How many of you have stood in front of the mirror while wearing a corset, admiring the narrowness of your waist – and then you turn to the side and find that your profile leaves something to be desired?
Everyone knows that wearing a corset nips in the side of the waist (at the obliques), giving you the illusion of a more narrow waist. And the interesting thing is that a corset can also do this without really reducing the waist at all: where a cross section of your torso is usually oval or ellipse shaped (wider from side-to-side than it is front-to-back), a corset makes it more into a circle – simply by placing pressure on the body bilaterally (on either side of the body), and allowing that volume to distribute more front-to-back. Liz from the Pragmatic Costumer wrote about this in more detail a few years ago on her blog.
The downside that some corset wearer’s see, especially if they naturally have a more flat abdomen, is that a corset often makes you look wider in the profile than you did without the corset – this is due to the redistribution of your flesh, combined with the thickness of the corset as well (you’re a couple of inches smaller underneath your corset).
Your Corset Profile can have Two Shapes:
For simplicity’s sake, there are two main ways the front of the corset can look – it can be totally flat, or it can be “dished” or curved to create a more concave front. The Victorians were known for their dished-front corsets and sometimes exaggerated lower tummy pooch (likely more exaggerated in medical illustrations and fashion plates than in real life) but the lower pooch was actually considered attractive and womanly at the time.
But with the popularity of the straight-fronted S-bend corsets at the turn of the century, you can see that it resulted in the illusion of even more dramatically nipped waists, as the majority of the volume was coming off of the sides and little to none in the front. Arguably, if you were to take an Edwardian corset and a Victorian corset with the same waist size, the Edwardian might look more nipped in in the front view but thicker in the profile view.
I should give a disclaimer here: whichever corset you personally find “prettier”, there is no universal right or wrong way that a corset should be (despite the Edwardian propaganda above). Some people like the concave dished front, while others like an extremely flat and rigid front. It often comes down to the corset maker’s aesthetic, combined with the natural body type you have, the effect you’re striving for in a corset (including how much waist reduction), and what you personally find comfortable.
So the “dished vs straight” debate is not only subjective, but it’s also conditional.
It also depends on the posture you want to achieve. The straight-fronted, S-bend corsets had a habit of thrusting the body into an overcorrected posture – they weren’t slumping, but they were also flexing their lower back in an unnatural way. When I had X-rays done of myself while wearing various corsets, my chiropractor found that rigid-fronted, Edwardian-inspired corsets encouraged a very unnatural, kyphotic neck curve in my body. The corset pushed my chest forward, and my shoulders and hips back, which forced my head to come forward as a counter-balance. In some people, this might eventually lead to neck strain, pain, cervicogenic headaches, etc.
Meanwhile, when I wore a more Victorian style corset, it allowed me to maintain a more neutral posture and my spine was in a more natural alignment. So, just because a corset gives you a flat front does not mean you have necessarily have a healthy posture.
A couple notes on terminology before we start comparing corsets – I’ll be using layman’s terms here as much as possible:
so when I say “cross section” that means the transverse plane,
when I say “profile” that means the sagittal plane,
and when I say “front view” that means the coronal plane.
My Uncorseted Waist
This is a screenshot of me from 2012, around a time where I was not consistently waist training. My natural waist is around 27 inches.
It’s well and good to compare different corsets, but keep in mind that I am naturally very wide from the front, but when I turn to the side I practically disappear, so my cross section is very oblong. My oblique muscles might “resist” compression more compared other people, and my lower abdomen is not prone to “pooching” – if I and another woman were to wear the same corset in the same size and stand side-by-side, it might look very slightly different on each of us.
Contour Corset “Summer Mesh” Mid-Hip Underbust
My Contour corset is almost totally flat in the front. This one is 20.5 inches in the waist, laced closed.
- In the profile, it makes my body look slightly thicker than it is naturally (while not wearing a corset)
- In the front view, it looks shockingly nipped in on the sides (this isn’t even my smallest corset!)
- In the cross section, I might actually be a bit thicker from front to back than I am side to side.
Puimond PY09 “Curvy” Underbust Corset
My Puimond corset is actually half an inch smaller than my Contour corset (it’s 20 inches laced closed), but despite being smaller, it looks less dramatic.
- In the profile, you can see that the front is slightly dished, but in an attractive way, at least for me. It’s nipped in slightly at the front but it doesn’t create a dramatic ski slope at the pelvis. Also notice that I don’t look that thick in the profile.
- In the front view, the sides are obviously nipped in, but it doesn’t look as dramatic as the first corset.
- So in this corset, if you looked at the cross section, the distribution of my waist is still slightly ellipse shaped with more of that length being side-to-side rather than front-to-back.
- This shape is nearly a circle though – probably the closest to a circle compared to any of the other corsets here.
C & S Constructions
Let’s look corset with a more dramatically dished front like the one below from C&S Constructions. This corset is also 20 inches, but I’m wearing it at 21 inches because it wasn’t custom made for my body (the ribs of the corset were a bit too narrow for my own ribcage).
- In the profile view, the waist is pulled inward, and actually I have a slight forward leaning posture which is interesting. It is a deliberately curved front to make sure that the profile looks slender. (But it also gives a forward leaning posture.)
- In the front view, the waist is still nipped on the sides, but it’s still wider in this view than it is in the profile view.
- So the cross section of my waist is still an ellipse, that is wider from side-to-side, just a smaller one.
Sparklewren Cranberry Butterfly Overbust
Let’s look at my Sparklewren overbust, which is closed at 23 inches (so we can see how less of a reduction / a bigger waist may affect the cross section and silhouette).
- In the profile view, her corset gives me a very flat front here, in fact possibly slimmer than some of my smaller corsets that are patterned differently.
I vaguely remember having a conversation with Jenni (Sparklewren) about this probably 5 years ago. She told me that she likes to preserve the flatness in the profile as much as possible, but once the waist is reduced by a certain amount (i.e. under 18 inches in circumference), some dishing in the front may become necessary to achieve further reduction.
- In the side view, there’s nipping in at the waist but it appears to be very clearly wider than the profile, but it’s still a lovely silhouette.
- So the cross section is more clearly an ellipse.
Versatile Corsets “Mimosa” Cupped Overbust
The “Mimosa” overbust by Versatile is another corset that gives me a slender profile and flat abdomen. This is a size 22″, but I’m probably wearing at 23.5 or 24 inches here. (It wasn’t a full custom, just the waist measurement and bra size were taken into account).
- The profile view is relatively flat, similar to how my abdomen looks naturally.
- The front view is a bit more gentle and sweeping – not a super dramatic silhouette, not nipped in sharply at the sides.
- Obviously the cross section of my waist is more of an ellipse.
All this being said, it’s worth reiterating that this might be subjective for my own body. I naturally have a pretty wide waist, but if I turn to the side my abdomen is very flat. It is more likely that a corset would make me a bit thicker in the profile compared to a different person who has more of a protruding abdomen.
Profile Silhouette in Someone with a Protruding / Hanging Tummy
(Thanks to my aunt for modeling this early custom corset I made for her back in 2012). You may remember my aunt from this tutorial on pulling a hanging tummy up into your corset. She’s had a few children and she’s a more mature woman and has developed a bit of hanging tummy. She asked for a corset to provide back support and to flatten her tummy under her work uniform, but not give a shockingly dramatic waist from the front, which is why it’s not that much of an hourglass. This corset is a size 34″ if I remember correctly; drafted to give her a 6 inch reduction which is about 15% reduction.
- I specifically used a spoon busk for her, and you can see that this corset makes her slimmer in the profile. Arguably, most of the reduction came off the front instead of the sides of her body.
- In the front view, it gives a relatively natural looking hourglass from the sides.
If you want to see whether your corset makes you thinner or thicker in the profile view or front view, you can measure this using calipers.
If you want a very rigid front (as rigid as possible), you might be interested in adding carbon fibre bones adjacent to the busk – they’re about 24x more stiff than a flat steel bone, and you’ll find these exclusively at Vena Cava Design.
Conversely, if you want your corset to have more of a dished shape, I will make a video next week on how to curve your corset busk to your preference. The process is very similar to curving the back steels.
I hope you found this helpful! Just a note that there is no right or wrong way, some people like the concave dished front, some people like an extremely flat and rigid front. it all depends on your body type, your subjective preferences, your natural posture, and the aesthetic of the corset maker and how they pattern your corset as well.
Leave a comment below telling me whether you prefer the flat front or the dished front better for your own corsets. If you have any question regarding the “flatness” or “dishiness” of any other corset in my collection, as well as the rigidity of the busk, the posture it gives, etc., feel free to ask.
This entry is a summary of the video “Review: “Botticelli’s Venus” Corset by Retrofolie” which you can watch on YouTube here:
|Fit, length||My corset was made-to-measure, so it fits my longer torso but it’s also slightly less curvy than the standard size version of this corset as I have slim hips. Standard size 22″ would have a ribcage of 30″ and hips of 34″.|
|Material||Three main layers (not including interfacing): The fashion fabric is a cotton print (interfaced for strength), strength interlining of coutil, and brown lightweight cotton lining.|
|Construction||6 panel pattern (12 panels total), the fashion fabric and coutil were flatlined, panels assembled using a topstitch. ouble boned on the seams with a floating lining inside.|
|Binding||Made from commercially purchased cotton bias tape, in seafoam green to match the fashion fabric. Machine finished on both sides.|
|Waist tape||1 inch wide, stitched invisibly between the layers. Extends from panel 2 to the back seam.|
|Modesty panel||6.5 inches wide, stiffened, finished with another Venus in the back that can show through the laces. The panel is suspended on the laces using grommets. There is also a 1-inch wide unboned modesty placket in front under the busk.|
|Busk||12 inches long. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. My corset was modified to be longer though, so a standard size corset will have a 10 inch busk instead. Standard flexible busk, with 1/4″ flat bones adjacent for reinforcement.|
|Boning||28 bones total, not including busk. Double boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Flat steel bones are used beside the busk and by the grommets.|
|Grommets||26 two-part grommets, size #00 with a medium flange (the very popular grommet brand among corsetieres in North America). Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 1″ apart. Big washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.|
|Laces||Standard white nylon shoelace style laces.|
|Price||This particular style is $315 USD for standard size (18″ up to 26″). For custom fit, the price is $350.|
Because this corset was made back in 2014, a few changes have been made to this corset – the first change is that this pointed longline style is no longer called the “Azalea” longline cut, it’s now just style “Retro 04” on Retrofolie’s website. Also, the standard size measurements are now curvier than they were in 2014!
This is part of Julianne’s “Retro History” corset line, where she is able to use any historical painting in the public domain (the artist must be deceased for at least 70 years to use their work). The painting is printed with a repeat pattern on fabric, and the panels are cut from this fabric and painstakingly matched at the seams. Julianne started her corset career making these pieces, and has since expanded her corset ranges to include “Retro Basic” (simple corsets covered in cotton or silk) and “Retro Galaxy” (corsets featuring beautiful galaxy and nebula motifs).
Although her corsets are strong enough for waist training, Julianne recommends that you don’t wear a Retro History corset as your daily-wear corset, as the fashion fabric will ease and the painting will distort over time. If you wish to preserve the historical art corsets but waist train in one of her Retrofolie pieces, she recommends the Retro Basic line.
This entry is a summary of the video “Waist Training Corset Review: Il Corsetto di Artemis” which you can watch on YouTube here:
|Fit, length||This corset is custom made to my measurements – but for those curious about the length, the center front is 13 inches, princess seam is about 10 inches. More of the length is distributed above the waist, since I have a low waist and my torso is long from the waist up, but the corset is short enough to allow me to sit down comfortably. Tapered ribcage, and cupped hips.|
|Material||Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is a cotton-based black satin, the interlining is black coutil, and the lining is a vibrant, hot pink cotton twill.|
|Construction||6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Panels 3-4 provide enough ease to curve over the hips. Double boned on the seams.|
|Binding||Commercially purchased hot pink satin bias binding. Machine stitched on both the outside and inside (stitched in the ditch on the outside).|
|Waist tape||1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.|
|Modesty panel||Separate modesty panel (can be inserted behind the laces, or you don’t have to use it at all). It is quilted, with contrast stitching, but not stiffened with bones. Matching pink bias binding lines all 4 corners.|
|Busk||12 inches long and finished in black. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with 1/4″ wide flat steels on either side of the busk.|
|Boning||24 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are nine 1/4″ wide spirals (mostly double boned on the seams), two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.|
|Grommets||26 two-part grommets, size #00, with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.|
|Laces||Double face satin ribbon in hot pink, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, has no spring, relatively strong and glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick.|
|Price||This particular style is €300 (about $320 USD)|
Il Corsetto di Artemis (“the corset of Artemis”, the goddess of love) is the name of a one-woman business owned by Elisa, a designer from Turin, Italy.
I gave Elisa full creative liberty with this corset (she only received my measurements and I told her my color preferences, etc) and she made an elegant and beautifully fitting piece that looks simple at first glance, but is accented by completely handmade silk flowers. Elisa can create flowers of any size, fullness, and color since she makes each individual petal by hand.
During the design process, Elisa gave me the option for a black busk and black grommets, so that the hardware matched the rest of the corset. At this point, there is no source of heavy duty black busks, so Elisa and I had to choose between having a stiffer busk, or having a black busk. I don’t have too much lower tummy to support, so corsets even with more flexible busks don’t bow on me or flare at the center front too badly. If you have some lower tummy protrusion and you desire more support, you may prefer that Elisa use a heavy duty busk instead.
I love the bright pink contrast stitching used for the boning channels in this corset, and it’s quite brave to do this; you have to be confident that your stitching is tidy and true! Do note that over time as the corset eases over your body and there is a gradient of more tension on the fabric at the waistline (and less tension at the ribs and hips) then it is normal for the stitching to look a tiny bit wobbly at the waist. If you are overly concerned about contrast stitching not looking perfect even if you wear this corset on a regular basis, it may be more in your interest to simply request the same color thread as the rest of the fabric (no contrast).
Another thing I noticed about this corset was that it’s rather soft and it wrapped around my body nicely from the very first wear. A few people who are more accustomed to thicker and stiffer corsets may be surprised by this corset’s strength in comparison to its softness.
If you’d like to learn more about Elisa and her brand Il Corsetto di Artemis, see her website here!
Today I’d like to walk you through the process of ordering a custom corset – specifically, a custom overbust from Dark Garden.
Some of you may remember I had a number of corsets on loan from Dark Garden in 2014, where we agreed to send me 4 corsets for review (two overbusts and two underbusts from their signature line) and then send them back.
But over the years, it’s become clear that the majority of overbust corsets simply don’t fit me. I consider myself to have a long torso and a low waist. Most OTR overbusts don’t rise up high enough on the bust, and some are too long from waist to lap. And almost all of them are not made to accommodate a full bust, and I’m not even that large! But I’m built strong – I have broad shoulders, well-developed traps and a fleshy back.
I looked through the available options on their website and in their brochure, and Autumn herself recommended the Aziza for me – a sweetheart overbust designed for fuller busts, and can be made with adjustable shoulder straps.
The measuring guide was emailed to me. They directed a ribbon to be tied around my waist. But because I’m 15 lbs heavier than my last measuring tutorial 5 years ago, my apparent smallest waist is 1-2 inches higher than my true skeletal waist and the ribbon had a tendency to slide up. I don’t want this to reflect on my vertical measurements, so I was a rebel and used a belt just slightly snug, to act similarly to the waist tape of a corset, and took all my measurements in reference to the bottom edge of the belt.
I was wearing a fitted shirt with a well-supportive bra that was not too padded. I was also wearing soft yoga pants so I could easily pull it aside to take the lower hip measurements when it came to that.
This was the list of measurements (see my video for a live demonstration):
Waist to waist over shoulder. Starting at the marker on your waist in front, take the measuring tape vertically over your shoulder, down your back, to the ribbon at your back waist. I’m looking at the measurement in the mirror, but you can also sort of mark it by feel with your fingernail and then look at the measurement.
Bust circumference is around the largest part of your bust with a bra on. Make sure the tape is not slouching or angled too much around the back; it should be parallel with your waist and also the floor.
Ribcage. This is your underbust measurement, so I measured directly along the bottom edge of my bra band. I also took the measurements with a full exhale, and a full inhale. My exhale measurement is about 30″ and my circumference with a full breath is about 32.5″. With a comfortable inhale, I measured 31 inches, but I also mentioned to them that I had a tendency to squish upwards in corsets so don’t be surprised if I need 32 inches instead.
Natural Waist. I moved my belt up very slightly to get my natural waist measurement at the bottom line of the belt. Don’t suck in or push out your belly, because you’re probably not going to be sucking in the whole time you have the corset on either.
Hips 3 inches down from the waist is not in the diagram, but you measure 3″ straight down from the waistline. and then pivot the tape at that spot, and measure the circumference of your hips parallel with the waist. This is just about where my iliac crest naturally sits.
Hips Hips 3 inches down from the waist is also not in the diagram. Again measure 5” down from the waist, pivot the tape, and take the circumference even all the way around. In my demonstration here, I’m probably even riding a little high with the tape in the back, which is why a mirror or having someone help you can be helpful.
Now for the vertical measurements:
Waist to Ribs. you measure from your underbust or underwire down to the waistline, which is the bottom of the belt for me. This shows how long of a waist I have naturally as it’s typically between 5.5 and 6 inches.
Waist to Bust. (Not illustrated.) Measure from the fullest part of your bust directly down to the waistline. Again, remember that you should be wearing a supportive bra for this if you’re full-busted. Some people say to measure from the nipple down, but different people have nipples in different spots so that’s not totally precise. I asked Autumn if I should follow over the contour of the underside of the breast, and she said no just go straight down so that’s why you see the tape is pulled taut.
Waist to top side front. When they say the “side-front”, this is what I tend to refer to as the princess line or the princess seam in my other videos. This measurement will tell them how high you want the top edge of the corset to be over the swell of the bust, so it’s more your preference as opposed to strictly your body measurement. If you want a demibust, measure a little lower. If you want full coverage, measure higher.
Waist to underarm. This is taken at the side seam. You don’t have to go right up into the depths of your armpit, but rather just choose the height at the side where you’d like your corset to stop. Try not to bend over as this will affect the length. Too long and it will dig into your pits, and too low and you may get some spillover and not enough support. Try to take this measurement with your arm down as much as possible.
Waist to top edge at the center front. This will tell them how high you want the neckline to be at the busk, so measure lower if you want plunge, or higher if you want to cover more of your cleavage. I’m using my shirt as a reference again, but of course you can choose whatever height you’re comfortable with.
Waist to bottom front. This should be long enough to cover any lower pooch if you have any. But if it’s too long, it’ll poke into your pubic bone, and if it’s too short it may not hold your tummy properly. Find a happy medium around your hip flexor that still allows you to sit down comfortably.
Here are a few photos of myself wearing first mockup (there are plenty more photos included in the video) – this first fitting was a long distance fitting, done by email. I was directed to try and take the photos head-on and not too angled, and to fill the screen as much as possible with just the corset; full body shots were not necessary.
I was asked to measure the width of the gap in the back of the corset at the top, waist, hips and bottom edge. As you can see, I already have a broad back, and I definitely squish upwards and needed several inches more space at the top.
After evaluating this, Autumn said that she’d rather do a second mockup fitting. Fortunately we would both be in New York at the end of March, so we met up so she could fit me in person, which was a whole lot easier because she could adjust the shoulder straps appropriately and poke and prod at me. She could also visualize my squishability, and understand those slight asymmetries and idiosyncrasies of my body, like my funky left hip and that my left breast is half a cup larger than my right. This made the mockup twist on me slightly, even though it felt completely centered on my body, it obviously didn’t look as such. Autumn unlaced and relaced it until it looked right, and marked the modifications right on the mockup.
Shortly after, my final Gold Aziza corset was finished and sent to me! I am obviously thrilled with this corset (you can see my initial reactions in the video above, around 11:45 mark), but you will need to see my official review to hear my full thoughts on it! (Blog post for this will be published soon!)
Huge thanks to Autumn Adamme and the whole crew at Dark Garden for making this dream come true and allowing me to document the bespoke process from the customer’s perspective.
Do you have a custom corset from Dark Garden? How was your experience? Let us know in a comment below!
This entry is a summary of the review video “Xandriana Tightlacing Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:
|Fit, length||This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 12 inches high, and the side seam is 9 inches high, back is 15 inches high. Modern hourglass silhouette – rounded over the ribcage and rounded over the hips. Slightly longline.|
|Material||Outer layer is pale pink satin (might be satin coutil). Lined in white herringbone coutil.|
|Construction||6 panel pattern. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers, double boned (one on the seam and one in the center of the panel).|
|Binding||Matching strips of pale pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand finished on the inside.|
|Waist tape||1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.|
|Modesty panel||Modesty panel is suspended on the laces and boned in a criss-cross fashion. A 1″ wide unstiffened placket in front.|
|Busk||11 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 6 knobs and loops, the bottom two a little closer together. Reinforced flat bones on either side.|
|Boning||28 bones total (14 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide spiral steels, single boned on the seams plus extra bones in the middle of the panels. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well, and two flats by the busk.|
|Grommets||28 two-part Prym eyelets, size #0, medium/large, held in strongly. Finished in silver and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Good wide washers, few splits but don’t catch on the laces.|
|Laces||Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in pale pink.|
|Price||At the time I’m writing this, a custom underbust starts at $300 USD (suitable for tightlacing but not waist training). For a waist training custom corset, the price starts at $400.|
This corset was a bit of a serendipitous find. I had been meaning to try a corset from Xandriana for awhile, as one of my acquaintances (a previous client of Xandriana’s) had positive things to say about the craftsmanship.
So when I joined the Corsets On Sale group on Facebook and found another person who was selling their old Xandriana corset, with measurements very close to my own, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! The lovely pearlescent finish and the cheery flossing were even cuter in person, and I was pleased to see that the corset was not actually white, but actually the palest, most delicate shade of pink. I also liked the very high back of this corset as it provided excellent support while sitting at my desk, and it made muffin top virtually impossible. After uploading this video, I had the opportunity to talk with the corsetiere, and discovered that the flossing was actually done by the first owner of the corset.
Although this particular corset is not advertised for waist training, its construction is stronger than many other corsets out there that do claim waist-training-friendliness – one of my favourite features in this corset is the distribution of the boning. In corsets that are simply double boned on the seams, it can sometimes feel like the double bones make it “too rigid” in places, while there are vast spans of wrinkled, unsupported fabric between the bones. When you have one bone on the seam and one on the channel (as in this corset), the distribution is more even, which can help prevent pressure points on your body and prevent ugly wrinkling in the corset, resulting in a beautifully smooth and comfortable corset. The darker pink flossing in a clean V shape on the boning channels was also a nice visual touch, and highlighted the fact that this corset had quite even bone distribution.
This is a lovely little corset; the only changes I would make is to perhaps have the bones in the very back bow a little less – but as I am the 2nd owner of this corset, I know nothing of its previous treatment nor anything about the customer service from Xandriana.
Looking at the different listings in Xandriana’s Etsy shop, it seems that the tightlacing underbust has only 1 layer of coutil, and a non-specific number of bones; while the waist training version has 2 layers of coutil and a guaranteed minimum of 26 bones, and more depending on the size and reduction. If you would like to learn more about the different options Xandriana offers, do visit her website here.
Note that this is a duplicate of the permanent page in my Guided Galleries – please refer to the other article to ensure that the article is up-to-date with the latest selections and prices.
Let’s face it: while many people can get away with standard-sized corsets, it’s really not a realistic case of one-size-fits-all. What if you’re very tall, very short-waisted, or very pear-shaped? What if you 100% know that no OTR will fit you correctly, but you’re still looking for an inexpensive gateway corset that will fit you properly? Here are a few makers that offer custom-fit corsets for $200 or less. Also see my other article, “cinchers under $200” to see some other brands not mentioned here.
*Caveat emptor: These corsets are made-to-measure, but this does not necessarily imply that they’re all suitable for waist training/ daily wear. Also this list is especially subject to change; it’s the nature of business that as demand rises for a product, prices increase as well.
MystiC City Corsets is a brand sold almost exclusively through Ebay for several years, but just this year has been making big waves. They offer several ready-to-wear styles and fabrics from cotton coutil to leather and PVC, but if you PM the owner, Sylwia, she can accept made-to-measure requests on a case-by-case basis. Due to the high demand of her corsets, it may take several months to receive a custom-fit piece, but her clients mention that the product is well worth the wait and the price.
Heavenly Corsets has two different lines of corsets: standard-spec (for occasional use and special events) and waist-training (for 23/7 tightlacing and intense wear). Elle’s made-to-measure standard-spec underbust corsets are suited for 4″ reductions and available in hourglass or wasp-waist silhouettes, which range between $145 – $190.
Meschantes Corsetry‘s underbust corsets range from $160 – $195 starting price, and are made-to-measure in your choice of one of hundreds of different fabrics/colours. Be aware that their Etsy store is more for their standard-sized corsets though, so be sure that you go for “made-to-measure” and not the listings that just say “in your size”.
SnowBlack Corsets from Poland makes beautiful made-to-measure underbust corsets for only $190. Shown here in black with painstakingly tidy red contrast stitching, the corded, gored hips are especially good for controlling hip-wrinkles and offers a dramatic, wide hip spring. Marta can also make this in other colour combinations if you prefer.
Jupiter Moon 3 has been in business since 2001, and it’s not hyperbole to estimate that she has made well over 1000 corsets. She continues to make fun corsets at incredibly competitive prices; her made-to-measure underbust corsets start from just $180 and she offers a huge selection of style upgrades.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company in these guided galleries. This is for informational purposes only; please email any of the above makers to learn more about their made-to-measure corsets.
As a bit of an addendum to my last post, this article intends to show that not all OTR corsets are equal, but rather come in a spectrum in quality of materials, construction and price. Also, while some of these myths are partially true, I explain why some of these terms aren’t really “all that bad” as nothing in corsetry is totally black and white. Lastly, I give examples of “exceptions” to each myth. So let’s jump right in:
This entry is a summary of the review video “Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:
|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.|
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.