This post is a summary of the “Dark Garden Corselette Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:
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.
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.
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).
Black satin bias binding, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible on the outside. 6 garter tabs.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
3/8″ black double faced satin ribbon. Zero spring. They glide well through the laces.
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).
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.
Center front is 13.5 inches, the apex of bust to the bottom is almost 17 inches. Comes a bit over the upper hipbones, and the bust is deliberately cut high. My bust is secure as the fabric comes up and over much like a bra cup does. Gives very gentle curves, only nips the waist in 2 inches on me.
100% cotton velvet on the outside and a poly-cotton twill on the inside.
4 main panels. Stitching between panels is topstitched, bones are in internal twill boning channels.
Velvet ribbon, machine stitched on front and back.
None. Vollers recommends you order the corset 2-4 inches smaller than your natural waist.*Addendum: This particular style doesn’t come with a waist tape because the velvet has a tendency to stretch, and so the waist tape would eventually cause a ridge that is smaller than the rest of the corset, where the waist tape lays. However this style apparently does come with a waist tape if another fashion fabric is chosen.
Back lacing protector is unstiffened and sewn onto one side of the corset, velvet outside and twill inside. There is a modesty placket underneath the knob side of the busk, made from twill.
Standard flexible busk, 12″ long and ½ inch wide on each side, with 5 pins. There’s another ½ inch wide bone on either side of the busk, sewn invisibly in probably in the seam allowance. This stiffens the front but you can’t see the stitching for it. Additionally, there’s a hook-and-eye hand sewn at the top to prevent the bust area from gaping.
14 bones total in this corset. There are 8 spiral bones (4 on each side), and 6 flats. Like I said before, there’s a ½ inch wide flat on either side of the busk, and in the back there are ¼ inch wide flats sandwiching the eyelets.
They don’t use grommets, they use 1-part eyelets. There is no washer on back and the eyelet is perforated to split. Vollers says these eyelets are used in heavy boots so will take quite a bit of stress without pulling out.
about half centimetre wide black flat shoelace style laces which are tightly braided. They’re slippery through the eyelets but the laces grab onto themselves so the bow doesn’t slip out easily. Resistant to catching or fraying.
Varies greatly with materials used: £195 ($306 USD) in the velvet finish, £165 ($260) in satin finish, £215 ($338) in sequin fabric.
What to say about this corset? A lot of different parts in this corset I either loved or wished were different, and not much middle ground.
Parts I LOVED
The fit of the bust. It was incredible. This was one of the very few overbust corsets I tried that not only gives a daring plunge in the center but also the cups of the bust comes up and over the breast, holding it firmly in place with almost no chance of popping out. It gave a wicked 1/4 side view. I also loved the neat construction of the busk and supporting “invisible” bones. The hook and eye at the top of the bust was a really nice touch. I also loved the quality of the bones and the laces.
Parts I wished were different
Although I loved the fit of the bust, I wished that there was more contrast in the waist. If I were to order this corset again I would probably have gone for a custom fit so I could achieve a greater waist reduction. On the other hand I’m not entirely certain that the corset would have withstood more tension because there was no waist tape. I wished that there were a waist tape in this so I’d feel safer about achieving greater reductions. And even though the 1-part eyelets stayed put nicely and never frayed for me, I would have just psychologically felt more comfortable with 2-part eyelets or grommets. I have to wonder if the eyelets gripped onto the velvet better than other materials, since it’s more plush. Had I ordered the brocade or satin, would the eyelets have held up as well? I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that their eyelets should grip any and all fabrics as long as they are set as well as they had been in mine.
A note on corset/ hair compatibility
Although it’s not at all the fault of the makers whatsoever, in retrospect choosing the velvet was a bad idea just because of my hair. Velvet loves my hair and my hair loves it. Therefore whenever I wore this corset with my hair down, my hair would wrap all around me and I would soon become entangled. Therefore I only recommend a velvet garment for someone with shorter hair or one who tends to wear their hair up.