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


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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the classes and workshops in 2014 included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Corset Pilgrimage, 2015: Oxford, London, Portsmouth

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

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

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

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

Workshops and classes in 2015 included:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

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California Corset Adventures – NALACE, Puimond, Interviews & More

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

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

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

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

There were some great workshops during this weekend, including:

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

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

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

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

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

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Interview with Vollers Corsets (Ian & Corina Voller)

In September of 2015, after attending the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, Ian and Corina Voller (Vollers Corsets) invited me to stay with them for a few days and see their factory in Portsmouth, England. They are the current owners of the longest surviving corset manufacturer in England, and it was incredible to see how their facilities and their company has evolved over time – and what values have stayed the same.

See the interview below, and use the timestamps below the video to jump ahead in the video if certain questions interest you more.

0:55 Tell us how you got started. I understand that Vollers was first launched by Harry and Nelly Voller in 1899 – do you know why they had such an interest in corsets at the turn of the century?

3:50 During wartime or around the 70s and 80s when the corset was less popular, how did your factory stay up and running? Do you manufacture anything else here apart from corsets?

6:50 How have your patterns and styles changed over the years? Do you have any corsets to compare then vs now?

8:20 What do you think about the recent corset revival in the past several years? Have you needed to make any changes to cater to the new clientele, for instance those interested in waist training?

10:05 Since your company has survived for so long and has a long-term view of the corset industry, what do you think will happen next?

11:00 Tell us a bit about your employees and how the construction process is run smoothly. How are tasks assigned?

13:20 How many hours does it take to create a single underbust corset in your factory, and how many hands does it pass through?

15:20 What is your favorite part about working in corsetry? What is your least favorite aspect (the most boring task, or a certain pet peeve about the industry)?

16:25 Who is your target market? Who do you love to sell to?

19:30 Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Huge thanks to Corina and Ian Voller for hosting me for a few days, giving a tour around the factory, and agreeing to sit down for this interview! Readers can learn more about Vollers Corsets on their website.

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Interview with Katie Thomas of What Katie Did

In August and September 2015, I attended the Oxford Conference of Corsetry and met Katie Thomas (What Katie Did) in person. I’ve been emailing with Katie for close to 5 years so it was amazing to finally have the opportunity to meet someone you admire in the corset industry face-to-face. Directly following the conference, I spent a few days at Katie’s house and we visited Basilton Park, and Katie gave me a tour of her London Boutique and headquarters.

Skip ahead in the video to hear her answers to the following questions:

0:30 How did you become interested in retro fashion?

0:55 How did you start your business and why did you choose the name What Katie Did?

1:50 After starting your business selling stockings, shapewear, etc, how did you become interested in corsets, and how did you start incorporating corsets into your business?

2:35 You’ve been in this industry for 15 years now, so how have you seen the corset and retro lingerie industry change?

3:10 What do you think of the waist training trend, and how do you think your products fit into this trend?

3:55 Would you say that your corsets are suitable for waist training now?

4:30 You’ve found a niche with higher-end, ready-to-wear corsets that are better quality than the budget OTR corsets, but not quite as high as bespoke corsets offered by independent corsetieres. Was it a deliberate decision to settle your business at this niche?

5:20 You had mentioned that you once considered reducing your prices, but when you were looking for areas to cut, you weren’t willing to make those sacrifices to the quality of your products. Tell us a bit more about that.

6:00 You were the first person I saw in this industry who showed full transparency regarding the working conditions of your factory in India. Can you comment on why you decided to be so transparent about this, and why you decided against manufacturing your corsets in England?

8:00 When I first stumbled upon your site, I thought that you mainly catered to the burlesque and pin-up communities. Do you think this is true? Who is your main client base?

Thanks to Katie for sitting down with me for this interview! Click here to see What Katie Did’s website.

Silk WKD Morticia
WKD Morticia corset in Claret silk, in size 22″, modelled by me (Lucy)

See my many reviews of WKD corsets here:

Link to WKD website is an affiliate link (but links to reviews are not). Affiliate links help support Lucy and keep this site online!

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Interview and Chat with Sidney Eileen

Some may remember back in early 2013, I launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for Sidney Eileen to be properly diagnosed and treated for a 6-year-long anaplasma phagocytophilum infection (what we originally thought was Lyme disease) which left Sidney disabled, unable to walk long distances, unable to continue her artwork due to weakness and tremors in her hands, and suffering from seizures due to inflammation of the brain.

2 years later, in August of 2015, I finally had the opportunity to meet Sidney for the first time and we caught up on how she’s feeling after the treatment and the daily realities of chronic illness – we also talked about her contribution to the corset making community and her hopes for the future.

1:05 How are you feeling now that you’ve completed the antibiotic treatment for your anaplasma infection?

1:40 Are your symptoms expected to completely disappear, or are you looking at some permanent damage from your chronic infection?

2:15 How did you become interested in making corsets in the first place?

4:10 What is the value in being self-taught and having a community of other corsetieres to share different techniques with?

5:10 What about corset making do you specifically enjoy?

5:55 What is your favorite step of the corset making process?

6:10 What is your least favorite step about corset making?

7:30 What drew you towards teaching art and corset making, as opposed to only making corsets or taking commissions?

9:15 What are your future aspirations, now that you have a fresh start?

11:15 For other people who are just getting started with making corsets (or any other type of art), what words of encouragement would you offer to them?

You can find Sidney Eileen’s artwork and free corset tutorials on her website, sidneyeileen.com

Photo from the North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium in California, 2015. From left to right: Me (Lucy), Zessinna, Amber (Lovely Rats Corsetry), and Sidney Eileen.
Photo from the North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium in California, 2015. From left to right: Me (Lucy), Zessinna, Amber (Lovely Rats Corsetry), and Sidney Eileen.
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Interview with Puimond of Puimond Progressive Corset Design

In July of 2015, following my adventures in Texas, I had the opportunity to travel to California and sit down with Puimond of Puimond Progressive Corset Design! I had been following Puimond’s work for many years (especially after learning that he’s originally from Canada too) and collected several corsets made by him, including the pearl PVC overbust, Wicked plunge overbust, and a custom longline corset (my smallest corset!). It was so exciting to meet him and get to know more about the man behind the label.

Skip ahead in the video to hear his answers to the following questions:

0:30 How did you get started making corsets?

0:55 What was your very first corset like?

1:40 What is your favorite project?

2:05  How many corsets do you think you’ve made in total in the past 18 years?

2:25 How do you think the corset industry has evolved in the past 18 years?

2:55 What is your favorite part of the construction process?

3:10 What is your least favorite step of the construction process?

3:30 Who would you like to work with, or what is your dream project?

4:35 What is your favorite reaction or a client to your corset?

5:10 What are some of your dreams and aspirations for your business?

5:35 What do you do when you’re not making corsets?

See what Puimond has in stock in his Etsy shop, or visit his main website here.

My Puimond corset, closed at 20 inches (my smallest corset). Click through to read my review of this corset!
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Interview with Amber Welch, Lovely Rats Corsetry

Following my trip to Thailand in 2015 to design the hourglass silhouette corsets with Timeless Trends, I spent three weeks in Texas. One of those weeks was in Austin, creating some informational videos for Timeless Trends, and the other two weeks were spent in Dallas where I stayed with Amber of Lovely Rats Corsetry. Together we compared corset styles, patterns and construction techniques, we made a corset together using a custom pattern from the late Christine Wickham of Ariadne’s Thread, and she introduced me to Steven Universe (a show that changed my life).

In this interview, you’ll find Amber’s answers to the following. Feel free to skip ahead in the video to hear the answers that interest you most!

 

0:30 How did you first become interested in making corsets?

0:50 What was your first corset like and how far have you come since then?

1:15 How did you come up with the name Lovely Rats, and how does this relate to corsetry?

1:50 What has your favorite project been so far?

2:10 Who would you like to dress in the future, or what would you consider a dream project?

2:25 Tell us more about your personal aesthetic and how you’ve branded yourself.

3:01 What other brands or designers do you look up to?

3:35 What is your favorite step in the corset construction process?

4:15 What is your least favorite part about making corsets?

4:30 What are your dreams and aspirations for Lovely Rats?

4:55 What do you do when you’re not making corsets?

5:25 If you weren’t making corsets, what do you think you’d be doing?

5:45 If you had any advice for people who follow you or want to make a corset, what kind of encouragement would you give them?

Visit Amber’s Etsy Shop, or her website here!

What questions would you ask Amber if given the chance? Leave a comment below and she might answer you!

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Wearing Corsets with a Stoma – Interview with Kitty

Kitty is a writer based in Canada, who runs the site Girly-Girl’s Ileostomy Blog – a no-nonsense explanation of life with an Ileostomy, as told by a foul-mouthed individual with no shame

Last year I received several questions from viewers wondering if it’s safe to wear a corset if one has an ileostomy. Having no personal experience, I asked around. One helpful follower then introduced me to Kitty’s blog, and to my surprise I also found that there were a few different corsetieres who specialize in making corsets for ileostomates.

I love Kitty’s candor, and found it fascinating that she is not only able to wear corsets with her ostomy, but also that her corset is used for stabilizing her hepaptosis (floating liver) and scoliosis. Her posts on corsetry can be found here and here. I asked if she would be willing to share a bit more of her personal experience on my blog, and she graciously agreed.

(Please note that this is in context of an ileostomy only, and may not work the exact same way for other types of stomas. If you have a stoma and would like to wear a corset, please speak with your doctor!)


 

When did you take an interest in corsets? Was it merely aesthetic, or was there something else to it as well?

Kitty: I first became interested in corsets as a young girl. They resembled my TLSO backbrace I wore for ten years to stop my spine from curving any more with scoliosis, except they were beautiful–a celebration of the female shape instead of the hard plastic ugly shape I had been fitted for at the Children’s Hospital.

Are your doctors okay with you wearing a corset? Did any of them have objections due to negative myths?

Kitty: One of the doctors I had in British Columbia actually signed papers saying I needed a corset for my back, but stupid me, I never got around to fighting that out with the insurance company.

You had experience with back bracing when you were younger – many of my viewers/ readers have scoliosis, and some have said that they worry that wearing a corset might trigger unpleasant memories of being braced. In your experience, how does a corset differ from the back brace (comfort-wise, aesthetically or otherwise)?

Kitty: Ah, silly me,  I already answered about the back-brace. It was a very unpleasant time being braced and physically and emotionally bullied by both teachers and my peers, but it really has no bearing on me now. I have gotten the perspective of years behind me, and to take that thick plastic foot-ball players’ uniform compared to my delicate corset–well, there really is no comparison.

How did you go about finding a corsetiere who was comfortable making the proper accommodations for your medical needs (e.g. asymmetric construction for scoliosis, access to your ileostomy, ensuring that your organs were properly positioned with the right silhouette and reduction)?

Kitty: I was fortunate enough to live near the same corsetiere as Dita Von Teese goes to–it is called Lace Embrace in Vancouver, British Columbia, and I found it quite by accident while searching for such on the internet.

How is your corset made differently to standard corsets? Are you able to access and change your ostomy bag easily? Does the corset prevent your bag from filling properly and create discomfort or bloating?

Kitty in her custom peach underbust Corset from Lace Embrace Atelier, which offers back support, lifts the stomach and liver, and features a concealed flap to access her bag.
Kitty in her custom peach underbust Corset from Lace Embrace Atelier, which offers back support, lifts the stomach and liver, and features a concealed flap to access her bag.

Kitty: My corset has a side panel that flows smoothly over my ileostomy bag, that I can simply unhook whenever I need to dump my bag. The bones were also removed from that section, though you couldn’t tell if you looked at it, which was the point.

I have suffered no ill-effects of my corset, I have even slept in my corset. I just have my normal bag on, and fit the corset over it easily, tie it up, and I am ready to go.

You mentioned in your blog that you have issues with your ligaments, and the corset helps keep your liver from dropping. How does that condition affect your daily quality of life (is it painful or nauseating), and how does the corset help?

Kitty: With the corset, it lifts up both my stomach and liver which otherwise float a bit inside of my abdominal cavity.

One of the concerns I’ve heard regarding stomas is the risk of hernias. Was the extra pressure from a corset a concern for you in this situation – or do you think that the specific application of pressure on your abdomen by the corset would help to prevent such a hernia from occurring?

Kitty: Because I tie it correctly, my organs are not being pushed down to the bottom of the corset, but lifted, and I have never felt like my stomach was bulging or that I might be getting a hernia. The corset lifts pressure from that area and transfers it up to my rib-cage.

Were there any drawbacks you found to wearing a corset?

Kitty: The only drawback is you will need someone to help you tie it up until you get a hang of it yourself! I still have yet to do it alone!

Were there any other unexpected benefits that you discovered from wearing the corset – either physically or emotionally?

Kitty: Of course the benefit is a sexy silhouette, you always have grand posture, and you feel pretty darn good doing so :)

What advice can you give to others who have an ostomy and are looking into corsets (either for fashion or for therapeutic purposes)?

Kitty: For ileostomates: dont be afraid to try on or wear corsets. if you buy one already made, have the seller make a snap-panel over your bag area so you can let that bugger breathe and do what it does best. Eat as you normally would, but more grazing during the day and avoiding dumping one big meal all at once into your stomach.
I chose a corset in a pale peach so it would go under all of my clothing, but that is a personal choice–it’s up to you!
<3 Kitty

Huge thanks to Kitty for sharing her experience with us! If you’d like to read more about Kitty’s custom corset from Lace Embrace, here’s her post on her fitting appointment, and here’s her post on her finished corset.

 

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Interview with Beata Sievi, corsetiere of Entre-Nous

In September of 2014, following the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, I travelled to Bath, England with new friends Beata Sievi (Entre-Nous) and Lowana O’Shea (Vanyanis), taking in some of the Roman Baths, museums, and churches.

I also had the pleasure of modeling a piece for Beata, photographed in the 400+ year old library in Oxford.

Beata is a very experienced couture corsetiere from Winterthur, Switzerland. As a psychologist-turned-designer, Beata places much importance on intimacy and relationships, and as such her aesthetic is focused around poetry, romance, and sensuality. Her pieces are entirely one-of-a-kind and she tends to build a rapport with each client to create breathtaking pieces suited precisely to the individual. In the interview below, you will see some cutaways to some of her past works, including a Samurai inspired corset, a corset covered with love letters, etc.

As filming interviews was not permitted on location in Jesus College, this interview was filmed in the gorgeous dining area of our hotel in Bath.

Timeline:

0:35 How were you first introduced to corsetry? How did you come to love corsets?

Lucy modeling a black brocade overbust made by Beata of Entre-Nous; photo by Beata Sievi. Click through to read Beata's blog about the Oxford Conference!
Lucy modeling a black brocade overbust made by Beata of Entre-Nous; photo by Beata Sievi. Click through to read Beata’s blog about the Oxford Conference!

3:35 How did your relationship with a corset enthusiast at the start of your business come to influence your artistry and romantic corset designs?

7:20 Why did you choose the name Entre Nous for your business, what is its meaning and significance?

8:40 If you could choose a favorite corset you’ve made for a client in the past, which would you choose?

11:55 What is your favorite part of the creative process?

12:20 Since you don’t get the opportunity to create as much corset art as you like (where you are given full creative liberty by a client), what part of your business is the most enjoyable to you? Designing, teaching, etc?

14:20 What is your least favorite part of corset making/ the creative process?

17:50 How long have you been in the corset business?

18:05 With so much experience behind you, is there anything you’re looking forward do in the future? What are your goals and aspirations for Entre Nous?

You can find more of Beata’s work below:

Beata’s blog of her designs: beatasievi.com

Beata’s blog for corset making: ecoleducorset-entrenous.com

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Interview with Lowana O’Shea of Vanyanis

In September of 2014 I had the pleasure of interviewing the ever-beautiful and talented corsetiere behind Vanyanis: Lowana O’Shea. I have a lot to thank Lowana for: she and the late Christine Wickham had personally launched a fundraiser to allow me to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry that year, and Lowana let me tag along during much of our adventures in England!

As filming interviews was not permitted on location in Jesus College, this interview was filmed in our hotel in London about a week after the Conference:

Timeline:

Here I'm wearing the gorgeous engraved busk loop necklace and earring set made by Vanyanis. Click through to learn more about this jewelry!
Here I’m wearing the gorgeous engraved busk loop necklace and earring set made by Vanyanis. Click through to learn more about this jewelry!

0:28 You’re looking very glamorous today, what exciting things did you get up to today before this interview?

1:05 How did you come up with the name Vanyanis?

1:35 How long have you been in business, and how did you come to love corsetry?

2:27 What is your favorite part of the creative process?

3:10 (Showcase of one of Lowana’s couture overbust corsets with over 3000 Swarovski crystals!)

4:38 What is your least favorite part of corset making?

5:20 What do you see in the future of your business? What are your aspirations for Vanyanis?

You can find more of Lowana’s work on her website, Vanyanis.

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Interview with Sarah Chrisman of “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself”

In March 2014, after the blogger conference at Orchard Corset headquarters, some friends and I took the ferry to visit Port Townsend and stay with Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman. For those who don’t remember, Sarah Chrisman is the author of “Waisted Curves”, which I had reviewed last year. Since then, the corset has been officially published by Skyhorse and renamed “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself“. During our brief visit, Sarah gave us a walking tour of Port Townsend, allowed us to study her and Gabriel’s large collection of antique artifacts an read some original Victorian and Edwardian literature, cooked up a feast for my friends and myself, and sat down for an interview. It was a quick but packed weekend!

I enjoyed seeing first-hand Gabriel and Sarah’s ongoing life project; how they’ve already placed Tesla lightbulbs in their house and use oil lamps at night; they own a wood-burning oven and they are working on refurbishing a vintage ice-box to replace their refrigerator – which leads into their aim of eating locally and seasonally, growing their own food, and wasting as little as possible.

Below you’ll find the interview in full on my Youtube channel! Scroll down below the video to see the list of the questions.

  • It’s been several years since you’ve written your memoir; how has life changed for you since then? Has your book been received well?
  • Are you recognized more often in your hometown? When you travel? If so, do you enjoy being recognized?
  • Have any of your friends and family been inspired to use a corset after seeing your own personal journey? Have you found yourself becoming a mentor to others in lifestyle corseting?
  • What are some reasons that you and Gabriel love Victoriana and the Victorian way of living, or what important lessons could the layperson learn from this? (e.g. adornment, the mannerisms, a possible economic or ‘greener’ lifestyle, the tendency to mend/ repair instead of dispose, etc.)
  • It must be wonderful having a supportive partner who shares your tastes and passions. Who do you think was the instigator to move from simply ‘collecting’ antique items to really living as if you were in the era?
  • Has Gabriel experienced any personal growth during these years that you have been transforming?
  • If you had to pin down a specific year or decade where most of your style or your favorite pieces come from, what would that be?
  • You mentioned in your book that you used to do martial arts. Do you still do that? What are some of your other favorite pastimes apart from reading, writing and bicycling?
  • What are your ambitions for the future? Are there plans for a “Victorian Secrets Part 2”  in the future?

Huge thanks to Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman for their incredible hospitality and for kindly answering our questions!
If you’d like to learn more about Sarah’s book “Victorian Secrets”, find it on Amazon here.

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An Interview with Cora of The Lingerie Addict!!

Back in March 2014 while visiting Orchard Corset headquarters in Wenatchee, Washington, USA, I had the immense honour of sitting down with Cora Harrington, founder of The Lingerie Addict. In this interview, you will learn: 

  • How many years Cora has been blogging and how she got her start
  • From where or from whom Cora drew inspiration when she was just starting out with her first blog
  • At what point Cora felt that she was ready to move from the role of a hobbyist blogger to a full-time writer
  • The work that Cora is proudest of to date
  • What Cora does when she’s not being a Lingerie Addict
  • What to expect from The Lingerie Addict in the near future

If you’d like to learn the answers to these questions and more, see the video below!

Once again, huge thanks to Cora for taking the time to answer my questions and let me pick her brain – it has been a dream come true. :)
You can learn more about Cora and read her blog here at The Lingerie Addict.

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Interview with Mina LaFleur of L’Atelier de LaFleur!

Last week, I travelled to Toronto to visit with Mina LaFleur, Canada’s Burlesque sweetheart/ pin-up model, and corsetiere of L’Atelier de LaFleur! She kindly agreed to an interview for my channel, and I asked her a bit about her past notable work (including her experience as a costume maker for Cirque du Soleil!) and she also shares some tips and advice for budding corsetieres.

Use the following time frame to jump to your question of interest:

0:30 What came first, the Burlesque career or the sewing career?
1:30 Mina’s experience making costumes for Cirque du Soleil and Thierry Mugler
5:45 Mina’s reflections as a former judge on reality TV show “ReVamped”
7:50 How Mina’s work stands out as a corsetiere
10:25 What equipment and tools Mina uses in her work
12:05 Mina’s advice for budding corset makers

Huge thanks to Mina for allowing me to come to her studio, try on her corsets, and agreeing to the interview!

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Corset Vlogger Interview at Orchard Corset

Some of you may have already known that back in early June 2013, I and several other corset vloggers (including Phoenix [mmsnafaioopoofeeker], Byrdi [silentsongbyrd], Meghann [LadyTigerLily] and Andrea [RandomCorset]) travelled from across the continent to meet up at Orchard Corset headquarters to have a group interview, participate in a photoshoot, and have the opportunity to form friendships and make history.

Below you’ll find the interview, organized in a playlist of 7 parts for your convenience. If you would like to see the interview in one 40-minute long video, click here to go to Orchard Corset’s upload!

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Lucy Interviews Orchard Corset

In late February I visited Orchard Corset headquarters in Wenatchee, Washington, USA. Jeff (the Owner) and Cheri (the Marketing Director) were able to sit down with me and answer a few questions I had about their business and where they see themselves in the corset industry.

We discussed several matters within the corset community, such as the definition of “corset” being probably a little too loose, how Orchard sets itself apart from other OTR companies by their customer service, blog and website, their careful process in choosing both models and corsets to reflect what their clientele want, and their goals for the future.

Thanks very much to Jeff, Leanna, Cheri and all those at Orchard Corset for making this trip happen, and for shining a little light on how an OTR company works from their perspective.

Watch the interview below!

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Questions and timeline:
0:40 How many years has Orchard Corset/ Crepe Suzette been in business?
0:50 In the years you’ve been in business, how has the popularity of corsets changed (if any)?
1:45 How do you see the corset industry, and where do you place yourself within that industry?
4:20 We understand that Orchard Corset is known for its excellent customer service – in what other ways do you serve your clientele?
7:25 What are your goals for the business in the next couple years?