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Rebel Madness “Ocean Lagoon” Mesh Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Rebel Madness “Boho” / “Ocean Lagoon” Mesh Corset 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 11 inches long, princess seam is 9.5 inches (4 inches from the waist up, 5.5 inches from the waist down), the side seam is 10 inches and the center back is 11 inches long.
Rib spring is 7″, lower hip spring is 14″. Ribs are slightly conical, but the mesh allows some flexibility in the ribs. I recommend this for someone with a high waist and full hips.
Material The mesh parts are single layer synthetic corsetry mesh. The front and back panels are 3 layers (fashion fabric is decorative lightweight cotton, another cotton interlining, and black twill lining).
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 2,3,4 and 5 all have some ease over the hip to create ample space over the hips. Panels were assembled with seam allowances facing outward (so as not to scratch the skin) and decorative lightweight cotton boning channels were laid down on the outside.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape made from grograin ribbon, stitched on the inside of the corset (obviously also visible on the outside due to the mesh). Seems to be full width (center front panel to 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 6.25 inches wide, unstiffened, made from 2 layers of black cotton twill. Not sewn into to the corset – it’s suspended on the laces using grommets.
There’s also a 1/2-inch-wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, extending from the knob side of the busk, also covered in the same fashion fabric.
Busk 10” long, with 4 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk, with an additional ¼” flat steel bone adjacent to the busk on each side.
Boning 16 bones total in this corset, 8 on each side. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. One of the bones by the grommets is spiral steel (so the back is a but more flexible than usual when lacing up) but the bones at the center back seam, on the outer edge of the grommets, are flat steel. The bones adjacent to the busk are also flat steel.
Grommets There are 20, two-part size #0 grommets (10 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in black. They’re very nice quality (similar to Prym brand) and have rolled beautifully – definitely an improvement from the smaller silver grommets used in their old stock of corsets!
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.
Price Available in the blue decorative fabric you see here, but also available in a more simple all black design. Sizes 18″ up to 28″ closed waist.
As of 2017, the price is $95 USD. Find it here on Etsy.

 

Final Thoughts:

Ocean Mesh mini underbust corset by Rebel Madness, model unknown. Image courtesy of Awin / Etsy. $95 USD.

This corset goes by several names, like “boho mesh”, “ocean mesh” or “lagoon mesh”. If you search any of those names on Etsy, you will find the listing – or you can find it here.

Because this corset is longer from the waist down than it is from the waist up, it would suit someone with a high waistline / deep pelvis, or it could conceivably be worn as an “active longline” corset (a term coined by Electra Designs, where the bottom edge of the corset covers the hips and lower abdomen, but the top leaves the ribs mostly free for expansion and movement). While I would still not recommend exercising or working out in any corset, this corset does leave my upper ribs more free for deep breathing, as I have a longer torso.

The mesh is a great quality, finely-woven synthetic corsetry mesh. Although we’ve been conditioned to think “natural fibers are superior” when it comes to corset strength fabrics (like cotton coutil) due to their breathability, the truth is that synthetic mesh fabrics tend to be stronger – and because they are a mesh, they are still lightweight and breathable. However, as always, I would recommend wearing this corset with a shirt or liner underneath to prevent chafing and to protect your corset from the sweat and oils from your body.

One concern I had was that the decorative blue fabric seemed a bit transparent (at certain angles, the edge of the spiral bones show through the channels) and I was worried that it would be too thin to keep the bones in place without eventually wearing a hole through the fabric after several months of use. Magda and Maciej (the Rebel Madness team) ensured me this would not happen, as they test all of their designs for at least 6 months before putting them on the market. So far I’ve not seen any damage or wear to this corset (but I have so many corsets that I don’t wear this one daily), so for now my worries are assuaged. However, I’m thinking about adding some decorative flossing on top and bottom of each boning channel in a delicate light blue or deep purple floss, which will add even more security against any future issues.

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), at $95 in their Etsy shop.

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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England Adventures: Oxford Conference of Corsetry (OCOC), Interviews, Factory Tour & More!


At last, after 2 years I’m sharing with you some highlights of my trip to England, and what you can expect at the Oxford Conference of Corsetry if you choose to attend in the future.

There were unfortunately some restrictions placed on what could be photographed or filmed and what couldn’t, and so I filmed very little in 2014 (the first year I attended). In 2015 I filmed a little more, after seeing what other attendees freely filmed / photographed without getting a slap on the wrist – but here’s a nonexhaustive list of limitations (just so you won’t be underwhelmed by the lack of footage in the video above).

  • At Jesus College, where conference was held, you’re not allowed to portray it in any way that could be considered an advertisement.
  • You’re not allowed to show certain signs or crests or logos in video or photography.
  • Regarding the conference itself, I was respectful of attendees who didn’t want to be shown on camera (but when you’re at a conference you’re constantly surrounded by people).
  • I would have loved to do a dozen corset reviews or interviews at the conference as well, but I was not allowed to favour the work of any one maker over the others (if I interviewed one, I would have to interview all of them, and there wasn’t enough time to do so).
  • You’re was also not allowed to film the models or photographers when they were at work.
  • Obviously you’re not allowed to film the workshops in their entirety, as that could be giving away the presenters’ trade secrets.

So what was left that I could film included old architecture and gardens, the backs of people’s heads, tiny snippets of talks, and piles and piles of corsets (of course, the corsets were the whole reason I was there!). I’ve pulled together what I could here, and in this video I’ll also be talking about what I got up to before and after the conference (in both 2014 and 2015).

 

Corset Pilgrimage, 2014: Oxford, London, Leicestershire, Birmingham, Bath

Lowana of Vanyanis (right) and myself in the car (also with Jenni of Sparklewren in the front seat), all of us excited to head to OCOC 2014!

The location itself felt like I was staying at Hogwarts. I’m not certain if there are any buildings in Canada that are quite as old as those in Oxford, and I felt a combination of reverence and the heebie-jeebies. You could choose whether you wanted to share rooms with a friend or whether you wanted your own place (I recommend bunking with a friend – it’s less expensive as well). When you check in at the college, they assign you your room. Attendees are all scattered around the college, you’re not all in one giant rez.

At the conference there’s always a room with a corset pile on a giant table. Corset makers can bring their corsets and label them and leave them here for the weekend for all other attendees to study and try on (if you allow trying on of your corsets). This room is locked after hours so your belongings are protected. Again, I was not allowed to conduct any interviews or corset reviews at the conference, but I did do a couple of interviews (Beata Sievi of Entre-Nous in Bath, and Lowana O’Shea of Vanyanis in London) after the conference in 2014.

Autograph for Christine Wickham from Mr Pearl. It reads, “To Dear Christine / Love is the Messge / Love has no time or space. / Mr Pearl”

There was also a table set up for Christine Wickham, of Ariadne’s Thread, as it was her crowdfunding that helped me afford to travel to England to the OCOC in the first place. Christine passed away unexpectedly in July 2014, just a few months after the campaign ended, and a month before the Conference of Corsetry. I commissioned Sarah Chrisman to hand-bind a book with blank pages, and anyone could come and write a note to Christine or to her family.
I ended up bringing the book 2 years in a row, and at the conference in 2015, the one and only Mr Pearl signed her book.

On the Saturday night, there is a dinner gala where you can dress up in formal or semiformal wear, and many of the corsetieres wore their own creations.
In 2014, the special guest and keynote speaker was Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden, and how her business had evolved over 25 years.

Some of the classes and workshops in 2014 included:

  • Drawing inspiration from architecture and nature, guided by Alison of Crikey Aphrodite
  • Couture hand finishing techniques by Ian Frazer Wallace of Whitechapel Workhouse
  • Studying antique corsets including the bird’s wing corset, with Jenni of Sparklewren
  • Grading different sizes for standard sized collections by Marianne of Pop Antique
  • Working with Worbla and other interesting materials with Barbara of Royal Black

Let’s rewind a bit and talk about going to the Symington corset collection in Leicestershire before the 2014 conference. I made plans to meet Lowana of Vanyanis at the airport, and we made an appointment to study some of the antique corsets in their collections. It was simply amazing; we were allowed to touch the corsets with clean bare hands. See the video for many examples of the corsets we studied there.

This antique corset has teeny tiny stitches – about 25 per inch – and it was considered impressive if the corset lasted 12 months before needing replacement!
Corset courtesy of the Symington Museum Collections in Leicester, UK.

After the museum, Lowana and I went to Birmingham to the Jewellery quarter and spent a day at Sparklewren’s studio. Marianne of Pop Antique was there too, and Lowana hired Inaglo Photography for a day there. I also had a small turn in front of the camera.

After the 2014 conference, I toured different parts of London and Bath – parts with Lowana and Beata, and parts solo. I was particularly excited to visit the roman baths, because my grandmother visited them in the 70s and loved them so much. I’m named after my grandmother but never met her, and it was of an odd importance to me that I walked the same areas she did when she visited England over 40 years ago.

Again, if you’d like to see the interviews I did in Engand in 2014, click here for Beata Sievi of Entre-Nous in Bath, and Lowana O’Shea of Vanyanis in London.

That was the summary of my whirlwind 2014 England trip! Continue reading to learn what I got up to in 2015.


Corset Pilgrimage, 2015: Oxford, London, Portsmouth

Joni (Rainbow Curve Corsetry) and myself (Lucy Corsetry) hugging a really, really old tree somewhere near the fields where Harry Potter’s Quidditch games were filmed.

The Oxford Conference of Corsetry in 2015 was structured similarly to the year before. That year I was only in England for about 5 days, so there were fewer opportunities for tourism, and the itinerary was a lot more jam-packed. I arrived just hours before conference festivities began on the Friday, so I went walking in downtown Oxford with some other corsetieres like Sara of Exquisitely Waisted Designs, Karolina Zarzycka with the label of her own name, Dee from Luscious Pearl Designs, and Joni from Rainbow Curve Corsetry, and we checked out some different sites where Harry Potter was filmed. Later that evening all the attendees went to Bill’s for a casual meetup and grub before lectures and workshops started the next day.

This year, I decided to share a dorm with Laurie Tavan, and as we’re both quiet people who completely nerd out on the minutia of corsetry and aren’t afraid to help each other out, she was the perfect roommate for that weekend.

Again on Saturday night, there’s a semiformal dinner, and the keynote speaker for 2015 was Immodesty Blaize, who gave an amazing performance and then gave a beautiful speech afterward.

Workshops and classes in 2015 included:

  • 3D printing and other interesting materials with Barbara of Royal Black.
  • Pattern matching workshop conducted by Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden.
  • Question and answer period with Mr Pearl.
  • Building your own website and SEO with Fionna Pullen.
  • There was also a class on integrating corsetry into other clothing (led by Ian Frazer Wallace of Whitechapel Workhouse) – arguably the class I was most excited about on the itinerary that year – but that particular year, attendees were divided based on skill & experience level, so not all makers were allowed to attend all workshops. This is the one detail that I would change in the future with OCOC; if all attendees pay the same amount to attend the conference, they should all be able to sit the workshops they’re most interested in. Attendees only learned that we were segregated into different classes after we had already paid for our tickets.
Katie Thomas (right) and myself in the WKD London boutique.

After the conclusion of OCOC 2015, I spent two days with Katie Thomas of What Katie Did. She showed me the headquarters in London, where all the amazing lingerie and corsets are stocked for online orders, and showed how their business operates on the back end – from testing samples, to online customer service, to working with celebrity stylists, to order fulfillment. I also learned about the “What Katy Did” books and the history behind the name, and also we took a trip to their boutique on Portobello Green and saw how they ran their shop. I also got to try on a few corsets, and of course Katie and I sat down for an interview! If you’d like to see the whole interview, click the link in the cards, or in the description below.

Katie’s family also took me to Basildon park, a gorgeous estate where they filmed parts of Downton Abbey. I’m so grateful to Katie and her family for housing me for a few days and showing me such hospitality.

After two days with Katie’s family, I took the train south to Portsmouth where the Vollers family kindly put me up for two nights, and allowed me to tour their factory and see how one of the oldest corset companies in the world runs their business and makes their corsets. They have lots of nifty tools machines, which you can see in this detailed video. Naturally, what would a visit be if I didn’t also interview Corina and Ian, the owners of Vollers corsets?

I wore Vollers Veco corset dress to the formal dinner at OCOC 2015, and then visited the Vollers factory after the conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After leaving the Voller family, I went straight to the airport and flew home.

Unfortunately I was not able to make it to the 2017 conference of corsetry, but from the sound of it and all the pictures, it seems like it was their best year yet.

Many thanks to the coordinators and presenters at OCOC, Christine Wickham, Lowana, Jenni, Glo, Beata, Katie, Laurie, the Voller family, and everyone who made my two trips to England as wonderful as they were. The next OCOC meetup is in 2019 and I’m determined to attend again – and hopefully spend a little bit longer time there to take in more of what England has to offer.

 

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California Corset Adventures – NALACE, Puimond, Interviews & More

As you know, throughout 2015 I spent about 2 months traveling for business. You might recall my Thailand adventures video and my Texas adventures video, so here is a brief continuation of what happened in California in July of 2015. (Unfortunately I broke my phone and I had also misplaced some memory cards for my travel camcorder for two years so I lost a lot of my footage – but by some stroke of luck I found one of my SD cards which had a few tidbits of footage).

The clip with myself, Sarah, and Jim Cox (the owner of Timeless Trends) at the beginning of the video above is of one of the first prototypes of the Gemini back in June of 2015 in Bangkok. I had included a very short clip of this in my Thailand video two years ago, but I didn’t want to give away too much about the two different silhouettes and the cut, but now that the Gemini corset is for sale, I’m comfortable extended version now!

After staying in Texas for about 3 weeks, Amber (Lovely Rats Corsetry) and I flew to Los Angeles together to attend the first ever North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium, coordinated by Jasmine Starfire. Some of the teachers included Jasmine of Sin & Satin, Amara from Vintage View Atelier, Jessica from Ties That Bynde, Sidney Eileen, and also in attendance was Heidi from Strait-Laced Dame, Alisha from The Bad Button, Lori of Bound Angel Designs (who also helped me on the Corset Database), and Lori’s mom Celia, who was everyone’s mom for that weekend. Celia unfortunately passed away from cancer in early 2017. If you would like to support her family during this difficult time, please consider donating to their GoFundMe here.

Two examples of Sin & Satin ribbon cinchers without a side seam.

There were some great workshops during this weekend, including:

  • Jasmine (Sind & Satin): how to create her signature ribbon cinchers without a side seam.
  • Jessica (Ties That Bynde): how to drape and modify patterns from start to finish, and how to grade sizes of a standard size collection.
  • Sidney Eileen: flossing and other couture hand-finishing techniques.
  • Jasmine Starfire (the coordinator): millinery techniques that can cross over to corsetry, including using bronze molds on silk petals to make custom flower embellishments.
  • Amber (Lovely Rats): how to pattern-match / motif-match.

And there were also opportunities to stay longer and visit the amazing fabric market in the LA area.

I also got to catch up with Sidney Eileen, and interviewed Sidney on how her health has improved since the 2013 fundraiser to help treat her lyme and anaplasma infections.

After the Symposium I decided to stay for an extra two days in California and take in what the LA area had to offer (what I could afford at the time). Unfortunately I did not make it to Disneyland, but Laysa and I went shopping in Burbank, visiting stores like Pinup Girl Clothing, What Katie Did, and Unique Vintage. Laysa also took me to Venice Beach where I touched the Pacific ocean for the first time, and the two of us also spent a day with Puimond and his two adorable and well-behaved dogs, Dobby and Handsome (RIP to them both, they passed away I believe in 2017). If you want to see the full interview with Puimond, click here.

I wish I had more footage to show but it really was a whirlwind trip of about 4.5 days! I definitely would love to visit California again in the future. Californians, if you can think of anything that is an absolute “not to be missed” attraction that you think I should see next time I’m there, leave a comment below and let me know!

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Glamorous Corset “Emma” Mesh Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review for the “Emma” underbust corset in black mesh, made by Glamorous 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 just short of 10.5 inches long, the princess seam is 10 inches, the side seam is also 10 inches and the center back is 11.5 inches long.
Rib spring is 6″, hip spring is 6″. The waist does tend to run a bit large / expand in mesh corsets. Offers a gentle (modern slim) silhouette.
Material The mesh parts are single layer hexagonal-hole “fishnet” style netting (seemingly industry standard for OTR). The front and back panels, boning channels and binding are all black cotton bull denim (a coarse weave twill).
Construction 5-panel pattern (10 panels total). Mesh panels were assembled together, and seams were sandwiched by boning channels on the outside and inside. The channels straddle the seams and reinforce the seams.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape made from single-faced satin ribbon, stitched on the inside of the corset and secured at boning channels. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Binding Matching black cotton twill, machine stitched on both sides. The front was stitched in the ditch and the back has a top stitch. 4 garter tabs (2 on each side).
Modesty panel 5.5 inches wide, unstiffened, made from 2 layers of black cotton twill. Attached to one side of the corset with a line of stitching (easily removed if desired). In the front, there is a ¼ inch wide modesty placket, also finished in black cotton.
Busk 9” long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side) with an additional ¼” spiral steel bone adjacent to the busk on each side.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset, 11 on each side. Double boned on the seams with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones adjacent to the busk are also spiral steel. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel (probably stainless steel).
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small / medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. Only a few splits on the underside of the grommets, and due to the choice in laces, they don’t catch much.
Laces The laces are black, ¼” wide flat nylon shoelace. They are a bit springy, but they hold bows and knots well and they are long enough.
Price Available in sizes 18″ up to 40″ closed waist.
Comes in black mesh, white mesh, and 4 shades of satin.
Sizes 18″ – 28″ are $79 USD, and sizes 30″ – 40″ are $84 USD.
Only available on the Glamorous Corset website here.

 

Final Thoughts:

Emma Mesh underbust (available in black mesh and white mesh), model unknown. $79-$84 USD. Click through to visit Glamorous Corset.

The Emma corset is a mid-length mesh corset that offers gentle waist reduction. If you have a seated torso length that is less than 10 inches, you may be more comfortable in their shorter “Bella” mesh cincher, and if you prefer a curvier, longer corset, their “Jolie” longline may suit your preferences.

The mesh is the OTR standard “fishnet” type cotton netting, which offers breathability and quite a lot of flexibility, while the sturdy double boning adds body and rigidity to the corset for posture support and vertical tension. Do keep in mind that because the mesh can expand, this mesh corsets (like other mesh corsets) can expand 1-2 inches when worn (I find this is true of nearly all OTR corsets with this kind of fishnet material, regardless of the brand), so if you’re looking for a specific waist reduction, you may need to go one size down from your usual size – but ensure that your ribs and hips will fit that smaller size as well.

One viewer on Youtube asked about the similarities and differences between this Emma corset compared to True Corset’s mesh cincher, which I reviewed a few years back. For the similarities, both corsets have the same number of panels, and the top and bottom edges are cut straight across in a similar way, and the type of mesh / fabrics used are comparable, but that’s where the similarities end. The measurements are different (in the True Corset, the rib spring is +5 inches, and the hip spring is +8 inches. In this Emma, the rib spring and hip spring are both +6 inches). The Emma also has a slightly different construction technique (double boned, and the boning channels seem to be reinforced as well) – and because of the heavier boning, it lends a smoother, more mild silhouette than the True Corset. If I recall correctly, True Corset dipped or sealed their steels in a kind of shrink tubing, whereas in the Emma corset, they used cotton channels on inside and outside.

Find the Glamorous Corset Emma and other mesh corsets in Glamorous Corset’s shop here.

Do you have the Emma corset, or another piece from Glamorous Corset? Let us know what you think of it in a comment below.

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Corsets and Riding a Bike / Motorcycle

Welcome to another Fast Foundation Friday! Today we will explore the question of whether you’re able to ride a bicycle / motorcycle while wearing a corset.

While I don’t own a motorcycle or a bike (so I can’t give you a live demo unfortunately), I do however know a few corset wearers who do ride bikes or motorcycles. The have informed me that the corset works on a bike similarly to how corsets helped cavaliers on their horses in the 19th century: the corset helps correct posture while on the motorbike, it can act like a kidney belt to prevent organ jiggling especially over gravel, and it can provide another layer of proprioceptive feedback (telling you when you’re leaning and when you’re straight).

One acquaintance who rides motorcycles, Deanna, contributed to my Solaced book. Hers is the first story of the Back Injuries chapter, you can read her story for free if you go to Amazon and read the kindle sample. In her testimony, she mentioned that she had wiped out on her motorcycle twice – once before discovering corsets (and wearing a corset helped in back recovery) and quite a bit later, she had an accident again – this time while wearing her corset. The second time she had an accident, she said she had injured almost every part of her body except where her corset covered (armor indeed!).

“Love Will Find a Wheel” by Sarah Chrisman – a story about Victorian Biking Clubs. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Regarding bicycles, there are many accounts of corset wearers biking while in a corset. The first person that comes to mind is Sarah Chrisman, author of Victorian Secrets. She is a lifestyle corset wearer and has many pictures of herself on a bike as well as many resources from the Victorian era regarding bicycling.

For those who are looking for some advice regarding how to start riding your bike while in a corset – some common sense tips include getting used to riding your bike without the corset, and getting accustomed to wearing your corset before jumping on a bike. Learn how to breathe, bend and move in a corset before your first bike trip, and learn your bike paths and figure out how much you’ll be exerting yourself.

While on your bike, in your corset, pace yourself so you don’t get too winded e.g. when going up hills, and don’t be afraid to stop and loosen the corset if you feel the need to. I will always say safety first on the road, so if a corset prevents you from turning properly to check any blind spots behind you (regardless of the vehicle) then you may want to consider going without the corset – take it in your bag and put the corset on when you get to your destination.

Do you have any other ideas or questions you want answered in future Fast Foundation videos? Leave a comment below!

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Your Corset Doesn’t Fit… Now What? When to Alter Your Corset, or Let It Go.

In this post we’re going to discuss corset alterations to adjust the fit of your corset, and when it’s worth it to try to go DIY, when to leave it to professionals, and when to cut your losses and just toss (or sell) your corset.

Before I get to that, I will say that if you absolutely hate sewing and you have the funds to commission someone else for alteration or repairs, there is no shame in doing so. Back in 2010 I made a video titled “Should you buy a corset or make one?” where I explained (with math and tables, in all my nerdy goodness) to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a corset or making one by myself.

But one thing I didn’t factor in was your willingness to learn and how much you value your time. Let’s say it takes ~20 hours to make one good-quality-yet-relatively-simple corset. (This is about right for me, as I’m a very slow and meticulous worker.) If you have no desire to learn how to sew, and you’re lucky enough to have a job where you’re paid over $30 per hour, that means you can work 10 hours and commission a corsetiere to make you a custom corset for $300 (instead of making a corset in 20 hours and saving yourself $300). If you have zero interest in sewing, it’s better to go with the former situation as you’ve just saved yourself 10 hours of labor.

Just as there’s no shame in buying a custom corset if you can afford it (and you simply don’t like sewing), there’s also no shame in sending your corset to a tailor or corsetiere for alterations – nor is there anything wrong with selling your poorly-fitting corset to someone who would fit it better, and buying a new corset that will fit you correctly! Consider your personal situation and use your discretion.

By the way, altering your corset is something you do when your return / exchange period has expired (or if the company you bought your corset from doesn’t have a decent exchange policy). To see the various exchange / return windows of different OTR corset brands, see my page “Can I Waist Train In That Corset?”

With that said, let’s start with fitting issues with your corset, and what can be done about each.

 

The hips of the corset are too narrow

The A Shape corset gap

(By the way, this gives the “A” shaped corset gap.) You have a corset that is not curvy enough in the hips, and the solution is to create more space in the hips.

If the corset was constructed using the sandwich method (and only the sandwich method), it’s probably fastest and easiest to add hip ties. The advantage with hip ties is that you can adjust them as you train down your waist – if the waist is loose, you can tighten the hip ties to be snug around your own hips, and as you tighten down the waist, you can loosen up the hip ties to accommodate your own hips as that corseted hip spring gradually becomes larger – so the hips of your corset always fit. With a corset with a fixed hip measurement, there’s a narrow window where it fits best, without being too loose or too tight.

Time needed to add hip ties: 2-4 hours.

If your corset is not made with the sandwich method, or if you don’t like hip ties, you can add hip gores which are easiest to do by slashing the middle of the panel, that way you don’t have to take out the boning and pick out all the seams between the panels.

Time needed to add hip gores: 4-6+ hours depending on the number of gores.


The ribcage of the corset is too small

The V shape corset gap

(By the way, this gives the “V” shaped corset gap.)

Some people asked if “rib ties” are a thing. Technically yes – you can do the same thing on the top half of the corset compared to the bottom half. But generally there’s a bit more pressure on the ribs than there are on the hips, especially if it was a conical rib corset. If you put in rib ties, even in the most straight-ribbed corsets, they will automatically create a cupped-rib corset. Another concern is that over a longer time, those laces would push against your ribcage and that pressure might get uncomfortable over time.

So I would recommend only gores for introducing more room in the bust or ribcage. With gores, you can also control how round or how conical you want the ribcage to be.

Time needed to add “rib gores”: 4-6+ hours depending on the number of gores

If you want to add hand flossing to the gores to strengthen the seams, give yourself extra time for that!


The steels by the grommets are too straight and hurt your back.

Corset with hand-curved back steels to support lumbar curve. Click through to see my tutorial on how to curve the steels.

This is a pretty easy fix, you don’t even need to get out your seam ripper. You can use your hands to gently curve the steels to fit the curve along your back.

You can also do this in the front, curving the busk itself, or the steel bones adjacent to the busk. It can create a slightly “spoon busk” effect so if you have a protruding tummy, the busk “scoops” it up and in. However if you are very slender (you have a flat tummy with protruding pubic mound), then I might not recommend curving the busk inward, as the bottom of the busk might jab into your pubic bone.

(If your corset contains carbon fiber bones instead of a malleable steel, you don’t have a chance in heck to bend those bones. Don’t even try.)

Time needed to curve the back steels: 10-20 minutes.


The corset is too long (you can’t comfortably sit down in it)

You can cut down the length of a corset, although it’s a more complicated job. My tutorial on cutting down a corset shows how to turn an overbust corset into an underbust (by only cutting down the top edge) but you can also cut down the bottom edge to your desired length.

Cutting down the top edge will stop the corset from pushing up on your bustline, while cutting the bottom edge of the corset will stop the corset from digging into your lap when you sit down.

For a very long corset that’s problematic on both top and bottom, do not attempt to just cut down one edge and “fudge” the fit by changing where you put the waistline of the corset on your body. If you’re tempted to cut corners, you’re better off selling the corset and using the funds towards a better-fitting, shorter corset for yourself.

Cutting down the corset involves removing the binding, removing the bones, cutting down the corset fabric, cutting down the bones (and busk), retipping the bones and putting them back in, and finally sewing on the binding again. See my video tutorial here!

Time needed to cut down your corset: 5+ hours, depending how many bones you need to cut down.


The corset is too short (it’s not fully covering or supporting your lower tummy, and/or may be causing some “muffin top” at the ribs or back)

There are not a lot of effective ways to lengthen a corset. If you are stuck with that corset, then pair it with some shapewear: control top briefs can help pull in and support your lower tummy if the corset stops too high on your hip, or a longline bra can help smooth your ribs and the skin along your back if the corset stops too low on your ribs. But honestly, if at all possible, I would exchange that corset for a longer one – or if an exchange is not possible with your vendor, just sell the corset and use the funds toward a longer, better fitting corset.


The corset is too big or too curvy – can you take in a corset?

Does your corset flare at the ribs and hips, even while laced completely closed? Then it’s too big or too curvy for your body.

Technically it is possible to sew darts or pleats into a corset, but it’s not a good idea because it can create pressure points on the body. I discussed this in my first “Sizing Down in Your Corset” post here.

To “take in” a corset the professional way, where you would never have known it was altered: you would have to apart the corset completely – seam by seam – and cut each panel smaller. But there are so many seams in a corset that it would probably take longer to alter a corset than it takes to make one from scratch. Also, by ripping apart so many seams, it’s possible to damage the fabric beyond repair (and if you don’t have sufficient seam allowance, you’re done for).

You can make a new corset by gutting the last one for parts and reusing the busk and bones, or you can sell your old corset if it’s in good condition and use the funds towards a new, smaller corset.

Time needed to properly “take in” a corset: 20+ hours depending on the complexity, number of panels, etc.


Bonus: you hate the unstiffened, attached modesty panel

Example of a standard, unstiffened, sewn-in modesty panel hanging from the left side of the corset. These panels can be removed if desired.

Some people hate modesty panels. If you just want to remove your modesty panel, and it’s a standard unstiffened panel of fabric that’s simply sewn into your corset – just take your seam ripper and detach the modesty panel from the rest of the corset. The exception is a WKD corset, where you might have to cut it out instead because it’s sewn right into the lining of the corset and you don’t want to compromise the integrity, the strength of the corset by removing it.

Time needed to remove a modesty panel: 2-5 minutes.

To bone or otherwise stiffen the modesty panel and suspend it on the laces, give yourself an hour. See my tutorial here on how to make a stiffened modesty panel using a sheet of plastic canvas (more affordable and easily accessible than steel bones, and allows the panel to be hand-washed without fear of rusting).

 

Were there any fitting issues I missed here, or any other fitting alteration tutorials you’d like to see? Let me know in a comment below!

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Vanyanis “Ruby” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the Vanyanis “Ruby” Corset Review video. 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 inches long, the princess seam is 8.5 inches (4 inches above the waist, 4.5 inches below the waist), the side seam is 9.5 inches and the center back is 11 inches long.
Circumferential measurements: underbust is 28″ (rib spring is 6″), waist is 22″, and hip is 34″ (hip spring is 12″). The ribcage is very conical, and the hips are gently cupped.
Material 3 main layers: the fashion is red satin with black lace overlay. The strength fabric is herringbone coutil, and the floating lining is a soft black cotton.
Construction 7-panel pattern (14 panels total). Panel 4 is designed to curve over the hip so there is no true “side seam”. Construction: satin was flatlined to coutil, and panels assembled with the seam allowances facing inward (added topstitch for reinforcement; each seam was stitched at least 4 times for extra strength). Internal bone casings laid down, and covered by a floating lining.
Waist tape 2 cm wide (slightly less than an inch) cotton waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric.
Binding Made from strips of black duchess silk, machine stitched on outside and inside. Stitched in the ditch on the outside and tiny topstitch on the inside.
Modesty panel Awesome modesty panel in back – 4.75″ wide, finished in matching red satin / black lace overlay on outside, and cotton inside. Quilted and boned with 2 horizontal and 2 vertical bones, and comes with snaps to easily suspend the panel on the laces, or remove the panel when desired.
In the front there is a modesty placket, extending about 1/2″ out from the knob side of the busk, covered matching red satin with black lace.
Busk 11” long, with 5 loops and pins, the bottom two a little closer together. Wissner brand, standard flexible busk (1/2″ on each side) and a bit flexible, but there are added flat steels adjacent to the busk to add stiffness. The busk is also covered in a matte black powder coating.
Boning 30 bones total in this corset, 15 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, and more flexible than usual, so it could curve to the lumbar spine. There are 4 flat steels by the busk (2 on each side).
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small-to-medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in gunmetal grey or pewter. No splits on the underside.
Laces Black 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon (glides well through the grommets, holds knots and bows securely, long enough). Finished with nice metal aglets.
Price Available in sizes 20″ up to 30″.
Price is $795 AUD (converts to about $635 USD).
VIP mailing list members get $100 AUD coupon, which brings the price down to $695 AUD (about $550 USD).


Final Thoughts:

Vanyanis is a couture brand based in Australia, run by Lowana O’Shea.

This corset is the best quality OTR piece I’ve ever seen. Made with herringbone coutil, expertly-matched fine lace, black hardware, evenly distributed steels, and an insanely comfortable pattern, Vanyanis has set a new bar for factory-produced corsetry.

For the pattern of this corset, I believe Lowana mentioned that this started out as the same dimensions and silhouette as her “Alecto” corset (a standard size, made-to-order Vanyanis product made by Lowana herself, introduced back in 2014) – however, the “Ruby” Corset was cut to have points on the top and bottom edges and to ride a bit higher over the hip. The “Lilian” corset is a grey / silver satin, and cut more straight across the top and bottom edges, but still the same general pattern.

And of course, the “Ruby” and “Lilian” corsets were made in a factory under Lowana’s supervision, which is why she describes these as an “off the rack” collection as opposed to the usual “ready to wear”.

One of the best features about this corset is the painstakingly pattern-matched lace in this corset. Because the lace had to be cut to each panel and flatlined (as opposed to pieces overlaid when the whole corset was finished being assembled), Lowana says that there was quite a lot of time and care (and stress) put into this step at the factory, and quite a lot of fabric wastage as well as they had to think about having sufficient seam allowance on each piece. This drove up the price of the corset – but it has a truly stunning final effect.

Lowana says that this corset is definitely strong enough for waist training, but due to the delicate nature of the lace overlay, it might become “roughed up” over time, so do keep in mind that the more you wear this piece, the more worn it will look.

This is Lowana’s first OTR line and as such it’s a small run to start (only 25 of the Ruby and 25 of the Lilian corsets in all sizes). If these sell well, Lowana is interested in making more colors, styles, and perhaps extended sizes as well.

If you’d like to see my interview with Lowana of Vanyanis, click here. And if you’d like to visit her Vanyanis shop, click here.