Last updated on October 17th, 2021 at 07:46 pm
S-bend corsets (also called straight-front corsets or “health” corsets) were invented in the early 1900s during the Edwardian era, and popularized by the Gibson Girls. At the time, the S-bend was thought to be healthier for the wearer as it placed less direct pressure on the front of the abdomen. It also promoted a “proud” posture where the pelvis tilted forward, causing the bum to be pushed back while the shoulders and bust were thrust forward — this posture also affected the wearer’s gait in such a way that caused a lady to swing her hips in a lovely manner (read: swagger). However, this corset style was later found to exacerbate lumbar lordosis (swayback) and thought to be worse for the spine over time, compared to the earlier Victorian corsets (which maintain a more neutral posture).
Today, straight-fronted longline corsets are quite popular, but are usually modernized to be merely ‘Edwardian-inspired’ and don’t cause swayback the way that traditional S-bends used to. I don’t condone regular use/ training in a traditional S-bend or Edwardian corset, but many women with natural lordosis and/or shelf-bums have expressed to me that they feel that a reproduction of an S-bend corset might better suit their figure. For cosplayers, historical re-enactors, and history-bounders, an S-bend corset may be occasionally required to have the proper silhouette and foundation under their Edwardian clothing – so here is a non-exhaustive list of corsetieres who offer these Edwardian beauties.
RedThreaded, an incredibly prolific and talented team out of Colorado USA, is one of my favorite historical reproduction corset brands – they make historical corsets for every need, whether their clients are re-enactors, stage/theatre performers, actors and celebrities, haute couture designers, etc. What I love about the two examples of their work above is how they’re able to interpret the same pattern into two very different final products. See also their dedicated article to S-bend corsets here! Lastly, if you want to try sewing your own historical corsets with their patterns, they have plenty of options available in their Etsy shop.
La Belle Fairy is a one-woman business run by Jenny, corsetiere extraordinaire in BC, Canada. Jenny specializes in traditional Victorian and Edwardian corsetry as well as bridal attire. She uses modern hardware in her corsets (including an extra wide German-steel busk to ensure the straight front), but she adapts vintage patterns to your measurements for a beautiful fit. Her Edwardian corsets start at $450.
Maria Vozisova (Russia) has two corset brands – Vozisova Corsets focuses on historical corsetry and underwear (like this gorgeous soft peach S-bend demibust with lace trim) while her other brand, MariaShopStudio, offers more contemporary corsets with a more modern silhouette and made from leather and corsetry mesh.
Period Corsets is aptly named, as the business takes traditional patterns to make modern corsets in their studio in WA, USA. Their 1905 “Mae” corset nicely shows what the S-curve looked like on a human being without the bust pads or theatrical exaggerated posing by the Gibson models.
Skeletons in the Closet is a one-woman business by Sanni, a skilled corsetiere in the Netherlands. Sanni creates several different styles of Edwardian corsets (there was more than one corset during that era, after all!). You can find both made-to-measure pieces and heavily discounted samples in her Etsy store.
A Clockwork Faerie is based in Denver, Colorado and run by Michelle Fitzgerald, a historical reproduction corsetiere who not only makes gorgeous S-bend corsets like the example above, but she’s quite literally “written the book on it” – or at least an in-depth article on Foundations Revealed! She’s best known for her incredible attention to detail – if you want the teeniest cording and immaculate flossing on quite possibly the prettiest late-Victorian corsets you’ve ever seen, she is the person to go to.
Morua Designs creates breathtaking combinations of traditional and contemporary corsetry, such as the S-curve demibust shown above, modelled on an Edwardian mannequin to show proper form. Created with a true S-curve pattern, Gerry then embellished this particular piece with tulle, lace and crystals for a soft and ethereal finish. Her Edwardian S-curve corsets start at $900.
Fiorentina Corsetry (Kyiv, Ukraine) is owned by Natalia Zinkevych, who has over a decade of experience in designing and creating historical reproduction corsets, underwear and clothing. She says that her love for sewing started when she discovered Italian Renaissance fashion, although more recently Natalia says her passion has led her towards corsetry. Here is an example of her Edwardian S-bend midbust in a soft ivory, with sweeping panels and delicate lace trim.
Bizarre Design is the business owned by renowned corset maker Jeroen van der Klis, who has created works for the likes of Cathie Jung in the past. His business is located in the Netherlands, and although Jeroen is better known for his unique engineering of extreme reduction corsets, he also occasionally makes sweet Edwardian pieces such as the one above. His custom overbust corsets start at €464, or about $547 USD.
Ilse Gregoor is a professionally-trained historical costumier from the Netherlands with multiple degrees/certifications in theatre science and costume design. Historical fashion is an all-encompassing passion, and Ilse says that in addition to the commissions she takes, she is also a volunteer at Dutch Costume Museum as well as a member of The Costume Association of Netherlands, and she’s constantly studying to improve her craft. You can see examples of her work in her Etsy shop.
Here Anna-Mari of MollaMari Creations (a Finnish artist, educator, re-enactor and history-bounder) models her historical underwear – complete with chemise, mid-bust S-bend corset, and a bumload of padding to accentuate the curves. Complete with Gibson-style hairdo and perfect specs, she’s an Edwardian vision – and demonstrates that with the right combination of foundationwear, one doesn’t have to cinch particularly tight, nor have to be born with the right proportions, nor even have to sacrifice one’s postural health in order to obtain the correct figure!
Corsets & More was a one-woman business launched by Doris Müller in Germany (although the company has since changed hands and is now under new management). The brand has a high reputation to maintain, as Doris was proficient in both historical and contemporary corsetry and ensembles, and has a fantastic gallery of longline and S-line corsets. Underbust S-line pieces start at €395 or about $485 USD.
Elizabeth Hahn, better known as The Boudoir Key or Marie Theresa and Lumieres on her social media, is a corsetiere from Ukraine specializing in historical reproduction. Here you can see an immaculately smooth single-layer Edwardian S-bend corset based off Atelier Sylphe’s RefW pattern (see the patterns/tutorials section on this page for more info!) and of course tweaked to fit Elizabeth’s own body. On her Instagram you can see more detailed photos of the final product with lace and ribbon trim. See The Boudoir Key’s Etsy shop here!
In the past two years, Barbara of Royal Black (Austria) has moved away from her heavily embellished contemporary corset artpieces, and focused more on uncovering the wisdom of the ages as she embarks on her “Time Traveller” series of corsets where she takes on one historical pattern after another and shares her challenges, lessons learned, and interpretations. Here is her underbust S-bend corset modified from a historical pattern from Atelier Sylphe. You can learn more about her ongoing project on her Patreon page.
Lady Ardzesz (Sylwia Kurjata) is a Polish-based corsetiere and costumier with a broad range of talents and interests, constantly experimenting with mid-century (1940s and 1950s) retro style clothing, fashionable coats and outerwear, Victoriana and (of course) corsets. As someone who also has a soft spot between 1880s silhouette and the 1950s New Look silhouette, you can see why Lady Ardzesz has been on my radar for awhile now! Shown above is her S-bend overbust with sweet gathered lace and shirred garters.
Melanie Talkington of Lace Embrace Atelier (BC, Canada) has one of the most impressive repertoires of any corsetiere I know – she has worked as a costumier on countless movie and TV productions, has had celebrities walk the red carpet in her designs (even Pamela Anderson wore a Lace Embrace corset for her wedding!), and Melanie has created incredibly challenging corsets for Cathie Jung. So is it any wonder that she’s capable of making the most gorgeous S-bend reproduction corsets? Most of the galleries on Lace Embrace have unfortunately been removed due to image theft, but you are still able to commission a custom S-bend corset through their custom form.
Orchid Corsetry, founded and run by corsetiere extraordinaire Bethan, makes a wide variety of historical and historically-inspired corsets, including this traditional Edwardian (in less-traditional colors!). Bethan is not one to shy away from a challenge when it comes to a unique design; she makes multiple samples and practices to perfection so Bethan’s clients are never guinea pigs – they receive the highest product of her skills.
Riwaa Nerona of the Czech Republic offers this beautiful corset called “Art Nouveau”. Made from an 18 panel pattern, this historical recreation demibust has a straight front, large hip gores and creates a dramatic curve in the lumbar area like a true S-curve. This style is 9500 CZK, or about $470 USD.
Prior Attire in the UK specializes in historical reproduction corsetry and costumes from the Medieval period up to the 20th century, and even does some steampunk and contemporary costumes and gowns. Izabela keeps some Edwardian reproduction corsets in stock, starting at only £160, but can also create one made to measure starting at £200.
Lily Absinthe Gowns & Corsetry, is a husband-wife duo (Karin McKechnie-Lid and Adam Lid), who are historical corsetiers and costumiers with over 30 years of experience (as well as being collectors of original House of Worth gowns! *drool*). Specializing in ensembles from the 19th and early 20th centuries, their commissions range from bridal to theatre/production, to historical re-enactment, to period-specific fantasy ensembles of your imagination. Here is a lovely S-bend demibust made from silk brocade and genuine antique lace to serve as a base for a full Edwardian ensemble.
Laura Nicolin is an autodidactic seamstress based in Italy, with a focus on corsetry (both historical and contemporary), costumes and cosplay. She also offers digital PDF patterns of some of her designs in her Etsy store! Her corsets come in standard sizes or made to measure, with your choice of fabric, metal or synthetic whalebone, closed front or with a busk.
Katherine Sewing is a fellow Canadian Youtuber / blogger who has dedicated her time to recreating historical clothing and underpinnings – and even documented wearing a historical maternity corset throughout her own pregnancy! Shown here is a hand-made S-bend corset in a delicate blue – see how she made it here.
Aranea Black‘s patterns and sewing tutorials have been featured in plenty of my galleries in the past, and – no surprise to anyone – Katarina has also covered S-bend Edwardian corsets! Here is a gorgeous dark take on the historical 1906 pattern, named the Tulip pattern on her site. Her patterns are completely free, and her site is a treasure trove for aspiring corset makers.
Joelle of Atelier Sylphe is featured here in the Patterns section and also in the Honorable Mentions, because she used to take commissions but has since changed her business model to selling only digitized antique patterns and the occasional corset sample. She carefully pulls patterns from her antique collection, tests and trues the seams, finesses them to perfection and releases them on Etsy – and the best part is that she welcomes any and all corsetieres to use her patterns for commercial purposes! Joelle is a gem to the corset world, and her patterns are to be credited for the success of many of the corsetieres now featured in my historical reproduction corset galleries.
Corsets by Caroline has positioned herself uniquely (and indispensibly) in the corset world – while she used to take custom commissions years ago, she has combined her passion for both corsetry and computer design by releasing books and tutorials on CAD for pattern-making (which has revolutionized the way I work, and I’ll be forever grateful). For the past 5 years she’s been creating, testing, and releasing fully graded contemporary and modernized historical corset patterns on Patreon – an average of 1 per month for the past half a decade, and patrons only pay on average $5/month! The value has been, well, invaluable to me, but for those who prefer to purchase her patterns as one-offs or bundles, she also has these available in her Etsy shop.
Lady Rebecca Fashions is a historical costumier and vlogger based in Washington, USA. While she doesn’t take commissions for her corsets, she does document the making of many of her historical ensembles, including a historically-correct Edwardian outfit (the base of this is the 1903 straight-fronted Edwardian corset, the TVE01 pattern from Truly Victorian). You can see all Edwardian patterns by Truly Victorian on this page if you want to build an ensemble that drapes perfectly over your proud-standing Gibson-girl figure.
Atelier Sylphe Corsets is a name that every corset enthusiast should know. The owner, Joelle, is an antique corset collector in Lyon France, and she carefully studies and traces the pattern of each piece in her collection. Her patterns are tested by creating stunning replicas (like the one above), and she sells both the antique patterns (if you’d like to make your own corset) and often her sample/ replica corsets on Etsy. Atelier Sylphe no longer takes custom commissions, but occasionally creates and sells samples of the patterns she reproduces.
Jill Hoverman, the youngest member of Romantasy’s corsetiere team, adapted a traditional S-curve into an underbust that would still give enough of an Edwardian line to be suitable for re-enactors of the time. You can see how the corset extends low at the sides and back, and the diagonal seams support a lower tummy. In July 2020, Romantasy peacefully concluded, and its owner Ann Grogan is currently enjoying retirement.
Perhaps one of the most visually striking and unique S-bend corsets in this gallery is the monochrome blue themed S-bend corset by Crafty Mamma Monkey. Covered in two different types of 3D lace, with a floating fashion layer (no visible boning channels), blue flossed eyelets and blue ribbon, and a truly breathtaking lumbar curve if you look at the other angles, this is truly a showpiece. While Crafty Momma Monkey doesn’t appear to take commissions, I would be remiss not to feature her work if only for the artistic appreciation.
C&S Constructions also used to make S-bend corsets in the past. Although it’s not what the business is usually known for, Stuart has certainly accommodated special requests for many types of historical corsetry. After the passing of Constance (the ‘C’ in C&S) her husband Stuart continued the corset business for several more years, and more recently has seemed to retire the company.
Lovesick Corrective Apparel, a Toronto-based company, also used to take commissions for historical reproduction corsets, like the 1907 S-bend corset seen above. They can be made to your measurements, keeping faithful to the pattern and posture while recreating them in any fashion fabric you desire (although Lovesick had a penchant for using patent leather). Lovesick has recently ceased activity.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only. Please contact the individual corset makers for more information about their S-bend corsets. Etsy affiliate links help keep these galleries online and free to use.