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Corsets-UK ‘Instant Shape’ Classic Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video for the “Instant Shape Classic Underbust” with subtle piping detail, by Corsets-UK. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 10 inches long, princess seam is 9 inches, and the center back is 10 inches long. (Fits a bit short on my long torso and low waist.)
Rib spring is 2.5″, hip spring is 8″. Modern slim silhouette (see Final Thoughts below).
Material The fashion fabric is navy blue satin which is a blend of polyester, cotton and elastane. I found the elastane part interesting – was it just a fabric on hand, or was it chosen to reduce wrinkling? The corset does not stretch on my body because it has a lining of 100% black cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (14 panels total). The layers were flatlined and panels were assembled with subtle matching piping at each seam. Boning channels cover the seam allowances on the lining side.
Waist tape None. (Not recommended for high reductions or waist training – see Final Thoughts below.)
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching blue satin. Machine stitched on both sides on a single pass (likely using a specialized binding attachment on the sewing machine). 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers (blue satin on the outside and black twill on the inside). 7″ wide and unstiffened. It’s sewn into the corset (covered by a boning channel) so it cannot be easily removed unless you take scissors and cut it.
There’s also a narrow blue satin modesty placket extending from underneath knob side of the busk.
Busk 9.75” long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side), normal stiffness.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset, 7 on each side. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 20, two-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. Most of the grommets are finished in silver, but (oddly) the grommets at the waistline are gunmetal grey (probably done deliberately). Some of the grommets have shifted laterally, but none pulling out of the fabric.
Laces The laces are 3/8” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style, finished in black. I find them to be long enough, and they hold bows and knots well. A little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness goes away over time.
Price Corsets-UK decided not to size these corsets with traditional corset sizes (waist size in inches) but rather, recommends you choose your street clothes size (like US 6 or UK 10). This corset is available in UK sizes 6 up to 24.
£49 GBP on Corsets UK, or $75 on Corset Story.

 

Final Thoughts:

‘Instant Shape’ Classic underbust, by Corset Story (Corsets-UK) ($75 USD or £49 GBP)

It’s been several years since I reviewed any piece from Corsets-UK, because I had purchased about 10 of them in the past (between the years of 2010 and 2012) and I was not the most thrilled with their quality. The company approached me in the summer of 2016, letting me know that they have been working hard on creating new curvier designs, with better quality materials, and asked if I would be willing to try a couple of their pieces in exchange for personal feedback. I agreed, and I was surprised to see how much their products had changed over the years. While it was not in the original agreement to review this corset (and the other two coming up soon) publicly, I did ask them if it was alright to share the review with my viewers / readers, bearing in mind that it will be a balanced review where I mention the good points and the room for improvement. They agreed, so here we are.

Corsets-UK’s ‘Instant Shape’ corsets are designed to be a bit less curvaceous than their ‘Waist Taming’ line that I reviewed last week. Their website states that it is designed for more gentle waist reductions (perhaps 2 inches or so in the waist), and it’s not designed for waist training. Because it has gentle sloping hips and a modern slim silhouette, I would recommend that if you are naturally curvy, opt for a curvier style corset.

The grommets of this corset were not pulling out the same way that they were in the ‘Waist Taming’ Corsets-UK review, but this may have to do with the fact that this corset is less curvy and is not designed for high reductions. One subtle feature that I found interesting though, is that this corset (and also the ivory overbust I reviewed from the ‘Instant Shape’ line) is that most of the grommets are silver, while just the four at the waistline (where the bunny ears come through) were deliberately a darker silver, closer to pewter or gunmetal grey. I would have thought this was a mistake, if it hadn’t been consistent in both of my ‘Instant Shape’ corsets. Whether it was done by the factory so the person lacing the corset would lace it properly, or whether it was done for the consumer in case they wanted to change the laces, I’m not sure – but it was interesting to notice, and the difference in color isn’t too conspicuous from far away.

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Corsets-UK ‘Instant Shape’ Ivory Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video for the “Instant Shape Ivory Overbust” with floral trim and quilted hip detail by Corsets-UK. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14 inches long, princess seam is 15.5 inches, the side seam 13 inches and the center back is 14 inches long. (Fits a bit short on my long torso and low waist.)
Bust spring is 8″, rib spring is 2″, hip spring is 8″. Modern slim silhouette (see Final Thoughts below).
Material The fashion fabric is polyester based ivory satin which was interfaced, and the lining is a dusty pink cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (14 panels total). The layers were flatlined and panels assembled, and then on the hips, there is “quilting” over the hips (made to look like cording, but they used thin cotton batting). Boning channels cover the seam allowances on the lining side.
Waist tape None. (Not recommended for high reductions or waist training – see Final Thoughts below.)
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching ivory satin. Machine stitched on both sides on a single pass (likely using a specialized binding attachment on the sewing machine). 6 garter tabs (3 on each side) and additionally there are 2 small tabs per side on the top edge if you want to add your own bra straps.
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers (ivory satin on the outside and pinky twill on the inside). 7″ wide and unstiffened. It’s sewn into the corset (covered by a boning channel) so it cannot be easily removed unless you take scissors and cut it.
There’s also a narrow ivory satin modesty placket extending from underneath knob side of the busk.
Busk 13” long, with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. It’s similar to a spoon busk: 1/2″ wide on each side at the top, and at the widest part of the “spoon” it is 1.25″ wide on each side. But it is not curved inward like a spoon busk (it acts more like a “wide busk” at the bottom.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. Most of the grommets are finished in silver, but (oddly) the grommets at the waistline are gunmetal grey (probably done deliberately). Some of the grommets have shifted laterally, but none pulling out of the fabric completely.
Laces The laces are 3/8” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style (finished in green!). I find them to be long enough, and they hold bows and knots well. A little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness goes away over time.
Price Corsets-UK decided not to size these corsets with traditional corset sizes (waist size in inches) but rather, recommends you choose your street clothes size (like US 6 or UK 10). This corset is available in UK sizes 6 up to 24.
£59 GBP on Corsets UK, or $89 on Corset Story.

 

Final Thoughts:

It’s been several years since I reviewed any piece from Corsets-UK, because I had purchased about 10 of them in the past (between the years of 2010 and 2012) and I was not the most thrilled with their quality. The company approached me in the summer of 2016, letting me know that they have been working hard on creating new curvier designs, with better quality materials, and asked if I would be willing to try a couple of their pieces in exchange for personal feedback. I agreed, and I was surprised to see how much their products had changed over the years. While it was not in the original agreement to review this corset (and the other two coming up soon) publicly, I did ask them if it was alright to share the review with my viewers / readers, bearing in mind that it will be a balanced review where I mention the good points and the room for improvement. They agreed, so here we are.

Corsets-UK’s ‘Instant Shape’ corsets are designed to be a bit less curvaceous than their ‘Waist Taming’ line that I reviewed last week. Their website states that it is designed for more gentle waist reductions (perhaps 2 inches or so in the waist), and it’s not designed for waist training. Because it has gentle sloping hips and a modern slim silhouette, I would recommend that if you are naturally curvy, opt for a curvier style corset.

I chose this corset for several reasons – the first is that it was a different range from their ‘Waist Taming’ line, at a drastically lower price point, so I wanted to see what was different in terms of the quality. When I compared the two corsets, I could see that the fashion fabric was thinner and had a less dense weave compared to the ‘Waist Taming’ satin fashion fabric, and it had thinner, lighter weight spiral bones (closer to 4mm instead of 6mm wide, but still thankfully galvanized with no rust). If you’d like to see the bones in this corset (where I opened up the binding and took a look inside), see the video above.

The other reasons why I chose this corset is because it had 3 decorative features that caught my eye: the quilted hips (made to look almost like cording), the ‘aesthetic’ spoon busk (which is wider at the bottom just like traditional spoon busks, but doesn’t curve inward like traditional spoon busks), and the ribbon floral trim on the top edge (which Corsets-UK provided a small ziplock baggy of extra flowers).

The grommets of this corset were not pulling out the same way that they were in the ‘Waist Taming’ Corsets-UK review, but this may have to do with the fact that this corset is less curvy and is not designed for high reductions. One subtle feature that I found interesting though, is that this corset (and the underbust I also reviewed from the ‘Instant Shape’ line) is that most of the grommets are silver, while just the four at the waistline (where the bunny ears come through) were deliberately a darker silver, closer to pewter or gunmetal grey. I would have thought this was a mistake, if it hadn’t been consistent in both of my ‘Instant Shape’ corsets. Whether it was done by the factory so the person lacing the corset would lace it properly, or whether it was done for the consumer in case they wanted to change the laces, I’m not sure – but it was interesting to notice, and the difference in color isn’t too conspicuous from far away.

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Corsets-UK ‘Waist Taming’ Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video for the “Waist Taming overbust with Hip Panels and Curved Hem” by Corsets-UK. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14 inches long, princess seam is 16 inches, the side seam 12.5 inches and the center back is 14 inches long. (Fits a bit short on my long torso and low waist.)
Bust spring is 9″, rib spring is 4″, hip spring is 9″. Has rounded hips and a relatively conical ribcage.
Material The fashion fabric is polyester based satin, and the lining is cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (14 panels total). 6 panels are “full length”, while the 7th panel is the semi-circular hip panel. The layers were flatlined and panels assembled, and boning channels cover the seam allowances on the lining side.
Waist tape Partial waist tape, exposed on the lining side. Starts at panel 2 and stops at panel 5. One inch wide, made from black cotton twill tape. The tape is positioned a bit too high on my body (about 2 inches above my natural waist) so it sits on my lower ribs.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching black satin. Machine stitched on both sides on a single pass (likely using a specialized binding attachment on the sewing machine). 6 garter tabs (3 on each side) and additionally there are 2 small tabs per side on the top edge if you want to add your own bra straps.
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers (satin on the outside and twill on the inside). 7.5” wide and unstiffened. It’s sewn into the corset (covered by a boning channel) so it cannot be easily removed unless you take scissors and cut it.
There’s also a black satin modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk ( 1/2″ wide).
Busk 13” long, with 5 loops and pins (last two are a bit closer together). It’s just under an inch wide on each side (so slightly wider than a standard busk, and also very slightly stiffer).
Boning 14 bones total in this corset. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. However the grommets are pulling out of the fabric at the waistline.
Laces The laces are 3/8” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, and they hold bows and knots well. A little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness goes away over time.
Price Available in waist sizes 20″ to 38″ in black satin.
£95 GBP on Corsets UK, or $145 on Corset Story.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Close-up angle of the corset, with the waist tape outline and the hip panel visible.

It’s been several years since I reviewed any piece from Corsets-UK, because I had purchased about 10 of them in the past (between the years of 2010 and 2012) and I was not the most thrilled with their quality. The company approached me in the summer of 2016, letting me know that they had been working hard on creating new curvier designs, with better quality materials, and asked if I would be willing to try a couple of their pieces in exchange for personal feedback. I agreed, and I was surprised to see how much their products have changed over the years. I even took a peek at their steel bones, and noted that their spirals were a thicker gauge and had a shiny galvanized finish (no rust) and although there were small holes in the flat steels, they were properly dipped, had no rust or sharp points, and had a decent amount of flex to them.

The two issues I had with the corset were the oddly high placement of the waist tape, which seemed to not coincide with the smallest waist measurement of the corset (the place of highest tension), and the grommets that had started to pull away from the fabric at the waistline. I alerted them to this by email, and their representative said that they are happy with their products and saw no reason to change these. While it was not in the original agreement to review this corset (and the other two coming up soon) publicly, I did ask them if it was alright to share the review with my viewers / readers, bearing in mind that it will be a balanced review where I mention the good points and the room for improvement. They agreed, so here we are.

I’m wearing the corset laced closed here, but the website states that their corsets should be worn with a 2-inch gap in the back. I would not recommend this style of corset for training down – not only because it’s an overbust, which is already tricky to train in – but also because the fit of this corset is crucial for the hip panels to be properly situated at each side of the body. If the corset is too small for you, the hip panels will be positioned too far forward and may not fit over your own hips, which would look odd and feel uncomfortable. Using this corset for fashion purposes and ensuring that it fits with small gap in the back (laced closed, up to perhaps a maximum of 3 inches in the back), will make sure the corset fits the way it should. So if you are between sizes, I would recommend going up a size – especially if you are fuller in the bust.

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Rebel Madness Gothic Sweetheart Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Rebel Madness Overbust Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 17 inches long, princess seam is 18.5 inches (12 inches from the waist up to the top of the bust), the side seam is 13.5 inches and the center back is 16 inches long.
Full bust spring is 10″, hip spring is 10″ as well. Gives a lovely hourglass silhouette.
Material The fashion fabric and lining are both made from 100% black cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 give space for the bustline, and panels 3-4 creates the curve over the hips. Assembled using the welt-seam method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape, “invisibly” installed, sandwiched between the layers. Starts between seams 1-2, and extends to the center back.
Binding Commercially-sourced black cotton bias tape, machine stitched on both sides (probably on a single pass, possibly by using a special sewing machine attachment).
Modesty panel Unstiffened, made from 2 layers of black cotton twill, 6 inches wide. Not attached to the corset – it’s suspended on the laces using grommets.
There’s also a 1-inch-wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, extending from the knob side of the busk.
Busk 16” long, with 7 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side), and although it is stiffer than a standard busk, due to its length it may seem to flex relatively more.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset, 7 on each side. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼ inch wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 36, two-part size #00 grommets (18 on each side), because the corset has such a long back. They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly a bit less than 1” apart. Most of the grommets are finished in silver. All are holding in fine, some of the grommets have splits in the back which catch the laces (please note that this is an old stock corset; they have switched to new grommets in 2017 which are much better quality).
Laces The laces are black, ¼” wide nylon cord / shoelace. They are a bit springy / spongey, but they hold bows and knots well and they are definitely long enough, even with the very high back.
Price Available in black cotton (reviewed here) and black satin. Sizes 18″ up to 30″ closed waist.
As of 2017, their prices have raised to $90 USD. Find it here on Etsy.

 

Final Thoughts:

La Esmeralda modeling the Sweetheart overbust by Rebel Madness. $90 USD, Etsy.

I’d recommend this corset for someone with a longer torso, and a low waist. As I have both, I’m extremely happy with the fact that it covers my bust fully and I feel very secure that I’m not going to “booble” out of this, even if I were upside down. (Why would I ever be upside down?)

I like the sweeping curve of the top edge, where it comes down on the sides to allow me to lower my shoulders and arms without the corset cutting into my armpit. Many corset makers keep the line of the corset high around the side of the corset, to control “side-boob” or to try to deal with armpit squidge. But this often doesn’t allow the wearer to naturally lower their shoulders – and in my case, with my already developed trapezius muscles, I end up looking like a linebacker and my neck disappears! But in this corset, the low side allows my shoulders to drop naturally, creating a more elegant posture and reducing shoulder strain – while also accentuating the sweetheart effect in the front. The top edge of the corset sweeps back up in the back to control “muffin top” as well.

That said, if you have a shorter torso, you might be more comfortable in a shorter style corset, because it is 18.5 inches in the princess seam, and may still hit your lap when you sit down if you have a shorter waist.

The prices of Rebel Madness corsets are also extremely reasonable for an entry-level corset (I’ve noticed that corsets made in Poland tend to be lower in price in general). While this overbust was $80 a couple of years ago, as of 2017 prices have raised to $90 in their Etsy shop (but I also know that they’ve been working to improve quality as well, such as more sturdy grommets) which is still inexpensive as far as overbusts go.

If there is only one thing I had to complain about, it’s that I wish these corsets were made available in sizes larger than 30″! The length and cut of this overbust corset is so flattering, I know of a few plus size women who would love to have this available in their size.

Do you have this corset, or another corset from Rebel Madness? What do you think of it? Leave a comment down below!

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CS-426 STANDARD length underbust (with hip ties), Orchard Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: CS-426 SHORT with hip ties (Orchard Corset)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 10.25 inches long, princess seam is 8.25 inches long.
Rib spring is 6″, and lower hip spring is 12″, but the hip ties allow the hips to expand to 20+” if needed.
Material 3 main layers – I have the black satin version, so the outer (fashion fabric) layer is satin, flatlined to a light cotton canvas interlining, and lined in cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Hip curve is patterned into panels 3-4. Constructed with the sandwich method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide full waist tape running through the corset (center front to center back), “invisibly” secured between the layers.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching black satin. Machine stitched on both sides, stitched in the ditch (between the corset and the binding) in front, and a necessary top stitch on the underside. 4 garter tabs (2 on each side).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers of black twill. 5” wide and unstiffened, attached to one side with a line of stitching, and reinforced with “hemming tape” (a type of temporary fabric glue).
There’s also an unstiffened black twill modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk (1/2″ wide).
Busk Standard width busk, half an inch wide and 9” long, and 4 pins (last two are a bit closer together). However it’s more rigid (less bendy) than other busks of the same width.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset, (mostly) double boned on the seams. On each side, 9 of them are spirals (~3/8 inch wide) and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. They have splits on the back, but the laces do not catch.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, a little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness dissipates over time. Orchard also sells double-face satin ribbon if you prefer.
Price Available in waist sizes 16″ to 46″, in black cotton and black satin.
Sizes 16-32 are $71 USD, and sizes 34-46 are $75 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Final Thoughts:

Full disclosure, this corset contains my “Lucia Corsetti” label – back in August of 2013, I released a tutorial where I took one of Orchard’s original 426 longline corsets and simply added hip ties to them, so people with a naturally fuller hip spring could cinch down in their corset without compressing their hips. Orchard liked the idea so much that they put it into production, and they gave me credit for the idea by adding my label to the new design. (I have no patent on the hip ties design, but it was courteous of them to give me a nod!)

With the introduction of the new “CS-411 Longline” corset in 2017, Orchard sought to standardize their corset names, so now all “short” corsets are called “Standard” (including the CS-426 Short now being called CS-426 Standard, and their original CS-426 corsets now being called their CS-426 Longline).

The CS-426 Short (now “Standard Length”) is said to be taken from the same pattern as the 426 Longline, but has about 1.5 inches cut off from the top, and another inch or so cut off from the bottom. So although it may look slightly less curvaceous than their longline corset (and on paper, the rib and hip springs are reported to be smaller), the standard and longline corsets should fit the same person in the same size.

However (and this might be due to construction), I feel that this corset has a slightly more conical ribcage, and slightly more flared hips than the longline pattern. I think the longline CS-426 corset flatters my figure better (and I have a longer torso anyway) so I personally prefer the longline version.

Find the CS-426 Standard corset with hip-ties on Orchard Corset’s website here.

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CS-426 Mesh Longline Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Orchard Corset CS-426 Mesh Longline”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 13.5 inches long, princess seam is 11 inches long, center back is 13.5 inches long. (A bit longer than their non-mesh longline CS-426 corsets.)
Rib spring is 7″, and lower hip spring is 14″.
The silhouette is hourglass, but the flexible mesh allows for more contouring around curves = giving more of a rounded ribcage, and hips of the corset can contour around your own hips, whether your hips are slanted or shelf-like.
Material Single layer of fishnet style black mesh, and the boning channels / are made with 2 layers of black cotton twill.
Construction Likely still a 6-panel pattern (12 panels total), but because of the boning channels in the middle of the panels, it means that the corset “appears” to have closer to 20 panels.
Waist tape One-inch-wide full waist tape running through the corset from center front to center back, made from grosgrain ribbon, sandwiched between the boning channels.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching black cotton twill. Machine stitched on both sides, stitched in the ditch (between the corset and the binding) in front, and a necessary top stitch on the underside. 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers of black twill. 5” wide and unstiffened, attached to one side with a line of stitching. (You can also remove the tags in the back by removing that seam with the modesty panel, in case you find that the tags show through the mesh)
There’s no front modesty placket in this corset.
Busk Standard width busk (half an inch wide on each side) and 11.5” long, with 5 pins (last two are a bit closer together). Orchard’s busks are more rigid (less bendy) than other busks of the same width.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset. On each side, 9 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide, in single channels, equidistantly spaced. Then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide, sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small-medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, a little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness dissipates over time. Orchard also sells double-face satin ribbon if you prefer.
Price Available in waist sizes 18″ to 40″, in black and in beige mesh.
Sizes 18-32 are $72 USD, and sizes 34-40 are $75 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Final Thoughts:

Screencap from one of my past videos “Waist Training Results: How Long Should it Take?” Click through to read that article. Here I’m wearing the CS-426 mesh longline test sample.

Several years ago, when I went to visit Orchard Corset in Wenatchee, Washington, I was invited to test the first sample of the CS-426 mesh longline, before it was released to the public. But over the years I didn’t hear anything about the mesh longline being released for almost 3 years, so I ended up selling off my mesh corset in a sample sale. Then in summer of 2016, I noticed that Orchard had finally released the mesh longline! Without my old sample to review, I had to purchase another one (which ended up being mislabeled by the factory – a size 28″ corset with a size 26″ label) so unfortunately I don’t have the curves to properly fill out the corset in this review – but please refer to the way the old (size 22″) sample fit me back in 2013 in this article / video, if you’d like a better example of how the corset is supposed to look when it properly fits.

One of the things I like about the mesh corsets is that they’re not simply double-boned on the seams, but rather the bones are evenly distributed around the waist – and the bigger the corset size, the more bones are included. While this does affect the price (the bigger corsets contain more bones and require more work in construction sewing on the boning channels, so they cost more), it means that you’re getting more equitable support and quality across all sizes.

One consistent bug I notice is that Orchard Corsets have “bunny ears” that are set 1-2 grommets higher than the true waistline of the corset – this is easy to fix when you get the corset though, by simply re-lacing the corset. I also like to use inverted bunny ears for better control and reduced bowing at the waistline.

Shop for the CS-426 mesh longline corset from Orchard Corset here.

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Retrofolie “Botticelli’s Birth of Venus” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Review: “Botticelli’s Venus” Corset by Retrofolie” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length My corset was made-to-measure, so it fits my longer torso but it’s also slightly less curvy than the standard size version of this corset as I have slim hips. Standard size 22″ would have a ribcage of 30″ and hips of 34″.
Material Three main layers (not including interfacing): The fashion fabric is a cotton print (interfaced for strength), strength interlining of coutil, and brown lightweight cotton lining.
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total), the fashion fabric and coutil were flatlined, panels assembled using a topstitch. ouble boned on the seams with a floating lining inside.
Binding Made from commercially purchased cotton bias tape, in seafoam green to match the fashion fabric. Machine finished on both sides.
Waist tape 1 inch wide, stitched invisibly between the layers. Extends from panel 2 to the back seam.
Modesty panel 6.5 inches wide, stiffened, finished with another Venus in the back that can show through the laces. The panel is suspended on the laces using grommets. There is also a 1-inch wide unboned modesty placket in front under the busk.
Busk 12 inches long. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. My corset was modified to be longer though, so a standard size corset will have a 10 inch busk instead. Standard flexible busk, with 1/4″ flat bones adjacent for reinforcement.
Boning 28 bones total, not including busk. Double boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Flat steel bones are used beside the busk and by the grommets.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00 with a medium flange (the very popular grommet brand among corsetieres in North America). Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 1″ apart. Big washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Laces Standard white nylon shoelace style laces.
Price This particular style is $315 USD for standard size (18″ up to 26″). For custom fit, the price is $350.
Example of the impeccable print matching on the historical art corsets, this time on a Mucha piece. Photo courtesy of Etsy Affiliates.

 

Because this corset was made back in 2014, a few changes have been made to this corset – the first change is that this pointed longline style is no longer called the “Azalea” longline cut, it’s now just style “Retro 04” on Retrofolie’s website. Also, the standard size measurements are now curvier than they were in 2014!

This is part of Julianne’s “Retro History” corset line, where she is able to use any historical painting in the public domain (the artist must be deceased for at least 70 years to use their work). The painting is printed with a repeat pattern on fabric, and the panels are cut from this fabric and painstakingly matched at the seams. Julianne started her corset career making these pieces, and has since expanded her corset ranges to include “Retro Basic” (simple corsets covered in cotton or silk) and “Retro Galaxy” (corsets featuring beautiful galaxy and nebula motifs).

Although her corsets are strong enough for waist training, Julianne recommends that you don’t wear a Retro History corset as your daily-wear corset, as the fashion fabric will ease and the painting will distort over time. If you wish to preserve the historical art corsets but waist train in one of her Retrofolie pieces, she recommends the Retro Basic line.

Check out Retrofolie’s Birth of Venus corset here, or check out her full range of corsets here.

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Orchard Corset CS-426 Longline (Hip Ties) Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Orchard Corset CS-426 (with hip ties)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 13 inches long, princess seam is 10.5 inches long.
Rib spring is 7″, upper hip spring is 10″, and lower hip spring is 13″, but the hip ties allow the hips to expand to 20+” if needed.
The silhouette is hourglass, with a semi-conical ribcage, and hips of the corset can contour around your own hips, whether your hips are slanted or shelf-like.
Material 3 main layers – I have the black cotton version, so the outer (fashion fabric) layer is black twill, flatlined to a light cotton canvas interlining, and lined again in cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Hip flare is patterned into panels 3-4. Constructed with the sandwich method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching black cotton twill. Machine stitched on both sides, stitched in the ditch (between the corset and the binding) in front, and a necessary top stitch on the underside. 8 garter tabs (4 on each side).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers of black twill. 6” wide and unstiffened, attached to one side with a line of stitching, reinforced with “hemming tape”.
There’s also an unstiffened black twill modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk ( ¼” wide).
Busk Standard width busk, half an inch wide and 11.5” long, and 5 pins (last two are a bit closer together). However it’s more rigid (less bendy) than other busks of the same width.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset. On each side, 9 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, a little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness dissipates over time. Orchard also sells double-face satin ribbon if you prefer.
Price Available in waist sizes 16″ to 46″.
Sizes 16-32 are $82 USD, and sizes 34-46 are $87 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Final Thoughts:

Orchard Corset CS-426 Hip Ties, $82, modeled by Caylyn

Full disclosure, this corset contains my “Lucia Corsetti” label – back in August of 2013, I released a tutorial where I took one of Orchard’s original 426 longline corsets and simply added hip ties to them, so people with a naturally fuller hip spring could cinch down in their corset without compressing their hips. Orchard liked the idea so much that they put it into production, and they gave me credit for the idea by adding my label to the new design. (I have no patent on the hip ties design, but it was courteous of them to give me a nod!)

This is the second time I’ve reviewed a CS-426 corset, after my first time in 2012, and there are marked improvements in the construction – particularly the grommets. These grommets don’t tarnish and have fewer splits compared to the older corsets). If I’m not mistaken, Orchard Corset had switched manufacturers a couple of years ago, which may account for the change.

Other changes include the modesty panel in the back being a touch wider, the addition of a modesty placket in the front, and a slightly longer busk.

Find the CS-426 Longline corset with hip-ties on Orchard Corset’s website here.

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6 Different Types of Corset Front Closures

See the video above for an explanation of several different front closures for corsets – or read away below!

HOOK & EYE

The Goddess Longline bra can be partially folded under to accommodate for an even lower back.
Hook and eye closures are usually found on bras and bustiers, not corsets. (This is the Goddess bra, click through for more information.)

You will pretty much never see this in a genuine, off the rack corset (or a couture one, for that matter). If you see a garment marketed as a waist training corset and it contains hooks and eyes, I personally wouldn’t trust it.

If you are making your own corsets, this form of closure is easy to source and fairly inexpensive. I’ve seen it done (recently) in a viewer’s homemade gentle reduction corset, but it was supported by steels on both sides, and still had a lacing system in the back – this allowed the wearer to fasten up the hooks and eyes with zero pressure on them until they were ALL fastened, and then they tightened the corset using the laces in the back. This can take a long time to fasten and unfasten!

One concern is that the little metal hooks can bend, warp and break if they have uneven pressure on them. If one breaks, you have a few others surrounding it that might be able to support it temporarily, but once the garment has uneven tension, more hooks will be at greater risk for also warping and breaking. The entire row of hooks and eyes would be inexpensive to replace as you can purchase them in a tape – but for me personally, I overwhelmingly prefer a busk.

 

BUSK

Busks come in a multitude of colors, like these by Narrowed Visions (click through to the Etsy shop)
Busks come in a multitude of colors, like these by Narrowed Visions (click through to the Etsy shop).

This is like your bread and butter closure for corsets. Loops on one side, and knobs (aka pins, aka pegs) on the other side, each side supported by a bone. Busks can come in a multitude of lengths, widths and colors.  My friend Nikki (Narrowed Visions on Etsy) sells several lengths of heavy-duty busks in a rainbow of colors, as you see above!

The bones are strong and help support the abdomen, and the busk can fasten and unfasten in seconds once you get used to it. But when a knob breaks, you either have to replace it with a screw or a rivet, but more likely will need to replace the knob side of the busk with a new one.

I also have a video on how to completely remove an old broken busk and replace it with grommets to make it a front lacing corset.

 

FRONT LACING

Electra Designs made this cincher which is laced both in the back and in the front. They can be individually adjusted to your comfort.
Electra Designs made this cincher which is laced both in the back and in the front. They can be individually adjusted to your comfort.

In a previous Fast Foundation article, I discussed why wearing your corset backwards is usually not a good idea because of the way panels are individually drafted to contour over a different part of your back or abdomen.

But a corset that is deliberately front-lacing can be good for people with arm weakness, inflexible shoulders or just aren’t very coordinated when fiddling with laces behind their back.

A corset that has only a front lacing system and back closure will need to be loosened a lot and you’ll need to shimmy into it: either pull it down over your head, or step into it and pull it up from your feet.

I would personally not recommend a high-reduction corset that is closed in the back and laced in the front, as it personally caused some discomfort around my floating ribs after a while and I had to purchase a new waist training corset with back lacing.

 

ZIPPER

Wearing my Contour Corset under my sweater tunic and toddler belt.
My Contour Corset (metal zip closure) is strong enough for a dramatic silhouette, but incredibly smooth under my clothing.

Some of my favorite corsets have zippers, like my Contour Corset. A front zip should have metal teeth, it should be made to military specification, and it should be flanked by steel bones. The stitching around the zipper should fail before the teeth do!

The right zipper can be just as strong as a busk, and can also be zipped up and unzipped in seconds once you’re accustomed to it. Another nice thing about zippers is that they can be more discreet under clothing compared to busks.

However, those bustiers sold in Halloween shops that have a nylon coiled zipper and no supportive stays supporting them, so the fabric wrinkles around the zipper from stress? Expect them to fail if you lace them too tight.

But even if you use the best quality zippers – like with any other garment, if you break the zipper or lose a tooth in the zip, just replace the whole thing.

 

SWING HOOKS

black cashmere swinghooks long hourglass corset
Hourglass Cashmere Longline corset with Swing Hooks, available through my shop (click through).

Swing hooks are neat, and they’re very very decorative, but very high profile and will not hide well under clothing. I first saw swing hooks used by Lucy of Waisted Creations, many moons ago. She even made a tutorial on Foundations Revealed on how to insert them yourself! After that, it spread like wildfire and you saw corset supply shops selling the swing hooks, and different OTR companies started selling corsets with swing hooks.

If you plan to use swing hooks in your own corset, it’s best to put a swing hook at the waistline where there is the most tension. If you don’t, the fabric in the center front will gape, and even the bones in the center front might bow a bit if they’re not high quality.

 

CLOSED FRONT

Angela Stringer Corsetry mesh and floral longline overbust model Victoria Dagger
Closed front corsets allow for a beautiful unbroken line, but they’re less convenient. Corset: Angela Stringer. Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo: Chris Murray.

Closed front corsets have no opening, but rather are stitched completely closed. Similar to the front-laced corset, it will require you to shimmy into it! This takes some extra time, and if you have anxiety or claustrophobia I might not recommend this style – because it also takes time to get out of it. But this is the smoothest option under clothing if you want to “stealth” your corset under your clothes.

Which corset closure is your favorite? Do you know of any other closures not mentioned here? Leave me a comment below!

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Dark Garden Aziza Overbust Corset (with Shoulder Straps) Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Dark Garden Aziza Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length The measurements were highly customized to fit my body, including accommodating for several asymmetries (like my left hip protruding very slightly more, one breast being fuller than the other, one shoulder sitting a bit higher than the other, etc). See discussion below for more detail about the fit.
Material Possibly 2 main layers: Fashion fabric is a gorgeous gold floral brocade, likely fused for strength. The lining (strength fabric) is an American milled cotton canvas.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Most of the bust curve is drafted between panels 1-2, and most of the hip curve is drafted between panels 3-4, and much of the room for the upper back was obviously drafted into panels 5-6. The corset was topstitched between panels (seam allowance on the outside), and the seam allowances were covered and straddled by double boning channels.
Binding Bias strips of matching gold brocade, machine stitched on inside and outside. Tidy topstitch on the outside, no topstitch on the inside. No garter tabs (I didn’t request any).
Waist tape 3/4 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. It starts between seams 1-2, and extends to the center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 4.75″ wide, finished in the same gold brocade. Stiffened with 4 steel bones and left separate to slip under the laces when worn (or you can choose to not wear the modesty panel). There is a teensy seam in the center front which is not a modesty placket per se, but it does help prevent a visible gap between the busk.
Busk 14 inches long, standard flexible busk, with 7 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced.
There are half inch wide flat steel bones adjacent to the busk for further reinforcement, but they deliberately stop about 4 inches from the top of the corset so they won’t interfere with the curve of the bust.
Boning 26 bones total, 13 on each side. Double boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels on the seams, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets. The additional bone on each side is adjacent to the busk.
Grommets 42 two-part grommets, size #00, with medium flange. Finished in gold and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Gold double faced satin ribbon – no spring, very strong and flat. Laced using the “chevron method” with “inverted bunny ears”.
Price $1475 USD without shoulder straps, or $1625 USD with shoulder straps. It is only available as a custom option, not standard.

 

Final Thoughts:

This is the final product for the Dark Garden bespoke process I went through over the course of 2015. If you’re interested in learning more about the bespoke process and the mockup fittings, click here.

Dark Garden always spends the extra time to match brocades, prints and lace motifs as shown in this gorgeous Aziza overbust modelled by Vienna La Rouge. Photo: Joel Aron.
Dark Garden Aziza overbust version without shoulder straps, and made for a very different body type. Model: Vienna La Rouge. Photo: Joel Aron.

Because I’m long-waisted, this corset is much, much longer from the waist up compared to most OTR overbust corsets. Using the mockup fittings I was able to choose not only the height of the neckline, but also the height of the side of the corset into my underarm area (Autumn recommended bringing it up a bit higher to account for a bit of my underarm squidge) and also in the back. I asked the back to be higher and have more room, so it would contain my muffin top (back spillover) and also it would allow my scapulae to snuggle down into the corset as opposed to hitting the edge of the corset and forcing my shoulders up.

The length of the shoulder straps were also adjusted custom to my body, and they secure in the front with matching gold ribbon. There are several grommets so I can wear the straps looser (for mobility or to wear them slightly off the shoulder) or tighter over my shoulders if I need more upper back support.

The bust was drafted beautifully; it cups over and supports my bust without squishing it flat. I also requested for the neckline of this corset to be slightly higher so that I can wear this to public functions and not fear that my bust will pop out or be exposed.

With this corset, it’s extremely apparent that my body is the type to “squish upwards”. While some people get a small lower tummy pooch from wearing corsets. By contrast, my hip measurement essentially stays the same, but my ribcage and bust can increase by up to two inches in a corset (compared to its natural measurement) depending on the reduction of the waist. Displaced flesh has to go somewhere!

Along the bottom edge, although aesthetically I love a longline corset, I requested this corset to be cut at the mid-hip (just about my iliac crest) so that I’ll be able to move and sit comfortably, even in low seats.

The Aziza corset is a custom option, so you may not see it available as a standard sized corset in their Classic Line on their website. Dark Garden has a catalogue of many more corset styles, and their skilled team of corsetieres can create almost any style you can think of. If you’re interested in learning more about Dark Garden and their 30 years of work, head over to their website here.

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Lucy’s Personal Corset Journey – A Reading

When better-known authors release a book and go on tour, they sometimes read the first chapter to a live audience at a book store or library. As my new book Solaced is only released on Kindle at the moment, I thought I would read my personal corset journey to you via Youtube. I know that it’s not quite the same, but hopefully many of you will appreciate it nonetheless. Fair warning, I do end up crying a little bit. :p

The story starts 1:37 into the video. If you like, you can click over to the Amazon listing and click “look inside”. My story is right at the beginning (in the introduction), and you can use Amazon’s free Kindle preview to read along with me on any platform.

Enjoy the reading… and thank you for being a part of this journey. ♡

 

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Why Anthologies Are Important (Solaced Ebook Rant)

This is a summary/ transcript of last Friday’s rant. You can watch the video, or read the abridged version below.

Sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you…

This is a term in John Koenig’s Dictionary of Sorrows, and while it may not be in the OED (yet), it’s important nonetheless. Sonder is an important part of empathy, and it’s what I hope to share through my book.

It is so easy to take a person, their experiences, and their whole lived existence, and condense them down into a hard statistic: cause and effect. Before and after.

Don’t get me wrong: as a biochemist who dabbled in research and academia (before my creative side pulled me away) I still think quantitative studies are awesome because they can definitively show a correlation between two events (causation, however, is a different monster).

Coincidentally, Derek of Veritasium uploaded a vlog last week called Why Anecdotes Trump Data and showed that while (scientifically speaking) a longitudinal quantitative study with a large cohort is always more credible — sometimes personal experiences and strong, relatable narratives are more memorable, and carry more weight (emotionally speaking), even when the scientific evidence is not so strong.

While I would LOVE to do a longitudinal study on the long term physiological effects of corset wear (I’ve been saying this for a good 3-4 years now), I do not yet have the resources to do so. But every study starts with a proposal. And Solaced (the Corset Benefits book), while full of “anecdata” that may very well be pooh-pooh’d by some, will inevitably start a conversation.

The Importance of Empathy and Stories of Adversity

Through this anthology, over 100 writers have poured out their hearts and opened themselves up. Some have recounted past horrors and made themselves vulnerable to let you to step inside their heads and live vicariously through them for a few minutes.

Now, I know that normally “vicarious” is associated with something positive. A lot of the stories in this book are about adversity, and I would even warn that some stories may be considered triggering to some readers. But in many ways, stories of overcoming adversity is important too.

Not all of the testimonials in this book will necessarily have “happy endings” because:

  1. In a true first-person narrative, the end of the story is the writer’s true lived experience up to that moment. Therefore it’s not really an ending.
  2. “Happy Endings” imply perfection, and no life is perfect. The stories you will read in this anthology are far from a perfect outcome — but you will see where the writers have come from and where they are now. For some people, it’s not about perfection. It’s about a journey towards recovery, improved health, a highER quality of life than they once had. It’s inspiration and motivation to use the tools you’ve got (even if that tool is a simple corset) to get yourself to a better place.

The real question: why didn’t I write this entire book myself?

Well, gosh. That question sounds like I didn’t even do any work for this book. Even though there are over 100 writers who contributed to this book, I still put in a considerable amount of time and effort as the organizer, compiler, main editor, interviewer, and transcriber (for people who were too ill to write and sent in their stories through phone or Skype). I also consulted lawyers, made sure the writers were compensated (out of my own pocket), followed up on contracts, etc. — so it’s not like I had NO role in this book.

(On another note, I did write material and introductions to nearly every chapter, and soon realized that this book might be 2000 pages long — so, much of it was scrapped or stored for later for several future mini ebooks… One project at a time.)

Who cares about a book filled with the testimonials of strangers?

Click here to purchase Solaced (the official Corset Benefits book)
Update: Solaced is now available exclusively on Amazon! Click here to learn more.

Please refer to the above statements on empathy. Also, there’s nothing quite like a true, first-person testimonial straight from the source — even though a quantitative study is strongest form of research, the sworn testimonies in this anthology will always be stronger than me referring to a “friend-of-a-friend-who-claimed-blah-blah-blah.” It is more credible and more “clean” than a game of broken telephone.

I’m flattered that some people care so much about the content I write that they prefer to exclusively read my work, and are less excited about reading the experiences of others. But I feel it’s important to remind you that I do not pull knowledge out of the ether! I have useful research skills and have done my own footwork, yes — but a lot of what I know is because of people in the community just like these writers — because of YOU.

I am indebted to others for freely sharing what they know, because that is how we collectively grow. Knowledge is power, and it is meant to be shared — and everyone deserves a voice, not just myself.

So for those who object to this anthology, I think we’re focusing on the wrong question. Instead of asking “who cares about the stories of strangers,” the question should be: “Given that these ‘strangers’ granted me this platform in the first place, what good is my platform if not to give leverage to those voices that would not otherwise heard?”

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Corset Benefits Book (Chapter Preview!) + Your Thoughts Wanted!

Photo [Right]: Juno Lucina is one of the writers for Solaced – you’ll read her story of her personal transformation, The Art of Aging, in the Mature Corseting chapter.

As we take the next few weeks to put the finishing touches on the Solaced Corset Anthology, I’d like to make sure that we’re on the right track. Since the corset community has made this book possible in the first place (first by helping to build the list of corset benefits on this page, and then by submitting more in-depth experience for the book), it’s only fair that you, the community, also have a say in what stories end up in the final book.

I was initially worried about not having enough stories for the book, but after over 150 prospective writers (about 120 of whom submitted stories) as it turns out, I have too many stories now, and my editor has told me to cull. I’m very bad at this and need your help.

This book will have more of a focus on the therapeutic (physical and emotional) benefits of corsets, and there may be an opportunity to make another volume focused around the corset community and industry in general, as well as other “softer” stories (so whatever stories will be cut from this book, will likely make it into the next one!). Below you’ll find the list of topics/ chapters: you get a say in which topics interest you most, and which ones you would probably skip.

You can also let me know in your comment whether you prefer Kindle, Paperback, Audio, or another book format! Kindle will be the first to be released, but I will almost definitely bring the book to print a bit later on. Other formats I will consider if the demand is high enough.

Thanks so much for your feedback!

Solaced: 99 Uplifting Narratives about Corsets, Well-Being, and Hope

Chapter list (NOTE: This has been edited to reflect the final version of the book)

Click here to purchase Solaced (the official Corset Benefits book)
UPDATE: The book is now available! Click here to see it on Amazon!
  1. Back Injuries – structural support after physical trauma
  2. Spinal Curve – support or correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, or lordosis
  3. Breast support – including treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome
  4. Weight Loss & Lifestyle – using the corset as a kickstarter or external lap-band
  5. Hypermobility & EDS – preventing subluxation
  6. Disability – seven stories of how corsets help with various physiological disorders
  7. Fibromyalgia – promoting muscle relaxation and drug-free pain relief
  8. Gastrointestinal Disorders – helping with the symptoms of IBS, chronic constipation, and ulcerative colitis
  9. Dysmenorrhea & Endometriosis – using compression to reduce period cramping
  10. Post-Surgical Abdominal Weakness – support of the abdominal muscles following surgery
  11. Armor – the corset’s protective role during car accidents or against violent aggressors
  12. Body Positive – recovery from eating disorders and body dysmorphia
  13. Post Partum – treatment of diastasis recti, symphysis pubic dysfunction, and post partum depression
  14. Gender Identity – overcoming gender/body dysphoria, assisting in expression
  15. Anxiety & Depression – using deep pressure therapy to improve mental well-being
  16. Autism Spectrum – using deep pressure therapy for those with ASD
  17. PTSD & Coping with Adversity – pressure therapy following traumatic or difficult events
  18. Mature Corseting – wearing corsets from middle age and onward, commentary on aging
  19. Corsets & Metaphysics – essays on Reiki and the chakras
  20. Newspaper Clippings – a small collection of Victorian newspaper articles on corsets saving the lives of wearers
  21. Potpourri – stories that don’t quite fit in with the others

Which topics do you look forward to reading the most? Leave a comment below!

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What News Australia’s Tightlacing Article Failed to Mention

Miranda Rights, waist training advocate and journalism major, lost 10 inches off her waist over several years through a plant-based diet, exercise and waist training. She was told by Barcroft Media in late 2015 that her story and results were not "extreme" enough for media. Click through the picture to read her full response to Barcroft.
Miranda Rights, waist training advocate and journalism major, lost between 12-14 inches off her waist over several years through a combination of exercise, a plant-based diet, and waist training. She was told by Barcroft Media in late 2015 that her story and results were not “extreme” enough for media. Click through the picture to read her full response to Barcroft.

Ah, media. Through the years we’ve seen over and over (and over and over) that our words can’t be trusted to be conveyed clearly, fully or accurately in the news. For half a decade I’ve avoided speaking with reporters for fear of them putting a negative spin to my words and reflecting badly on corset wearers at large. What often ended up happening is that after I declined to be interviewed, these reporters sometimes found another innocent starry-eyed corseter who ended up saying something on the extreme side, and that one unfortunate sound bite was misconstrued and given a negative tone.

This is why this year I decided to start speaking up and answering questions about waist training, tightlacing and corset wear – because I’ve been in this industry long enough to know a bit about corsets, I choose my words wisely, and I always keep a record of what I say and write.

A few days ago Emma Reynolds, writer for News. Com. Au, contacted me wanting to know more about the difference between waist training and tightlacing (which was still confused in their final piece). Of course, at the time I was contacted, I was never given any hint that the article would have a negative spin, or that my answers would be spliced and creatively paraphrased, or that the photos of some of my friends would be used without consent to be treated as side show attractions.

Since I didn’t sign any NDA, I presume that it’s fair to post the questions presented to me by Reynolds, and my unabridged responses to the Australian news source, which were deliberately made extremely detailed, with an emphasis on listening to one’s body, being monitored by a doctor, and the community being body positive as a whole.

Also, before we get started: CORSETS ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR WEIGHT LOSS.

 


 

How did you get into tightlacing?

This is a long and winding story, but my initial goal was not to tightlace. I simply enjoyed making corsets for cosplay and re-enactment purposes, and later for back support when I was working up to 16 hours at a time. When I discovered that I was very comfortable wearing a corset for several hours at a time/ several days a week, I became interested in waist training and learned about the process through Ann Grogan of Romantasy. I think of it as a form of sport or slow, long-term body modification that can be varied, changed or reversed as one desires. Many people train in order to achieve a certain waist circumference or silhouette when not wearing the corset. However, my end goal was simply being able to close a size 20″ corset, I had no expectations for how I wanted my bare waist to look.

 

Why is it different/better than waist training?

Waist training is wearing a genuine corset for long durations (months or years) with some kind of end goal in mind, like closing a specific size corset or reducing the size of your natural waist. It’s worth noting that within the corset community, the use of latex or neoprene fajas is not waist training in the traditional sense.

Tightlacing is simply wearing a corset that is notably smaller than your natural waist. For some people, a tightlacing corset is at least 4 inches smaller than your natural waist regardless of your starting size – while for other people, they only consider it tightlacing if you reduce at least 20% off your natural waist (which would be 6 inches reduction if you have a size 30″ natural waist, 8 inches if you have a size 40″ waist, and so on). Yet others will say “if the corset feels snug to the point that it’s challenging but not painful, whether that’s with 1 inch reduction or 10 inches, that is tightlacing to the individual.” To this effect, an actress or model that never wears corsets except on set may be considered tightlacing. But what all of them have in common is that with tightlacing you don’t have to set a goal, and you don’t necessarily wear your corset for long durations.

Put more simply, waist training is a goal-oriented process, while tightlacing is simply an action. You can theoretically waist train without tightlacing (if you are wearing your corset at gentle reductions, but consistently enough to see results), and you can tightlace without waist training (wearing your corset with a dramatic reduction, but only on an occasional basis so your natural waist expands back to normal within a few minutes of removing your corset). Some people enjoy tightlacing on a regular basis with no initial goal in mind, but over time they will notice that their waist will be inadvertently trained smaller.

I wouldn’t say that tightlacing is better than waist training. Not everyone can tightlace as easily as others; it tends to be easier for those who have a higher body fat percentage, and according to some, it can be easier for women who have already given birth. It can be a little more challenging for athletes with more muscle tone than average. Of course, I would recommend that one be in good health before they wear a corset, whether it’s for tightlacing, waist training, or otherwise – and that they never lace to the point of pain.

 

How much does your waist size change and does it last?

This photo of me has been stolen and spun out of context by hundreds of people. Contour Corset is engineered to be an illusion. It's actually slightly larger in the waist than my Puimond corset shown below, but the silhouette and hip spring makes it look more extreme than really is. Even though this corset is more comfortable than some of my larger corsets, once I waist trained to reach this goal, I found I preferred a gentler silhouette.
My Contour Corset (21 inches) is my most “extreme” looking corset. It’s specifically engineered to be an illusion. In reality it’s slightly larger in the waist than my Puimond corset shown below, but the silhouette makes it look smaller than it really is. My waist is thicker in profile. Even though this corset is one of the most comfortable I own, once I waist trained to reach this goal, I found I preferred a gentler silhouette and less reduction.

When tightlacing, I am able to reduce my natural waist by 6-7 inches in a corset – but be aware that I have been wearing corsets off and on for many years. When I started, I was only able to reduce my waist by 2-3 inches. When I take off the corset, my waist expands back to normal within the hour.

When I was waist training several years ago, in the interest of staying comfortable in my corset for longer durations, I wore my corset on average 4-5 inches smaller than my natural waist, around 5 days a week, and up to 8-12 hours a day. The body responds best with consistency, so over several months even with this (relatively) lighter reduction, my natural waist went from 29 inches to around 26.5 inches out of the corset (even if I hadn’t worn my corset in days), and I was comfortably wearing my corset at 22″ while waist training. If I then chose to tightlace, I was able to wear my corset at 20″ for shorter durations (a couple of hours at a time) once my body was warmed up. Once I achieved this goal, I realized that it was more extreme in silhouette than I preferred, which is why I chose to back off and now I wear my corset closer to 22-24 inches, which I feel is more proportional to the rest of my frame while still lending a retro silhouette.

 

What do you like about it?

When the corset is laced snug I can use it as a form of deep pressure therapy – essentially, it’s like wearing a big bear hug that you can keep on all day and even conceal under clothing, if desired. At the time I started wearing corsets regularly, I was working in a STEM field and living away from home, working long and odd hours in a lab, with not much free time to socialize. I initially started wearing my homemade corset for posture support during those long hours, but I also noticed that it helped me feel more calm and relaxed. I was less anxious before and during presentations because I felt protected and held by a suit of armor. This calm, quiet confidence began to spill over into other areas of my life, and I became more sure about myself and carried myself more proudly even when I wasn’t wearing the corset. At that point, it wasn’t even about the appearance anymore.

 

What is the community like as a whole?

The international corset community is extremely varied, and that’s part of why I like it. We come from all walks of life and have many different interests – with some people, the *only* thing I have in common with them is a mutual interest in corsets. Some people love history and the Victorian era, while some people take more to the 1950s New Look style and pin-up era. Some people wear corsets simply because they’re beautiful and luxurious, some people wear them for medical or therapeutic purposes, and some people wear them as a challenging sport. Some are as blasé about putting on their corset in the morning as they are about putting on their socks, while some are excited about corsetry and consider it a fetish.

There are many online forums and Facebook groups to choose from, whether you’re a beginner or veteran, whether you want to tightlace, waist train, or just wear them for fun, whether you want to buy and sell corset from collectors, or even if you want to learn to sew your own corsets. In the forums I frequent, the community emphasizes body positivity. While we support individuals for the waist training goals they have already chosen for themselves, it is extremely frowned upon to push someone else into wearing a corset if they’re not interested – it’s equally offensive to try and push another person to lace past their comfort level, or shame them for their natural body type.

 

What are your limits? Do some people take it too far?

My Puimond corset is actually smaller than my Contour Corset above. Proportion matters, and so does context.
My Puimond corset (20 inches) is actually smaller than my Contour Corset above. No one batted an eye at this. Proportion matters, and so does context.

My personal limit was closing a size 20″ corset. I found it a challenging goal that took 3 years to achieve, and once I reached it, I was over it. Of course there were the few trolls online who egged me to train further and called me all sorts of names when I didn’t – but they aren’t representative of the community. I always listen to my body and I’m always 100% in control of my laces. There are other people who can lace down less than 20″ but some of them are 6 inches shorter and weigh 20kg less than me – so while it may look extreme on my body, for a petite woman with a natural 23 inch waist, she might not consider a size 20″ corset to be tightlacing at all.

It’s not my mission to put everyone in a corset, but for those who are interested in wearing them, whether for waist training or tightlacing (or both), I’ve spent the last 5 years creating hundreds of free educational videos and articles so that people can learn to choose a corset that’s right for their body, and know how to use them properly and safely. I say over and over that pain is not normal. When a tightlacer hasn’t put proper research into their practice, when they aren’t open with their doctor, when they ignore the advice of more experienced lacers and ignore their body’s signals, and they wind up hurting themselves, I know that it could have been prevented and it will end up reflecting badly on the tens of thousands of others who do wear corsets responsibly.

There will always be those who lace down faster than what I would normally condone, or smaller than my personal preference – but beyond offering free educational resources and ensuring that they are listening to their own bodies, that they are not in pain, that they are prioritizing their well-being, and that they have open communication with their doctor and have regular checkups, no one has the right to tell another what to do with their body. Their body, their choice.


 

This was the end of my correspondence with Reynolds, but if you would like to read some balanced perspectives on corsetry, both historical and modern, there are a few articles linked below.

Collector’s Weekly: Everything You Know About Corsets is False

io9: No, Corsets Did Not Destroy the Health of Victorian Women

New York Academy of Medicine: Did Corsets Harm Women’s Health?

Several articles on The Lingerie Addict:
Tightlacing 101: Myths About Waist Training in a Corset
“20 Bones”, Broken Ribs, and Other Myths about Waist Training.
What Makes a Corset Comfortable?

Three corset articles on Kitsch-Slapped:
Part 1, historical medical “evidence“.
Part 2, corsets viewed as “sexy”.
Part 3, suffrage movement.

Yesterday’s Thimble has two articles on corset myths. Part 1. Part 2.

Historical Sewing: Dispelling the Myth of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Tiny Waist

A Damsel in This Dress: Corsetted Victorians and others – myths and reality

The Pragmatic Costumer: With and Without: How Wearing a Corset Affects You and Your Clothes

A Most Beguiling Accomplishment – A Difficult History: Corsetry and Feminism, Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Appendix.

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Corset Back TOO Straight? Curving Steel Bones for a Healthy, Neutral Posture

Last week I wrote about what to do when your steels are too bendy or difficult to keep straight – so this week, we’ll discuss whether there’s anything you can do for steels that are too stiff (and of course you can! Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it). This will help you change the curvature of the back steels by the grommets

Since we’re talking about both human bones and corset bones in this post, I’m going to distinguish between them by saying “bones” for the human skeleton and “steels” for the corset bones.

Human vertebral column from the National Cancer Institute SEER training modules. This work is in the public domain.
Human vertebral column from the National Cancer Institute SEER training modules. This work is in the public domain.

Looking at the profile of the OTR corset in the video above, it’s pretty straight in the back which is potentially good for supporting the spine and promoting better posture than someone may have naturally. However, if you look at a vertebral column in the sagittal plane (from the side), you’ll notice that upright humans are designed to have some curve to the spine. There’s a small amount of lordosis of the neck, a mild natural kyphosis of the thoracic region, lordosis again in the lumbar area, and then (fused) kyphosis in the tailbone. While any exaggeration of these curves is not ideal, neither is having a spine that is perfectly straight.

Esther Gokhale did a fantastic TED talk on this concept of the “J shaped spine” and primal posture, which you can watch here.

If you have exaggerated lumbar lordosis (more swayback than the average person) you may find that when wearing a corset with a very stiff, straight back may feel like they’re encouraged to hunch forward at the waistline – and people who have a high “apple bottom” may find that the steels tend to dig into the top of the bum as opposed to curving around it. What can be done about this?

When your new corset comes in the mail, the steels are straight – they are typically not pre-bent in any manner.

Interestingly, corsets in the late Victorian era used to be pre-seasoned by steaming the starched corsets, whalebone included, on formed mannequins as the last step in manufacturing! So these corsets did have pre-curved whalebone. Today, pre-bending steels is something reserved for custom corsets by some corsetieres – and some other custom brands prefer to use flexible steels in the back which easily bends to accommodate the lumbar curve. To prevent twisting or bowing of these flexible bones, see the post I wrote last week.

If you have pronounced swayback and you can afford to go custom, I would recommend Electra Designs, and also Lovely Rats Corsetry – both of these corsetieres have a case of lumbar lordosis themselves and have learned how to draft to accommodate this curve (and adjust the pattern for the severity of the curve of each individual client) so the curve is built into the shape of the panels in the fabric itself, in addition to the curve of the steels.

But if you can’t afford to go custom, or if you already have an OTR corset where the steels in the back are too stiff for you, here’s an extremely detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to curve the steels yourself.

How to curve the back steels to fit your neutral posture:

  1. Firstly, be sure that you are committed to keeping the corset. Curving the steels is manipulating the structure of the corset and this may void any returns or warranties.
  2. Try on the corset as is, look in the mirror, and figure out where you’re experiencing the most stress in your back and the most unnatural curve to your spine. In my corset, I noticed the most stress was below my natural waistline – which on me, is below the pull-loops of the corset and around the “inflection point” of my spine, where the kyphosis of my thorax turns into the lordosis of my lumbar region. Mark this line with fabric chalk (make sure your chalk doesn’t have any oil in it and can brush off easily). I know that I will have to curve everything below this point.
  3. Take off the corset and take the back panel of the corset in your hands, flanking the area where you need the most curve, and bend it gently to create a smooth rounded curve. Start with a small amount, of only a few degrees (enough that when you put the corset flat on a table, you can just barely see that the top and bottom edges of last panel doesn’t touch the table anymore).
  4. Try the corset on – see if it’s more comfortable or if you need a little more curve. If you think you could use more curve, remove the corset and gently coax the steels with your hands, only adding a couple more degrees at a time.
    DO start with less and add more curve until you’re happy.
    It’s less ideal to start with a huge amount of curve and then try to straighten it back. If you do end up being a little overzealous, you can use your hands to coax the steels straighter again, but be careful to curve them in the same area as before so your steel bone doesn’t become “ziggly”. Also try not to bend the steel back and forth too much as this weakens the steel.
    DO go by comfort and listen to your body.
    DO NOT go by what simply looks cute – remember, S-curve corsets were considered alluring because they accentuated the curve of the bum, but they ended up creating more back pain and strain because of the exaggerated curve.
  5. If you have weak hands and you do need more leverage:
    DO use a tailor’s ham like this one, or curve the steels over your knee.
    DO NOT fold the steels over completely backwards and create a kink in them. This is not origami.
    DO NOT brace the corset against the corner of a table to create more leverage to bend the steels.
    We are not geometrically shaped, and a jagged bend in the steel bone can create uncomfortable pressure points – not only this, but a sharp bend can also weaken the steel even if you try to bend it back the other way! You don’t want to increase the risk of the steel snapping over time –  so be gentle and only create a smooth rounded curve.
  6. If your problem area is only your tailbone, then only curve the very bottom of the steels upward like a ski jump. This will prevent the bones from digging into your bum.
    If your problem is more your upper lumbar area, then only curve this area instead. Again, try it on to test the comfort before making any other changes.

When I did this to my corsets, I noticed a few different benefits:

  • I no longer felt a strain in my lower back
  • Because my lumbar region felt more neutral, I stopped hunching forward with my shoulders and found that my chest opened up and I reduced tension in my upper back and neck
  • I could wear my corset for longer durations without feeling tired from my back trying to “fight” the corset to maintain proper posture
  • The upward flip of the bottom of the steels took pressure off of the top of my bum and personally helped improve my sciatica (a complication from my twisted pelvis from a childhood injury)

Remember that this is not a perfect science, so only go a tiny bit at a time, try it on for fit, see how it feels, then rinse and repeat until you hit a point where the corset feels most comfortable for you and your posture feels the most neutral. Most people have a natural lumbar lordotic curve between 40-60° (whereas a totally straight spine would be 0°), and some people will have a higher or lower bum, a more prominent or flatter bum, so not everyone will require the same amount of curve.

Other modifications you can make to a corset may include removing the back steels and replacing them with more flexible flat steel bones, or even spirals (however, this can be quite annoying and difficult to keep the back gap parallel), or you can add hip gores in the last or second-last panel to give the corset a bit more kick in the back and curve over your bum more comfortably.

How do you modify your corset for greater comfort? Leave a comment below!

Please note that this post is to modify the corset to help maintain your personal, natural posture for comfort purposes, and is not intended to be used to correct or modify any spinal deformities, whether congenital or acquired, for therapeutic purposes. If you feel that a corset can help improve your skeletal structure and/or health, please consult your trusted healthcare practitioner.

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How to Correct a “Bowing” Corset

In the past, I’ve discussed various reasons why your corset may be bowing (giving the “()” shape) in the back, including the popular “Shape of your Corset Gap” article –   however, the bowing is not only caused by a corset-body mismatch, but also by the types of bones and grommets in the back of the corset. In this article, I’m going to try and consolidate the information you need to identify why your corset is bowing in the back, and how you may be able to fix it if you think the pattern/ cut of the corset is not the problem.

Firstly, if you don’t know why bowing is an issue, refer back to my Addendum to Corset Gaps article, and how the steels can become permanently distorted with this gap shape.

Why is my Corset Bowing in the Back?

When the bones in the back of your corset are like “()”, there are a couple of issues going on.

As mentioned in my article about different corset gaps, one reason that the steels are bowing is that the corset is too curvy than your body is ready for. Typically, a corset is created to be smaller than your natural size at the waist, but the ribs and hips will match your natural measurements. It does NOT feel like a rubber cincher or faja, which tend to place pressure on the ribs, waist and hips equally. When you put on a corset, it reduces your waist (no kidding!). With every action, there’s an equal an opposite reaction – so your waist pushes back on the corset and provides resistance, while the ribs and hips of the corset have little to no tension, until you’re able to close the corset enough that the top and bottom edges pull in to hug the body.

Now, if you receive a corset and the first time you put it on you get the () gap, don’t panic. It doesn’t automatically mean that your corset wasn’t theoretically made to your measurements, but your waist is not compressing down or the corset is not reinforced in the best way to prevent the bowing. If you have a corset that flares a bit at the top and bottom edges, resist the urge to pull the ribs and hips of the corset in to meet the body right away – because if the waist doesn’t follow and refuses to reduce, then you will get the () gap.

Another reason that you’re seeing the () gap may be due to the grommets being set too far apart. Grommets are like multiple “anchor” points. Each one of them is responsible for holding a certain fraction of the total tension on the corset. The more grommets there are, the better this is distributed. If grommets are set more than about an inch apart (especially at or near the waistline), there won’t be enough grommets to provide the right distribution of tension through the back of the corset and the more likely you are to experience bowing. Later in the article I’ll discuss how to using lacing techniques and addition of more grommets to achieve more regular distribution of the tension, reducing the likelihood of those back steels bowing.

Other reasons may include the quality or the type of bones used in the back – the steels might be too malleable or too loose in their channels (the channels may be wide enough to allow the bones to twist and twirl) – or a combination of all of the above.

The more extreme the waist reduction, the more likely this kind of bowing can occur, and the bones could even potentially permanently kink and dig into your back – yikes!

Why would a corsetiere even consider putting flexible bones in the back of their corsets? Well, it often comes down to comfort and posture – in a previous video I demonstrated how some corsets (especially OTR corsets) tend to have very stiff and rigid steels in the back; so much that they refused to hug the lumbar spine and promote a healthy neutral posture. With some coaxing, you can gently curve these steels so they align better with you lumbar spine – but using flexible bones in a corset in the first place can eliminate this problem from the start, helping you maintain proper neutral posture, and making the corset much more comfortable (especially if you’re wearing it for longer durations or more frequently).

It’s important to note that bendy back bones are not necessarily a sign of inadequate experience on the maker’s part. There are some corsets that I’ve extensively altered to minimize the bowing, but other very experienced makers like Electra Designs and Dark Garden deliberately use more flexible steels for a variety of reasons, and in the case of their corsets I simply modified the lacing (a very simple and non-invasive solution) to reduce the bowing.

bowed-corset-back-steel-bones
Four different corsets, four different reasons that bowing can occur. From left to right: Heavenly corset being too small for me, Xandriana with very flexible steels despite having closer grommets, AZAC Curvy Girl with far set grommets, and Tighter Corsets with slippery laces. Corsets may have a combination or all of these problems, depending on the brand and the wearer’s body.

How to eliminate or reduce the bowing in your corset

There are four techniques I know of – here they are from least invasive to most invasive:

Chevron Lacing

I’ve also heard it called “tennis shoe lacing”. I have a video tutorial for the chevron lacing technique here. Like I mentioned, it creates a kind of an anchor point at each set of grommets – with this particular lacing style, there’s greater friction to hold the laces in place and prevent them from sliding open at the waist. Pair this with inverted bunny ears at the waistline and it will give even more control. I’ve seen this lacing used in my Electra Designs and Dark Garden corsets.

What I have also done in the past is use a set of two shorter laces in my corsets (or if you don’t have more laces and you’re not afraid of committing, you can simply cutting the bunny ears at the waistline to create two separate laces) – one lace is used for the top of the corset ending at the waistline, and one for the bottom of the corset up to the waistline, so I can pull and tighten each one individually. This also works best when the pulls are inverted, although it can be a bit confusing and take some time to get the hang of lacing it up. To lace up using two laces, I tighten the top a bit, and then tie off that ribbon.

Then I tighten the bottom and then tie that off.

Then I untie the top again and pull it tighter, then tie it off again.

Then I untie the bottom one and pull that one tighter, then tie it off, etc. so they work together and the waistline never has an opportunity to slide open. My corsets from The Bad Button laced with two ribbons, and also I tried this with my Tighter Corset and it worked well. However, I’ll admit that this can get annoying after awhile and I would eventually end up altering the corset, which brings us to…

Add More Grommets

Another suggestion is to add more grommets. Sometimes the grommets are spaced too far apart – if there were more grommets closer together at the waistline, they can distribute the tension more evenly and give you more leverage. In my Curvy Girl corset, my Gallery Serpentine corset, and my Heavenly Corset, I added more grommets in between the pre-existing ones (matching the grommets as best as I can).

See all the alterations I did in my Gallery Serpentine corset

See the alterations I did in my Curvy Girl corset

NOTE: if your corset has lacing bones (like Electra Designs corsets), adding more grommets is not possible without drilling through the bone. I don’t recommend doing this as it exposes the uncoated metal and may encourage rusting later, and it weakens the bone which increases the risk of snapping.

Tighten the Boning Channels

If the steels are twirling in their channels and you know how to sew, you can make the boning channel smaller or tighter which can help prevent twisting. As to which side of the channel to manipulate, I prefer to push the bone towards the grommets. Doing it by machine might be faster, but be careful not to hit the bone with your needle! For best results use a narrow zipper or cording foot if you can find one for your machine. The standard zipper foot that comes with domestic machines tend to not give quite as tight a result compared to a narrow foot. (Also, wear your safety goggles because if the needle hits the bone, it might break and fly at your face).

If sewing around your steel bone makes you nervous, you can undo the binding and slip out the bone completely, then tighten the channel with a smaller risk of breaking your needle – then just slide the bone back in and sew up the binding again. But if you’re going to this level of effort, then you can use this opportunity to…

Change out the Bones Completely

If you find that the original steels are paper thin and easily mangled, or if you’ve ended up permanently kinking them because of prolonged bowing in the back, you can simply replace them with new steels. You can purchase steels at pre-cut lengths online at sites like Vena Cava, Sew Curvy, Farthingales, or Corset Making. (Do NOT purchase the carbon-fiber bones for the back of the corset. They’re fantastic for the front of a corset if you like an extremely rigid, straight front – but they will not curve to the lumbar spine).

And if you put all of these techniques together, it makes for a corset with a very small chance of bowing outward at the waist.

The ONE Corset that has NEVER Bowed:

What’s an example of a corset that absolutely never bows in the back? My Contour Corset (actually, I now have two Contour Corsets. They’re that good.) The bones themselves are not remarkably stiff, the width of the boning channel looks average, and the grommets are not crazy close together. So how did she achieve this? The boning channels themselves are spaced very close together – the space where the grommets are inserted are only wide enough for the shank – and the wide flange of the grommets literally overlap with the bones themselves. This ensures two things: the washer of the grommet should never rip through because it’s anchored by the bones, and the bones should never twist because they’re anchored by the grommets! The grommets are also a little closer together at the waistline, but that’s not the most crucial detail. What also may contribute to the stability of the back panel is the very stiff mesh – it resists collapsing, stretching, warping or wrinkling so perhaps the fabric itself helps prevent bowing. Fran once demonstrated that her lacing panels are so strong, she can hang one from a door frame and sit on it like a swing!

Go forth and bow no more!