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.|
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!)