Tag Archive: closed front

6 Different Types of Corset Front Closures

See the video above for an explanation of several different front closures for corsets – or read away below!

HOOK & EYE

The Goddess Longline bra can be partially folded under to accommodate for an even lower back.

Hook and eye closures are usually found on bras and bustiers, not corsets. (This is the Goddess bra, click through for more information.)

You will pretty much never see this in a genuine, off the rack corset (or a couture one, for that matter). If you see a garment marketed as a waist training corset and it contains hooks and eyes, I personally wouldn’t trust it.

If you are making your own corsets, this form of closure is easy to source and fairly inexpensive. I’ve seen it done (recently) in a viewer’s homemade gentle reduction corset, but it was supported by steels on both sides, and still had a lacing system in the back – this allowed the wearer to fasten up the hooks and eyes with zero pressure on them until they were ALL fastened, and then they tightened the corset using the laces in the back. This can take a long time to fasten and unfasten!

One concern is that the little metal hooks can bend, warp and break if they have uneven pressure on them. If one breaks, you have a few others surrounding it that might be able to support it temporarily, but once the garment has uneven tension, more hooks will be at greater risk for also warping and breaking. The entire row of hooks and eyes would be inexpensive to replace as you can purchase them in a tape – but for me personally, I overwhelmingly prefer a busk.

 

BUSK

Busks come in a multitude of colors, like these by Narrowed Visions (click through to the Etsy shop)

Busks come in a multitude of colors, like these by Narrowed Visions (click through to the Etsy shop).

This is like your bread and butter closure for corsets. Loops on one side, and knobs (aka pins, aka pegs) on the other side, each side supported by a bone. Busks can come in a multitude of lengths, widths and colors.  My friend Nikki (Narrowed Visions on Etsy) sells several lengths of heavy-duty busks in a rainbow of colors, as you see above!

The bones are strong and help support the abdomen, and the busk can fasten and unfasten in seconds once you get used to it. But when a knob breaks, you either have to replace it with a screw or a rivet, but more likely will need to replace the knob side of the busk with a new one.

I also have a video on how to completely remove an old broken busk and replace it with grommets to make it a front lacing corset.

 

FRONT LACING

Electra Designs made this cincher which is laced both in the back and in the front. They can be individually adjusted to your comfort.

Electra Designs made this cincher which is laced both in the back and in the front. They can be individually adjusted to your comfort.

In a previous Fast Foundation article, I discussed why wearing your corset backwards is usually not a good idea because of the way panels are individually drafted to contour over a different part of your back or abdomen.

But a corset that is deliberately front-lacing can be good for people with arm weakness, inflexible shoulders or just aren’t very coordinated when fiddling with laces behind their back.

A corset that has only a front lacing system and back closure will need to be loosened a lot and you’ll need to shimmy into it: either pull it down over your head, or step into it and pull it up from your feet.

I would personally not recommend a high-reduction corset that is closed in the back and laced in the front, as it personally caused some discomfort around my floating ribs after a while and I had to purchase a new waist training corset with back lacing.

 

ZIPPER

Wearing my Contour Corset under my sweater tunic and toddler belt.

My Contour Corset (metal zip closure) is strong enough for a dramatic silhouette, but incredibly smooth under my clothing.

Some of my favorite corsets have zippers, like my Contour Corset. A front zip should have metal teeth, it should be made to military specification, and it should be flanked by steel bones. The stitching around the zipper should fail before the teeth do!

The right zipper can be just as strong as a busk, and can also be zipped up and unzipped in seconds once you’re accustomed to it. Another nice thing about zippers is that they can be more discreet under clothing compared to busks.

However, those bustiers sold in Halloween shops that have a nylon coiled zipper and no supportive stays supporting them, so the fabric wrinkles around the zipper from stress? Expect them to fail if you lace them too tight.

But even if you use the best quality zippers – like with any other garment, if you break the zipper or lose a tooth in the zip, just replace the whole thing.

 

SWING HOOKS

black cashmere swinghooks long hourglass corset

Hourglass Cashmere Longline corset with Swing Hooks, available through my shop (click through).

Swing hooks are neat, and they’re very very decorative, but very high profile and will not hide well under clothing. I first saw swing hooks used by Lucy of Waisted Creations, many moons ago. She even made a tutorial on Foundations Revealed on how to insert them yourself! After that, it spread like wildfire and you saw corset supply shops selling the swing hooks, and different OTR companies started selling corsets with swing hooks.

If you plan to use swing hooks in your own corset, it’s best to put a swing hook at the waistline where there is the most tension. If you don’t, the fabric in the center front will gape, and even the bones in the center front might bow a bit if they’re not high quality.

 

CLOSED FRONT

Angela Stringer Corsetry mesh and floral longline overbust model Victoria Dagger

Closed front corsets allow for a beautiful unbroken line, but they’re less convenient. Corset: Angela Stringer. Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo: Chris Murray.

Closed front corsets have no opening, but rather are stitched completely closed. Similar to the front-laced corset, it will require you to shimmy into it! This takes some extra time, and if you have anxiety or claustrophobia I might not recommend this style – because it also takes time to get out of it. But this is the smoothest option under clothing if you want to “stealth” your corset under your clothes.

Which corset closure is your favorite? Do you know of any other closures not mentioned here? Leave me a comment below!

“The Bad Button” Bridal Underbust Corset Review

This post is a summary of the Bad Button Bridal Corset Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length This corset was a sample from Etsy, so it was not made to measure – however any corset you commission from The Bad Button will be custom fit to your measurements, so the measurements of my piece is a bit moot. But for the curious: Center front is about 11″ high, but on the sides the corset is only 9″. The silhouette is an hourglass, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are also about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Material Likely 3 main layers: fashion fabric is white bridal satin, backed onto a strength layer (The Bad Button always uses coutil for custom commission) and a sturdy white canvas-style lining.
Construction 11 panels, with an extra wide center front panel (closed front). External boning channels laid down over the seams, and floating liner. No garter tabs.
Binding Blue contrasting satin bias strips (matches the boning channels/ embellishment), hand-finished with an invisible stitch; incredibly tidy.
Waist tape White waist tape (perhaps 1/2″ or 3/4″ wide) extending through all panels of the corset – invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset.
Modesty panel No modesty panel in this sample, but if you requested one in a custom commission it can be accommodated. Closed front, so no placket needed.
Busk No busk (closed front) – instead, there are four 1/4″ wide flat steel bones keeping the center front sturdy. I call these “magic bones” because the stitching for the boning channels are not visible on the outside or inside of this corset!
Boning 18 total bones (including the four magic bones in front). Single boned on the seams with 1/4″ wide spirals, in external channels. Flat steels sandwich the grommets in back.
Grommets 22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with medium/large flange; set equidistantly – held in very well.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-faced satin in matching blue – extremely long.
Price At the time that I’m writing this, to commission this piece (or something similar) custom made for you would be $425 USD.

Final Thoughts

The Bad Button is run by a delightful and meticulous woman named Alisha in Kentucky, USA. Her careful attention to detail is nicely demonstrated in the embellishment on this bridal piece – it looks rather simple at first, but the more I studied it, the more care I realize went into this piece. It takes a lot of patience and careful measuring to keep the criss-cross ribbons perfectly symmetric, and over 100 pearls in the front were all carefully hand-stitched – additionally, the entire motif was hand-stitched onto the closed front of the corset, which also features the “magical bones” that keep the center front flat, yet do not show any channel stitching on the outside nor inside. The finishing must have taken an incredible amount of time and does not go unappreciated.

A similar bridal underbust by Alisha, finished with sage green contrast instead of blue.

I love how the grommet panel is done; there is another purely decorative “channel” of blue contrasting satin laid down before the grommets were set. The grommets have to be set perfectly aligned in order to make the back look tidy, and Alisha does an extremely good job of this. She mentions that she also uses a 2-part setting process in the grommets (hammer and press) to ensure that they are set very securely.

The ribbon laces in the back are extremely long (at least 10 meters) which are both useful for widening the back of the corset to get in and out of it (since it’s a closed front), and they would also be lovely trailing down the train of a wedding gown. But if you don’t like having such long laces, you can easily cut them shorter and seal the ends with a flame or hotknife.

If you would like to see some other creations by The Bad Button, visit the main website or Etsy store.

Meschantes RTW Waist Training Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Meschantes RTW Waist Training Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Meschantes

Fit, length Front is about 11″ inches long, back also 11″ long. From underbust to lap at shortest point is 10″. Moderate hourglass silhouette. Mid-hip corset (not short on the hips but not longline) – good for average-to-long torsos. Will hold in a bit of lower tummy pooch. Looking at the size chart for the RTW corsets, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips about 8″ bigger than the waist. Always take this into consideration before buying a certain size.
Material 2 main layers; fashion layer is cotton twill and the lining is bull denim. Some interfacing on the back panels.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Sandwiched boning, double-boned on each seam. Top-stitched between panels. The liner doesn’t float, and there are no garter tabs.
Binding Black satin bias tape machine stitched on both inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the two layers.
Modesty panel Attached 7.5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, can be removed if desired.
Busk No busk; closed front. Instead there are four flat steel bones in the center front, all 10″ long. Two center bones are 1/2″ wide, and adjacent to those are two flats about 1/4″ wide. Keeps the center front quite flat.
Boning 24 bones, including the center front bones (where the busk would normally be). On each side of the corset you’ll find 8 spirals steels (1/4″ wide) double boned on the seams; then 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets; and as mentioned in the “busk” section above, another two reinforcing the center front **Please note that some people have found plastic bones in the center front instead of steels in their Meschantes corsets. I had picked the binding of my Meschantes corset and found spirals in the channels I checked, but I didn’t check every channel so I can’t say whether my corset had plastic or steel in the center front.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with large flange; colored black on the outside (washers are silver). Grommets are set closer together at the waist for more control when cinching. No splits, no catching on the laces.
Laces Strong flat shoe-lace style laces; they grip well and they are long enough that I can pull the corset over my head when putting it on and taking it off (because there’s no busk). No springiness to the laces, and difficult to break.
Price Ranges from $140 – $185 depending on the size and where you purchase it. They have a regular website, but I recommend purchasing from their Etsy store instead (see Final Thoughts below).

Final Thoughts (and discussion on conflicting reviews):

Even though I’ve received requests for a couple of years now to do a review of Meschantes, I was hesitant to do so because of so many other conflicting reviews out there. Meschantes has a very enthusiastic and loyal customer/ fanbase, and then another significant group of people who’ve had very disappointing experiences with the company. My own contact with them was also limited as they didn’t respond to my own emails. Although I had wanted to try their custom/ made-to-measure service, in the end I decided to try one of their RTW corsets.  I usually don’t like to depend much on heresay, but I’ve heard enough stories from people getting their corsets months late (or not receiving their custom orders at all) that I didn’t want to risk dropping my money on something that I knew couldn’t be shipped out immediately.

That said, I found fit and the quality of the RTW corset to be decent for the price (especially if you go by the price on Ebay). Meschantes is different to some other companies in that all the layers used are cotton (instead of polyester), allowing the skin to breathe. The shape/ silhouette it gives is quite lovely, and the reduction is decent on my figure (although due to the rib-waist-hip ratio, I would have fit the size 24″ better than the size 22″). For those who are conscious about the economy and fair trade, all of Meschantes corsets are constructed in the U.S. 

Meschantes theoretically has a lot going for them; they have the ability to make beautiful and high quality pieces. I want to like them – my only wish is that their service were a bit more consistent. Very rarely do I see a company in which their customer base has such a “black or white” opinion; it seems that many people either love them or hate them. Granted, it’s usually the people who receive exceptional service and products (whether exceptionally good or exceptionally bad) who are the loudest. Although corset makers are human and we all make mistakes, after hearing from customers “for” and “against”, it sounds like purchasing from here is rather a game of roulette.

If you want to try Meschantes but you are nervous about the service, I would definitely recommend purchasing through Etsy – the positive/negative feedback system on these sites can add incentive for sellers (in general) to deliver what they promise.

If you have any real, 1st hand experience with Meschantes or their products, whether good/bad/meh, I encourage you to comment below this post – maybe then we can see a proper reflection.

Eternal Spirits “AUDREY” Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Eternal Spirits AUDREY Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 14 inches high, with a straight top line. From the waist to the top is 7 inches, which is barely enough to keep everything covered on me – it would be good for short to average torso length. If you order this corset made to measure and talk to the makers at ES, they *may* adjust the vertical measurements. Soft hourglass shape; gives good hipspring (no pinching!). I would not consider this longline. This corset would probably be best suited for cup sizes up to C.
Material 2 layers from what I can tell; fashion layer is mixed fibers, feels like a nylon blend, and is either very thick/strong or is fused to a strength fabric underneath. It has a lovely finish, almost like sharkskin. Lining is pink polyester satin-like fabric.
Construction 11 panel pattern (odd number because of the closed front). The fashion/strength layers were assembled, with double boning channels on each seam; the lining is floating and attached to the outer layers like a pillowcase, then turned right-side out through a 5″ hole in the lining – that hole was then stitched neatly closed.
Binding None, due to the construction method.
Waist tape None that I can feel or see.
Modesty panel Attached 5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of the same blue “sharkskin” and lined in pink satin. It can be removed if desired.
Busk None; closed front.
Boning 24 steel bones. 20 spirals (1/4″ wide), double boned on the seams, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out from the fabric.
Laces Strong double-face satin blue ribbon, 5/8″ wide; difficult to snap and they glide through the grommets smoothly, although I wish that they were longer so I wouldn’t have to remove the laces to put on/ take off the corset.
Price Satin version of this (with front lacing) is currently £210 in the UK, or $335 USD – however I found mine for sale in an online boutique so do check places like Ebay. This corset is also sold by Fairy GothMother (Lulu & Lush)

Final Thoughts:
This is one of my more expensive off-the-rack corsets. I was initially apprehensive about how strong it is and how well it would hold up, due to its lack of waist tape and the few layers of fabric. However this fabric has a strong, dense weave and is deceptively strong, while still giving a soft look. During breaking in, this corset didn’t stretch any more than other corsets. On the day of the banquet, I wore this corset for more than 15 hours, with a 4 inch reduction and it was surprisingly comfortable (although I did open up the top to give more room in the bust). However I would still not recommend ordering this corset more than 2-4 inches smaller than your natural waist. My favourite part about this corset is its unusual construction; I love the fact that it doesn’t have binding and has a completely floating lining.

Homemade Corset: Grey Longline Closed-Front Underbust

This entry is a summary of the review video “Showing my homemade corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Drafted from Foundations Revealed pattern tutorial. It’s a longline underbust corset with a center front of about 13″ and a waist of about 23″, with an extreme hourglass silhouette. I made the ribcage a little too large so the back seams look like / instead of ||
Material Made out of a black/white fine herringbone weave (I call it grey because that’s how it looks from afar) with gold metallic thread as an outer layer, and one layer of down-proof cotton ticking as a strength layer, which generally doesn’t stretch, but isn’t as strong as coutil.
Construction Drafted from a 5-panel pattern and constructed in the “sandwich” technique in which each layer has its panels individually assembled and then the two layers are attached at the ends, flipped right-side out and then bones are sandwiched between the layers.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of bias strips of the same white/black herringbone fabric.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the two layers. It’s slightly tighter than the panels of the corset which is what causes the “groove” around the waistline of the corset.
Modesty panel None.
Busk None, this was before I knew where to buy busks (other than the overpriced ones at anime conventions) so I made this with a closed front
Boning 22 bones including the bones at the center front; I had used 1/2″ wide hoop steel for the center front and by the grommets, and 1/4″ wide flats double-boned at each seam. These particular flats were flimsy, which is how I got the silhouette without resistance to the bones.
Grommets There are 24, 2-part size #X00 grommets (12 on each side), finished in gold (the only colour I could find at the time). The grommets have a small size lip around. One of the grommets later popped out at the waistline.
Laces Flat cotton braided shoelace-style laces bought at Timeless Trends; 7 yards long. They grip well, have no spring and are very easy to tighten, however they do snap after about a year of regular use.
Price Cost me probably around $40-$50 in materials, and around 24 hours total to make – this was my 3rd corset so I was still moving very slowly through the steps.
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