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C&S Constructions Double Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Rainbow Holow Corset! Two C&S Constructions Corsets (Review / Study)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Rainbow Holo Corset

Fit, length Center front is 10.5 inches long, princess seam is 9,5 inches, side seam is 9.5 inches and center back is 11.5 inches.
Underbust 29″, waist 21″, high hip 34″.
Rounded ribcage and rounded hips. The busk is flexible and allows inward bowing.
Material 2 main layers: fashion layer is holographic silver foil (almost like interwoven tinsel). Lined in herringbone coutil.
Construction 4 panel pattern! (Surprising as it’s so curvy.) Layers were flatlined, panels were assembled and reinforced with sturdy topstitch (seam allowances facing outside). External boning channels laid down over the seams.
Waist tape 1-inch-wide waist tape “invisibly” installed between the layers, full width.
Binding Bias strips of matching holographic foil material, machine stitched on both inside and outside (zigzag stitch; the foil material likes to shred/fray).
Modesty panel None (this is a sample). However on the C&S website, they say that all corset commissions come with a back modesty panel.
This corset sample does have a wide boned underbusk, covered in black herringbone coutil.
Busk 9″ long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side). The boned underbusk gives a bit more stiffness, but the corset still “dishes” on my body (this may be deliberate – common of C&S corsets, and this also seems to help me achieve a higher comfortable waist reduction in this corset).
Boning 11 steel bones, not including busk. 5 on each side, plus boned underbusk in front. On each side, 3 spirals single boned on the seams, and 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 30 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; spaced a little closer together at the waistline for easier lacing up. Underneath the grommets there are wider washers that act as a wider flange – they may help protect them from pulling out, they give more thickness for the grommet to “bite down” on (preventing wiggling or looseness, and they also hide any fraying or splitting of the outer holographic material. There are no splits in these. No wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces 3mm wide satin rattail cord. They have zero stretch, they glide well through the grommets (slippery), and they are long enough.

 

Purple with Lace Longline Corset

Fit, length Center front is 12.4 inches long, princess seam is 11 inches, side seam is 11.5 inches and center back is 13 inches.
Circumferential measurements: Underbust 28″, waist 20″, high hip 35″.
Conical ribcage. Slight hip shelf, and longline corset. Also bows at the front (likely a deliberate effect to get more of a waist reduction).
Material 3 main layers: fashion fabric is Cadbury purple satin (may be a satin coutil, or fused to a strength fabric), overlaid with black lace. Lined in black cotton drill.
Construction 4 panel pattern! (Surprising as it’s so curvy.) Layers were flatlined, panels were assembled and reinforced with sturdy topstitch (seam allowances facing outside). Black external boning channels laid down over the seams, plus extra bones in the middle of the panels (sandwiched between the layers).
Waist tape 1-inch-wide waist tape “invisibly” installed between the layers, full width.
Binding Black satin ribbon (the same ribbon used for external boning channels), matchine stitched on both sides using a zigzag stitch.
Modesty panel None (this is a sample). However on the C&S website, they say that all corset commissions come with a back modesty panel.
This corset sample does have a wide boned underbusk, covered in black satin coutil.
Busk 11″ long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side). The boned underbusk gives a bit more stiffness, but the corset still “dishes” on my body (this may be deliberate – common of C&S corsets, and this also seems to help me achieve a higher comfortable waist reduction in this corset).
Boning 17 steel bones, not including busk. 8 on each side, plus boned underbusk in front. On each side, 3 spirals single boned on the seams, and an additional 3 bones in the middle of the panels. Also on each side there are 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #x00 two-part eyelets with tiny flange; set closer at the waistline to make lacing up easier. On the underside, the eyelets were perforated (petals splayed out) but they don’t catch on the laces. There are still very large washers on the underside to prevent the eyelets from pulling out.
Laces 1/8″ wide flat black cotton shoelace. They have zero stretch or springiness, they glide well through the grommets, they hold knots and bows securely, and they are long enough.

 

C&S Model Karen models the same holographic corset – see this and other pictures on C&S Constructions website, in Gallery 1!

Final Thoughts:

Both of these corsets were made for one of C&S Constructions’ previous models, who had a slightly smaller ribcage and slightly fuller hips than me – so these weren’t made to measure for my body, but we’re “close enough” to be able to fit the same corsets similarly.

I adore the holo corset especially, and it’s a very thin and lightweight corset. Even though both corsets are a smaller waist than I’m accustomed to wearing these days (I prefer to stay at 22 inches, but the holo corset is 21″ and the purple corset is 20″), I’m able to achieve slightly more of a waist reduction in both of these because of the comfortable patterning, and also likely because of the slight “dishing” or bowing in the center front busk.

In both corsets, the construction is a bit more “rugged” than I’m accustomed to seeing these days. The overlocking / zigzag stitching is visible (especially on the inside of the corset). I thought this might have just been because these were sample corsets for photoshoots, but from other C&S customers I’ve spoken with, it seems that this was just the way many corsets were constructed in the 90s and early 2000s. While they’re just not as “tidy” in their finish compared to most corsets on the market today, these corsets have held up well over the years and give a beautiful silhouette, and are a reflection of C&S’s good reputation. Visit C&S Constructions website here.

Do you own this corset or another piece from C&S Constructions? Let us know what you think of it in a comment below!

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Remembering our Absent Corsetier(e)s

As 2014 draws to a close, I feel that it’s only fitting to look back with respect to the notable corset makers that are sadly no longer active in our community, whether by choice (closing commissions) or by passing on. These wonderful, talented artists will never be forgotten. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list – so if you would like to add anyone, please feel free to comment below.

 

In Memory of those who have Passed On:

 

Iris Norris, 1921 – 2000

2000, April – Iris Norris (The Independent Corsetiere).

Iris lived in London, England, and worked as a seamstress for 38 years (and later on, a model) for Gardner & Son Corsets, Ltd until they closed their doors in 1981. According to Staylace, Iris carried her love of corsetry over such that she continued to take commissions until the beginning of 2000. She passed away in April of that year, at the age of 78. I was not active in the corset community at this time, but felt that it would be respectful to include her as she helped pave the way for other independent corsetieres to succeed. Read tributes to Iris here on Staylace, and also here and here on corsetiere.net.

 

Michael Garrod (1928 – 2003) with Cathie Jung.

2003, July – Michael Garrod (True Grace Corset Company).

Michael Garrod started his business in 1982 and ingeniously incorporated some of his knowledge in glider aircraft engineering into his corsets to create incredibly sturdy and smooth pieces. It is said that he passed away peacefully in 2003 at the age of 75 after a long battle with cancer. Both Ann Grogan and Velda Lauder dedicated their books in his memory. See tributes by both Romantasy (another), and Staylace.

 

Constance Trench-Brown (right) with husband and partner Stuart, and friend Karen on the left.

2008, October – Constance Trench-Brown (C&S Constructions).

Constance made 50% of the C&S Constructions company, along with her Business and Life partner Stuart. According to Staylace, the couple started making corsets in 1988 and went into business in 1995, specializing in pipestem silhouette corsets. Constance was said to have persevered and continued passionately sewing corsets even as her health was on-and-off in her last few years, but sadly she passed in 2008. Stuart has kept the name of the company and continues creating corsets even today. Read a memoriam on Constance here, and visit C&S Constructions website here.

 

Amy Crowder, 1971 – 2010

2010, May – Amy Crowder (Wasp Creations).

Amy had 25 years of corset-making experience and had been a dedicated tightlacer since 1991. In this video you can see her revolutionary corsets as she demonstrates the zip-closure and effortless lacing system – Amy had a very loyal following and many believed that she would transform modern corsetry as we know it. Amy passed away in May of 2010, at the age of 39 – I was relatively new in the online corset community at this time, and was very saddened to hear of her passing. According to one source who is in touch with Amy’s mother, heart conditions ran in Amy’s family. Read Amy’s obituary here.

 

Ruth Johnson (1932 – 2010) with Ann Grogan.

2010, August – Ruth Johnson (B.R. Creations).

Ruth Johnson worked with several notable educators and pioneers within the corset community as corsets were experiencing their renaissance in the mid 20th century. As early as the 1960s, she worked with Fakir Musafar (the Ol’ Corsetier, Hourglass Company) and she was also a resident corsetiere on Ann Grogan’s Romantasy team from 1990 until her retirement in 2004. She became a source of inspiration for many younger corsetieres and passed away in 2010 at the age of 78. Read about her legacy on Romantasy here and here.

 

Velda Lauder, 1964 – 2003

2013, March – Velda Lauder.

Velda Lauder describes herself perfectly and concisely in her Twitter bio: Corsetiere, designer, author, consultant. She was a popular designer in the UK and around the world, dressing celebrities like Dita Von Teese. In 2010 she published her book, “Corsets: A Modern Guide” – and as Marianne Faulkner said – she was in her professional prime. Velda passed away in her sleep in 2013 while on a trip to Dublin, shortly after her 49th birthday. One source proposes that the cause may have been food poisoning or a virus. Read tributes on The Lingerie Addict and Jed Phoenix.

 

Christine Wickham (1992 – 2014), in a corset by Lovely Rats Quality Custom Clothing.

2014, July – Christine Wickham (Ariadne’s Thread).

Christine was a good friend of mine and I was deeply affected when I learned of her passing. She had only been active within the corset community for a few years – but in that short time she became hugely involved, moderating multiple groups and forums, creating and selling corset patterns, operating a graphics company (she did all the design work for my dress-up doll) and creating corsets under the name Ariadne’s Thread. She passed away earlier this year, just short of her 22nd birthday, from a pulmonary embolism thought to be the result of a knee injury during yoga practice. She is still deeply missed by all who knew her. Read memoriams by myself, The Lingerie Addict, Vanyanis, Sidney Eileen and Foundations Revealed.

 

Respecting those who have Retired:

Blue overbust with black lace by Creations l’Escarpolette

2008 – Creations l’Escarpolette.

The story of Joyce, the corsetiere behind Creations l’Escarpolette, is an unfortunate one. She had amazing talent and skill when it came to creating corsets, and particularly within the LiveJournal community her popularity exploded in the early 2000s. She was ahead of her years in construction and embellishment, and clients were willing to wait years for the opportunity to own a piece from Joyce. It’s said that between 2006 – 2008 she became overwhelmed with the volume of orders, and disappeared from the online community as more clients came forward with stories of not receiving their orders (1, 2). Perhaps this is a curse of reaching success too quickly. I feel that she still had so much to give, and perhaps tried to make too many people happy at once. The website and journal of Creations l’Escarpolette are still available here.

 

Lucy (me!) in the Abigail II underbust by SugarKitty Corsets

2013 – SugarKitty Corsets.

At the end of 2013, SugarKitty Corsets announced that after 11 years of making corsets, they were retiring from corsetry indefinitely. The owner Shannon still operates under SugarKitty Couture and offers burlesque-related accessories like pasties and knickers through her Etsy shop. I’m very fortunate to have been able to purchase and review one of her pieces, and still hope against hope that perhaps one day she’ll take commissions again! See SugarKitty’s website here.

 

Cathie Jung modelling an underbust by J.C. Creations.

2014 – J.C. Creations.

On November 1 2014, J.C. Creations shut their doors. J.C. Creations proved their expertise in corsetry through creating lovely corsets for the likes of Cathie Jung, Guinness World Record holder for the smallest waist on a living person. I was only able to study one of their men’s corsets – and I wish I had more time to learn more about their history and accomplishments, but I’m still grateful for the opportunity to share what I knew about them through the generosity of EgapTesroc. May J.C. Creations enjoy their retirement, knowing that they will be welcomed with open arms if they should ever decide to return.

 

To all those on this list: your work was well-loved, and you yourselves will be missed. Thank you for your contribution to our community, no matter how large or small.

Would you add anyone else to this list? If so, who?