This entry is a summary of the video “Review: “Botticelli’s Venus” Corset by Retrofolie” which you can watch on YouTube here:
My corset was made-to-measure, so it fits my longer torso but it’s also slightly less curvy than the standard size version of this corset as I have slim hips. Standard size 22″ would have a ribcage of 30″ and hips of 34″.
Three main layers (not including interfacing): The fashion fabric is a cotton print (interfaced for strength), strength interlining of coutil, and brown lightweight cotton lining.
6 panel pattern (12 panels total), the fashion fabric and coutil were flatlined, panels assembled using a topstitch. ouble boned on the seams with a floating lining inside.
Made from commercially purchased cotton bias tape, in seafoam green to match the fashion fabric. Machine finished on both sides.
1 inch wide, stitched invisibly between the layers. Extends from panel 2 to the back seam.
6.5 inches wide, stiffened, finished with another Venus in the back that can show through the laces. The panel is suspended on the laces using grommets. There is also a 1-inch wide unboned modesty placket in front under the busk.
12 inches long. 6 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. My corset was modified to be longer though, so a standard size corset will have a 10 inch busk instead. Standard flexible busk, with 1/4″ flat bones adjacent for reinforcement.
28 bones total, not including busk. Double boned on the seams, using 1/4″ wide spiral bones. Flat steel bones are used beside the busk and by the grommets.
26 two-part grommets, size #00 with a medium flange (the very popular grommet brand among corsetieres in North America). Finished in silver, and equidistantly spaced about 1″ apart. Big washers in the back; splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces too much.
Standard white nylon shoelace style laces.
This particular style is $315 USD for standard size (18″ up to 26″). For custom fit, the price is $350.
Because this corset was made back in 2014, a few changes have been made to this corset – the first change is that this pointed longline style is no longer called the “Azalea” longline cut, it’s now just style “Retro 04” on Retrofolie’s website. Also, the standard size measurements are now curvier than they were in 2014!
This is part of Julianne’s “Retro History” corset line, where she is able to use any historical painting in the public domain (the artist must be deceased for at least 70 years to use their work). The painting is printed with a repeat pattern on fabric, and the panels are cut from this fabric and painstakingly matched at the seams. Julianne started her corset career making these pieces, and has since expanded her corset ranges to include “Retro Basic” (simple corsets covered in cotton or silk) and “Retro Galaxy” (corsets featuring beautiful galaxy and nebula motifs).
Although her corsets are strong enough for waist training, Julianne recommends that you don’t wear a Retro History corset as your daily-wear corset, as the fashion fabric will ease and the painting will distort over time. If you wish to preserve the historical art corsets but waist train in one of her Retrofolie pieces, she recommends the Retro Basic line.
If you are already subscribed to my Youtube channel, you will already know about the massive corset giveaway launched this past Monday. Julianne of RetroFolie (a fellow Canadian corsetiere) and I have collaborated to arrange a giveaway – three lucky winners will receive a custom fit and custom designed RetroCouture underbust corset, together valued at over $1000 USD! This is to celebrate my upcoming 5 year anniversary of making videos on Youtube, and recently reaching over 75 000 subscribers!
Additionally, if you feel that corsets have granted you a better quality of life, you have the opportunity to make history and contribute to a very special compilation book that you can share with loved ones and associates to help demystify and destigmatize corsetry.
All the necessary information is available in the video below! Be sure to open the Youtube video in a new window and comment under the Youtube video, not under this blog post.
The contest is open worldwide, and contest closes November 2, 2015 at 23:59 EST (UTC−05:00).
If you are interested in contributing to the compilation book but do not want to enter the giveaway contest, you have until the end of November to email me your first draft. More information about the book will be coming after the contest is closed. <3
Good luck to all entrants, and thank you for an amazing 5 years, over 500 videos, and 75000 subscribers!
This post is a summary of the “RetroFolie Alyssum Underbust Corset Review” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:
Center front is 11 inches long, along the princess seam (underbust to lap) is 9.5 inches, and the enter back is also 12.5 inches. The corset is cut low in the center front to control lower tummy, and then the corset gradually cuts upwards in the back to give a high back at the top, and stops just above the tailbone on me. The Alyssum corset is not longline (stops around the iliac crest). Circumferential measurements: waist is 22″, underbust 30″, high hip 32″ (this is her standard-sized option). The silhouette is a gentle hourglass.
3 main layers – fashion fabric is printed cotton sateen (interfaced twice), featuring “L’escarpolette” (The Swing) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. There is a twill interlining between the fashion fabric (note that Julianne has started using herringbone coutil as the strength fabric in her corsets now). The floating liner is black cotton as well.
6 panel pattern, with some of the panels in the front tapering toward the lower tummy. Fashion layer (interfaced) and cotton interlining were flatlined (lining is floating). Panels assembled with a top-stitch at the seams (quadruple stitched). I requested double boning on the seams; channels are sandwiched between fashion and interlining layers.
Commercial black bias binding, machine stitched on both sides, with a slight topstitch visible.
1-inch wide waist tape, invisibly stitched between the layers. It starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and ends at the seam of the last panel (between panels 5-6).
Modesty panel is around 6.5″ wide, finished in the same fashion fabric (featuring the shoe flying off the lady’s foot) and black cotton lining. Stiffened with what I presume is buckram (the same stiffener found in hats, Julianne says) and suspended on the laces with grommets near the top and bottom. There is also a 1″ wide modesty placket extending from the knob side of the busk.
10 inches long with 5 pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side). There is also a 1/4″ wide flat steel on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
28 total bones not including busk (remember I requested double bones in my corset). On each side there are eleven 1/4″ spiral steel bones. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side, as well as one 1/4″ flat steel by the busk, making a total of 14 bones on each side.
26 grommets total, size #00 with medium flange, finished in silver and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely. Washers are large to prevent the grommets from falling out.
1/4″ black flat braided shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring. There is quite a bit of friction while lacing up, but this might be due to the modesty panel more than anything else.
At the time that I’m writing this review, a historical artwork Alyssum underbust starts at $270 – $290 USD through her Etsy store. Several upgrades are available such as a modesty panel (extra $20), and custom fit (extra $25).
Other Thoughts/ Observations:
RetroFolie is the business name of Julianne Coriandoli, who was also the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the Foundations Revealed “geometric” theme corset contest. Today she is more known for her incredible “Historical Artwork” corsets, in which she takes beautiful historical paintings and turns them into 3-dimensional pieces of wearable art.
Many people initially thought that the corsets were put into a printer after completing construction – in fact, the paintings are printed onto flat fabric (cotton sateen) and each panel is carefully cut out and stitched to match the others by the millimetre – the picture spans beautifully unbroken over the front of the corset, and I know from personal experience how much time and care is necessary for such a project.
Julianne says that she’s happy to take custom requests for paintings, as long as they are within the public domain (the artist has been deceased for 70-100 years, depending on the country and laws).
When I ordered this corset this past spring, default RetroFolie corsets had a cotton twill interlining and single boning. Today, it seems that all of her corsets now feature double boning and a herringbone coutil strength interlining, so you no longer have to order those as markups!
In the near future I will also be reviewing RetroFolie’s longline Azalea corset, which was also made-to-measure.