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Retrofolie “Botticelli’s Birth of Venus” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Review: “Botticelli’s Venus” Corset by Retrofolie” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length My corset was made-to-measure, so it fits my longer torso but it’s also slightly less curvy than the standard size version of this corset as I have slim hips. Standard size 22″ would have a ribcage of 30″ and hips of 34″.
Material Three main layers (not including interfacing): The fashion fabric is a cotton print (interfaced for strength), strength interlining of coutil, and brown lightweight cotton lining.
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total), the fashion fabric and coutil were flatlined, panels assembled using a topstitch. ouble boned on the seams with a floating lining inside.
Binding Made from commercially purchased cotton bias tape, in seafoam green to match the fashion fabric. Machine finished on both sides.
Waist tape 1 inch wide, stitched invisibly between the layers. Extends from panel 2 to the back seam.
Modesty panel 6.5 inches wide, stiffened, finished with another Venus in the back that can show through the laces. The panel is suspended on the laces using grommets. There is also a 1-inch wide unboned modesty placket in front under the busk.
Busk 12 inches long. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. My corset was modified to be longer though, so a standard size corset will have a 10 inch busk instead. Standard flexible busk, with 1/4″ flat bones adjacent for reinforcement.
Boning 28 bones total, not including busk. Double boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Flat steel bones are used beside the busk and by the grommets.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00 with a medium flange (the very popular grommet brand among corsetieres in North America). Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 1″ apart. Big washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Laces Standard white nylon shoelace style laces.
Price This particular style is $315 USD for standard size (18″ up to 26″). For custom fit, the price is $350.
Example of the impeccable print matching on the historical art corsets, this time on a Mucha piece. Photo courtesy of Etsy Affiliates.

 

Because this corset was made back in 2014, a few changes have been made to this corset – the first change is that this pointed longline style is no longer called the “Azalea” longline cut, it’s now just style “Retro 04” on Retrofolie’s website. Also, the standard size measurements are now curvier than they were in 2014!

This is part of Julianne’s “Retro History” corset line, where she is able to use any historical painting in the public domain (the artist must be deceased for at least 70 years to use their work). The painting is printed with a repeat pattern on fabric, and the panels are cut from this fabric and painstakingly matched at the seams. Julianne started her corset career making these pieces, and has since expanded her corset ranges to include “Retro Basic” (simple corsets covered in cotton or silk) and “Retro Galaxy” (corsets featuring beautiful galaxy and nebula motifs).

Although her corsets are strong enough for waist training, Julianne recommends that you don’t wear a Retro History corset as your daily-wear corset, as the fashion fabric will ease and the painting will distort over time. If you wish to preserve the historical art corsets but waist train in one of her Retrofolie pieces, she recommends the Retro Basic line.

Check out Retrofolie’s Birth of Venus corset here, or check out her full range of corsets here.

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Orchard Corset CS-426 Longline (Hip Ties) Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Orchard Corset CS-426 (with hip ties)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 13 inches long, princess seam is 10.5 inches long.
Rib spring is 7″, upper hip spring is 10″, and lower hip spring is 13″, but the hip ties allow the hips to expand to 20+” if needed.
The silhouette is hourglass, with a semi-conical ribcage, and hips of the corset can contour around your own hips, whether your hips are slanted or shelf-like.
Material 3 main layers – I have the black cotton version, so the outer (fashion fabric) layer is black twill, flatlined to a light cotton canvas interlining, and lined again in cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Hip flare is patterned into panels 3-4. Constructed with the sandwich method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching black cotton twill. Machine stitched on both sides, stitched in the ditch (between the corset and the binding) in front, and a necessary top stitch on the underside. 8 garter tabs (4 on each side).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers of black twill. 6” wide and unstiffened, attached to one side with a line of stitching, reinforced with “hemming tape”.
There’s also an unstiffened black twill modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk ( ¼” wide).
Busk Standard width busk, half an inch wide and 11.5” long, and 5 pins (last two are a bit closer together). However it’s more rigid (less bendy) than other busks of the same width.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset. On each side, 9 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, a little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness dissipates over time. Orchard also sells double-face satin ribbon if you prefer.
Price Available in waist sizes 16″ to 46″.
Sizes 16-32 are $82 USD, and sizes 34-46 are $87 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Final Thoughts:

Orchard Corset CS-426 Hip Ties, $82, modeled by Caylyn

Full disclosure, this corset contains my “Lucia Corsetti” label – back in August of 2013, I released a tutorial where I took one of Orchard’s original 426 longline corsets and simply added hip ties to them, so people with a naturally fuller hip spring could cinch down in their corset without compressing their hips. Orchard liked the idea so much that they put it into production, and they gave me credit for the idea by adding my label to the new design. (I have no patent on the hip ties design, but it was courteous of them to give me a nod!)

This is the second time I’ve reviewed a CS-426 corset, after my first time in 2012, and there are marked improvements in the construction – particularly the grommets. These grommets don’t tarnish and have fewer splits compared to the older corsets). If I’m not mistaken, Orchard Corset had switched manufacturers a couple of years ago, which may account for the change.

Other changes include the modesty panel in the back being a touch wider, the addition of a modesty placket in the front, and a slightly longer busk.

Find the CS-426 Longline corset with hip-ties on Orchard Corset’s website here.

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Dark Garden Aziza Overbust Corset (with Shoulder Straps) Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Dark Garden Aziza Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length The measurements were highly customized to fit my body, including accommodating for several asymmetries (like my left hip protruding very slightly more, one breast being fuller than the other, one shoulder sitting a bit higher than the other, etc). See discussion below for more detail about the fit.
Material Possibly 2 main layers: Fashion fabric is a gorgeous gold floral brocade, likely fused for strength. The lining (strength fabric) is an American milled cotton canvas.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Most of the bust curve is drafted between panels 1-2, and most of the hip curve is drafted between panels 3-4, and much of the room for the upper back was obviously drafted into panels 5-6. The corset was topstitched between panels (seam allowance on the outside), and the seam allowances were covered and straddled by double boning channels.
Binding Bias strips of matching gold brocade, machine stitched on inside and outside. Tidy topstitch on the outside, no topstitch on the inside. No garter tabs (I didn’t request any).
Waist tape 3/4 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. It starts between seams 1-2, and extends to the center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 4.75″ wide, finished in the same gold brocade. Stiffened with 4 steel bones and left separate to slip under the laces when worn (or you can choose to not wear the modesty panel). There is a teensy seam in the center front which is not a modesty placket per se, but it does help prevent a visible gap between the busk.
Busk 14 inches long, standard flexible busk, with 7 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced.
There are half inch wide flat steel bones adjacent to the busk for further reinforcement, but they deliberately stop about 4 inches from the top of the corset so they won’t interfere with the curve of the bust.
Boning 26 bones total, 13 on each side. Double boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels on the seams, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets. The additional bone on each side is adjacent to the busk.
Grommets 42 two-part grommets, size #00, with medium flange. Finished in gold and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Gold double faced satin ribbon – no spring, very strong and flat. Laced using the “chevron method” with “inverted bunny ears”.
Price $1475 USD without shoulder straps, or $1625 USD with shoulder straps. It is only available as a custom option, not standard.

 

Final Thoughts:

This is the final product for the Dark Garden bespoke process I went through over the course of 2015. If you’re interested in learning more about the bespoke process and the mockup fittings, click here.

Dark Garden always spends the extra time to match brocades, prints and lace motifs as shown in this gorgeous Aziza overbust modelled by Vienna La Rouge. Photo: Joel Aron.
Dark Garden Aziza overbust version without shoulder straps, and made for a very different body type. Model: Vienna La Rouge. Photo: Joel Aron.

Because I’m long-waisted, this corset is much, much longer from the waist up compared to most OTR overbust corsets. Using the mockup fittings I was able to choose not only the height of the neckline, but also the height of the side of the corset into my underarm area (Autumn recommended bringing it up a bit higher to account for a bit of my underarm squidge) and also in the back. I asked the back to be higher and have more room, so it would contain my muffin top (back spillover) and also it would allow my scapulae to snuggle down into the corset as opposed to hitting the edge of the corset and forcing my shoulders up.

The length of the shoulder straps were also adjusted custom to my body, and they secure in the front with matching gold ribbon. There are several grommets so I can wear the straps looser (for mobility or to wear them slightly off the shoulder) or tighter over my shoulders if I need more upper back support.

The bust was drafted beautifully; it cups over and supports my bust without squishing it flat. I also requested for the neckline of this corset to be slightly higher so that I can wear this to public functions and not fear that my bust will pop out or be exposed.

With this corset, it’s extremely apparent that my body is the type to “squish upwards”. While some people get a small lower tummy pooch from wearing corsets. By contrast, my hip measurement essentially stays the same, but my ribcage and bust can increase by up to two inches in a corset (compared to its natural measurement) depending on the reduction of the waist. Displaced flesh has to go somewhere!

Along the bottom edge, although aesthetically I love a longline corset, I requested this corset to be cut at the mid-hip (just about my iliac crest) so that I’ll be able to move and sit comfortably, even in low seats.

The Aziza corset is a custom option, so you may not see it available as a standard sized corset in their Classic Line on their website. Dark Garden has a catalogue of many more corset styles, and their skilled team of corsetieres can create almost any style you can think of. If you’re interested in learning more about Dark Garden and their 30 years of work, head over to their website here.

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Papercats Longline Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “REVIEW: PaperCats “Longline Cherries” Corset” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches, and princess seam is 9.5 inches, side seam is 10 inches, and center back is 12.5 inches long. The size Small is equivalent to 22″ in the waist. The sizing chart on their website says that the ribcage would be 29″ and low hip 34″ for this corset, but when I measured mine, it was 27.5″ in the ribcage and 33″ in the hips. Conical through the ribs.
Material Two main layers: The fashion fabric is a poly-cotton blend with cherry print, and the lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 7 panel pattern (14 panels total), constructed using the welt-seam method with one bone on each seam.
Binding Made from bias strips of black cotton twill. Machine stitched on the outside and inside. No garter tabs.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel 6.5 inches wide, unstiffened, finished in matching cherry print fabric and sewn to one side of the corset. There is also a 1-inch wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, also finished in cherry print.
Busk 11 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a heavier busk (1 inch wide on each side), with a bit of flexibility.
Boning 16 bones total, not including busk. Single boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Beside the grommets, the outer bone is flat while the inner bone is spiral, giving some flexibility to the back.
Grommets 34 two-part grommets, size #X00 (very tiny), with a small flange. Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 0.75″ apart. Small washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Laces Standard black nylon shoelace style laces.
Price This particular style is 155 zł (about $52 USD)
The cherry print underbust as seen on Papercats website.
The cherry print underbust as seen on Papercats website.

 

Other Thoughts:

Papercats is the second brand of the “Polish OTR Corset Trifecta” I’m reviewing (along with Restyle and Rebel Madness). Lately Poland has been dominating the niche of curvy budget corsets with pieces that start from less than $50 for certain styles.

While I wouldn’t personally waist train in this corset (there is no waist tape, and the tiny flange around the grommets make me nervous that they might eventually pull out) I think this corset is adorable and much curvier and more comfortable than some other corsets of equal price that you might find on Ebay. Its lightweight construction and flexibility may make it a good “starter corset” for someone who is unsure if they want to dabble in wearing corsets and they don’t want to break the bank.

As of 2017, it seems that Papercats has brought back this particular design! They are always releasing beautiful designs on their main website, and also their newer website reserved just for their limited corset collections as well as their Etsy store.

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Unartig Boutique “Red Poppies” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Unartig Boutique “Red Poppies” Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length The measurements of one of Unartig’s standard sized corsets would be: Waist 24″, Underbust 30″, Low hip 37″. (But the corset was made slimmer through the hips to fit my body).
Material The fashion fabric is a fine-weave black cotton canvas, and the lining is black German spot broche.
Construction 8 panel pattern (16 panels total), constructed using the welt-seam method. 4 panels make the front of the corset, and 4 panels makes the back on each side.
Binding Made from bias strips of matching black fine-weave canvas. Machine stitched on the outside, and hand finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Extends from the seam between panels 1-2, back to the seam between panels 7-8.
Modesty panel No back modesty panel (but you may be able to request one in a custom order). The modesty placket in front is half inch wide, unstiffened, and finished in black canvas.
Busk 10.75 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and black busks seem to have more flexibility in general compared to other busks – but Lotta reinforced it with 1/2″ flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 22 bones total, not including busk. Single boned on the seams, using 1/2″ wide spiral bones. Flat steels are placed in the back by the grommets and also adjacent to the busk.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size 5mm Prym brand (very popular amongst European corsetieres), with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Big washers in the back; all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Double face satin ribbon in black, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, very strong, has no spring, glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick.
Price This particular style is €400 (Euros), which converts to about $420 USD.

 

Although at first glance this corset may look relatively simple as a (mostly) black underbust, it is actually a “first” in my collection in several ways. The gorgeous poppy motif was embroidered on each panel and then carefully matched at each panel (the poppy theme was chosen by Lotte, as I gave her creative license in designing this piece). Subtle, elegant piping also accents some of the seams.

It is also my first corset made with a strength fabric of German spot broche, which I’ve come to learn is very strong. The corset is very posture-corrective and has an extremely strong, flat front for those who prefer slightly more rigid corsets. Having an 8-panel pattern (16 panels total) it is highly customizable to fit around most any curve.

The corset also has a unique and flattering cut to the upper edge: along the front of the corset, it closely follows a similar path as the underwire of my bra, which may support and push forward the breasts – but at the side seam, the top binding sweeps back down again to allow space under my arms for full range of motion and not dig into my armpits.

While Lotte can make this corset in a standard size or completely custom, I believe in this situation my measurements were close enough that it was “semi-custom” to fit me. The center front is 11 inches long, and the princess seam is 10 inches long. 6 of those inches is from the waist to the underbust, while 4 inches were from waist to the lap bottom, so it would fit my long torso/low waist comfortably.

To learn more about Lotte and her Unartig boutique, visit her website here.

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Castle Corsetry “Marvel Comics” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Castle Corsetry Marvel Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is a sample (not made to my measurements) but when you order your corset, this corset will be made to your measurements. Silhouette-wise, the ribcage is softly rounded and the hips are rounded as well. This is a longline style with a relatively flat front.
The measurements of the standard sized sample: Waist 20.5″, Underbust 28″, High Hip 28″, Low hip 34″. The center front is 12 inches long, and the princess seam is 10.5 inches long. 5.5 of those inches is from the waist to the bottom, which is a bit long for me (my comfortable waist-to-lap measurement is about 4.5 inches).
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is a cotton-based Marvel comic print, the interlining is bull denim or cotton twill, and the lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 5 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Curve of the hip is distributed between panels 2-3-4. Double boned on the seams, and faux black external boning channels break up the busyness of the Marvel print.
Binding Commercially purchased black cotton tape (same with the faux boning channels).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel None (but you may be able to request one in a custom order). No modesty placket in front, but the Marvel comic print is matched nicely in the center front with no visible gaps or breaks.
Busk 11 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with 1/2″ wide flat steels on either side of the busk. The bones between panels 1-2 are also flat steels, which further help keep the front flat.
Boning 22 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are six 1/4″ wide spirals (mostly double boned on the seams on the sides of the corset). Flat steel bones are beside the busk, in the seam between panels 1-2, and two flat steels by the grommets.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in black, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, has no spring, glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick. Single-faced
Price This particular style is $250 USD in their Etsy shop and can be made to measure. But cinchers and other styles may start from as little as $175 USD.

 

Final Thoughts:

“Final Frontier” Star Trek themed waist cincher, starting at $175 USD with option for custom fit. Picture courtesy of Etsy Affiliates.

I’ve been a long-time fan of Castle Corsetry’s fun, cosplay-themed corsets and costumes; the corsetiere Lauren is highly active in conventions and offers everything from Harry Potter themed corsets, to Ghost Busters themed corsets, to Retro Super Mario themed corsets and more!

So naturally I was thrilled when Lauren asked if I would be willing to review a corset from her shop. I got a sample corset on loan, and unfortunately it was a bit small for me (my fault for gaining a bit of weight through 2015) but it still gave me a beautiful silhouette, even when worn with a larger gap in the back. I loved the comfortable, gently rounded ribcage with the sharp nip in the waistline, as well as the dramatic hip that offered a 14-inch (lower) hip spring.

To see more of Lauren’s fandom-based collection, head over to the Castle Corsetry Etsy shop here.

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Il Corsetto di Artemis Waist Training Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Waist Training Corset Review: Il Corsetto di Artemis” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom made to my measurements – but for those curious about the length, the center front is 13 inches, princess seam is about 10 inches. More of the length is distributed above the waist, since I have a low waist and my torso is long from the waist up, but the corset is short enough to allow me to sit down comfortably. Tapered ribcage, and cupped hips.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is a cotton-based black satin, the interlining is black coutil, and the lining is a vibrant, hot pink cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Panels 3-4 provide enough ease to curve over the hips. Double boned on the seams.
Binding Commercially purchased hot pink satin bias binding. Machine stitched on both the outside and inside (stitched in the ditch on the outside).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Separate modesty panel (can be inserted behind the laces, or you don’t have to use it at all). It is quilted, with contrast stitching, but not stiffened with bones. Matching pink bias binding lines all 4 corners.
Busk 12 inches long and finished in black. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with 1/4″ wide flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 24 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are nine 1/4″ wide spirals (mostly double boned on the seams), two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Double face satin ribbon in hot pink, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, has no spring, relatively strong and glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick.
Price This particular style is €300 (about $320 USD)

 

lucy-corset2
A beautiful collection of photos of the corset, taken by Elisa (Il Corsetto di Artemis). Click through to see more details on Elisa’s website.

Il Corsetto di Artemis (“the corset of Artemis”, the goddess of love) is the name of a one-woman business owned by Elisa, a designer from Turin, Italy.

I gave Elisa full creative liberty with this corset (she only received my measurements and I told her my color preferences, etc) and she made an elegant and beautifully fitting piece that looks simple at first glance, but is accented by completely handmade silk flowers. Elisa can create flowers of any size, fullness, and color since she makes each individual petal by hand.

During the design process, Elisa gave me the option for a black busk and black grommets, so that the hardware matched the rest of the corset. At this point, there is no source of heavy duty black busks, so Elisa and I had to choose between having a stiffer busk, or having a black busk. I don’t have too much lower tummy to support, so corsets even with more flexible busks don’t bow on me or flare at the center front too badly. If you have some lower tummy protrusion and you desire more support, you may prefer that Elisa use a heavy duty busk instead.

I love the bright pink contrast stitching used for the boning channels in this corset, and it’s quite brave to do this; you have to be confident that your stitching is tidy and true! Do note that over time as the corset eases over your body and there is a gradient of more tension on the fabric at the waistline (and less tension at the ribs and hips) then it is normal for the stitching to look a tiny bit wobbly at the waist. If you are overly concerned about contrast stitching not looking perfect even if you wear this corset on a regular basis, it may be more in your interest to simply request the same color thread as the rest of the fabric (no contrast).

Another thing I noticed about this corset was that it’s rather soft and it wrapped around my body nicely from the very first wear. A few people who are more accustomed to thicker and stiffer corsets may be surprised by this corset’s strength in comparison to its softness.

If you’d like to learn more about Elisa and her brand Il Corsetto di Artemis, see her website here!

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Timeless Trends Hourglass Corset Review and Comparison

black-leather-hourglass-corset

Full disclosure: The hourglass corset featured in this review is one of the four new designs I helped create for Timeless Trends in 2015, along with the hourglass cinchers, hourglass longline corsets, and the newest Gemini corset.

This entry is a summary of the two videos “Timeless Trends Hourglass Corset (Comparison/ Overview)” which you can watch on YouTube here (silhouette and fit summary above, and construction and components comparison below):

 

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 11.5 inches high, the ‘princess seam’ is 9 inches, side seam is is about 9 inches as well, and the center back is 12.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 30.5″ (6.5 inch rib spring), upper hip is 34″ (10 inch high hip spring). This corset is designed to stop well at the iliac crest, and fit someone with a very short torso.
The center front had all “points” removed so the top and bottom edges are gently rounded, to prevent the fabric from flopping or showing under your clothing.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is blue floral brocade laminated to cotton twill (alternating with plain black satin panels, also fused to twill interlining) and it’s lined in black cotton twill as well.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Panels 2-3 give room in the ribcage from ‘champagne glass’ shaped panels. Panels 3-4 give more ease in the hip, and in panels 5-6 there is more curve to fit snug over the lumbar area.
Binding Matching black satin bias binding, machine-stitched on both sides. Also has 6 garter tabs (the slim silhouette corsets only have 4 garter tabs).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tap, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panels are not included in with the corsets, because unstiffened panels are somewhat unpopular amongst many customers. However, stiffened, boned modesty panels are now available for separate purchase, and can be suspended on the laces.
All hourglass corsets have front modesty plackets in matching fashion fabric.
Busk 10 inches long. 10 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are ten 1/4″ wide spirals, two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part grommets, size #0, with a small to medium flange. Finished in dark silver and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, most grommets rolled nicely. There are some splits, but they don’t catch much on the laces.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in black, 1/2″ wide. It’s relatively long and has no stretch, but single face satin is not quite as strong as double-face satin. Some different styles of cincher are laced with more sturdy shoelace instead of ribbon.
Price This particular style ranges from $79-89 USD depending on the fashion fabric – you can see more styles here.

 

black-leather-hourglass-corset
Hourglass black leather corset by Timeless Trends. Model and designer: Lucia Corsetti (that’s me!)

Redesigning Timeless Trends’ standard length corset was the first mission for Sarah and myself when we visited Thailand in summer of 2015. Because we wanted a corset that was not only completely unique in this industry but also “anatomically accurate”, we decided to combine several drafting techniques, including a combination of “slash and spread” and draping. Our hope was to create a corset that curved over the ribcage comfortably, hugged and supported the lumbar area of the back, kicked out dramatically at the hip, and flattened the lower tummy. I think we more or less succeeded!

To learn more about the drafting process, see our Thailand trip here.

If you’d like to see more fabrics and colorways for the hourglass corset and you’re interested in purchasing, I’m incredibly proud to say that they are available here in my shop!

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Review: Veco Corset Gown by Vollers Corsets

This entry is a summary of the video “Vollers Veco Corset Dress Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length There is not much I can say in the way of measurements, as this dress must be custom made to each client’s measurements. It is so form-fitting. When Vollers was making this dress for me, I provided them my bust, underbust, waistline, high hip, low hip, and length of my body from waistline to floor (as well as what height of heel I planned to wear with this dress!).
Silhouette is a mild hourglass, as most of Vollers corsets tend to be. I like the coverage of the dress and the height that it reaches under my arms and around the back – my bustline is supported and secure, and I don’t have much spillover around the back.
Material Fashion fabric is magenta satin with a fused overlay of black lace. Interior lining (strength fabric) is black cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern – the first three panels swoop down in a V shape over the front hip in a slightly Edwardian style fashion, and then at the iliac level, the panels sweep out again to provide fullness over the hips. The 6 panels go down to the floor, but the skirt portion has 4 gussets (on each side) below the knee to add flare and create a trumpet silhouette.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon at the top, and a simple overlock stitch along the bottom of the skirt (this makes it easier to modify the length if you wanted it hemmed, and Vollers mentioned that adding binding to the bottom affected the drape of the skirt too much).
Waist tape 1 inch wide ribbon waist tape, exposed on the inside of the corset. Partial waist tape, starting at seam 2 and ending at seam 5.
Modesty panel Matching, unstiffened panel attached to one side of the corset. Slightly over 6″ wide (will cover about 4.5″ gap in the back). It extends nearly the entire length of the dress. I would NOT advise removing the modesty panel as it would expose your bum beneath the laces of the dress. The modesty placket in the front also extends down to around the knee area, and contains some hooks and eyes to help the dress stay closed below the busk.
Busk 13 inches long. 6 loops + pins, bottom two are a bit closer together. Heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side). Below the busk, heavy-duty hooks and eyes continue down the rest of the dress.
Boning 14 bones total, 7 on each side. Single boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are an incredible 112 single part eyelets in the back of the dress! size #00, with medium flange. Finished in silver, and there are no washers in the back. Vollers ensures that the eyelets are industrial strength (used in boots) and they have a lifetime guarantee on their corsets.
Laces Black flat shoelace style lacing – no spring, very strong, long enough. There are three separate sets of laces (top to hip, hip to knee, and knee to bottom). See the discussion below for how I laced into this dress!
Price £950, made to measure – however, Vollers has a 25% off coupon for first-time customers when you sign up with their mailing list.

 

Lucy Corsetry posing in the Veco corset dress by Vollers.
Lucy Corsetry posing in the Veco corset dress by Vollers.

Vollers is the oldest corset manufacturer in the UK (I believe their family has been in the corset business since 1899), and are based in Portsmouth, England. In August 2015, had the pleasure of meeting the current owners, Ian and Corina Voller and visiting their factory. I will post more on my interview with them later, but for now let’s focus on the Veco dress, which is by far my favourite creation of theirs.

The Veco dress is available in two colors: “American Beauty” which is gold with black lace, and “Fuchsia Brocade” which I reviewed here. Vollers does invite customers to provide custom fabrics, but they do ask that you send them a sample of the fabric beforehand so they can determine if it is suitable to be made into a corset.

The bones of the corset do not extend down the entire length of the dress; the most structured part of the dress resembles a normal hourglass overbust – the bones start at the top edge around the bustline, and stops at the iliac crest to allow the wearer to sit or crouch comfortably. The boning channels themselves do continue down the rest of the length, and the channels themselves add some structure to the dress despite not containing any boning below the hip.

I adore the shape of the skirt; how it’s form-fitting over the hips and thighs and then flares out in a trumpet style below the knee. Extra skirt gussets create more fullness below the knee, and it moves beautifully when I walk.

For those curious as to how I got into this dress: it is possible to put it on by myself, but it is much easier with a second person! First I loosened the top two sets of laces (from the top of the corset to the hip, and from the hip to the knee) until it was loose enough in the back, and I opened the busk and the hooks and eyes (only down to the knee) so that I could step into the dress. I tried to keep the hooks and eyes from the knees-down closed, to save time.

I then fastened the busk, and then did up the smaller black hooks and eyes on the modesty placket (from hips down to the knees), before doing up the heavier duty hooks and eyes overtop of those smaller hooks. These two sets of hooks and eyes fasten in opposite directions so it doesn’t matter which way you twist or turn, you should not become exposed. Once all the hooks and eyes were finished, I tightened the top set of laces so the corset sat securely at my waistline, and then tightened the middle set of laces over the hips and thighs. Try to find a happy compromise between having a reduction in your waistline, and having it loose enough so that you’re able to move and sit down comfortably. For this last lacing part, this is where extra help from another person comes in handy! They can also tuck the bow of the laces underneath the X’s so as to create a smoother line in the back of the corset.

Learn more about the Veco corset dress by Vollers here.

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Timeless Trends Hourglass Cincher Overview/ Comparison

iridescent-purple-cincher

Full disclosure: The hourglass cincher featured in this review is one of the four new designs I helped create for Timeless Trends in 2015, along with the hourglass standard corsets, hourglass longline corsets, and the newest Gemini corset.

If you are interested in purchasing a TT cincher and you would like to support Lucy’s Corsetry, please consider buying through my Corset Shop here!

This entry is a summary of the video “Timeless Trends Hourglass Cincher (Comparison/ Overview)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 8.25 inches high, the ‘princess seam’ is 7 inches, side seam is 6.25 inches, and the center back is 9.5 inches.
Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 28″ (4 inch rib spring), upper hip is 31″ (7 inch high hip spring). This corset is designed to stop well above the iliac crest, and fit someone with a very short torso.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is red dragon brocade laminated to cotton twill (alternating with plain black satin panels, also fused to twill interlining) and it’s lined in black cotton twill as well.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. The curve over the hips and bum are in panels 3, 4, whereas much of the room for the front ribs come from the ‘champagne glass’ shaped 2nd panel.
Binding Matching black satin bias binding, machine-stitched on both sides. Also has 6 garter tabs (the slim silhouette corsets only have 4 garter tabs).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panels are not included in with the corsets, because unstiffened panels are somewhat unpopular amongst many customers. However, stiffened, boned modesty panels are now available for separate purchase, and can be suspended on the laces with velcro or grommets.
All hourglass corsets have front modesty plackets in matching fashion fabric.
Busk 7 inches long. 4 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are ten 1/4″ wide spirals, two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 20 two-part grommets, size #0, with a small to medium flange. Finished in dark silver and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, most grommets rolled nicely. There are some splits, but they don’t catch on the laces.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in black, 1/2″ wide. It’s relatively long and has no stretch, but single face satin is not quite as strong as double-face satin. Some different styles of cincher are laced with more sturdy shoelace instead of ribbon.
Price This particular style is $79 USD, and the most popular styles are now $74 uSD – you can see more styles here.

 

waist-cincher-creme
Hourglass Creme Cotton cincher by Timeless Trends

The cincher has less of a cupped rib compared to the standard length and longline hourglass corsets – while the standard length and longline TT corsets were based off similar patterns, we started anew with the cincher pattern to be able to cater to people with different body types and different aesthetic. However, you will find that the hourglass cinchers have far more room in the ribs and hips and gives a much more shapely silhouette compared to the gentle silhouette cinchers.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the hourglass cincher, I’m incredibly proud to say that they are available here in my shop!

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Timeless Trends Hourglass Longline Corset Review

Lucy Green Hourglass Longline

Full disclosure: The hourglass longline corset featured in this review is one of the four new designs I helped create for Timeless Trends in 2015, along with the hourglass standard corsets, hourglass cinchers, and the newest Gemini corset.

This entry is a summary of the video “Timeless Trends Hourglass Longline (Comparison/ Overview)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 13 inches high, from underbust to lap is 11 inches, and the center back is 13.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 30.5″ (6.5 inch rib spring), upper hip is 31″ (7 inch high hip spring), and lower hip is 36″ (12 inch low hip spring), with the hip ties closed. (You can expand the hips for more room.)
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is emerald brocade laminated to cotton twill, and it’s lined in black cotton twill as well.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. The roundness of the ribs can be found primarily in pattern pieces 2, 3 and 4, while the curve over the hips and bum are in panels 3, 4 and 5.
Binding Matching green satin bias binding, machine-stitched on both sides. Also has 6 garter tabs (the slim silhouette corsets only have 4 garter tabs).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tap, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panels are not included in with the corsets, because unstiffened panels are somewhat unpopular amongst many customers. However, stiffened, boned modesty panels are now available for separate purchase, and can be suspended on the laces.
All hourglass corsets have front modesty plackets in matching fashion fabric.
Busk 21 inches long. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, but it is reinforced with flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are ten 1/4″ wide spirals, two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part grommets, size #0, with a small to medium flange. Finished in dark silver and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, most grommets rolled nicely. There are some splits, but they don’t catch much on the laces.
Laces Single face satin ribbon in matching green, 1/2″ wide. It’s relatively long and has no stretch, but single face satin is not quite as strong as double-face satin. I often add free shoelace for those who purchase longline corsets ($6 value) for customers who prefer it.
Price This particular style is $119 USD; other fabrics like leather or styles with swinghooks may be slightly more.
emerald-long-hourglass-corset
The emerald hourglass longline corset as it appears in the product image.

The ribcage is more rounded compared to the more conical “slim” longline corset. The hips are also more cupped as well, and provide for ample adjustment. We specifically chose to draft this corset with the upper hips nearly the same size as the rounded ribcage, so it can fit both men and women. Even if you have square-shaped hips where your upper hip is the same size (or larger) than your lower hips, you can open up the top part of the hip ties and tighten the lower part of the hip ties to have it fit just to your body.

The corset was also designed to curve around a broader ribcage, and accommodate some lumbar curve for a more comfortable fit.

Comparing the length of other longline corset brands to this one: the Timeless Trends longline has the most distribution from the waist up (suitable for those with a low waist); Orchard Corset’s CS-426 is more equally balanced in the length distribution from the waist up vs waist down, and Mystic City’s corsets tend to be drafted more for those with a high waist, as much of the length is distributed from the waist down.

If you’d like to learn more about the hourglass longline corset, I’m incredibly proud to say that they are available here in my shop.

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Mystic City MCC64 Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Mystic City MCC64 Corset (Mesh Longline Underbust) Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 12 inches high, from underbust to lap is 10 inches, and the center back is 13.5 inches (but this is sweetheart shaped). Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 32″ (8 inch rib spring), upper hip is 36″ (12 inch high hip spring), and lower hip is 40″ (16 inch low hip spring). This is a pear-shaped, longline corset.
Material The solid cotton parts are two layers of black twill (the fashion layer is a finer weave of twill, while the lining is a coarser bull-denim). The mesh panels are made with a cotton type of fishnet, which is available in a variety of colors. (Read more below for more info on the mesh.)
Construction 6 panel pattern, probably assembled using welt-seam method for the twill panels, and the twill boning channels sandwich the single-layer mesh panels.
Binding Commercial black satin stretch bias binding, which combined with the mesh panels provide a bit of give or ease. 4 garter tabs, 2 on each side.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, exposed on the inside of the mesh panels, but sandwiched in the twill panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Stiffened (boned) black twill modesty panel, suspended on the laces. Modesty placket under the busk, which is also boned.
Busk 11 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, but it is reinforced with flat steels on either side of the busk (plus the boned modesty placket).
Boning 27 bones total. On each side, there are ten 1/4″ wide spirals, two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk. The last remaining bone is in the modesty placket under the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part grommets, size #0, with wide flange. Finished in silver and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, most grommets rolled nicely. There are some splits, but they don’t catch much on the laces. There is a lot of friction lacing up but probably because of the modesty panel.
Laces The original lacing that came in this corset was a springy nylon-based shoelace, but my friend had switched out those laces with double-faced satin ribbon instead.
Price $119 USD as of 2015; the all-twill version of this (no mesh) is $89 as of 2016.

 

This sample was in a larger size than I usually take; I would have fit the size 22″ in this corset because it’s so curvy, but I had borrowed this particular corset from a friend when I was visiting the US in 2015.

The large, rounded ribcage and generous “hip shelf” allow for ample room for those who are naturally curvy or are advanced corset-wearers capable of large waist reductions. The hip ties along the front of each hip allow for modest expansion of the bottom of the corset, in case the wearer is particularly pear-shaped and needs the extra few inches.

The sweetheart shape in the center back is a nice touch and even somewhat helps combat muffin-top. The center front has quite a long point at the bottom though, and as someone who carries most of my torso length from the waist up, I personally found this to be a touch longer than comfortable on my body.

The fishnet-type fabric used on the mesh panels is very common among mesh corsets, but they do stretch and break down over time. Since 2015, MCC has changed their mesh to a polyester based fine weave mesh instead of the fishnet, which appears to hold up a bit better.

The particular sample I received had a reinforced waist tape – I believe the original waist tape is made with cotton twill, but after some concerns of the twill waist tape eventually breaking down or tearing, it appears that MCC had gone back and installed satin ribbon underneath the twill tape to help it hold up to tension.

Visit Mystic City’s shop here to learn more about this corset and dozens of others.

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Isabella Corsetry “Petite Josephine” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Isabella Petite Josephine Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 22″: Center front is about 11.25 inches high, from underbust to lap is 9 inches, and the center back is 12.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 23″ (it was 2nd hand so it stretched slightly), ribcage is 29″ (7 inch rib spring) and lower hip is 33″ (11 inch hip spring). “Longline” for someone with a short length, conical in the ribs and cupped over the hips.
Material 3 Layers: Fashion fabric is black satin. Interlining in between, and lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, and constructed with the sandwich method with double boning on each seam.
Binding Commercial black satin bias binding. No garter tabs.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel You have the choice of ordering any Isabella corset with a sewn-in panel, a separate panel, or no panel. This particular corset didn’t come with a modesty panel.
Busk 9.25 inches long, heavy duty wide busk, with 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced.
Boning 20 bones total, 10 on each side. Double boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels on the seams, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets. (My original Josephine has 2 extra bones.)
Grommets 28 two-part grommets, size #00, with medium flange. Finished in black and spaced a bit closer together at the waistline. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely. There is a lot of friction lacing up but probably because of the modesty panel.
Laces Black double faced satin ribbon – no spring, very strong and flat.
Price $175 USD base price for the immediate line corsets (but on an indefinite sale; around $150+ depending on the color/ fabric).

 

Isabella Corsetry is run by a woman named Erin in Sacramento California. The Isabella Corsetry brand offers three ranges:

  • the “Immediate” line for standard-sized, in-stock corsets in simple fashion fabrics (OTR corsets), which is only the most popular 5-6 underbust styles.
  • the “Made to Order” line for standard sized corsets, but they can be made in your choice of fabric (choose among 200+ fabric options, or send them your own custom fabric), in 18 styles.
  • the “Custom” line if you prefer the corset made to your measurements and specifications, and you can choose among the 18 styles or request your own style.

For awhile, the Josephine corset was one of the curviest OTR corset styles on the market, and I believe it was probably the “original” pattern that many other companies had copied over time. The Petite Jo was the answer to those who loved the look and the curviness of the corset, but had too short of a torso to comfortably sit down in the original Josephine. Now Isabella has come out with the Katherine, which is marketed towards waist trainers or tightlacers who have gone as far as they can in the Josephine!

The only caveat I found to ordering from Isabella Corsetry is that the wait times are quite long, especially if you’re ordering your corset from outside of the US. While the shipping time was stated to be 2 weeks to Canada, I found it took closer to 6 weeks for me to receive my order, which made me wonder if the in-stock corsets were actually made to order.

The other thing I noticed is that both my original Josephine and my Petite Josephine had stretched an inch in the waist over time with very regular use – however, I’m impressed that they did not have any ripped seams, popped grommets or other structural issues; they’re strong garments certainly capable of withstanding months or years of waist training, as long as you take into account the stretch factor.

See more on the Isabella Corsetry website here.

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Ties that Bynde ‘Helen’ Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Ties that Bynde ‘Helen’ Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 10.5 inches high, from underbust to lap is 10 inches, and the center back is 12.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 30″ (6 inch rib spring) and lower hip is 34″ (10 inch hip spring). Mid-hip in length, conical in the ribs and cupped over the hips.
Material Fashion fabric is teal satin and a beautiful black dupioni silk yoke or belt. Boning channels are made with black coutil (covered in dupioni silk) and there is a cotton floating lining in a fun retro rockabilly print (I told her to surprise me).
Construction 6 panel pattern (probably) in a very interesting pattern with the yoke/ belt and flared panels above and below. It seems like it was designed through creative draping! Fashion and strength fabric flatlined, single external boning channels, floating lining.
Binding Commercial black satin bias binding. No garter tabs.
Waist tape 3/4 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Original corset does not come with a modesty panel, but I purchased one for $25 extra. 6.25″ wide, boned (resists crumpling) and suspended on the laces, finished in black coutil and black dupioni silk. Tiny 1/4″ placket in front.
Busk Tapered busk! (thicker on the bottom than the top), 10 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. Slightly more rigid compared to a standard flexible busk.
Boning 20 bones total, 10 on each side. Single boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels and 1/4″ flexible flats, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 44 two-part grommets, size #00, with medium flange. Finished in black and equidistantly spaced (3/4″ inch apart). Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely. There is a lot of friction lacing up but probably because of the modesty panel.
Laces Black flat shoelace style lacing – no spring, very strong, long enough, no complaints. :)
Price $200 base price (standard size and no modesty panel). Modesty panel is another $25.

 

A quick, backlit snapshot while I was breaking in this corset (hips still worn a bit loose).
A quick, backlit snapshot while I was breaking in this corset (still worn a bit loose, so the hips weren’t fitted yet).

Ties that Bynde is a business based in Detroit, Michigan, run by independent corsetiere and all-around super woman, Jessica. Jessica not only takes custom corset commissions, but she also frequents conventions as a corset vendor, creates entire lines of corsets and couture outfits every year for fashion shows, attends corset conferences and lingerie symposiums, teaches corset making classes, AND she is also a contributor to my book Solaced, where she discusses the insurance-covered, therapeutic corsets she makes for herself and others.

The Helen corset was a star in my corset collection – there are several features that make corset relatively unique, including the black dupioni ‘belt’ and copious external channels, and the sweetheart top edge of this underbust corset.

I adore the look of sweetheart underbust corsets, and if you have a problem with corsets pressing painfully against your sternum, then this may be an option that avoids your sternum altogether. However, I have a freakishly high sternum, and  personally find that I sometimes get mild indigestion if my corset doesn’t come high enough in the front (this is true of both cinchers and all sweetheart corsets, so it’s not a mark against Ties that Bynde at all). Plenty of my friends are able to wear sweetheart corsets quite comfortably, though.

Size 24″ is an in-between size (Jessica normally makes her standard size corsets in every-other size (e.g. waist sizes 22″, 26″, 30″, etc). Upon reading her size charts, I quickly realized that her 26″ would be too big for me but the 22″ would be too small. Jessica offered to make me a size 24″ at no extra charge which was incredibly generous of her. If you needed custom fit (where you change the rib and hip springs or the length of the corset) this would be an upcharge, but I found that my body fit the standard size 24″ fairly well.

See more of Jessica’s work on Facebook.

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Corset Connection ‘Flora’ Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Corset Connection ‘Flora’ Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized: Center front is about 11.25 inches high, from underbust to lap is 10 inches, and the center back is 11.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 28″ (4 inch rib spring) and lower hip is 32″ (8 inch hip spring). Modern slim silhouette.
Material This style of corset has 2 main layers. Fashion fabric is ivory brocade (interfaced) and the lining is white cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Double boned on the seams, with the bones sandwiched between the layers.
Binding Bias strips of matching ivory brocade, machine stitched on the outside and inside. Also includes 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. Starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and goes to the back edge.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel is 6 inches wide, unstiffened, finished in matching ivory brocade, and sewn in (can be easily removed if desired). No modesty placket in front.
Busk Heavy-duty busk (1″ wide on each side), 9.25 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. Slightly more rigid compared to a standard flexible busk.
Boning 24 bones total, 12 on each side. Double boned on the seams with 1/4″ wide spiral steel bones, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 24 two-part grommets, size #0 (larger hole), with a small to medium flange. Finished in silver and equidistantly spaced. The splits in the back do catch on the laces.
Laces White round poly cord – I prefer flat nylon lacing, and laces can easily be switched out.
Price $99 on the Corset Connection website.

 

Flora underbust in black satin. Photo: LeMew photography.
Flora underbust in black satin. Photo: LeMew photography.

The Flora corset is cut straight across at the top edge, and is gently rounded at the bottom edge. I’m happy to see that the busk doesn’t bow outwards too much at the bottom, so this style of corset can give you some posture support while remaining relatively stealthy under clothing. The busk is rigid enough to provide a little bit of lower tummy support, but not quite as much as a longline corset.

The gentle (modern slim) silhouette will nip waistlines from people who are naturally apple-shaped, and can provide some posture and abdominal support without giving a very dramatic silhouette. However if you’re naturally curvier, you may want to check out a different corset style with more of an hourglass silhouette.

The Flora corset is available in satin, brocade and even PVC, and in colors black, ivory, and red. Available from sizes 18 up to 44 inches, it’s suited to even full-figured corset wearers. The Flora corset is also available for both women and men.

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Ava Corsetry ‘Carmen’ Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Ava Corsetry ‘Carmen’ Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized: Center front is about 11.5 inches high, from underbust to lap is 9.5 inches, and the center back is 12.5 inches. Hourglass silhouette with rounded ribcage and rounded hip. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 30″ and lower hip is 34″.
Material 2 main layers, fashion fabric is red poly taffeta, and strength fabric is black herringbone coutil. Black floral lace and tulle on the decorative front panels and “hip fins”. Very lightweight corset!
Construction 5 vertical panels, with a 6th semi-circle hip panel. Constructed using the welt-seam method. Internal boning channels are made with strips of coutil, and the herringbone lining is semi-floating in a couple of places!
Binding Bias strips of matching red taffeta, machine stitched on both sides. I like how narrow and delicate the binding looks on this corset!
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sewn between the layers. The partial tape starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at seam between 4-5.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel is 6 inches wide and finished in the same red taffeta. Unstiffened and stitched onto one side of the back of the corset (easily removable). 1/2″ wide modesty placket in front.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side), and 10.5 inches long. It has 5 loops and pins, with the bottom two closer together. Two 1/4″ wide flat steels adjacent to the busk help to keep the abdomen flat.
Boning 16 bones total, 8 on each side. Two by the busk and 4 by the grommets are 1/4″ flat steels, while the side bones are likely spirals.
Grommets 24 two-part grommets, size #00, small flange, quite sturdy. Silver finish. The taffeta is pulling away from the grommets (see discussion below).
Laces Black flat shoe-lace style lacing, no spring, easy to pull and tie.
Price About £209 to commission the Carmen corset in your size. Upgrade to custom fit is very reasonable (starts at only £10 more) depending on how much your own measurements deviate from the standard size chart.

 

Carmen corset made by Ava Corsetry. Model: Miss Betsy Rose
Carmen corset made by Ava Corsetry. Model: Miss Betsy Rose. Click to go to Ava’s site!

The Carmen corset is one of the most creatively constructed corsets I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. It’s a clever combination of internal boning channels, and hidden boning channels to create a corset with a semi-floating fashion layer that allows for a comfortable semi-circular hip panel and decorative mini-pannier (hip fin). The corset is surprisingly lightweight overall, and the taffeta sits smoothly around the body. I’m usually not a “taffeta” type of girl, but I adore this corset.

The black lace against the fiery red fabric lends a certain Spanish flair, and I can’t help but wonder if the corset was named after the Bizet’s opera of the same name, based in Spain in the mid 19th century.

The only construction issue I found in the corset is that the taffeta started to distort in the back and pull away from a couple of grommets at the waistline. However, I have personally found that this is a property of taffeta – almost all of the taffeta corsets I’ve ever owned over the years have done the same thing, but this remains only superficial/ aesthetic damage – as long as the strength fabric does not distort, the grommet should not pull out. If I were to replace the grommet with another of a wider flange, the distortion wouldn’t be visible at all.

At the time I purchased this corset (February 2015), Ava Corsetry was operated by the incredible Danielle MacDonald. (The name Ava was inspired by the elegance of Ava Gardner.) The business has since changed hands and a new corsetiere (Lyzzy, who also works with Kiss Me Deadly) now runs Ava. Danielle was sure to choose her successor very carefully and ensures that her future customers remain in good hands. Check out the Ava Corsetry website here.

(Watch Habanera from Carmen below – with vocalists in genuine corsets!)