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Black Mesh Corset Case Study

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dg78g8TYgU]

Fit, length Center front is 11″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 23″ and hips 34″. The elastic mesh also contributes to the extreme shape and curviness.
Material Heavyweight powernet (quite stretchy) for most of the panels, and black satin coutil for the first and last panels, the boning channels and the diamond waist tape.
Construction Essentially a 6-panel pattern although the last panel is separated into two to make 7 panels. First, the powernet panels were sewn together wrong sides together and flat-felled with the bulk being on the outside of the body. Then I added the center front coutil panels, with the diamond waist basted in front. The diamond extends into a waist tape, which was basted at each seam, then I secured the external channels down on top of it. The back coutil panel went on last, then I added the busk and bones, and lastly serged the top and bottom edges.
Binding There is no binding on this *yet*. I had serged the raw edges to keep them from fraying. This allows the mesh to stretch. Conventional binding would not allow the top and bottom edges of the corset to stretch. However I may later add an elastic or mesh binding.
Waist tape The diamond detail made from satin coutil extends into a waist tape that is slightly more than 1 inch wide, and placed on the external side of the corset, secured down at the boning channels.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back. There is a small modesty placket in the front by the busk.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long. Although it is quite flexible, having 3 layers of satin coutil surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite sturdy.
Boning 20 bones total in this corset (not including the busk). On each side there are eight 1/4″ wide spirals in external channels, then a 1/2″ wide flat steel on the center back edge of the grommet panel, and a 1/4″ steel on the “inner” side of the grommets.
Grommets There are 26 2-part size #00 grommets (13 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets to insert these, placing the grommets closer together than I normally would and making sure the grommets are snug between the two flat bones. So far they have all held up well.
Laces Some old black cotton shoe-lace style. More lightweight than nylon laces but not as strong. I just used whatever I had lying around.
Price This corset was quite time consuming due to the flat-felled seams and external channels and waistband. Also the powernet and satin coutil were both expensive materials. If I were to remake this corset (with a more pristine finish) it would likely start at no less than $280.

Final thoughts:

This is an extremely comfy corset. I also feel that I’m able to very easily cinch down in this corset – I wish I had drafted it to be another inch or two smaller! The powernet is forgiving of curves and makes my asymmetric hips look symmetric, while giving me absolutely zero pinching or discomfort.

The only disappointments I had with this corset was a) the asymmetry in the diamond detail, and b) the rough finish of the serged edges. I may end up adding binding to this corset (either elastic or mesh) although that would somewhat ruin its ability to be worn inconspicuously under clothing, and I’m not sure how even elastic binding would bring back the dreaded muffin top which is currently so nicely avoided.

Overall I think this experiment turned out much nicer than I had anticipated, and I think I will use this as a sleeping corset in the future! However I do need to practice my “finishing” of corsets, even when they’re experiments or prototypes.

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Timeless Trends Overbust Corset Review

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

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

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

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

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Bad Attitude Boutique “Lady Jane” Corset Review

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGq3-CT1Pvo]

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

Final Thoughts:

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

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The Corset Gap: What does it mean?

This entry is a summary of the review video “Shape of your Corset Gap – What does it mean?” which you can watch on YouTube here: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10GdIi1VwMw]

 Shape/ meaning

Brands to avoid for your body type

Brands to consider for your body type

A shape

The A Shape
The A shape

This means that your hips are too wide for this corset pattern. This type of gap is common for women who are naturally a pear shape. Do NOT try to force the hips smaller because then you may get an odd bump at the lower edge of the corset, and it can also make your hips go numb.

Avoid any corsets that say “modern slim” silhouette or “gentle curves.” This may include any of the “Level 1” corsets from Orchard Corset, or the underbust corsets from Corsets-UK. For those who have a larger hipspring, look for corsets for vintage figures: What Katie Did or Isabella Corsetry are good choices. They have a hipspring of more than 12-14 inches.

V shape

The V shape
The V shape

This means that your ribcage or shoulders are too broad or fleshy for the corset. While it is possible to train down your ribcage, it’s unlikely that you can train it right from the very top edge.  This often occurs in swimmers or in men who wear women’s corsets.

Corsets that have a relatively narrow ribcage, which include some WKD underbusts. For standard corsets with a larger ribcage, try Timeless Trends and the CS-426 from Orchard Corset.

() shape

The () shape
The () shape

This is when you have gaping at the waist – the bones in the back are either too flexible, or the waist is too small than you’re ready for. This CAN ruin the corset because it’s forcing the bones to twist in their channels. It can even make the bones kink outward or inward into your back, which is quite uncomfortable.

Avoid corset patterns that are curvier than you are ready for. If you have a very “unyielding” figure, you may have to train down before buying corsets like WKD or Isabella.  I’d recommend you start with a larger corset size, or go for a corset that makes more gentle/ natural hourglass or slim silhouettes like Timeless Trends.

)( shape

The )( shape
The )( shape

This is when your body is more of an hourglass shape than the corset itself! The corset doesn’t have enough curve in it. BEWARE of this common trick on websites! They will use models who are naturally quite curvy and this will make their corsets curvier. A corset that is modelled with a gap like this in the back will likely look more tubular when it’s laced straight.

Avoid any corsets that say “modern slim” silhouette or “gentle curves.” This may include any of the “Level 1” corsets from Orchard Corset, the underbust corsets from Corsets-UK. Try What Katie Did Morticia corset, the Curvy Girl corset from Azrael’s Accomplice, or several options available from Isabella Corsetry or Ms Martha’s corset shop.

//

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 2.33.47 AM
The // shape

A diagonal but fairly parallel gap means that the corset fits your ribcage, waist and hips reasonably well but it is twisting on the body. There are several reasons why this may be happening: 1. If the corset is made with twill and all of the panels have the twill running in the same direction. Twill, while strong, has an asymmetric weave so stretches more on one bias than another. To test if your corset has stretched differently on either side, measure the ½ circumference on each side of your corset at ribcage, waist and hips. See if both sides are equal. 2. It may just have been how you put the corset on that day! Always lace in front of a mirror to avoid tying it skewed. If you notice your corset is twisted, take it off immediately and put it on again straight. It is possible for a corset to season into a permanent twisted shape! 3. It may not be the corset, but rather your body that is asymmetric. If you have any of the following then this can make a symmetric corset look asymmetric:

  • scoliosis
  • a previously broken rib
  • one leg longer than the other
  • some other skeletal or muscular asymmetry
In the first situation, I recommend not buying corsets made with twill – or if they are made with twill, make sure the corsetiere is experienced enough to sew it perfectly on grain, and to flip every other panel so that the bias of all panels don’t run in the same direction.Also, as bad as it sounds, avoid “risky investments.” Ensure that your corsetiere is scrutinous about making each half of the corset the same way, and to specification (whether symmetric or asymmetric). In the last situation (physical asymmetry), I strongly suggest finding an experienced corsetiere who can fit you with an asymmetric corset, which will then end up looking symmetric on you!

 ||

This is the coveted vertical parallel gap! Some people prefer to have no space in the back, while others like about 2 inches of space so the back edges don’t touch the spine. Either way, your corset fits you well. Congratulations!

 Make sure that your corset is not too big for you; when the corset is closed there shouldn’t be any significant gaping between your ribcage and the top edge of the corset, or your hips and the bottom edge of your corset.  You’re very lucky, my friend! If  You’ve found an off-the-rack corset that fits you nearly as well as a custom corset. If it makes you look good and feel good, then take it and run!

Final Thoughts: Many people have no problem with the shape of their corset gap (after all, the wearer doesn’t have to see it!). If this is you, then continue rocking your corset just the way you like it. However if you, like me, are a little more conscientious about achieving the vertical parallel lines of a well-fit corset, I hope these suggestions can help you choose a better off-the-rack corset for next time – and if all else fails, go custom! If you enjoyed this article, or even if you need clarification, you may also like my “Addendum to Corset Gaps: Troubleshooting More Fitting Issues

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Snobz Banquet Overbust Review

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqtqp7XAYCw]

Fit, length Center front is about 16 inches high; the highest part (from the apex of the bust) is 15 inches high. Gives a flattering moderate hourglass silhouette. Appropriate for average or shorter torso length. It is slightly longline with a low dip in the center front bottom edge. I would also recommend this for moderately-busted women (B-C cup).
Material 2 layers; fashion layer is 100% polyester satin, and the lining is polycotton twill.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Internal boning channels also made of twill.
Binding Commerical black satin bias tape machine stitched on both sides; see video for how they bound the top edge.
Waist tape 1″ wide ribbon as exposed waist tape secured under the boning channels.
Modesty panel No modesty panel; one can be ordered for £10. No placket by the busk.
Busk Wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 15″ long (7 pins), fairly sturdy albeit quite long.
Boning 22 steel bones not including busk. 16 spirals (1/4″ wide) in external channels, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets, also two spirals beside the busk.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 one-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no pulling out of grommets however there is no washer and the grommets are set backwards compared to what I’m used to. I’m not sure yet if this is normal grommet policy for Snobz.
Laces Fine nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; quite thin, they grip well and they are very long, no springiness and quite strong.
Price Plain satin version of this is currently £127 in the UK, or $200 USD

Final Thoughts:
I really love the shape of this corset, and I’m able to achieve a decent reduction in it. For a 5-panel pattern, it gives a beautiful and balanced silhouette – I am so sad that the waist-to-top vertical measurement is just far too short for my torso. Since the website states that the length of the corset was 17 inches, I had expected the entire length to be shifted 3-4 inches higher. On my figure, this Banquet corset is reminiscent of other “1700’s” style neckline overbusts that I’ve tried (including the Antoinette corset by WKD and the Gothic overbust by Corsets-UK), with a further inch cut out of the center front panels which my mother has dubbed (to my horror) the “nipple shelf.” This corset would fit someone who is short waisted, high waisted or smaller busted… or if you are none of the above, strive to wear this over a blouse.

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Black Floral Tapestry Steel-Boned Corset Review (Amazon)

This entry is a summary of the review video “(Amazon.com) Black Floral Tapestry Steel-Boned Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

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

Fit, length Front is about 14 inches high; the highest part (from the apex of the bust) is 15 inches high. Gives hardly any curve in the silhouette, almost no waist reduction at all. Don’t trust the “floating” corset pictures online – the shape is shown more accurately on a real model! Appropriate for average torso length. I do like how the cut of this corset both covers and minimizes my bust.
Material 1 layer; fashion layer is the black floral polyester with a sort of non-stretch mesh backing.
Construction 6 panel pattern, panels are topstitched together. Internal boning channels made from cheap commercial fuzzy bone casing.
Binding Commercial black satin binding machine stitched on both inside and outside, not a clean finish. Also has 4 garter tabs.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel None.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13″ long (6 pins), EXTREMELY flimsy/ flexible. Also has hook/eye to prevent gaping at bustline.
Boning 12 steel bones not including busk. All spiral steel bones, including in the back by the grommets, so some bowing occurs when lacing up.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with smaller flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets, surprisingly.
Laces 3/8″ wide black double-face satin, they are barely long enough but are fairly strong.
Price Currently $32 USD on Amazon.com.

Final Thoughts:
I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much considering how cheap it was, but I was quite disappointed that it didn’t include a waist tape or modesty panel. However I was genuinely pleasantly surprised to see that they used real steel boning here. I suppose if worse came to worst, one could cannibalize this corset simply for its materials, although you would have to use a stronger strength layer and likely reinforce the busk. But I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone who is interested in a corset for tightlacing/waist training. This corset is really just to shave off a couple of inches, to be worn as clubwear or a costume. You can find the corset here on Amazon.

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Comparison/ Double review! Leatherotics 1811 vs Chinese-made Ebay Corset

This entry is a summary of the review video “Comparison: Leatherotics 1811 vs Budget Ebay Corset” which you can watch on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6HwAenBeVk]

Leatherotics Corset

Chinese Ebay Corset

Fit, length About 12 inches high; very straight busk that does not bow outwards. Gives a very gentle silhouette. Appropriate for average to long torso length. Center front is about 13 inches high; busk bows outwards a bit, giving the appearance of pooch. Gentle silhouette. Slightly longline compared to Leatherotics. Appropriate for average to long torso length.
Material 2 layers; fashion layer is black polyester satin, and the lining is black cotton twill. Only one layer; a red satin that has a kind of sturdy non-stretch backing.
Construction 6 panel pattern, assembled with a lock-stitch. Internal boning channels. Also has 4 garter tabs.  6 panel pattern, assembled with a top-stitch. Internal boning channels. Also has 4 garter tabs.
Binding Matching black satin (made from bias strips of the same fashion material), machine stitched on both sides, finished cleanly.  A close colour match (but not exact) red satin commercially made bias tape, machine stitched on both sides in one go, finishing is not clean.
Waist tape 1″ wide visible waist tape made of satin ribbon, seen on inside, stretching across all panels and secured down at boning channels.  1/2″ wide waist tape made of grosgrain ribbon, seen on inside, stretching across ONLY panels 3-4-5, leaving the other panels unprotected. Secured down at boning channels. One side has the waist tape wrinkled in a seam.
Modesty panel Attached lacing protector on the back made of two layers (black satin and twill); also includes a placket overtop of the busk to hide it.  Attached lacing protector on the back made of one layer (red satin) and lace around it, also includes a placket under the busk.
Busk Standard 1/2″ wide busk on each side, about 10.5″ long (5 pins). Very sturdy. Wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 11.5″ long (5 pins), however it’s more flimsy than the Leatherotics busk.
Boning 12 steel bones not including busk. 8 spirals (1/4″ wide)  4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.  14 steel bones, all spiral steel bones even on the back by the grommets. Bows and collapses when trying to tighten up.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly from eachother and between the two bones; no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets  20 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly, except offset towards the last bone at the back edge. Starting to pull out around the waist after only 2 wears.
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces  Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces
Price Plain satin version of this is currently £40 in the UK, or $60 USD – and they offer custom sizing, more bones, different fabric/ colours.  Plain satin version of this is currently $35 USD on Ebay, no other options for custom sizing, fabric etc.

 

Final Thoughts:
You get what you pay for! If you just want a simple cheap fashion corset without any waist reduction, OR if you’re looking for a cheap corset just take apart in order to learn how to recreate a corset pattern, then the cheaper corset may suit your purposes. However the Leatherotics brand offers custom sizing – this will give you as much or as little curve as you like. But remember the limits of each brand – if you want to be sure you get a corset made exactly to all of your measurements and specifications, you will have to go with an independent corsetier(e).

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Chocolate Faux Suede Giveaway Corset

This entry is a summary of the case study for the Chocolate Faux Suede giveaway corset, made for the winner of the “Giveaway in Memory of Phoenixjodirae”. Following the summary was an interview with the winner of the corset, which you can watch in the video at the end of this post.

Material 3 layers; fashion layer is faux suede in chocolate brown, interlining of cotton coutil, and lining of hot pink twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Double boned; it has one bone on each seam (sewn into the seam allowances) and another bone inserted into the middle of each panel using bone casing. Includes a floating liner.
Binding Matching faux suede binding made from bias tape of the same fashion material. It was very fiddly to work with; I don’t recommend using suede binding.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining, secured down under boning channels.
Modesty panel 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of faux suede and twill, stiffened with plastic canvas and suspended on the laces with grommets. Also includes a placket under the busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 9.5″ long (5 pins). Also has a bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. 18 spirals (1/4″ wide), 4 flats (1/2 inch wide on the outer edge, 1/4″ wide on the inner edge) sandwiching the grommets, also two 1/4″ wide flats beside the busk.
Grommets 18 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with large flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets, thanks to some better quality grommets made of a more malleable brass.
Laces 5/8″ wide double face satin ribbon in hot pink, to match the lining.
Price A reproduction of this corset would be approximately $270 USD.

If you would like to see the interview with the winner of the giveaway and her story, you may watch her video here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4wJuPww57o]

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How to Fasten your Corset Busk

Depending on the brand, some corsets have trickier busks than others. I have some corsets that clasp up in two seconds, while other ones I’ve struggled for 5-10 minutes to get those last few knobs and loops to match up. Sometimes I would bend the busk this way and that way, or lay down on the floor, or end up doing some kind of strange acrobatics to clasp up the busk… usually by the end of the struggle, I’d be exhausted and sweaty.

If this is you, have no fear! I’ve finally unlocked the secret to fastening virtually any corset busk. ;) Here are the steps:

  1. Loosen the laces as much as possible. There should be no “slack” in the bunny ears at the waistline, and the gap in the back of the corset should be as wide as it will go.
  2. Wrap the corset around yourself. There should be absolutely no struggle, in fact it may be so loose on you that if you let go, it may even slide down over your hips.
  3. Start by clasping the 2nd bracket from the top. If you do up the very top or the very bottom one first, then it can result in the busk acting like a “hinge” which makes you lose control.
  4. After that first clasp (2nd from the top) is done, take the knob side of the busk in your left hand. Fold the fabric back behind the busk bone itself so you can pinch the busk between your thumb and fingers.
  5. You should then be able to use your thumb behind the knob side of the busk to keep it straight and push each knob through the corresponding loop.
  6. Some people notice that the very bottom bracket or clasp is the most difficult to fasten. One lovely viewer has suggested sticking your arm down inside the corset with your left hand, palm facing forward (away from you) so you can grab onto the bottom of the busk and fasten it up.
  7. Once you have finished all the lower knobs and loops, go back up to the top and fasten that one as well. Sometimes when you are fastening the lower ones, you may observe the top ones starting to undo themselves. That’s okay, just fasten them up again at the end.

And you’re done! You can now tighten the laces as much as you find comfortable. This method has never failed for me, even on my most difficult corset busks.

When taking off your corset, once again loosen the laces as far as they will go. I find it easiest to start by undoing the bottom bracket and working my way up to the top. Be careful not to struggle and pull the loop directly away from the knob until the little “rivet head” of the knob can be sure to not catch onto the loop. Too much upward pressure in this direction can result in the knob popping out of the busk bone, even in the highest quality German-made busks!

To see a demonstration on how to clasp and unclasp your busk, see this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNGchx1YpBU]

Happy lacing!

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Leatherotics Pink/White 1214 Cincher Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Leatherotics Pink/White 1214 Cincher Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

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

Fit, length Front is 10 inches high; the side is 7.5 inches high. This is standard size/ length. Gives a gentle hourglass silhouette. Hip gores make this comfortable around the hips. Quite a short cincher so not recommended for those with a lower tummy pooch issue.
Material 2 main layers; fashion layer is 100% nappa leather (0.8mm thick), white with pink accents. Lining is black cotton twill. Internal boning channels are also made from twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, and two hip gores. Faux boning channels on outside (real boning channels on the inside). Also has 4 garter tabs but I wouldn’t use them because the corset is so short.
Binding Pink leather binding neatly machine stitched on both outside and inside. Inside is trimmed down, not folded under, to reduce bulk. This is normal.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape visible on the inside, made of satin ribbon and secured at the boning channels.
Modesty panel None on front, nor back.
Busk Standard width busk (half inch wide on each side) about 9″ long (4 pins); a little stiffer than the standard flexible busk I’ve tried in other corsets.
Boning 14 steel bones not including busk. 10 spirals (1/4″ wide) in internal channels on the sides, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 16 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits. Not sure if these are the old style or new style grommets so there may be a risk of damage but so far no fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re not too thick, they grip well and they are long enough. Not much spring to it. Very difficult to break.
Price Standard size pink/white of this is £43 UK (about $70 USD), while black leather version is £50 and twill is £30, at the time of writing this.

 

Final Thoughts:
Of the underbust corsets I’ve tried from this company, this cincher has been the most comfortable. The hips flare out in a flattering manner and there is virtually no pinching on my iliac crest like with the other slim silhouette corsets.

I am still a touch concerned about the softness of the leather and how it may affect how well the grommets hold, but will update this review if anything goes awry. So far they seem to be holding up.

Edited later to add: the grommets looked to be loosening a bit because the soft leather was allowing the grommet holes to expand, so I ended up replacing the grommets with larger ones, with a wider flange.

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Outfits with a Corset: Victoria’s Secret Ruched “Multi-way” Dress

Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of convertible/ infinity dresses. Usually made out of a soft, flattering jersey (I like cotton and bamboo jerseys), they can be worn a multitude of ways. I’ve made 6 of them in the past for myself and purchased another two. I’ve also made several for other people – as birthday gifts for friends and family, for dancers, and even brides! These dresses are great for dressing up or down – they easily go from work to a picnic with kids to a night out dancing, depending on how you wrap it.

In this particular video I’m wearing one of my purchased ones – this is the ruched “Multi-way dress” from Victoria’s Secret (I think in the colour “sassy berry”).

I find that the fitted, ruched skirt serves well to fit over the curves of the corset nicely while still hiding the boning channels and other hardware of the corset. The long straps, which are most conveniently wrapped around the waist several times, also serves to “hide” and soften any harsh waspwaist made by the corset, resulting in a flattering but non-obvious corseted figure. In this video I show how to wear a convertible dress two different ways, although the possibilities are nearly endless – you just have to experiment for yourself and see which styles in this dress hide the corset best.

Also in this video I show how to easily and quickly put on strappy sandals while wearing a corset (either slip-on sandals, one with an elasticated heel or this even works with shoes that have a buckle at the ankle). Bonus: you can even get a quick quad stretch with this method.

To see my outfit in detail, watch this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biAvt462bEQ]

Cheers,

Lucy

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Outfits with a Corset: Featuring “Corset Jacket”

A quick post on one of my favourite items in my wardrobe these days: the “Corset Jacket”. It looks like a two-button blazer in the front but has two rows of grommets in the back with ribbon, to tighten the jacket slightly. In my opinion this jacket looks stunning when worn over a corset and tightened to show off the silhouette. I often have problems finding jackets that have broad shoulders, long sleeves and are large in the -ahem- chest area, without leaving me swimming in the waist and hips. A jacket that was adjustable in the waist seemed like a suitable solution. After looking at the sizing for shoulder breadth/ sleeve length of these jackets, I took a chance and ordered a size medium.

I’m not good at officially reviewing leather garments as I don’t own many leather items, but I can say that all the seams are stitched (not just “taped”), the lining in it fits well, it seems symmetric and the quality of the different pieces of leather is good and uniform throughout. Although it’s not advertised as a raincoat, I use it as such and I feel like the coolest person in the world walking around in my leather jacket while everyone else is in plastic ponchos and fluorescent windbreakers.

Also in this outfit I’m wearing:

  • a pink/white cincher (which will be reviewed in the future)
  • “jeggings” (jean leggings) which fit nicely under a corset because it doesn’t have a bulky waistband
  • a fitted white zippered blouse. I personally find that zippered shirts are more comfortable under corsets compared to button-down shirts, because buttons are lumpy against my skin and zips are more uniform.
  • I completed this outfit with simple black flats and a black small purse, and wore this out to sushi with friends. :)

To see my outfit in detail, watch this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOKh2-yyqRg]

Stay tuned for other outfits in the future! :D

~Lucy

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Eternal Spirits “AUDREY” Overbust Corset Review

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

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

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

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

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Totally Waisted! Black Taffeta Underbust Corset Review

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klSH3nuLBZM]

*****

This is the first of a few reviews of custom corsets made by individual corsetieres. I’d like to celebrate the work of small businesses and the artists of the corsetry world! This video is a review of the “not so typical” black underbust corset, made by Kate, the owner of Totally Waisted! (The ! is part of the name.) I met Kate in downtown Toronto this past spring; it was my first experience having a professional mockup fitting done by another corsetiere! Her artistry combined with her great business ethic and her spunky nature made for a fun and smooth experience overall.

Fit, length Center front is 13 inches, height from underbust to lap is 10.5 inches, however this version was made to measure. This is a longline corset (goes over the hips); the back has a unique sweeping lower edge that is both flattering and comfortable. I would recommend a shape like this for anyone who has had issues with lower edges of other corsets poking into their lower back or top of bum.
Material Two layers: fashion fabric is black taffeta, strength layer German coutil. The coutil has the tightest weave of any coutil I’ve seen before and it’s insanely strong. There is no additional liner; the stitching is neat enough that a liner isn’t needed to hide the “guts”, and Kate also likes to make her corsets as light and unbulky as possible.
Embellishments include lace overlay in large motifs (which is mirror-matched) and black Swarovski crystals, hand-set.
Construction 5 panels per side – gives a curvy, wrinkle-free shape. It feels as though the coutil and taffeta were treated as one layer. All boning channels (except for the pair by the grommets) are external channels – all spring steel bones.
Binding Made from matching strips of black taffeta, neatly machine stitched on both outside and inside. Extra care was taken to make the corners/edges neat and match up properly
Waist tape Waist tape is about 1″ wide, visible on the inside of the corset, secured at front and back panels and also by the stitching of the boning channels. Even though it’s exposed, it is not uncomfortable in any way.
Modesty panel No modesty panel as Kate designs her corsets to close completely in the back. She makes these corsets to order, so the waist size is of your choosing. There is a placket extending from the knob side of the busk to prevent pinching or skin from showing through.
Busk 11” long with 5 pins, a standard busk –  ½” wide on each side, although it is reinforced with a bone on each side. When I had this corset made to measure, I was given the option of several different lengths of busks. As I have a long torso, this was a great asset.
Boning 24 steel bones total, not including busk. All of them are spring steel (flat) bones. The front and back are sturdier to keep the line straight, but the bones on the sides are made of a special more flexible spring steel to accommodate curves.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces The laces are 1” wide black double-faced satin ribbon, very strong, pretty, and holds its bows reasonably well. The ribbon can glide smoothly through the grommets with no catching.
Price Standard size for this corset is $325 USD, and if you’d like made to measure with mockup, it’s an additional $40.

Final thoughts:
This corset really isn’t your typical black underbust. Due to its custom fit (and its comfort), its lightness and its sparkly embellishment, this has replaced the majority of my other black underbusts. I’d love to work with Kate again in the future.

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What Katie Did Silk “STORM” Corset Review

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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTK1x2RmLfw]

Fit, length Front is about 14.5 inches high; the highest part (from the apex of the bust) is 15.5 inches high. Gives a nice hourglass/ wasp silhouette. Appropriate for average torso length. Includes hip gores, gives good hipspring (no pinching!). It is slightly longline so I’d recommend this cut for those who want to hide lower-tummy pooch. I would also recommend this for larger-busted women with a cup size of C or more. Smaller sizes can use bust inserts.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is 100% raw silk, and the lining and interlining are both 100% ivory cotton twill. External channels and binding are made from ivory velvet.
Construction 5 panel pattern, 2 hip gores per side. External boning channels, a floating liner (very comfortable). Also has 6 garter tabs.
Binding Ivory velvet binding neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Attached 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of ivory silk and twill; also includes a stiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins), backed with a 1″ wide stiffener on each side. Also has a bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 22 steel bones not including busk. 16 spirals (1/4″ wide) in external channels, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets, also two spirals beside the busk.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thick, they grip well and they are long enough. Has some spring to the lace but very difficult to break.
Price Plain satin version of this is currently £179.50 in the UK, or $275 USD – however do check What Katie Did’s ebay boutique as they do sometimes list corsets on discount. I bought mine for half price!

Final Thoughts:
The Storm overbust has immediately become my favourite cut of the “What Katie Did” overbust corsets. I like the large hipspring from the hip gores, as well as the roomy (and safe!) bust. After buying this one, I have no desire to try out the “larger” bust versions of Laurie or Sophia – I like the Storm that much. I may remove the bow in the future and just have a hook-and-eye secure the front, since bows aren’t often my thing. Maybe it’s because it’s a new style, but I feel that the Storm is higher quality than the previous WKD overbusts I had reviewed; with its double boning and reinforced busk. I would have probably preferred the black satin version since it’s more versatile, but this was the right price. Also, after all the compliments I got with the ivory against my skin tone; I’ve definitely warmed up to this colour, heehee. ;)

You can see this corset and others at What Katie Did’s website.

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“Disco Armadillo” PVC Ribbon Cincher Case Study

This entry is a summary of the video “‘DISCO ARMADILLO’ PVC Ribbon Corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-n2zLUTY_o]

***

This was my first attempt at sewing a corset from vinyl. I have to thank Marta “Snowblack” for her wonderful  Foundations Revealed tutorial on sewing leather and vinyl corsetry. Just a few things that I have learned about handling vinyl:

  • The material stretches (so you must back it with coutil) however it does not drape like most other fabrics.
  • It is also not a self-healing fabric, and will show all pinpricks. Therefore you should pin your panels only in the seam allowances.
  • Using a teflon foot (or a piece of tissue between the vinyl and the presser foot) will help the vinyl to feed smoothly without dragging or sticking to the presser foot.
  • Lastly, feed dogs will leave permanent marks into the bottom of the vinyl, especially if it has a metallic foil finish. Putting tissue or masking tape on the underside of your fabric (where your seam line will be) will protect your fabric from the feed dogs digging in.
***

Here is the overview of my Disco Armadillo, in typical review form:

Fit, length Center front is 10.5″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 24″ and hips 34″.
Material Just two layers; the outer PVC ribbon and the inner coutil.
Construction 5-panel pattern – three vertical panels at front/side/back to hold the bones, and two ribbon panels. I learned how to draft a ribbon corset from Sidney Eileen’s ribbon corset sewing tutorial. The coutil panels aren’t “ribboned” like the outer pieces; rather they are in one piece. Most seams are topstitched as I was afraid that lockstitching would cause the PVC to become too perforated and tear apart. However at the busk, seams were lockstitched nonetheless as it looked better. Some edges of the ribbon were left raw, as folding those edges under would be too bulky.
Binding There is binding at the top and bottom of the vertical panels only; the ribbon panels do not have binding. I also left the inside edge of the binding raw – this is normal with binding made out of leathers or vinyls.
Waist tape Ribbon corsets typically don’t have a waist tape; a horizontal piece of ribbon running around the waist will act like a waist tape anyway.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long. Although it is quite flexible, having 3 layers of PVC ribbon surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite stiff and sturdy.
Boning Only 8 bones total in this corset (not including the busk), only boned on the vertical panels. There are two spring steel bones sandwiching each row of grommets at the back, and an additional two bones on each side panel, all 3/8″ wide.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 grommets (10 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets and a new press to insert these, and they work very well with the PVC. I placed a layer of heavy canvas in the grommet panel to give the grommets more to “grab onto” and to prevent the PVC from stretching. There are no splits and the grommets are holding up quite well with regular use.
Laces I used some 100% nylon purple paracord – it’s extremely strong (holds tension up to 500 lbs) and has no stretch, is resistant to fraying but has a tendancy to twist. You will definitely need a square knot or bow (not a round one) to keep your corset securely tied at the back.
Price Ribbon corsets in general are not particularly difficult but they are time-consuming and require a bit of pre-planning. I would most likely place a typical satin-and-coutil ribbon corset at around $150. However, because the PVC ribbon is extremely challenging to work with and also quite expensive ($10/meter when not on sale, and this corset used 9 meters), I wouldn’t remake this corset for less than $250.