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Papercats Longline Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “REVIEW: PaperCats “Longline Cherries” Corset” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches, and princess seam is 9.5 inches, side seam is 10 inches, and center back is 12.5 inches long. The size Small is equivalent to 22″ in the waist. The sizing chart on their website says that the ribcage would be 29″ and low hip 34″ for this corset, but when I measured mine, it was 27.5″ in the ribcage and 33″ in the hips. Conical through the ribs.
Material Two main layers: The fashion fabric is a poly-cotton blend with cherry print, and the lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 7 panel pattern (14 panels total), constructed using the welt-seam method with one bone on each seam.
Binding Made from bias strips of black cotton twill. Machine stitched on the outside and inside. No garter tabs.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel 6.5 inches wide, unstiffened, finished in matching cherry print fabric and sewn to one side of the corset. There is also a 1-inch wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, also finished in cherry print.
Busk 11 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a heavier busk (1 inch wide on each side), with a bit of flexibility.
Boning 16 bones total, not including busk. Single boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Beside the grommets, the outer bone is flat while the inner bone is spiral, giving some flexibility to the back.
Grommets 34 two-part grommets, size #X00 (very tiny), with a small flange. Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 0.75″ apart. Small washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Laces Standard black nylon shoelace style laces.
Price This particular style is 155 zł (about $52 USD)
The cherry print underbust as seen on Papercats website.
The cherry print underbust as seen on Papercats website.

 

Other Thoughts:

Papercats is the second brand of the “Polish OTR Corset Trifecta” I’m reviewing (along with Restyle and Rebel Madness). Lately Poland has been dominating the niche of curvy budget corsets with pieces that start from less than $50 for certain styles.

While I wouldn’t personally waist train in this corset (there is no waist tape, and the tiny flange around the grommets make me nervous that they might eventually pull out) I think this corset is adorable and much curvier and more comfortable than some other corsets of equal price that you might find on Ebay. Its lightweight construction and flexibility may make it a good “starter corset” for someone who is unsure if they want to dabble in wearing corsets and they don’t want to break the bank.

As of 2017, it seems that Papercats has brought back this particular design! They are always releasing beautiful designs on their main website, and also their newer website reserved just for their limited corset collections as well as their Etsy store.

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WAIST TRAINING RESULTS: How long should it take?

 

Here’s a question I receive nearly every day:

“My natural waist is 30 inches, and I just started waist training. How long will it take to see real results, and obtain a natural 24 inch waist?”

 Of course, the exact wording, the numbers, and the goals all vary slightly from person to person. But I will tell you what I tell all of them – and you will not be happy:

I DON’T KNOW. And unfortunately, neither can anyone else. If someone claims that they CAN give you a specific duration of time that you will achieve your waist training goal, they are flat out lying.

If you look at these Before / After Waist Training examples, you will see that people have achieved all kinds of results, in all different durations. Some saw a marked difference in three months, while others achieved less dramatic results over two years. It’s different for everyone.

WHY is this?

The (semi)permanent results of waist training is dependent on a number of factors, including your body’s current state and your genetic pre-disposition, the quality of your corset and its compatibility with your body, and the way you train in your corset. Let’s break those down in further detail:

 

Factor #1: Your body type and current body stats

Abdominal body fat can be subcutaneous or visceral - and they affect your corset training differently.
Abdominal body fat can be subcutaneous or visceral – and they affect your corset training differently.

Your Body Fat

  • Adipose tissue can immediately compress down a lot more than muscle in a corset, but it also bounces back when you remove the corset. Some with a high body fat % are able to cinch down 10 inches in the waist, while someone with very low body fat may only be able to cinch down 2-3 inches.
  • Weight distribution also plays a role. Do you tend to carry more weight in your belly, or do you carry more weight on your hips and thighs? If you do carry weight in your belly, do you have a lot of visceral fat or subcutaneous fat? Subcutaneous fat sits under the skin but above the muscle, and makes your skin soft and malleable. Visceral fat is the more ‘dangerous’ fat that sits under your abdominal muscle, between your organs. Someone with more subcutaneous fat (even over their tummy) will probably have an easier time lacing down than someone with visceral body fat.

Your Muscle Tone

  • Very toned, dense muscles may be more difficult to cinch down compared to less toned muscles, BUT if you time your workouts well, you can actually use your resistance exercise regimen to your advantage in waist training to change the morphology of your oblique muscles and have them almost “grow” into the hourglass shape encouraged by the corset. Also, once you get to higher reductions, you have to “stretch” those side muscles, and also the tendons and ligaments. Some people’s bodies seem to more readily accommodate to this than other people’s bodies.

 Your Skeletal Frame

  • Do you have wider ribcage or smaller ribcage? Are your ribs flexible and are you able to accommodate corsets with a conical ribcage easily, or is your ribcage very inflexible and difficult to move? Those who are easily able to train their ribs are likely to see faster waist training results than those whose ribs are very rigid. My article on the corset’s effect on the skeleton goes into more detail about this.

Your Age

  • More mature waist trainers have bones that are not only less dense, but less malleable compared to younger trainers. For more information on how age can affect your corseting, see my article on waist training and age restrictions.

 Your Organs

  • When you look at human anatomy in a textbook, you’re seeing a general “average” of the size and orientation of organs. But not everyone’s organs look like that! Some people have larger organs, some have smaller organs. Even the position and orientation of organs can very slightly differ between individuals, and that small variation might make a huge difference in how well your body can accommodate the restriction of a corset. For further information, see my article on corsets and organs.

Your Water Retention

  • What’s your water content like? If you are often bloated or have water retention, either due to your lifestyle or because of a medical condition, you not only won’t be able to lace down as much or as readily, but you have more of that “temporary squish” to you as opposed to contributing to that “long term training”.

Whether You’ve Been Pregnant Before

  • Have you had a baby before or not? While this point is a bit more anecdotal, it seems that mothers are (on average) able to lace down more readily/ more comfortably/ to higher reductions compared to nulliparous women. Maybe this has to do with the fact that the baby had moved around a woman’s organs (especially in the final trimester), or the relaxin in your system during pregnancy had stretched out some tendons and ligaments already, or the woman was already accustomed to the feeling of restriction or breathing higher up in the chest, so she may be psychologically more comfortable with the feeling of being corseted. Read more about corsets after childbirth.

 

Factor #2: Your Corset

This corset has a conical ribcage, and will be more effective at training the ribcage.
This corset has a conical ribcage, and will be more effective at training the ribcage compared to a rounded ribcage.

Proper Fit

  • Is your corset comfortable? Does your corset fit you properly: when you lace down, does it reduce only the waist, and is it lying flat and gently supporting your upper ribcage and your hip area? Is your corset gap straight or uneven? Or is the corset overall not curvy enough: and is it giving you muffin top, pinching your hips or causing any lower tummy pooch to spill out underneath? A well-fitting corset is not only more effective at shaping, but it’s also much more comfortable, so you’ll be encouraged to wear it longer and more often.

 Strength

  • Is the corset strong? Does it hold up to the tension without buckling? Are the seams securely stitched? Are the bones creating a proper scaffold and not digging into your body? Are the grommets holding in? Having to put your training on hold – not because you want to, but because your corset breaks every 2 months and you have to replace it – is not cost effective and it’s not time-effective. If you’re in this for the long haul, invest in something strong and custom. See my article on Waist Training vs Tight Lacing, which also covers different requirements of a suitable corset for each.

Silhouette

  • Is the corset the right silhouette to do the right job? If you want to train your ribcage, you might need a conical ribcage corset, which gradually tapers down and increases the pressure on the lower ribcage. A corset with a mild silhouette or with a corset with a rounded ribcage will give you a different effect. Be sure that the corset you are using is designed to do for you what you want. You can’t force a round peg through a square hole and expect a triangle to come out.

 

Factor #3: Your Lifestyle Habits and Training Methods

I demonstrate a bicycle crunch, one of the staples of my daily core workout.
I demonstrate a bicycle crunch, one of the staples of my daily core workout.

 Supplementary Exercise

  • Are you exercising alongside your waist training? Adding or increasing core resistance training can help you see results faster by encouraging your muscles to “heal” in a certain way. Even if you have no intention of losing weight (you only use a corset to see a change in your silhouette), exercise is still important! If you don’t add some core resistance training, your torso may see some shaping from the corset, but it may be squishy and complacent, and not hold that hourglass shape as well as if you were combining it with resistance training.

 Eating

  • Are you eating clean? Are you getting enough fiber so that you stay regular when corseting? Are you avoiding foods that you know can cause bloating or discomfort in your corset? Are you having regular small balanced meals, or are you the type to fast and then feast? Corseting over a large meal can be uncomfortable and difficult, and the quality of that meal also counts. You don’t necessarily need a specific diet for waist training, but eating sensibly goes a long way.

Drinking

  • Are you staying hydrated? Are you getting a lot of clean water or tea? Are you keeping your electrolytes balanced (this ties in with water retention). Are you watching your blood pressure (which relates to your blood volume)? Do you take in a lot of caffeine or other diuretics, and are you making sure that your water intake balances that out?

Duration of your corset wear (and reduction)

  • To get the best results in a corset, you have to use it. What method of waist training are you using? There is Romantasy’s “Roller Coaster” method, and there is the Contour Corsets “Cycle” Method (see the differences between the two waist training methods). Some people use a combination of both, or they may try a different method altogether. Some people consider waist training as wearing their corset only 8 hours a day while they’re out working. Others waist train by only wearing a corset to bed at night. Some people wear their corsets 12 or 16 hours a day, and a few very dedicated ones wear their corset 23 hours a day.
  • The body responds best to consistency – for reasons I’ll explain in an upcoming article, you’ll probably see more results (and more comfortably!) if you wear a corset at a light or moderate reduction for long hours, as opposed to tightlacing or overlacing your corset for an hour and then not wearing it again for a few days.

Let’s use an infomercial exercise program as a metaphor for waist training expectations. Many exercise programs say that you CAN lose UP TO 20 lbs per month (as an example), but read the small print and you find that these results are not typical. Many of these programs are also backed up with a guarantee that with proper compliance to the program, you will see some kind of result (often within 60 or 90 days) or your money back.

But you will notice that they do not guarantee a certain number of inches lost, because people have different bodies, different fitness levels, different levels of compliance. It’s the same with a waist training program.

Ann Grogan (of Romantasy) offers the only corset training program I currently know of – in her some 25 years of working with waist trainers and 14 years officially coaching, she is able to confidently say that with her 3-month waist training program, you’re likely to see some noticable results in your natural waist with proper compliance to the program (the program covers a lot of factors: the type of corset you’re using, the reduction, the hours, the foods you eat, the exercises you do, etc). But since each program is personalized based on goals, each person’s compliance is different and each person’s body accommodates their corset differently, it’s still very difficult to precisely predict how many inches you’ll lose, or how fast.

What I have found is the highest indicator of success is whether you actually enjoy wearing your corset and find it completely comfortable. If you practice patience, and wear your corset consistently (and ironically, not be overly attached to your end goal), you are likely to see more results over time than someone who is less patient and is only corseting for the end result. But I will cover that in another article soon.

Do you currently waist train, or did you train in the past? How long did it take you to see results? Let me know in a comment below!

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Another Day, Another Dollar – is that corset worth it?

 

This is what my dollar looks like.

There’s an old saying that goes, “Another day, another dollar” which originally meant a humdrum work day (if I understand it correctly). However, as of late I’ve put another spin on this saying.

To me, it means that however many dollars I spend on an object, it had better last me at least that many days.

Take this in the context of corsets: If I buy a corset for $60, it had better last me two months’ worth of wear. I once had a corset that cost me close to $45, but it only lasted me perhaps 20 or 30 wears before falling apart. I consider this to be a bad investment, no matter how cheap it is. However, a $400 corset that lasts me 600 wears over a two year span is a much wiser investment, because if I follow through with my intention of wearing a corset on a nearly daily basis  and I’m on a budget, I don’t want to be continually buying a new corset every couple of months. Even if the price tag hurts now, you will find that it’s more economic in the long run.

It works for more than just corsets, too.

Electronics: My $1000 at-the-time laptop lasted me 5 years before crashing. I spent approximately 55 cents a day owning this computer.

Junk Food/restaurants: If you buy a chocolate bar for $2, break it in half and enjoy each half on a different day. This method has greatly helped me deal with my binge issues. I also rarely go to restaurants. If I dine out once a month, I have no problem spending $30 on a meal.

Other clothes: apart from corsets, I almost never buy “designer” clothing. If I buy a decently nice shirt for $40, I’ll likely wear that shirt once every two weeks, over two years (a total of 52 wears). In the past, I’ve purchased a cheap bra for only $15. I’m not sure if it even lasted me 15 wears, because it was so uncomfortable.

Other examples:

  • I purchased an elliptical machine off Craigslist for $50. Since gym membership is between $1-2 a day in my area, I told myself that if I could use the elliptical 5-6 times a week for a month, I would consider the machine “paid off”. I’ve had the machine for 2-3 years now and used it well over 50 times.
  • I purchased a CD for $20 and put the album into my playlist to listen to while I sew. I’ve listened to the playlist almost 80 times over the course of the last year, which means I paid about 25 cents for each playthrough of that album.
  • My parents purchased a $2000 piano when we moved into this house. I played it nearly every day between the age of 13 and 19, and I still play it occasionally today, so I would estimate that it cost about 75 cents per day that it’s used.

An example of something I don’t buy/ don’t consider “worth it”: I don’t go to the movies or buy DVDs unless they are in the bargain bin for $2. It’s unlikely that I’ll watch any movie more than a couple of times. I tend not to buy books (unless they’re classics/ collectors’ edition) when I can simply go to the library instead.

Examples where this sentiment doesn’t work:

  • Housing and transportation – an $18,000 car won’t last you 50 years being driven every day, even with the best upkeep. Likewise, you will probably not live 250 years in a $100,000
    Can luxury purchases be justified?
    Can luxury purchases be justified? Corset: Sparklewren, MUA: Stella Amore, Photo: Trillance

    house (or any house, really).

  • Good food/meals – at one point I was able to live on $5/ week for food. It was a lot of beans, carrots and apples. However it’s not the most nutritious, and it’s not long before insanity from meal boredom sets in.
  • Luxuries – I don’t know how else to put this: luxury means that you don’t worry about the cost. That’s why it’s a luxury. There is a certain threshold (with any item, not just corsets) where the hardiness and utility of an object sort of levels off compared with price. The corset that’s worth over $1000 sitting wrapped in acid-free tissue paper in an engraved box in my room isn’t going to be worn 1000 times. Probably not even 100 times. But just owning it and admiring it as a piece of art brings me joy, and I hope that it will stay in the family for 100 years or more.

Is that corset worth it?

I’ve mentioned before that an affordable “starter” corset off a place like Ebay may cost $50, but it may only last you 500 hours or even less, and come with no warranty. If you purchase a corset for $500 but it lasts you 10,000 hours of wear, that’s double the return on your investment, because you spent 10x more, but you gained 20x more use out of it.

I’m not saying to never buy cheaper corsets, because they have their place too – for instance, if you buy a $100 corset but only wear it for 3 months before losing interest, or only wearing it once in awhile, it’s a lot better to have only spent $100 instead of $500. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy more than one corset either. I’m certainly guilty of owning many corsets – I consider them luxuries. What I am saying is that when it comes to medium-to-large investments, consider the realistic long-term benefits and consequences of your purchase.

Above all else, never expect a $50 corset to perform like a $300 corset. Swindlers and crooks aside, you get what you pay for. After having wasted thousands of dollars on cheap corsets, I’ve never found a loophole in the quality/price relationship. I’ve created an enormous playlist of reviews, available for free, so that you can make an informed purchase and save your money. My loss is your gain. Please use it to your advantage.

If you liked this article, you may also like “The 5 Most Important Factors of an OTR corset“.

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Corset Connection (Versatile) Snapdragon Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile Corsets Snapdragon underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 9.5 inches long, center half is 10.5 inches. Slim silhouette. This corset is quite short, just ending at my iliac crest – if you have a longer torso, I recommend the Dita underbust which is a more longline version of this. The top line of this corset comes up around the sides of the bust, which pushes the bust forward and together, and can help flatten any “side muffin top”. The back then scoops back down.
Material 3 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton black American coutil, fashion fabric is a heavyweight purple satin and it has a rose lace overlay. Boning channels are black satin.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Coutil is flatlined/rollpinned to satin and lace layers; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. Also contains 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of black satin.
Waist tape 1″ wide petersham waist tape exposed on the inside.
Modesty panel Attached 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in black satin, stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 8″ long (4 pins), with a flat steel bone on each side.
Boning 22 total steel bones not including busk. On each side, 8 spirals (1/4″ wide) double boned on the seams, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces This particular corset has purple ribbon, about 1/2″ wide 
Price Currently $358 USD for the standard size on the Versatile website.

Final Thoughts:

This is the second of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. The samples will later be returned and sold at great discount.

There are a few things I like about this corset, and a few things I would change if I had the opportunity to get it custom made. Aesthetically I do prefer the more dramatic silhouettes, so if I were to go back and purchase this, I would likely have it made-to-measure, and in a smaller size (the one in the video was a size 26″) so that I could have a bit more curve in the waist (more like the lavender version seen left, instead of some of the other styles seen in their gallery on their product page).

The thick halter strap was comfortable around my neck; it’s made of a smooth-yet-strong matte black satin that can be adjusted with bra hooks. I didn’t personally find that the straps pulled too much on my neck, and I was able to keep my shoulders and my neck back – however, for those with forward-head posture looking for a solution, this corset will not miraculously help. I like how the fabric of the corset wraps up and around the side of the torso, which both helps to flatten any breast tissue that wraps around the side and in the armpits, and for those with smaller busts this cut helps to lift the bust and push it together to create cleavage. 

 The Snapdragon corset is available in various colour combinations as you can choose the main fabric, have a choice of lace overlay if you wish, then choose the type of trim, external boning channels, and binding – they can all be different fabrics if you wish! I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences in construction between the various different corsets depending on the styling choices.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset. However I think the Dita underbust is a little more suited to my figure, as I have a longer torso. (I will be reviewing the Dita underbust several weeks from now!) To see other models in the Snapdragon corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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Versatile Corsets Valerian Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile Corsets Valerian Overbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 16″ inches long, and full length is 17″ over the bust. Modern Elizabethan or slim silhouette (*although please read the Final Thoughts section). A bit of a longline corset; comes over the hips and includes expandable hip ties. Good for women with an long torso; shorter torso probably not advised to wear this unless you get custom sizing. Will accommodate at least E cups, has a demure neckline and built-in off-the-shoulder adjustable straps that can accommodate broader shoulders. Has a high back that gives no opportunity for muffin top.
Material 3 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton American coutil, fashion fabric is a heavyweight satin that is possibly interfaced (I didn’t take it apart) and it has a tulle/lace overlay.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Unique pattern which gives a very flat front yet accommodates a full hip and bust; almost all the panels are angled in a V-shape towards the bottom front. Coutil is flatlined/rollpinned to satin and tulle; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. The seams that contain the hip ties are lock-stitched as it helps the seam lay flat and gives a neater finish. Also has 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of satin.
Waist tape 1″ wide petershame waist tape exposed on the inside.
Modesty panel Attached 6″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in the same silver satin and tulle overlay, stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13″ long (6 pins), with a 3/8″ wide flat steel bone on each side. The rest of the length on top of the busk includes grommets to tie at the bustline.
Boning 22 total steel bones not including busk. On each side, 8 spirals (1/4″ wide) double boned on the seams, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This corset has a very long back, hence so many grommets.
Laces Strong nylon cord-style laces; they’re thin, strong and they are long enough but quite slippery.
Price Currently $438 USD for the standard size on the Versatile website (right now they’re having a 20% off sale on all their corsets – enter the coupon code FIREWORKS).

Final Thoughts:

This is the first of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the owner of both sister sites, and she was generous to loan me these samples for review. The samples will later be returned and sold at great discount.

I do notice one difference in the construction of this one compared to the Mimosa (which I had reviewed last year) – the waist tape in the Valerian is exposed. I speculate that this difference is due to the Valerian having external boning channels instead of having the bones sandwiched between multiple layers; whereas my Mimosa overbust has the bones sandwiched between multiple layers. If the tape on the Valerian corset were sandwiched between the coutil and the fashion fabric, it may have left an undesirable outline on the outside of the corset.

Aesthetically I do prefer the more dramatic wasp-waist silhouettes, so if I were to go back and buy this again, I may invest in a smaller size. I was not the right model to show off the curves of this corset effectively because it’s a size 26″, and I could probably fit a size 22″ with the proportions of this standard-size corset. It’s very roomy in the bust and the hip ties can accommodate 6-8 extra inches in the hips. To the left you’ll see this exact same corset on a model who fills it out more appropriately.

 The Valerian corset is available in various color combinations as you can choose the main fabric, have a choice of lace overlay, then trim, external boning channels, and binding. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences in construction between the various different corsets depending on the styling choices.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset. Although I usually prefer Victorian, Edwardian or 50’s wasp-waist styles, this Elizabethan-inspired corset was lovely to try on and the construction was a joy to study. I’m tempted to try other Elizabethan-inspired corsets in the future. To see other models in the Valerian corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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Contour Corsets Review (Summer Mesh Underbust)

This entry is a summary of the review video “Contour Corsets Summer Mesh Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 12.5 inches long, back is 13.5″ long. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage mostly follows the natural contours, tapering a bit through the lower ribs, but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape – almost wasp-waist in silhouette. I had requested this type of ribcage – if you prefer a more natural shape, this can be accommodated. This is called a “mid-hip” cut; coming slightly over the iliac crest but not longline. Extreme hipspring. See the “Final Thoughts” section on other fitting notes.
Material Primarily one layer of very strong, almost no-stretch poly mesh. I chose the “gold” color to match my medium-olive skin tone (it’s a cross-weave of a light yellow and deeper pinkish-copper). Despite being synthetic, the holes in the mesh allow my skin to breathe. Still, I always wear it with a liner underneath. Boning channels and binding are made from somewhat matching light-brown twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, with most of the hip-curve between panels 3-4. At least triple-stitched: Lock-stitching between panels, seam allowances pressed open and zig-zag stitching to further stabilize the seam, then external boning channels, double-boned on the seams (external channels often contribute to an even stronger seam). No garter tabs (not requested).
Binding Brown twill that matches the boning channels; machine stitched inside and outside.
Waist tape None. This corset is strong enough without a waist tape, and in fact stronger than many of my corsets that do contain waist tapes. (I admit I had my doubts, but this corset has been tried and tested for nearly a year.)
Modesty panel 4″ wide stiffened modesty panel (lacing guard) in the back, suspended on the laces. 1″ wide modesty placket under the front closure, with a very heavy flat steel bone (essentially a boned underbusk).
Front closure Not a busk! The front closure is a “stayed zip” – heavy duty metal YKK zipper, secured into twill panels with the mesh overlayed. A 1/2″ flat bone is on either side of the zipper, and a 1/4″ flat bone sits on top of either side of the zipper as well. The very stiff and heavy 1″ underbusk further stabilizes the zipper so it doesn’t buckle. This has been my first tightlacing corset with a zipper and I’ve had no isssues with it.
Boning 29 total steel bones. On each side, there are 10 bones in external channels, then 2 flats on either side of the grommets in the lacing system, as mentioned before another 1/2″ steel beside the zipper, another flat bone on top of the zipper, and the last 29th bone is the heavy underbusk underneath the zipper.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with a large flange; set closer together at the waistline; high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces I opted for the heavy-duty lacing; nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up; they glide through the grommets well but hold their bow tight. Zero spring.
Price The Summer Mesh underbust costs between $520 – $575 at the time of this review. The price depends on the size and other considerations (see below). Asymmetric patterns (for those with scoliosis, etc) add $100. You can see her full price list here.

Final Thoughts:

When I first recorded the review and did the “first edit”, it was nearly 20 minutes long because I had so much to say about this corset. It is like no other corset I’ve had before, so even for a review such as mine (which is on its own pretty objective, but still comparable if you read across the tables of different reviews on this site), it can’t really be compared to other corsets in my collection. The posture, the materials, the construction, the pattern/ silhouette – everything  about this corset is just… different. Be prepared for a really long discussion (and as model KathTea had once said, “If this is tl;dr then corseting is probably not for you”).

Continue reading Contour Corsets Review (Summer Mesh Underbust)

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Orchard Corset CS-411 Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset CS-411 Underbust Review”. If you want visual close-ups, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 10″, shortest part is 8.5″. It’s a shorter corset that fits closer to a cincher on my body. Gives a moderate hourglass shape – this is a Level 2 silhouette, so the ribcage is 4″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 8-9″ bigger than the waist.
Material 3 main layers – the outer coarse-weave poly-brocade fashion fabric, flatlined to a sturdy cotton interlining, and lined in twill.
Construction 4-panel pattern (8 panels total). The shape of the panels is very similar to the cincher by Isabella Corsetry, although the contours are slightly less, the ribcage and hips a little smaller. Constructed with a slightly modified sandwich technique.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from commercial black satin bias strips, machine stitched on both sides. There are no garter tabs in this corset.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers. I did not check to see if there was glue used in this one (see my CS-426 review if you want to know more about that particular corset).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of a layer of black satin and a layer of twill. 5” wide (~3″ usable space) and attached to one side with a line of stitching.
Busk Slightly heavier busk, slightly under an inch wide and 9” long, with 4 pins. It is fairly sturdy; less bendy than a standard 1/2″ busk.
Boning 16 bones total in this corset. On each side, 6 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 grommets (10 on each side), with a small flange, spaced equidistantly. On the underside every grommet is split and quite scratchy, but they don’t catch on the laces so I can’t complain.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, but also rather springy – you just have to tug a little harder to get the corset to stay closed because of the elasticity of the laces. However, Orchard has some higher quality laces (in several colours) available on their website – I very much prefer their ribbon laces to the standard shoelace style laces.
Price Currently $69 USD.

 

Final Thoughts:

Although this particular fashion fabric is not available to purchase through Orchard Corset (as it was a prototype), the cut of the corset, construction methods, and other fabrics/ materials should all be the same – so in this review I’m really commenting on these features as opposed to strictly the shell fabric.

I very much prefer this style of thicker poly-brocade compared to the thin shimmery satin shown in my CS-426 corset review. I found that satin had a tendency to wrinkle easily, when the satin started to pull in places, you could see the crossweaves of coral and brown threads and the wear of the corset was quite apparent. The satin also pulled and frayed easily where it had caught onto things (keep it away from any hooks, scratchy/sharp edges, or especially velcro!). This brocade is sturdier, doesn’t wrinkle as easily, is harder-wearing (doesn’t pull or fray as easily) and is better at hiding general wear and tear. A bird told me that Orchard may begin stocking all-cotton corsets in the future, which would be an even better choice for those looking for regular support.

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Waisted Creations Underbust Corset Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, and the shortest part (from underbust to lap) is 9″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips end a little lower than the iliac crest and very rounded. Luthien specializes in extreme hip springs, so this shape would be comfortable for hourglass or pear-shaped corseters. This corset was made to measure.
Material Fashion layer is dupioni silk in “dragonfly”; backed onto cotton coutil; lining is lightweight printed cotton.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, many bones sandwiched between the layers, and a floating liner. No garter tabs. One of the seams at the waistline did rip, but has held up well after mending.
Binding Matching dupioni silk, machine stitched outside and hand-finished inside. Slight frayed area in the top edge of the binding, but I will be fixing that later.
Waist tape 1/2″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None. (Not requested.)
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins).
Boning Heavily boned; 34 steel bones not including busk. Most of the ones around the side are spiral steel; double boned on the seams and additional bones in the center of the panels. Another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets on each side at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, 5mm two-part Prym eyelets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, there are some that didn’t roll perfectly, but there is no fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong cotton braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price At the time of recording this video, a made-to-measure, unembellished underbust corset is £200 (about $310) and overbusts start around £300.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was used in my “corset seasoning” mini series a number of weeks ago – anyone who had watched those videos will know that this review doesn’t tell the whole story of my ups and downs with this corset. I was originally upset that my mini series didn’t run as smoothly as anticipated, but over time I’ve come to agree with viewers that a “perfect” seasoning process wouldn’t have been half as useful, as I wouldn’t have been able to show people what is normal wear and what is atypical during seasoning, or offer troubleshooting/ solutions to issues as they were encountered. You’re welcome to learn more about how this corset wore in over time by reading or viewing the mini series here. (I do promise to catch up on the written versions!)

Much of this corset was left to the creative liberty of the maker. I had provided my natural measurements, gave suggestions of silhouettes and shapes that I liked, and requested a specific silk from Silk Baron. At the time that I received my mockup to test the fit, the maker mentioned that she was not able to get the specific colour of silk I wanted, and offered some complimentary embellishment as compensation. The change in colour was subtle and I didn’t need to match the corset with a pre-existing skirt or anything, so this wasn’t a huge issue for me at the time. I chose the gold lace to go along with the shade of green silk provided. The crystals/rhinestones weren’t discussed; they were a surprise. Once again, not a huge issue for me, but if you are the type to want to know exactly what you’re receiving, please be very specific before ordering.

The turnaround time of this corset was approximately 5 months, which is a longer duration than I’ve experienced from other corset makers – there seem to have been some complications, and the maker is very busy. If you plan to commission a corset, be sure to contact her at least 6 months ahead of time, in order to give your corset a proper break-in session prior to your event. She mentions that at the moment she is not accepting new orders, but she normally only accepts commissions on an extreme case-by-case basis.

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Corset seasoning sessions 11, 12 and 13 – final observations

Over the weekend, I finished up seasoning this corset with seasoning sessions 11, 12 and 13, totaling 30 hours of wearing this corset at a 2-inch reduction for about 2-3 hours at a time. The entire seasoning period was about 2 weeks. This article aims to recap the changes that I feel while wearing the corset, and changes to the corset itself as time has passed.

How the corset feels on me after two weeks of seasoning:

  • I’m able to lace the corset about 0.5 – 1 inch smaller than I had on the first day, while still keeping within the 2″ guidelines (from 26″ corseted from a 27.5″ natural waist on the first day, to 25″ corseted with a 27″ natural waist on the last day of seasoning)
  • The ribs don’t feel as restrictive; they cup smoothly around my ribcage
  • The waist hooks under my ribcage and doesn’t ride up on me, and the corset no longer feels “wobbly”
  • Some wrinkles around the hips have smoothed over
  • There are no hot spots or area of uncomfortable pressure. There is no irritation or poking from any corners or bone tips. The corset has conformed to the curve of my spine.
  • I’m relaxed and have a comfortable posture in the corset; my muscles aren’t fighting the corset and I feel that I would be able to accommodate a larger reduction.

At this point, now that the corset is properly seasoned, I will begin to gradually increase the hours each day as comfortable, and then start to close the corset more in the back, until I’m able to wear it closed for the official corset review.

I’m going to go over what is normal and what is not normal in a hypothetical corset after a proper 2-week seasoning period. The points in bold are what I experienced during this seasoning session:

  What’s normal What’s not normal
Bones by the grommets A bit of distortion of the fabric due to tension

Bones may become slightly more flexible along its proper axis, to hug the lumbar area more, and not dig into the tailbone

Back bones permanently bent, kinked, warped or twisted in their boning channels.

Bones popping out or wearing away the fabric of the channels.

Fabric around the grommets Some wrinkling of the fabric around the grommet panel may be normal Grommets pulling away, or the fabric around the grommets are starting to fray, or grommets feel wiggly or loose
Fabric around the waistline of the corset Tension in the thread around the waistline

Some fabric pulling or distorting around the waistline, and seams looking a bit wobbly when off the body

A bit of horizontal wrinkling, especially in the side-back, or over the front hip, particularly in an OTR/ standard-sized corset
*Note that a well-made corset may actually have some wrinkles smooth out over time

Broken threads or gaps where there are no stitching

Ripped stitches or fabric, no matter how small

Lining layer Some usual wrinkling of the lining and minor tension on the threads of the lining (although the lining shouldn’t take any tension if it is not the strength fabric) Broken stitching or gaps in the lining

 

If you have any other points to add regarding what is normal or not normal when you season your corsets, I would love to know! Leave me a comment either under this post, or on Youtube.

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10th Corset Seasoning session – possible causes of headache/tension while corseted

I’ve been wearing the corset a total of 24 hours (of a minimum seasoning time of about 30 hours). I’m now quite comfortable in this corset, and the corset is wrapping around my body very nicely – I’m noticing negligible change from today’s seasoning session compared to the previous couple of sessions. Another person had written me about their corset giving them a migraine, which I’d like to address:

Why might one get a headache, neck ache or tense back while wearing a corset?

While I’d like to remind everyone that I’m not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet, there are several possible reasons I can personally think of that might cause tension, soreness or headaches while corseted.

  • it may be due to holding a posture that you’re not accustomed to, and subsequently getting sore/tense and knotted back muscles. It’s also important not to tie your corset too tight or too long such that you experience pain or discomfort, as people in discomfort have a tendency to round their shoulders and tense their muscles – you want to be comfortable, relaxed, and sitting with your shoulders down and your chest open. (If it’s too late and you do have some muscle tension, I offer some stretching ideas in the video, like lying with a pile of pillows or a squishy large ball between your wingbones to open up the chest –  and I also suggest bumming a massage off one of your good friends to loosen the knots)
  • it may be caused by dehydration (drink more water while you’re corseted, even if you feel you don’t need it – I personally notice that symptoms of dehydration come on much quicker while I’m corseted).
  • it could be caused by hypertension – although not all headaches are caused by high blood pressure, and not everyone with high bp may experience headaches, there is a positive correlation between headaches and elevated bp, so do make sure your blood pressure is in a healthy range and talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have before starting to wear corsets. I talk more about this in my article about Corsets and Blood Pressure here.
I should also add (AGAIN) that pain while corseted IS NOT NORMAL. Whether it’s in your abdomen, in your hip, in your neck, head or big toe, you should NOT feel pain in a well-fitted, properly worn corset. Please practice some common sense when you’re corseted and don’t force yourself down more than you’re ready for any reason. Got it? Good.

Changes in the visible wear to the corset after the 10th seasoning session is negligible, although I was able to get in touch with the maker about getting some matching silk to cut down and change the binding, to fix the fraying area. Some of the crystals have started to become slightly loose (my fault) which I show in the video.

 

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9th Corset Seasoning session – the difference between normal corset ‘tenderness’ and inappropriate pain

After this corseting session, I estimate that I’ve worn the corset a total of 22 hours (for a minimum of 30 hours of seasoning). In reality, I squeezed in two break-in sessions on the same day (the  8th session in the morning and the 9th session at night). Because I wore this corset a total of about 5 hours that one particular day (two 2.5-hour sessions), I do feel a few differences in how my body is responding to the corset:

  • This corset is curvier than the corset I was wearing in the mid-afternoon so there’s more of a “stretching feeling” in my obliques compared how I felt in my less curvy corset. I compare the stretch in my obliques to that stretching feeling that one would experience after working out and stretching their hamstrings. It may feel warm, not quite stinging but perhaps tingling on the sides of your torso, but you don’t want it to feel like it’s “burning” or “ripping”.
  • I also feel some pressure and tenderness in the back and wrapping around the sides of my ribcage, which feels as if the corset is gently guiding my 12th rib forward. I compare the feeling of my ribs shifting to wearing a mouth retainer – it’s a little sore or achy if pressure is put on it directly, but I know that this tenderness will subside after a few hours or a day. When I take off my corset, I gently stretch my torso by bending it from side to side to alleviate this feeling of pressure.

Of course every person is different in how they feel in a corset, because every body is a different shape and size, each person’s nervous system is wired slightly differently, etc. But hopefully by my sharing these experiences, it will better help you to understand where your ‘limit’ is – the difference between a sensation and real discomfort or pain, and use this knowledge to loosen or take off your corset when you feel that’s no longer benefiting you.

This is also why I get irritated when people say “no pain, no gain” or that “corseting must always hurt the wearer” because it tells me that this person has corseted down tighter than their body was ready for, or worn the corset longer than was proper for their experience level, or had been wearing a corset that was simply the wrong shape or poor quality. Corseting doesn’t have to be a painful experience, and for many people it’s just the opposite; it can alleviate chronic pain whether physical or emotional.

Like I mentioned in my “Corsets, Nerves and Pain” video, if you are the type of person who is extremely sensitive to pressure, there is nobody forcing you to lace down further than what feels comfortable for you. Anyone who chastises you for not being able to lace down as much or as quickly as they can, they’re a fool who simply does not understand how each human body is built differently and has different limits. If you really want to try corseting but even 1 inch waist reduction feels unbearably tight for you, then you can wear your corset with zero reduction, until you just get used to maintaining an erect posture in the corset – after this point, you might want to lace down just 1/4″ (about 5-6mm) until you get used to that. There is nothing wrong with slow and steady.

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8th seasoning session – commonalities between breaking in corsets and shoes

Today I’m up to around 19 hours of wear, and the mend is still holding up well. Although I’m a bit more delicate today than I have been in the past (before the tear happened), I’m reasonably more comfortable than I was yesterday. As I begin to trust this corset more again as time goes on, I will probably learn to totally relax in this corset again.

Recently someone asked whether it’s okay to start wearing your corset all day immediately after the seasoning process (i.e. immediately after the 30 hours of seasoning are done, can I shut the corset immediately and wear it all day)?

Even though I can wear a well-seasoned corset up to about 16 hours a day, I try not to do that with freshly seasoned corsets. After seasoning, I’ll gradually increase the hours of the corset so that I’m wearing it at least 10-12 hours, and then I will start to lace it down tighter from there. There are a couple reasons that I do this:

  • So I don’t put too much pressure on the corset all at once and give it undue strain.
  • So I can test how my body reacts to the corset – I want to make sure that I won’t develop sores on my body, and don’t put more pressure on my body than it is ready for.

It’s a similar situation to breaking in a new pair of nice high heels. How my feet react to these heels when I’m just wearing it around the house on carpet and sitting down most of the time, isn’t necessarily reflective of how my feet will feel if I’m dancing on a hardwood floor for six hours. In that same vein, seasoning your corset at a light reduction, and wearing your corset completely closed during an all-day event may feel very different.

For the same reason that I bring a pair of comfy flats in my purse (if I need to change out of my heels), I will often bring a change of clothing or a spare corset to a special event. It’s always good to be prepared and have alternative fashion options when you need to listen to your body and either loosen your corset or take it off completely.

In the video, I also discuss what’s normal wear and tear when you choose a fashion fabric that is relatively delicate like dupioni silk. Although silk is supposed to be one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, it can still show wear! Especially in an iridescent silk like this one, which is violet-shot-green (when it becomes damaged, it loses its iridescence). If you’d like to see the wear to the corset, it’s available for viewing here:

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7th Corset Seasoning session – mend is holding up

I’ve been breaking the corset in for about 17 hours (of a minimum of 30 hours). Over the weekend I took a break from the corset and came back with a refreshed point of view so I could repair it when I wasn’t so frustrated.

Today I’m resuming the seasoning process (after a 3 day hiatus). During today’s break-in session, I felt that I was acting a lot more dainty compared to previous days, and just sat still as opposed to being active in my corset (which, ironically, I had mentioned isn’t the best thing to do during the seasoning process just a few days ago). I also feel that because I’m so anxious about the mend holding up and I’m acting so stiff and careful in this corset, my body is not properly relaxing in the corset and I can feel that my muscles are ‘fighting’ the corset, which is not good. This contributes to some discomfort in the corset.

If you take a break from seasoning, do you have to start again from the beginning?

 Someone asked if I would have to start the seasoning process all over again – not necessarily! Once you break in a pair of shoes, you typically don’t have to break them in again – if you have a comfy pair of running shoes that you don’t wear for a few months in the winter, it will still pretty much fit your foot in the springtime. It’s more or less the same for corsets as well (they don’t shrink, although you may expand while not wearing the corset, if you’re anything like me).

If you’re interested in seeing the wear to the corset, you’re welcome to see the video (starts at around 3:55 mark):

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6th Corset Seasoning – a tear in the seam

After the 6th seasoning session, I estimate that I’ve been wearing this corset for approximately 14-15 hours, because I wear the corset 2-3 hours each seasoning session – the seasoning process is half over, and I’m feeling more comfortable in this corset. The waist of the corset is hooking underneath my ribs, and so I’m relaxed in the corset and feel as if my ribs are “resting on a shelf”.

I also notice that I’m not struggling with this corset as much to get it on and off. The busk clasps faster and easier, the laces glide through the grommets more smoothly, and lacing up the corset has become very fast and easy. Although this could be attributed to simply me getting used to lacing this particular corset, I think it’s more than that. Remember on the first day, I was laced in only about 1.5 inches and felt that the corset was deceptively tight because it wasn’t wrapping around my body – the corset was still feeling a bit crunchy. Today it feels smoother and hugs around my own curves so nicely that I’m really fighting the urge to lace it tighter, because a reduction of just 1.5 inches feels almost like nothing now. However, I’m still trying to just lace it with about a 2-inch reduction for the duration of this seasoning period.

“Priming” your waist for less resistance

If you’re seasoning a corset that is not your first corset, then one option is for you to “prime” your waist by wearing your previous corset for some time, and then switching over to your seasoned corset. By doing this, then your oblique muscles are already warmed and stretched, and (depending on how much you reduce) your intestines are already flattened and moved so you would be able to accommodate more restriction by your new corset. In this situation, you might even feel that 3-4 inches in your new corset feels quite easy, while if you were trying to break in your corset while your torso was ‘cold’ (say, if you didn’t wear corsets for a few days, or ever, and then put the corset on) then you may feel that just a couple of inches feels like a stretch for you. That said, even if you prime your waist before putting on your new corset to season, I wouldn’t personally cinch down more than about 2.5 inches at the absolute most for someone my size, as a general guideline.

Different people, different sizes, different waist reductions for seasoning.

A person with a bigger starting waist (say, 40″) may find they season their corsets with a reduction of 3-4 inches. A person with a smaller natural waist (say, 24″) may find that they barely get any reduction at all while they’re breaking in their corset. This is all perfectly fine. The 2″ guideline is just what has worked for me over the years while I’ve seasoned over 70 different corsets, but if you aren’t even up to that 2″ reduction yet, this doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. The whole idea of seasoning your corset is that you wear it with less tension that you normally would put on a fully-laced corset, so the fibers ‘stretch’ and align themselves evenly instead of having uneven tension, so the corset forms to your body, and so  you don’t get hot spots or pressure points that cause you discomfort or pain as you and your corset become acquainted.

I don’t say this to try and confuse any of you into thinking that the 2/2/2 rule (2″ reduction, for two hours a day, for two weeks) doesn’t work for everybody. It actually does work very well for a huge number of people, and it’s a really good starting point/ guideline for most people who are starting out, but I would rather you understand the objective behind this, as opposed to blindly following it as a rule. Some people think that rules are just red tape that is laid down to oppress them. Truly understanding the reasoning behind a certain practice is key to lacing responsibly.

Important changes to the corset:

A side seam popped at the waistline – one of the curviest seams, under the highest tension. There are a number of reasons that this could have happened:

  • I had coughed when the seam broke – it could have been my fault, for putting unfair, acute pressure on the waistline of the corset. Perhaps I have particularly strong oblique muscles, as I had ripped one other corset about 3 years ago from a sneeze. My coughs and sneezes tend to be violent. Granted, I’ve also sneezed in other corsets and those have survived…
  •  The stitch length might have been longer along that seam than usual, or perhaps there was a skipped stitch that I had overlooked. I generally don’t care much about skipped stitches from an aesthetic standpoint, as long as the corset itself is strong. If the stitch length was uneven, then that would have been a flaw in the sewing machine.
  • However, I also remember that when I tried on the mockup, it had also torn in a similar seam (just on the other side), no coughing involved but I had laced it up tight on the first go, without easing into the toile. I try not to believe in “foreshadowing” in real life, but maybe it has something to do with that particularly curvy seam.
  • The thread tension on the machine may not have been balanced, so even though the stitch length may have been okay, one of the threads may have been loose which may have allowed spreading and eventual breaking of that seam.
  • The quality of the thread may not have been strong – or if the thread was of highest quality then it’s possible that the thread had a flaw in that one spot: a case of the thread being the wrong flaw, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whatever the reason, it happened. I moped about it for a weekend, and then I returned and quickly mended the corset by hand (not a pretty job, but it did the trick!). I decided to put that particular video in the “Corset Modifications and Repairs” playlist as it seemed more relevant in that category. If you like, you can watch seasoning video 6 and the quick n’ dirty repair videos below.

 

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4th and 5th Corset Seasoning Sessions

Firstly: why didn’t I record the 4th seasoning session on its own?

I actually did record it, but my memory card malfunctioned and had to be reformatted, so I lost that material. Rather than put on different clothing and “pretend” to have day 4 all over again, I decided to just go ahead and post a “double update” because this seasoning mini-series is intended to be as natural as possible. Hopefully that hasn’t confused everyone!

Is it possible to break in your corset faster, so that it’s fully seasoned in less than two weeks?

Theoretically, yes. If, for instance, you only receive your corset one week before a big event, you may be able to double up on your seasoning sessions. Although different corsets may require different break-in durations (depending on their construction and how “tough” they are), it’s possible to squeeze two different seasoning sessions in one day – you can wear your corset for a couple of hours in the morning before work, and a couple hours again in the evening after work. I tend to do this with my own corsets whenever possible, and I feel okay doing this in my corsets because my body is accustomed to wearing corsets. However, remember that for a first-timer, the seasoning period is just as important for you body as it is for the corset – if you’re not accustomed to wearing corsets more than 1-2 hours a day, then two break-in sessions several days in a row may leave you feeling a bit sore. Just remember to pay attention to your body and ease off the corseting if you feel achy.

This is, of course, if you’re seasoning your corset by the Romantasy method (to which I tend to prescribe).  But if you poke around the web, you may be able to find different methods of breaking in your corset. Some of these methods may be as good as the Romantasy method, while others I disagree with. For instance, a number of years ago I saw one person say that one should pull their corset as tight as possible, for as long as bearable, the very first time they put the corset on. I would never personally do this, nor would I condone that others do this. It can result in injury to yourself or damage to the corset.

How do I feel about brides who don’t break in their corsets before their wedding day?

IMO, that would be a very good way to not enjoy your wedding. You’re going to be wearing a new, stiff garment for an essentially all-day event, and you’ll likely be expected to eat, drink bubbly, dance, and entertain people. If you’re not used to wearing a corset and you try to pull something like this, it’s not impossible to get skin issues and bruising, not to mention rib or hip soreness and/or numbness, or an upset stomach. Every once in awhile I get a comment or message from a woman who says, “I only wore a corset once in my life (for my wedding) and it was the most uncomfortable experience ever!” and I inwardly groan because it only contributes to the myth that all corsets must be painful. In reality, these issues are USER ERROR, and if they had just taken the time to get used to the corset (and have the corset get used to you) before the event, all this could have been avoided.

How do I know when my corset is seasoned enough?

Break-in durations vary from corset to corset, and different people also consider their corsets seasoned after different times.  Orchard Corset had mentioned that after wearing one of their satin underbust corsets 5-7 times (which would be perhaps 10-15 hours) it should feel seasoned. On the other end of the spectrum, Contour Corsets says that their corsets are seasoned after 100 or so hours. I try to wear my corset a minimum of 30 hours before I call it seasoned, even if it feels well-seasoned before this time. Tougher corsets may take longer than this to feel seasoned, though.

Although it’s sometimes hard to put this into words, this is a general list of things I look for and feel for:

  • The corset feels as if it’s smoothing around my body and the top/bottom edges are not dramatically flaring away from my body.
  • The corset is more comfortable, warming to my body and becoming softer and less “crispy”.
  • My muscles are not fighting the corset anymore; my body is relaxing and settling into its neutral posture in the corset.
  • My skin doesn’t feel sore or tender, I don’t have any particular areas where the corset is putting considerably more pressure than others (apart from the obvious higher tension at the waistline compared to, say, the hips. What I mean to say is that I don’t feel that one spot on my ribs feels particularly compressed more than another part, or I don’t really feel that the left side of my body is under more restriction than the right side, etc).
  • The corset becomes familiar and welcoming, as opposed to feeling like a restrictive foreign object that I have to fight off. In other words, both the corset and my own muscles become more complacent.

If you would like to see a close-up of how the corset looks on my body (to demonstrate how the seams look wobbly when the corset is off but look straight when the corset is worn), and other changes to the corset after the first 12-ish hours of wear, please see the video (starts at 3:45):

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3rd Day of Corset Seasoning – what to do during corseting?

Today, I’m answering some viewer questions before explaining how I feel after 6-ish hours of breaking in my corset:

Are you supposed to just sit still for two hours and not do anything while you’re breaking in your corset?

No, you don’t have to sit still. You can if you want to, or if you happen to be a pretty sedentary person to begin with. But however active you would like your lifestyle to be when you’re fully corseted, it’s a good idea to start practicing those activities while you’re seasoning your corset, especially if this is your first corset.

When I say “activity” I don’t mean heavy sports, but if you know that you will have to sit down and stand up frequently in your day-to-day life while corseted, then practice doing that while you’re seasoning. If you have to stoop down to pick things off the floor, if you have to do laundry, if you have to perform certain activities for work, then it’s a good idea to get used to those activities while seasoning. Remember that seasoning your corset is not only good for the corset, but it’s a way for you and your corset to become “acquainted” so your movements feel and look more natural while corseted. The corset will also get to “know” your movements, so if it knows that you often lean to one side or stoop and bend in a particular spot, the corset will eventually soften in that spot to accommodate your movements. Whatever I intend to do in my corset when fully laced, I will also do in the corset while seasoning it. The corset will still be receiving some tension as I go through my daily activities, but it will just be less tension compared to when it’s laced fully later on.

However I would advise caution when you’re trying to drive in your corset. When sitting in a car, especially with your corset laced loosely, it may become very easy for the corset to ride up uncomfortably on your ribs and push up your bust (if you have a bust). If you try driving in your corset and you find that you cannot safely and comfortably check your blind spot or perform other important functions, then I would recommend taking off your corset while driving, and then put your corset on again when you get to your destination.

Is there any corset that will last the rest of my life? How long will the very best corset last if I wear it every day?

Some other viewers were slightly surprised when I mentioned that even the best of corsets should be replaced after awhile (if worn on a daily basis, it might have to be replaced every couple of years depending on its construction/quality and how rigorous your regimen is). But the truth of the matter is, you will never find a corset that will last you 50 years if you plan to wear it daily.

A good quality corset may last you perhaps 10,000 hours. If you only wear your corset for a few hours a week (say for weekend cocktail parties) then you may expect your corset to last 20+ years, but if you’re wearing a corset strictly 23/7, then those 10,000 hours may be used up quite quickly; after only about 14 months! Compare this with a cheaper corset that may only last you 1000 hours, or perhaps 6 weeks with rigorous use. What a more expensive corset may provide (in additional to longer wear, but not infinite wear):

  • better fit, allowing the corset to be more comfortable
  • safer training, because the corset is less likely to create pinching or hot spots
  • better quality materials, which often means better support, breathability, and might be more sturdy or more lightweight as you prefer
  • more effective training to POTENTIALLY help you reach your goals faster (please be safe about this, listen to common sense and DON’T rush your body to the point of pain)

Remember also that top quality doesn’t always reflect that a corset is going to last a long time. Some professional ballet dancers may go through their pointe shoes in a week or so (I had mentioned 3 months but perhaps that’s just for casual students).

How I feel in the corset today:

The corset is beginning to gently cup and contour around my ribs today, and somewhat hook underneath my ribcage to prevent it from uncomfortably riding up. Contrary to how it might sound, having a corset hook under the ribs actually makes it MORE comfortable, not less.

When I first donned this corset, I mostly felt the corset applying pressure to the oblique muscles, but today I feel more pressure or tension on my lumbar area – this is probably the next area of the corset that needs to be softened, so the back panels can properly fit the natural lordosis of my lower spine.

You can see the changes to the corset in my video for the 3rd day (starts at 4:18):