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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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Il Corsetto di Artemis Waist Training Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Waist Training Corset Review: Il Corsetto di Artemis” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This corset is custom made to my measurements – but for those curious about the length, the center front is 13 inches, princess seam is about 10 inches. More of the length is distributed above the waist, since I have a low waist and my torso is long from the waist up, but the corset is short enough to allow me to sit down comfortably. Tapered ribcage, and cupped hips.
Material Three layers of fabric. The fashion fabric is a cotton-based black satin, the interlining is black coutil, and the lining is a vibrant, hot pink cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, constructed using the sandwich method. Panels 3-4 provide enough ease to curve over the hips. Double boned on the seams.
Binding Commercially purchased hot pink satin bias binding. Machine stitched on both the outside and inside (stitched in the ditch on the outside).
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the panels. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Separate modesty panel (can be inserted behind the laces, or you don’t have to use it at all). It is quilted, with contrast stitching, but not stiffened with bones. Matching pink bias binding lines all 4 corners.
Busk 12 inches long and finished in black. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. It is a standard flexible busk, and it is reinforced with 1/4″ wide flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 24 bones total, not including busk. On each side, there are nine 1/4″ wide spirals (mostly double boned on the seams), two flat steels by the grommets, and one flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, with a medium flange. Finished in black to match the rest of the corset, and equidistantly spaced. Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely.
Laces Double face satin ribbon in hot pink, 3/8″ wide. It’s long enough, has no spring, relatively strong and glides through the grommets well. Ribbon hides well under clothing as it’s not thick.
Price This particular style is €300 (about $320 USD)

 

lucy-corset2
A beautiful collection of photos of the corset, taken by Elisa (Il Corsetto di Artemis). Click through to see more details on Elisa’s website.

Il Corsetto di Artemis (“the corset of Artemis”, the goddess of love) is the name of a one-woman business owned by Elisa, a designer from Turin, Italy.

I gave Elisa full creative liberty with this corset (she only received my measurements and I told her my color preferences, etc) and she made an elegant and beautifully fitting piece that looks simple at first glance, but is accented by completely handmade silk flowers. Elisa can create flowers of any size, fullness, and color since she makes each individual petal by hand.

During the design process, Elisa gave me the option for a black busk and black grommets, so that the hardware matched the rest of the corset. At this point, there is no source of heavy duty black busks, so Elisa and I had to choose between having a stiffer busk, or having a black busk. I don’t have too much lower tummy to support, so corsets even with more flexible busks don’t bow on me or flare at the center front too badly. If you have some lower tummy protrusion and you desire more support, you may prefer that Elisa use a heavy duty busk instead.

I love the bright pink contrast stitching used for the boning channels in this corset, and it’s quite brave to do this; you have to be confident that your stitching is tidy and true! Do note that over time as the corset eases over your body and there is a gradient of more tension on the fabric at the waistline (and less tension at the ribs and hips) then it is normal for the stitching to look a tiny bit wobbly at the waist. If you are overly concerned about contrast stitching not looking perfect even if you wear this corset on a regular basis, it may be more in your interest to simply request the same color thread as the rest of the fabric (no contrast).

Another thing I noticed about this corset was that it’s rather soft and it wrapped around my body nicely from the very first wear. A few people who are more accustomed to thicker and stiffer corsets may be surprised by this corset’s strength in comparison to its softness.

If you’d like to learn more about Elisa and her brand Il Corsetto di Artemis, see her website 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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Xandriana Custom Tightlacing Underbust Corset Review

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

 

Fit, length This corset is custom fit (made to measure), so a corset for you may fit differently. Center front is about 12 inches high, and the side seam is 9 inches high, back is 15 inches high. Modern hourglass silhouette – rounded over the ribcage and rounded over the hips. Slightly longline.
Material Outer layer is pale pink satin (might be satin coutil). Lined in white herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are assembled using a topstitch. Bones are sandwiched between layers, double boned (one on the seam and one in the center of the panel).
Binding Matching strips of pale pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand finished on the inside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide waist tape, stitched invisibly between the layers.
Modesty panel Modesty panel is suspended on the laces and boned in a criss-cross fashion. A 1″ wide unstiffened placket in front.
Busk 11 inches long, standard width busk (half inch on each side) with 6 knobs and loops, the bottom two a little closer together. Reinforced flat bones on either side.
Boning 28 bones total (14 bones per side). Mostly 1/4″ wide spiral steels, single boned on the seams plus extra bones in the middle of the panels. There are two flat steels sandwiching the grommets as well, and two flats by the busk.
Grommets 28 two-part Prym eyelets, size #0, medium/large, held in strongly. Finished in silver and set a bit closer together at the waistline. Good wide washers, few splits but don’t catch on the laces.
Laces Laces are 1/2″ wide double-faced satin ribbon, finished in pale pink.
Price At the time I’m writing this, a custom underbust starts at $300 USD (suitable for tightlacing but not waist training). For a waist training custom corset, the price starts at $400.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was a bit of a serendipitous find. I had been meaning to try a corset from Xandriana for awhile, as one of my acquaintances (a previous client of Xandriana’s) had positive things to say about the craftsmanship.

So when I joined the Corsets On Sale group on Facebook and found another person who was selling their old Xandriana corset, with measurements very close to my own, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! The lovely pearlescent finish and the cheery flossing were even cuter in person, and I was pleased to see that the corset was not actually white, but actually the palest, most delicate shade of pink. I also liked the very high back of this corset as it provided excellent support while sitting at my desk, and it made muffin top virtually impossible. After uploading this video, I had the opportunity to talk with the corsetiere, and discovered that the flossing was actually done by the first owner of the corset.

Although this particular corset is not advertised for waist training, its construction is stronger than many other corsets out there that do claim waist-training-friendliness – one of my favourite features in this corset is the distribution of the boning. In corsets that are simply double boned on the seams, it can sometimes feel like the double bones make it “too rigid” in places, while there are vast spans of wrinkled, unsupported fabric between the bones. When you have one bone on the seam and one on the channel (as in this corset), the distribution is more even, which can help prevent pressure points on your body and prevent ugly wrinkling in the corset, resulting in a beautifully smooth and comfortable corset. The darker pink flossing in a clean V shape on the boning channels was also a nice visual touch, and highlighted the fact that this corset had quite even bone distribution.

This is a lovely little corset; the only changes I would make is to perhaps have the bones in the very back bow a little less – but as I am the 2nd owner of this corset, I know nothing of its previous treatment nor anything about the customer service from Xandriana.

Looking at the different  listings in Xandriana’s Etsy shop, it seems that the tightlacing underbust has only 1 layer of coutil, and a non-specific number of bones; while the waist training version has 2 layers of coutil and a guaranteed minimum of 26 bones, and more depending on the size and reduction. If you would like to learn more about the different options Xandriana offers, do visit her website here.

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L’Atelier de LaFleur Longline Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “L’Atelier de LaFleur Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length My corset has a standard size 24″ base (ribcage 30″, hips 32-34″), but had been semi-customized. I asked for more length from waist to ribcage, a high-back, and for the waist to be nipped in another inch. Modern hourglass silhouette.
Material 3 main layers. Fashion fabric is silk Chinese brocade, strength fabric of herringbone coutil, floating lining of special cooling cotton fabric.
Construction Probably 5-panel pattern, fashion fabric flatlined to coutil, external boning channels (some on the seams, some in the middle of the panel), and floating liner.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of complementary pink satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back lacing protector because I didn’t order one – but one can be ordered if desired. The front has a boned underbusk/ placket which helps keep the front flat.
Busk 12.5 inches long and standard width (0.5 inch wide) matte-black busk with 6 loops/pins, with the two lowest ones closer together.
Boning 24 bones total. On each side there are 9 spirals in external channels; the remainder are flats by the grommets or supporting the busk.
Grommets 34 two-part grommets (because of the very high back), size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Black finish. Equidistantly spaced, few splits but don’t catch on the laces. The laces themselves are a great nylon flat shoelace that is grippy like cotton.
Flossing Mina’s unique design on the bottom of the external boning channels, almost reminds me of a T4 bacteriophage – very cool!
Price At the time I’m writing this, it would cost $375 for a standard size longline corset, and a recreation of my own corset would be $565 CAD.
My first wearing of the completed corset, in Mina’s studio in Toronto.

It’s no secret that this corset has become one of my instant favourites in my collection. Mina’s work is absolutely pristine, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be personally fitted by her (and to have my own measurements match her standard measurements so closely!). It’s difficult not to wax poetic about this corset; not a stitch is out of place. I can see myself ordering from her again a few years down the line.

Despite the rather thin flexible busk I provided (only because I wanted all matte black hardware), Mina had supported it enough with bones on either side and also a heavy boned underbusk (modesty placket) so that the profile remains beautifully straight and flat. The bones are dispersed around the waist such that there is no more than 1 inch around the waist that is unsupported, which leads to a very sturdy and comfortable wearing experience. The high back is wonderful for my posture and the extra length in the ribcage helps prevent me from slouching like few other corsets are able to do.

If anyone would like a breakdown for the cost of my corset:
Longline underbust $375
High back modification: $10
Single external bone casings instead of double $25
Brocade fashion fabric $15
Contrast casings/trim (the pink against the brocade) $15
Bone flossing on bottom edge, and floating lining $125
Total $565

However, I’m not hyperbolizing when I say that this corset is worth every penny. The entire experience, from meeting with the designer, consulting, fitting and receiving the final product, has been nothing but a joy. If you would like to see more work by L’Atelier de LaFleur, you can visit Mina’s website here.

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Corset Connection (Versatile Corsets) Dita Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile Corsets Dita underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, from underbust to the lap at the “princess seam” (the side-front) is 9 inches long – appropriate for average-to-long torsos. The bottom of the corset swoops down to cover lower-tummy pooch. This is not a longline corset; it’s cut higher over the hips at the side.  Modern slim silhouette, reminiscent of the traditional Victorian hourglass silhouette, except with gentler curves. Also includes a halter strap (see the Final Thoughts for more info). This corset can accommodate about a 9-10 inch hip spring, and the ribs are about 6″ larger than the waist.
Material 2 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton black twill (although custom commissioned corsets from Versatile will contain herringbone coutil lining). Fashion fabric is a medium-weight pink satin (interfaced for strength) with black accent boning channels and binding made from black shiny pleather.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Twill lining is flatlined/rollpinned to satin fashion layer; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. Also contains 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of black PVC, trimmed short on the inside rather than folded under (this is typical of leather/ pleather binding, and fine because it won’t fray).
Waist tape 1″ wide petersham waist tape exposed on the inside. If you had ordered a corset without external boning channels, then the waist tape would be sandwiched between two layers of material.
Modesty panel Attached 8″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in matching pink satin (more breathable than the PVC or pleather), stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk made from matching black PVC.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins), reinforced with a flat steel bone on each side.
Boning 22 total bones not including busk, all flat (spring) steel bones. On each side they are double boned on the seams (1/4″ wide), 2 sturdier flats sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces 1/8 inch wide round nylon cord – strong, virtually unbreakable, not stretchy, glides well through the grommets and doesn’t catch, but they’re slippery.
Price Currently $358 USD for the standard size and basic fabric on the Versatile website. For contrasting channels, there is no price markup!

Final Thoughts:

This is the third of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. The samples were originally agree to be sent back, but the owner of Corset Connection asked me to sell them here on my website (90% funds still go to Versatile) instead of sending them back.

I don’t often wear materials like pleather or PVC because I find it doesn’t breathe very well – however, since the main fashion fabric is satin and the pleather is just contrast, this style is a bit more comfortable. Still, if I were to go back and order this piece custom, I would likely have chosen a different fabric combination. The perk to Versatile Corsets that I have not seen in any other company – if you want external boning channels, there is no mark-up in price! You can also choose from dozens of fabric and colour choices for the binding, trim, and channels – or make them all different colours or fabrics if that’s your preference. There are many different possibilities!

The thick halter strap was comfortable around my neck; it was covered with black pleather/ PVC material to match the binding and boning channels, and was adjustable with hooks and eyes (similar to bra hooks). I didn’t personally find that the straps pulled too much on my neck, and I was able to keep my shoulders and my neck back – however, for those with forward-head posture looking for a solution, this corset will not miraculously help. I like how the fabric of the corset wraps up and around the side of the torso, which both helps to flatten any breast tissue that wraps around the side and in the armpits, and for those with smaller busts this cut helps to lift the bust and push it together to create cleavage. 

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset. I find the Dita underbust to be much more suited to my figure, as I have a longer torso. It’s a great corset for lengthening the line of the torso, thanks to the vertical contrasting boning channels, and the swooping line of the lower edge down to the pubic bone. It makes me look much leaner and taller compared to the Snapdragon cincher that I reviewed before – however, those with shorter torsos may prefer the Snapdragon for its length. The one perk is that both the Dita and the Snapdragon corsets are the exact same price, so neither the taller nor the shorter lacer has to worry about paying more for the style that suits them. To see other models in the Dita corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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Corset Connection (Versatile) Lotus Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile Corsets Lotus underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 16 inches long, from peak of the bust (longest part) is 18 inches long. Slim silhouette. This is not exactly a longline corset, most of the length is from the waist up so it cups around and covers the bust quite well. Suitable for people with longer waists. The cups may accommodate up to an E cup. However the back was a bit small on me, so this corset may be suitable for those with a larger bust and smaller ribcage. This corset can accommodate about a 12-inch hip spring
Material 3 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton black twill (although custom commissioned corsets from Versatile will contain herringbone coutil lining). Fashion fabric is a heavyweight pink glitter PVC with black accent boning channels.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Twill lining is flatlined/rollpinned to PVC fashion layer; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. Also contains 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of black PVC, folded under on the inside
Waist tape 1″ wide petersham waist tape exposed on the inside.
Modesty panel Attached 8″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in black satin (more breathable than the PVC or pleather), stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk made from matching black PVC.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins), reinforced with a flat steel bone on each side. An additional 3″ on top of the busk contains grommets to adjust the bust area.
Boning 20 total bones not including busk, all flat (spring) steel bones. On each side they are double boned on the seams, 2 sturdier flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 32 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces 1/8 inch wide round nylon cord – strong, but slippery.
Price Currently $398 USD for the standard size and basic fabric on the Versatile website. For the glitter PVC, there is a $60 markup.

Final Thoughts:

This is the third of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. The samples were originally agree to be sent back, but the owner of Corset Connection asked me to sell them here on my website (90% funds still go to Versatile) instead of sending them back.

As I mentioned in the video review, this corset passes the bust test with flying colours. There is little-to-no chance of boobling out of this corset, even if you have a long torso, because this corset is so high from waist to

The exact same Lotus overbust on another model with a different body shape, for comparison.

top edge, and the cups are very nicely shaped and they curve up and over the breast to encapsulate it, not just squish it. Despite the fact that this is a relatively modern slim silhouette, I felt like a Barbie doll in this corset (and not only from the pink!). The bust area can accommodate close to a DD/E cup size (as long as the ribcage in the back is relatively small) and the hips accommodate a relatively generous 12-inch hipspring which is indicative of other corsets that are considered quite curvy. Perhaps the length of this corset gives the illusion of “diluting” the curviness.

If I had ordered the Lotus overbust custom made, I would request to have the back just about 2 inches larger to accommodate my ribcage and keep in my back fat/ muffin top. I would likely have ordered it in a lovely brocade instead of PVC – as fun as pink, shiny, glittery plastic can be, I don’t do well with non-breathable synthetic fabrics.

 The Lotus corset (like all the other corsets by Versatile) is available in various colour combinations as you can choose the main fabric, have a choice of lace overlay if you wish, then at no extra charge you can choose a different fabric or colour for the trim, external boning channels, and binding – they can all be different fabrics if you wish! I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences in construction between the various different corsets depending on the styling choices.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset; I think of all the Versatile overbusts I’ve tried, this one was my second favourite (next only to the Mimosa cupped overbust). To see other models in the Lotus corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

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Electra Designs Playboy Overbust Corset Review

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

Fit, length Center front is about 16 inches long, from peak of bust to lap is 15 inches. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an dramatic hourglass shape. Hips are cut very high with adjustable hip ties. Plunge sweetheart neckline which supports but doesn’t oversquish.
Material Fashion layer is a heavy salmon-pink satin; strength layer is cotton coutil. No floating liner as it’s a sample piece.
Construction 8 panel pattern. Lock-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Sandwiched bones, one on each seam and one in the middle of the panel. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Matching pink satin, machine stitched outside and hand-finished inside (very neat and clean).
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape exposed on the inside (because there is no liner. If a floating lining is ordered then the waist tape would be invisible). Secured down in multiple boning channels.
Modesty panel Boned modesty panel suspended on the laces; hourglass shape is very comfortable.
Busk Standard width busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13.5″ long (6 pins), two lowest pins closer together.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. Flats on either side of the busk and by the eyelets (the eyelets are set into lacing bones), and the rest (on the sides of the body) are 1/4″ spiral steel.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part eyelets with small flange; set equidistantly (they have to be because they’re set into a lacing bone); high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. Washer on the back is larger than flange for extra support.
Laces Matching pink double-face satin ribbon on the back and also in the front (at bust) and at the hip ties. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price The short-hip, sweetheart plunge overbust starts at $469 for standard size and $569 for custom fit. This does not include add-ons like adjustable hip ties, hand-finished binding, or modesty panel. You can see the options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

This was my second couture corset purchase back around April of 2011 (preceded only by Puimond’s white iridescent overbust). This corset, despite being made for Elegy Ellem (who has a very different overall body composition to my own), fit my measurements surprisingly well. Where I lack in the bust area, I make up for with a broader back.

The adjustable hip ties are wonderful in taking pressure off my left iliac (my main problem when it comes to ordering corsets) and the flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I find that when wearing this corset out to a special event, I’m less tired at the end of the day compared to some of my other overbust corsets which cause a slight change in my posture.

The construction is remarkably strong and the stitchwork is immaculate, even on the inside without a liner. I can’t help but be impressed with each feature of the corset, because it seems that not one decision in construction was made without somehow keeping the wearer in mind. Only Alexis’ busy schedule prevents me from immediately ordering a second piece. She is currently busy creating a multimedia corset making instructional course, which you can learn more about on this page.

To see other styles from Electra Designs, do visit the official website here.

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Leatherotics Pink/White 1214 Cincher Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Leatherotics Pink/White 1214 Cincher Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is 10 inches high; the side is 7.5 inches high. This is standard size/ length. Gives a gentle hourglass silhouette. Hip gores make this comfortable around the hips. Quite a short cincher so not recommended for those with a lower tummy pooch issue.
Material 2 main layers; fashion layer is 100% nappa leather (0.8mm thick), white with pink accents. Lining is black cotton twill. Internal boning channels are also made from twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, and two hip gores. Faux boning channels on outside (real boning channels on the inside). Also has 4 garter tabs but I wouldn’t use them because the corset is so short.
Binding Pink leather binding neatly machine stitched on both outside and inside. Inside is trimmed down, not folded under, to reduce bulk. This is normal.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape visible on the inside, made of satin ribbon and secured at the boning channels.
Modesty panel None on front, nor back.
Busk Standard width busk (half inch wide on each side) about 9″ long (4 pins); a little stiffer than the standard flexible busk I’ve tried in other corsets.
Boning 14 steel bones not including busk. 10 spirals (1/4″ wide) in internal channels on the sides, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 16 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits. Not sure if these are the old style or new style grommets so there may be a risk of damage but so far no fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re not too thick, they grip well and they are long enough. Not much spring to it. Very difficult to break.
Price Standard size pink/white of this is £43 UK (about $70 USD), while black leather version is £50 and twill is £30, at the time of writing this.

 

Final Thoughts:
Of the underbust corsets I’ve tried from this company, this cincher has been the most comfortable. The hips flare out in a flattering manner and there is virtually no pinching on my iliac crest like with the other slim silhouette corsets.

I am still a touch concerned about the softness of the leather and how it may affect how well the grommets hold, but will update this review if anything goes awry. So far they seem to be holding up.

Edited later to add: the grommets looked to be loosening a bit because the soft leather was allowing the grommet holes to expand, so I ended up replacing the grommets with larger ones, with a wider flange.

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Outfits with a Corset: Victoria’s Secret Ruched “Multi-way” Dress

Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of convertible/ infinity dresses. Usually made out of a soft, flattering jersey (I like cotton and bamboo jerseys), they can be worn a multitude of ways. I’ve made 6 of them in the past for myself and purchased another two. I’ve also made several for other people – as birthday gifts for friends and family, for dancers, and even brides! These dresses are great for dressing up or down – they easily go from work to a picnic with kids to a night out dancing, depending on how you wrap it.

In this particular video I’m wearing one of my purchased ones – this is the ruched “Multi-way dress” from Victoria’s Secret (I think in the colour “sassy berry”).

I find that the fitted, ruched skirt serves well to fit over the curves of the corset nicely while still hiding the boning channels and other hardware of the corset. The long straps, which are most conveniently wrapped around the waist several times, also serves to “hide” and soften any harsh waspwaist made by the corset, resulting in a flattering but non-obvious corseted figure. In this video I show how to wear a convertible dress two different ways, although the possibilities are nearly endless – you just have to experiment for yourself and see which styles in this dress hide the corset best.

Also in this video I show how to easily and quickly put on strappy sandals while wearing a corset (either slip-on sandals, one with an elasticated heel or this even works with shoes that have a buckle at the ankle). Bonus: you can even get a quick quad stretch with this method.

To see my outfit in detail, watch this video:

Cheers,

Lucy

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Outfits with a Corset: Featuring “Corset Jacket”

A quick post on one of my favourite items in my wardrobe these days: the “Corset Jacket”. It looks like a two-button blazer in the front but has two rows of grommets in the back with ribbon, to tighten the jacket slightly. In my opinion this jacket looks stunning when worn over a corset and tightened to show off the silhouette. I often have problems finding jackets that have broad shoulders, long sleeves and are large in the -ahem- chest area, without leaving me swimming in the waist and hips. A jacket that was adjustable in the waist seemed like a suitable solution. After looking at the sizing for shoulder breadth/ sleeve length of these jackets, I took a chance and ordered a size medium.

I’m not good at officially reviewing leather garments as I don’t own many leather items, but I can say that all the seams are stitched (not just “taped”), the lining in it fits well, it seems symmetric and the quality of the different pieces of leather is good and uniform throughout. Although it’s not advertised as a raincoat, I use it as such and I feel like the coolest person in the world walking around in my leather jacket while everyone else is in plastic ponchos and fluorescent windbreakers.

Also in this outfit I’m wearing:

  • a pink/white cincher (which will be reviewed in the future)
  • “jeggings” (jean leggings) which fit nicely under a corset because it doesn’t have a bulky waistband
  • a fitted white zippered blouse. I personally find that zippered shirts are more comfortable under corsets compared to button-down shirts, because buttons are lumpy against my skin and zips are more uniform.
  • I completed this outfit with simple black flats and a black small purse, and wore this out to sushi with friends. :)

To see my outfit in detail, watch this video:

Stay tuned for other outfits in the future! :D

~Lucy

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Eternal Spirits “AUDREY” Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Eternal Spirits AUDREY Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 14 inches high, with a straight top line. From the waist to the top is 7 inches, which is barely enough to keep everything covered on me – it would be good for short to average torso length. If you order this corset made to measure and talk to the makers at ES, they *may* adjust the vertical measurements. Soft hourglass shape; gives good hipspring (no pinching!). I would not consider this longline. This corset would probably be best suited for cup sizes up to C.
Material 2 layers from what I can tell; fashion layer is mixed fibers, feels like a nylon blend, and is either very thick/strong or is fused to a strength fabric underneath. It has a lovely finish, almost like sharkskin. Lining is pink polyester satin-like fabric.
Construction 11 panel pattern (odd number because of the closed front). The fashion/strength layers were assembled, with double boning channels on each seam; the lining is floating and attached to the outer layers like a pillowcase, then turned right-side out through a 5″ hole in the lining – that hole was then stitched neatly closed.
Binding None, due to the construction method.
Waist tape None that I can feel or see.
Modesty panel Attached 5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of the same blue “sharkskin” and lined in pink satin. It can be removed if desired.
Busk None; closed front.
Boning 24 steel bones. 20 spirals (1/4″ wide), double boned on the seams, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out from the fabric.
Laces Strong double-face satin blue ribbon, 5/8″ wide; difficult to snap and they glide through the grommets smoothly, although I wish that they were longer so I wouldn’t have to remove the laces to put on/ take off the corset.
Price Satin version of this (with front lacing) is currently £210 in the UK, or $335 USD – however I found mine for sale in an online boutique so do check places like Ebay. This corset is also sold by Fairy GothMother (Lulu & Lush)

Final Thoughts:
This is one of my more expensive off-the-rack corsets. I was initially apprehensive about how strong it is and how well it would hold up, due to its lack of waist tape and the few layers of fabric. However this fabric has a strong, dense weave and is deceptively strong, while still giving a soft look. During breaking in, this corset didn’t stretch any more than other corsets. On the day of the banquet, I wore this corset for more than 15 hours, with a 4 inch reduction and it was surprisingly comfortable (although I did open up the top to give more room in the bust). However I would still not recommend ordering this corset more than 2-4 inches smaller than your natural waist. My favourite part about this corset is its unusual construction; I love the fact that it doesn’t have binding and has a completely floating lining.

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“Disco Armadillo” PVC Ribbon Cincher Case Study

This entry is a summary of the video “‘DISCO ARMADILLO’ PVC Ribbon Corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

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This was my first attempt at sewing a corset from vinyl. I have to thank Marta “Snowblack” for her wonderful  Foundations Revealed tutorial on sewing leather and vinyl corsetry. Just a few things that I have learned about handling vinyl:

  • The material stretches (so you must back it with coutil) however it does not drape like most other fabrics.
  • It is also not a self-healing fabric, and will show all pinpricks. Therefore you should pin your panels only in the seam allowances.
  • Using a teflon foot (or a piece of tissue between the vinyl and the presser foot) will help the vinyl to feed smoothly without dragging or sticking to the presser foot.
  • Lastly, feed dogs will leave permanent marks into the bottom of the vinyl, especially if it has a metallic foil finish. Putting tissue or masking tape on the underside of your fabric (where your seam line will be) will protect your fabric from the feed dogs digging in.
***

Here is the overview of my Disco Armadillo, in typical review form:

Fit, length Center front is 10.5″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 24″ and hips 34″.
Material Just two layers; the outer PVC ribbon and the inner coutil.
Construction 5-panel pattern – three vertical panels at front/side/back to hold the bones, and two ribbon panels. I learned how to draft a ribbon corset from Sidney Eileen’s ribbon corset sewing tutorial. The coutil panels aren’t “ribboned” like the outer pieces; rather they are in one piece. Most seams are topstitched as I was afraid that lockstitching would cause the PVC to become too perforated and tear apart. However at the busk, seams were lockstitched nonetheless as it looked better. Some edges of the ribbon were left raw, as folding those edges under would be too bulky.
Binding There is binding at the top and bottom of the vertical panels only; the ribbon panels do not have binding. I also left the inside edge of the binding raw – this is normal with binding made out of leathers or vinyls.
Waist tape Ribbon corsets typically don’t have a waist tape; a horizontal piece of ribbon running around the waist will act like a waist tape anyway.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long. Although it is quite flexible, having 3 layers of PVC ribbon surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite stiff and sturdy.
Boning Only 8 bones total in this corset (not including the busk), only boned on the vertical panels. There are two spring steel bones sandwiching each row of grommets at the back, and an additional two bones on each side panel, all 3/8″ wide.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 grommets (10 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets and a new press to insert these, and they work very well with the PVC. I placed a layer of heavy canvas in the grommet panel to give the grommets more to “grab onto” and to prevent the PVC from stretching. There are no splits and the grommets are holding up quite well with regular use.
Laces I used some 100% nylon purple paracord – it’s extremely strong (holds tension up to 500 lbs) and has no stretch, is resistant to fraying but has a tendancy to twist. You will definitely need a square knot or bow (not a round one) to keep your corset securely tied at the back.
Price Ribbon corsets in general are not particularly difficult but they are time-consuming and require a bit of pre-planning. I would most likely place a typical satin-and-coutil ribbon corset at around $150. However, because the PVC ribbon is extremely challenging to work with and also quite expensive ($10/meter when not on sale, and this corset used 9 meters), I wouldn’t remake this corset for less than $250.
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“Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of the review video “Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

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Note: the following are the differences between the “Wrinkly Pig” and the “Tickled Pink” corset in terms of construction:

  Wrinkly Pig Tickled Pink
Fusing Fused the brocade to a layer of woven fusible interfacing, then flatlined that to coutil. Fused the brocade directly to a layer of coutil using “Heat n’ Bond” (fiddly sheet of glue, I don’t recommend it).
Roll-pinning Everything was flat-pinned, not roll-pinned. Some roll-pinning was done on the side panels.
Seams Lock-stitched seams; allowances were not trimmed or clipped at curves. Seams were trimmed and flat-felled.
Boning channels Double-boned at the seams, sandwiched between two layers of coutil. Single boned at the seams, used external boning channels (cuts down on wrinkles slightly)

***

And here is my review:

Fit, length Decent curves. Used to be a slightly long-line corset but I later shortened the hips so it is more of a cincher now. Center front is about 11″ long.
Material 4 layers including the interfacing: brocade fashion fabric fused to interfacing, then flatlined to interlining of coutil and another lining of coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern. Seams were lock-stitched (stitched twice) at the seams, the allowances were pressed open. The brocade/interfacing/coutil flatlined panels were all assembled, then the coutil lining was assembled. The layers were then stitched together at first/last panels, flipped right-side out and stitched in the ditch between panels and also secured at boning channels.  Bones are sandwiched between the two layers of coutil.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of commercial hot pink cotton bias tape, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape 1” wide twill tape between the coutil lining and interlining, stitched invisibly so it’s not noticeable.
Modesty panel Suspended modesty panel made from brocade fused to twill, and stiffened with plastic canvas. 7″ wide.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long.
Boning 22 steel bones in this corset not including the busk. The seams between the panels are double-boned (except the seam closest to the grommets with ¼” inch wide spirals, and there are a pair of flats sandwiching each column of grommets.
Grommets There are 30 2-part size #X00 eyelets (15 on each side). They have a medium flange around and are spaced out 3/4 inches apart. No pulling away of fabric yet but they are very small so many types of fat cord is hard to thread through.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-face satin ribbon, baby pink in colour. About 5 meters and not really long enough for my tastes. I think I may change out the laces for some longer ones.
Price If I were to re-make this corset, I would roll-pin the panels and also use wonder-under or stitch-witchery to directly fuse the brocade to a layer of coutil to eliminate wrinkling. Keeping other construction techniques the same, I would likely charge around $260 USD for a corset like this.
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Axfords C242 Lace Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Axfords C242 Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Circumferential measurements are very comfortable; no pinching in the hips or ribcage. Much curvier than I was expecting. This is a longline corset, starting lower on the ribcage and ending low on the hips – center front is 11″.
Material 3 layers: the strength layer is the inside lining – a tightly-weaved white cotton coutil (made especially for Axfords). Coral satin fashion fabric is flatlined to the coutil, and then the white real lace is laid ontop of the satin.
Construction The seams are top-stitched; bones are in internal boning channels at the seams made from twill or Prussian tape.
Binding Satin on one side and grosgrain ribbon on the other side. Quite unique from commercial bias binding used in other corsets. Neatly machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel Attached 6″ wide protector, not boned but it is stiffened, so it’s flexible but stands on its own. When I’m lacing down it doesn’t need to be adjusted, and it curves nicely with the contours of my spine. Very comfortable. Has a placket overtop of the busk to hide the hardwear.
Busk Heavy busk, 10″ long and one inch wide on each side. Quite a bit stiffer than the standard flexible busk.
Boning 14 bones total. There are 10 hefty spiral bones – they’re 7mm wide instead of 5mm wide. Also four ¼ inch wide spring steel bones which are also very sturdy and quite thick.
Grommets 30 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly. Axfords says that they use smaller grommets set closer together for more controlled tightening of the corset. Some splits along the back of the grommets but they do not catch on the laces and are not pulling out.
Laces Strong tightly woven braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are very long. No stretch or spring to the lace.
Price Currently £125 ($195 USD) for the lace overlay style, but £115 ($180 USD) without the lace.

Final Thoughts:

This corset is adorable, feminine, pretty, shapely… I think this is the girliest underbust I own – pink with floral lace. I’m impressed at how smoothly the delicate lace lays (say that five times fast!) over the pink satin – do I detect some roll-pinning? ;) Even when worn at large reductions, the lace does not pull away from the seams or wrinkle up with stress.

I was initially concerned about the strength fabric as it was said to be coutil but didn’t have a herringbone weave – this was my first experience with a plain-weave coutil – yet it has stood up the test of time, even without a waist tape. The grommets are also still holding up well several months later – I find my preferences now leaning towards more and smaller grommets on my lacing panel as it’s easier to make fine adjustments when lacing up.

The fit of this corset is flattering as well (in my opinion); I like the conical ribcage, and the hip gores make this longline corset very  comfortable over my hips. The shape is quite similar to the Mae Extreme corset by What Katie Did – I am able to cinch down further in this corset than I was able to in the regular Mae.

All of Axfords’ corsets come with a complimentary storage bag as well – of course, don’t buy a corset just for the bag, but only if you think the corset is as lovely as I think it is. You can see this corset in other colors, and other corset styles on their website here.