Posted on 6 Comments

How to Curve your Corset Busk

 

Today I’m going to demonstrate how to curve the busk of your corset for a more deliberately dished front on the longline corset in the video above.

  1. The first curve will make it resemble more of a spoon busk, so it wraps around and slightly underneath a full lower tummy, and helps pull it up and in.
  2. The second curve will bring in the lowest tip of busk to prevent the look of a distracting “pelvic protrusion”.
  3. The third curve to the busk is creating a concave “dished” profile to make the side-view look more curvy and slender.
  4. The fourth and last curve will push outwards the very top edge of the busk – this will help those who have sensitive sternums, as the top of the busk will put less pressure on your diaphragm / not poke into the solar plexus area.
Do you have to bend your busk?

Not at all! If you already get great abdominal support from your corset, it gives you good posture, and you’re comfortable, and you like the look of the profile, feel free to keep your corset as is!

Can you buy a corset with a pre-curved busk?

Very rarely do OTR corsets actually come already sold with a curved busk – busks are manufactured to be straight, and then some spoon busks are curved or pressed after the fact to give their characteristic shape. WKD used to sell spoon busk Morticia corsets, and I think Corset Story sold quasi-spoon busks that were wider at the bottom but not curved. But usually if you want a corset to come with a busk pre-curved, you will need to go custom and specifically ask the corset maker to curve the front for you.

If you DO want to go the custom route, the corsetieres I know for certain will curve the front busk for you if you ask them, include:

Before you start: Respect the brand / shop policies…

When you can’t afford to go custom and your only option is OTR – in pretty much all OTR corsets, the busk will come straight, and if you curve the busk yourself this means you’re deliberately manipulating the corset – this will, in all likelihood, render any warranty or return policies void and they will not accept the corset, so before you bend the busk, be sure you’re going to keep the corset and not send it back.

Bend each side of the busk separately or together?

You have the option of bending each side separately or bending both sides of the busk together.
If your corset has a boned underbusk that has an extra wide, stainless steel bone under one side of the busk, and the actual busk itself is a very flexible, standard width busk, I would first manipulate the side with the underbusk – then I’d put the busk together and see if curving the other side is even necessary or not, because sometimes a flexible busk will bend to the curve of the stronger underbusk.

If your hands are strong enough, I’d curve both sides of the busk together, clasped closed, so that both sides of the busk have the same amount of curve – this will ensure that the loops and pins will always line up. You’ll want to support the areas where the loops and pins are riveted in, so the busk doesn’t break there or the pins don’t fall out. What you’re aiming for is for most of the curve to occur between each bracket, and not much right at the bracket.

If your hands are not strong enough, you can curve each side of the busk separately – it is the more careful way of doing things, but it also takes longer to make sure that both sides of the busk are curved the same amount, and that all the loops and pins line up exactly.

Does the type of busk matter?

If your corset has carbon fiber bones adjacent to the busk (which will only be included by special order in a custom corset), don’t even bother trying to bend it. It will be too stiff to manipulate significantly with your hands, and carbon fiber is designed to be strong but relatively brittle. Rather than holding a curve, poor quality carbon fiber would rather shatter – so if you want a curve to your front, you will have to remove those carbon fiber bones and replace them with steel.

A wide stainless steel busk and a spoon busk may be more tricky to bend, but it is possible. Flexible standard width busks are relatively easy to bend.

Some extra tips:

Like I said with my other article on curving the back steels – only bend a little bit at a time, try it on, and then if you find you need a little more curve, then take it off and bend a little more, just small amounts at a time. Go with what is most comfortable and compatible with your body, not just the amount of curve that happens to look dramatic and cute, because that might be too much curve for you.

If your hands are too weak to curve the busk on your own, use the curve of your thigh or your knee, or a tailor’s ham. You can try (very gently) to curve it over certain rounded countertops, but don’t bend it too much as to form kinks, and try not to bend it back and forth because bending it too much one way and then the other will weaken the steel. Below you’ll find a guide on which countertop edges are best for curving steel, if you choose to go this route.

The shapes with green circles are the best for curving your busk / steel bones. Yellow is okay (proceed with caution) and avoid the countertops that have red Xs.

For all of the descriptions of the different types of curves below, you can check out the video above for the demonstrations!

 

SUPPORT LOWER TUMMY POOCH (FUPA)

This first example is for those who have a panniculus, which is the medical term for lower tummy pooch, mother’s apron, or (more crudely) a “FUPA”. Curving the busk just a little bit under to cradle the bottom of a protruding abdomen can sometimes help fight that gravity that wants to pull your tummy out from under the corset.

  • You want to create a convex curve at the lower tummy, usually below the belly button. If you need to try on the corset and mark the area lightly with tailor’s chalk, go ahead and do so.
  • Again, focus on curving the areas between the brackets, and support the brackets as you place pressure on it.

GET RID OF THE “PELVIC PROTRUSION” (corset dingdong)

Curving the very bottom of the busk inward will help prevent a distracting point from poking out at your pubic region. (But as a general guideline, starting with a corset that’s cut straight across or at least gently rounded will help hide the bottom edge much more effectively than a pointed or dramatically contoured lower edge.)

  • Here you want to start as low down as possible – if you have a longer busk with fewer brackets (pairs of loops/pins), then you could possibly even start below the last brackets. If not, you can start curving from the area between the last and second last brackets. Curve towards your body.

Just a note: if you have a very low body fat percentage or very flat lower tummy, curving the bottom edge of the busk too much can cause it to jab into your pubic mound or pelvic bone uncomfortably, so be careful here and curve less as opposed to more here, until you get a comfortable compromise.

CREATE A DISH IN THE WAIST

If you find that your corset is too “thick” or flat in the profile and you prefer the look of an inwardly dished front at the waistline, you can create a gentle concave curve.

  • Start right at the waist tape, and unlike the two curves above, focus on curving outward instead of inward. Try not to create too dramatic a bend here – curve the busk a little at a time, and keep trying on your corset as you go. The inward curve does not affect your posture or cause you to lean forward. It should also not put any uncomfortable pressure on your diaphragm.
  • The more dished a corset is at the waist, the more it kicks out the top and bottom tips of the busk. You may need to adjust the bottom edge more to prevent that pelvic region from sticking out.

CURVE OUT THE STERNUM

I deliberately left this one for last, because if you had curved inward the waistline, sometimes that is enough to kick out the top of the busk enough to take pressure off of the diaphragm.

Some corsetieres sew a tiny pillow or cushion to make the top of a busk more comfortable at the sternum like Creations L’Escarpolette, but another potential option is to gently curve outwards the top tip of the busk so it points just very slightly away from your sternum.

  • It is essentially the opposite of the “pelvic protrusion” bend. In this situation, you want to start as high up as possible – above the highest set of loops and pins – or if that is not possible, then you can start curving from the area between the first and second sets Curve towards your body.

 

If you apply all of these curves to the same corset, it will end up looking slightly like an S shape. Again, I’d recommend doing only a little at a time, and keep trying it on. Obviously you don’t want to overdo all of these and end up giving yourself a worse posture than before.

Before and after curving the busk.

 

Hopefully this guide is helpful for you! Do let me know if you have any questions, and if you have any other tips leave a comment down below.

6 thoughts on “How to Curve your Corset Busk

  1. I’ve been searching for a well engineered appliance to push my lower abdomen up and in, anchored in my hips more than my back, and open at the top and bottom, as I can’t abide a leotard. Where should I be looking?

    1. Hi Flower, thank you for reaching out! I would start by checking the Corsetiere Map to see if there are any specialist makers in your area who would be able to give you a personal fitting (measurements and toile fitting before making the final corset). This is the more surefire way to achieve the support you want while still allowing you to do your normal activities.

  2. Hi! I need advice! I have a LONG distance from the sternum to the waist. I measured it in a corset that is prefab and has a preset curve that’s WAY OFF. I was able to cinch my lungs but the waist and below? NOT. So… hahaha! What do I do?

    I actually have depression over what happened to my body. Below the waist is a roll of muscle that’s large. It got put there due to surgery. My spine surgery. So… that area is tender. And it’s not moveable. Meanwhile, my waist – one inch higher is all flab at 35″ and when I started waist training this week with a 10 inch trainer – just to experiment with the pain levels at compressing that scar-infested muscle blob below the waist, the waist also cinched already to so much that it’s too small for the belt I am wearing. But the ribs and the scar don’t compress more!

    I saw your webside recommended the Libra model – but… alas…I do not have hips like you! I wish I did so I could buy one! hahaha

    I have small hips and the pelvis-to-hip distance in the trussable area is only 1 inch of room.

    To truss the area that’s bulging out from the sides when I wear this cincher is essential. That’s an area 6 inches above my waist. But I can’t go below my natural waist by any more than 2 inches due to searing scar tissue.

    I am on a fixed income. THis is not a fashion thing. I found out I have a thyroid tumor, have spine problems that keep me from doing what I used to do: sit ups, swim, run and bike. All i can do is core strengthening without any cardio and lettuce diet. And I have ‘love handles’ that are accentuating due to one week only of waist training with a 4 steel rod cincher made of nylon. Good grief. I was NEVER FAT in my life and I am so conservative with food! Jesus! Anyway I am sorry for this long post but I saw no other way of reaching out to you and I pray you have some ideas.

    I had such a catastrophic spine failure I have lived much of these 13 years in bed praying to be able to walk – and don’t have any MDs or trainers to consult with – you can look far and wide and not find anyone who has this particular catastrophic manifestation of spine problem and the nerve and scar tissue in damage. It’s hell on earth but I am determined that before I die, I won’t have love handles in the front anymore – and none in the back – and my waist will be down to 30 and I won’t have bulges in all directions! I need the help of steel…. and it’s a shame I have such a long distance from the base of the boobs down to the waist or life would be SO much easier…

    IS IT POSSIBLE to TAKE a corset, say, from Orchard Corset, and, relacing it, to get the busk to reform ITS pre-fabricated narrowness to mine with tight cynching? Oh… to do that the spring size would not let me!! My natural waist would be treated by the busk as if it’s hips. hahaha! Shoot.

    I would cry with joy if you answered me with suggestions that don’t break the bank. God bless you for ALL your help! I watch your videos with gratitude!

    1. Hi Christine, thank you for your comment. Because of your extremely specific situation, and your need for a “crop top” corset essentially for medical purposes, I would 100% recommend a custom made medical grade corset made by a specialist corsetiere. I know you mentioned that you’re on a fixed income. but if you have any kind of medical insurance. some of the corsetieres have the cost of their corsets covered (or at least subsidized) by insurance companies. You will find the therapeutic corset brands in yellow here.

  3. Hi Lucy

    Would the same principles apply to bending the bust area of an overbust corset to give better shape and support? Would it work?

    I bought an overbust corset from Orchard Corset a few years ago, but I have only worn it out of the house once, over a white off-the-shoulder blouse (for a steampunk party). I didn’t even like the way it looked then, because the proportions were all wrong (I am only 5”1, so it was too long, visually, to wear it in a way that made it stand out). I’m sure there would be ways to wear it that would work, except for the fact that the top edge stands away from my body, and shows rather more skin than I care too (especially to those standing taller than me, which is virtually everyone!)

    I only feel comfortable with the fit if I wear a bra underneath it, for support. But, then I have to wear it as a stealth corset, which defeats the whole purpose for getting an overbust corset!

    Is there any advice you can give me, that would enable me to wear the corset as intended? I do hope you can help! I love the corset. It’s in a black brocade and, apart from the bust area, it has a beautiful shape.

    1. Hi Beth, yes it should be able to work for any busk, including in overbust corsets. In fact, I know some very high end corsetieres will deliberately use flat steels all around the front of an overbust corset, and bend them to provide exactly the shape and support to their client’s breasts.
      Spiral bones aren’t really designed to hold bends / curves, so there’s a chance that you may need to replace the spiral bones over the bustline with flat steels. If you’ve never replaced bones before, I have a tutorial for that. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *