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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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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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Dark Garden Bespoke Corset Process – Measurements and Mockup Fitting

Today I’d like to walk you through the process of ordering a custom corset – specifically, a custom overbust from Dark Garden.

Some of you may remember I had a number of corsets on loan from Dark Garden in 2014, where we agreed to send me 4 corsets for review (two overbusts and two underbusts from their signature line) and then send them back.

But over the years, it’s become clear that the majority of overbust corsets simply don’t fit me. I consider myself to have a long torso and a low waist. Most OTR overbusts don’t rise up high enough on the bust, and some are too long from waist to lap. And almost all of them are not made to accommodate a full bust, and I’m not even that large! But I’m built strong – I have broad shoulders, well-developed traps and a fleshy back.

I looked through the available options on their website and in their brochure, and Autumn herself recommended the Aziza for me – a sweetheart overbust designed for fuller busts, and can be made with adjustable shoulder straps.

The measuring guide was emailed to me. They directed a ribbon to be tied around my waist. But because I’m 15 lbs heavier than my last measuring tutorial 5 years ago, my apparent smallest waist is 1-2 inches higher than my true skeletal waist and the ribbon had a tendency to slide up. I don’t want this to reflect on my vertical measurements, so I was a rebel and used a belt just slightly snug, to act similarly to the waist tape of a corset, and took all my measurements in reference to the bottom edge of the belt.

 I was wearing a fitted shirt with a well-supportive bra that was not too padded. I was also wearing soft yoga pants so I could easily pull it aside to take the lower hip measurements when it came to that.

This was the list of measurements (see my video for a live demonstration):

dark-garden-corsetry-measuring-guide
Custom corset measurement guide. Model: Autumn Adamme, the owner/ founder of Dark Garden.

Waist to waist over shoulder. Starting at the marker on your waist in front, take the measuring tape vertically over your shoulder, down your back, to the ribbon at your back waist. I’m looking at the measurement in the mirror, but you can also sort of mark it by feel with your fingernail and then look at the measurement.

Bust circumference is around the largest part of your bust with a bra on. Make sure the tape is not slouching or angled too much around the back; it should be parallel with your waist and also the floor.

Ribcage. This is your underbust measurement, so I measured directly along the bottom edge of my bra band. I also took the measurements with a full exhale, and a full inhale. My exhale measurement is about 30″ and my circumference with a full breath is about 32.5″. With a comfortable inhale, I measured 31 inches, but I also mentioned to them that I had a tendency to squish upwards in corsets so don’t be surprised if I need 32 inches instead.

Natural Waist. I moved my belt up very slightly to get my natural waist measurement at the bottom line of the belt. Don’t suck in or push out your belly, because you’re probably not going to be sucking in the whole time you have the corset on either.

Hips 3 inches down from the waist is not in the diagram, but you measure 3″ straight down from the waistline. and then pivot the tape at that spot, and measure the circumference of your hips parallel with the waist. This is just about where my iliac crest naturally sits.

Hips Hips 3 inches down from the waist is also not in the diagram.  Again measure 5” down from the waist, pivot the tape, and take the circumference even all the way around. In my demonstration here, I’m probably even riding a little high with the tape in the back, which is why a mirror or having someone help you can be helpful.

Now for the vertical measurements:

Waist to Ribs. you measure from your underbust or underwire down to the waistline, which is the bottom of the belt for me. This shows how long of a waist I have naturally as it’s typically between 5.5 and 6 inches.

Waist to Bust. (Not illustrated.) Measure from the fullest part of your bust directly down to the waistline. Again, remember that you should be wearing a supportive bra for this if you’re full-busted. Some people say to measure from the nipple down, but different people have nipples in different spots so that’s not totally precise. I asked Autumn if I should follow over the contour of the underside of the breast, and she said no just go straight down so that’s why you see the tape is pulled taut.

Waist to top side front. When they say the “side-front”, this is what I tend to refer to as the princess line or the princess seam in my other videos. This measurement will tell them how high you want the top edge of the corset to be over the swell of the bust, so it’s more your preference as opposed to strictly your body measurement. If you want a demibust, measure a little lower. If you want full coverage, measure higher.

Waist to underarm. This is taken at the side seam. You don’t have to go right up into the depths of your armpit, but rather just choose the height at the side where you’d like your corset to stop. Try not to bend over as this will affect the length. Too long and it will dig into your pits, and too low and you may get some spillover and not enough support. Try to take this measurement with your arm down as much as possible.

Waist to top edge at the center front. This will tell them how high you want the neckline to be at the busk, so measure lower if you want plunge, or higher if you want to cover more of your cleavage. I’m using my shirt as a reference again, but of course you can choose whatever height you’re comfortable with. 

Waist to bottom front. This should be long enough to cover any lower pooch if you have any. But if it’s too long, it’ll poke into your pubic bone, and if it’s too short it may not hold your tummy properly. Find a happy medium around your hip flexor that still allows you to sit down comfortably.

Mockup of the custom Aziza overbust from Dark Garden.
Mockup of the custom Aziza overbust from Dark Garden.

Here are a few photos of myself wearing first mockup (there are plenty more photos included in the video) – this first fitting was a long distance fitting, done by email. I was directed to try and take the photos head-on and not too angled, and to fill the screen as much as possible with just the corset; full body shots were not necessary.

I was asked to measure the width of the gap in the back of the corset at the top, waist, hips and bottom edge. As you can see, I already have a broad back, and I definitely squish upwards and needed several inches more space at the top.

After evaluating this, Autumn said that she’d rather do a second mockup fitting. Fortunately we would both be in New York at the end of March, so we met up so she could fit me in person, which was a whole lot easier because she could adjust the shoulder straps appropriately and poke and prod at me. She could also visualize my squishability, and understand those slight asymmetries and idiosyncrasies of my body, like my funky left hip and that my left breast is half a cup larger than my right. This made the mockup twist on me slightly, even though it felt completely centered on my body, it obviously didn’t look as such. Autumn unlaced and relaced it until it looked right, and marked the modifications right on the mockup.

Shortly after, my final Gold Aziza corset was finished and sent to me! I am obviously thrilled with this corset (you can see my initial reactions in the video above, around 11:45 mark), but you will need to see my official review to hear my full thoughts on it! (Blog post for this will be published soon!)

aziza-corset
Final Aziza corset by Dark Garden.

Huge thanks to Autumn Adamme and the whole crew at Dark Garden for making this dream come true and allowing me to document the bespoke process from the customer’s perspective.

Do you have a custom corset from Dark Garden? How was your experience? Let us know in a comment below!

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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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‘Love of Corsets’ Long Brocade Underbust Review

This post is a summary of the “‘Love of Corsets’ long brocade underbust review” video, which you can watch on Youtube:

Fit, length Center front is 13 inches long, the side seam is 9.5 inches long. (Your torso should be about 10.5 inches long from underbust to lap). Center back is 12 inches long. Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24 (24 inches), the underbust is 30 inches (6 inch rib spring), and the high hip is about 32 inches (8 inch hip spring).
Material Two main layers: fashion fabric is brocade, and lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 4 panel pattern, constructed using the welt-seam method. The panels are stitched with a lock-stitch, and the corset is double-boned on the seams (bones sandwiched between the layers).
Binding Bias strips of matching poly brocade. Top-stitched on both outside and inside. Includes 4 garter tabs at the bottom, and 2 hanger loops at the top.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 6″ wide and finished in matching brocade. Unstiffened and stitched to the corset on one side (easily removable). Also the modesty placket in front is 1 inch wide.
Busk 12 inches long with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. The busk is slightly stiffer than a standard flexible busk.
Boning 16 total bones not including busk (8 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 18 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, a little more than 1 inch apart.
Laces Black flat nylon shoelace style lacing, 1/4″ wide. Slightly springy but very difficult to snap. Long enough and comfortable to hold when lacing up.
Price This corset was $65 at the time of recording two years ago, but most of Love of Corsets’ stock is now around $30 USD!

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This corset is a modern slim silhouette, with a smooth sweeping curve from rib to waist to hip. It does give a moderate waist reduction on me (having a 6″ rib spring and 8″ hip spring) so Romantasy may call this a “U” shaped corset, or it may be reminiscent of an old Victorian silhouette (as their corsets were not convex at all over the ribs, but rather smoothly concave).

I wouldn’t recommend this piece for “stealthing” under clothing, because the rather long point in the bottom of the center front may poke out from under your pants! However, the same brand has a few other corset styles that would be a bit better for wearing under outfits.

This specific corset is sadly currently unavailable, but feel free to check out some of Love of Corsets’ other styles on Amazon here.

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Dark Garden Cincher Review

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Cincher Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 11 inches long, the side-front (princess seam) is 9.5 inches, the side seam is 9 inches, and the enter back is also 12 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, ribcage 28″ (measured about 4 inches above the waist), high hip 32″ (measured about 5 inches below the waist). Gives an hourglass silhouette; a very slightly rounded ribcage and moderate curve.
Material Fashion fabric is silk/rayon brocade with a black diamond motif, and the strength fabric (lining) is densely-woven black canvas.
Construction 4 panel pattern. It seems as though all layers were flatlined for each panel, panels were assembled with seam allowances facing outward, and these seams were then covered with external boning channels (2 bones per seam).
Binding Bias strips of matching black diamond brocade, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible on the outside. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 0.75 inch wide black cotton twill waist tape, exposed on the lining side of the corset. It starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at the center back seam.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (black diamond brocade) and black canvas lining. 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 10.5 inches long with 5 pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). There is also a 1/2″ wide flat steel on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 18 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, double boned on the seams. The side seams must be flat steel since they are pre-bent. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/2″ flat steel by the busk, making a total of 9 bones on each side.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 with medium flange, finished in black and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely and don’t catch on the laces. Washers are large to prevent the grommets from falling out.
Laces 3/8″ black double faced satin ribbon. Zero spring. They glide well through the laces.
Price Available from sizes 18-38, and at the time that I’m writing this review, the corselette costs $315 for plain black poplin, and $365 if you want an identical style to this (with black diamond brocade).
Cincher: Dark Garden. Photo: Remedy Photography. Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry)
Cincher: Dark Garden. Photo: Remedy Photography. Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry)

This is the second of four reviews of Dark Garden’s ready-to-wear signature corset line, including the Corselette, the classic Valentine and the Risqué Valentine

While I normally categorize a “cincher” as being a shorter underbust corset (8″ or less on the side seam), this cincher fits average length torsos very well and extends down 5″ below the waist. The thing that I noticed about this corset in particular is how incredibly quickly it seasoned to my body and how comfortable it is. As this was a sample and I didn’t know which fashion fabrics to expect, I was really pleasantly surprised with the black diamond brocade – it looked polished and professional, and it would have been easy to add this to a business suit. I did a photo shoot on the hottest day in June with this corset, and found that this cincher was surprisingly more cool and breathable than I had anticipated.

But one of the things I appreciate most about Dark Garden is their ethics. Every one of their corsets are made from start to finish in the US and they take enormous pride in their construction, which is evident in the pattern matching in their lace or brocade corsets for a luxurious final effect.

The Cincher can be viewed on Dark Garden’s website HERE.

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L’Atelier de LaFleur Longline Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “L’Atelier de LaFleur Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length My corset has a standard size 24″ base (ribcage 30″, hips 32-34″), but had been semi-customized. I asked for more length from waist to ribcage, a high-back, and for the waist to be nipped in another inch. Modern hourglass silhouette.
Material 3 main layers. Fashion fabric is silk Chinese brocade, strength fabric of herringbone coutil, floating lining of special cooling cotton fabric.
Construction Probably 5-panel pattern, fashion fabric flatlined to coutil, external boning channels (some on the seams, some in the middle of the panel), and floating liner.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of complementary pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back lacing protector because I didn’t order one – but one can be ordered if desired. The front has a boned underbusk/ placket which helps keep the front flat.
Busk 12.5 inches long and standard width (0.5 inch wide) matte-black busk with 6 loops/pins, with the two lowest ones closer together.
Boning 24 bones total. On each side there are 9 spirals in external channels; the remainder are flats by the grommets or supporting the busk.
Grommets 34 two-part grommets (because of the very high back), size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Black finish. Equidistantly spaced, few splits but don’t catch on the laces. The laces themselves are a great nylon flat shoelace that is grippy like cotton.
Flossing Mina’s unique design on the bottom of the external boning channels, almost reminds me of a T4 bacteriophage – very cool!
Price At the time I’m writing this, it would cost $375 for a standard size longline corset, and a recreation of my own corset would be $565 CAD.
My first wearing of the completed corset, in Mina’s studio in Toronto.

It’s no secret that this corset has become one of my instant favourites in my collection. Mina’s work is absolutely pristine, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be personally fitted by her (and to have my own measurements match her standard measurements so closely!). It’s difficult not to wax poetic about this corset; not a stitch is out of place. I can see myself ordering from her again a few years down the line.

Despite the rather thin flexible busk I provided (only because I wanted all matte black hardware), Mina had supported it enough with bones on either side and also a heavy boned underbusk (modesty placket) so that the profile remains beautifully straight and flat. The bones are dispersed around the waist such that there is no more than 1 inch around the waist that is unsupported, which leads to a very sturdy and comfortable wearing experience. The high back is wonderful for my posture and the extra length in the ribcage helps prevent me from slouching like few other corsets are able to do.

If anyone would like a breakdown for the cost of my corset:
Longline underbust $375
High back modification: $10
Single external bone casings instead of double $25
Brocade fashion fabric $15
Contrast casings/trim (the pink against the brocade) $15
Bone flossing on bottom edge, and floating lining $125
Total $565

However, I’m not hyperbolizing when I say that this corset is worth every penny. The entire experience, from meeting with the designer, consulting, fitting and receiving the final product, has been nothing but a joy. If you would like to see more work by L’Atelier de LaFleur, you can visit Mina’s website here.

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Corset Connection (Versatile) Scarlett Overbust review (& comparison)

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile/ Corset Connection Scarlett Overbust Review (and Comparison!)”. If you want visual close-ups and further details, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14″, the longest part from peak of the bust to lap is just under 16″.  Gentle sweetheart neckline, not too long on the hips – good for average to long waists. Definitely modern slim silhouette. The bust is 6″ bigger than the waist (suitable for smaller busts, A – small C cup), and the hips are about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Material 3 main layers – the outer fashion fabric is satin, stabilized/ fused for strength, lined in polyester fabric.  Newer versions are lined in herringbone coutil for custom commissions (the blush piece I showed was a display sample so lined in twill)
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). One version has sandwiched boning channels and a floating fashion layer. Depending on your request, either method of construction can be used (this method or the external boning channel method).Same basic pattern. The other version has topstitched panels, external boning channels, no floating fashion layer.
Binding Binding is made from matching strips of fashion layer material. Binding is machine stitched on both sides. There are also 6 garter tabs; in the old stock, tabs point down while in the new stock, tabs point up.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, either hidden between the layers or exposed on the inside depending on the construction method.
Modesty panel There is a 7.5″ wide modesty panel, attached to one side, covered in matching shell fabric. Also a matching unstiffened front placket.
Busk Busk is 1/2″ wide on each side and 1.5” long, with 6 pins (equidistantly spaced). Reinforced with a flat bone on each side.
Boning 24 bones total in this corset. Double boned on the seams, except for the seam that goes over the bust curve) and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets and a steel supporting the busk on each side. All flat steel bones (no spiral).
Grommets There are 36 2-part size #00 grommets (17 on each side), with a medium flange, spaced equidistantly. Rolled very nicely, few or no splits, not fraying or popping out.
Laces The laces are 1/8” wide round nylon cord. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, with no stretch – however they can often be slippery.
Price  Currently the Scarlett overbust costs $378 for the standard size. Custom fit is a $90 markup.

Final Thoughts:

Asia DeVinyl models a custom-fit Scarlett overbust

It was an interesting venture to compare the old stock Versatile Corset pieces to the new stock. The old “Antoinette” overbust from Versatile Fashions was renamed the “Scarlett” overbust when the company was sold by Ms. Antoinette over to Corset Connection. And with the changing of hands in the company, there were also a few changes to the way the materials that the corsets were constructed with as well – the current Versatile corsets include fused delicate fashion fabrics for smoothness and strength, a herringbone coutil strength layer (instead of polyester lining), and improved spacing in the grommets.

It’s worth noting that the method of assembly itself hasn’t changed that much. In the video, you can see that the red corset has sandwiched boning channels with an invisible waist tape, while the blush corset has external boning channels and exposed internal waist tape. Both these construction methods are still used today, and depending on the style you order (whether or not you want external boning channels or hidden channels), you may receive your corset constructed either way.

This corset also received 4 stars out of 4 on the Bust Test, as the bust line came up high enough on my chest to hold me in during activity. The bust is designed for smaller cups though, as it pushes everything upward – but it still contains my bust as long as it’s laced loosely enough. However if I were to go back and order this custom-fit, I would certainly request more space in the bust area and perhaps have it “cup” over and above the bust more completely. You can see other styles of the Scarlett corset in Versatile’s photo gallery, on their sale page here.

 

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“True Corset” Blue Brocade Overbust Review

This post is a summary of the “True Corset” Blue Brocade Overbust Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Front is about 15″ inches long, the longest area (peak of bust to the lap) is 16″, the back is 16″ high. Very shallow/slight sweetheart bustline. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the bust is 8″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 10-11″ bigger than the waist. Recommended for people taller stature or longer waists.
Material 2 main layers: fashion fabric is royal blue brocade, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill). The internal boning channels are likely petersham ribbon.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitched between the channels, single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels. 6 garter tabs included as well.
Binding Matching blue brocade bias strips, machine stitched on the outside and inside.
Waist tape 1-inch wide black petersham, exposed on the inside of the corset. It does not extend through all panels though; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, and ends between panels 5-6.
Modesty panel 5 inch wide modesty panel at the back, unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching blue brocade. Un-boned modesty placket made from black denim under the busk.
Busk 14 inches long with 6 pins (equidistantly spaced). 1/2″ wide on each side (standard width), fairly sturdy.
Boning 14 total bones not including busk. On each side there are three 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels), but no bone on the seam between panels 4-5. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. The brocade is fraying around the grommets unfortunately. However the bull denim underneath are still holding the grommets so I will watch them and see if they need replacing. A few split grommets, but doesn’t catch the back.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided nylon shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring.
Price At the time that I’m writing, it is £55 in the UK or $80 in the US.

Final Thoughts

Bernie Dexter models the True Corset blue sweetheart overbust
Bernie Dexter models the True Corset blue sweetheart overbust

This overbust is designed for beginners or for those who would like something nice to wear out for a special occasion, as it has an attractive price and an un-intimidating silhouette. I would say that this corset is largely patterned for someone with a small bust/ small ribcage, long torso, and who may be slightly pear shaped as I noticed that this corset had much more room in the hips compared to the bust. I initially went with a size 24″ but I found that it nearly closed at the hips, but at the ribcage and bust I was too large for the corset. However, had I gone one size up to size 26″, although the corset would have been better in the bust and waist, it would have almost certainly been too large in the hips.

As mentioned in the table, the brocade was on the delicate side and began to fray around the grommets. The grommets haven’t pulled out completely, because the sturdy bull denim lining is currently keeping them in place – but I will keep an eye on this corset and see if there are any changes in the future. I have plans to slightly modify this overbust into an underbust in the future, as the brocade is such a beautiful weave but I don’t wear overbusts as often.

You can find the True Corset overbust on their website and also on Amazon.

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“True Corset” Dragon Brocade Cincher Review

This post is a summary of the “True Corset” Dragon Brocade Cincher Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Front is about 9″ inches long, as well as the sides and back because they are all cut to be the same height. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 7″ bigger than the waist. Recommended for people of shorter stature or shorter waists. If you have any issues with lower tummy pooch, choose a longer corset as this one doesn’t extend down to cover the lower abdomen.
Material 2 main layers: fashion fabric is red and gold on black dragon brocade, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill). The internal boning channels are likely petersham ribbon.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Top-stitched between the channels, single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon, not folded under. Machine stitched on the outside and inside.
Waist tape 1-inch wide black satin ribbon, exposed on the inside of the corset. It does not extend through all panels though; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, and ends between panels 4-5.
Modesty panel 5.5 inch wide modesty panel at the back, unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching dragon brocade. Un-boned modesty placket made from black denim under the busk.
Busk 8.5 inches long with 5 pins (equidistantly spaced). Fairly stiff, just short of 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 10 total bones not including busk. On each side there are three 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels), but no bone on the seam between panels 4-5. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. The brocade is fraying around the grommets unfortunately. However the bull denim underneath are still holding the grommets so I will watch them and see if they need replacing. A few split grommets, but doesn’t catch the back.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided nylon shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring.
Price At the time that I’m writing, it is £40 in the UK or $60 in the US.

Final Thoughts

This cincher is designed for beginners, as it has an attractive price and an un-intimidating silhouette. Unless you have quite narrow hips, I would now recommend ordering a size up from what you’d usually get (or what would usually be recommended to you) from an OTR corset company, because the modern-slim silhouette doesn’t accommodate a huge waist reduction. I initially went with a size 22″ but in retrospect I would have gone with a size 24″ instead, as I like my corsets to be more closed in the back.

I had originally requested this piece in black taffeta but I was sent the dragon brocade instead. I notified the True Corset company by email, even if it only resulted in them fixing the number of corsets in their stock. They were quite gracious and acted quickly to fix the mistake. Although I ended up keeping this piece in the end (shipping things over the US/Canada border is expensive), I appreciate that True Corset had such responsible customer service.

Unfortunately, the brocade was on the delicate side and began to fray around the grommets. The grommets haven’t pulled out completely, because the sturdy bull denim lining is currently keeping them in place – but I will keep an eye on this corset and see if there are any changes in the future. In a later post I will show how the taffeta underbust by True Corset seems to hold the grommets in a little better. I’m not sure if this is due to the taffeta having a denser weave, or if it is due to the slightly different construction of their “waist training” style corsets; nevertheless they seem to be holding fast – but if you’re considering this piece and are truly indifferent about the fashion fabric, I would recommend the taffeta instead of the brocade.

You can find the True Corset cincher on their website and also on Amazon.

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Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 13 inches long, back is 13″ long. The shortest part from underbust to lap is about 11″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips are mid to longline; holds in any lower pooch. High back prevents muffin top, very flattering. Recommended for extreme hourglass ladies.
Material Fashion layer is silk cherryblossom brocade; backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, boning channels on the edge of each panel plus extra ones in the middle of the wider panels – these channels are in special boning casing to protect the brocade. Floating liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs (wasn’t requested).
Binding Complementary pink ribbon, machine stitched inside and outside; not folded under on the inside because the edges are already finished.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None. (Wasn’t requested.)
Busk Standard-width busk (0.5″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins).
Boning 18 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 7 spirals (always one on the edge of a panel, and a few more in the middle of some panels) and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – very few splits but don’t catch on laces, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong braided cord-like shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up, holds the tension well and bows don’t slip out. Zero spring.
Price The PY09 is advertised as $410 for regular fabric (brocades, satins, silks etc) and $550 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

I just had to make Puimond my featured corsetier for April, as the cherry blossom brocade reflected the blooming cherry trees this month. This is my first underbust corset from Puimond, and also my first custom-fit corset from him. I had no doubt that Puimond is extremely well-respected in his field before, but it’s this corset that most definitely secures his place as one of my top 5 favourite individual corset designers, ever.

Puimond’s soft skills are also right up there with his corsetry skills – he was always very friendly, approachable, and patient as I explained my usual “problem areas” when it comes to corsets, namely a longer/ lower torso, very compressible waist, and needing enough room in the hips. He worked fast, gave me occasional updates, and the finished corset went from his studio and into my hands (across the US/Canadian border) within 48 hours. You can see the result here – a strong yet lightweight that gives firm reduction (this is so far the smallest corset I own), while still lending to an overall soft, feminine effect.

Puimond is a master of textiles; he works just as easily with temperamental brocades as he does with coutil, satin, leather and PVC to give a very smooth, no-wrinkle, no-fray piece. His construction techniques adapt depending on the corset pattern and materials which is a reflection of his extensive experience. Excuse me while I fan-girl about this corset all over again.

To see Puimond’s other styles, please do visit his website here.

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Timeless Trends Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Timeless Trends Emerald Silk Overbust Corset Review which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 14 inches high; the highest part (from the apex of the bust) is 15 inches. Gives a gentle hourglass silhouette. Appropriate for average torso length. Includes adjustable hip ties; gives good hipspring (no pinching!). It is slightly longline (well, a little longer over the hip compared to their underbust corsets). I model a size 24L, which has a 24″ closed waist and accommodates cup sizes D-DD. Bust sizes come in Small, Medium and Large for all waist sizes of the overbust corsets.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is an emerald silk satin and brocade in alternating panels. The lining and interlining are both 100% black cotton twill.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Panels are assembled via lock-stitching and pressing seams open; bones are sandwiched between the interlining and lining. Also has 4 garter tabs.
Binding Emerald satin bias binding machine stitched on both outside and inside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining, secured down at boning channels.
Modesty panel Attached 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of 2 layers of black twill; no placket beneath the busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13″ long (6 pins), Also has a flat steel bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. 18 spirals (1/4″ wide) sandwiched between interlining and lining – some on the seams, others in the middle of the panel which help to distribute the tension more evenly than in corsets that are simply double-boned on the seams. 4 flats (3/8″ wide on the inner side, 1/2″ wide on the back edge) sandwiching the grommets, also two 3/8″ flats beside the busk.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with moderate flange; finished in antique brass; set equidistantly, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces 1/2″ wide single-faced satin ribbon in matching emerald; they grip well and they are definitely long enough. No springiness, and surprisingly strong. The laces at the hips are 1/4″ wide but same colour and quality.
Price Most of their overbust styles start at $150 USD. However do check their clearance section since many of those corsets are up to 25% off!

Final Thoughts:
I adore the fashion fabric of this corset! I had featured my underbust corset in the same emerald silk brocade finish in several of my older videos, and when I bought this overbust I just decided to get the same finish because that particular underbust had been gifted to Jody some months back. (Which proves how much I like Jody, because I probably wouldn’t have parted with that corset otherwise!)
I’m pleased with the construction of corset – I’ve always considered that this brand has one of the best quality/price ratio of standard corsets available today, but the changes they had made to their overbusts compared to their underbust styles were still a definite improvement – these changes include side ties for a better adjustment on the hips; a wider/ stiffer flat steel bone on the center back (which was almost too stiff when first breaking it in, but I suspect it can be bent gently by hand to follow the curve of the back a little better), and alternating the placement of the spirals on the seams and the middle of the panels to better distribute the vertical tension. Timeless Trends was also the first brand I had seen to include small, medium and large bust sizes to the same style corset. (What Katie Did also currently has bust size options for their Laurie and Sophia corsets). The choice of different bust sizes and the hip ties together make this corset a good option for hard-to-fit bodies.
The only thing I wish were different about this corset is the height from the waist to the top edge (as I said in the video, it’s the curse of the long torso!). I’d be so much more comfortable if the top line extended up about two inches and curved over the top of the bust. Overall though, I’m happy with this purchase.

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Bad Attitude Boutique “Lady Jane” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Bad Attitude Boutique ‘Lady Jane’ Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 13.5″ inches high; the highest part (from the apex of the bust) is 15.5 inches high. Moderate hourglass silhouette. Good for average torso length; not a longline corset. No hip gores. Bust area fits up to about a C cup in my opinion. Fit is very similar to WKD Tempest corset.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is turquoise and gold silk brocade, the interlining is a white cotton canvas and the lining is black twill.
Construction 7 panel pattern, no hip gores – but the first and last panels are rectangular, so theoretically the pattern can have 5 panels. Internal boning channels, floating fashion layer. Also has 4 garter tabs.
Binding Matching silk brocade binding neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Attached 6.5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of matching brocade and twill; an unboned placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 10″ long (5 pins) and the center front has 3 pairs of grommets at the top to make another 3 inches above the busk.
Boning 20 steel bones not including busk. 16 spirals (1/4″ wide) in external channels, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with large flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thick, they grip well and they are long enough. A little frayed but it doesn’t affect the strength – however I’ll probably replace it with matching ribbon instead.
Price Depending on the fashion fabric, price starts at $289 on the website, although mine was from Etsy for about half price.

Final Thoughts:

This is one of the reasons that I love studying corset construction! A floating fashion layer that doesn’t wrinkle? Crazysauce! Perhaps I’m easily amused but I find it a bit incredible. Even thought the cut/ silhouette of the corset is very similar to the WKD Tempest corset, the construction and the materials used are totally different. Though I like how the pattern is cut to curve up and over the bust, I wish it didn’t curve back so dramatically – it would look nice on someone with a shorter torso and a smaller bust, but not on me unfortunately. However it’s still pretty comfortable and I’m able to wear it for hours with my only small complaint being that the metallic thread in the binding part starting to make my skin a bit itchy after awhile. This wouldn’t be a problem for the other types of fabrics.

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“Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of the review video “Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

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Note: the following are the differences between the “Wrinkly Pig” and the “Tickled Pink” corset in terms of construction:

  Wrinkly Pig Tickled Pink
Fusing Fused the brocade to a layer of woven fusible interfacing, then flatlined that to coutil. Fused the brocade directly to a layer of coutil using “Heat n’ Bond” (fiddly sheet of glue, I don’t recommend it).
Roll-pinning Everything was flat-pinned, not roll-pinned. Some roll-pinning was done on the side panels.
Seams Lock-stitched seams; allowances were not trimmed or clipped at curves. Seams were trimmed and flat-felled.
Boning channels Double-boned at the seams, sandwiched between two layers of coutil. Single boned at the seams, used external boning channels (cuts down on wrinkles slightly)

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And here is my review:

Fit, length Decent curves. Used to be a slightly long-line corset but I later shortened the hips so it is more of a cincher now. Center front is about 11″ long.
Material 4 layers including the interfacing: brocade fashion fabric fused to interfacing, then flatlined to interlining of coutil and another lining of coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern. Seams were lock-stitched (stitched twice) at the seams, the allowances were pressed open. The brocade/interfacing/coutil flatlined panels were all assembled, then the coutil lining was assembled. The layers were then stitched together at first/last panels, flipped right-side out and stitched in the ditch between panels and also secured at boning channels.  Bones are sandwiched between the two layers of coutil.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of commercial hot pink cotton bias tape, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape 1” wide twill tape between the coutil lining and interlining, stitched invisibly so it’s not noticeable.
Modesty panel Suspended modesty panel made from brocade fused to twill, and stiffened with plastic canvas. 7″ wide.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long.
Boning 22 steel bones in this corset not including the busk. The seams between the panels are double-boned (except the seam closest to the grommets with ¼” inch wide spirals, and there are a pair of flats sandwiching each column of grommets.
Grommets There are 30 2-part size #X00 eyelets (15 on each side). They have a medium flange around and are spaced out 3/4 inches apart. No pulling away of fabric yet but they are very small so many types of fat cord is hard to thread through.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-face satin ribbon, baby pink in colour. About 5 meters and not really long enough for my tastes. I think I may change out the laces for some longer ones.
Price If I were to re-make this corset, I would roll-pin the panels and also use wonder-under or stitch-witchery to directly fuse the brocade to a layer of coutil to eliminate wrinkling. Keeping other construction techniques the same, I would likely charge around $260 USD for a corset like this.