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Morgana Femme Couture MF1303 Gold Satin with Black Lace Longline Underbust Review (MFC)

This entry is a summary of the review video “Morgana Femme Couture Lace Overlay Longline Underbust Corset (MF1303) Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 14 inches long, princess seam is 12 inches (5.5″ above the waist, 6.5″ below the waist), side seam is 13 inches and center back is 14 inches.
Underbust 27″, waist 22″, low hip 36″.
Traditional hourglass silhouette with conical ribcage. Longline corset, recommended for tall or long-waisted people. Will hold in lower tummy pooch, recommended for pear-shaped people.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is gold satin, with black lace overlay. The interlining (strength fabric) is 100% English cotton coutil, lining of cotton twill. Boning channels are satin coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. The strength fabric, satin and lace were all flatlined and panels assembled, and external boning channels strengthen seams. Floating lining.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers, secured down at boning channels. Full width (center front to center back).
Binding Black satin coutil bias tape neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside with a small topstitch (may have been stitched in one pass, using a special attachment). No garter tabs.
Modesty panel By default, MFC corsets don’t come with a modesty panel in back. In the front there’s an unboned placket, about ¼ inch wide, finished in black satin coutil, extending out from under knob side of the busk.
Busk 12.5″ long, with 6 loops and pins (the last two a bit closer together). Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) of average stiffness, and reinforced with backed with a ¼” wide flat bone on each side. See Final Thoughts for how it was covered.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. On each side, 9 spirals (1/4″ wide) are single boned on the seam (and also in the middle of the panels) in external channels, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and an additional flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set a bit closer together at the waistline, the occasional split, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong 1/8″ wide cotton flat shoe-lace style laces; they have zero stretch, they hold the bows and knots well, and they are long enough.
Price Available in waist sizes 18″ up to 26″. Currently $300 USD on their Etsy store (standard size, ready-to-wear) or $290-$350 USD on the MFC website (made-to-measure and custom colours, price depends on the size).

 

Additional Thoughts:

Morgana Femme Couture MC1303 longline corset, with satin and lace overlay. Photo courtesy of Awin / Etsy.

I purchased this corset from a friend (Jasmine Ines of Sin & Satin) and I believe I’m the third owner – so this corset has held up extremely well considering how old it is and how much it’s been worn. However, it was not made for my body – it was made-to-measure for the first customer, who has a much smaller ribcage and much fuller hips than I have, as well as someone with a much longer torso from the waist down compared to me.

As per usual, I’m quite impressed by the quality of the materials in this corset. The gold satin and black lace overlay feels lush (and if you dislike the gold, you can have the corset made in nearly any other color of satin you like), English herringbone coutil strength layer, satin coutil boning channels and cotton lining. Once you go quality, you won’t want to go back.

Another rare feature of MFC corsets is their “skinny panel” over the busk – on the loop side, it’s often one continuous piece of fabric that wraps around the busk, with buttonholes for the loops to peek through. This prevents any possibility of the center front seam ripping open. I’m on the fence as to whether I like the look of buttonholes, as it can make the busk look a bit “hairy” compared to a clean seam, but I can’t deny that it is strong construction.

The only thing I would improve upon in this corset is I wish they were available in a wider range of sizes! There are so many full figured women who would love to own an MFC corset, it would be great if MFC could eventually expand their most popular corsets up into the 30+ waist range – at least for made-to-order corsets.

See Morgana Femme Couture’s MF1303 corset here, or visit their Etsy shop here.

Do you own this corset or another piece from Morgana Femme Couture? Let us know what you think of it in a comment below!

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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.

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Dark Garden Bespoke Corset Process – Measurements and Mockup Fitting

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):

dark-garden-corsetry-measuring-guide
Custom corset measurement guide. Model: Autumn Adamme, the owner/ founder of Dark Garden.

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.

Mockup of the custom Aziza overbust from Dark Garden.
Mockup of the custom Aziza overbust from Dark Garden.

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!)

aziza-corset
Final Aziza corset by Dark Garden.

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!

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Sparklewren Golden Bird’s Wing Review

This post is a summary of the “Sparklewren Bird’s Wing Underbust Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Sparklewren Bird’s Wing Quick Stats

Fit, length Even though this corset is a sample, I’ve added the measurements below for the sake of completion.) The center front is 11.5 inches long. Princess seam is 11 inches. The center back is 9 inches (it has a beautiful sweetheart shape in the back). Circumferential measurements: waist is 20 inches (see discussion below for notes), the underbust is 28 inches, and the low hip is about 37 inches.
Material Two main layers: fashion fabric is a gold moiré silk, and the lining is a fine-weave black herringbone coutil.
Construction 14 panel pattern (28 panels total). Each panel is very long and very narrow (each one is less than an inch wide at the waistline!)
The panels were assembled using a lap-seam, and the topstitch on each seam doubles as a narrow boning channel.
Binding Bias strips of gold moiré fabric. Neatly machine stitched on front, hand-finished on the underside.
Waist tape None detected. (See discussion below)
Modesty panel None came with this sample (but for bespoke commissions, a modesty panel is available for a possible markup).
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ on each side), 11 inches long with 5 loops and pins (bottom two are closer together). There are so many bones adjacent to the busk that it helps keep the center front flat.
Boning 34 total bones (17 on each side). The bones in the front and back feel like 6mm wide flat steels, while the bones wrapping around the sides are likely 4mm or 5mm spirals. It is single boned on the seams, but because it has so many panels, the corset feels like it is continuously boned!
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 with a medium flange and finished in silver (it would have been beautiful if they were finished in gold to match the fabric!). Grommets are set a bit closer together at the waistline, and they’re in excellent condition (not falling out).
Laces Black flat shoelace style lacing.
Price £400 GBP for the Phoenix Bird’s Wing style.

 

Gorgeous high-contrast shot of the gold bird's wing sample. Photo by Sparklewren.
Gorgeous high-contrast shot of the gold bird’s wing sample. Photo by Sparklewren.

Although this was a test sample, this lovely bird’s wing underbust resembles Sparklewren’s limited edition “Phoenix” line. The precision and care required to make such a corset is remarkable – if Jenni’s seams were off by even 0.5 mm in each panel in this corset, the entire corset would end up being 1.4 cm (more than half an inch) bigger or smaller in the waist!

This corset was made to fit someone with a smaller ribcage, larger hips, and higher waistline than myself (I am long waist from the waist up, and short from the waist down) so it was eventually re-homed to another corset collector who happened to fit the corset perfectly.

This is a remarkably comfortable little corset despite not being made for my measurements. It was deliberately made slightly small (19 0r 19.5 inches) to accommodate for a small amount of stretch and end up as a 20-inch waist, as its construction (traditional lapped seams) did not allow for the addition of a concealed waist tape.

Because there are so many panels to the bird’s wing corset, it’s said to mold extremely well to the wearer – even molding to a person’s asymmetries, say if they have scoliosis – and still be very smooth and comfortable.

See more of Sparklewren’s work here on her website.

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“True Corset” Dragon Brocade Cincher Review

This post is a summary of the “True Corset” Dragon Brocade Cincher Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Front is about 9″ inches long, as well as the sides and back because they are all cut to be the same height. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 7″ bigger than the waist. Recommended for people of shorter stature or shorter waists. If you have any issues with lower tummy pooch, choose a longer corset as this one doesn’t extend down to cover the lower abdomen.
Material 2 main layers: fashion fabric is red and gold on black dragon brocade, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill). The internal boning channels are likely petersham ribbon.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Top-stitched between the channels, single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon, not folded under. Machine stitched on the outside and inside.
Waist tape 1-inch wide black satin ribbon, exposed on the inside of the corset. It does not extend through all panels though; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, and ends between panels 4-5.
Modesty panel 5.5 inch wide modesty panel at the back, unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching dragon brocade. Un-boned modesty placket made from black denim under the busk.
Busk 8.5 inches long with 5 pins (equidistantly spaced). Fairly stiff, just short of 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 10 total bones not including busk. On each side there are three 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels), but no bone on the seam between panels 4-5. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 20 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. The brocade is fraying around the grommets unfortunately. However the bull denim underneath are still holding the grommets so I will watch them and see if they need replacing. A few split grommets, but doesn’t catch the back.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided nylon shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring.
Price At the time that I’m writing, it is £40 in the UK or $60 in the US.

Final Thoughts

This cincher is designed for beginners, as it has an attractive price and an un-intimidating silhouette. Unless you have quite narrow hips, I would now recommend ordering a size up from what you’d usually get (or what would usually be recommended to you) from an OTR corset company, because the modern-slim silhouette doesn’t accommodate a huge waist reduction. I initially went with a size 22″ but in retrospect I would have gone with a size 24″ instead, as I like my corsets to be more closed in the back.

I had originally requested this piece in black taffeta but I was sent the dragon brocade instead. I notified the True Corset company by email, even if it only resulted in them fixing the number of corsets in their stock. They were quite gracious and acted quickly to fix the mistake. Although I ended up keeping this piece in the end (shipping things over the US/Canada border is expensive), I appreciate that True Corset had such responsible customer service.

Unfortunately, the brocade was on the delicate side and began to fray around the grommets. The grommets haven’t pulled out completely, because the sturdy bull denim lining is currently keeping them in place – but I will keep an eye on this corset and see if there are any changes in the future. In a later post I will show how the taffeta underbust by True Corset seems to hold the grommets in a little better. I’m not sure if this is due to the taffeta having a denser weave, or if it is due to the slightly different construction of their “waist training” style corsets; nevertheless they seem to be holding fast – but if you’re considering this piece and are truly indifferent about the fashion fabric, I would recommend the taffeta instead of the brocade.

You can find the True Corset cincher on their website and also on Amazon.

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Princess Tamina Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of my videos for the Princess Tamina costume. If you would like more  information and side notes about the corset and costume, you can watch the videos on YouTube here:

 

 

Fit, length Self-drafted underbust corset with a peaked front top and bottom edge. Stops just at the hips, and features a high back (7″ above waist). Made to close at 21″ at the waist. I took 3 horizontal measurements and 5 vertical measurements to draft this.
Material 4 layers of material; fashion fabric is a very stretchy gold-on-beige lamé, two layers of down-proof cotton ticking (labelled “coutil” in French) as strength layer, and ivory satin lining.
Construction Drafted from a 5-panel pattern. Lining was flatlined to ticking and lockstitched between the seams, then joined to another layer of ticking (wrong sides together) via the sandwich method. Sandwiched boning channels were sewn through those 3 layers, then the fashion fabric was redesigned to look like a ribbon corset and was tacked down at center front and back seams; floating in all other places. Embellishment was hand-sewn.
Binding Made from bias strips of lamé and machine stitched on both front and back. Back of binding was not folded under but left raw; as it’s a knit it doesn’t fray.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the two layers of ticking.
Modesty panel None.
Busk None; closed front.
Boning Only 12 bones including center front; all half-inch wide steels. Two at center front and one on each seam between panels; only a bone on the outer edge of the grommets, not the inner edge.
Grommets There are 22, 2-part size #X00 grommets (11 on each side), finished in gold to match the rest of the corset. This corset being the first time I hammered in grommets, the back of some of them are rough and catch a bit on the laces.
Laces Round nylon utility cord made for outdoor/sports use. It was loosely woven, frayed easily, slippery and didn’t hold bows very well.
Price The cost for materials was close to $70 because the only store that supplied steel bones near me charged me an arm and a leg for them. Otherwise this corset would have been closer to $35-$40 in supplies. If I were to remake this corset today and sell it, it would cost around $315 USD.
($225 underbust corset + $15 half-inch boning upgrade (I’d use spiral at seams) + $20 double (proper) coutil strength layer upgrade + $40 pattern modification + $15 hand-sewn embellishments)