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Axfords Peach Vintage Overbust Review (Style C140)

This entry is a summary of the review for the “Axfords Peach Vintage Overbust (C140) Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

Quick Stats:

Fit, length Full bust: 31 inches (79 cm) (bust spring of 9 inches)
Closed waist: 22 inches (56 cm)
Low hip: 35 inches (89 cm) (hip spring of 13 inches)
Length: 14.5 inches in front and side. 8 inches are from the waist up, 6.5 from the waist down.
Silhouette is conical through the bust/ribs, rounded through the hips due to the hip gores.
Cut relatively straight across at the top, and “scalloped” on the bottom between the attached garters.
Material Two main layers: the fashion fabric is peach satin (rayon viscose / cotton blend), the lining is 100% cotton in a lightweight but dense canvas weave – the grain looks to be quite straight.
Construction 8-panel pattern (16 panels total): On each side, 6 of the panels are full length (and the 1st and 2nd taper slightly towards the lower tummy), while two large hip gores on each side contribute to the fullness and roundness of the hip.
Construction: fashion fabric and coutil were flatlined, Panels assembled with a topstitch, seam allowances facing inward. Herringbone twill tape was laid down on the inside to cover seam allowances, provide channels for the boning, and reinforce the seams.
Waist tape None.
Binding Skinny peach grosgrain ribbon which matches the peach fashion fabric very well; neatly applied (no fold-under as the edges are already finished).
Modesty panel None.
Busk 13 inches long, wide heavy-duty stainless steel busk (1 inch wide on each side). 6 loops and pins; the last two are a bit closer together.
Boning 14 bones (not including busk). Single-boned on the seams with 1/4″ spirals (attracts magnet well); and contains 1/4″ flat steels along the back by the eyelets.
Grommets 42 two-part tiny eyelets, probable size #X00 (smaller than standard; reminiscent of antique corsets), with very small flange. All have rolled nicely, no splits; washers present on the underside. They are placed 3/4″ apart (relatively close together) which allows for good control while lacing up.
Laces 1/8″ wide (made of 44% cotton and 56% polyester) white flat lacing – “workhorse laces” with no stretch and plenty of strength. Just wide enough to fit through the eyelets easily.
Price £160 GBP (around $217 USD) for a made-to-order corset in your choice of fabric.

 

Other Thoughts and Observations:

White bridal version of the same corset (C140) on a model with different proportions to myself.

Axfords is a corset brand from Brighton, UK. They are one of the oldest corset companies in the world, having been in business since 1880.

Many of their overbust patterns are the same patterns from antique corsets in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and some of their methods (lack of waist tape, lack of modesty panel, copious tiny eyelets, very lightweight construction) are also reminiscent of the way many corsets were constructed during the late Victorian / early Edwardian periods.

Axfords offered me a new sample for review, and because I have a long torso, I had asked Axfords to send the longest overbust style they currently make. At 14.5 inches, it is definitely a better fit lengthwise for me compared to my previous review, but much of that length ended up being from the waist down: this corset is designed to extend a bit beyond the lap level; the bones are deliberately shorter and pushed towards the top, to allow the fabric at the bottom to bend at the hip and allow you to sit comfortably.

The circumferential measurements unfortunately weren’t a perfect fit for my body, but this corset wasn’t made-to-measure so it would be unfair to expect this corset to fit like a custom-fit or bespoke piece. I can see this corset working fantastically with someone who has a more ‘pear-shaped’ figure: someone who has broader hips than mine, but a smaller bust or more narrow back.

Michael from Axfords mentions that all their in-stock satin is made and processed to their specifications (dyed to the perfect shade and reinforced for extra strength). I remember when I reviewed some of their other corsets over 6 years ago, I was very surprised to see that they chose to use a lightweight cotton canvas as a strength / lining fabric. However, since then I’ve come to realize that a few other brands (namely Dark Garden in the US) also use a dense-weave canvas, and this seems to work fine as long as it is carefully cut on grain (which this is).

There are other details about this corset: 2-inch wide frilly white floral lace covers the top and bottom edges of the corset, and along the bottom there are 6 wide, white elastic suspenders (garter straps) directly attached to the corset. These have a good amount of spring and contain high quality metal hardware.
There are also a few tiny, delicate-looking white satin bows along the top and bottom lace.

This corset might be the frilliest, most feminine corset I’ve reviewed to date – it reminds me of a frothy sherbet punch! But as each of their corsets are made to order, you can choose the color and even order the corset without lace, if you prefer.

See more at Axfords website here.

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Glamorous Corset “Jenna” Sweetheart Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review for the “Jenna” overbust corset in blue satin, made by Glamorous Corset. 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 just short of 15 inches long, the princess seam is 15.5 inches (9 inches above the waist, 6.5 inches below the waist), the side seam is 14 inches and the center back is 12.75 inches long.
Bust spring is 7″, hip spring is 9″. The silhouette is gentle (modern slim).
Material The fashion fabric is blue satin, and the lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 5-panel pattern (10 panels total). Panels 1-2 give space for the bust, and panels 2-3-4 make the curve over the hip. Constructed using the welt-seam method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Binding Matching strips of blue satin, machine stitched on both outside and inside. Stitched in the ditch on the outside, and topstitch inside. There are also 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Modesty panel 6 inches wide, unstiffened, made from satin on the outside, and black cotton twill on the inside. Attached to one side of the corset with a line of stitching (easily removed if desired). In the front, there is a ¼ inch wide modesty placket, finished in blue satin.
Busk 14” long, with 6 loops and pins, the bottom two are a bit closer together. Stainless steel busk which is very slightly wider and slightly stiffer than standard.
Boning 20 bones total in this corset, 10 on each side. Double boned on the seams with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel (probably stainless steel).
Grommets There are 28, two-part size #00 grommets (14 on each side). They have a small / medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. There are a few splits on the underside of the grommets, and due to the choice in laces, they don’t catch much.
Laces Black, ¼” wide flat nylon “workhorse” shoelace. They are a bit springy, but they hold bows and knots well and they are long enough.
Price Available in sizes 18″ up to 30″ closed waist (in blue).
For black and white satin, size range is 18″ – 40″
For sizes 18-30″ the price is $79 USD, and sizes 32″ – 40″ are $84 USD.
Available on the Glamorous Corset website here.

 

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Orchard Corset CS-511 Mesh Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “CS-511 Mesh Overbust Review”. 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 15.5 inches long, princess seam is 16.5 inches long (10 inches above the waist, 6.5 inches below the waist), the side seam is 14 inches, and the center back is 13 inches long.
Full bust spring is 11″, and lower hip spring is 14″.
The silhouette is hourglass, but the flexible mesh allows for more contouring around curves = giving more of a rounded ribcage, and hips of the corset can contour around your own hips, whether your hips are slanted or shelf-like.
Material Single layer of fishnet style black mesh, and the boning channels / are made with an outside layer of black cotton twill and internal layer of polyester grosgrain ribbon.
Pattern & Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 give space for the bust, panels 3-4 curve over the hip. Construction: Panels were assembled and then boning channels sandwiched the seams (on outside and inside), covering and reinforcing the seams.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape made from grosgrain ribbon, sandwiched between the boning channels. Full width (center front to center back).
Binding Made from matching black cotton twill. Machine stitched on both sides, stitched in the ditch (between the corset and the binding) in front, and a necessary top stitch on the underside. 6 garter tabs (3 on each side).
Modesty panel 5” wide and unstiffened, made from 2 layers of cotton twill, and attached to one side of the corset with a line of stitching – this is easily removed, and you can also remove the tags in the back by removing that seam with the modesty panel, in case you find that the tags show through the mesh.
There’s no front modesty placket in this corset.
Busk 14” long, with 6 loops and pins (last two are a bit closer together). Standard width busk (half an inch wide on each side), but Orchard’s busks tend to be more rigid (less bendy) than other busks of the same width.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset. On each side, 7 of them are spirals about ¼” inch wide, in single channels, equidistantly spaced. Then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide, sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small-medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, a little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness dissipates over time. Orchard also sells double-face satin ribbon if you prefer.
Price Available in waist sizes 18″ to 40″, in black and in white mesh.
Sizes 18-32 are $79 USD, and sizes 34-40 are $82 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Brittney from Orchard Corset (the very same I consulted with on sizing) models the mesh CS-511 overbust. Click through to see their selection.

Final Thoughts:

Full disclosure, this corset was sent to me as a sample. I normally take a size 24″ in OTR corsets, but as I’ve been shrinking rapidly this year I requested the size 22″. Brittney from Orchard Corset suggested I go a size down, to 20″ because the mesh has a tendency to expand over time. The thought of wearing a size 20″ in an OTR overbust was a bit mind-boggling, but I hesitantly agreed.

The very first time I put on this corset, I thought it would never fit – but as I wore it in more over the weeks, I did indeed notice that it stretched out, to the point that I can wear it with their recommended 2 inch gap in the back. The hips of this corset are quite large (seemingly much larger or has a higher tendency to stretch compared to the bustline) so I would be more comfortable wearing this corset with a “V” shaped lacing gap, which seems to be par for me with OTR overbusts.

However, this is by far the most affordable mesh overbust currently available on the market, starting at $79. The other mesh overbusts include What Katie Did ($375 USD), and Dark Garden ($895 USD) can be out of many clients’ budget. I can see the mesh CS-511 being used by those who would like some breezy bust support in the heat of the summer, or wearing this corset under strapless dresses (there is a white mesh version as well for summer brides). Because my mesh corset has a few construction imperfections (it’s asymmetric over the hip), I’d be more likely to wear this corset under my clothing as opposed to overtop anyway.

CORRECTION FROM THE VIDEO: Orchard Corset’s mesh underbust corsets usually have bones are evenly distributed around the waist – and the bigger the corset size, the more bones are included – this is still true. However, it seems that this isn’t the case for the mesh overbust corsets (at least, not from what I’ve seen in pictures). It appears that all sizes have the same number of bones, same as with their all-cotton or satin corsets.

Shop for the CS-511 mesh overbust corset from Orchard Corset here, and remember you can save 10% by using the code CORSETLUCY (I don’t get any kickback from this, it’s strictly a coupon/ discount code for you).

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PaperCats “Porcelain” Sweetheart Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “PaperCats Overbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14 inches, princess seam is 16.5 inches (10″ from the waist up, 6.5″ from the waist down), side seam is 14.5 inches, and center back is 14 inches long. The size Small is equivalent to 23″ in the waist.
The bust spring is 10 inches and the lower hip spring is 12 inches (slightly curvier than their size chart).
Material Two main layers: The fashion fabric is a poly-cotton toile de jouy, and the lining is white twill (also poly-cotton blend).
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 give room for the bust, and panels 3-4 give space for the hip. Constructed using the welt-seam method with one bone on each seam.
Binding Made from navy blue cotton bias tape. Machine stitched on the outside and inside (topstitch on the outside, stitched in the ditch on the inside). No garter tabs.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel 6 inches wide, unstiffened, finished in matching toile de jouy on the outside and twill inside, and sewn to one side of the corset. There is also a ¾ inch wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, also finished in toile de jouy.
Busk 13 inches long. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a heavier busk (1 inch wide on each side), with a bit of flexibility.
Boning 14 bones total, not including busk. Single boned on the seams, using ¼” wide spiral bones. Beside the grommets, the outer bone is flat while the inner bone is spiral, giving some flexibility to the back.
Grommets 30 two-part grommets, size #00 (very tiny), with a small flange. Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 1″ apart. Small washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Laces Navy blue round nylon cord – a little springy, but difficult to snap or break. It’s long enough and holds knots and bows well.
Price This particular style is $90 USD in their Etsy shop (now sold out on their main website).
Shipping to North America was ~ $17 USD extra.

 

Final Thoughts:

PaperCats Porcelain overbust modeled by Absentia. Sold out on their main site; click the photo to go to Etsy.

Papercats is part of the “Polish OTR Corset Trifecta” (along with Restyle and Rebel Madness). Lately Poland has been dominating the niche of curvy budget corsets with pieces that start from less than $50 for certain underbust styles.

I love the gently curved ribcage, and how the bust of the corset curves over the top of the breast to ‘cup’ the tissue and keep me secure within the corset. The only thing I would change of the pattern is to make it a bit longer from the waist up, and shorter from the waist down so it covers more of my bust but doesn’t hit my lap when I sit. However, someone with a higher waistline would fit this corset nicely.

The super lovely toile de juoy fashion fabric has Japanese inspired imagery (temples, cherry trees, birds and flowers) and the color scheme indeed makes it resemble blue and white porcelain.

I would use this corset for special events and occasional tightlacing; its lightweight construction and flexibility may make it a good “starter corset” for someone who is unsure if they want to dabble in wearing corsets and they don’t want to break the bank – but I wouldn’t train in it regularly (besides, its more difficult to train in overbusts in general).

This design is currently sold out on PaperCats Corsets, their newer website reserved just for their limited corset collections. However it is currently available in their Etsy shop along with other new styles as well.

Do you have this corset or another PaperCats corset? Let us know what you think of it in a comment below.

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Corsets-UK ‘Instant Shape’ Ivory Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video for the “Instant Shape Ivory Overbust” with floral trim and quilted hip detail by Corsets-UK. 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 14 inches long, princess seam is 15.5 inches, the side seam 13 inches and the center back is 14 inches long. (Fits a bit short on my long torso and low waist.)
Bust spring is 8″, rib spring is 2″, hip spring is 8″. Modern slim silhouette (see Final Thoughts below).
Material The fashion fabric is polyester based ivory satin which was interfaced, and the lining is a dusty pink cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (14 panels total). The layers were flatlined and panels assembled, and then on the hips, there is “quilting” over the hips (made to look like cording, but they used thin cotton batting). Boning channels cover the seam allowances on the lining side.
Waist tape None. (Not recommended for high reductions or waist training – see Final Thoughts below.)
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching ivory satin. Machine stitched on both sides on a single pass (likely using a specialized binding attachment on the sewing machine). 6 garter tabs (3 on each side) and additionally there are 2 small tabs per side on the top edge if you want to add your own bra straps.
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers (ivory satin on the outside and pinky twill on the inside). 7″ wide and unstiffened. It’s sewn into the corset (covered by a boning channel) so it cannot be easily removed unless you take scissors and cut it.
There’s also a narrow ivory satin modesty placket extending from underneath knob side of the busk.
Busk 13” long, with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. It’s similar to a spoon busk: 1/2″ wide on each side at the top, and at the widest part of the “spoon” it is 1.25″ wide on each side. But it is not curved inward like a spoon busk (it acts more like a “wide busk” at the bottom.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. Most of the grommets are finished in silver, but (oddly) the grommets at the waistline are gunmetal grey (probably done deliberately). Some of the grommets have shifted laterally, but none pulling out of the fabric completely.
Laces The laces are 3/8” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style (finished in green!). I find them to be long enough, and they hold bows and knots well. A little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness goes away over time.
Price Corsets-UK decided not to size these corsets with traditional corset sizes (waist size in inches) but rather, recommends you choose your street clothes size (like US 6 or UK 10). This corset is available in UK sizes 6 up to 24.
£59 GBP on Corsets UK, or $89 on Corset Story.

 

Final Thoughts:

It’s been several years since I reviewed any piece from Corsets-UK, because I had purchased about 10 of them in the past (between the years of 2010 and 2012) and I was not the most thrilled with their quality. The company approached me in the summer of 2016, letting me know that they have been working hard on creating new curvier designs, with better quality materials, and asked if I would be willing to try a couple of their pieces in exchange for personal feedback. I agreed, and I was surprised to see how much their products had changed over the years. While it was not in the original agreement to review this corset (and the other two coming up soon) publicly, I did ask them if it was alright to share the review with my viewers / readers, bearing in mind that it will be a balanced review where I mention the good points and the room for improvement. They agreed, so here we are.

Corsets-UK’s ‘Instant Shape’ corsets are designed to be a bit less curvaceous than their ‘Waist Taming’ line that I reviewed last week. Their website states that it is designed for more gentle waist reductions (perhaps 2 inches or so in the waist), and it’s not designed for waist training. Because it has gentle sloping hips and a modern slim silhouette, I would recommend that if you are naturally curvy, opt for a curvier style corset.

I chose this corset for several reasons – the first is that it was a different range from their ‘Waist Taming’ line, at a drastically lower price point, so I wanted to see what was different in terms of the quality. When I compared the two corsets, I could see that the fashion fabric was thinner and had a less dense weave compared to the ‘Waist Taming’ satin fashion fabric, and it had thinner, lighter weight spiral bones (closer to 4mm instead of 6mm wide, but still thankfully galvanized with no rust). If you’d like to see the bones in this corset (where I opened up the binding and took a look inside), see the video above.

The other reasons why I chose this corset is because it had 3 decorative features that caught my eye: the quilted hips (made to look almost like cording), the ‘aesthetic’ spoon busk (which is wider at the bottom just like traditional spoon busks, but doesn’t curve inward like traditional spoon busks), and the ribbon floral trim on the top edge (which Corsets-UK provided a small ziplock baggy of extra flowers).

The grommets of this corset were not pulling out the same way that they were in the ‘Waist Taming’ Corsets-UK review, but this may have to do with the fact that this corset is less curvy and is not designed for high reductions. One subtle feature that I found interesting though, is that this corset (and the underbust I also reviewed from the ‘Instant Shape’ line) is that most of the grommets are silver, while just the four at the waistline (where the bunny ears come through) were deliberately a darker silver, closer to pewter or gunmetal grey. I would have thought this was a mistake, if it hadn’t been consistent in both of my ‘Instant Shape’ corsets. Whether it was done by the factory so the person lacing the corset would lace it properly, or whether it was done for the consumer in case they wanted to change the laces, I’m not sure – but it was interesting to notice, and the difference in color isn’t too conspicuous from far away.

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Corsets-UK ‘Waist Taming’ Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video for the “Waist Taming overbust with Hip Panels and Curved Hem” by Corsets-UK. 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 14 inches long, princess seam is 16 inches, the side seam 12.5 inches and the center back is 14 inches long. (Fits a bit short on my long torso and low waist.)
Bust spring is 9″, rib spring is 4″, hip spring is 9″. Has rounded hips and a relatively conical ribcage.
Material The fashion fabric is polyester based satin, and the lining is cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (14 panels total). 6 panels are “full length”, while the 7th panel is the semi-circular hip panel. The layers were flatlined and panels assembled, and boning channels cover the seam allowances on the lining side.
Waist tape Partial waist tape, exposed on the lining side. Starts at panel 2 and stops at panel 5. One inch wide, made from black cotton twill tape. The tape is positioned a bit too high on my body (about 2 inches above my natural waist) so it sits on my lower ribs.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from matching black satin. Machine stitched on both sides on a single pass (likely using a specialized binding attachment on the sewing machine). 6 garter tabs (3 on each side) and additionally there are 2 small tabs per side on the top edge if you want to add your own bra straps.
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of two layers (satin on the outside and twill on the inside). 7.5” wide and unstiffened. It’s sewn into the corset (covered by a boning channel) so it cannot be easily removed unless you take scissors and cut it.
There’s also a black satin modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk ( 1/2″ wide).
Busk 13” long, with 5 loops and pins (last two are a bit closer together). It’s just under an inch wide on each side (so slightly wider than a standard busk, and also very slightly stiffer).
Boning 14 bones total in this corset. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium flange and are finished in silver. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. However the grommets are pulling out of the fabric at the waistline.
Laces The laces are 3/8” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, and they hold bows and knots well. A little springy but it “stretches out” and the springiness goes away over time.
Price Available in waist sizes 20″ to 38″ in black satin.
£95 GBP on Corsets UK, or $145 on Corset Story.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Close-up angle of the corset, with the waist tape outline and the hip panel visible.

It’s been several years since I reviewed any piece from Corsets-UK, because I had purchased about 10 of them in the past (between the years of 2010 and 2012) and I was not the most thrilled with their quality. The company approached me in the summer of 2016, letting me know that they had been working hard on creating new curvier designs, with better quality materials, and asked if I would be willing to try a couple of their pieces in exchange for personal feedback. I agreed, and I was surprised to see how much their products have changed over the years. I even took a peek at their steel bones, and noted that their spirals were a thicker gauge and had a shiny galvanized finish (no rust) and although there were small holes in the flat steels, they were properly dipped, had no rust or sharp points, and had a decent amount of flex to them.

The two issues I had with the corset were the oddly high placement of the waist tape, which seemed to not coincide with the smallest waist measurement of the corset (the place of highest tension), and the grommets that had started to pull away from the fabric at the waistline. I alerted them to this by email, and their representative said that they are happy with their products and saw no reason to change these. While it was not in the original agreement to review this corset (and the other two coming up soon) publicly, I did ask them if it was alright to share the review with my viewers / readers, bearing in mind that it will be a balanced review where I mention the good points and the room for improvement. They agreed, so here we are.

I’m wearing the corset laced closed here, but the website states that their corsets should be worn with a 2-inch gap in the back. I would not recommend this style of corset for training down – not only because it’s an overbust, which is already tricky to train in – but also because the fit of this corset is crucial for the hip panels to be properly situated at each side of the body. If the corset is too small for you, the hip panels will be positioned too far forward and may not fit over your own hips, which would look odd and feel uncomfortable. Using this corset for fashion purposes and ensuring that it fits with small gap in the back (laced closed, up to perhaps a maximum of 3 inches in the back), will make sure the corset fits the way it should. So if you are between sizes, I would recommend going up a size – especially if you are fuller in the bust.

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Rebel Madness Gothic Sweetheart Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Rebel Madness Overbust Review”. 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 17 inches long, princess seam is 18.5 inches (12 inches from the waist up to the top of the bust), the side seam is 13.5 inches and the center back is 16 inches long.
Full bust spring is 10″, hip spring is 10″ as well. Gives a lovely hourglass silhouette.
Material The fashion fabric and lining are both made from 100% black cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 1-2 give space for the bustline, and panels 3-4 creates the curve over the hips. Assembled using the welt-seam method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape, “invisibly” installed, sandwiched between the layers. Starts between seams 1-2, and extends to the center back.
Binding Commercially-sourced black cotton bias tape, machine stitched on both sides (probably on a single pass, possibly by using a special sewing machine attachment).
Modesty panel Unstiffened, made from 2 layers of black cotton twill, 6 inches wide. Not attached to the corset – it’s suspended on the laces using grommets.
There’s also a 1-inch-wide unstiffened modesty placket in front, extending from the knob side of the busk.
Busk 16” long, with 7 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side), and although it is stiffer than a standard busk, due to its length it may seem to flex relatively more.
Boning 14 bones total in this corset, 7 on each side. On each side, 5 of them are spirals about ¼ inch wide – single boned on the seams. There are also two flat steel bones, both ¼ inch wide sandwiching the grommets on each side.
Grommets There are 36, two-part size #00 grommets (18 on each side), because the corset has such a long back. They have a medium flange and are spaced equidistantly a bit less than 1” apart. Most of the grommets are finished in silver. All are holding in fine, some of the grommets have splits in the back which catch the laces (please note that this is an old stock corset; they have switched to new grommets in 2017 which are much better quality).
Laces The laces are black, ¼” wide nylon cord / shoelace. They are a bit springy / spongey, but they hold bows and knots well and they are definitely long enough, even with the very high back.
Price Available in black cotton (reviewed here) and black satin. Sizes 18″ up to 30″ closed waist.
As of 2017, their prices have raised to $90 USD. Find it here on Etsy.

 

Final Thoughts:

La Esmeralda modeling the Sweetheart overbust by Rebel Madness. $90 USD, Etsy.

I’d recommend this corset for someone with a longer torso, and a low waist. As I have both, I’m extremely happy with the fact that it covers my bust fully and I feel very secure that I’m not going to “booble” out of this, even if I were upside down. (Why would I ever be upside down?)

I like the sweeping curve of the top edge, where it comes down on the sides to allow me to lower my shoulders and arms without the corset cutting into my armpit. Many corset makers keep the line of the corset high around the side of the corset, to control “side-boob” or to try to deal with armpit squidge. But this often doesn’t allow the wearer to naturally lower their shoulders – and in my case, with my already developed trapezius muscles, I end up looking like a linebacker and my neck disappears! But in this corset, the low side allows my shoulders to drop naturally, creating a more elegant posture and reducing shoulder strain – while also accentuating the sweetheart effect in the front. The top edge of the corset sweeps back up in the back to control “muffin top” as well.

That said, if you have a shorter torso, you might be more comfortable in a shorter style corset, because it is 18.5 inches in the princess seam, and may still hit your lap when you sit down if you have a shorter waist.

The prices of Rebel Madness corsets are also extremely reasonable for an entry-level corset (I’ve noticed that corsets made in Poland tend to be lower in price in general). While this overbust was $80 a couple of years ago, as of 2017 prices have raised to $90 in their Etsy shop (but I also know that they’ve been working to improve quality as well, such as more sturdy grommets) which is still inexpensive as far as overbusts go.

If there is only one thing I had to complain about, it’s that I wish these corsets were made available in sizes larger than 30″! The length and cut of this overbust corset is so flattering, I know of a few plus size women who would love to have this available in their size.

Do you have this corset, or another corset from Rebel Madness? What do you think of it? Leave a comment down 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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Orchard Corset CS-530 Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset CS-550 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″. The center back is 12.5″, so the lengthwise measurements are nearly identical to Orchard’s CS-511 overbust. It has a gentle sweetheart neckline, but it’s cut over the hip (by contrast, their CS-511 is slightly longline). It’s a modern-slim silhouette. I’m wearing a size 24″, the bust is 34″ (10 inches bigger than the waist), and the hips are about 32″ (8 inches bigger than the waist).
Material 3 main layers – the outer fashion fabric is black satin, a sturdy cotton twill interlining, and the lining is also black cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Constructed with the sandwich technique (fashion fabric flatlined to interlining and treated as one layer) and the bones are sandwiched between the two cotton layers. It’s double boned on the seams.
Binding Made from black satin bias strips, 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. Starts between panels 1-2, and ends by the back grommets.
Modesty panel Modesty panel on the back is unstiffened and 6 inches wide, made of a layer of matching black satin and a layer of twill. Panel  and attached to one side with a line of stitching (easily removable if desired). There is also a placket by the busk.
Busk Busk is 1/2″ wide on each side and 14” long, with 6 pins (the bottom two pins are slightly closer together). It is fairly sturdy; less bendy than some other 1/2″ busks I’ve tried.
Boning 22 bones total (11 on each side). On each side, 9 of them are spirals about ¼” wide (double boned on the seams, except for between panels 5-6) and then there are two flat steel bones, both 3/8” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 24 grommets (12 on each side), all size #00 grommets, with a small flange, finished in silver and spaced equidistantly. On the underside there are some splits which do catch on the laces a bit when lacing up.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoelace 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, however the shoelace style laces would catch and shred less on the splits in the grommets compared to the ribbons.
Price Currently $79 USD on Orchard Corset’s website.

 

CS-530 overbust in limited edition green satin, and silver-on-black brocade. Click through for Orchard Corset's buyer guide.
CS-530 overbust in limited edition green satin, and silver-on-black brocade. Click through for Orchard Corset’s buyer guide. Models: Caylin (L) and Cheri (R)

This corset scored fairly well on the Bust Test, as the bustline came up high enough on my chest to hold me in during certain activities like shrugging and putting my arms up. One thing I would prefer is if the pattern around the bust would round and come inward up and over the breast, the way their CS-511 corset did when I reviewed that piece. However, this CS-530 overbust comes up rather straight on the bustline, and pushes everything upward. Aesthetically I like a more rounded, less ‘squished’ bustline, which is more consistent to the way molded bra cups look today, and also makes me feel safer that I’m not going to “booble out” of the corset when leaning over.

The picture above leads to the buyer’s guide on Orchard’s website, where they say the CS-530 is better suited for larger cup sizes. I wear anywhere between DDD to H cup depending on the brand, but I personally prefer the shape of the CS-511 overbust – but take this info with a grain of salt.

It’s a common trend for Orchard Corset to have the “bunny ears” set high on the waistline. My natural waist is always 1-2 sets of grommets lower than the bunny ears, which means when I pull on the loops, it compresses my lower ribcage as opposed to my actual waistline – if this is the case for you, there is no shame at all in unlacing and relacing the corset with the bunny ears a bit lower – you may find it more comfortable, more flattering and easier to use!

Orchard Corset has graciously provided my viewers and readers with a coupon code – enter CORSETLUCY to receive a 10% discount on your purchase. See the CS-530 overbust here.

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Case Study: Sapsford Silver Overbust Corset

This post is a summary of the “‘Case Study: Sapsford Silver Overbust” video, which you can watch on Youtube:

Quick Stats:

Material Two main layers: fashion fabric is a pattern-matched synthetic upholstery fabric with metallic threads interwoven, and it’s already backed onto a twill-like fabric. The lining is white herringbone coutil.
Construction 7 panel pattern (drafted by Scarlett Sapsford). The fashion layer is floating, and the corset is single-boned on the lining side.
Binding Bias strips of matching silver metallic fabric, machine stitched on both outside and inside (stitched in the ditch on the outside).
Waist tape 1 inch wide twill tape sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back modesty panel, but there is a narrow placket by the busk.
Busk 12 inches long with 6 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. The busk is 1/2 inch on each side, and there are a pair of grommets above that ties at the bustline.
Boning 16 total bones not including busk (8 on each side). 1/4″ wide spirals, single boned on the seams. Two 1/2″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, a little more than 1 inch apart.
Laces 1/2″ wide, double-face satin ribbon finished in silver.

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A bonus from yours truly - last month I made this pattern-matched overbust with a complicated asymmetric motif as a challenge to myself. I made this using the techniques in Scarlet Sapsford's Corset Making course (click the photo to learn more about the course).
A bonus from yours truly – last month I made this pattern-matched overbust with a complicated asymmetric motif as a challenge to myself. I made this using the techniques in Scarlet Sapsford’s Corset Making course (click the photo to learn more about the course).

This was a great project that came together in just a few days! Although I’ve known how to make my own corsets for years, it was fun going through Scarlett Sapsford’s Express Corset Making Course, discovering slightly different techniques from my own, and honing my skills by learning from a different angle.

Matching the motifs on this corset was a bit of a challenge, but a fun one. I followed Scarlett Sapsford’s instructions in her complete Corset Making Course, and it turned out (mostly) fabulous. A few things I would do differently:

  • I would have backed the fashion fabric onto interfacing to stabilize it and prevent warping (because warping is bad news when you try to match panels together!)
  • I might have chosen a fabric that has a less bold motif. Although the clear-cut and high-contrast motif made it easy to see where I should be matching the pieces, it also makes it super obvious where the matching wasn’t quite perfect. Yes, I did have to re-cut a panel because it was a few mm off!
  • I might lock-stitch the seams and press the seams open instead of using a top-stitch, because it makes the outside smoother and would prevent the motif from looking “off” when viewed at different angles.

I have a long torso and a low waist, and most OTR overbust corsets are a bit short on me – this is an issue if I want to keep my bust comfortably covered! So I modified Scarlett’s overbust pattern and added an inch of length in the ribcage. I did not make a mockup for this corset before jumping in and creating the final piece; if I had made a mockup, I would have lengthened the pattern even more in the front, and added another 2 inches in the bust to accommodate for my fuller chest.

Of course, this means opportunity to make more corsets in the future, about which I will not complain! :D

If you’d like to learn how to make your own corset like this one, be sure to check out Scarlett Sapsford’s Express Corset Making Course!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Corsets Boulevard Global Curvy Overbust Review

This post is a summary of the “Corsets Boulevard Global Corset Overbust review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Center front is 16.5 inches long (due to the tabs that extend down in the front), the princess seam (where you see the highest part of the sweetheart of the bust) is 16 inches long, the side seam is 15.5 inches, and the enter back is shorter at 13 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is size 24″, full bust is between 34-35 inches, high hip (iliac) is 34-35 inches as well, and the low hip at the lap is about 37 inches in circumference. The silhouette is relatively curvy, definitely a traditional hourglass.
Material Fashion fabric is black satin (but can be specially ordered in any color satin), the strength layer is black twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total). Most of the ease for the bust is in panels 1-2, and most of the ease for the hip is in panels 3-4. The construction is the “welt-seam” method, which is different from a normal topstitch. The corset is double boned on the seams, and sandwiched between the layers.
Binding Commercial strips of 1-inch-wide black satin ribbon (so it wasn’t folded under; the edges of the ribbon were left raw). There are 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape No waist tape (at least, none could be detected when I inspected the corset carefully).
Modesty panel Modesty panel is around 5″ wide (will cover a back gap up to 4 inches wide) and finished in the same black satin as the fashion fabric. It is unstiffened, and stitched to one side of the back of the corset (can be removed if desired). Unstiffened front modesty placket under the busk, again finished in black satin.
Busk 14.5 inches long with 8 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side).
Boning 24 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide spirals, double boned on the seams. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, making a total of 12 bones on each side.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 with a small flange and finished in silver. Set equidistantly, about an inch apart.
Laces Black round cord, it is small enough and slick enough to slide through the grommets, but I find that they snag more than flat laces.
Price £55 or around $68 USD
The Curvy overbust as it appears on Corsets Blvd Global's website. Click through to learn more.
The Curvy overbust as it appears on Corsets Blvd Global’s website. Click through to learn more.

This corset is definitely one of the least expensive overbust corsets for curvier wearers, offering a 10-11 inch bust spring, and a 13 inch low hip spring. This brand also offers a large range sizes for this corset, from 18″ up to 40″.

I also appreciate how high the corset comes up over bust, and continues high around the sides to control my “armpit squidge”. In the back it comes down a little lower, but not so low as to accommodate very low-back dresses.

The busk keeps my tummy flat, and doesn’t seem to bow outwards. Having 8 loops and pins, it’s one of the longest corsets I’ve tried to date!

The one feature I wasn’t crazy about are the flaps in the bottom of the center front which are not supported by any steel so they can bend upwards (and therefore don’t offer much in terms of function or support). I believe these to be a nod to the antique Edwardian suspender corsets, but obviously the suspenders/ garters were omitted in this style so the flaps is a bit “vestigial”.

Other overbust corsets of equivalent curve (and support for large cup sizes) tend to average around $300 USD, even for ready-to-wear. Yes, the satin of this piece isn’t quite as lush, and the stitchwork isn’t as pristine as the other brands — don’t expect this piece to live up to the standards as the others — but at its current price, it’s filling a place in the corset industry that other brands aren’t.

I wouldn’t personally waist train in this corset, due to the apparent lack of waist and due to the construction method causing one bone out of each pair being essentially held in by the satin fabric instead of being securely sandwiched into a denser weave cotton (there may be a risk of a steel bone popping through the fabric if this is worn daily for weeks or months). But it would be great for occasional use, special events, and possibly to use as occasional relief from a heavier bust.

On the Corsets Blvd Global site, this curvy overbust in black satin is named the “Keira” corset, and if you get it before February 15, 2016, it will be £55 or around $68 USD currently. Find the corset here.

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Roberto Cavalli Waistcoat Corset

This post is a summary of the “Roberto Cavalli Corset-Style Vest/ Waistcoat” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 9.5 inches long, the side seam is 11 inches (from the armscye to the hip), and the center back is 19 inches from the collar to the bottom. Circumferential measurements: waist is 26″, full bust is 32″, high hip is also 32″. The silhouette is modern slim – not made for tightlacing or waist training.
Material Fashion fabric is a dusty blush colored wool/viscose blend, and the lining and back panels are 100% silk.
Construction 12 panel pattern. The panels were cut to look like a ribbon cincher on the fashion layer. The floating lining is more simple and streamlined.
Binding None. The garment was sewn right-sides together, flipped right-side out, and the lower seam was hand-finished and pressed so the seam is hidden.
Waist tape None (didn’t expect to find one as it’s not a genuine corset, and also ribbon cinchers tend not to have waist tapes in general).
Modesty panel None. The exposed gap in the back allows heat and perspiration to escape, like the vents in other garments.
Busk 9 inches long with 5 pins, the last two of which are closer together. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side).
Boning 10 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, all plastic / acrylic. Three bones on each side panel, and two more 1/4″ wide bones sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 24 grommets total – very tiny (size #X00) 2-part eyelets with very narrow flange, finished in gold 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 teeny as well, but they do their job.
Laces 1/4″ pale pink flat polyester shoelace. Zero spring. The garment game laced with the bow at the bottom as opposed to at the waistline.
Kristin Chenoweth in Roberto Cavalli at the 2014 Oscars

 

 

 

I fully admit that I’m a bit of a Cavalli fan, even though this is the first designer piece I’ve ever owned. I found this garment on Ebay whilst 2nd-hand corset hunting, and after many months of contemplation, decided it would be worth checking out – because of the circumstances, I haven’t been able to track down the year / season of this piece or the retail value. But if this is a genuine Cavalli, then going by the price of his current designs, I would say that I got a decent deal on this.

Jennifer Lopez in Roberto Cavalli at the AMFAR in 2011.

 

 

 

 

Although this waistcoat is not a genuine corset per se, it has some interesting “corsetty” aspects (the ribbon cincher panelling, the front busk, the back laces) so I thought it would be interesting to compare this piece (which is the product of a mainstream fashion designer) and see how it measures up in the context of my normal corset reviews.

It is actually well-constructed with lovely muted fabrics and surprisingly strong despite the tiny eyelets and the lack of a true strength fabric, and the sparingly-used acrylic boning kept the lines smooth, so I was pleasantly surprised. 

My one mild annoyance was at the faux pockets actually, as I prefer not to carry around handbags and would love to see more women’s clothing with useable pockets – but I can understand how having functional pockets on such a small and fitted garment might ruin the silhouette or stretch out the lining. But all in all, I’m pleased with this garment and will be keeping it in my wardrobe as a fun accessory and a nod to corsetry.

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Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique Cream Fan-Laced Overbust Corset Review

This post is a summary of the “Boom Boom Baby Cream Overbust Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length Center front is 14.5 inches long, and from the peak of the bust to the lap along the princess seam is 15 inches. Center back is also 15 inches. Circumferential measurements: waist is 21″, full bust is 29-30″, high hip is around 29″ too). The silhouette is a gentle hourglass, bordering on modern slim.
Material 3 main layers – fashion fabric is cream colored densely-woven canvas and twill. There is an interlining between the fashion fabric and lining. The floating liner is black herringbone coutil.
Construction 5 panel pattern, with some of the panels in the front tapering toward the lower tummy. Fashion layer and interlining were flatlined (lining is floating). Panels assembled with a top-stitch at the seams. Single boned on the seams; channels are sandwiched between fashion and interlining layers.
Binding Bias strips of matching cream-colored twill, machine stitched on both sides (slight top-stitch on the outside). No garter tabs but there are suspenders (black elastic garters) tacked to the outside of the corset as embellishment.
Waist tape 1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the layers. It does not extend through all panels; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, ending towards the back of the corset.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is slightly under 6″ wide (about 4″ of usable width), finished in the same cream fashion fabric and black coutil lining. Secured to one side of the corset with a simple row of stitching. No modesty placket in the front.
Busk 13 inches long with 6 pins (bottom two are closer together). Fairly stiff, heavy duty busk, 1″ wide on each side.
Boning 12 total bones not including busk. On each side there are four 1/4″ spiral steel bones. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
Grommets 30 eyelets total, size 5mm Prym brand two-part eyelets with medium flange; set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely.
Laces 1/4″ black flat braided shoe-lace style laces (feels like a cotton blend). Virtually unbreakable. Has zero spring. It seems that a few of them have been sewn together for length, which caused a little “bump” when lacing up, but otherwise seems to be holding together.
Price At the time that I’m writing, an overbust in your size starts at around $240 USD in the Boom Boom Baby Etsy shop.
Little Twiglet models the corset by Kirsteen Wythe.

Other Thoughts/ Observations:

For this review I had to do something I never had to do before (although I have a feeling that it won’t be the last time) – I had to model this corset on a pillow, because the fit of this corset on me was so unfortunate that I don’t think I would do it justice wearing it for the review. However, this is no fault of the maker herself; the corset had been a sample originally modelled by Little Twiglet, and it was not at all made with my measurements in mind. I am disappointed, but only at the circumstances, not the designer.

This corset has no shortage of embellishments: decorative fan-lacing details cover the bustline, with laces anchored at the grommets along the top edge converging down into the fan-lacing slides below. Black elastic suspenders run over the shoulders, resembling a bit of a harness. A pair of garters on each side to keep stockings up (knowing me, I would probably hang a chatelaine or other doodad from them instead!). On the back of this corset, unfortunately away from view, there is also semi-functional fan-lacing (the laces in the back must go through the fan-laced details, although the slides are anchored and cannot be pulled to easily tighten the corset). All the strappy details transform an otherwise sterile-looking off-white sweetheart overbust into a truly intriguing piece of art.

You can see what other corsets Kirsteen Wythe (Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique) has for sale in her Etsy shop HERE, or read what she is up to on her main website HERE.