This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Lara Mesh Underbust (Glamorous Corset)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here. See the quick stats in the table below the video, and my written personal opinion at the bottom!
Custom drafted to my measurements: Center front is 12.5 inches long, princess seam is 10 inches (5.5 inches from the waist up, 4.5 inches from the waist down), the side seam is 11 inches and the center back is 12.5 inches long. Rib spring is 7″, hip spring is 10″. Ribs are relatively conical and brings in the floating ribs, hip very slightly curved.
Essentially one layer of open weave fishnet style fabric. Vertical panels at center front, back, and boning channels are black cotton twill.
6 panel pattern (same pattern as their other Lara underbusts in different fabrics).Panels 1-2 converge towards lower tummy, panels 3-4 give space over the hip, panel 5 has a bit of curve for both the back and hip, and panel 6 is fairly straight.
Straightforward single-layer construction; the mesh fabric is sandwiched between the boning channels to reinforce the seams and provide a place for the bones to go.
Very apparent waist tape present of the inside of the corset, 1 inch wide black grosgrain ribbon.
Bias strips of black cotton twill, machine stitched on both sides. Stitched in the ditch on the outside, and edge serged and stitched flat on the inside (probably to reduce bulk). Garter tabs also included.
Back modesty panel is 5.5 inches wide (covering lacing gap of about ~4 inches). Made from 2 layers of black cotton twill, unstiffened, stitched to the side (easily removable if desired). There’s also a small modesty placket in the front, also made from black cotton twill (1/4″ wide).
Standard flexible busk (1/2″ on each side), 11 inches long, 5 loops and pins with the bottom two closer together for better control at the lower tummy. Adjacent spiral steels add some support.
26 bones total in this corset, 13 on each side (not including busk or modesty panel). Double boned on the seams (5 seams on each side, so 10 spiral steels on each side). There’s also the spiral bone by the busk (see my thoughts at the bottom for more on that) and two flat steels sandwiching the grommets (these are stainless steel so they’re less magnetic than mild carbon steels.
There are 24, two-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small/medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. Unfortunately a couple of the grommets at the waistline are loose / wobbly. (See Final Thoughts for more)
The laces are your standard workhorse of the lacing world: 1/4″ wide black flat nylon shoelace-style laces, which are extremely long, with a little bit of spring or stretch, and they’re abrasion-resistant.
Price & size range
The Lara Mesh is available in sizes 18″ through 40″ and priced at $84 USD. Glamorous Corset has generously provided a discount for my followers, which you can find through this link!
The first thing that stood out to me about the Lara Mesh is that it’s a lower-price point affordable OTR open-weave mesh corset, but it manages to retain its relatively conical / straight rib silhouette. Normally in fishnet-style corsets, the wearer’s ribs push out the corset to give a rounded silhouette. This doesn’t happen with fine-weave mesh, but fine-weave is usually a less cool and breezy option. Part of the reason that this corset retains its conical silhouette (apart from the pattern, obviously) is its heavy use of double-boning channels, leaving relatively little space between the panels for the ribs to allow expansion. I surmise that the smaller the corset (i,e. the less space between the panels), the more this retaining of the conical silhouette is true — and the larger the corset, the wider the panels, and the more likely the ribs are to show some roundness. But it’s an interesting observation nonetheless!
One odd choice in construction includes the spiral steel bones adjacent to the busk – spiral bones only contribute to maintaining vertical tension (helping to reduce wrinkling or collapsing of the fabric) but they tend not to add rigidity and flatness the way flat steels do. The purpose of the busk is not only for vertical tension, but it provides quick access in and out of the corset (obviously) and also flattens the tummy in the center front. The purpose of adjacent flat steels by the busk is to further flatten the tummy, so flat steels should always be used adjacent to the busk.
It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a corset with grommet issues, but unfortunately this corset did show some wobbly grommets right at the waistline. This might be due to less fabric for the grommet to “bite” into (compared to the all-cotton or velvet Lara corsets, assuming that all corsets have the panel-6 fabric extend right to the grommet system), and the mesh fabric obviously doesn’t have much to bite into. Another possibility is simply the property of the fishnet fabric itself being more flexible and allowing distortion of the back panel. This is not a slight against the company; as my fishnet style corsets from other brands have also eventually had grommet issues. If panel 6 were made entirely cotton twill and the grommet system were reinforced perhaps with one more layer, the grommets would have less chance of pulling out. But again, I’m not personally faulting Glamorous Corset, because to my memory, all of the curvy fishnet OTR corsets I’ve owned for 3+ months, regardless of the brand, had at least one grommet pull out.
This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Custom Silver Ribbon Cincher (Court of the Emerald Queen)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here. See the quick stats in the table below the video, and my written personal opinion at the bottom!
Custom drafted to my measurements: Center front is 13 inches long, princess seam is 11 inches (5.5 inches from the waist up, 5.5 inches from the waist down), the side seam is 10.5 inches and the center back is 13.5 inches long — longer than the average ribbon corset.
Rib spring is 7″, hip spring is 12″. Ribs are relatively conical and brings in the floating ribs, hip is more curved than usual in a ribbon cincher.
Essentially one layer of synthetic ribbon. Vertical panels at center front, side, and back are lined in black herringbone coutil.
Ribbon cinchers may be considered one of two ways: all horizontal pieces are considered a single pattern piece (in which case there are ~2 main “pattern pieces”) or you can consider every piece of ribbon its own pattern piece (in which case this corset has 14 “pattern pieces”) and the vertical ribbons don’t necessarily affect the shape.
Straightforward single-layer construction; the horizontal ribbons are sandwiched between layers of coutil in the vertical panels at the center front, side, and center back.
By default, most ribbon cinchers do not have a waist tape – however, if one single long piece of ribbon were used at the waistline (not cut into individual pieces at the seams), this would essentially function identical to a waist tape.
Instead of separate binding sewn onto the vertical panels, Urszula chose to fold under the ribbon and stitched tidily to make a kind of “self binding” and finish the raw edges. The horizontal ribbons don’t need any binding as their edges are finished.
Back modesty panel is boned and suspended on the laces, 5.5″ wide, made from two layers of black coutil. A vertical piece of ribbon runs down the center so that if the corset were worn with a >2.5 inch gap, the modesty panel would match the rest of the corset. The modesty placket in front is 3/4″ wide, made from matching ribbon, and the center front is expertly mirror-matched (a great attention to detail).
Standard flexible busk (1/2″ on each side), 11 inches long, 5 loops and pins with the bottom two closer together for better control at the lower tummy. Adjacent flat steels add more rigidity.
16 bones total in this corset, 8 on each side (not including busk or modesty panel). On each side: one flat steel adjacent to the busk, 3 flat steels in the center back panel, and 4 spiral steels all butted next to one another in the side panel.
There are 28, two-part size #0 grommets (14 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced a bit closer together at the waistline, and finished in silver. They may be Prym brand 2-part eyelets, which are high quality and tend to roll nicely and not pull out.
The laces are 1/2″ wide black double-faced (DF) satin lacing. They have no spring or stretch, they are lovely and flat so they wear nicely under clothing, the satin is a bit slippery but it holds bows and knots well (if tied properly).
The price for a custom ribbon cincher from the Emerald Queen Art ranges from $170 – $250 USD, and of course since this is a custom commission, you can choose any ribbon that Urszula can source, or possibly provide your own if it’s high enough quality. You can start a custom commission by messaging Emerald Queen Art on Etsy.
I’m going to get right to the point: this is my new favorite ribbon corset. As I progress through my corset journey, I find more and more that I’m gravitating towards more lightweight, flexible, breezier corset with an expertly patterned silhouette designed for cinching while accommodating my body’s natural idiosyncrasies, instead of working against them or forcing my body into a silhouette not right for my frame. And this custom ribbon corset felt almost like a second skin the moment I put it on.
Most ribbon cinchers are somewhat U-shaped in silhouette and are not designed to accommodate any convex curves around the ribcage or dramatically wrap around a hip shelf, but Urszula (the Emerald Queen herself) has somehow discovered a way to do it.
I love how Urszula mirror matched the vertical ribbons in the center front and center back – a fantastic attention to detail. It might seem like a small thing to others, but to incorporate a modesty placket in the front (thus creating a structurally asymmetric garment on the left and right halves) but still a thoughtfully mirrored center front aesthetically requires some planning and careful placement.
One thing that I love about this corset is the flexible busk and how it plays with the pattern and silhouette of the corset itself, creating a soft inward curve at the center front while still keeping the lower tummy relatively flat. Some of you may remember my previous post on how different corsets create different silhouettes in the side-view, which many consider a feature and not a bug. While I usually like a corset with a more rigid busk and straight front, I have to admit that the profile in this corset and the slight curve in the front is both comfortable and flattering on my figure.
While the modesty panel contains plastic bones instead of steel bones, I don’t mind this — I’ve seen plastic bones in modesty panels of other corset brands (and in fact, in previous sewing tutorials, I have used plastic myself to stiffen modesty panels). The primary concern around plastic bones is that they may warp or kink when put under a strong curve on the body — but when it comes to modesty panels, they typically don’t curve on the body much at all, unless you count the gentle swoop of the lumbar curve. The biggest advantage to plastic bones in a modesty panel is that the panel can be removed and hand-washed on a regular basis without worry of the bones rusting with repeated exposure to water.
Emerald Queen Art has extremely affordable prices for custom (it’s a well-observed trend that many corsetieres in Poland tend to offer lower prices), where her custom corsets can be less than many higher-end OTR corsets. This would be a great entry-point option for someone just starting to dip their toe into the world of bespoke corsetry. You can start a custom commission by messaging Emerald Queen Art on Etsy.
Do you have a piece by The Court of the Emerald Queen? What do you think of it? Leave a comment down below!
This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Buxom Bodice Underbust Corset (Pirate Fashions)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:
Center front is 13.5 inches long, princess seam is 11.5 inches (5 inches from the waist up, 6.5 inches from the waist down), the side seam is 12 inches and the center back is very high at 16.5 inches long.
Rib spring is 4″, lower hip spring is 9″ (but can be expanded to 14″ or more!). Ribs are very conical and brings in the floating ribs – this corset would fit someone with a long torso and pear shape best.
Two main layers (poly brocade fashion fabric, cotton twill lining).
6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 2,3,4 and 5 all have a little bit of ease over the hip. Panel 2 is cut very long to create the shoulder straps, and panels 4, 5, and 6 are high to create the high back. Layers were flatlined and treated as one; panels were assembled with seam allowances facing inward and topstitched. Internal boning channels were laid down on the lining side and straddle the seams. Single boned on the seams (for sizes 20″ through 32″).
One-inch-wide waist tape made from satin ribbon, exposed on the lining of the corset, secured down at each boning channel. It’s a partial-width waist tape, starting from panel 2 and extending to panel 5.
Commercially-sourced black satin bias tape, machine stitched on both sides. Also includes 6 garter loops (garters sold separately).
4 modesty panels in this corset (large one at the back, 8.5″ wide, will cover back lacing gap of at least 5 inches), front narrow modesty panel (3” wide), and two small panels to protect hips under the hip ties (widest part 4.5” wide). All of them are finished in the same black brocade fashion fabric and cotton twill lining. (See Final Thoughts for extra details.)
No busk – the front is a lacing panel, 24 grommets. (see Final Thoughts for getting into and out of this corset!)
18 bones total in this corset, 9 on each side. Mostly single boned on the seams, and mostly flat steel bones (exception being the bones on the side seam that run over the hip). Sizes 34-40 are double boned (they have 24 bones).
There are 32, two-part size #0 grommets (16 on each side). They have a small/medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. They’ve rolled nicely and they’re not pulling out, but I don’t tightlace in this corset (it’s a gentle reduction on me). A few grommets catch on the laces (the laces get “fuzzy” but they haven’t snapped).
The laces are black round nylon cord. They have no spring or stretch, but they hold bows and knots well enough, and they are definitely long enough (almost too long!).
Available in the red, blue, green, brown, silver, and black brocade. All colorways are available in waist sizes 22″ through 38″, while the black brocade is also available in two extra sizes (20″ and 40″). The price is $139 USD for sizes 20-32 but the price goes up another $20 (up to $159 USD) for sizes 34-40, because these larger sizes are fully double boned.
The Buxom Bodice somewhat qualifies as a waistcoat corset, as it has a high back and flexible shoulder straps.
I tend to see plenty of OTR corsets that feature halter straps, but not too many that include a high back and adjustable shoulder straps that can either go straight back or be criss-crossed for varying support. The high back prevents any back squidge (“muffin top”) whatsoever, and the straps pull the shoulders back to correct posture and prevent rounding of the shoulders. If this corset has the right measurements for you, it might even be an okay support garment if you’re looking to avoid postural kyphosis, at a fraction of the price of other corsets with shoulder straps. (Of course, if you have a medical condition and you need a therapeutic brace, please ask your doctor first!)
Because this corset is so long in the waist, I wouldn’t recommend this for someone who is short of stature/ short-waisted and spends the majority of their time sitting down, as the top edge will push up and lift your bust (hence “Buxom Bodice”) and the bottom edge may hit your lap. This corset best suits those with a longer torso – and because this corset is longer from the waist down than it is from the waist up, it would especially suit someone with a high waistline / deep pelvis. It’s very narrow through the ribs while the hips can be freely expanded, so it best suits straight or pear-shaped corseters.
While the chart above mentions that the hip ties can be expanded an additional 5 inches, in reality they can be expanded a bit more than that – however the little modesty panels under the hip lacing area will not stretch across the gap. I quite like the panels under the hip ties especially, as this is a fairly unique feature. (I’ve reviewed plenty of corsets with hip ties but this is the first that features cute panels underneath to protect the hips from the grommets/laces). But these panels can be tucked back or removed with a seam ripper if you dislike them.
The biggest issue I found with this corset is the time it takes to get the corset on and off, particularly because it doesn’t have a front busk (Pirate Fashions explained that they wanted to stay true to the Piratey aesthetic). How I put this corset on:
I first loosen the laces in the back by about 8 inches.
Then I undo the lacing knot at the bottom of the center front, and unthread the laces to about waist length.
Once the front is loosened enough, I can step into the bodice and pull it up over my hips, and slip my arms through the arm holes.
I quickly rethread the front of the corset (I might skip a few grommets for speed) and tighten just enough to test that everything is sitting properly on my body. I needed several try-ons to get the straps to a comfortable snugness. (This is so much easier with another person helping!)
Once the straps are at the right length and the bodice is positioned properly, I’ll rethread the front properly (not skipping grommets), knot it off at the bottom, tighten up the front and pull it closed, and tuck the “bunny ears” up into the top edge of my corset.
Then I lace up the back like a normal corset so it’s comfortably snug.
It’s definitely a process to get into and out of, and does take longer than a busk – but it does get easier after several wears!
I’m going to start off by saying that I’m not giving any identifying information about the other party in this video – this video is not about slander, I’m not going to name and shame the person, but I do want to share a cautionary tale so others learn from my mistakes.
The corset I tried to buy was What Katie Did brand, but I have never had any issue with this brand’s customer service or quality – I’ve reviewed this brand a dozen times on my channel before – their corsets have stood up over time. So there is no issue with WKD themselves.
It was a regular August afternoon, just like any other.
Each month I put up a poll on my Patreon page asking my lovely patrons which corset brand and style they want me to review next. In July there was a tie between an Etsy sample and one of the new WKD style (since they recently redesigned all their corsets).
I was about to purchase a corset directly from WKD’s site, but I decided to check some BST (buy, sell, trade) corset groups in various forums and social media pages, just in case someone posted a WKD corset in my size.
Almost serendipitously, there was someone selling their Luna waspie in my size! I messaged them right away. The price new would be £140 while this person was selling theirs for £100 plus shipping. (This is a reasonable price for a 2nd hand corset; I usually look for a savings of 60% to 75% of the original price, if it’s gently used with no damage and little signs of wear.)
I am very experienced with buying and selling lightly used corsets, so I didn’t anticipate this situation to be any different than the others.
Red Flag #1: Asking that I cover the Paypal fees.
First, the seller asked that I cover the Paypal fees. This is against Paypal’s terms of service (which I’ll explain later) but I know that this sort of this is common in these groups. So I made a mental note of this, but I thought “Whatever… adding another 3% on top of the discounted price is still a good deal.” I agreed to pay £119 total: £100 for the corset, £15 for shipping and £4 on top of that (which amounts to ~ 3% fees).
Red Flag #2: Asking additional fees after I had already paid what we agreed on.
I sent the payment through Paypal and when they received the money, they told me it wasn’t enough and wanted me to pay an additional amount on top of the fees I had already paid for. At that point I was getting a little bit suspicious, but I kept it polite and cordial – I explained that we did not agree to pay more than what we had previously discussed, so if it was going to cost more than that, I change my mind about the purchase and could they kindly give a refund. (The corset hadn’t shipped yet so it was still fair to ask this).
The seller said “It’s fine, don’t worry about it, the price is close enough,” and shipped the corset. (They said they would ship it on the 10th, but the stamp said it was not shipped until more than a week later – but this is small enough that I don’t consider it too big a red flag; after all, life gets busy sometimes.)
Red Flag #3: Overstating the value of the corset in the customs forms.
Several weeks later, I went to the post office to pick up my new corset, and was shocked to hear that I owed them $126 in taxes and duty. The reason for this is because the value stated on the parcel was (for some bizarre reason) £200, or $348 when converted. That is not what the Luna corset was even worth brand new (even with the price of shipping, VAT, any additional fees, etc, it still would not have come up to that much). This is twice the purchase price we had agreed on for the corset itself. The only reason I could think of for them overestimating the value of a parcel is if they:
a) wanted to cash in on extra money if the parcel were lost in the post (which is deceitful anyway), or
b) they might have been bitter about my refusing to pay more, and wanted me to get dinged by the post once delivered.
I had no choice but to pay the $126, but I will be contesting it because I still have the Paypal receipt for what I paid – but from what I’ve read, people do not often successfully get reimbursed when they’re overcharged duty.
Over $330 dollars later (more than I would have paid if I just bought the corset brand new), the corset is finally in my hands.
Finally, I unboxed the corset during this month’s Patreon livestream. I noted that it was very similar in its cut and construction to WKD’s old styles, but it was dark at the time so I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until the next morning that I was taking a closer look at it, that I realized it’s not the Luna corset at all.
Red Flag #4: It’s not even the right corset!!
After looking closely at some archived images and dimensions (thanks to the Wayback machine and my Corset Database), I realized that I had received the Baby waspie, one of their WKD’d old styles, which I have already reviewed in the past.
The measurements match the Baby, and does not match the stated measurements for the Luna.
It has a 3-pin busk (like the Baby) instead of a 4-pin busk (like the Luna).
It is single boned on the seams, with external boning channels, like the Baby (the Luna has sandwiched double bones).
It has an attached modesty panel like the Baby corset (the Luna does not come with a modesty panel, but a floating panel can be purchased separately).
The hardware, like the busk width/ quality and the grommets are all old-style, whereas they’ve changed their hardware sources for the Luna.
Normally I prefer to assume the best in others – what if this person purchased the corset in WKD’s shop, and they thought it was the Luna corset but they were mistaken? Maybe they couldn’t tell the difference. But then again, the Baby corset has been discontinued for well over a year now.
I also know that in some buy/sell/trade groups, some people will buy out dresses or products in side-walk sales, clearance racks, and liquidation events for up to 80% off, and then re-sell those items in Facebook buy/sell/trade groups for profit. (Oftentimes Facebook marketplace allows this – this type of resale of clothing is technically not illegal). Could this seller have done the same in this situation, snapping up a Baby corset at deep discount and selling it for more?
There was technically only one way to find out: I messaged the seller.
Red Flag #5: No response / ignored by the seller.
Again, I tried the sugar approach – I told them that the corset arrived safely, thanked them for the prompt shipping, but mentioned that I noticed that it’s not the Luna corset as advertised, it’s the discontinued Baby corset instead. I noted the evidence of the corset being the Baby and not the Luna (old hardware, old measurements, old construction). I asked them around what timeframe they had purchased this corset. I kept it cordial and asked a clear question, allowing them space to answer, or even give some kind of excuse.
My message was read just a few minutes later, but they never responded.
So, over $330 later, I have a corset that is… wearable (it’s functional!), but it’s not what was advertised and it’s useless for a review. However, I could (and I’m tempted to) re-review this corset out of spite, so that my money wouldn’t be a total waist waste. The last time I reviewed the Baby corset, it was 2011 and I hadn’t yet established my systematic order of doing reviews – so if you want me to review this corset again, comment below and I can do so – but I don’t know who it’s going to serve because this style is not available for purchase (unless you want to buy this corset off me, so I can get a bit of my money back).
I thought I was a savvy and seasoned corset shopper, but even I messed up this time.
So, what should have been done differently?
Here are some tips for buyers so you can avoid getting scammed in these BST groups (and sellers, so you can learn to play by the rules properly):
The seller should never ask the buyer to cover Paypal / bank fees. It is a common occurrence in buy/sell/trade groups, but you have to know that this is against their terms of service. If they catch you, they could terminate your account without warning or appeal. If you’re a seller and you hate the idea of losing $3-4 on your $100 corset, you can inflate your sales price (e.g. $105 instead of $100), and it’s up to the buyer if they want to meet your price. But you cannot specifically demand that others cover a sales fee.
Send your payment as “goods and services”. The seller should not specifically ask or demand that you send payment as a family or friend (unless the seller really is family / friend and you trust them a lot). If you send money as a friend, then as far as the system is concerned, you are sending a loved one a monetary gift, and there is no buyer protection – so if your parcel gets lost in the mail or if the seller doesn’t ship anything, you’re not able to easily dispute it.
When you’re sending payment, there is usually a box to write comments – spend the extra 30 seconds or a minute to fill it out with the details of your purchase. Break down the cost for each part – for instance, write, “Hello [seller’s name], here is $80 for the [brand, style name, color, size] dress, plus $10 for shipping.” Sellers: if you are sending an invoice, you can break down the price like this too – so you have absolute proof of what you agreed on, in case you need to contest the value, or you accidentally received something different.
If you are selling and shipping an item, state the purchase price of that item on the parcel as the value, no more, no less. Don’t include the shipping fee in the value of the item. Don’t include the tax of the item (if you’re shipping to a different country, that international customer DOES NOT pay state/federal taxes!). Buyers, DO NOT ask a seller to declare the value of a parcel as less than it is (like stating that a $100 item is only $10 or something) because that’s illegal, and the highest penalty for that could be tax fraud. But there are also problems with stating the value as too much – like the government charging too much duty.
Do save the listing of an independent seller and compare it with the original listing on the brand’s website. Screencap the listing if necessary, and compare both the pictures and the descriptions, side by side. Count the busk pins if it’s a corset. Ask for more info if the listing is sparse. Ask for close-up photos if none are provided in the listing (especially if there’s any damage declared). (In my case, the listing was removed before I could save it, but I do have FB messenger evidence.)
If you doubt the label/ brand of the corset, ask for photo evidence. In my case, I received a real WKD corset (not a knockoff), but if you have doubts about whether someone might be selling a knockoff of a certain dress or design, ask for a photo of the label. Ask the seller to include a post-it note with your name or the date written on it, stuck beside the designer label so you know that the seller didn’t just swipe a picture of the label off the internet and send it to you.
What do you think – rookie seller mistake, or scam? What other tips would you include to avoid getting scammed? Leave a comment down below!
Hey everyone! I’m creating this in the middle of a heat wave, it’s a humidex of 40°C here or (~105°F) and I realized that I hadn’t really made a video solely dedicated on preventing overheating while waist training. (Despite my Caribbean heritage, I’m actually a bit heat intolerant so I have to be extra careful not to get heat exhaustion, so I have plenty of experience with trying to stay cool in the summer.)
When you’re wearing a corset, you have several extra layers of fabric around your core, holding heat in — so it’s all the more important to stay cool and hydrated.
I will make another video in the future on tips for wearing corsets as part of your cosplay, but for now, let’s jump into my 3 tips for keeping cool in general, whether you’re wearing your corset over or under your clothes:
1: Invest in a mesh or ventilated corset
Choose a corset that’s thinner or more breathable. Mesh corsets are the first and obvious choice that comes to mind, but they have their pros and cons. I have a whole other post dedicated to comparing mesh corsets here. Mesh corsets are more thin and breezy, which allows heat and sweat to escape — but they usually don’t have the longevity of an all-cotton corset.
Victorian corsets were often made from a single layer of strong cotton, which you can do as well. Upon the resurgence of the corset’s popularity in the last ~10 years, single-layer corsets used to relatively unpopular because they seemed a bit flimsy compared to the “4-5 layer super-duper heavy-duty training corsets” that certain OTR corsets were touting as higher quality — and subsequently, this formed the misconception that fewer layers meant less strength — but it makes more sense that a single layer of good quality coutil is more breathable, and also stronger/ less resistant to stretching out compared to 3 layers of cheap elastic satin, for instance. and as the community of waist trainers has grown in recent years, including many who train throughout the year and some who live in hotter climates year-round, I think the demand for thinner and more lightweight corsets has grown.
Victorians also had mesh and ventilated corsets to help keep themselves cooler (despite the several layers overtop). Lace Embrace Atelier makes recreations of mesh and skeleton corsets, as well as corsets made from cute cotton eyelet fabric.
Narrowed Visions also has recreated 1895 ventilated corset below which looks gorgeous. (I had experimented with making my own skeleton corset, which came out hideous but it was a good learning experience that later led to my sports mesh corset.)
2: Stay hydrated.
It’s probably obvious, but it’s too important to leave out. Even if you don’t think you’re sweating under your corset — believe me, you are. Even if you’re in an air-conditioned building (and air conditioned spaces tend to have dry air), still take in water. But especially if you’re out and about, bring a water bottle and sip it every half hour at minimum, and do not down it all at once. Because if you feel dehydrated and nauseated, and then you chug a pint of water all at once, you’re probably going to feel even more sick. If you’re sweating profusely, you’re also losing salt, so put a pinch of salt or an electrolyte mix in your water bottle and sip frequently.
If you have a tendency to overheat, one amazing thing that was recommended to me was a bodice cooler or bodice chiller. It’s essentially a metal vial that you put in the freezer in advance and stick it in your cleavage or down the front of your corset to keep you cool. This works better with overbust corsets than underbust, because most overbusts leave you a bit of space between the breasts and at the sternum, whereas underbusts tend to fit more flush around the ribs.
Now, these are surprisingly difficult to find. Sometimes they are sold at Renfaires, they can be made from metal or glass — I’d personally be afraid of putting glass that close to my solar plexus (but if it’s designed to go from hot to cold frequently, then most likely it will be tempered glass that’s resistant to shattering). I’ve found one on Etsy here made from stainless steel — it’s available in several different colors and designs, and best of all it’s $20 USD which is much less than you’ll find at most Renaissance Faires.
If you can’t find a bodice chiller nearby, you could also get one of those long stainless steel chillers designed for beer or wine. I have actually not bought a bodice chiller yet, but what I have done is take small freezies or ice pops, wrap it in a paper towel so the plastic doesn’t risk cutting me (and the paper towel also catches condensation and prevents frostnip), and the best part is that they’re easy to find and only cost ~20 cents each. Since they’re sealed, you can pop them back in the freezer when you’re done — but let’s be honest, I usually end up eating them.
What did the Victorians do to keep cool?
While Victorians didn’t have air conditioning (currently my best friend), they did have ventilated, mesh, or skeleton corsets as mentioned above — other ways that Victorians kept cool was by using fans and carrying parasols to shade themselves from the sun. There are patents dating back to the 1800s showing that they even had ceiling fans in some areas, although they worked using a spring and crank, and were usually operated by slaves / servants (another reason why we can feel better about modern air conditioning). Lastly, Victorian women also had summer dresses made from lightweight cotton and linen, which despite wearing multiple layers can sometimes still be cooler than modern synthetic fabrics.
Ready to buy a mesh or a lightweight summer corset? Hey, I’ve got them corsets in my shop! Support this blog and stay cool this summer at the same time.
This entry is a summary of the review for the “Axfords Peach Vintage Overbust (C140) Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:
Full bust: 31 inches (79 cm) (bust spring of 9 inches)
Closed waist: 22 inches (56 cm)
Low hip: 35 inches (89 cm) (hip spring of 13 inches)
Length: 14.5 inches in front and side. 8 inches are from the waist up, 6.5 from the waist down.
Silhouette is conical through the bust/ribs, rounded through the hips due to the hip gores.
Cut relatively straight across at the top, and “scalloped” on the bottom between the attached garters.
Two main layers: the fashion fabric is peach satin (rayon viscose / cotton blend), the lining is 100% cotton in a lightweight but dense canvas weave – the grain looks to be quite straight.
8-panel pattern (16 panels total): On each side, 6 of the panels are full length (and the 1st and 2nd taper slightly towards the lower tummy), while two large hip gores on each side contribute to the fullness and roundness of the hip.
Construction: fashion fabric and coutil were flatlined, Panels assembled with a topstitch, seam allowances facing inward. Herringbone twill tape was laid down on the inside to cover seam allowances, provide channels for the boning, and reinforce the seams.
Skinny peach grosgrain ribbon which matches the peach fashion fabric very well; neatly applied (no fold-under as the edges are already finished).
13 inches long, wide heavy-duty stainless steel busk (1 inch wide on each side). 6 loops and pins; the last two are a bit closer together.
14 bones (not including busk). Single-boned on the seams with 1/4″ spirals (attracts magnet well); and contains 1/4″ flat steels along the back by the eyelets.
42 two-part tiny eyelets, probable size #X00 (smaller than standard; reminiscent of antique corsets), with very small flange. All have rolled nicely, no splits; washers present on the underside. They are placed 3/4″ apart (relatively close together) which allows for good control while lacing up.
1/8″ wide (made of 44% cotton and 56% polyester) white flat lacing – “workhorse laces” with no stretch and plenty of strength. Just wide enough to fit through the eyelets easily.
£160 GBP (around $217 USD) for a made-to-order corset in your choice of fabric.
Other Thoughts and Observations:
Axfords is a corset brand from Brighton, UK. They are one of the oldest corset companies in the world, having been in business since 1880.
Many of their overbust patterns are the same patterns from antique corsets in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and some of their methods (lack of waist tape, lack of modesty panel, copious tiny eyelets, very lightweight construction) are also reminiscent of the way many corsets were constructed during the late Victorian / early Edwardian periods.
Axfords offered me a new sample for review, and because I have a long torso, I had asked Axfords to send the longest overbust style they currently make. At 14.5 inches, it is definitely a better fit lengthwise for me compared to my previous review, but much of that length ended up being from the waist down: this corset is designed to extend a bit beyond the lap level; the bones are deliberately shorter and pushed towards the top, to allow the fabric at the bottom to bend at the hip and allow you to sit comfortably.
The circumferential measurements unfortunately weren’t a perfect fit for my body, but this corset wasn’t made-to-measure so it would be unfair to expect this corset to fit like a custom-fit or bespoke piece. I can see this corset working fantastically with someone who has a more ‘pear-shaped’ figure: someone who has broader hips than mine, but a smaller bust or more narrow back.
Michael from Axfords mentions that all their in-stock satin is made and processed to their specifications (dyed to the perfect shade and reinforced for extra strength). I remember when I reviewed some of their other corsets over 6 years ago, I was very surprised to see that they chose to use a lightweight cotton canvas as a strength / lining fabric. However, since then I’ve come to realize that a few other brands (namely Dark Garden in the US) also use a dense-weave canvas, and this seems to work fine as long as it is carefully cut on grain (which this is).
There are other details about this corset: 2-inch wide frilly white floral lace covers the top and bottom edges of the corset, and along the bottom there are 6 wide, white elastic suspenders (garter straps) directly attached to the corset. These have a good amount of spring and contain high quality metal hardware.
There are also a few tiny, delicate-looking white satin bows along the top and bottom lace.
This corset might be the frilliest, most feminine corset I’ve reviewed to date – it reminds me of a frothy sherbet punch! But as each of their corsets are made to order, you can choose the color and even order the corset without lace, if you prefer.
This week is part “story time”, part “Physical Effects of Corseting”, and hopefully an opportunity for others to learn from my early mistakes.
In early 2010 I purchased my first custom corset, which also happened to be a front-lacing corset – but these days, I would not recommend a front-lacing corset for higher reductions (tightlacing more than 6 inches) or daily waist training, and this post will explain why.
Why I chose a front-lacing corset for waist training in the first place:
In 2010 I was still in school which required copious time sitting in class, and I figured that if a corset has no laces in the back, then there wouldn’t be an annoying lump in the back when I’m resting against a hard plastic flat-backed chair.
I also figured thatif I were to wear a corset in my sleep, a front-lacing corset might be more comfortable to sleep in since there wouldn’t be a knot at my back. I could fall asleep comfortably on my back, and if I ever needed to tighten or loosen the laces throughout the night, I could continue lying down on my back and easily reach in front of me to loosen the laces a bit – this (I figured) would disrupt my sleep less, as I wouldn’t have to sit up or get out of bed to adjust laces behind me.
Even though I was able to lace a back-lacing corset pretty well (since I had ‘normal’ back-lacing OTR corsets and homemade corsets for several years already), I had to admit that it was a pretty attractive idea at the time to not have to twist my neck to see what I’m doing in the mirror, and not have to twist my arms behind my back to lace up my corset every morning: a front lacing corset felt very intuitive; I didn’t even have to open my eyes to just tighten my corset in the morning and start my day.
I was also dealing with anxiety back in 2010 for several reasons (performing well in school, living so far away from family, dealing with a difficult relationship, etc.) and I figured if I ever had a sudden panic attack or began to feel claustrophobic, it would be easier and faster to cut myself out of a front-lacing corset. I also worked in a microbiology lab at the time so I was constantly around open flames and caustic reagents – and even though many lab coats have a fire-resistant coating, I figured that if there were ever a fire or if I ever spilled something on myself and needed to disrobe quickly, then – again – cutting the laces from the front would be faster and easier.
Admittedly, I was also attracted to the novelty / rarity of a front-lacing corset: I had seldom seen anyone else commissioning one – and I wondered why, because it seemed like the greatest idea at the time.
As it turned out, I was just reinventing the wheel – if front-lacing corsets were so functional and comfortable for everyone, they would have caught on long ago and survived through the centuries. It was after around 6 months of consistently training with this corset that I realized that a front-lacing corset is not as practical as I had hoped.
At first I blamed myself and my body… “Why had my waist training progress halted? Why am I experiencing discomfort when I feel that I was going about my training in a responsible way, and I had a made-to-measure corset? What was I doing wrong? Is my body just not made for corseting?”
It was only when I decided to stop training for a short time, let my body rest, and then start my training anew with a new custom fit corset with back lacing, that I realized that the issue was with the tool I was using, rather than my waist training technique per se.
Why I Don’t Recommend Front-Lacing Corsets for Tightlacing or Waist Training:
This post is not to bash the maker of my first custom corset – they were an engineer who made corsets in their spare time, and they discontinued shortly after my commission. My inexperience in ordering custom corsets combined with their inexperience with waist training at high reductions. The corset construction was strong and durable, and it gave a beautiful silhouette – however, although it matched my measurements, it did not fit my body for several reasons which could not be predicted by the numbers alone. This is one distinction between a made-to-measure corset and a truly custom corset that includes a mockup fitting.
If I remember correctly, my front-lacing corset was spiral boned all the way around the corset (with exception to the center front by the laces). This means it also included fine spirals in the center back – which I thought I would love for the flexibility, but the corset ended up being slightly too curved in the back for me. It was trying to create curve where my spine normally is, so I felt a band of pressure on the vertebra that was directly under the waistline of the corset – this led to a bit of lumbar pain when I laced down too much, and (where many corsets have the opposite problem of being too straight in the back) the front-lacing corset created an unnatural swayback in my posture while I was wearing it. The profile view in the corset was lovely, but it was not comfortable or healthy for me.
Also, this corset was conical in silhouette as I was interested in training my floating ribs at the time. instead of placing pressure in the front “tips” of my floating ribs, my front-lacing corset placed more pressure on the back of my ribs – imagine trying to close a door by pushing on it close to the hinge instead of near the doorknob. The torque just didn’t feel right. It felt like too much force with little efficacy,resulting in “hot spots”. (Now, if your body is a little larger and your corset affects mostly the adipose over your abdomen and doesn’t affect the placement of you ribs, you might not notice the difference in how the pressure is placed, but at the time I personally felt the pressure on my ribs).
The curve in the back and the pressure on my ribs could possibly have been eliminated if the pattern were improved and the construction slightly changed – perhaps taking out some of the curve at the back seam, installing flat steels instead of spirals, and making the ribs more rounded – but at the moment, this is not something I’m keen to experiment with – because there are other issues with front-lacing corsets, which I’ll continue below.
I also felt that more pressure was placed on my retroperitoneal cavity and kind of pushed my flesh forward, which is not a great idea. One big reason why traditional back lacing corsets work (and this is explained in further detail in my Corsets and Organs article) is because the majority of the pressure is on the peritoneal cavity which primarily consists of hollow organs, like the stomach and intestines. These are not solid organs (although they contain food, waste and air) and they are designed to move. They can also compress and flatten out of the way, like during yoga or pregnancy. As long as you have soft stools and good peristalsis, and as long as you take your time lacing down slowly, digestion and elimination should not normally be adversely affected.
One thing that would have made my front-lacing corset better would be if it included a modesty panel to support my abdomen where the lacing gap left no support. Alas, my corset didn’t come with one. Back in 2010, at the time I thought I would be okay because the bones sandwiching the grommets were flat steel – but I quickly learned that I needed more support, especially I was dealing with large waist reductions (my natural waist was around 28 inches and my corset was a size 20, worn with about a 1.5 inch gap in the front). I ended up having to make a separate boned modesty panel myself to help support my abdomen, avoid bulging and keep it flat.
Another reason why a front-lacing corset is not the best for me: as it turns out, I prefer to sleep on my stomach! I always start out falling asleep on my back, but more often than not I wake up on my front. However, having a big knot / bow in the front is uncomfortable to lie on (rather than “princess and the pea”, it was more like a mess of laces which felt more like the size of a tennis ball on my abdomen when I laid flat on it).
Under What Circumstances Would I Recommend a Front-Lacing Corset?
If it’s a waist training corset that you’ll be wearing for long periods of time, I think a back lacing corset would be more appropriate – it provides the proper support and compression from the front of the body and not the back. I would not recommend a front-lacing corset here.
Same if you’re tightlacing, or lacing down 6, 7, 8 or more inches – it will likely be more comfortable if you have a back lacing corset, not a front-lacing one.
If you’re using a light reduction corset, say not more than 2-4 inches of waist reduction, for medical purposes or posture support, a front-lacing corset might be okay.
If you have an abdominal hernia, especially an umbilical hernia, I would never recommend having a front-lacing corset.
If you have mobility issues in your shoulders or strength issues and you are unable to lace up a corset in the back, then front-lacing is a reasonable option for light reductions (as mentioned before) but also, a fan-lacing corset might be an option for you.
A corset that is laced in both front AND back is better because you’re able pull in the front by two inches, then pull in the back by two inches, and keep alternating so that you’re bringing in both sides of the corset laterally (placing pressure pretty evenly on either side of the body), without creating any weird torque at the back of the body. Just remember that if the front of your corset has a lacing gap, it’s best to have a stiffened or boned modesty panel to support the abdomen.
Later on, I plan to make a video on fan-laced corsets, what they’re good for (and what they’re not good for), and pehraps a tutorial on how to convert a regular laced OTR corset into a fan lacing corset, if I have the time.
I’m also talking with a friend on making a collab video with helpful info on how to put on and take off a corset, whether you use a wheelchair or have issues with strength or mobility. This is still in the early planning stages, but I hope to share more with you later.
Again – hopefully my loss is your gain, and you can learn from my mistakes so you have a more comfortable corseting experience. Let me know in a comment whether you’d like to see those upcoming videos, and leave a question below if I’ve forgotten anything or if you’d like to know more about any other details of my front-lacing corset.
This entry is a summary of the review for the “CU8 Burgundy Underbust” hourglass corset, made by Restyle.pl. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:
Center front is 10.5 inches long, the princess seam is 9.5 inches (4.5 inches above the waist, 5 inches below the waist), the side seam is 9.5 inches and the center back is 10.5 inches long.
When I measured this before wearing, the ribcage was 30.5″, the waist was 22″ and the hip was 36″.
The waist and hips matched their measurements on the size chart, but the ribcage was a bit smaller (ribs are stated to be 31.5″ on the site).
The fashion fabric is polyester-based burgundy satin, with black mesh overlay on the side panels and a couple of contrasting black satin boning channels. The lining is black cotton twill.
6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panel 1 is wide and panel 2 is skinny, probably for aesthetic effect. Panels 3-4-5 make the curve over the hip.
Constructed with 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).
Black satin bias tape, machine stitched with a slight top-stitch on both outside and inside (may have been done on a single pass with a special attachment). 4 tiny garter tabs, 2 on each side.
Just short of 7 inches wide, finished in burgundy satin and black twill. Unstiffened, attached to one side of the corset with stitching (easily removed if desired). In the front, there is a 3/4 inch wide modesty placket, finished in matching burgundy satin, slightly stiffened.
9.5” long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Very slightly wider than a standard flexible busk, and slightly stiffer too. It’s also black powder coated for a matte black finish.
22 bones total in this corset, 11 on each side. Single boned on the seams and also single boned in the middle of the panels with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steels, ¼ wide as well.
There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small-to-medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in black powder coating as well. Rolled nicely in the back, and small washers present.
Available in black cotton, mesh, this burgundy satin, and several colors of brocade.
Sizes range from 18″ to 34″.
This style (burgundy CU8) is $50.49 USD
I have to admit, Restyle has been killing it lately with cute, curvaceous and shockingly inexpensive corsets that start around $50. It is not a perfect fit (the hips are several inches too large for me, which is more noticeable in the back than it is in the front). However, construction-wise, this corset somehow hits my bar of standards for most OTR corsets today, and even includes some of my more favorite features: equidistantly-placed bones (one in the middle of the panel and one on the seams – instead of being just double boned on the seams), and black hardware (powder-coated busk and grommets).
Poland’s OTR corsetry trifecta (Restyle, Rebel Madness, and PaperCats) are breaking all the rules regarding “you get what you pay for”, as I’ve tried corsets over $200 which was not nearly as comfortable or well-made as these corsets. Part of me is wondering if the other shoe is eventually going to drop (I do hope manufacturing methods are ethical), while the other part says to not mess with a good thing.
Restyle’s corsets are designed more for slightly pear-shaped people, with both their ‘WH’ and their ‘CU’ style corsets able to accommodate around a 14-inch hip spring. Much of their hip spring is distributed a bit more towards the back of the body as opposed to directly on the sides; this might be an indication that the corsets were drafted to be worn with a lacing gap in the back, so the hip spring is angled forward slightly – but it might also be good for some people who have a bigger booty and need more space along the back.
I recently received an email from a client who had purchased a corset and garter straps (suspenders) from my shop. They had assumed that when they’re purchased together, they would come attached, but in reality the garter straps are detachable and interchangeable (which means you can use them in many of your corsets!) but it does mean that there is “some assembly required.”
Most brands of corsets come with garter tabs, which are small loops at the bottom edge of the corset – they’re usually sewn upwards so that when they’re not in use, they are out of the way and not visible from the outside. They are also pressed very flat so as not to irritate your skin in any way.
When you do want to attach your garter straps to the corset, you take the “hook” side (it looks just like the hooks that come with interchangeable bra straps) and slide it through the garter loops.
Make sure that you’re not attaching your garter strap inside out! There’s an inside and an outside. The outside has the metal slider which allows you to adjust the length of the strap. You will also see that the “button” part of the garter clip faces outwards, for ease of use and to prevent your skin from touching the metal wire loop.
Check out the video below to see how to attach your garter straps to your corset. It’s much easier to do this before you put on the corset as opposed to when you’re wearing the corset.
You can also adjust the length of the garter strap (if it’s your first time attaching your stockings and you’re not sure how taut you need the straps to be, it might be easier to lengthen the garter straps as far as they will go when you attach to your stockings, and then tighten to your preferred amount once everything is attached.
To adjust the length of your garter straps:
Flip up the metal slider to unlock it – this helps it glide easier.
To lengthen the strap, grab the upper portion (with the single layer of elastic) while pulling down gently on the slider, allowing the lower portion (the double-layer loop of elastic) to glide freely. This makes a smaller loop, lengthening the strap.
To shorten the strap, pull up on the metal slider with one hand and you may also need to pull gently on the loop of elastic below the slider as well, if there is tension on the strap from your corset being attached to your stockings. The aim is to make that loop bigger, which shortens the strap.
Once you’re happy with the length, remember to flip down the metal slider – this makes the “teeth” of the slider bite into the elastic, keeping it in place!
My corset has 6 garter loops, but I only have 4 garter straps!
This can happen if you ordered your corset from a different shop as your garters, or if you lost a couple of garter straps – but not to worry! You can still use your straps.
There are 3 garter tabs on each side of your corset – I would recommend attaching your straps to the first one (closest to the front busk) and the last one (closest to the back laces), leaving the side seam without a strap.
Or – if you have a bigger bum, or if your garters just don’t like to stay attached at the back of your stockings when you sit down or stoop, you can attach your straps to loop 1 (by the busk) and 2 (on the side seam) and leave the back unsupported. This does mean that your stockings might sag a little at the back, but if your skirt / slacks are long enough, this won’t be visually noticeable.
My corset has only 4 garter loops, but I have 6 garter straps!
Keep those extra two garter straps for backup in case you lose a couple. ;)
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.
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.
The second curve will bring in the lowest tip of busk to prevent the look of a distracting “pelvic protrusion”.
The third curve to the busk is creating a concave “dished” profile to make the side-view look more curvy and slender.
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:
C&S Constructions (they’re arguably the most well-known for their very dished fronts)
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.
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.
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.
How many of you have stood in front of the mirror while wearing a corset, admiring the narrowness of your waist – and then you turn to the side and find that your profile leaves something to be desired?
Everyone knows that wearing a corset nips in the side of the waist (at the obliques), giving you the illusion of a more narrow waist. And the interesting thing is that a corset can also do this without really reducing the waist at all: where a cross section of your torso is usually oval or ellipse shaped (wider from side-to-side than it is front-to-back), a corset makes it more into a circle – simply by placing pressure on the body bilaterally (on either side of the body), and allowing that volume to distribute more front-to-back. Liz from the Pragmatic Costumer wrote about this in more detail a few years ago on her blog.
The downside that some corset wearer’s see, especially if they naturally have a more flat abdomen, is that a corset often makes you look wider in the profile than you did without the corset – this is due to the redistribution of your flesh, combined with the thickness of the corset as well (you’re a couple of inches smaller underneath your corset).
Your Corset Profile can have Two Shapes:
For simplicity’s sake, there are two main ways the front of the corset can look – it can be totally flat, or it can be “dished” or curved to create a more concave front. The Victorians were known for their dished-front corsets and sometimes exaggerated lower tummy pooch (likely more exaggerated in medical illustrations and fashion plates than in real life) but the lower pooch was actually considered attractive and womanly at the time.
But with the popularity of the straight-fronted S-bend corsets at the turn of the century, you can see that it resulted in the illusion of even more dramatically nipped waists, as the majority of the volume was coming off of the sides and little to none in the front. Arguably, if you were to take an Edwardian corset and a Victorian corset with the same waist size, the Edwardian might look more nipped in in the front view but thicker in the profile view.
I should give a disclaimer here: whichever corset you personally find “prettier”, there is no universal right or wrong way that a corset should be (despite the Edwardian propaganda above). Some people like the concave dished front, while others like an extremely flat and rigid front. It often comes down to the corset maker’s aesthetic, combined with the natural body type you have, the effect you’re striving for in a corset (including how much waist reduction), and what you personally find comfortable.
So the “dished vs straight” debate is not only subjective, but it’s also conditional.
It also depends on the posture you want to achieve. The straight-fronted, S-bend corsets had a habit of thrusting the body into an overcorrected posture – they weren’t slumping, but they were also flexing their lower back in an unnatural way. When I had X-rays done of myself while wearing various corsets, my chiropractor found that rigid-fronted, Edwardian-inspired corsets encouraged a very unnatural, kyphotic neck curve in my body. The corset pushed my chest forward, and my shoulders and hips back, which forced my head to come forward as a counter-balance. In some people, this might eventually lead to neck strain, pain, cervicogenic headaches, etc.
Meanwhile, when I wore a more Victorian style corset, it allowed me to maintain a more neutral posture and my spine was in a more natural alignment. So, just because a corset gives you a flat front does not mean you have necessarily have a healthy posture.
A couple notes on terminology before we start comparing corsets – I’ll be using layman’s terms here as much as possible:
so when I say “cross section” that means the transverse plane,
when I say “profile” that means the sagittal plane,
and when I say “front view” that means the coronal plane.
My Uncorseted Waist
This is a screenshot of me from 2012, around a time where I was not consistently waist training. My natural waist is around 27 inches.
It’s well and good to compare different corsets, but keep in mind that I am naturally very wide from the front, but when I turn to the side I practically disappear, so my cross section is very oblong. My oblique muscles might “resist” compression more compared other people, and my lower abdomen is not prone to “pooching” – if I and another woman were to wear the same corset in the same size and stand side-by-side, it might look very slightly different on each of us.
Contour Corset “Summer Mesh” Mid-Hip Underbust
My Contour corset is almost totally flat in the front. This one is 20.5 inches in the waist, laced closed.
In the profile, it makes my body look slightly thicker than it is naturally (while not wearing a corset)
In the front view, it looks shockingly nipped in on the sides (this isn’t even my smallest corset!)
In the cross section, I might actually be a bit thicker from front to back than I am side to side.
Puimond PY09 “Curvy” Underbust Corset
My Puimond corset is actually half an inch smaller than my Contour corset (it’s 20 inches laced closed), but despite being smaller, it looks less dramatic.
In the profile, you can see that the front is slightly dished, but in an attractive way, at least for me. It’s nipped in slightly at the front but it doesn’t create a dramatic ski slope at the pelvis. Also notice that I don’t look that thick in the profile.
In the front view, the sides are obviously nipped in, but it doesn’t look as dramatic as the first corset.
So in this corset, if you looked at the cross section, the distribution of my waist is still slightly ellipse shaped with more of that length being side-to-side rather than front-to-back.
This shape is nearly a circle though – probably the closest to a circle compared to any of the other corsets here.
C & S Constructions
Let’s look corset with a more dramatically dished front like the one below from C&S Constructions. This corset is also 20 inches, but I’m wearing it at 21 inches because it wasn’t custom made for my body (the ribs of the corset were a bit too narrow for my own ribcage).
In the profile view, the waist is pulled inward, and actually I have a slight forward leaning posture which is interesting. It is a deliberately curved front to make sure that the profile looks slender. (But it also gives a forward leaning posture.)
In the front view, the waist is still nipped on the sides, but it’s still wider in this view than it is in the profile view.
So the cross section of my waist is still an ellipse, that is wider from side-to-side, just a smaller one.
Sparklewren Cranberry Butterfly Overbust
Let’s look at my Sparklewren overbust, which is closed at 23 inches (so we can see how less of a reduction / a bigger waist may affect the cross section and silhouette).
In the profile view, her corset gives me a very flat front here, in fact possibly slimmer than some of my smaller corsets that are patterned differently.
I vaguely remember having a conversation with Jenni (Sparklewren) about this probably 5 years ago. She told me that she likes to preserve the flatness in the profile as much as possible, but once the waist is reduced by a certain amount (i.e. under 18 inches in circumference), some dishing in the front may become necessary to achieve further reduction.
In the side view, there’s nipping in at the waist but it appears to be very clearly wider than the profile, but it’s still a lovely silhouette.
So the cross section is more clearly an ellipse.
Versatile Corsets “Mimosa” Cupped Overbust
The “Mimosa” overbust by Versatile is another corset that gives me a slender profile and flat abdomen. This is a size 22″, but I’m probably wearing at 23.5 or 24 inches here. (It wasn’t a full custom, just the waist measurement and bra size were taken into account).
The profile view is relatively flat, similar to how my abdomen looks naturally.
The front view is a bit more gentle and sweeping – not a super dramatic silhouette, not nipped in sharply at the sides.
Obviously the cross section of my waist is more of an ellipse.
All this being said, it’s worth reiterating that this might be subjective for my own body. I naturally have a pretty wide waist, but if I turn to the side my abdomen is very flat. It is more likely that a corset would make me a bit thicker in the profile compared to a different person who has more of a protruding abdomen.
Profile Silhouette in Someone with a Protruding / Hanging Tummy
(Thanks to my aunt for modeling this early custom corset I made for her back in 2012). You may remember my aunt from this tutorial on pulling a hanging tummy up into your corset. She’s had a few children and she’s a more mature woman and has developed a bit of hanging tummy. She asked for a corset to provide back support and to flatten her tummy under her work uniform, but not give a shockingly dramatic waist from the front, which is why it’s not that much of an hourglass. This corset is a size 34″ if I remember correctly; drafted to give her a 6 inch reduction which is about 15% reduction.
I specifically used a spoon busk for her, and you can see that this corset makes her slimmer in the profile. Arguably, most of the reduction came off the front instead of the sides of her body.
In the front view, it gives a relatively natural looking hourglass from the sides.
If you want to see whether your corset makes you thinner or thicker in the profile view or front view, you can measure this using calipers.
If you want a very rigid front (as rigid as possible), you might be interested in adding carbon fibre bones adjacent to the busk – they’re about 24x more stiff than a flat steel bone, and you’ll find these exclusively at Vena Cava Design.
Conversely, if you want your corset to have more of a dished shape, I will make a video next week on how to curve your corset busk to your preference. The process is very similar to curving the back steels.
I hope you found this helpful! Just a note that there is no right or wrong way, some people like the concave dished front, some people like an extremely flat and rigid front. it all depends on your body type, your subjective preferences, your natural posture, and the aesthetic of the corset maker and how they pattern your corset as well.
Leave a comment below telling me whether you prefer the flat front or the dished front better for your own corsets. If you have any question regarding the “flatness” or “dishiness” of any other corset in my collection, as well as the rigidity of the busk, the posture it gives, etc., feel free to ask.