Posted on Leave a comment

Dark Garden Aziza Overbust Corset (with Shoulder Straps) Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Dark Garden Aziza Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length The measurements were highly customized to fit my body, including accommodating for several asymmetries (like my left hip protruding very slightly more, one breast being fuller than the other, one shoulder sitting a bit higher than the other, etc). See discussion below for more detail about the fit.
Material Possibly 2 main layers: Fashion fabric is a gorgeous gold floral brocade, likely fused for strength. The lining (strength fabric) is an American milled cotton canvas.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Most of the bust curve is drafted between panels 1-2, and most of the hip curve is drafted between panels 3-4, and much of the room for the upper back was obviously drafted into panels 5-6. The corset was topstitched between panels (seam allowance on the outside), and the seam allowances were covered and straddled by double boning channels.
Binding Bias strips of matching gold brocade, machine stitched on inside and outside. Tidy topstitch on the outside, no topstitch on the inside. No garter tabs (I didn’t request any).
Waist tape 3/4 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. It starts between seams 1-2, and extends to the center back.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 4.75″ wide, finished in the same gold brocade. Stiffened with 4 steel bones and left separate to slip under the laces when worn (or you can choose to not wear the modesty panel). There is a teensy seam in the center front which is not a modesty placket per se, but it does help prevent a visible gap between the busk.
Busk 14 inches long, standard flexible busk, with 7 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced.
There are half inch wide flat steel bones adjacent to the busk for further reinforcement, but they deliberately stop about 4 inches from the top of the corset so they won’t interfere with the curve of the bust.
Boning 26 bones total, 13 on each side. Double boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels on the seams, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets. The additional bone on each side is adjacent to the busk.
Grommets 42 two-part grommets, size #00, with medium flange. Finished in gold and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Gold double faced satin ribbon – no spring, very strong and flat. Laced using the “chevron method” with “inverted bunny ears”.
Price $1475 USD without shoulder straps, or $1625 USD with shoulder straps. It is only available as a custom option, not standard.

 

Final Thoughts:

This is the final product for the Dark Garden bespoke process I went through over the course of 2015. If you’re interested in learning more about the bespoke process and the mockup fittings, click here.

Dark Garden always spends the extra time to match brocades, prints and lace motifs as shown in this gorgeous Aziza overbust modelled by Vienna La Rouge. Photo: Joel Aron.
Dark Garden Aziza overbust version without shoulder straps, and made for a very different body type. Model: Vienna La Rouge. Photo: Joel Aron.

Because I’m long-waisted, this corset is much, much longer from the waist up compared to most OTR overbust corsets. Using the mockup fittings I was able to choose not only the height of the neckline, but also the height of the side of the corset into my underarm area (Autumn recommended bringing it up a bit higher to account for a bit of my underarm squidge) and also in the back. I asked the back to be higher and have more room, so it would contain my muffin top (back spillover) and also it would allow my scapulae to snuggle down into the corset as opposed to hitting the edge of the corset and forcing my shoulders up.

The length of the shoulder straps were also adjusted custom to my body, and they secure in the front with matching gold ribbon. There are several grommets so I can wear the straps looser (for mobility or to wear them slightly off the shoulder) or tighter over my shoulders if I need more upper back support.

The bust was drafted beautifully; it cups over and supports my bust without squishing it flat. I also requested for the neckline of this corset to be slightly higher so that I can wear this to public functions and not fear that my bust will pop out or be exposed.

With this corset, it’s extremely apparent that my body is the type to “squish upwards”. While some people get a small lower tummy pooch from wearing corsets. By contrast, my hip measurement essentially stays the same, but my ribcage and bust can increase by up to two inches in a corset (compared to its natural measurement) depending on the reduction of the waist. Displaced flesh has to go somewhere!

Along the bottom edge, although aesthetically I love a longline corset, I requested this corset to be cut at the mid-hip (just about my iliac crest) so that I’ll be able to move and sit comfortably, even in low seats.

The Aziza corset is a custom option, so you may not see it available as a standard sized corset in their Classic Line on their website. Dark Garden has a catalogue of many more corset styles, and their skilled team of corsetieres can create almost any style you can think of. If you’re interested in learning more about Dark Garden and their 30 years of work, head over to their website here.

Posted on 10 Comments

NYC weekend and Grand Corset Ball 2015

Lucy with Cathie Jung and Melanie Talkington

To start, I want to say that I did bring my camcorder to New York last weekend, but got very little footage – so a video recap would have been bit boring with just my face waffling for 10 minutes as per usual.

 

I suppose I’ll start from the beginning: back in October 2014, I was delighted to receive an email from Melanie of Lace Embrace Atelier, with news of her Kickstarter campaign. The Grand Corset Ball was to be in the style of La Gracieuses Modernes balls from the past, and would help fund Melanie’s antique corset exhibit, “Fashioning the Body”.

 

Lucy tying sari
Practicing wrapping my sari prior to the event. Although I initially learned from my aunt how to wear them, I required a refresher from Zessinna. Here I’m wearing my overbust from Electra Designs.

I asked both my sister and my boyfriend if either of them would be interested in attending, and both expressed mild interest at the time but made no commitments. My plans, my health and my finances had a wrench thrown into them in late November due to the car accident, and I truly didn’t know how long I would need to go without a corset in order to fully heal from the ordeal. I felt horrible about not being able to contribute to the Kickstarter at the time, and thus made the announcement that I wouldn’t be able to attend the ball (which is why a few people were a bit surprised to see me there after all!).

 

After a few months of recuperation, I finally got the green light to start wearing corsets again from my doctor at the end of January – by which time, neither of my prospective dates were able to go to New York that weekend with me. The ball was approaching fast, so I asked Mina LaFleur of L’Atelier de LaFleur if she was going since I knew she lived relatively close-by in Toronto; we could fly down together and share accommodations. She graciously agreed, and only about 3 weeks before the event, we bought our tickets. We also made some loose plans to visit Body Worlds, the Met Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Frick Collection, Central Park, and FAO Schwarz while we were there. (Perhaps a teeny bit ambitious for less than 48 hours in NYC!)

 

Fast forward to the day before the ball: Mina and I arranged to meet at the airport on Friday morning, and after a brief period of Marco Polo via cellphone, finally found one another in the terminal. Our first flight had been bumped, so we had a 90-minute wait in front of us. I purchased an obscenely large choux bun for the novelty (not a wise choice in retrospect, as I was to be fitted for a corset later). Mina and I boarded our flight, and then we sat on the runway for another hour or so. Thankfully, we had plenty to talk about!

 

Dark Garden Mockup Fitting
Being a complete dork and unable to contain my excitement at a Dark Garden mockup fitting.

We finally checked into our hotel about 2 hours later than anticipated. I had made plans to have a mockup fitting with Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden, so we dropped our bags off at the hotel and took a cab over to Tricia’s Millinery shop, House of Nines Design. I have only had a couple in-person fittings with corsetieres (as opposed to remote fittings) so it was educational to see what Autumn looked for and how she tweaked the toile. The pic on the left shows my excitement:

 

Best. Salad. Ever.
Best. Salad. Ever.

After excitedly discussing the ball and Mr. Pearl, we said our goodbyes and decided to walk back to our hotel, during which time we sufficiently checked off “get lost in NYC” from our Bucket Lists. I made amends for the choux bun at dinner that night with an amazing feta, avocado and butternut squash salad at the Stone Street Tavern.

 

The next day, Mina and I only got to see Body Worlds Pulse and a tiny portion of the Met Museum, but I found it incredibly interesting. At Body Worlds they have a liver which shows natural hepatic grooves from the ribcage – and not caused by corsets – which somewhat confirms the findings of the article I referenced in my Dr. Oz response last month. I would have taken a picture of the liver, but they have a strict no-cameras rule in the exhibit.

 

At the Met, we mostly focused on the Chinese tapestries, Fragonard paintings and the armor exhibitions. We also indulged in a selfie on the balcony before quickly rushing back to the hotel to get ready for the ball. Mina created everything in her own ensemble, from the dove-grey overbust with asymmetric lace, to the matching palest-blue taffeta bustle, to her reticule and tiara. I wore a lace-smothered gold overbust made by Sparklewren (originally made for Immodesty Blaize) which complemented the vintage cream lace sari purchased from Zessinna last year. (My great-aunt, who lived in Pakistan, was the first to teach me to tie a sari when I was a child, but Laysa kindly gave me a refresher as it had been awhile.)

 

Mina and myself at the Met
Mina and myself at the Met

Evidently there was some miscommunication about the starting time for the ball as Mina and I (as well as a few others) arrived a bit early, so we passed the time by chatting and of course taking pictures in the powder room until they were ready to accept us in the ballroom.

Lucy in the mirror
Fixing my sari for the 135894017th time in the ladies’ powder room.

 

Shien Lee (creator of Dances of Vice) helped coordinate the event, and also gave out one of her lipstick shades (Red Lantern) to attendees who donated $100 or more!

 

I saw many familiar faces at the ball – Kirk Whitmer (deux lunes) and his wife Kerstin, Ian Frazer Wallace (The Whitechapel Workhouse), and Autumn Adamme of course (Dark Garden), all of whom I had met last summer in England at the Oxford Conference of Corsetry.

 

When the Royal Court had arrived, I was too shy to introduce myself to Bob and Cathie Jung, so Melanie led me over to them and formally introduced us. It was a dream come true to tell them how much I appreciated their immense contribution to the corsetry community, including their willingness to be in the spotlight of mainstream media to educate others about modern waist training (even though Cathie insists that they are just normal, everyday people), their modern medical tests that demonstrate real-time physical effects of corsetry (including cross-section CAT scans of Cathie while wearing a corset, years before the more recent MRI scans), and Cathie’s slow training over close to 40 years being a responsible influence for those who also aspire to train; teaching others that slow and steady wins the race. Cathie is a living testament that a corseted lifestyle, while not for everyone, is very possible and can be done comfortably while maintaining good health.

Autumn Adamme and Lucy at the Grand Corset Ball in NYC
Autumn Adamme and Lucy at the Grand Corset Ball in NYC
Lucy with Cathie Jung and Melanie Talkington
Cathie Jung (center) with Melanie Talkington (left) and Lucy (right) at the Grand Corset Ball.
Mina, Cathie and Lucy
Cathie Jung (center) with Mina LaFleur (left) and Lucy (right) at the Grand Corset Ball.
KLD and Lucy
Kelly Lee Dekay (left) with Lucy at the Grand Corset Ball.

Other people that I was too happy to finally meet and chat with included designer and model Kelly Lee Dekay (seen above); Jasmine Ines, corsetiere behind Sin & Satin; designer Rachael Reichert; model and illustrator Flora Jasper, and many many others – thanks to Vilma, Debbie, Cassie, Raquel, Samantha, Ellie, and everyone else who came up to me that night, as I’m naturally a painfully shy person and if it weren’t for you I probably would have sat in a corner all evening. :p

 

Later in the night, there was a Q&A session with Cathie and Bob where we could all approach them with our questions, as well as a dance lesson (which I sadly missed), a non-competitive fashion show where people showed off their hand-made and commissioned outfits, and at midnight, two burlesque performances by Perle Noire and Aseult.

 

Sterling Silver Corset Cover
Sterling Silver Corset Cover made by Anthony Pacesa in 1997, designed to fit Cathie Jung. One of the pieces on display at the ball.

After the ball, Mina and I spent the night packing and indulging in some New York pizza (another thing to check off our list!), and with less than 3 hours sleep, we finally said goodbye to NYC and headed home. Since we didn’t get everything finished on our itinerary, we agreed that we definitely have to return to NY again in the future, and for a longer stay next time! ;)

 

As mentioned on Facebook, this ball was an amazing opportunity for many of us in the corsetry community in North America to come together for the first time. It’s a beautiful thing when we can all stand in solidarity and support one another’s work, approaching one mutual interest from completely different directions and knowing that coming together only strengthens our community. The night of the ball, there was no sense of competition for waist size, sewing skills, historical knowledge, or dancing ability. I was nervous going in, but honestly it was so worth it for the networking alone (and the music, performances and countless pretties were a bonus too!). I sincerely hope that there are more events like this in the future. 

 

Thanks to the friendly people of New York for the lovely weekend, thanks to Mina for being an awesome travel companion, and huge thanks to Melanie for organizing the ball! I’m sure this will not be the last of such events.

Posted on Leave a comment

Dark Garden Risqué Overbust Review

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Risqué Valentine Overbust Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube (below the table of quick stats) if you prefer:

Dark Garden Risqué Valentine Quick Stats

Fit, length Center front is 15 inches long, the princess seam (under the breast to top of the lap) is 16.75 inches long. The side seam is 14 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 13.5 inches.  Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24 (24 inches), the full bust is 34 inches, and the low hip is about 36 inches.
Material Two layers in the center front and center back satin panels (satin can also come in red or black). One layer of ivory transparent nylon mesh (also can be ordered in black)
Construction 5 panel pattern (10 panels total). Bust ease is distributed between panels 1-2, and most of the curve of the hip is in panels 3-4 (and a bit of panel 2 as well).
For the construction, as most of the corset is single layer, panels were assembled with a top stitch with seam allowance facing outward, and external double boning channels were made with peach satin over the seams. (The boning channels straddle the seam to reinforce it.)
Binding Bias strips of vintage pink satin, neatly machine stitched on outside and inside. There are also 8 garter tabs (4 on each side). You also receive 8 matching garters (included in the base price).
Waist tape White twill tape (0.75 inch wide) is exposed on the inside of the corset, anchored by the seams/ boning channels, and is covered by a 1″ wide vintage pink petersham ribbon.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 5″ wide and finished in the same vintage pink silk satin. It is stiffened with 4 bones to resist wrinkling or collapsing, and it remains loose (not sewn in and not suspended on the laces) so it can be used or not used depending on your preference.
No modesty placket in front, but a topstitch of fabric by the busk prevents gaping in the center front.
Busk 14 inches long with 7 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). It’s further supported by a half inch bone on each side, slightly shorter (stops at the underbust level to allow for more ease in the bust)
Boning 22 total bones not including busk (11 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, less than an inch apart.
Laces Pink double faced satin ribbon, half-inch wide, no stretch or spring to it. Sufficiently long and laced in DG’s typical “chevron” pattern.
Price Sweetheart overbust (4 panels per side) version is $505 USD which includes the modesty panel and 8 garters. The Risqué can be ordered specially for $555 USD (including accessories).

*

The Risqué corset is aptly named as it has breezy, transparent side mesh panels. If you indeed wanted to dress a little risqué, you could wear this corset with nothing underneath and show a little skin (note, “side boob” will be very visible). Dark Garden’s website points out that it would look incredible if you happen to have a rib tattoo you wanted to show off! Or, you can wear a matching (or complementary color) dress underneath as I have shown in the video above to create a striking effect.

This overbust is a specially-made Valentine overbust instead of Dark Garden’s more common Sweetheart. The Valentine is designed to flatter fuller / curvier figures; it has a very similar silhouette to the Sweetheart, and similar proportions, but it has 5 panels per side (the Sweetheart has only 4 panels) and it contours over the bust and hips more smoothly.

This is quite a long corset, nearly 17 inches at the longest part. Dark Garden distributes more length from the waist up (and less length from the waist down) so even with my long torso, the corset covers my bust sufficiently and feels very secure, while the shorter length at the bottom allows me mobility and helps me sit down comfortably without the lower edge hitting my lap. Other corsets I’ve reviewed in the past were sometimes a similar overall length, but had less length distributed from the waist up (which meant that my bust didn’t feel as safely held into the corset) and more length from the waist down (which meant I had a harder time sitting) – those other corsets were clearly meant for someone with a shorter ribcage or higher waistline than myself. It’s useful to know that Dark Garden corsets fit my personal proportions so well!

The Dark Garden Risqué Valentine overbust is available in standard sizes from 18 up to 38, but one can commission Dark Garden for a made-to-measure version if you fall out of this size range. See more at Dark Garden’s website here.

Posted on 2 Comments

Dark Garden Valentine Overbust Corset Review

Dark-Garden-Valentine-overbust-22

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Valentine Overbust Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube (below the table of quick stats) if you prefer:

Dark Garden Valentine Quick Stats

Fit, length Center front is 15 inches long, the princess seam (under the breast to top of the lap) is 16.75 inches long, with about 4 of those inches from the waist up. The side seam is 14 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 13.5 inches.  Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24 (24 inches), the full bust is 34 inches, and the low hip is about 36 inches.
Material Two layers: fashion fabric is black diamond brocade pattern (fiber content is a combination silk and rayon), the strength layer is black black cotton canvas. Dark Garden is relatively unique in that they use a strong canvas instead of twill or coutil as their strength fabric.
Construction 5 panel pattern (10 panels total). Bust ease is distributed between panels 1-2, and most of the curve of the hip is in panels 3-4 (and a bit of panel 2 as well).
For the construction, the fashion fabric and strength fabric were flatlined, and the corset was constructed like a single layer corset. Panels were top-stitched with seam allowance facing outward, and external double boning channels were made with matching black diamond brocade over the seams.
Binding Bias strips of matching black diamond brocade, neatly machine stitched on outside and inside. There are also 8 garter tabs (4 on each side).
Waist tape Black twill tape (0.75 inch wide) is exposed on the inside of the corset, anchored by the seams/ boning channels.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is 5″ wide and finished in the same black brocade as the fashion fabric. It is stiffened with 4 bones to resist wrinkling or collapsing, and it remains loose (not sewn in and not suspended on the laces) so it can be used or not used depending on your preference.
No modesty placket in front, but a topstitch of fabric by the busk prevents gaping in the center front.
Busk 14 inches long with 7 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). It’s further supported by a half inch bone on each side, slightly shorter (stops at the underbust level to allow for more ease in the bust)
Boning 22 total bones not including busk (11 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in black. Set equidistantly, less than an inch apart.
Laces Black double faced satin ribbon, half-inch wide, no stretch or spring to it. Sufficiently long and laced in DG’s typical “chevron” pattern.
Price About $440 USD for black cotton poplin, or $490 for the silk brocade you see in this video.

*

 

The Valentine overbust is designed to flatter fuller figures and curvier figures better than their original Sweetheart overbust. It has a very similar silhouette to the Sweetheart, and similar proportions, but it has 5 panels per side (the Sweetheart has only 4 panels) and it contours over the bust and hips a bit more smoothly.

This is quite a long corset, nearly 17 inches at the longest part. However, Dark Garden distributes more length from the waist up (and less length from the waist down) so even with my long torso, the corset covers my bust sufficiently and feels very secure, while the shorter length at the bottom allows me mobility and helps me sit down comfortably without the lower edge hitting my lap. Other corsets I’ve reviewed in the past were sometimes a similar overall length, but had less length distributed from the waist up (which meant that my bust didn’t feel as safely held into the corset) and more length from the waist down (which meant I had a harder time sitting) – those other corsets were clearly meant for someone with a shorter ribcage or higher waistline than myself. It’s useful to know that Dark Garden corsets fit my personal proportions so well.

The Dark Garden Valentine overbust is available in standard sizes from 18 up to 38, but one can commission Dark Garden for a made-to-measure version if you fall out of this size range. See more at Dark Garden’s website here.

Posted on 2 Comments

Dark Garden Cincher Review

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Cincher Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 11 inches long, the side-front (princess seam) is 9.5 inches, the side seam is 9 inches, and the enter back is also 12 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, ribcage 28″ (measured about 4 inches above the waist), high hip 32″ (measured about 5 inches below the waist). Gives an hourglass silhouette; a very slightly rounded ribcage and moderate curve.
Material Fashion fabric is silk/rayon brocade with a black diamond motif, and the strength fabric (lining) is densely-woven black canvas.
Construction 4 panel pattern. It seems as though all layers were flatlined for each panel, panels were assembled with seam allowances facing outward, and these seams were then covered with external boning channels (2 bones per seam).
Binding Bias strips of matching black diamond brocade, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible on the outside. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 0.75 inch wide black cotton twill waist tape, exposed on the lining side of the corset. It starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at the center back seam.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (black diamond brocade) and black canvas lining. Stiffened with 4 steel bones and left separate to slip under the laces when worn (or you can choose to not wear the modesty panel). There is a teensy seam in the center front which is not a modesty placket per se, but it does help prevent a visible gap between the busk.
Busk 10.5 inches long with 5 pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). There is also a 1/2″ wide flat steel on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 18 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, double boned on the seams. The side seams must be flat steel since they are pre-bent. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/2″ flat steel by the busk, making a total of 9 bones on each side.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 with medium flange, finished in black and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely and don’t catch on the laces. Washers are large to prevent the grommets from falling out.
Laces 3/8″ black double faced satin ribbon. Zero spring. They glide well through the laces.
Price Available from sizes 18-38, and at the time that I’m writing this review, the corselette costs $315 for plain black poplin, and $365 if you want an identical style to this (with black diamond brocade).
Cincher: Dark Garden. Photo: Remedy Photography. Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry)
Cincher: Dark Garden. Photo: Remedy Photography. Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry)

This is the second of four reviews of Dark Garden’s ready-to-wear signature corset line, including the Corselette, the classic Valentine and the Risqué Valentine

While I normally categorize a “cincher” as being a shorter underbust corset (8″ or less on the side seam), this cincher fits average length torsos very well and extends down 5″ below the waist. The thing that I noticed about this corset in particular is how incredibly quickly it seasoned to my body and how comfortable it is. As this was a sample and I didn’t know which fashion fabrics to expect, I was really pleasantly surprised with the black diamond brocade – it looked polished and professional, and it would have been easy to add this to a business suit. I did a photo shoot on the hottest day in June with this corset, and found that this cincher was surprisingly more cool and breathable than I had anticipated.

But one of the things I appreciate most about Dark Garden is their ethics. Every one of their corsets are made from start to finish in the US and they take enormous pride in their construction, which is evident in the pattern matching in their lace or brocade corsets for a luxurious final effect.

The Cincher can be viewed on Dark Garden’s website HERE.

Posted on 2 Comments

Dark Garden Corselette Review

This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Corselette Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 11 inches long, the shortest part of the corset at the side seam is 5.5 inches (cut very high over the hip), and the enter back is also 8.5 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, ribcage 26″ (measured about 3 inches above the waist), high hip 28″ (measured about 2.5 inches below the waist). The silhouette is quite dramatic; I consider this a wasp waist. Side bones are pre-bent to give a nipped-in waist.
Material Fashion fabric is red poplin, with a black lace overlay (every panel is mirror-matched), and the strength fabric (lining) is densely-woven black canvas.
Construction 4 panel pattern. It seems as though all layers were flatlined for each panel, panels were assembled with seam allowances facing outward, and these seams were then covered with external boning channels (2 bones per seam).
Binding Black satin bias binding, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible on the outside. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 0.75 inch wide twill waist tape, exposed on the lining side of the corset. It starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at the center back seam.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (red poplin with black lace) and black canvas lining. Stiffened with 4 steel bones and left separate to slip under the laces when worn (or you can choose to not wear the modesty panel). There is a teensy seam in the center front which is not a modesty placket per se, but it does help prevent a visible gap between the busk.
Busk 10 inches long with 5 pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). There is also a 1/2″ wide flat steel on either side of the busk for reinforcement. In the pointed cinchers, the busk seems to be shaved down on an angle so the tips follow the same line as the fabric!
Boning 18 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, double boned on the seams. The side seams must be flat steel since they are pre-bent. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/2″ flat steel by the busk, making a total of 9 bones on each side.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #00 with medium flange, finished in black and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely and don’t catch on the laces. Washers are large to prevent the grommets from falling out.
Laces 3/8″ black double faced satin ribbon. Zero spring. They glide well through the laces.
Price Available from sizes 18-38, and at the time that I’m writing this review, the corselette costs $315 for plain black poplin, and $395 if you want an identical style to this (with coloured poplin and mirror-matched lace overlay).
Dark Garden Corselette, modelled by Victoria Dagger and photographed by Joel Aron photography

I’m extremely pleased to say that this is the first of four reviews of Dark Garden’s RTW (ready-to-wear) corset selection, including the Cincher, the classic Valentine and the Risqué Valentine

The Corselette is one of the shortest corsets I’ve ever tried, with a side length of only 5.5 inches which may fit even the shortest of waists. This particular style is pointed in the front with a 10 inch busk; but if you don’t like pointed corsets or you prefer something that is more conducive to hiding under clothing, you can request that the Corselette be made with a more rounded center front instead (the center front may be slightly shorter in this case). If you think you need more control around the sides and back to control flesh spillover, or if you want your lower tummy pulled flat, I would suggest trying one of their slightly longer underbust corsets.

I love how they used flat steel bones along the side seams that had been pre-curved to nip in the waist and kick out the hip, making a very curvy and comfortable corset from the first time I wore it – no numbness around the hips.

But one of the things I appreciate most about Dark Garden is their ethics. Every one of their corsets are made from start to finish in the US and they take enormous pride in their construction, which is evident in the pattern matching in their lace or brocade corsets for a luxurious final effect.

The Corselette can be viewed on Dark Garden’s website HERE.

Posted on Leave a comment

Where to buy Fan-Laced Corsets

This post is a duplicate of the permanent page Guided Galleries –> Corsets with Fan Lacing. The guided galleries are part of the corset brand research tools, which are designed to help prospective corset customers shop more wisely. This particular article may be out of date in the future, please refer to the main page to get the most up to date information.

Two variations of metal sliders for fan-lacing (suppied by Vena Cava Design)
Two variations of metal sliders for fan-lacing (suppied by Vena Cava Design)

Fan lacing may also be referred to as “Camp” lacing, “Cross” lacing, or “Cluster” lacing. Fan-laced corsets are relatively rare today, but they can be useful for those who have limited strength or dexterity. Fan-laced corsets differ from ‘regular’ corsets by their utilization of metal slides (usually, but not always!). These slides have grommet-like small holes on one end through which the laces are secured, and an adjustable serrated slot which grabs securely onto a grosgrain tape or belt. This allows the wearer to tighten their corset the same way that they would adjust a bra strap; simply by pulling on a pair of belts on either side of the lacing panel. For those who are unable to reach behind them and ‘pluck’ the individual X’s of the laces, a fan-laced corset may be just the trick for quickly and easily adjusting one’s own corset; for those with disabilities who use corsets for medical purposes, the use of fan lacing can contribute to one’s independence when dressing oneself. For those who would like a fan-laced corset as a fashion statement, you will find this page useful as well. Scroll down to see a gallery of corset makers who are experienced with making fan-laced corsets!

*Corset makers: if you have made fan-laced corsets and would like to be included in the gallery, please submit your best photo to my email here with a 1-sentence description and your website URL. Safe-for-work photos are preferred! Thank you!*

Functional Fan-Lacing:

The following corsets employ fan lacing to actually tighten and loosen the corset, rather than being used simply for embellishment. Scroll down the page if you’d like to see corsets which simply use fan-lacing for embellishment.

PureOne Corset Works in Japan has an entire line of fan-laced corsets in various styles.
Fan-laced medical-inspired corset by Contessa Gothique Design in Croatia
Fan-laced medical-inspired corset by Contessa Gothique Design in Croatia
Contemporary fan-lacing design by Lovesick Corrective Apparel in Canada.
Dark Garden (San Francisco, USA) custom Victorian underbust with
Dark Garden (San Francisco, USA) custom Victorian underbust with “cross-lacing”.
Alice Corsets in Ukraine made this beautiful pristine fan-laced corset.
Alice Corsets in Ukraine made this beautiful pristine fan-laced corset.
Lovely Rat's Quality Custom Clothing (Texas, USA) made this cute and feminine "meta corset", a fan-laced corset with printed corset fashion fabric.
Lovely Rat’s Quality Custom Clothing (Texas, USA) made this fan-laced corset with printed corset fashion fabric.
Fan-laced underbust corset by Serindë Corsets (France)
Fan-laced underbust corset by Serindë Corsets (France)
A gorgeous fan-laced corset made by Ivy's Custom Corsetry in the USA.
A gorgeous fan-laced corset made by Ivy’s Custom Corsetry in the USA.
AusAsche on Etsy has made this smart-looking men's fan-laced corset. (USA)
Tyler’s Chalk on Etsy has made this smart-looking men’s fan-laced corset. (USA)
This gorgeous fan-aced corset was apparently made by
This gorgeous fan-aced corset was apparently made by “CorsetWonderland” on Etsy, but unfortunately further information could not be found on it.
Cicatrix Design (New Mexico, USA) is another talented corset maker who has unfortunately been inactive recently, but still shares pictures of her lovely designs.
Tailor of Two Cities is a costuming company in Oklahoma USA, which is experienced in making various types of corsets.
Fan-laced underbust made by Jill of the Romantasy team in USA, $390.
Dark Knits Boutique in Edmonton, AB Canada offers custom overbust fan-laced corsets ($344 CAD)
Dark Knits Boutique in Edmonton, AB Canada offers custom overbust fan-laced corsets ($344 CAD)
Fan-laced custom underbust corset made by SparkleyJem in the UK (£180)
Fan-laced custom underbust corset made by SparkleyJem in the UK (£180)

 Decorative Fan Lacing:

The following corsets have a fan-lacing embellishment, but their use is not imperative to the actual function of the corset. Faux fan lacing can have a stunning effect on corsets, especially when contrast laces are used.

V-Couture in Germany has made this decorative fan-laced overbust with 4 non-adjustable slides.
Decorative fan-laced overbust by Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique in the UK, modelled by Twig (£140).
Decorative fan-laced overbust by Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique in the UK, modelled by Twig (£140).
BattieClothing in the UK has made this oxblood faux-leather underbust with non-functional fan-lacing (£260).
Oxblood faux-leather underbust with non-functional fan-lacing (£260) by BattieClothing in the UK.
Gorgeous silver underbust with decorative fan lacing, by Atelier Sylphe (France)
While fan-lace sliders were not utilized here, Anachronism in Action (USA) gets an honorable mention for her amazing fan-lace-like embellishment in this ensemble.

*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.

Posted on 1 Comment

Where to Buy Plus Size Corsets

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Please note: this page is no longer regularly updated, please see the permanent page for a more comprehensive gallery and list of corsetieres!

Victorian women had well-fitting plus size corsets too. To see more examples, click the photo to see the Pragmatic Costumer’s article.

Most well-known OTR corset companies carry corset sizes for natural waists up to and around 40″. However, what if your waist size is over 40 inches around? What if it’s over 50 inches? 60 inches? Full-figured people deserve beautiful corsets too, and in this article I’m going to share with you some of the companies that cater to larger clients. All of the following businesses offer corsets larger than 40″. There are many many more corsetieres than these that offer larger-sized corsets as custom commissions, and I recommend that if you have your heart set on a specific corset maker (even one not mentioned here), message or email them personally and see if they can accommodate your requests.

Please note that some of these companies charge a markup for larger sizes while others don’t. If you would like to learn more about any of the following corset companies and their pricing policy, please contact them directly.

Corsetieres, if you cater to larger clientele and would like to share an example of your work, submit photos by email to be added to the gallery. Safe-for-work photos are preferred!

ms_martha
Ms Martha’s Best Black & White overbust ($250) and CorsetVest ($285) both in leather

Ms. Martha’s Corset Shoppe has a selection of silk and leather standard-sized corsets for natural waist sizes 18″ to 52″. She never charges more for larger sizes, and some of her silk cinchers are as low as $100 in her close-out section. She particularly caters to full-figured and hard-to-fit customers, and she regularly uses plus-size models to demonstrate the gorgeous silhouette they give on all sizes. See her Wicked Kitten photoshoot for examples of how more of her corsets fit on fuller figures.

Hips & Curves Arabelle Luxe Steel Bond Corset, $160

Hips & Curves is a popular plus-size lingerie site that carries corsets in sizes 28″ up to 44″ (recommended natural waists from 30″ to 49″). Their “Luxe Steel-Boned Corsets” section offers standard-sized underbusts and overbusts starting from $130. They also have a great 60-day refund policy on all their garments.

Tess Munster modelling the Orchard Corset CS-426 underbust, starts at $79

Orchard Corset offers steel boned underbust corsets up to size 46″, which would fit up to a recommended natural waist of 56″.  Since fuller-figured corseters often require more length, I’d personally suggest their CS-426 underbust (shown above, modelled by Tess Munster), preferably in cotton if it’s for daily wear. While they do charge more for sizes 32-46″, it’s only $1 more for each successive size so the largest option is still only $87, by far the least expensive option in this list. (And if you use my discount code CORSETLUCY, you’ll save 10% on your purchase.)

Meschantes standard sized training underbust, $185 for sizes 40″-44″

Meschantes Corsetry offers ready-to-wear, standard sized training underbust corsets up to size 44″ corseted waist (suitable for up to 50″ natural uncorseted waists, size chart here). Sadly I couldn’t find any photos of these plus sized corsets, though. Meschantes also accepts commissions for custom fit corset styles, with a 25% markup for natural uncorseted waists between 40″-50″. Those with waists above 50″ are encouraged to email for further inquiry.

Lusty Can-Can underbust, $369

Stormy Leather of San Francisco (note: very NSFW) has 12 different corset styles for waist sizes up to 52″ if you look in their Women’s Plus Sizes section. These are offered in 40 shades of leather and 12 shades silk, and you can even choose 2-tone or complementary colours if you wish. The Can-Can underbust seen above is available in both silk and leather, and in smaller sizes (natural waists 22 – 32) or larger sizes (called Lusty sizes, natural waists 32-52).

Dark Garden Valentine overbust, $440. Photo: Joel Aron, model: Nicole Simone

Dark Garden Corsetry also offers standard-sized and custom-fit corsets for full-figured corseters. Their standard Valentine overbust is cut particularly for curvy clientele, and DG is also comfortable making corset sizes well over 40″ for those that upgrade to custom fit. Anyone who finds themselves in the San Francisco area is invited to have a personal fitting at Dark Garden’s boutique.

Electra Designs
Bride Stephanie modelling custom Electra Designs overbust corset

Electra Designs is comfortable making corsets for women with waists well over 40″, and Alexis has expressed excitement about making more corsets (and purchasable corset patterns!) for full figured customers in the coming year. Featured above is her lovely bridal client Stephanie from 2005; her corset features a very flat abdomen and beautiful bust shaping and support.

Totally Waisted! custom overbust for full-figured (and asymmetric) client

Totally Waisted! Corsets also caters to full-figured clientele, offering made-to-measure corsets whatever your size. Kate’s commissions are almost always heavily boned and she uses the highest quality materials she can find; the result as seen above is proper abdominal and bust support, and beautifully smooth curves. The photo featured above is also drafted for an asymmetric client (which will be discussed in another article).

Luscious Pearl Designs modelling her own historical recreation of the 1862 Strauss patent corded demibust

Luscious Pearl Designs from B.C. Canada specializes in beautiful made-to-measure corsets for plus sizes. Her pieces range from historical reproductions to contemporary couture and every fusion in between. Being a full-figured corseter herself, she understands how to specially draft for extra-curvy women in order to give flattering shape and support.

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 10.57.51 PM
Bride Jamie modelling The Bad Button “Armor” overbust

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets is also well experienced in making corsets for full-figured clients; Alisha has mentioned that her corsets have been made up to size 50″ in the past. The gorgeous modified “Armor” corset with straps featured above was made for one of her clients, bride Jamie, in summer 2013. (You can see more pictures of Jamie’s wedding in her Offbeat Bride feature!)

Romantasy Simple Pleasures Cincher, from $185 – $265

Romantasy Exquisite Corsetry offers corsets in both standard sizes and custom-fit, all made in the USA, and available for natural waists up to 60″. Above is a photo of their Simple Pleasures cincher, which has an average price of $235 for the full-figured woman, depending on your waist size. This cincher can also be used upside down to fit gentlemen.

Claudia models the TO.mTO Amelia corset, €489

TO.mTO from Berlin makes impressively curvy and unbelievably smooth corsets for women and men of all sizes. In the above picture, client Claudia models the beautifully fitted Amelia longline corset from TO.mTO’s Vanity Fair special collection. This couture corset costs €489, or about $660 USD.

Evie Wolfe models the Belladonna overbust, $249

Forever in Black is a UK business that’s been creating corsets since 1995, adding historical costume and goth/Steampunk clothing to the list of commissions. Their standard sized corsets go up to a 42″ closed waist, and custom corsets like the Belladonna overbust (seen above, modelled by Evie Wolfe) can be made for any waist size if you need larger. An included toile fitting ensures dramatic curves for $249.

woodsholme
Woodsholme Tudor short stays, starts at $175

For those who prefer more Elizabethan-style stays, Woodsholme on Etsy creates beautiful historically-inspired stays, Victorian corsets and clothing. Louise, the corsetiere, creates made-to-measure pieces for all sizes; the Tudor stays featured above were made to fit a client with a 50″ bust.

For other corset makers who cater to full-figured clientele, also check out the following links:

*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.

If you liked this article, perhaps you’d also be interested in reading the Guide for Overbusts for Large-Busted/ Top-Heavy Corseters.

If you liked this article, perhaps you’d also be interested in reading the Guide for Overbusts for Large-Busted/ Top-Heavy Corseters.

Posted on 2 Comments

Where to Buy Corsets for Men

 

Fakir Musafar as “The Perfect Gentleman”, 1959 This photo has inspired many other gentlemen to consider waist training. Click through to learn more about Fakir.

I’m pleased to announce that a new Guided Gallery is now up! Gentlemen wear corsets too, but sometimes it can be difficult to find a corset that both cinches the waist and maintains a stereotypically masculine silhouette. In the new gallery, Corsets for Men, you’ll find nearly 40 makers who cater to this specifically.

Posted on Leave a comment

Where to buy Sheer/Mesh Summer Corsets

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Tulle corset, 1875. From Thierry de Maigret

The first time I saw a mesh corset, it triggered a long-term obsession. What a wonderful idea! Conventional corsets can be hot and sweaty during summertime or in warmer climates. The oldest tulle corset I’ve seen is estimated to be from 1875 (featured left) and throughout the 1890’s it seems that linen mesh became more popular for corsetry, so the idea is not new! Fast forward to today; there has been a huge resurgence of summer corsetry, and they’re as strong as ever with the creation of new fibers and creative engineering. Mesh and net corsets are made with all different types of materials: cross-stitch canvas, linen mesh, Aida cloth, nylon mesh, polyester tulle, horsehair, and lace itself. In this article I’ll highlight some corsetieres and brands that offer modern mesh corsets.

*Please note that MANY corsetieres now create summer mesh corsets, and if I were to add them all, this post would be maddeningly long. Corsetieres, if your mesh corset does not appear in this list and you have one to submit, please send me an email here.
<

Daily-Wear Summer Corsets

Madame Sher nude mesh underbust, $300

Brazil-based Madame Sher has a collection of simple and beautiful mesh corsets in her Tight Comfort section, ranging from $220 – $300 for a custom-fit design. They’re made with cotton mesh and cotton twill in various neutral shades. See my review of the Madame Sher black mesh cincher here.

Ferrer Corsets summer mesh tightlacing underbust, starts at R$ 300

Ferrer Corsets is also a Brazilian corset maker – and it seems that tropical Brazil is taking the summer corset industry by storm as they understand the need to feel cool while training in any climate. Ferrer offers a variety of mesh and net corsets in his tight-lacing section, including the corset above which costs only R$ 385 with an included busk and modesty panel.

Delicate Facade Corsetry heavy-duty summer mesh corset, starts at $510

Delicate Facade Corsetry has made this summer corset made with “heavy duty, industrial grade, tightlacing quality mesh”, for a special client who requires a surgery support corset 24/7 after a horrendous accident. DF Corsetry has prettied up this breezy piece with highly decorative latticework. You can learn more about Delicate Facade, and read more about Sasha’s story here.

Contour Corsets gold summer mesh corset, starts at $595

Contour Corsets makes arguably the strongest modern mesh corsets in the world. Fran incorporates space-age materials into her corsets, and the photo above features my personal primary waist training corset, capable of withstanding 23/7 use and cinching my waist over 25%. The synthetic mesh and the construction of the corset are both so strong that the addition of a waist tape would be superfluous. My review of the summer Contour Corset can be found here.

Sophisticated Tulle Corsets:

Contessa Gothique Design Semi-Mesh underbust, starts at $280

Contessa Gothique Design makes semi-mesh corsets with alternating panels of poly netting and cotton coutil – the one shown above is the one I own. The net is soft like tulle, but the double-layer makes for a strong piece. Embellished with lace appliqué and Swarovski crystals, this pretty piece holds up very well to tightlacing and accentuates any summer outfit while still keeping me cool – but if you prefer, the corset can be made more plain as well. See my review of this Contessa Gothique corset here.

V-Couture Nyx tulle and lace overbust, $550

V-couture makes a single-layer tulle overbust called “Nyx”, heavily decorated with beautiful corded lace, beads and sequins. Although it has no waist tape, V-couture ensures that Nyx is capable of giving up to 4 inches reduction.

1962192_675805222441905_624039294_o
Entre-Nous embroidered tulle overbust; Textile design by Jakob Schlaepfer

Entre-Nous introduced embroidered tulle corsets in early 2014, such as this astonishingly gorgeous white piece with delicate pastel floral embroidery. 

Lace Corsets:

Wyte Phantom black lace sheer underbust. Model: October DiVine. Photo: My Boudoir

What happens when you forgo the lace appliqué and just use the uncut lace itself as the panels in a corset? You get a breathtaking sheer effect, as seen in the piece above made by Wyte Phantom.

Totally Waisted sheer waist cincher with Chantilly lace overlay, starts at $199
Totally Waisted sheer waist cincher with Chantilly lace overlay, starts at $199

Totally Waisted! Corsets also featured some limited edition sheer cinchers this year, priced to sell. The strong mesh panels with full Chantilly lace overlay combine with super-strong spot broche to make an enchanting statement piece that can be worn over any outfit, or next to the skin.

Coloured Mesh Corsets:

JL Corsets “Kingfisher” mesh corset, using 3 colours of sport mesh

JL Corsets offers some fun-yet-tough sports mesh corset in any combination of colours – you can order a corset in just one shade, but why not have ALL the colours?!

do_balakobako
Do Balakobako pink mesh and floral print underbust

Do Balakobako Corsets from Brazil makes some of the most beautiful coloured mesh pieces starting from only R$ 250, and her prolific work is very quickly gaining admirers on Facebook! See her photo album of summer corsets here.

Sheer/ Organza Corsetry:

Clessidra Couture sheer plunge overbust

Clessidra Couture is the designer label of Julia Bremble, owner of Sew Curvy Corset Making supplies. Corsetieres around the world trust her for the highest quality corsetry materials, so before selling any new type of fabric, she really puts it to the test! Above is an example made from the (highly coveted) strong yet sleek net fabric sold in limited amounts at Sew Curvy – the first batch was so popular, it sold out in less than an hour!

Angela Stringer Corsetry floral sheer overbust

Angela Stringer Corsetry has a continual theme on floral prints. In the above corset, she combines the sophistication of sheer panels with floral femininity to create a unique piece that’s both playful and smoldering. This is available in both overbust and underbust versions.

unnamed-12
The “Snowy Owl” corset by The Bad Button. Model: Zsu Zsu Starr. Photo: Aesthetic Aperture

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets, based out of Kentucky, USA, has been hard at work through early 2014 creating her “Birds of Paradise” couture line. One such piece from her collection is the “Snowy Owl” shown above, made of alternating silk covered coutil and sheer crinoline.

Sheer corset girdle by Snowblack Corsets, approximately $200 USD
Sheer corset girdle by Snowblack Corsets, starts at $200
SnowBlack Corsets offers this lovely corset/girdle, made with a single layer of nylon bobbinet, and finished in black raw silk shell and coutil lining. While this corset has a waist tape and sturdy two part grommets, SnowBlack says that it is meant to serve as more of a slimming, supportive girdle and doesn’t recommend a reduction of more than 4″ in this. However, it would be the perfect tool to smooth your figure under a retro dress! This corset also features four garter clips, and two additional hidden garter tabs for additional hold of stockings if desired.
Dark Garden Risqué Sweetheart overbust, starts at $505

The Dark Garden Risqué corset is aptly named. Made from nylon mesh and silk, the Risqué is available as both a cincher and as a sweetheart overbust (above). The website provides fantastic ideas for wear, mentioning that sheer corsetry serves as a great foundation under formal gowns, or can be worn to show off tattoos.

Pop Antique Flirt overbust, starts at $399

Marianne is a well-known corsetiere for Dark Garden, but she also owns her own corsetry line and is a respected designer in her own right: Pop Antique‘s corsets are fun and contemporary, and the Flirt overbust is as coquettish as it gets with its peekaboo panels and little panniers (or “hip fins” as I like to call them).

Sparklewren sheer bridal overbust with cups

Sparklewren also offers some sheer corsetry, from cinchers to full cupped overbust corsets. Natural sheer mesh sees layers upon layers of French lace appliqué in true Sparklewren fashion to create an ethereal one-of-a-kind design.

Velda Lauder mesh and satin underbust corset

Although this corset is no longer available for purchase, I wouldn’t feel right without mentioning Velda Lauder’s sheer underbust, as she designed this years ago before any of the other corsetieres in this section had discovered corset-suitable sheer fabric. Ms Lauder forged a path all her own, and will be fondly remembered for her beautiful designs.

Horsehair corsets:

Bizarre Design sheer halter overbust and matching skirt

Bizarre Design proves that horsehair can shape the torso with extreme efficacy given the correct engineering. This sheer overbust with halter straps is capable of giving extreme reductions even without a waist tape.

Atelier Sylphe polyester horsehair pointed overbust

Atelier Sylphe has created a beautiful sheer pointed overbust from poly horsehair and twill, also giving an impressive silhouette without a waist tape.

Anachronism In Action sheer lattice pointed overbust

Anachronism in Action‘s sheer overbust features horsehair that had been dyed a diaphanous ice-blue hue. The beautiful lattice corset also features hundreds of Swarovski crystals over the bust.

OTR/ RTW Corsets:

What Katie Did sheer Cabaret two-tone Laurie overbust, £209

What Katie Did offers a few mesh styles in the Demi-Couture section of their website. The Cabaret Sophia, Cabaret Laurie and Cabaret Morticia corsets feature panels of a double layer of organza in either soft peach or sultry black, and maintain as curvy a silhouette as ever. See my review of the Cabaret two-tone Laurie here.

True Corset white mesh cincher, $83

For those who want to try a mesh piece immediately, True Corset keeps an affordable standard-sized white mesh cincher in stock for only £55 (or $83). Due to the nature of the mesh and the lack of waist tape, True Corset recommends that buyers order a size smaller than usual as the corset may stretch over time.

Fairy GothMother Short Mesh Underbust, £215

Fairy GothMother also offers a standard-sized mesh cincher for £215, available in black or a relatively rare red mesh. They recommend this for light wear (2-4 inches reduction).

Other corsetieres who have made mesh or sheer corsets:

*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.

Posted on 3 Comments

Where to buy Corsets that correct posture/ corsets with shoulder straps

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Your typical run-of-the-mill underbust corset does a good job of correcting lumbar posture (making you stand tall from your lower back), but some individuals still find that they slouch from the shoulders, which regular underbusts don’t directly fix. So, which corsets are best to correct your whole posture and help you sit tall?

Some overbust corsets extend high enough on the body that they can help correct posture in the thoracic vertebrae, but what if you don’t like conventional overbusts, or you just want some variety in your corset collection? The answer possibly lies in a high-backed corset with shoulder straps. There are many corsets that come with straps, but the type of straps matter greatly if you’re looking to correct hunched shoulders.

Avoid halter straps if you have a slouching problem.

If you have a habit of slouching, avoid halter straps on your corsets because if the straps are too short or tied too tightly, the material pulling on the back of your neck will exacerbate a forward-head position and possibly encourage your shoulders to follow, making your posture worse. What would work better is a waistcoat-style corset which has a high supportive back extending up between the shoulder blades, and individual shoulder straps that help pull the shoulders back and open up the chest.

Underbust Waistcoat Corsets

Miss Katie waistcoat corset, £325
Miss Katie waistcoat corset, £325 on FairyGothMother

Miss Katie, a UK designer, has created this waistcoat underbust corset for £325 (or about $530). This standard-sized taffeta corset is laced nearly up to the neck, and the shoulder straps look to be made of ribbon and can be tied looser or tighter based on your preference.

Ties That Bynde custom daily wear corset with shoulder trainers

Ties that Bynde is a Michigan-based corsetiere who just recently debuted this training corset. Custom-fit and made from spot broche coutil, this corset is strong enough to be worn daily. The shoulders straps attach to the corset using ribbon and grommets, which are slightly adjustable.

Scoundrelle’s Keep Sabine underbust, starts at $340

Scoundrelle’s Keep of St. Paul, Minnesota specializes in Steampunk style corsets, and their Sabine underbust corset features neat a multi-adjustable shoulder harness. The entire harness attaches to the underbust corset using adjustable belt/buckles, and can be entirely detached from the corset if desired (so you can wear the corset as a simple underbust at times). The four belts in back adjust to the height of your shoulders, while the two straps in front can be tightened to coax the shoulders back, or loosened for your comfort. The laces in back can also be adjusted depending on the breadth of your shoulders. They also make an overbust version called Aubrey and both of these corsets come in your choice of colours.

Totally Waisted! Corsets waistcoat corset, $650

Totally Waisted! Corsets is a Toronto-based business that creates a variety of couture corsets from traditional Victorian styles to modern corseted wedding gowns. Kate has experience in drafting posture-corrective garments and her corsets are capable of giving impressive waist reductions while looking relatively natural. This gorgeous made-to-measure corset features straps adjustable using ribbon laces, and it includes lace accents, painstakingly tidy contrast stitching and beautiful flossing.

High-backed underbust corset by Daze of Laur

Let’s take a moment to admire the colourful work of Daze of Laur. Laurie’s high-backed underbust corsets feature shoulder straps adjustable with ribbons and can be made with a neutral posture or can be incorporated into a more S-bend style corset. Although she is not currently accepting commissions, do check back periodically as her creations are not to be missed.

Overbust Waistcoat Corsets

The Bad Button overbust waistcoat corset with integrated straps and collar

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets has designed a beautiful overbust waistcoat corset that doesn’t have lacing right up to the neck as in the previous mentioned designs, but this corset works by adding structure and support over the upper chest, back, and over the shoulders. The shoulder straps are not really adjustable (and so must be carefully fitted), but for women with heavy busts, the extra support in front can remove strain the shoulders by lifting and supporting the bust from below.

House of Canney Duelist's Steampunk Corset vest, starts at $265
House of Canney Duelist’s Steampunk Corset vest, starts at $265

The House of Canney has an awesome selection of waistcoat and vest-like corsets for both men and women. This Duelist’s Corset is made-to-measure and features a unique offset busk, collar that can be worn up or down, and Anthony’s trademark “keyhole” lacing design (which would be amazing for those who like a little ventilation in back!).

Dark Garden Beau Brummel Waistcoat Corset, $1195

Dark Garden Corsetry offers some incredibly beautiful custom designs, whether it’s a modified simple underbust to integrate shoulder straps, or whether it’s a waistcoat corset (seen above) for full coverage. They have styles for both men and women, to suit every taste, and can be made to be more posture-corrective or more lenient with posture.

Corsets with Criss-Cross Straps

Contour Corsets Redresseur style corset with locking shoulder straps

It’s no secret that Contour Corsets is one of my favourite designers; Fran’s engineering is incredible. In this unique piece, you’re looking at the back of the corset (the laces are underneath the flap, so the back is smooth under clothing) and the wide shoulder straps criss-cross in the back to help pull the shoulders back and correct posture. The straps here are adjustable using grommets and little locks, although other Contour styles utilize simple buckles without locks. Even without shoulder straps, Fran can make a simple underbust corset more or less posture-corrective (using patterning and rigidity of bones/fabric) depending on the client’s preferences.

Electra Designs custom high-back underbust shoulder straps

Electra Designs is another favourite corsetiere who displays considerable ingenuity. Alexis explained that the custom-fit corset seen above was for a client with notable physical asymmetry. Masterful positioning of the piping masks scoliosis very well in a piece like this. She uses special flexible lacing bones that maintains a neutral posture and hugs the curve of the lower spine, while the criss-cross shoulder straps help to correct upper-spinal posture and is adjusted using buckles in the front. The same way that “reverse bunny ear” lacing can give more leverage while lacing down, so corsets with criss-cross straps have the leverage to gently squeeze the scapula together more easily, and straighten thoracic spine posture and open the chest. 

*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, and not meant to replace the advice of a medical physician. If you have posture issues or have any health concerns, please talk to your doctor, orthopedic technician or chiropractor before using a corset to correct your posture (or for any other reason).

Posted on 1 Comment

Ready-to-wear corsets made in the US and UK

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Many of my readers wish to start with an affordable OTR corset, but they may feel moral or economical obligations to purchase from the US or UK, as working conditions are generally better regulated here than in developing countries. For conscientious corset shoppers, the following list features some well-known corset manufacturers or businesses that have at one point or another stated that their corsets are produced locally and are highly likely to employ corsetieres under fair working conditions.

UK Corset Businesses:

Axfords C210 ribbon underbust corset, £95

Axfords Corsets is one of the UK’s oldest corset companies, having been in business since 1880. Their standard-sized corsets are made by a team of corsetieres in their facility in Brighton England, but they still have a competitive edge on the industry due to their reasonable prices. Axfords also sells some men’s corsets that still maintain a masculine physique.

Vollers Paradise overbust (1808) in white satin and lace, £295

Vollers: The Corset Company has been around since 1899 and also employs corsetieres in Portsmouth, England. Their corsets are usually standard-sized but they do offer a made-to-measure service for a markup. As of July 2013, they have also established a lifetime guarantee on all of their corsets.

Morgana Femme Couture MF1323, starts at £310

Morgana Femme Couture is a relatively recent corset manufacturer, but they have made a huge impact on the corset industry with their affordable prices for custom couture pieces. All of their corsets are made in their UK atelier, including their ready-to-wear, standard-sized pieces available from their Etsy shop.

US Corset Businesses:

Romantasy Custom Fundamentals line: Victorian underbust by Jill Hoverman, $285

Romantasy Exquisite Corsetry has been in business since 1990, and the president, Ann Grogan, is one of the world’s most respected modern corset mentors and educators. Romantasy offers both in-stock corsets and custom corsets, standard-sized or made to measure, and every corset is quality-checked and wrapped by Ann herself. The Romantasy corsetiere team proudly featured notables such as Michael Garrod (True Grace Corsets) and Ruth Johnson (BR Creations), and Romantasy continues to employ talented corsetieres in the US today.

Versatile Corsets Valerian overbust, $438

Versatile Corsets had its beginnings in “Versatile Fashions by Ms Antoinette” in the 1990’s. After the company had switched hands to Cameo Designs some years ago, their quality has only improved and have dressed performers like Mosh, Ru Paul and Dita Von Teese. Versatile’s corsetieres have always been based in California, USA, and have over 20 years corset-making experience. They offer both standard-sized and made-to-measure corsets, and carry a small stock of ready-to-wear pieces.

Meschantes Thunder overbust, starts at $255

Meschantes Corsetry was established in 2000, and makes their corsets in their North Carolina studio in the USA. The business offers custom-fit corsets in 21 different styles and literally hundreds of fabrics, and they also offer deals on their RTW corsets in their Etsy shop.

Period Corsets Victorian reenactment corset, $725

Period Corsets employs a team of corset makers based in Seattle to make some of the most gorgeous historically-accurate corsets I’ve ever seen, basing their pieces off genuine vintage patterns. They have made some modern/contemporary corsets for the likes of Madonna, Fergie and the base corsets in Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and they are also regularly employed by opera houses – but they also offer standard-sized and custom-fit corsets from 16th to 20th centuries on their regular site and their Etsy shop.

Isabella Corsetry Edwardian overbust (immediate line), $199

As of the last several years, Isabella Corsetry‘s pieces have been hand made in California. Isabella is ‘home’ to the famous Josephine underbust, which is said to be the curviest of OTR corsets (having the largest hip spring I know of) and is also strong enough to stand up to daily wear. The business offers ready-to-wear corsets in a variety of colors and styles, and also accommodates custom/ made-to-measure orders.

Dark Garden Risqué Sweetheart overbust with lace, $505

Dark Garden Corsetry & Couture was created in 1989 by Autumn Adamme, and like Ms Grogan she also employs a team of talented corsetieres in California, having included respected designers like Anachronism in Action and Pop Antique. Dark Garden offers corsets for men and women alike and accommodate both ready-to-wear and custom-fit pieces, promoted by celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Kelly Osbourne.

*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.