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“Friendship Corset” Collaboration (Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats & Lucy’s Corsetry)

This entry is a summary of the “Friendship Corset” Case Study (Collaboration between Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats & Lucy’s Corsetry). 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 12.5 inches long, the princess seam is 9.5 inches (4.5 inches above the waist, 4 inches below the waist), the side seam is 10.75 inches and the center back is 11.25 inches long.
Circumferential measurements: underbust is 29″ (rib spring is 6″), waist is 23″, and hip is 35″ (hip spring is 12″). The ribs are gently rounded and the hips are slightly cupped, giving a comfortable and flattering silhouette that was designed for my long torso and low waist.
Material 3 main layers: the fashion fabric pink rainbow crystal organza, fused to white herringbone coutil – and the lining is a “Monet” inspired printed lightweight quilting cotton. Boning channels / binding were custom dyed satin coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 converge towards the lower tummy in center front, panels 3-4-5 make the curve over the hip. Construction: organza was fused to coutil, and panels assembled with the seam allowances facing inward (added topstitch for reinforcement). Single external boning channels laid down (one on each seam and one in the middle of each panel), and the lining is floating.
Waist tape One-inch-wide twill cotton waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Binding Matching strips of green satin coutil, machine stitched on outside and hand-finished on the inside. No garter tabs (I don’t use them anyway).
Modesty panel None, as we were short on time and I tend to lace my corsets closed in the back anyway.
In the front there is a modesty placket, extending about 1/2″ out from under the knob side of the busk, covered in the lining fabric, and stiffened with coutil.
Busk 12” long, with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Heavy duty busk, slightly wider than 1″ on each side, and very stiff. The busk extends into the binding.
Boning 24 bones total in this corset, 12 on each side. Single boned on the seams and additional bones in the middle of each panel, with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel (the bone on the center back edge is 1/2″ wide, and the bone on the “internal” side of the grommets is ¼ inch wide).
Grommets There are 22, two-part size #00 grommets (11 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. There is the occasional split on the underside of the grommets (my doing as this was my first time using her grommet press) but they’re all holding in securely.
Laces Granny Smith apple green 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon (glides well through the grommets, holds knots and bows securely, long enough).


The Story Behind the Corset:

Some of you who watched my “Unboxing Week” videos in summer of 2015 may remember this corset and the story behind it.

The pattern was a posthumous gift from one of my closest friends in the corset community, Christine Wickham (A Girl From Down Under / Ariadne’s Thread). Christine did a lot for the corset community during her active years from around 2011 – 2014 (including spearheading a fundraiser for me to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry). I also worked with Christine on a number of projects; she was the illustrator for my Corset Designer Doll and she also helped rework my logo. But one of the things that she was most well-known for was that she developed her own underbust corset pattern and released it online for free in the “Learn to Make Corsets Like a Pro!” Facebook group so other fledgling corset makers could use her corset pattern as a place to start.

What I didn’t know is that she was also working on a made-to-measure corset pattern as a gift for me. The only other person she told / showed this pattern to was our mutual friend Amber of Lovely Rats Corsetry (to have Amber check over the pattern and suggest improvements). Christine passed away suddenly in July 2014 after a yoga injury led to pulmonary embolism, and it shook the whole corset community. It was less than 72 hours between her being fine and being gone.

Christine and her generous nature is still regularly discussed among my group of friends, and when I stayed with Amber for two weeks in July 2015, she printed out the pattern that Christine had planned to give me. We decided it would be a good tribute to her memory to create a corset from the pattern, using a combination of our materials / tastes and construction techniques – thus the “friendship corset” was born, a collaboration between Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats, and Lucy’s Corsetry.

See the video above for all my commentary on the different parts of construction, why certain elements were chosen over others, and what I learned from this “mini internship” at Amber’s studio. If you’d like to see my interview with Amber (done at the same time as we were collaborating on this corset), click here.

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Orchard Corset CS-511 Mesh Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “CS-511 Mesh 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 15.5 inches long, princess seam is 16.5 inches long (10 inches above the waist, 6.5 inches below the waist), the side seam is 14 inches, and the center back is 13 inches long.
Full bust spring is 11″, 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 an outside layer of black cotton twill and internal layer of polyester grosgrain ribbon.
Pattern & Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 give space for the bust, panels 3-4 curve over the hip. Construction: Panels were assembled and then boning channels sandwiched the seams (on outside and inside), covering and reinforcing the seams.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape made from grosgrain ribbon, sandwiched between the boning channels. Full width (center front to center back).
Binding 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 5” wide and unstiffened, made from 2 layers of cotton twill, and attached to one side of the corset with a line of stitching – this is easily removed, and 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 14” long, with 6 loops and pins (last two are a bit closer together). Standard width busk (half an inch wide on each side), but Orchard’s busks tend to be more rigid (less bendy) than other busks of the same width.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset. On each side, 7 of them are spirals about ¼” 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 white mesh.
Sizes 18-32 are $79 USD, and sizes 34-40 are $82 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Brittney from Orchard Corset (the very same I consulted with on sizing) models the mesh CS-511 overbust. Click through to see their selection.

Final Thoughts:

Full disclosure, this corset was sent to me as a sample. I normally take a size 24″ in OTR corsets, but as I’ve been shrinking rapidly this year I requested the size 22″. Brittney from Orchard Corset suggested I go a size down, to 20″ because the mesh has a tendency to expand over time. The thought of wearing a size 20″ in an OTR overbust was a bit mind-boggling, but I hesitantly agreed.

The very first time I put on this corset, I thought it would never fit – but as I wore it in more over the weeks, I did indeed notice that it stretched out, to the point that I can wear it with their recommended 2 inch gap in the back. The hips of this corset are quite large (seemingly much larger or has a higher tendency to stretch compared to the bustline) so I would be more comfortable wearing this corset with a “V” shaped lacing gap, which seems to be par for me with OTR overbusts.

However, this is by far the most affordable mesh overbust currently available on the market, starting at $79. The other mesh overbusts include What Katie Did ($375 USD), and Dark Garden ($895 USD) can be out of many clients’ budget. I can see the mesh CS-511 being used by those who would like some breezy bust support in the heat of the summer, or wearing this corset under strapless dresses (there is a white mesh version as well for summer brides). Because my mesh corset has a few construction imperfections (it’s asymmetric over the hip), I’d be more likely to wear this corset under my clothing as opposed to overtop anyway.

CORRECTION FROM THE VIDEO: Orchard Corset’s mesh underbust corsets usually have bones are evenly distributed around the waist – and the bigger the corset size, the more bones are included – this is still true. However, it seems that this isn’t the case for the mesh overbust corsets (at least, not from what I’ve seen in pictures). It appears that all sizes have the same number of bones, same as with their all-cotton or satin corsets.

Shop for the CS-511 mesh overbust corset from Orchard Corset here, and remember you can save 10% by using the code CORSETLUCY (I don’t get any kickback from this, it’s strictly a coupon/ discount code for you).

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Knix / Knixwear 8-in-1 Evolution Bra Review

As you know, I’ve been on the lookout these last few years for a good wireless bra that is compatible with most of my corsets.

I’ve reviewed the Enell Sports and Lite bras in the past, as well as the Genie Bra and the Underworks Binder, trying to find the perfect bra that is comfortable to wear with my corset.

I define the “perfect bra” as:

  • it has no underwire (so there is no metal for the corset to shove into my chest, as well as no wire to pop forward over the top edge of my corset)
  • the band is wide enough that it doesn’t cause a thin roll of flesh pinched under the band and the top of the corset
  • it doesn’t cause “muffin” or flesh spillover in the back
  • it’s comfortable enough to wear all day, and doesn’t leave marks or scars on my skin
  • it still gives moderate support and a relatively flattering shape in the cup (which my Genie bra didn’t really do)
  • Bonus points if the bra is also low-cut enough to wear with my scoop-neck shirt (which is the one thing my Enell Lite didn’t do).

Knixwear is a Canadian company that started by making menstrual underwear, and they launched a Kickstarter for the Evolution bra in September 2015 to revolutionize the modern bra. They well surpassed their original goal; in fact I was one of 13,642 backers to help crowdfund over a million dollars on their project. I received my bra this summer and tried it out for a couple of weeks.

The Knix says it’s 8-in-1 because it’s reversible so you can have two different colors (I chose the black and beige), and comes with black and beige convertible straps which can be worn traditionally, criss-cross (racer) back, or even halter if you wish (although I wouldn’t recommend strapless).

My true bra size is 30F, but I normally sister-size to 32DD because it’s easier to find in my local shops. The way that Knix sizes their bras is by the “+2 inch” system, which puts me at an approximate 32C (size 2 in the Evolution bra). As my underbust (bra band) measurement is naturally 29 inches, I anticipated the band to feel loose on me while giving a bit of “quad boob” in the front, and I was right. So if you have a full bust and small band like I have, you will likely have to heavily sister size as well.

However, when I wear a corset, my body tends to “squish up” and my natural 29″ ribcage becomes closer to 30-31 inches in a corset – so the loose band of the bra fits me better in a corset than without.

Support-wise, it’s equivalent to a light support sports bra (for low-impact activities – I would not do contact sports in this bra). It gives slightly more support than the Genie bra I reviewed previously, and it’s comfortable and moisture-wicking in the heat of the summer.

One feature I like about it is the bonded seams instead of sewn, so it lies flat against my body and doesn’t cause welts or marks on my body. (Because I have a darker complexion, I also get hyperpigmentation scarring on my skin – this bra doesn’t leave marks on my body, even after wearing it for hours.

Knixwear says that their bra band doesn’t roll up, and I’ve found this to be mostly true. The one thing I would love is for the band to be a little longer, even by an inch or so.

I got the padded version, not because I want extra fullness in my cup but rather for coverage and smoothness, and it does its job. Regarding the shape of the cup – it’s not a shape I personally find the most aesthetically pleasing, but I may be biased towards my underwire, molded-up balconette bras that I wear almost daily. But I like how the Evolution bra looks under fitted t-shirts, especially graphic tees where I don’t want to stretch out the design in front.

The scoop neck design also prevents the bra from peeking out under my scoop-neck shirts. I’d be interested in trying one of their V-neck bra designs to see if it gives less “boobling over” in the front.

If you’d like to try their Evolution bra for yourself and support my reviews at the same time, click here! (referral link)