Posted on 9 Comments

Comparing Different Mesh Corsets

Over the past little over a year, I reviewed a whopping nine different mesh corsets, and many of them had very different types of mesh (different fibers, weaves, stretchiness and quality), and not all mesh corsets are made equal! It can be a little different to tell them apart on video and confusing when there are so many different terms, so let’s go through the most popular types of mesh for corsets and discuss the pros and cons for each one.

Fishnet

Jolie longline corset in black mesh, by Glamorous Corset (from $74).
Jolie longline corset in black mesh, by Glamorous Corset.

Featured in my past reviews:

This is a very open type netting made with cotton or polyester – it looks a bit like string or yarn twisted or knotted together. It is very flexible, can be a bit stretchy, and usually has a hexagonal shape to it. (As we know from nature, hexagons maximize the area inside each hole while minimizing the materials used for each wall – so the fishnet can cover a large surface area while not using much fabric to do so.)

Pros: fishnet is probably the coolest and breeziest type of mesh, and it comes in many different colors – Mystic City used to sell these with red mesh, blue, orange, green, etc. Orchard Corset regularly keeps these stocked in black and tan (and sometimes white), with occasional limited colors like red, gold, and navy blue. This is the most ubiquitous type of mesh corset, so it’s easy to find.
Cons: this fabric has a lot of give and definitely stretches out over time. Because there’s technically only a few threads holding in each bit of the fishnet within the seams, it can rip over time.

(I don’t know whether you call it a pro or a con, but the net leaves temporary impressions in your skin so when you take off the corset it looks like you have lizard scales. It looks cool but can feel rather itchy.)

Madame Sher mesh ribbon-style cincher

A slightly more tight-knit version of fishnet is used in Brazil, and I noticed that their mesh corsets have smaller, square shaped holes instead of hexagonal – I feel that this might work better for corsets as it has a clear warp and weft to follow.

My Madame Sher mesh cincher is still holding up very well and I’ve worn it every summer for the past 4 years. It can still show a little damage over time, due to the nature of the fabric, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its longevity.


Corsetry mesh

Featured in my past reviews:

Galaxy Mesh hourglass standard length underbust corset. Available in my shop!

I believe that the newer stock of Mystic City corsets also use this mesh, and this is becoming probably the standard in many custom corsets.

Corsetry mesh is a synthetic fine woven net. It is fairly stiff and slightly reminiscent of the fly screens that you would see on windows and doors (except this is polyester/ nylon, and not aluminum or fiberglass which real window screens are made from).

Pros: corsetry mesh is smoother, stronger, and less likely to warp with wear. You can somewhat achieve a more conical rib with this type of fabric, but I’ve found that it still has relatively more give compared to more rigid, multi-layer cotton corsets.

Cons: this mesh is not as breathable as the holes are smaller (and it’s a synthetic fabric so it can feel plasticky). It can occasionally rip (usually if the seam allowances are not wide enough and it pulls from the stitching. Also, this type of mesh can be quite pokey. If any seam allowances do end up poking into the body, these threads can be snipped off with nail clippers and the rest pushed back under the fabric.

Tips for corset makers on reducing the “pokey” seams while using this type of mesh:

  • Some makers if they’re very particular, they might melt the seams with a small flame or a hotknife, but this can also risk warping the mesh from the heat.
  • Another simple way around this is by sewing the corset with the seam allowances on the outside of the corset (facing away from the body) and putting thick boning channels overtop so they won’t poke through.
  • Vanyanis uses a plush velvet ribbon on the inside to further protect from any pokiness, and she taught Timeless Trends this finishing technique as well when she styled their OTR mesh corsets.

Bobbinet

Featured in none of my previous corset reviews.

“Champagne” underbust made from custom dyed bobbinet, Crimson Rose Corsetry. Photo: WeNeal’s Photography

Bobbinet is almost exclusively used in custom corsets by specialist corsetieres, for very lightweight corsets and foundationwear under couture dresses. It’s been used by designers like Crikey Aphrodite, Morúa Designs, Sew Curvy Couture, Laurie Tavan, Karolina Laskowska, Crimson Rose Corsetry, Ivy Rose Designs, etc.

It’s made from cool and breathable cotton – it flows well over curves and is super lightweight. It has a lot of give, and as such it’s often used in a double layer for extra strength (and a bit more opacity if desired). Because it’s cotton, it can also be dyed – but it’s such a delicate fabric that I wouldn’t train in this. You’re not likely to see this used in OTR corsets.

Tips for corset makers: Ivy Rose Designs made a tutorial on working with bobbinet for Foundations Revealed. If you’re not an FR member and you would like to become one, please use my referral link (there’s no difference in price).


Aida cloth (or Java mesh)

Featured in none of my previous corset reviews.

Summer corset made from cotton Aida cloth (The Bad Button, courtesy of Foundations Revealed)

Aida cloth is less well known, not used in OTR, but some corsetieres have experimented with this for custom corsets, like The Bad Button and Bridges on the Body.

When you look at mesh corsets in the Victorian and Edwardian periods (e.g. their activewear corsets while playing tennis, or the corsets used by British women during the colonialization of India and other places of warmer climates), the mesh they used sometimes looked similar to this. Aida cloth is intended for cross stitching and comes in various weights and counts, so not all Aida cloth is made equal.

Pros: Aida cloth is cotton, so it’s a natural, breathable and cool fiber, and it can also be custom dyed.

Cons: Aida cloth can be difficult to source, and can also fray and shred.

Tips for corset makers: The Bad Button made a tutorial on working with Aida cloth on Foundations Revealed. If you’re not an FR member and you would like to become one, please use my referral link (there’s no difference in price).


Tulle

Featured in my past review: Contessa Gothique semi-mesh sweetheart underbust

Contesssa Gothique tulle semi-mesh corset

This is a beautiful lightweight fabric (think of the stiff tulle you’d find in crinolines / underskirts), but better suited as a semi-mesh corset with plenty of reinforcement. The tulle in this corset is limited to relatively straight panels (not super curvy ones), and the tulle is flanked on all sides – bones on either side (as well as the center of the panel), and even the binding at top and bottom is coutil to prevent stretch or warping.

The waist tape also takes the tension at the waistline, so the tulle is mainly just preventing the flesh from bubbling out of the “windows” but it’s not contributing to the actual reduction of the waist in a significant way.

Pros: it’s pretty, easily sourced, and comes in almost any color imaginable.

Cons: I think if it were forced to take more of the tension, it might risk tearing. The tulle makes for a lovely and delicate look – but I wouldn’t use this for everyday intense training.


Sports mesh

Featured in my past review: JL Corsets / Sultry Confinement “Christine” underbust

JL Corsets “Kingfisher” mesh corset, using 3 colours of sport mesh

This (I’ve been told) is also the type of mesh used by Restyle for their mesh CU underbust, and I think Mystic City has experimented with this in limited styles as well.

Sports mesh is also known as athletic mesh, tricot fabric, or (especially in the US) “football fabric”. This type of fabric is what’s often used in shoes and team jerseys, and also the non-stretch mesh pockets found in luggage and schoolbags, as well as non-stretch mesh laundry bags and gear sacks. It’s made from polyester and can come in a rainbow of colors.

While it may look similar to fishnet at first glance, it behaves very differently – it has little to no give or stretch, and the holes look more circular (or sometimes square), as if they were ‘punched’ out of the fabric (this is what gives it its tricot look) – however, if the holes were really punched out, this would weaken the fabric. Where fishnet looks like the ‘yarn’ is the same width everywhere, the sports mesh will have areas that look thicker and thinner – many of them have an almost ‘checkerboard’ appearance.

It’s a bit difficult to find the right type of sports mesh online, even when trying to use the correct terms and definitions, as fabric sellers on Ebay, Etsy and Alibaba will often use long strings of vaguely related words. If I can find a reliable source for this fabric in many colors, I’ll link it here, but I recommend going to a local fabric store and testing the stretch out for yourself – the right type of mesh should have little to no stretch, whereas fishnet is designed to stretch and give.

But the sports mesh costs only maybe $2 more per yard than the fishnet (therefore costs $1 more per underbust corset, depending on the size), and it comes in as many colors, for better quality and strength – so I would encourage more OTR corset manufacturers to test this fabric.

Pros: Imagine all the pros of fishnet without the cons. Sports mesh has bigger holes more on par with fishnet, so it’s more breathable than the corsetry mesh (which is a “plasticky” feeling fabric). It also doesn’t stretch out or warp as easily as fishnet. Sports mesh can come in a huge range of colors, as JL Corsets demonstrated with the corset to the right.

Cons: while sports mesh is stronger than fishnet, it’s not invincible – where there are holes, there is the risk of it catching on something and damaging the fabric. Also, while I actually prefer sports mesh compared to the fishnet, but I suppose because of the sports connotation some people might think it’s less cute than the fishnet.


Heavy Duty outdoor mesh

Featured in my past review: Contour Corset summer mesh underbust

Contour Corsets blue summer mesh underbust
Contour Corsets blue summer mesh underbust

This is a heavy duty mesh, similar to synthetic outdoor upholstery mesh. The only thing I can compare this to is the type of fabric you’d find on deck chairs or boat seats, but to this day I have not sourced the exact same fabric that Contour Corsets used to use.

Pros: this heavy duty mesh is the strongest type of mesh in this list, and comes in a rainbow of colors (in the video above I showed my gold corset, Strait-Laced Dame has a metallic silver and purple corset, and the one to the right shows the sky blue option).

Cons: this mesh is difficult to wear against the skin, absolutely requires a liner but I pretty much always wear a liner anyway. It takes a long time to form over curves, Fran said that the break-in process for one of her corsets lasted up to 100 hours of wear.


Powermesh

Featured in my past case study: Homemade Sport Powermesh “Corset”

Morgana Femme Couture cupped overbust corset-girdle with brocade and powermesh (from $510)
Morgana Femme Couture cupped overbust corset-girdle with brocade and powermesh

One of the corsetieres who made this famous for corsets and corset girdles is Sian Hoffman. Also Morgana Femme Couture makes an overbust option (shown right) and an underbust option as well.

This is specifically designed to have stretch and give, with mild compression – it has spandex in it. You’d find this more in Merry Widows and girdles as opposed to “real” corsets. However, it has its uses (especially those who love a strong cinch combined with maximum mobility).

The rough version of a powermesh corset I made for myself featured satin coutil front and back, boning channels and diamond waist tap – but never finished the binding on it (it means I can wear it under my clothes and it creates a surprisingly smooth line – and this mesh doesn’t really fray as it’s a knit).

Pros: it makes a very flexible and comfy corset, allowing you a lot of movement.

Cons: are that although it is still a single layer corset, because it’s a finely-woven synthetic material, it can get a little warm compared to the other types of mesh. This corset will definitely not give you a conical ribcage, as it stretches around every natural curve of your body. Also, the bones a not placed relatively close together, there is a risk of parts of the corset shrinking or rolling up in places (which is why it’s most often used in girdles, where the garter straps / suspenders keep it pulled down and smooth).

 

These are the most popular types of mesh and net used in corsets, but if you’d like to see even more examples of mesh, sheer, and summer corsets, (including some made from lace, organza, and horsehair), I have a whole gallery over on this permanent page! Do you know of other types of mesh that are used for corsets that I didn’t mention here or in the gallery? Comment below and let us know.

Posted on Leave a comment

Where to buy Sheer/Mesh Summer Corsets

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Tulle corset, 1875. From Thierry de Maigret

The first time I saw a mesh corset, it triggered a long-term obsession. What a wonderful idea! Conventional corsets can be hot and sweaty during summertime or in warmer climates. The oldest tulle corset I’ve seen is estimated to be from 1875 (featured left) and throughout the 1890’s it seems that linen mesh became more popular for corsetry, so the idea is not new! Fast forward to today; there has been a huge resurgence of summer corsetry, and they’re as strong as ever with the creation of new fibers and creative engineering. Mesh and net corsets are made with all different types of materials: cross-stitch canvas, linen mesh, Aida cloth, nylon mesh, polyester tulle, horsehair, and lace itself. In this article I’ll highlight some corsetieres and brands that offer modern mesh corsets.

*Please note that MANY corsetieres now create summer mesh corsets, and if I were to add them all, this post would be maddeningly long. Corsetieres, if your mesh corset does not appear in this list and you have one to submit, please send me an email here.
<

Daily-Wear Summer Corsets

Madame Sher nude mesh underbust, $300

Brazil-based Madame Sher has a collection of simple and beautiful mesh corsets in her Tight Comfort section, ranging from $220 – $300 for a custom-fit design. They’re made with cotton mesh and cotton twill in various neutral shades. See my review of the Madame Sher black mesh cincher here.

Ferrer Corsets summer mesh tightlacing underbust, starts at R$ 300

Ferrer Corsets is also a Brazilian corset maker – and it seems that tropical Brazil is taking the summer corset industry by storm as they understand the need to feel cool while training in any climate. Ferrer offers a variety of mesh and net corsets in his tight-lacing section, including the corset above which costs only R$ 385 with an included busk and modesty panel.

Delicate Facade Corsetry heavy-duty summer mesh corset, starts at $510

Delicate Facade Corsetry has made this summer corset made with “heavy duty, industrial grade, tightlacing quality mesh”, for a special client who requires a surgery support corset 24/7 after a horrendous accident. DF Corsetry has prettied up this breezy piece with highly decorative latticework. You can learn more about Delicate Facade, and read more about Sasha’s story here.

Contour Corsets gold summer mesh corset, starts at $595

Contour Corsets makes arguably the strongest modern mesh corsets in the world. Fran incorporates space-age materials into her corsets, and the photo above features my personal primary waist training corset, capable of withstanding 23/7 use and cinching my waist over 25%. The synthetic mesh and the construction of the corset are both so strong that the addition of a waist tape would be superfluous. My review of the summer Contour Corset can be found here.

Sophisticated Tulle Corsets:

Contessa Gothique Design Semi-Mesh underbust, starts at $280

Contessa Gothique Design makes semi-mesh corsets with alternating panels of poly netting and cotton coutil – the one shown above is the one I own. The net is soft like tulle, but the double-layer makes for a strong piece. Embellished with lace appliqué and Swarovski crystals, this pretty piece holds up very well to tightlacing and accentuates any summer outfit while still keeping me cool – but if you prefer, the corset can be made more plain as well. See my review of this Contessa Gothique corset here.

V-Couture Nyx tulle and lace overbust, $550

V-couture makes a single-layer tulle overbust called “Nyx”, heavily decorated with beautiful corded lace, beads and sequins. Although it has no waist tape, V-couture ensures that Nyx is capable of giving up to 4 inches reduction.

1962192_675805222441905_624039294_o
Entre-Nous embroidered tulle overbust; Textile design by Jakob Schlaepfer

Entre-Nous introduced embroidered tulle corsets in early 2014, such as this astonishingly gorgeous white piece with delicate pastel floral embroidery. 

Lace Corsets:

Wyte Phantom black lace sheer underbust. Model: October DiVine. Photo: My Boudoir

What happens when you forgo the lace appliqué and just use the uncut lace itself as the panels in a corset? You get a breathtaking sheer effect, as seen in the piece above made by Wyte Phantom.

Totally Waisted sheer waist cincher with Chantilly lace overlay, starts at $199
Totally Waisted sheer waist cincher with Chantilly lace overlay, starts at $199

Totally Waisted! Corsets also featured some limited edition sheer cinchers this year, priced to sell. The strong mesh panels with full Chantilly lace overlay combine with super-strong spot broche to make an enchanting statement piece that can be worn over any outfit, or next to the skin.

Coloured Mesh Corsets:

JL Corsets “Kingfisher” mesh corset, using 3 colours of sport mesh

JL Corsets offers some fun-yet-tough sports mesh corset in any combination of colours – you can order a corset in just one shade, but why not have ALL the colours?!

do_balakobako
Do Balakobako pink mesh and floral print underbust

Do Balakobako Corsets from Brazil makes some of the most beautiful coloured mesh pieces starting from only R$ 250, and her prolific work is very quickly gaining admirers on Facebook! See her photo album of summer corsets here.

Sheer/ Organza Corsetry:

Clessidra Couture sheer plunge overbust

Clessidra Couture is the designer label of Julia Bremble, owner of Sew Curvy Corset Making supplies. Corsetieres around the world trust her for the highest quality corsetry materials, so before selling any new type of fabric, she really puts it to the test! Above is an example made from the (highly coveted) strong yet sleek net fabric sold in limited amounts at Sew Curvy – the first batch was so popular, it sold out in less than an hour!

Angela Stringer Corsetry floral sheer overbust

Angela Stringer Corsetry has a continual theme on floral prints. In the above corset, she combines the sophistication of sheer panels with floral femininity to create a unique piece that’s both playful and smoldering. This is available in both overbust and underbust versions.

unnamed-12
The “Snowy Owl” corset by The Bad Button. Model: Zsu Zsu Starr. Photo: Aesthetic Aperture

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets, based out of Kentucky, USA, has been hard at work through early 2014 creating her “Birds of Paradise” couture line. One such piece from her collection is the “Snowy Owl” shown above, made of alternating silk covered coutil and sheer crinoline.

Sheer corset girdle by Snowblack Corsets, approximately $200 USD
Sheer corset girdle by Snowblack Corsets, starts at $200
SnowBlack Corsets offers this lovely corset/girdle, made with a single layer of nylon bobbinet, and finished in black raw silk shell and coutil lining. While this corset has a waist tape and sturdy two part grommets, SnowBlack says that it is meant to serve as more of a slimming, supportive girdle and doesn’t recommend a reduction of more than 4″ in this. However, it would be the perfect tool to smooth your figure under a retro dress! This corset also features four garter clips, and two additional hidden garter tabs for additional hold of stockings if desired.
Dark Garden Risqué Sweetheart overbust, starts at $505

The Dark Garden Risqué corset is aptly named. Made from nylon mesh and silk, the Risqué is available as both a cincher and as a sweetheart overbust (above). The website provides fantastic ideas for wear, mentioning that sheer corsetry serves as a great foundation under formal gowns, or can be worn to show off tattoos.

Pop Antique Flirt overbust, starts at $399

Marianne is a well-known corsetiere for Dark Garden, but she also owns her own corsetry line and is a respected designer in her own right: Pop Antique‘s corsets are fun and contemporary, and the Flirt overbust is as coquettish as it gets with its peekaboo panels and little panniers (or “hip fins” as I like to call them).

Sparklewren sheer bridal overbust with cups

Sparklewren also offers some sheer corsetry, from cinchers to full cupped overbust corsets. Natural sheer mesh sees layers upon layers of French lace appliqué in true Sparklewren fashion to create an ethereal one-of-a-kind design.

Velda Lauder mesh and satin underbust corset

Although this corset is no longer available for purchase, I wouldn’t feel right without mentioning Velda Lauder’s sheer underbust, as she designed this years ago before any of the other corsetieres in this section had discovered corset-suitable sheer fabric. Ms Lauder forged a path all her own, and will be fondly remembered for her beautiful designs.

Horsehair corsets:

Bizarre Design sheer halter overbust and matching skirt

Bizarre Design proves that horsehair can shape the torso with extreme efficacy given the correct engineering. This sheer overbust with halter straps is capable of giving extreme reductions even without a waist tape.

Atelier Sylphe polyester horsehair pointed overbust

Atelier Sylphe has created a beautiful sheer pointed overbust from poly horsehair and twill, also giving an impressive silhouette without a waist tape.

Anachronism In Action sheer lattice pointed overbust

Anachronism in Action‘s sheer overbust features horsehair that had been dyed a diaphanous ice-blue hue. The beautiful lattice corset also features hundreds of Swarovski crystals over the bust.

OTR/ RTW Corsets:

What Katie Did sheer Cabaret two-tone Laurie overbust, £209

What Katie Did offers a few mesh styles in the Demi-Couture section of their website. The Cabaret Sophia, Cabaret Laurie and Cabaret Morticia corsets feature panels of a double layer of organza in either soft peach or sultry black, and maintain as curvy a silhouette as ever. See my review of the Cabaret two-tone Laurie here.

True Corset white mesh cincher, $83

For those who want to try a mesh piece immediately, True Corset keeps an affordable standard-sized white mesh cincher in stock for only £55 (or $83). Due to the nature of the mesh and the lack of waist tape, True Corset recommends that buyers order a size smaller than usual as the corset may stretch over time.

Fairy GothMother Short Mesh Underbust, £215

Fairy GothMother also offers a standard-sized mesh cincher for £215, available in black or a relatively rare red mesh. They recommend this for light wear (2-4 inches reduction).

Other corsetieres who have made mesh or sheer corsets:

*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company in these guided galleries. This is for informational purposes only.

Posted on Leave a comment

Black Mesh Corset Case Study

This entry is a summary of the video “Case Study: Homemade Mesh ‘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 11″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 23″ and hips 34″. The elastic mesh also contributes to the extreme shape and curviness.
Material Heavyweight powernet (quite stretchy) for most of the panels, and black satin coutil for the first and last panels, the boning channels and the diamond waist tape.
Construction Essentially a 6-panel pattern although the last panel is separated into two to make 7 panels. First, the powernet panels were sewn together wrong sides together and flat-felled with the bulk being on the outside of the body. Then I added the center front coutil panels, with the diamond waist basted in front. The diamond extends into a waist tape, which was basted at each seam, then I secured the external channels down on top of it. The back coutil panel went on last, then I added the busk and bones, and lastly serged the top and bottom edges.
Binding There is no binding on this *yet*. I had serged the raw edges to keep them from fraying. This allows the mesh to stretch. Conventional binding would not allow the top and bottom edges of the corset to stretch. However I may later add an elastic or mesh binding.
Waist tape The diamond detail made from satin coutil extends into a waist tape that is slightly more than 1 inch wide, and placed on the external side of the corset, secured down at the boning channels.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back. There is a small modesty placket in the front by the busk.
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 satin coutil surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite sturdy.
Boning 20 bones total in this corset (not including the busk). On each side there are eight 1/4″ wide spirals in external channels, then a 1/2″ wide flat steel on the center back edge of the grommet panel, and a 1/4″ steel on the “inner” side of the grommets.
Grommets There are 26 2-part size #00 grommets (13 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets to insert these, placing the grommets closer together than I normally would and making sure the grommets are snug between the two flat bones. So far they have all held up well.
Laces Some old black cotton shoe-lace style. More lightweight than nylon laces but not as strong. I just used whatever I had lying around.
Price This corset was quite time consuming due to the flat-felled seams and external channels and waistband. Also the powernet and satin coutil were both expensive materials. If I were to remake this corset (with a more pristine finish) it would likely start at no less than $280.

Final thoughts:

This is an extremely comfy corset. I also feel that I’m able to very easily cinch down in this corset – I wish I had drafted it to be another inch or two smaller! The powernet is forgiving of curves and makes my asymmetric hips look symmetric, while giving me absolutely zero pinching or discomfort.

The only disappointments I had with this corset was a) the asymmetry in the diamond detail, and b) the rough finish of the serged edges. I may end up adding binding to this corset (either elastic or mesh) although that would somewhat ruin its ability to be worn inconspicuously under clothing, and I’m not sure how even elastic binding would bring back the dreaded muffin top which is currently so nicely avoided.

Overall I think this experiment turned out much nicer than I had anticipated, and I think I will use this as a sleeping corset in the future! However I do need to practice my “finishing” of corsets, even when they’re experiments or prototypes.