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2nd day of Corset Seasoning

Today I discuss what factors affect how quickly and easily a corset is seasoned. Some corsets might only take a few days to feel comfortable on your body, while others take weeks (or even over a month!) to feel like a 2nd skin. Some of these factors that affect the seasoning time include:

  • What you’re wearing with the corset – thicker sweaters under the corset will obviously create more bulk and keep you from lacing down as much. If you insist on wearing a bulky shirt under your corset, then take your measurement of your natural waist overtop of the sweater (the shirt can sometimes add an inch or more of girth to your waist) and still only cinch down about 2 inches less than that (not 2 inches less than your “bare waist” natural measurement, as that will be more reduction overall and more tension on your corset).
  • The time of day or month might affect how much you can cinch down and how comfortable the corset feels. I can cinch more in the morning but less at night. I can cinch more right after my period, but the week before and during my period corsets are less comfortable than usual. (Note they are never painful, simply less comfortable – the same way blue jeans are less comfortable than yoga pants, but they’re still okay on a general level). Obviously a corset is more comfortable on an empty stomach (or after a light snack) compared to right after a big meal.
  • Some corsets are thicker/more heavy-duty than others, which may mean they take longer to soften, conform to your body and break in compared to lightweight corsets.
  • Corsets of different silhouettes can also be more comfortable or less comfortable/ compatible with your body, and take longer to get used to. Extreme hourglass corsets with a cupped ribcage are easier for me to break in and cinch down in, compared to wasp-waist/conical ribcage style corsets. Also, overbust corsets take longer for me to break in compared to underbust corsets, generally.

If you buy all your corsets from the same maker, you might be able to predict how your body responds and how  your new corset breaks in over time. There is nothing wrong with staying with the same maker – you can build rapport with that maker and develop a good business relationship, and they will know your lacing habits and be aware of issues with your body if they arise over time, so they know how to draft a truly well-fitted corset for you each time you need a new piece. But if you purchase many corsets from different makers like I do, don’t expect all corsets to behave or break in the same way, and also don’t expect the same results from your own body! Above all, patience is key.

See my video for my comments on how the corset is starting to conform to my body and how the structure of the corset is changing slightly as I wear it in more:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8my6I3_LiSM]

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1st day of Corset Seasoning

Adjusting the corset for comfort

I wore my corset for two hours on the first day, at a reduction of about 1.5 inches. The first thing that comes to mind as I’m seasoning the corset is that the waistline of the corset is not sitting properly at the true waist of my body. Especially when I sit down, I feel the corset wanting to shift up on my body, so that the smallest part of the corset is sitting on my floating ribs. Whenever this happens, I simply stand up and pull the corset down. Conversely, if I feel that my upper hips are uncomfortable and the corset is hitting that one annoying nerve that goes over my left hip bone, then I will pull up the corset. It’s not a complicated process.

Once the corset is properly broken in and fitted to my body, then I’ll be able to lace the corset tighter. At that point, the waist of the corset will be smaller than the circumference of my ribcage or my hips, and so the corset will “hook” itself under my ribs and will anchor itself in place and not slide around – this will make my corseting experience actually much more comfortable.

Problems with my asymmetric body

Because my left hip protrudes more than my right hip (and because one side of my body is more readily compressible than the other), it also means that twisting of symmetric corsets on my body is fairly common. I go to the extra effort to make sure my corset is straight and even when I first put on the corset and tie it up – but as the hours go by, if I notice the corset start to slant on me, I will tug the top and bottom edges of the corset in opposite directions so the corset is sitting vertical on me again.

If you notice that a new corset is sitting weirdly on  you, it’s a good idea to take off the corset and measure each side individually at the top edge (bust or underbust level), at the waist (smallest part) and at the bottom edge (hip level). Each side of the corset should match up in its “half circumference” (at least within about 1/4 inch is acceptable to me, unless it’s specifically designed to be an asymmetric corset). If you have an OTR corset that’s asymmetric on each side, see if you can get it exchanged.

Never ignore a twisted corset

One of my buddies from school had tried on one of my Isabella Josephine underbust corset at a party. She was a tiny little thing and achieved some amazing curves – but it was laced up at an obvious angle on her body. I cringed a bit at the observation, but didn’t say anything about it. I wish I had, because now whenever I try to wear that corset, the busk is diagonal on my body. Even though the corset was laced badly only once, that was enough for the corset to partially season to my friend’s figure, and it never fit the same way on me again. So now if I notice that the corset is very slanted, or if the corset is already slanted when I do up the busk even before I start lacing down, I take off the corset and start again. Wearing a twisted corset isn’t necessarily uncomfortable on me, it’s just REALLY REALLY REALLY annoying.

You can check out my video for more information, a demonstration on how I adjust the corset and how the structure of the corset slightly changes after just one wear!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On_2tnU2bR8]

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Break in (season) my corset with me!

Back in December 2010, I made a video on seasoning (breaking in) your corset, how this is done, and why seasoning is important. I’ve been seasoning my corsets this way ever since one unfortunate situation early on in my journey wherein I put on a corset for the 2nd time without seasoning it and ended up ripping a seam from one violent sneeze (my sneezes are not ladylike).

Ever since I started seasoning my corsets as per the Romantasy guidelines, I have never had that situation happen again – so I have reason to believe that it works, and there is a purpose behind this.

There are a few reasons that I decided to revisit this topic…

  1. Many people have seen my previous corset seasoning video but still don’t fully understand the process, and don’t know what is normal wear and what isn’t.
  2. Too many people are writing  and complaining to me about problems with their corset quality and/or how they feel uncomfortable, when the only problem is that they’re wearing the corset too tight, too quickly. It’s possible that they haven’t seen my first break-in video or that they have simply ignored the advice.
  3. Ann Grogan (owner of Romantasy) recently released an excellent article on her blog regarding assessing the fit of one’s custom made corset upon first wearing. Read it here!

It’s been a few years since I learned this seasoning technique, and since then I’ve seasoned over 70 corsets – each corset has been slightly different whether in cut, size, silhouette, material, construction methods, etc.
Each corset taught me a little more about the properties of corsets/garments in general, and also helped me learn a little more about how my own body works.

So I’m willing to make a step-by-step guide on the seasoning process – each day I’ll likely report how the corset feels as we become acquainted, as well as document any changes to the appearance of the corset (both on and off my body) – that way I’ll be able to show you what experiences and feelings are normal from a physical standpoint, and what kind of wear to the corset over time is typical (from those that I’ve owned). As I go through each day (or set of days), I will also be able to discuss important related issues or answer any FAQ that pop into my memory. Sound good?

In this introductory video I talk about the reasons behind seasoning, why it’s important for both YOUR HEALTH and your corset, and what sort of things to avoid as you begin the seasoning process:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCTquaNiGfo]

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Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUJjNE0vB_I]

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

Final Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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Corsets I’ve tried – in order of price range

My corset reviews are organized in chronological order because that seems to make the most sense – my reviews aren’t all equal; they’ve evolved over time and they’re easier to understand if you watch the oldest ones first.

But when people are looking for a corset within their budget, I understand that my reviews can be difficult to sift through. So I’m saving you time by organizing all the corset brands I’ve tried in order of the average price range of their underbust corsets, and then alphabetical order within that range. (You should expect overbust corsets to cost more than underbusts.)

Please note that the order of these do not represent my preferences in any way – if you need help deciding, there is always my consultation service.

I’ve now turned this into a permanent page on my site, due to the requests of several people, so you can now find the page here (or click the page at the top). ^___^

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Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique Lace Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZpAekebAL4]

Fit, length Front is about 14 inches long, from peak of bust to bottom (at longest part) is 15.5 inches. Very gentle hourglass shape. Bottom edge is a rounded shape so the corset stops just at the iliac crest (upper hips). Sweetheart bust, and plenty of room in the high back to prevent muffin top. Quite comfortable on me – very curvaceous shapes may want to invest in the upgrade for made-to-measure.
Material Fashion layer is silver/ pewter satin with black lace overlay; backed onto a sturdy strength layer underneath; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Top-stitching between the panels, single-boned on the seams, and a floating coutil liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs.
Binding Standard black satin bias tape, machine stitched inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Matching 5″ wide modesty panel, made from the same coutil/satin/lace overlay, and also bound in black bias tape. Attached to one side of the corset; removable if desired.
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 13″ long (6 pins).
Boning 12 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 4 spiral bones on the seams and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 30 grommets total, size #00 two-part eyelets (Prym brand) with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – few splits, no wear/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 This particular piece was a one-off (sample) but Kirsteen does take special orders outside of what is available in her store. Most of her corsets on Etsy, made to standard sizes, are advertised as around or under £150, and these corsets can be made to custom measurements for an additional £50. You can see the options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

This piece is absolutely beautiful. I had seen Kirsteen’s work around the internet for awhile, but I first learned of the name “Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique” when it was featured in the Lingerie Stylist’s “Top 10 Corsetieres” article in late 2012. Finally had the name of the designer of these fun, circus- and military-themed corsets. Checking out her Facebook page, I stumbled upon an auction of her pieces, and I instantly fell in love with this floral and lace number – not because it was rather different from the pieces normally available in her store, but because it was elegant in and of itself; simply put. I hadn’t yet owned a piece embellished in this way. The fact that it was one-of-a-kind made it that much more special!

I was not disappointed in Kirsteen’s workmanship at all – the stitchwork is neat, the lace overlay doesn’t wrinkle in the slightest, the beaded lace trim and roses are secured with care and attention, the coutil lining inside is high quality, smooth and comfortable. For a piece that was not intended for my measurements, it fits surprisingly well (I feel so fortunate to have these body dimensions). Do not be surprised if you see me review her work again in the future. In fact, I might almost guarantee it. ;)

To see the other styles available by Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique, visit Kirsteen’s Etsy shop here!

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Electra Designs Playboy Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Electra Designs Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpsZrzcsHuU]

Fit, length Center front is about 16 inches long, from peak of bust to lap is 15 inches. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an dramatic hourglass shape. Hips are cut very high with adjustable hip ties. Plunge sweetheart neckline which supports but doesn’t oversquish.
Material Fashion layer is a heavy salmon-pink satin; strength layer is cotton coutil. No floating liner as it’s a sample piece.
Construction 8 panel pattern. Lock-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Sandwiched bones, one on each seam and one in the middle of the panel. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Matching pink satin, machine stitched outside and hand-finished inside (very neat and clean).
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape exposed on the inside (because there is no liner. If a floating lining is ordered then the waist tape would be invisible). Secured down in multiple boning channels.
Modesty panel Boned modesty panel suspended on the laces; hourglass shape is very comfortable.
Busk Standard width busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13.5″ long (6 pins), two lowest pins closer together.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. Flats on either side of the busk and by the eyelets (the eyelets are set into lacing bones), and the rest (on the sides of the body) are 1/4″ spiral steel.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part eyelets with small flange; set equidistantly (they have to be because they’re set into a lacing bone); high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. Washer on the back is larger than flange for extra support.
Laces Matching pink double-face satin ribbon on the back and also in the front (at bust) and at the hip ties. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price The short-hip, sweetheart plunge overbust starts at $469 for standard size and $569 for custom fit. This does not include add-ons like adjustable hip ties, hand-finished binding, or modesty panel. You can see the options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

This was my second couture corset purchase back around April of 2011 (preceded only by Puimond’s white iridescent overbust). This corset, despite being made for Elegy Ellem (who has a very different overall body composition to my own), fit my measurements surprisingly well. Where I lack in the bust area, I make up for with a broader back.

The adjustable hip ties are wonderful in taking pressure off my left iliac (my main problem when it comes to ordering corsets) and the flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I find that when wearing this corset out to a special event, I’m less tired at the end of the day compared to some of my other overbust corsets which cause a slight change in my posture.

The construction is remarkably strong and the stitchwork is immaculate, even on the inside without a liner. I can’t help but be impressed with each feature of the corset, because it seems that not one decision in construction was made without somehow keeping the wearer in mind. Only Alexis’ busy schedule prevents me from immediately ordering a second piece. She is currently busy creating a multimedia corset making instructional course, which you can learn more about on this page.

To see other styles from Electra Designs, do visit the official website here.

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Whirling Turban Wing Bust, Sarong Skirt Dress!

This is a very special OOTD episode, where I feature a lovely vintage reproduction dress made by Whirling Turban. I was introduced to Whirling Turban’s products via Ashley of “Lisa Freemont Street”, fellow vlogger on Youtube and blogger. (Ashley is also a full-time mom and an integral part of the Whirling Turban team, in addition to a few other jobs – and manages to look fabulous doing it all! She’s a modern Superwoman.)

If you would rather watch and listen than read, feel free to watch the video below (lots of eyecandy!).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BncLORcdqU]

Many people know me for my detailed corset reviews, but it wasn’t until I got my vintage dresses last year that I really started paying attention to the quality of the rest of my wardrobe. When a garment (corset or otherwise) is made with care, attention, time and skill, it really shows. And it may cost a tad more (for instance, the standard size wingbust dress on WT starts at $235), but I consider this a very fair investment considering it makes me feel like a million bucks.

This dress is adjustable in several ways – its flexible wing bust allows the wearer to flip the ‘wings’ up into cheeky points to conceal the contrast fabric, or to curve the wings down for a softer look and to expose more of the contrast. The dress also comes with a halter strap which matches the contrast, a halter strap which matches the main fabric of the dress (whichever color you like, since there are 9 colors of sharkskin to choose from), and these straps can be interchanged/ adjusted in length using two pairs of small buttons on the inside of the bust.

You can also wear it strapless, and the lightly boned bodice will keep the dress from falling down on you. The light boning and the shirring both keep the bodice wonderfully smooth instead of shifting or bunching. However, this bodice is not designed to nip you in at the waist, so WT recommends wearing a corset underneath to give you a period-accurate silhouette. In my video ab0ve, you can see me model the dress first with my What Katie Did Morticia underbust, and then with my Versatile Corsets Mimosa overbust, so you can see the difference that your foundation wear makes in silhouette.

The sarong skirt is attached to the bodice, and flares out dramatically from the waistline to accentuate full, feminine hips. There are several neat pleats in the front which would nicely conceal any lower tummy pudge; and otherwise add to the very 50’s-accurate profile. I chose my skirt to end about one inch lower than the fullest part of my calf, which gives a slight leg-lengthening illusion. The sarong is a kind of wiggle skirt, and hugs my legs in a flattering yet non-restrictive manner, as the slit between the two overlapping panels of fabric in the front accommodate any extra room you may need to climb a steep set of stairs, or to quickly sidestep your manic puppy. (Both happen frequently, in my case.) A lovely casual tie on the side of the hip, like an understated bow, finishes off the look and provides very minor adjustment in the hips.

The more I look at the dress, the more details pop out at me. Not one aspect of this dress was constructed without some sort of consideration for the wearer. The material is 100% cotton, which drapes beautifully and is a dream to wear, as it doesn’t cause sweating, itching, static cling, etc. The wings on the bustline are meticulously pressed and sewn into crisp edges; the shirring is symmetric on both sides of the bodice; the clothestag is concealed and prevented from poking into my back; the matching colored zipper is cleanly inserted and doesn’t catch; and even the interfacing is sew-in instead of fusible. One of the most important features is the pinked edges, which provide a non-bulky way to prevent fraying and unraveling of seams.

If this post sounds like I’m waxing poetic about the work of Whirling Turban… it’s because I might be! Looking at the craftsmanship of this dress, I’m tempted to get rid of many of my worn-too-quickly $15 eco t-shirts and start to take more pride in the way I dress on a regular basis.

If you would like to see Whirling Turban’s selections, feel free to visit their site here.

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Puimond PY15 Black Wicked Plunge Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Puimond Wicked Plunge Overbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iK1C_sCTI8]

Fit, length Center front is about 13 inches long. From apex of bust to bottom of the corset is 17″ (waist to apex 12″), center back about 13.5″. Unique dramatic wasp-waist (yet comfortable) silhouette. Hips are longline and rounded, while ribcage is more conical. Exaggerated plunge neckline; I recommend using double-sided/ toupee tape if your breasts tend to migrate.
Material Fashion layer is black spot broche, backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, sandwiched boning channels (with the use of bone casings), one on each seam and one in the center of each panel. Floating liner (very comfortable).
Binding Black patent leather, machine stitched inside and outside; trimmed short instead of folded under on the inside (typical treatment of leather/ pleather binding)
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None.
Busk None. Closed front with embellishment.
Boning 24 steel bones. Two steel flats in the center front (underneath embellishment), and four flats in the back sandwiching the two rows of grommets. Remaining bones are 1/4″ spiral steel, one placed on each seam and one placed in the center of each panel.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Almost no spring.
Price The PY15 is advertised as $490 for fabric and $650 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

This is my second Puimond overbust corset. As I had mentioned in my previous Puimond review, this one is constructed differently and is one of my favorite corsets in terms of fit, comfort and sturdiness. It’s a shame that I don’t get to wear it out often enough!

This corset is quite long with a low waistline, and feels as though it were constructed to fit me, even though it’s a standard size. (The bust is actually supposed to be like that!) The quality of the materials and hardware used are also top. If a standard size fits this well, I’d be quite curious to know how a custom one could fit! I’m a huge fan of Puimond and can’t recommend his work highly enough. To see Puimond’s other styles, do visit his website here.

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De-Sensationalizing the Corset

I received a very refreshing and pleasant message from a subscriber the other day, which included this passage (published with permission):

I just wanted to tell you how much I really love your channel, and how pleasing it is to see someone who makes corsetting something that’s empowering, fun and sort of a hobby. I found that before you, there seemed to be two camps of social stigma: Sexy Corseting for the bedroom and nights out, or Grandma Corseting that’s seen as uncomfortable, demeaning and anti-feminist (not to mention a bit utilitarian and unflattering!). What I mean to say here is, thanks for giving it the air of girls chatting together, rather than guys saying “They’re only doing that to look thinner/sexier!”. I think corsets are fun and beautiful, and so do you!

The part of her letter which made me smile the most was what she said about my channel giving the air of girls chatting together. I had never really thought about it that manner, but in a way that’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for – educational and demystifying, but also colloquial and relaxed, instead of the focus being on strictly the fetish community or strictly historical re-enactors/ Grandma’s attic. But let’s expand on this topic a bit…

Continue reading De-Sensationalizing the Corset

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Puimond PY06 Iridescent Pearl Plunge Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_nEUSa6ZHk]

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, back is 13″ long. From waist to underbust is 4-5″, waist to peak of bust is about 10″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips are cut high; not a problem for pear shapes. Recommended for extreme hourglass ladies. Exaggerated plunge neckline; I recommend using double-sided/ toupee tape if your breasts tend to migrate.
Material Fashion layer is pearlescent vinyl; backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Lock-stitching between panels, external boning channels in the middle of the panels, and a floating liner (very comfortable). 6 garter tabs.
Binding Matching pearl vinyl, machine stitched inside and outside; trimmed short instead of folded under on the inside (typical treatment of leather/ pleather binding)
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None.
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins).
Boning 10 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 3 bones in the middle of the panels (feels like spiral) and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, no wear/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 The PY06 is advertised as $450 for fabric and $570 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

This was my first couture corset purchase back around February of 2011. I have since purchased another Puimond overbust (PY15) which is constructed differently, and fits totally differently as well. For anyone who may have gotten the impression that I was complaining about the fit of this corset, please note that Puimond is not at any fault – he is a very well-respected designer in this field.

I’m more upset that my torso length doesn’t fit the corset, as opposed to the corset not fitting me. This particular corset was not made to my particular measurements; it has been around for many years and been worn by at least 4-5 different people. It’s held up surprisingly well over time, all things considered. I’m very excited to review my second Puimond corset in the future, as it shows how Puimond alters his construction techniques based on fabrics used and silhouette he’s going for – not all “Puimonds” are the same!

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

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Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKaYPZDMVJ8]

Fit, length Front is about 10.5″ inches long, unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for a wasp-like effect. Hips likewise follow the body’s natural contours; very comfortable. Longline corset. Will hold in lower tummy pooch, recommended for extreme hourglass ladies. Exaggerated plunge neckline; I recommend using double-sided/ toupee tape if your breasts tend to migrate.
Material Fashion layer is 100% silk charmeuse; interlining is 100% cotton coutil, lining is cotton.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, sandwiched bones, and a floating liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs.
Binding Matching silk charmeuse bias tape, hand-finished.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Floating 4″ wide stiffened lacing protector on the back; placket by knob-side of busk.
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 10″ long (5 pins), with several bones on each side.
Boning Continuously boned. 64 steel bones not including busk. I’m guessing 58 spirals (ranging from 5mm to 7mm wide) and 6 flats (6mm to 8mm wide) – two on either side of the busk and four sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 32 grommets total, size 5mm two-part Prym eyelets with moderate flange; set closer together at the waistline; no splits, no wear/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 Sparklewren has every client sign a confidentiality agreement; please contact Jenni if you would like to commission a similar piece.

Final Thoughts:

This is my second corset purchased from Sparklewren, and my first true experience ordering bespoke from a professional corsetiere. This overbust was commissioned back in January/February of 2012, and completed in May. I was given the option of different colors of silk charmeuse, different types of antique lace and layout of said lace, different flossing motifs, etc. It was an incredibly exciting process and it fits like a dream, too. Jenni is a true artist in her field.
See more of Sparklewren’s creations at her website, here.

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“Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself” by Sarah A. Chrisman — an Overview

I admit it. I’m terrible at book reviews. So many years of working in biology labs have conditioned me to treat every publication the same way: study, jot notes, report results relevant to my own research. Opinions are frowned upon by the Board. (At least I got to sneak in some alliteration.)

My video review, despite being 13 minutes long, feels painfully short and superficial. In reality, the raw footage of the review was over an hour long, wherein I combined Chrisman’s research and experiences with my own and discussed possible (soft) conclusions to certain questions regarding physical, psychological and societal impacts of wearing a corset. Alas, most people these days don’t have 13 minutes to spare, nevermind an hour.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKSXGbosyTw]

This book used to be called “Waisted Curves: My Transformation into a Victorian Lady” and was self-published and hand-made – Chrisman carefully hand-folds each page, sews them together, and binds the cover in your choice of cloth, silk or leather — the way that books were made in the Victorian era. Due to the print or weave on the cover fabric, no two books are exactly the same. You kind of feel the love and the labour emanating from this. The price of this book, $40 for cloth-bound and $49 for either silk or leatherbound, is well-justified just by how much work must have gone into assembling the book itself — but the contents inside are worth much more.

Now the book has been picked up by a publisher, it has changed its name to “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself” and is available on Amazon.

The book is essentially a memoir of Chrisman’s first year (and a few months extra) of corset training – in this time, her waist is reduced from 32” uncorseted to 22” corseted – she changes the way she carries herself, and her style of dress so that essentially she is transformed into a “Victorian lady” by the end of the book. If this book were made into a movie trailer, I have a feeling that it would look like a typical “transformation” or “make0ver” movie (e.g. Clueless, She’s All That, Teen Witch, Princess Diaries, etc). Let me tell you now that those movies are garbage compared to this book. “Waisted Curves…” is a non-fiction, first-hand account of what it’s really like to make such a transformation (not only in appearance but also in health, grace and building one’s knowledge) – it’s not an overnight change, and it’s not without its challenges.

A not-so-brief summary of events (SPOILER ALERT)

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Versatile Corsets Mimosa Overbust Review

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MojKXvAwCs]

Fit, length Front is about 13.5″ inches long, modern hourglass or slim silhouette. Not a longline corset; cut above the hips. Good for women with an average length torso. May not cover lower tummy pooch – I’d recommend this corset to women who have a balanced figure on top and bottom, or top-heavy women who would like more bust support.
Material 3 layers (counting the interfacing); fashion layer is satin which is interfaced with medium weight woven fusible interfacing, and the lining is 100% cotton American coutil.
Construction 9 panel pattern (6 on the bodice and forming the bust cup). Top-stitching between panels, boning channels are interestingly sandwiched such that the bones are not visible on the fashion layer. Also has 8 garter tabs.
Binding Matching turquoise binding made from bias strips of satin.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Attached 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back; unstiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins), with a 3/8″ wide flat steel bone on each side.
Boning 26 (28 if you include the underwire) steel bones not including busk. On each side, 10 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 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with large flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong nylon cord-style laces; they’re thin, strong and they are long enough but very slippery.
Price Currently $398 USD for the standard size on the Versatile website (right now they’re having a 25% off sale on all their corsets – enter the coupon code Fall25).

Final Thoughts:

When I first bought this corset and received it in the mail, I wasn’t going crazy for it. As time went on, I found that the more I wore it, the more I liked it. The individual cups are very comfortable – I feel that this is one of the few overbust corsets I own that don’t squeeze my girls into painful little pancakes. When working at my computer, I like to wear this corset because it has a natural silhouette and fit (as opposed to a wasp-waist) and the cups support me like a bra, yet take the weight off my shoulders which further prevents me from hunching over.
Aesthetically I do prefer the more dramatic wasp-waist silhouettes however, so if I were to go back and buy this again, I may invest in the custom size. Although the overall effect is flattering as it is, I feel that it would have been an even better fit if the corset were larger in the ribcage, and had smaller cups (C cups instead of D). This would help support my bust more while preventing muffin top around the back. I also feel that the cups could be placed closer together in the front – perhaps the flat bones on either side of the busk can start lower down, allowing the cups to be pushed closer by about an inch.
The Mimosa corset is also available in various color combinations as you can choose the main fabric, then trim, external boning channels, and binding. I’m actually glad that I didn’t get decorative external boning channels, as this gave me the opportunity to see the unique and clever construction – a style I had never seen before:

Overall, I am happy with this purchase. It’s a totally unique piece in my corset collection, and one of the more comfortable overbusts I own. In retrospect I probably should have purchased this corset in a gold color or other earth-tone so I can wear on more occasions in conjunction with a steampunk outfit, from conventions to Halloween. To see other models in the Mimosa corset, Versatile has a small gallery of women of all shapes and sizes so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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Glowing Tardis Corset Case Study

This post is a written summary of the video case study for the Light Atop the Tardis corset I made back in May/June of this year.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMLEmWcKAX0]

This corset was made for a girl attending Dragon*Con this August/September so I had to keep it a secret for several months, until after its debut at the convention. The corset itself is supposed to resemble (as its name suggests) the light on top of the Tardis while her skirt was the main box (which opened to show the impossibly huge interior of the Tardis).

-Details of the Tardis corset…>

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Outfits with a Corset: Hiding your Corset with Empire Waists

I know what some of you are thinking: “You spend hundreds of dollars for a high-end training corset, and countless hours of effort and discipline whittling down your waist, and you want to hide it?”

Hiding or concealing your corset isn’t about shame. Sometimes it’s necessary to conceal the corset during work or school hours (especially if one’s waist is obviously unnatural, such as a wasp-waist or pipe-stem). The same way that employees and employers alike cover their tattoos with make up or take out their gauge earrings (plugs), so corsets may be a form of body modification that’s frowned upon in the workplace. Even outside of corporate life, some people wear corsets for personal reasons but don’t feel it necessary to make it anyone else’s business.

That being said, there are several ways to fairly easily hide your corset under clothing. One of these ways involves empire-waist shirts and dresses.

Empire-waist tops are “cinched” in at the underbust level, and fall freely below that point (very much the popular silhouette during the Regency period). As such, the waist of your shirt will fall at, or just above, the point where your underbust corset will start. Since corsets tend to not constrict your upper ribcage, the high waistline of your shirt in this area will look natural, and then the surplus of fabric beneath that point will easily conceal the sharp inward curve created by your corset.

In the video below, I show a couple of different examples of empire waist shirts. They may have an elasticated bottom (in order to create a “bubble” effect) or they may be free and loose on the bottom, like an A-line skirt that starts just under the bust area. Both of these work well to hide corsets.

Generally speaking, heavier fabrics are better at hiding your corset than more lightweight fabrics. While lighter fabrics can still conceal a corset, any breeze or draft that pushes your shirt aside will show your silhouette beneath. (This can be used to your advantage sometimes!) The lighter the fabric is, the looser the cut of the shirt must be in order to conceal the corseted figure.

Even if this style of shirt or dress isn’t “in season”, there are two places that you’re likely to find them. The first is 2nd-hand stores, also known as fripperies, consignment shops, “vintage boutiques”, Goodwill/ Salvation Army/ Value Village etc. The second place where you will always find empire waists in fashion is a maternity clothing store, as most of their clothing is designed to conceal (or have enough folds of fabric to accommodate) a growing belly. In fact, most clothing which is designed to hide so-called “problem areas” (protruding bellies, apple-shapes etc) are also quite good at concealing other “odd” shaped torsos, such as a corseted figure.

In the next few weeks I’ll be making more of these “Dressing with your corset” videos and posts, to show you the different ways that you can either accentuate or hide a corseted figure.

To see my outfits in detail, watch this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rljMKkqavM8]

Best wishes,

Lucy