend of modern and 1950s inspired pieces. I wear a lot of jersey knit shirts because they drape beautifully on the body, they can be machine washed and tumble dried, and they are almost impossible to wrinkle – so I especially pack these items when I’m traveling so I know they won’t crinkle in my luggage. This black tunic shirt is one of my favorites as it’s warm in the winter and it has long enough sleeves and waist to not allow cold winds to touch the small of my back or my wrists. The draped neckline can be worn off-the-shoulder (slightly boatneck) or it can relax closer to my neckline and look more like a cowlneck. I prefer wearing it off-the-shoulder as the broadness helps make my waist look even smaller.

Underneath I’m stealthing my conical rib Gemini corset (I was keeping it a secret at the time I made this video, as it wasn’t released yet!).

The skirt is the main attraction though; it’s a tea-length circle wrap skirt made in a heavy wool which is perfect for autumn and winter. Where “poodle skirts” tend to have a little poodle (or other) embroidery patch featured on the skirt, this one has an adorable inuksuk! The skirt was made by Ivalu, a company in Canada that employs the Inuit community in Nunavut. I’ve never been to Rankin Inlet, but I do hope to visit Nunavut some day (perhaps during summer solstice to see the sun that doesn’t set).

This entire outfit (with exception of the Gemini corset) was found second hand from Value Village. The skirt was about $14 and the shirt was I believe $5, during a 50% off special.

Are you stealthing your corset this holiday season? Let me know in the comments below!

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Corset Jewellery

Vanyanis Engraved Busk loop Jewellery

The corset has been the inspiration behind iconic photographs, songs, body piercings, and various other art pieces, but I’d like to take a moment and create a gallery to highlight some of the lovely corset-themed jewellery, accessories and adornment. If you have a corset enthusiast in your life and you’re looking for a holiday gift for them, perhaps these will give you a few ideas:

 

Corset Inspired Jewellery

LadyTigerLily modelling the tiny pewter busk earrings by Silent Songbyrd
LadyTigerLily modelling the tiny pewter busk earrings by Silent Songbyrd
Detachable busk earrings by Silent Songbyrd
Detachable busk earrings by Silent Songbyrd, worn as a double piercing in one ear

There are only 5 people in the world who own these tiny detachable busk earrings: Silent SongbyrdLadyTigerLily, RandomCorset, The Steel Boned Baker, and myself. Byrdi was the genius artist who created and cast these earrings in pewter – each miniscule busk peg made from the head of a pin, and each busk being unique so the corresponding half of each earring can only be matched to its partner. They can be worn with the busk half in each ear (as LadyTigerlily shows above), or if you have multiple piercings you can wear them together. Although they’re not available for sale currently, I’ve suggested that Byrdi market these someday, as they would make a lovely gift for corset enthusiasts – if they are eventually made on a larger scale, I suggest wearing them with your hair up! See the earrings modelled by us Youtube Corset Vloggers in our interview at Orchard Corset!

 

Vanyanis Engraved Busk loop Jewellery
Vanyanis Engraved Busk necklace and earrings set, $285 AUD

Another friend of mine, Lowana from Vanyanis, has created these beautiful pendants and earrings fashioned from her new line of laurel engraved busks, which are the only busks of their kind in the world. The busks are originally sourced from German Wissner busks, some of the finest quality busks made today – each busk loop is then individually engraved and the contrast black color set using a modern annealing process in Australia. Lastly, the busk loops are detached from the busk with the greatest of care and a jeweller attaches the busk loop to the jump ring and hung onto a solid sterling silver necklace or earring hooks. I find them to be a beautifully mysterious “understated statement piece”. Those who know what a corset is will almost immediately recognize the busk loops as they are, but those unfamiliar with corsetry will simply consider it an ornate keyplate. Amazingly, this jewellery supports four different artists – the busk maker, the corsetiere/designer, the engraver and the jeweller.

 

Spiral steel structured necklace by Forge Fashion
Spiral steel structured necklace by Forge Fashion

Abbey, the woman behind Forge Fashion in New Zealand, is a corsetiere, costumiere and jeweller who has had her works modelled by celebrities like Lady Gaga. She creates stunning and elegant pieces with extra spiral steel bones, like this necklace. Her Etsy store can be found here.

 

Vollers Corset armcuff
Vollers “Downtown” Corset Armcuff, £325
Vollers corset necklace / choker
Vollers corset necklace / choker, £325

Vollers Corsets have had corset-inspired jewellery for many years, made in silver by a local jeweller exclusively for the oldest corset manufacturer in England. They have busk-themed and lacing-themed bracelets, rings, necklaces and even little busk-loop cufflinks options, and these are not your delicate costume jewellery – these are substantial, as you may derive from the photos! Unfortunately these listings no longer appear to be on the Vollers website, but last summer I spoke at length with Corina regarding their themed jewellery and their availability – if you’re interested in any of these pieces, I would encourage you to contact Vollers via email.

 

Miniature jute corset pendant made by Too Sweet
Miniature jute corset pendant made by Too Sweet – recreation of the original work by Snowblack Corsets
Recreation of RetroFolie's "Mucha" corset - pendant made by Too Sweet
Recreation of RetroFolie’s “Mucha” corset – pendant made by Too Sweet

Too Sweet from Poland is an incredibly talented designer who makes miniature versions of her favourite corsets – featured here are recreations of Snowblack’s “My Secret Garden” corset, and Retrofolie’s pattern matched corset featuring Alfons Mucha’s “Primrose and Feathers” (which I particularly love, as it’s a pendant inspired by a corset inspired by a painting). See more of Too Sweet’s creations here!

Jewellery for your Corsets

"Carmim Passion" adorned cupped overbust, made by Ferrer Corsets in Brazil
“Carmine Passion” adorned cupped overbust, made by Ferrer Corsets in Brazil
Custom cup jewellery for Ferrer's "Carmim Passion" overbust.
Custom cup jewellery for Ferrer’s “Carmine Passion” overbust.

I’m in love with this jewelled corset by Ferrer Corsets. The Carmine Passion corset is a radiant red cupped overbust with gold busk and grommets, and amazing sparkling golden wire “flames” with attached red and clear stones adorning the cups. In the second photo you can see how each piece starts with a curved base similar to the underwire of a bra, with small loops to sew it to the corset. Each one is built up and made to curve smoothly around the cup – and of course, would be made to order to fit the wearer.

 

Detachable corset chain by Institut Corsetologie on Etsy
Detachable corset chain by Institut Corsetologie, £35
Detachable Corset busk charm by Institut Corsetologie on Etsy
Detachable Corset busk charm by Institut Corsetologie, £5

Institut Corsetologie has an Etsy shop that sells one-of-a-kind adorable ornaments to add bling to your corsets, including little hanging tokens that can be hung from your busk, or dangling chains of multiple charms. They are made with your corset in mind, and Miss K ensures that the non-sharp pieces won’t catch on the outer fabric for your corset.

 

Sarah Chrisman, author of "This Victorian Life" and "Victorian Secrets" wearing her Chatelaine
Sarah Chrisman, author of “This Victorian Life” and “Victorian Secrets” wearing her Chatelaine

While not a piece of jewellery specifically for the corset, the chatelaine has a long and rich history amongst Victorian women and have been used to denote the status of the woman wearing it. Indeed, “chatelaine” means “woman of the house” (derived from the French word for a house for nobility, chateau) and the woman was the keeper of all the keys! While at first a glorified keychain, the chatelaine was later used to hold sewing tools, perfume, and other small tokens and notions, sometimes gilded and jewelled. Even if a chatelaine became heavy, the support from a corset would help distribute the weight. There have been a several proponents for bringing back a variation of the chatelaine, allowing people to hang their clutches, wallets and handbags from their corset – with style, of course! See my 2011 video of how I made my own chatelaine, or pick up a copy of Sarah Chrisman’s newest book (where she describes how she made her own chatelaine as well), “This Victorian Life“!

 

Do you know of any other corset jewellery, or do you make your own corset jewellery? Let me know in the comments and it may be added to this list!

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There is Still Time to Contribute to the Book!

Kitty Lace Embrace Corset
Remember Kitty? She has scoliosis as well as a ligament disorder that caused her liver to drop. She wears a custom Lace Embrace corset to support her spine and lift her liver up into its correct position, and it accommodates her iliostomy bag. Click photo to read my past interview with her.

In case you missed the announcement on my Youtube channel last year:

I’m writing a book! 

Many of you know that I’ve received hundreds of emails over the past 5 years from corset wearers relaying their personal experiences regarding how corsets have been beneficial to them physically, mentally or emotionally. This was the original inspiration for my Corset Benefits permanent page. While this serves as a decent summary, I know that this can be taken a step further.

This book will be a compilation of first-person true narratives by the people who have been directly affected by corset wear – a collection of uplifting short stories that inspires readers and sometimes softens the heart, similar in sentiment to Chicken Soup for the Soul but only regarding corsets and corset wear. It will include experiences of people who waist train, tight lace, use corsets for medical/ therapeutic use or simply for fashion – it is for all people who enjoy corsets, no matter their context. My dream is that this book will be something that corset enthusiasts will be able to read and relate to, and perhaps be able to give to their loved ones to demystify corsets and remove the stigma.

Our industry has been so harshly attacked by bloggers and national news stations alike. Not least I have been personally attacked, had my content and research stolen without credit, had my photos and videos used on national television without my knowledge or consent and subjected to libel, with stories fabricated around my image. Instead of naming and shaming these naive individuals and corporations, I’m responding with love and compiling the amazing stories of how corsets have contributed to people’s quality of life.

Unfortunately, after not winning the draw for the free custom corsets last week, a couple of previous contributors decided that it was not worth it to them to participate in this project anymore – so I am looking for more contributors to take their place.

If you have an amazing corset-related experience and you’d like to be part of this project, please contact me via email and briefly let me know what you would like to write about. You’re absolutely welcome to talk about corsetry in whatever context fits your life.

What kinds of true stories are accepted for the book?

Here are some examples of true stories that may become part of the book:

  • Corsets as a driving force in finding one’s joie de vivre after menopause
  • The corset as a symbol of a woman’s independence and self-reliance after escaping an abusive relationship where her partner wouldn’t grant her essentials like clothing or food.
  • A corsetiere’s perspective about how unique the corset community is in their mutual support, compared to more cut-throat niches in the fashion industry.
  • Corsets used to correct PoTS and help stabilize low blood pressure
  • Corsets being used to correct pelvic tilt, which in turn corrected the writer’s knee and ankle alignment, allowing them to stand and walk again without pain
  • Several stories about how corsets have saved their wearers from injury in car accidents and against violent aggressors
  • Many stories about scoliosis correction, and soothing depression and anxiety related to grief, PTSD or autism/ Asperger’s.

More unique experiences (e.g. “my corset did more for me than my previous lap-band surgery ever did” or “a stranger punched me and broke his hand on my corset”) will have a higher chance of being accepted for the book – I have been deluged with stories of back pain relief already, although if you have more rare causes of back pain and curvature like Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Polio, etc. these unique stories are welcome.

(For those on the front page of my website, click the “Read More” button below to get more detailed info about the book!)

Continue reading There is Still Time to Contribute to the Book!

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Corset Giveaway Shortlist (and Winners!)

After nearly a week of spending every waking (and non-school) hour reading over 1000 entries for the giveaway, here is the shortlist (top 50) from which the winners for the Retrofolie corsets will be chosen (after the photo). The winners will be randomly chosen from this group of 50 tomorrow (Sunday) and announced on Youtube!

There were many tears in the process of choosing this shortlist, because there were hundreds that truly need and deserve to win. While there was no particular science to who got chosen, here are a few points:

  • both people who have previously owned corsets and who haven’t owned a real corset were chosen
  • if the contestant did own a corset previously, the people who wore their corset often were chosen over those who said that they owned 10 corsets but rarely wore any of them
  • on average, those that were chosen had a tendency to write a little more (at least a few sentences) than those who wrote very brief, 1-sentence entries or sentence fragments. It allowed me to “get to know” the person better and more fully understand their circumstances. Their first language didn’t play a factor; there are many on this list whose first language isn’t English
  • race, gender, and country of residence were irrelevant (this contest was open worldwide)
  • those who have been subscribed to my channel longer had a better chance of being chosen compared to those who only subscribed for the contest
  • those who struggled financially were more likely to be chosen over those who mentioned that they were more affluent
RetroGalaxy corset by Retrofolie

The Top 50 Entrants:

Abby F
Alicia McD
Amanda Hv
Andrea M.
Angela O.
Annie S
Ash N
Cassie D
Catalina S
Deathless Cat
Devon M
Dorothy G
Elissa H
Gabii W
Gabrielle M.
Kerrigan
Imogen M
James M
Jesse S
Juno L
Kari S
Kat McC
Krista B
Kuroe J
Laurdania
Lorraine B
Mandith
Marha C
Marisa S
Marjo K
MayMo
Melisa R
Natacha L
Pixie Hunt
Renee P
Rocker0For0Life
ChaoticCorrupt
Smallbizlawyer
Stephanie E
Suny P
Tara C
Thao P
these trails
v1c4r10u5
Vega C.
Vern H
Verum Terror
Wendy M.
Zak K
Zarian V

 

Update: the winners have been chosen! Congratulations to those who won – the draw can be viewed in the video below:

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Papercats Longline Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “REVIEW: PaperCats “Longline Cherries” Corset” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches, and princess seam is 9.5 inches, side seam is 10 inches, and center back is 12.5 inches long. The size Small is equivalent to 22″ in the waist. The sizing chart on their website says that the ribcage would be 29″ and low hip 34″ for this corset, but when I measured mine, it was 27.5″ in the ribcage and 33″ in the hips. Conical through the ribs.
Material Two main layers: The fashion fabric is a poly-cotton blend with cherry print, and the lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 7 panel pattern (14 panels total), constructed using the welt-seam method with one bone on each seam.
Binding Made from bias strips of black cotton twill. Machine stitched on the outside and inside. No garter tabs.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel 6.5 inches wide, unstiffened, finished in matching cherry print fabric and sewn to one side of the corset. There is also a 1-inch wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, also finished in cherry print.
Busk 11 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a heavier busk (1 inch wide on each side), with a bit of flexibility.
Boning 16 bones total, not including busk. Single boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Beside the grommets, the outer bone is flat while the inner bone is spiral, giving some flexibility to the back.
Grommets 34 two-part grommets, size #X00 (very tiny), with a small flange. Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 0.75″ apart. Small washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Laces Standard black nylon shoelace style laces.
Price This particular style is 155 zł (about $52 USD)
The cherry print underbust as seen on Papercats website.
The cherry print underbust as seen on Papercats website.

 

Other Thoughts:

Papercats is the second brand of the “Polish OTR Corset Trifecta” I’m reviewing (along with Restyle and Rebel Madness). Lately Poland has been dominating the niche of curvy budget corsets with pieces that start from less than $50 for certain styles.

While I wouldn’t personally waist train in this corset (there is no waist tape, and the tiny flange around the grommets make me nervous that they might eventually pull out) I think this corset is adorable and much curvier and more comfortable than some other corsets of equal price that you might find on Ebay. Its lightweight construction and flexibility may make it a good “starter corset” for someone who is unsure if they want to dabble in wearing corsets and they don’t want to break the bank.

As of 2017, it seems that Papercats has brought back this particular design! They are always releasing beautiful designs on their main website, and also their newer website reserved just for their limited corset collections as well as their Etsy store.

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$1000 RetroFolie Corset Giveaway on Youtube

Pop Antique makes a stunning front-zip corset integrated into a soft red jersey dress. Model: herself (Victoria Dagger). Photo: Max Johnson.

If you are already subscribed to my Youtube channel, you will already know about the massive corset giveaway launched this past Monday. Julianne of RetroFolie (a fellow Canadian corsetiere) and I have collaborated to arrange a giveaway – three lucky winners will receive a custom fit and custom designed RetroCouture underbust corset, together valued at over $1000 USD!  This is to celebrate my upcoming 5 year anniversary of making videos on Youtube, and recently reaching over 75 000 subscribers!

Additionally, if you feel that corsets have granted you a better quality of life, you have the opportunity to make history and contribute to a very special compilation book that you can share with loved ones and associates to help demystify and destigmatize corsetry.

All the necessary information is available in the video below! Be sure to open the Youtube video in a new window and comment under the Youtube video, not under this blog post.

 

 

The contest is open worldwide, and contest closes November 2, 2015 at 23:59 EST (UTC−05:00).

If you are interested in contributing to the compilation book but do not want to enter the giveaway contest, you have until the end of November to email me your first draft. More information about the book will be coming after the contest is closed. <3

Good luck to all entrants, and thank you for an amazing 5 years, over 500 videos, and 75000 subscribers!

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Interview with Vollers Corsets (Ian & Corina Voller)

In September of 2015, after attending the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, Ian and Corina Voller (Vollers Corsets) invited me to stay with them for a few days and see their factory in Portsmouth, England. They are the current owners of the longest surviving corset manufacturer in England, and it was incredible to see how their facilities and their company has evolved over time – and what values have stayed the same.

See the interview below, and use the timestamps below the video to jump ahead in the video if certain questions interest you more.

0:55 Tell us how you got started. I understand that Vollers was first launched by Harry and Nelly Voller in 1899 – do you know why they had such an interest in corsets at the turn of the century?

3:50 During wartime or around the 70s and 80s when the corset was less popular, how did your factory stay up and running? Do you manufacture anything else here apart from corsets?

6:50 How have your patterns and styles changed over the years? Do you have any corsets to compare then vs now?

8:20 What do you think about the recent corset revival in the past several years? Have you needed to make any changes to cater to the new clientele, for instance those interested in waist training?

10:05 Since your company has survived for so long and has a long-term view of the corset industry, what do you think will happen next?

11:00 Tell us a bit about your employees and how the construction process is run smoothly. How are tasks assigned?

13:20 How many hours does it take to create a single underbust corset in your factory, and how many hands does it pass through?

15:20 What is your favorite part about working in corsetry? What is your least favorite aspect (the most boring task, or a certain pet peeve about the industry)?

16:25 Who is your target market? Who do you love to sell to?

19:30 Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Huge thanks to Corina and Ian Voller for hosting me for a few days, giving a tour around the factory, and agreeing to sit down for this interview! Readers can learn more about Vollers Corsets on their website.

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Unartig Boutique “Red Poppies” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Unartig Boutique “Red Poppies” Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length The measurements of one of Unartig’s standard sized corsets would be: Waist 24″, Underbust 30″, Low hip 37″. (But the corset was made slimmer through the hips to fit my body).
Material The fashion fabric is a fine-weave black cotton canvas, and the lining is black German spot broche.
Construction 8 panel pattern (16 panels total), constructed using the welt-seam method. 4 panels make the front of the corset, and 4 panels makes the back on each side.
Binding Made from bias strips of matching black fine-weave canvas. Machine stitched on the outside, and hand finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Extends from the seam between panels 1-2, back to the seam between panels 7-8.
Modesty panel No back modesty panel (but you may be able to request one in a custom order). The modesty placket in front is half inch wide, unstiffened, and finished in black canvas.
Busk 10.75 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and black busks seem to have more flexibility in general compared to other busks – but Lotta reinforced it with 1/2″ flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 22 bones total, not including busk. Single boned on the seams, using 1/2″ wide spiral bones. Flat steels are placed in the back by the grommets and also adjacent to the busk.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size 5mm Prym brand (very popular amongst European corsetieres), with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Big washers in the back; all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Double face satin ribbon in black, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, very strong, has no spring, glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick.
Price This particular style is €400 (Euros), which converts to about $420 USD.

 

Although at first glance this corset may look relatively simple as a (mostly) black underbust, it is actually a “first” in my collection in several ways. The gorgeous poppy motif was embroidered on each panel and then carefully matched at each panel (the poppy theme was chosen by Lotte, as I gave her creative license in designing this piece). Subtle, elegant piping also accents some of the seams.

It is also my first corset made with a strength fabric of German spot broche, which I’ve come to learn is very strong. The corset is very posture-corrective and has an extremely strong, flat front for those who prefer slightly more rigid corsets. Having an 8-panel pattern (16 panels total) it is highly customizable to fit around most any curve.

The corset also has a unique and flattering cut to the upper edge: along the front of the corset, it closely follows a similar path as the underwire of my bra, which may support and push forward the breasts – but at the side seam, the top binding sweeps back down again to allow space under my arms for full range of motion and not dig into my armpits.

While Lotte can make this corset in a standard size or completely custom, I believe in this situation my measurements were close enough that it was “semi-custom” to fit me. The center front is 11 inches long, and the princess seam is 10 inches long. 6 of those inches is from the waist to the underbust, while 4 inches were from waist to the lap bottom, so it would fit my long torso/low waist comfortably.

To learn more about Lotte and her Unartig boutique, visit her website here.

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Corsets and Skeletal Deformities: Anthropological Study

Venus de Milo vs Victorian corseted woman. *sigh* Not this again.
Comparison of the Venus de Milo vs Victorian corseted woman. How accurate is this illustrator’s representation?

In September 2015, The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology (Nexus) included an anthropological study of women’s skeletons from England and France in the 1800s, when corsets were at their height in fashion. In this research study, PhD candidate Rebecca Gibson aimed to find any correlation between skeletal morphology (shape and relative position of the bones) and lifespan.

She documented how the ribcages and spines of corset wearers were modified from a lifetime of corset wear, and she gives us a window into how these women may have lived in order for their bones to have been shaped to the extent that they were. Gibson states that despite the fact that nearly all women in England and France wore stays between 1700 – 1900, this was a fashion perpetuated by women, for women.

Women themselves used, championed, and criticized corseting, and men often interpreted and disseminated the literature regarding the practice. What this view lacked, and this study seeks to rectify, is two-fold. Firstly, impoverished women’s voices are missing, both from the modern studies and from the written accounts. Secondly, the extant evidence that corseting was inherently harmful comes completely from hyperbolic and unreliable doctors’ accounts and as such it cannot be verified using the literature alone. ~ Gibson, pg 48

What Gibson explains (in addition to Norah Waugh, Valerie Steele and several other authorities on historical corsetry) is that men wrote publicly and extensively about their distaste for the corset; often comparing the (then modern) small-waisted woman to the statue of Venus de Milo. Dr. O’Followell himself (if you remember my previous discussion of his 1908 X-rays of corseted women) made the argument that the Venus is universally and objectively considered beautiful, and through a game of logical hopscotch he concluded that anything not-Venusian (i.e. a nude small-waisted Victorian woman), therefore cannot be beautiful.

Gibson found however that 50 years prior to O’Followell’s study, in his 1868 book Freaks of Fashion: The Corset and the Crinoline, William Berry Lord wrote that “No fallacy can be greater than to apply the rules of ancient art to modern costume.”

Lucy’s note: The apparent volleying of subtle sass between writers during this era pleases me.

If you wish to skip over Gibson’s anthropological study itself, the conclusion is that she showed plastic deformation of the ribcage into a more circular shape as compared to the broad, ovoid flaring of a “control” modern ribcage, and also noted some downward bending and overlapping of the spinous processes in the thoracic spine. However, these deformations were not seen to correlate with a shorter lifespan of the subjects, and on the contrary the subjects reached or exceeded their life expectancy at birth.

Layperson’s explanation: The skeletons of 19th century corseted women were studied to see how their ribcages were flexibly bent into a more tapered shape from the corset. From the photos, you can see literal ‘bends’ in the ribs where the pressure from the corset formed the ribs into the shape of a circle. Also, the spinous processes seemed to be affected too: spinous processes are the small “spikes” humans have on their vertebrae; they look like spikes down a lizard’s back, but in humans these are small and one can occasionally see or feel them as the ‘bumps’ along one’s back. In the skeletons that showed rib shaping from a corset, these same skeletons also had “spikes” in the upper back that bent downward and overlapped like snaggleteeth. Despite this finding, the age at death for these subjects were average or older than the national life expectancy at the time, even correcting for infant/childhood mortality. Therefore, even though corsets have been shown to deform the skeletons of these subjects (and the reasons why will be discussed later), it didn’t affect how long they lived.

Below you’ll find my summary of the study, Rebecca Gibson’s answers to my questions concerning the study, and my thoughts on how this affects what we know about modern body modification through corsetry.

Continue reading Corsets and Skeletal Deformities: Anthropological Study

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Castle Corsetry “Marvel Comics” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Castle Corsetry Marvel Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is a sample (not made to my measurements) but when you order your corset, this corset will be made to your measurements. Silhouette-wise, the ribcage is softly rounded and the hips are rounded as well. This is a longline style with a relatively flat front.
The measurements of the standard sized sample: Waist 20.5″, Underbust 28″, High Hip 28″, Low hip 34″. The center front is 12 inches long, and the princess seam is 10.5 inches long. 5.5 of those inches is from the waist to the bottom, which is a bit long for me (my comfortable waist-to-lap measurement is about 4.5 inches).
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is a cotton-based Marvel comic print, the interlining is bull denim or cotton twill, and the lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 5 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Curve of the hip is distributed between panels 2-3-4. Double boned on the seams, and faux black external boning channels break up the busyness of the Marvel print.
Binding Commercially purchased black cotton tape (same with the faux boning channels).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel None (but you may be able to request one in a custom order). No modesty placket in front, but the Marvel comic print is matched nicely in the center front with no visible gaps or breaks.
Busk 11 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with 1/2″ wide flat steels on either side of the busk. The bones between panels 1-2 are also flat steels, which further help keep the front flat.
Boning 22 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are six 1/4″ wide spirals (mostly double boned on the seams on the sides of the corset). Flat steel bones are beside the busk, in the seam between panels 1-2, and two flat steels by the grommets.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in black, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, has no spring, glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick. Single-faced
Price This particular style is $250 USD in their Etsy shop and can be made to measure. But cinchers and other styles may start from as little as $175 USD.

 

Final Thoughts:

“Final Frontier” Star Trek themed waist cincher, starting at $175 USD with option for custom fit. Picture courtesy of Etsy Affiliates.

I’ve been a long-time fan of Castle Corsetry’s fun, cosplay-themed corsets and costumes; the corsetiere Lauren is highly active in conventions and offers everything from Harry Potter themed corsets, to Ghost Busters themed corsets, to Retro Super Mario themed corsets and more!

So naturally I was thrilled when Lauren asked if I would be willing to review a corset from her shop. I got a sample corset on loan, and unfortunately it was a bit small for me (my fault for gaining a bit of weight through 2015) but it still gave me a beautiful silhouette, even when worn with a larger gap in the back. I loved the comfortable, gently rounded ribcage with the sharp nip in the waistline, as well as the dramatic hip that offered a 14-inch (lower) hip spring.

To see more of Lauren’s fandom-based collection, head over to the Castle Corsetry Etsy shop here.

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Il Corsetto di Artemis Waist Training Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Waist Training Corset Review: Il Corsetto di Artemis” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom made to my measurements – but for those curious about the length, the center front is 13 inches, princess seam is about 10 inches. More of the length is distributed above the waist, since I have a low waist and my torso is long from the waist up, but the corset is short enough to allow me to sit down comfortably. Tapered ribcage, and cupped hips.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is a cotton-based black satin, the interlining is black coutil, and the lining is a vibrant, hot pink cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Panels 3-4 provide enough ease to curve over the hips. Double boned on the seams.
Binding Commercially purchased hot pink satin bias binding. Machine stitched on both the outside and inside (stitched in the ditch on the outside).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Separate modesty panel (can be inserted behind the laces, or you don’t have to use it at all). It is quilted, with contrast stitching, but not stiffened with bones. Matching pink bias binding lines all 4 corners.
Busk 12 inches long and finished in black. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with 1/4″ wide flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 24 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are nine 1/4″ wide spirals (mostly double boned on the seams), two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Double face satin ribbon in hot pink, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, has no spring, relatively strong and glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick.
Price This particular style is €300 (about $320 USD)

 

lucy-corset2
A beautiful collection of photos of the corset, taken by Elisa (Il Corsetto di Artemis). Click through to see more details on Elisa’s website.

Il Corsetto di Artemis (“the corset of Artemis”, the goddess of love) is the name of a one-woman business owned by Elisa, a designer from Turin, Italy.

I gave Elisa full creative liberty with this corset (she only received my measurements and I told her my color preferences, etc) and she made an elegant and beautifully fitting piece that looks simple at first glance, but is accented by completely handmade silk flowers. Elisa can create flowers of any size, fullness, and color since she makes each individual petal by hand.

During the design process, Elisa gave me the option for a black busk and black grommets, so that the hardware matched the rest of the corset. At this point, there is no source of heavy duty black busks, so Elisa and I had to choose between having a stiffer busk, or having a black busk. I don’t have too much lower tummy to support, so corsets even with more flexible busks don’t bow on me or flare at the center front too badly. If you have some lower tummy protrusion and you desire more support, you may prefer that Elisa use a heavy duty busk instead.

I love the bright pink contrast stitching used for the boning channels in this corset, and it’s quite brave to do this; you have to be confident that your stitching is tidy and true! Do note that over time as the corset eases over your body and there is a gradient of more tension on the fabric at the waistline (and less tension at the ribs and hips) then it is normal for the stitching to look a tiny bit wobbly at the waist. If you are overly concerned about contrast stitching not looking perfect even if you wear this corset on a regular basis, it may be more in your interest to simply request the same color thread as the rest of the fabric (no contrast).

Another thing I noticed about this corset was that it’s rather soft and it wrapped around my body nicely from the very first wear. A few people who are more accustomed to thicker and stiffer corsets may be surprised by this corset’s strength in comparison to its softness.

If you’d like to learn more about Elisa and her brand Il Corsetto di Artemis, see her website here!

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Interview with Katie Thomas of What Katie Did

In August and September 2015, I attended the Oxford Conference of Corsetry and met Katie Thomas (What Katie Did) in person. I’ve been emailing with Katie for close to 5 years so it was amazing to finally have the opportunity to meet someone you admire in the corset industry face-to-face. Directly following the conference, I spent a few days at Katie’s house and we visited Basilton Park, and Katie gave me a tour of her London Boutique and headquarters.

Skip ahead in the video to hear her answers to the following questions:

0:30 How did you become interested in retro fashion?

0:55 How did you start your business and why did you choose the name What Katie Did?

1:50 After starting your business selling stockings, shapewear, etc, how did you become interested in corsets, and how did you start incorporating corsets into your business?

2:35 You’ve been in this industry for 15 years now, so how have you seen the corset and retro lingerie industry change?

3:10 What do you think of the waist training trend, and how do you think your products fit into this trend?

3:55 Would you say that your corsets are suitable for waist training now?

4:30 You’ve found a niche with higher-end, ready-to-wear corsets that are better quality than the budget OTR corsets, but not quite as high as bespoke corsets offered by independent corsetieres. Was it a deliberate decision to settle your business at this niche?

5:20 You had mentioned that you once considered reducing your prices, but when you were looking for areas to cut, you weren’t willing to make those sacrifices to the quality of your products. Tell us a bit more about that.

6:00 You were the first person I saw in this industry who showed full transparency regarding the working conditions of your factory in India. Can you comment on why you decided to be so transparent about this, and why you decided against manufacturing your corsets in England?

8:00 When I first stumbled upon your site, I thought that you mainly catered to the burlesque and pin-up communities. Do you think this is true? Who is your main client base?

Thanks to Katie for sitting down with me for this interview! Click here to see What Katie Did’s website.

Silk WKD Morticia
WKD Morticia corset in Claret silk, in size 22″, modelled by me (Lucy)

See my many reviews of WKD corsets here:

Link to WKD website is an affiliate link (but links to reviews are not). Affiliate links help support Lucy and keep this site online!

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Timeless Trends Hourglass Corset Review and Comparison

black-leather-hourglass-corset

Full disclosure: The hourglass corset featured in this review is one of the four new designs I helped create for Timeless Trends in 2015, along with the hourglass cinchers, hourglass longline corsets, and the newest Gemini corset.

This entry is a summary of the two videos “Timeless Trends Hourglass Corset (Comparison/ Overview)” which you can watch on YouTube here (silhouette and fit summary above, and construction and components comparison below):

 

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 11.5 inches high, the ‘princess seam’ is 9 inches, side seam is is about 9 inches as well, and the center back is 12.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 30.5″ (6.5 inch rib spring), upper hip is 34″ (10 inch high hip spring). This corset is designed to stop well at the iliac crest, and fit someone with a very short torso.
The center front had all “points” removed so the top and bottom edges are gently rounded, to prevent the fabric from flopping or showing under your clothing.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is blue floral brocade laminated to cotton twill (alternating with plain black satin panels, also fused to twill interlining) and it’s lined in black cotton twill as well.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Panels 2-3 give room in the ribcage from ‘champagne glass’ shaped panels. Panels 3-4 give more ease in the hip, and in panels 5-6 there is more curve to fit snug over the lumbar area.
Binding Matching black satin bias binding, machine-stitched on both sides. Also has 6 garter tabs (the slim silhouette corsets only have 4 garter tabs).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tap, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panels are not included in with the corsets, because unstiffened panels are somewhat unpopular amongst many customers. However, stiffened, boned modesty panels are now available for separate purchase, and can be suspended on the laces.
All hourglass corsets have front modesty plackets in matching fashion fabric.
Busk 10 inches long. 10 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are ten 1/4″ wide spirals, two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part grommets, size #0, with a small to medium flange. Finished in dark silver and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, most grommets rolled nicely. There are some splits, but they don’t catch much on the laces.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in black, 1/2″ wide. It’s relatively long and has no stretch, but single face satin is not quite as strong as double-face satin. Some different styles of cincher are laced with more sturdy shoelace instead of ribbon.
Price This particular style ranges from $79-89 USD depending on the fashion fabric – you can see more styles here.

 

black-leather-hourglass-corset
Hourglass black leather corset by Timeless Trends. Model and designer: Lucia Corsetti (that’s me!)

Redesigning Timeless Trends’ standard length corset was the first mission for Sarah and myself when we visited Thailand in summer of 2015. Because we wanted a corset that was not only completely unique in this industry but also “anatomically accurate”, we decided to combine several drafting techniques, including a combination of “slash and spread” and draping. Our hope was to create a corset that curved over the ribcage comfortably, hugged and supported the lumbar area of the back, kicked out dramatically at the hip, and flattened the lower tummy. I think we more or less succeeded!

To learn more about the drafting process, see our Thailand trip here.

If you’d like to see more fabrics and colorways for the hourglass corset and you’re interested in purchasing, I’m incredibly proud to say that they are available here in my shop!

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Review: Veco Corset Gown by Vollers Corsets

This entry is a summary of the video “Vollers Veco Corset Dress Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length There is not much I can say in the way of measurements, as this dress must be custom made to each client’s measurements. It is so form-fitting. When Vollers was making this dress for me, I provided them my bust, underbust, waistline, high hip, low hip, and length of my body from waistline to floor (as well as what height of heel I planned to wear with this dress!).
Silhouette is a mild hourglass, as most of Vollers corsets tend to be. I like the coverage of the dress and the height that it reaches under my arms and around the back – my bustline is supported and secure, and I don’t have much spillover around the back.
Material Fashion fabric is magenta satin with a fused overlay of black lace. Interior lining (strength fabric) is black cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern – the first three panels swoop down in a V shape over the front hip in a slightly Edwardian style fashion, and then at the iliac level, the panels sweep out again to provide fullness over the hips. The 6 panels go down to the floor, but the skirt portion has 4 gussets (on each side) below the knee to add flare and create a trumpet silhouette.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon at the top, and a simple overlock stitch along the bottom of the skirt (this makes it easier to modify the length if you wanted it hemmed, and Vollers mentioned that adding binding to the bottom affected the drape of the skirt too much).
Waist tape 1 inch wide ribbon waist tape, exposed on the inside of the corset. Partial waist tape, starting at seam 2 and ending at seam 5.
Modesty panel Matching, unstiffened panel attached to one side of the corset. Slightly over 6″ wide (will cover about 4.5″ gap in the back). It extends nearly the entire length of the dress. I would NOT advise removing the modesty panel as it would expose your bum beneath the laces of the dress. The modesty placket in the front also extends down to around the knee area, and contains some hooks and eyes to help the dress stay closed below the busk.
Busk 13 inches long. 6 loops + pins, bottom two are a bit closer together. Heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side). Below the busk, heavy-duty hooks and eyes continue down the rest of the dress.
Boning 14 bones total, 7 on each side. Single boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are an incredible 112 single part eyelets in the back of the dress! size #00, with medium flange. Finished in silver, and there are no washers in the back. Vollers ensures that the eyelets are industrial strength (used in boots) and they have a lifetime guarantee on their corsets.
Laces Black flat shoelace style lacing – no spring, very strong, long enough. There are three separate sets of laces (top to hip, hip to knee, and knee to bottom). See the discussion below for how I laced into this dress!
Price £950, made to measure – however, Vollers has a 25% off coupon for first-time customers when you sign up with their mailing list.

 

Lucy Corsetry posing in the Veco corset dress by Vollers.
Lucy Corsetry posing in the Veco corset dress by Vollers.

Vollers is the oldest corset manufacturer in the UK (I believe their family has been in the corset business since 1899), and are based in Portsmouth, England. In August 2015, had the pleasure of meeting the current owners, Ian and Corina Voller and visiting their factory. I will post more on my interview with them later, but for now let’s focus on the Veco dress, which is by far my favourite creation of theirs.

The Veco dress is available in two colors: “American Beauty” which is gold with black lace, and “Fuchsia Brocade” which I reviewed here. Vollers does invite customers to provide custom fabrics, but they do ask that you send them a sample of the fabric beforehand so they can determine if it is suitable to be made into a corset.

The bones of the corset do not extend down the entire length of the dress; the most structured part of the dress resembles a normal hourglass overbust – the bones start at the top edge around the bustline, and stops at the iliac crest to allow the wearer to sit or crouch comfortably. The boning channels themselves do continue down the rest of the length, and the channels themselves add some structure to the dress despite not containing any boning below the hip.

I adore the shape of the skirt; how it’s form-fitting over the hips and thighs and then flares out in a trumpet style below the knee. Extra skirt gussets create more fullness below the knee, and it moves beautifully when I walk.

For those curious as to how I got into this dress: it is possible to put it on by myself, but it is much easier with a second person! First I loosened the top two sets of laces (from the top of the corset to the hip, and from the hip to the knee) until it was loose enough in the back, and I opened the busk and the hooks and eyes (only down to the knee) so that I could step into the dress. I tried to keep the hooks and eyes from the knees-down closed, to save time.

I then fastened the busk, and then did up the smaller black hooks and eyes on the modesty placket (from hips down to the knees), before doing up the heavier duty hooks and eyes overtop of those smaller hooks. These two sets of hooks and eyes fasten in opposite directions so it doesn’t matter which way you twist or turn, you should not become exposed. Once all the hooks and eyes were finished, I tightened the top set of laces so the corset sat securely at my waistline, and then tightened the middle set of laces over the hips and thighs. Try to find a happy compromise between having a reduction in your waistline, and having it loose enough so that you’re able to move and sit down comfortably. For this last lacing part, this is where extra help from another person comes in handy! They can also tuck the bow of the laces underneath the X’s so as to create a smoother line in the back of the corset.

Learn more about the Veco corset dress by Vollers here.

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Timeless Trends Hourglass Cincher Overview/ Comparison

iridescent-purple-cincher

Full disclosure: The hourglass cincher featured in this review is one of the four new designs I helped create for Timeless Trends in 2015, along with the hourglass standard corsets, hourglass longline corsets, and the newest Gemini corset.

If you are interested in purchasing a TT cincher and you would like to support Lucy’s Corsetry, please consider buying through my Corset Shop here!

This entry is a summary of the video “Timeless Trends Hourglass Cincher (Comparison/ Overview)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 8.25 inches high, the ‘princess seam’ is 7 inches, side seam is 6.25 inches, and the center back is 9.5 inches.
Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 28″ (4 inch rib spring), upper hip is 31″ (7 inch high hip spring). This corset is designed to stop well above the iliac crest, and fit someone with a very short torso.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is red dragon brocade laminated to cotton twill (alternating with plain black satin panels, also fused to twill interlining) and it’s lined in black cotton twill as well.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. The curve over the hips and bum are in panels 3, 4, whereas much of the room for the front ribs come from the ‘champagne glass’ shaped 2nd panel.
Binding Matching black satin bias binding, machine-stitched on both sides. Also has 6 garter tabs (the slim silhouette corsets only have 4 garter tabs).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panels are not included in with the corsets, because unstiffened panels are somewhat unpopular amongst many customers. However, stiffened, boned modesty panels are now available for separate purchase, and can be suspended on the laces with velcro or grommets.
All hourglass corsets have front modesty plackets in matching fashion fabric.
Busk 7 inches long. 4 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are ten 1/4″ wide spirals, two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 20 two-part grommets, size #0, with a small to medium flange. Finished in dark silver and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, most grommets rolled nicely. There are some splits, but they don’t catch on the laces.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in black, 1/2″ wide. It’s relatively long and has no stretch, but single face satin is not quite as strong as double-face satin. Some different styles of cincher are laced with more sturdy shoelace instead of ribbon.
Price This particular style is $79 USD, and the most popular styles are now $74 uSD – you can see more styles here.

 

waist-cincher-creme
Hourglass Creme Cotton cincher by Timeless Trends

The cincher has less of a cupped rib compared to the standard length and longline hourglass corsets – while the standard length and longline TT corsets were based off similar patterns, we started anew with the cincher pattern to be able to cater to people with different body types and different aesthetic. However, you will find that the hourglass cinchers have far more room in the ribs and hips and gives a much more shapely silhouette compared to the gentle silhouette cinchers.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the hourglass cincher, I’m incredibly proud to say that they are available here in my shop!