This entry is a summary of the review for the “Dita” underbust corset in black leather, 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:
Center front is just short of 12.75 inches long, the princess seam is 10.5 inches (5.5 inches above the waist, 5 inches below the waist), the side seam is also 10 inches and the center back is 13 inches long.
Rib spring is 7″, hip spring is also 7″. The rib is ever so slightly cupped, but appears more conical. The silhouette is a moderate hourglass.
The fashion fabric is black leather (also available in satin or cotton fashion fabric), and the lining is black cotton twill.
6-panel pattern (12 panels total). This pattern may be designed to be worn with a slight gap in the back, because panel 4 has the most flare over the hip. Constructed using the welt-seam method.
One-inch-wide waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Matching strips of black leather, machine stitched on both outside and inside. Small tidy topstitch on the outside, and raw inside (leather doesn’t fray). There are also 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
6 inches wide, unstiffened, made from leather on the outside, and black cotton twill on the inside. Attached to one side of the corset with a line of stitching (easily removed if desired, but the leather may “scar”). In the front, there is a ¼ inch wide modesty placket, finished in black cotton.
11.5” long, with 5 loops and pins, the bottom two are a bit closer together. Standard flexible busk ( ½” wide on each side) and the busk is slightly stiffer than standard.
24 bones total in this corset, 12 on each side. Double boned on the seams with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel (probably stainless steel).
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.
The laces are black, ¼” wide flat nylon “workhorse” shoelace. They are a bit springy, but they hold bows and knots well and they are long enough.
Available in sizes 18″ up to 40″ closed waist. Comes in black leather, and also various shades of cotton and satin if you’re opposed to leather.
Leather corsets: Sizes 18″ – 30″ are $89 USD, and sizes 32″ – 40″ are $94 USD.
Non-leather corsets are a bit less expensive, at $69 USD.
Available on the Glamorous Corset website here.
This corset would be a good fit for someone with ribs and hips that are the same size – so if you are athletic and have well developed lat muscles, or if you happen to have a fuller ribcage and / or a more narrow pelvis, this evenly-balanced corset will give space for your ribs while not flaring too much at the hips. However, if you’re more of a curvy hourglass or pear shape, you might feel more comfortable in a different style that won’t compress your hips.
This corset is one that I warmed to over time. The very first time I put it on, the leather was stiffer and the corset gave a gentle reduction and a silhouette that looks like “) (” parentheses, which is not my aesthetic favorite. But as I wore it in over time, the leather softened and it molded a bit better to my body, I saw its true silhouette come out and it gave me a kind of comic book “Superhero V” shaped torso that looks impressive on both men and women. As such, this corset would be great for cosplay and costumes (and yes, it comes in brown for my steampunk loving readers!).
So this is just another example where we should not judge a book by its cover (or rather, should not judge the corset straight out of the box!).
For those who are opposed to leather, this corset also comes in cotton and satin – although I can’t speak for their silhouette and fit being identical to this one once seasoned.
Over the years I’ve gotten an influx of questions about second hand corsets. Like other used clothing, they tend to be much less expensive and you can occasionally find “unicorns” (rare finds from corset makers who have retired or passed away). But can you trust a used corset to fit well or be as strong as a new corset? Are there any health concerns? Is it gross or shameful to buy second hand? I answer your questions here!
Isn’t it “gross” or unhygienic to buy a used corset?
I personally don’t see a problem with going gently used, as long as you know that it’s gently used and the previous owner is trying to convince you that it’s brand new – and as long as the corset is relatively clean or not used during unhygienic activities. Many people only wear their corset with a shirt or liner underneath, so technically the corset has never touched the skin on their torso, and the corset may not be any more “dirty” than a blazer.
I buy second-hand corsets where I can (I like discounted clothing as much as the next person), especially if I know the previous owner through the corset community and we’ve already developed good rapport. 90% of my closet is probably from thrift shops like Goodwill or Value Village. There are certain items that I don’t buy used (socks, stockings, underwear or bathing suits), and I will only buy shoes used if they look and feel almost brand new (look at the scuff marks on the soles) and don’t have signs that someone bled in them, for instance.
How can I tell if my corset is used or new?
There are differences between gently used and new corsets, the way that there are differences between used and new shoes. Look for the following in a NEW corset:
Crispier feel to the fabric, due to the sizing and starch used in the fabric (factories almost never pre-wash their fabric)
Stitches are all even
Steel bones are all straight, not twisted or warped
No wrinkling around the fabric
No shifted grommets in the back
The laces may feel springy too (if they are nylon OTR shoelace), and they might need to be “worked” a bit before they start gliding through the grommets like it’s second nature.
Used corsets might still show some traits of the above, depending on the construction and quality, and exactly how much it was worn by the previous owner.
How does the construction play a role? A used corset that’s constructed with the sandwich method may show some slight shifting of the threads towards the waistline (where there is the highest tension), whereas with a corset with all external boning channels, this shifting in the stitching is harder to see. It’s also easier to see this shift if a corset has a longer stitch length, compared to if they used a shorter stitch length.
If a corset is very lightly boned with a several inches of unsupported fabric between each bone, you might see more wrinkling at the waistline compared to corsets with more bones (and more evenly distributed bones).
Grommets might have shifted slightly towards the center back seam if they’ve had tension placed on them. (A grommet should not be like falling out of its hole as this is damage, but in a used corset don’t be surprised if they are not perfectly lined up with laser precision.)
With a really well loved corset, you will likely notice that a corset doesn’t like to lie flat like it did when it was new. It may look slightly wonky and might also retain the roundness of its wearer when taken off.
The fabric will be softer than when it was new.
How much “stretching” should I expect in a used corset?
An OTR corset (depending on its quality and the style of construction, and depending on how often it was used) may commonly stretch 0.5 – 1 inch in the waistline. Some may stretch even more, and this should be stated by the previous owner if the corset has stretched to the point where it’s considered a completely different size.
Also, mesh corsets stretch more than non-mesh ones, and corsets with a partial waist tape tend to stretch more than corsets with a full waist tape. I was burned once where I bought a 2nd hand corset off ebay that was stated to be a size 22″, but in reality had a waist of 26″ because it had stretched out so much by the previous owner.
The most lucky buys are situations where the first owner tried on their new corset once or twice, and then decided it wasn’t for them – essentially selling an unseasoned, effectively new corset.
Sidenote: will the ribs and hips of a corset stretch out too?: The waist will almost certainly expand more than any other part of the corset, because it’s the place of highest tension. A well-fitting corset should ideally create a gradient where there’s compression at the waist, which dissipates up and down so that there’s essentially no pressure at the underbust and the hips. But some change to the fabric may still occur.
One really good quote from Laurie Tavan is that “we as corset makers of course never want our corsets to stretch out [such that the measurements change] but it is actually good to have some ease on the bias” as it helps the corset lie smoothly and it’s more comfortable as well. A couple of other corsetieres I know will deliberately cut specific panels on a slight bias (e.g. along the bustline, or around the front hip) to mold smoothly around curves and prevent wrinkles.
To some effect, all fabric, even the industry favorite herringbone coutil, are going to stretch on the bias a bit. The measurements of the underbust, waist, and hips will not change by too much in a good quality corset because the binding will hold horizontal measurements at the ribs and hips, and the waist tape will hold the waist measurement – but along the bias in other areas of the corset, yes there will be some ease, and this is actually a good thing for a comfortable corset that “molds” to the body.
Do I have to “re-season” or “re-break-in” a used corset?
Let’s go back to the shoe analogy: when you break in new shoes, its purpose is to soften the shoe and get it to mold around your foot so it doesn’t give you blisters. In a pre-used corset, the threads have already shifted, the corset has already softened, and the fabric has already eased along the bias (helping an effectively “2D plane” of fabric to better wrap around the hills and valleys of a 3D body), so the corset will likely be more comfortable and you will probably be able to lace it tighter than if the corset were “factory fresh” new.
If you’ve had the pleasure of being fitted for a corset in a brick-and-mortar shop, they will probably lace their floor sample on you which has been worn by hundreds of other customers, and it will feel less crunchy and more comfy than the brand new corset you purchase and take home. But let’s say you exclusively wear that new corset for several weeks or months; if you were to go back to that shop and try on the floor sample again, I bet you would probably be able to say, “nope, this is not my corset. It is Aseasoned corset, but it’s not MY seasoned corset.” Same way that a mom can tell her baby apart from another baby with very similar but non-identical features.
So you may not have to “re-break-in” a pre-loved corset. However, if this is your very first corset and you have no prior experience with waist training / tightlacing etc, you will probably still want to ease yourself into it slowly and NOT go as tight as possible on the first wear. Baby steps.
Any fitting issues I should worry about in used corsets (that I don’t have to worry about in new corsets)?
If you lace up your corset to find that the ribs or hips are bigger than your own, then no amount of wearing your corset is going to make it shrink to fit (but this is the same with new corsets!).
If the original owner had a noticeably asymmetric body, such that their body placed different amounts of pressure on different sides of the corset, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to make the corset perfectly symmetric again. Especially if that corset was laced on an angle or ended up twisting on their body over time, unfortunately I have never figured out how to get the corset to untwist.
If you have any other questions regarding gently used corsets, feel free to leave your questions below! If you have anything to add (or if you agree or disagree with anything here) also leave a respectful comment below and let’s continue the conversation.
This entry is a summary of the Corsetry & Romance Silver Sweetheart Underbust Review video. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:
(Custom fit) Center front is 11 inches long, the princess seam is 10 inches, the side seam is 12.5 inches and the center back is 15 inches long.
Circumferential measurements: underbust is 29″ (rib spring is 7″), waist is 22″, and hip is 33″ (hip spring is 11″). The ribcage is gently rounded, and the hips are very cupped. Somewhat longline corset, and very high back.
The fashion is silver satin. The strength fabric / lining is black cotton twill. Both layers are heavily interfaced.
7-panel pattern (14 panels total). Palina says that the number of panels vary with the size of the corset (larger corsets can have as many as 11 panels per size), the complexity of the pattern, etc. Construction: fashion fabric was interfaced and panels assembled with a topstitch. Single boned on the seams. Lining is also interfaced, panels assembled and topstitched, but the lining is floating (not attached to the fashion fabric).
TWO waist tapes in this corset, one attached to the fashion fabric and one attached to the lining. Both 1 inch wide, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (center front to center back).
Made from commercially sourced black satin bias binding, machine stitched on outside and hand-finished inside.
4.5 inches wide, finished in matching silver satin on outside, and cotton inside. Boned with 3 horizontal and 2 vertical bones, and suspended on the laces with ribbon.
In the front there is a modesty placket, extending about 1/2″ out from the knob side of the busk, covered matching silver satin.
10” long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. 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. They are also gently curved to create a spoon busk effect.
18 bones total in this corset, 9 on each side. Single boned on the seams with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel. There are flat steels by the busk as well. However, corsets with more panels may have more steels.
There are 36, two-part size #00 grommets (18 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced a bit closer together at the waistline, and finished in black. No splits on the underside, no damage to the fabric around the grommets.
Black 1/2″ wide single-faced satin ribbon (glides well through the grommets, holds knots and bows securely, long enough).
Price for a made-to-measure underbust corset starts at only $130 USD plus the cost of materials. Overbusts start at $160 plus materials.
Embellishments cost extra (e.g. flossing is another $15 USD).
Corsetry & Romance is a one-woman business in Poland, owned and operated by Palina.
This piece is exquisite and definitely underpriced for its quality. I gave Palina a huge amount of artistic license with this piece (to the point where I didn’t even look at pictures before it was sent to me, so the final result was a total surprise!). I told her what colors and embellishments I like, and I gave her my measurements, and left the rest up to her.
The center front sweeps down to create an underbust sweetheart shape, but the top edge rises up to a very high back to hold in any “muffin top”. I find I can almost “lean back” in this corset and have ample back support, even along my thoracic spine.
The lovely Chantilly lace is sewn into the top binding around the underbust, and carefully gathered or “ruffled” as it tapers towards the waistline. A delicate silver ribbon, just 1/8″ wide, is threaded through the lace and fastens in a cute bow in the front.
The busk and some of the steels were carefully pre-bent to created a quasi-spoon-busk shape in the front and promote a certain posture and silhouette in this corset. On the loop side of the busk, it’s one continuous piece of fabric that wraps around the busk, with buttonholes for the loops to peek through which prevents any possibility of the center front seam ripping open.
The cording over the hips is one of my favorite features of this corset, as well as the bone flossing. There is a lot going on in this one little corset in terms of embellishment, but it was all tastefully combined to creates a beautifully elegant piece in the end, without being overwhelming or overdone.
The modesty panel and a storage bag are both included in the (already very low) price of this corset, and I honestly don’t know how Palina is able to work such magic with prices as low as she charges.
Corsetry & Romance has no official website at this time, but you can get in touch with Palina via her Facebook page.
Several of you liked the video/post I made on corset fitting issues and how to alter your corset to improve the fit, so I decided to make a “Part 2” where we talk about mending and repairing your damaged corset – and when the repair is manageable, or whether you should cut your losses and “sacrifice” the corset to reuse its hardware in a new corset.
Let’s explore the various types of corset damage, one by one:
A seam rips in your corset
I’m starting with this one because it’s one of the most extensive types of damage, and it’s the one that corseters tend to panic the most over.
If it’s only the threads that have snapped, and not the fabric itself that has torn or disintegrated, it’s mendable. The “quick and dirty” mending job is to whipstitch that seam very tightly back together by hand. Although this mend is visible, it will be quite strong, and if you wish you can cover it in lace appliqué (and put lace on the other side of the corset to make the embellishment symmetric, so it looks deliberate).
Time needed to whipstitch a seam closed: 20 minutes, depending on the size of the rip. If you’ll be embellishing your corset afterwards to cover the mending job, give yourself extra time.
If, however, you want to repair the seam in a way that no one will know that the damage had ever occurred in the first place, the complexity of this depends on the number of layers and the construction of the corset. It can be a straightforward job in a multi-layer corset with laid down boning channels. But in a multiple-layer corset, you’ll have to remove the binding on top and botom, remove the bones in the area, essentially take apart that corset down to its tension-bearing seams and then put it back together. There are risks associated with this method – if the seam allowances were trimmed small and the fabric has a tendency to fray, the corset may not be able to go back together exactly the same way it did before due to extensive damage to the fabric.
Time needed to take apart the corset and put it back together again: Up to 10+ hours, depending on how quickly you work and how complicated the construction is. Some might prefer to just make a new corset half from scratch.
Broken steel bones
This repair is (relatively speaking) easy peasy. Remove the binding on one end of the corset, just up to the affected boning channel. Remove the broken bone, and measure the full length of the bone. Order a new steel bone online, and the most difficult part is waiting for that bone to arrive in the mail. Once it comes in, simply slide the new bone into the boning channel, then sew the binding back on.
Time needed to replace a broken steel bone: 1 hour (plus a few days / weeks of waiting for the mail).
Bones that are too bendy in the back
While this isn’t “damage” per se, it can absolutely cause one grief when trying to lace up and remain laced. The bones might kink and poke into your back, or the lacing gap may bow or warp. In this scenario, you can absolutely replace the bones with stiffer ones if you like (see above for the process). If you don’t want to mess with the boning, try adding more grommets in between between the pre-existing grommets (especially at the waistline), as well as tightening the boning channels if they’re too loose and allow twisting or twirling of the bones within the channels. I have a whole video / article on how to do these modifications here.
Time needed to replace bendy steel bones: 1 hour (see above) Time needed to add extra grommets: Perhaps 20 minutes if you know what you’re doing. Time needed to tighten the boning channels: 10 minutes, plus a good quality zipper foot.
The knob / pin / peg of the busk is basically a rivet that was hammered into a tiny hole within a steel bone. Therefore, it’s theoretically possible to get a rivet setter and hammer it back in (or find another rivet of the same size and use that instead). If you lost the knob, if the knob isn’t staying put, and you can’t find a rivet, you can try to get a little screw that somewhat matches the size, and screw it into the busk (use a flat nut or bolt in the back, and obviously get the type with a flat tip and not pointy).
Time needed to install a rivet or screw to replace the busk pin: >1 hour.
If you wanted to completely replace the busk, this is possible with corsets that have a reasonably “self-healing” fabric (i.e. not materials that show perforations, like leather or vinyl). To replace the busk, first order your busk and ensure that your new busk is the same length as your old one, with the same number of loops & pins, and they align in the same spots. If the knob side of your new busk can fit into the loop side of your old busk, this cuts your work in half because you only have to replace the damaged side.
Remove the binding and the anchoring seam (do not touch the center front seam), take out the broken busk, and replace it with a new busk. Sew your new anchoring seam, then put the binding back on.
Time needed to replace the busk with a new, identical one: 30 minutes per side.
Another thing you can do is get rid of the busk altogether.
Time needed to make a closed-front corset: ~ 1-2 hours. Time needed to replace the busk with front lacing instead. ~ 2-3 hours.
Bonus: What if the loop side of the busk isn’t broken, just bent?
This type of damage on the busk is most often due to not fully loosening the laces in the back before attempting to undo the busk, so that one has to twist and struggle to unclasp the loops and knobs. As long as the corset is sufficiently loosened in the back, the busk should easily undo.
For the bent loops, these can be gently hammered or bent straight again, taking care not to make the loop “ziggly” or bending it too far in either direction. For the knobs/ pins, I would not ever recommend hammering them as they may lose their anchor and fall out.
Bones that have worn through their boning channels
If you’re just starting to notice a bit of wear or thinning along the fabric, you can floss the ends of the bones to prevent them from sliding around and preventing further damage.
Time needed to floss a boning channel: Give yourself like 10-15 minutes per motif, depending on your experience level.
If the bone has already worn a hole through the fabric, depending on how much it’s damaged you might need to patch over it or add external boning channels to cover it up. With external boning channels, this is your opportunity to get creative – use matching channels for a subtle effect, or decorative / contrast channels to spruce up your corset. To make the repair look deliberate, whatever you do to one side of the corset, also do to the other side.
If you’re going to add external channels, you’ll have to remove all the bones from that channel (or the whole corset, if you plan a major overhaul). This is a good opportunity to a look at the bones and be sure that they’re properly tipped and not sharp. If the bones were incorrectly prepared, you might have to take all the bones out and tip them properly and put them back in, which might extend your project by an hour or two.
Time needed to add one external boning channel: ~ 1 to 1.5 hours. Time needed to add external boning channels to the whole corset: ~ 3-4 hours, depending on number of channels, and removing and putting on the binding again.
Grommets that have fallen out
Once the fabric around a corset has become so frayed and damaged that the grommets are falling out, you have no choice but to reinforce that fabric and / or use different grommets that are larger and have a wider flange.
The hardest part is sourcing your grommets and a matching setter that will set the grommets properly and not smush or crush them. If you already have these on hand and you don’t care about the grommets being all the same size or style (say you just want to replace the one grommet in the back), then it will be a super easy job.
However if you want all your grommets to match, you’ll need to take pliers and remove all the grommets one by one, and (preferably) add a reinforcing interlining in the back panel which will help the grommets stay in more securely
Time to change 1 grommet: 10 minutes Time to remove all grommets and put in new ones so they all match: at least 2 hours (1 hour to remove the grommets, another hour to put new ones in). For a longer corset with more grommets, give yourself even more time.
I think I’ve covered most or all of the possible SNAFUs that can happen regarding corset fitting or damage that can be altered, modified or repaired.
If there were any I missed, let me know in the comments below! Also, if there were any (practical) modification or repair videos you would like me to make in the future, feel free to comment and ask.