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“Friendship Corset” Collaboration (Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats & Lucy’s Corsetry)

This entry is a summary of the “Friendship Corset” Case Study (Collaboration between Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats & Lucy’s Corsetry). If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches long, the princess seam is 9.5 inches (4.5 inches above the waist, 4 inches below the waist), the side seam is 10.75 inches and the center back is 11.25 inches long.
Circumferential measurements: underbust is 29″ (rib spring is 6″), waist is 23″, and hip is 35″ (hip spring is 12″). The ribs are gently rounded and the hips are slightly cupped, giving a comfortable and flattering silhouette that was designed for my long torso and low waist.
Material 3 main layers: the fashion fabric pink rainbow crystal organza, fused to white herringbone coutil – and the lining is a “Monet” inspired printed lightweight quilting cotton. Boning channels / binding were custom dyed satin coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 converge towards the lower tummy in center front, panels 3-4-5 make the curve over the hip. Construction: organza was fused to coutil, and panels assembled with the seam allowances facing inward (added topstitch for reinforcement). Single external boning channels laid down (one on each seam and one in the middle of each panel), and the lining is floating.
Waist tape One-inch-wide twill cotton waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Binding Matching strips of green satin coutil, machine stitched on outside and hand-finished on the inside. No garter tabs (I don’t use them anyway).
Modesty panel None, as we were short on time and I tend to lace my corsets closed in the back anyway.
In the front there is a modesty placket, extending about 1/2″ out from under the knob side of the busk, covered in the lining fabric, and stiffened with coutil.
Busk 12” long, with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Heavy duty busk, slightly wider than 1″ on each side, and very stiff. The busk extends into the binding.
Boning 24 bones total in this corset, 12 on each side. Single boned on the seams and additional bones in the middle of each panel, with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel (the bone on the center back edge is 1/2″ wide, and the bone on the “internal” side of the grommets is ¼ inch wide).
Grommets There are 22, two-part size #00 grommets (11 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. There is the occasional split on the underside of the grommets (my doing as this was my first time using her grommet press) but they’re all holding in securely.
Laces Granny Smith apple green 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon (glides well through the grommets, holds knots and bows securely, long enough).


The Story Behind the Corset:

Some of you who watched my “Unboxing Week” videos in summer of 2015 may remember this corset and the story behind it.

The pattern was a posthumous gift from one of my closest friends in the corset community, Christine Wickham (A Girl From Down Under / Ariadne’s Thread). Christine did a lot for the corset community during her active years from around 2011 – 2014 (including spearheading a fundraiser for me to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry). I also worked with Christine on a number of projects; she was the illustrator for my Corset Designer Doll and she also helped rework my logo. But one of the things that she was most well-known for was that she developed her own underbust corset pattern and released it online for free in the “Learn to Make Corsets Like a Pro!” Facebook group so other fledgling corset makers could use her corset pattern as a place to start.

What I didn’t know is that she was also working on a made-to-measure corset pattern as a gift for me. The only other person she told / showed this pattern to was our mutual friend Amber of Lovely Rats Corsetry (to have Amber check over the pattern and suggest improvements). Christine passed away suddenly in July 2014 after a yoga injury led to pulmonary embolism, and it shook the whole corset community. It was less than 72 hours between her being fine and being gone.

Christine and her generous nature is still regularly discussed among my group of friends, and when I stayed with Amber for two weeks in July 2015, she printed out the pattern that Christine had planned to give me. We decided it would be a good tribute to her memory to create a corset from the pattern, using a combination of our materials / tastes and construction techniques – thus the “friendship corset” was born, a collaboration between Ariadne’s Thread, Lovely Rats, and Lucy’s Corsetry.

See the video above for all my commentary on the different parts of construction, why certain elements were chosen over others, and what I learned from this “mini internship” at Amber’s studio. If you’d like to see my interview with Amber (done at the same time as we were collaborating on this corset), click here.

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Orchard Corset CS-511 Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset CS-511 Overbust Review”. If you want visual close-ups, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 15″, the longest part from peak of the bust to lap is just under 16″.  Gentle sweetheart neckline, and slightly longline in the hips. This is a Level 3 silhouette, which is their curviest silhouette – so the bust is 8″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 10-11″ bigger than the waist.
Material 3 main layers – the outer fashion fabric (which may be brocade, satin etc as I have two different types in this review), flatlined to a sturdy cotton interlining, which is then treated as one layer, and also lined in twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Constructed with a slightly modified sandwich technique and double boned on the seams, just like the CS-411 and CS-426 style corsets.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from commercial black satin bias strips if the corset is made from a heavier brocade, OR made with matching colored satin if the overbust is finished in a satin fashion layer. Binding is machine stitched on both sides. There are also 6 garter tabs, 3 on each side.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers. I did not check to see if there was glue used in this one (see my CS-426 review if you want to know more about that particular corset).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of a layer of black satin and a layer of twill if you have a brocade or tartan corset, but if you buy the blue satin CS-511, then it will be in matching blue satin. Panel is 5.5” wide (~4″ usable space) and attached to one side with a line of stitching. The old stock didn’t have a modesty placket by the busk, but the new stock does.
Busk Busk is 1/2″ wide on each side and 13” long, with 6 pins (the bottom two pins are slightly closer together, as is normal). It is fairly sturdy; less bendy than some other 1/2″ busks I’ve had.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset. On each side, 8 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide (double boned on the seams, except for between panels 5-6) and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24 2-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side), with a small flange, spaced equidistantly. On the underside of the old stock corsets, every grommet is split and quite scratchy. On the new stock corsets, the grommets have rolled smoothly, they don’t tarnish and don’t catch on the laces.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, but also rather springy. However, Orchard has some higher quality laces (in several colours) available on their website – I very much prefer their ribbon laces to the standard shoelace style laces.
Price Currently $79 USD on Orchard Corset’s website.

Final Thoughts:

It was an interesting venture to compare the old stock Orchard Corset pieces to the new stock. Of all the corset companies that I have dealt with, Orchard seems to be the most responsive to the requests of their clientele and eager to improve their designs, which is appreciated. The main changes to the corsets include the satin having matching modesty panels (not just black satin like in the brocade or Tartan pieces), better quality grommets that don’t tarnish or split as much, and the modesty placket by the knob side of the busk. I believe that their prices have dropped over time as well.

If I could choose only one colour or fabric of the CS-511, I would prefer the tartan more than satin – the sturdy and coarse weave of the tartan makes the corset look less wrinkly, and it’s also more resistant to abrasion and pulls, and feels more heavy weight and sturdy. The stripes in the tartan also match up fairly well – all this makes me a bit sad that this style is now on clearance (but that means that it’s only $59 at the moment, and I’m interested to see what new styles Orchard may bring in the future).

This corset also received 4 stars out of 4 on the Bust Test, as the bustline came up high enough on my chest to hold me in during activity. The pattern around the bust is very gently cupped (meaning it comes up and over the breast, not just pushes everything upward but it contains the bust) so I felt comfortable jumping, shrugging my shoulders, raising my arms and leaning over without feeling like I’m going to pop out.

Orchard Corset has graciously provided my viewers and readers with a non-expiring coupon code – enter CORSETLUCY to receive a 10% discount on your purchase. This corset and the other styles I’ve reviewed (including the CS-411 and the CS-426 underbusts) are available on the Orchard Corset website.

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Waisted Creations Underbust Corset Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, and the shortest part (from underbust to lap) is 9″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips end a little lower than the iliac crest and very rounded. Luthien specializes in extreme hip springs, so this shape would be comfortable for hourglass or pear-shaped corseters. This corset was made to measure.
Material Fashion layer is dupioni silk in “dragonfly”; backed onto cotton coutil; lining is lightweight printed cotton.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, many bones sandwiched between the layers, and a floating liner. No garter tabs. One of the seams at the waistline did rip, but has held up well after mending.
Binding Matching dupioni silk, machine stitched outside and hand-finished inside. Slight frayed area in the top edge of the binding, but I will be fixing that later.
Waist tape 1/2″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None. (Not requested.)
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins).
Boning Heavily boned; 34 steel bones not including busk. Most of the ones around the side are spiral steel; double boned on the seams and additional bones in the center of the panels. Another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets on each side at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, 5mm two-part Prym eyelets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, there are some that didn’t roll perfectly, but there is no fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong cotton braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price At the time of recording this video, a made-to-measure, unembellished underbust corset is £200 (about $310) and overbusts start around £300.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was used in my “corset seasoning” mini series a number of weeks ago – anyone who had watched those videos will know that this review doesn’t tell the whole story of my ups and downs with this corset. I was originally upset that my mini series didn’t run as smoothly as anticipated, but over time I’ve come to agree with viewers that a “perfect” seasoning process wouldn’t have been half as useful, as I wouldn’t have been able to show people what is normal wear and what is atypical during seasoning, or offer troubleshooting/ solutions to issues as they were encountered. You’re welcome to learn more about how this corset wore in over time by reading or viewing the mini series here. (I do promise to catch up on the written versions!)

Much of this corset was left to the creative liberty of the maker. I had provided my natural measurements, gave suggestions of silhouettes and shapes that I liked, and requested a specific silk from Silk Baron. At the time that I received my mockup to test the fit, the maker mentioned that she was not able to get the specific colour of silk I wanted, and offered some complimentary embellishment as compensation. The change in colour was subtle and I didn’t need to match the corset with a pre-existing skirt or anything, so this wasn’t a huge issue for me at the time. I chose the gold lace to go along with the shade of green silk provided. The crystals/rhinestones weren’t discussed; they were a surprise. Once again, not a huge issue for me, but if you are the type to want to know exactly what you’re receiving, please be very specific before ordering.

The turnaround time of this corset was approximately 5 months, which is a longer duration than I’ve experienced from other corset makers – there seem to have been some complications, and the maker is very busy. If you plan to commission a corset, be sure to contact her at least 6 months ahead of time, in order to give your corset a proper break-in session prior to your event. She mentions that at the moment she is not accepting new orders, but she normally only accepts commissions on an extreme case-by-case basis.

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Timeless Trends Overbust Corset Review

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

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

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

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Grey & Green Longline Underbust Case Study

This entry is a summary of the review video “Grey & Green underbust case study”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Self-drafted, longline (low over the hips) underbust corset with a peaked front top and a straight bottom edge. Made to close at 22″ at the waist. I took 5 horizontal measurements and 9 vertical measurements to draft this.
Material Fashion fabric is a black/white fine herringbone weave with metallic gold thread pinstripes This was fused to herringbone coutil interlining and lined in fern green satin.
Construction Drafted from a 6-panel pattern and both topstitched and lockstitched for extra strength. Boning channels are external (made from green satin fused to coutil) and the lining floats.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made from 2-inch-wide strips of green satin, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the coutil and the lining.
Modesty panel Suspended modesty panel stiffened with plastic canvas and finished the same way as the corset – covered in the pinstripe fabric and bound with green satin on top and bottom.
Busk Heavy duty stainless steel busk (1″ wide on each side) and was cut to 13″ long, with 5 pins.
Boning 20 bones not including the busk; I had used 1/4″ wide spirals double-boned at each seam (except the one adjacent to the busk) in the external channels. By the grommets there’s a 1/2″ wide flat bone on the outer edges and 1/4″ wide flat bone on the inner side.
Grommets There are 32, 2-part size #0 grommets (16 on each side), finished in silver (Chelsea’s choice). The grommets have a large lip around and are spaced 3/4″ inch apart down the length.
Laces Flat nylon braided shoelace-style laces; 8 yards long. They grip well, are densely woven and are resistant to catching, fraying or snapping.
Price The retail price for something similar is around $280 (underbust corset + heavy busk upgrade + double boning upgrade + external boning channels upgrade).