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Restyle CU8 Burgundy Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review for the “CU8 Burgundy Underbust” hourglass corset, made by Restyle.pl. 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 10.5 inches long, the princess seam is 9.5 inches (4.5 inches above the waist, 5 inches below the waist), the side seam is 9.5 inches and the center back is 10.5 inches long.
When I measured this before wearing, the ribcage was 30.5″, the waist was 22″ and the hip was 36″.
The waist and hips matched their measurements on the size chart, but the ribcage was a bit smaller (ribs are stated to be 31.5″ on the site).
Material The fashion fabric is polyester-based burgundy satin, with black mesh overlay on the side panels and a couple of contrasting black satin boning channels. The lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panel 1 is wide and panel 2 is skinny, probably for aesthetic effect. Panels 3-4-5 make the curve over the hip.
Constructed with the welt-seam method.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (extends from center front panel to center back).
Binding Black satin bias tape, machine stitched with a slight top-stitch on both outside and inside (may have been done on a single pass with a special attachment). 4 tiny garter tabs, 2 on each side.
Modesty panel Just short of 7 inches wide, finished in burgundy satin and black twill. Unstiffened, attached to one side of the corset with stitching (easily removed if desired). In the front, there is a 3/4 inch wide modesty placket, finished in matching burgundy satin, slightly stiffened.
Busk 9.5” long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Very slightly wider than a standard flexible busk, and slightly stiffer too. It’s also black powder coated for a matte black finish.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset, 11 on each side. Single boned on the seams and also single boned in the middle of the panels with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steels, ¼ wide as well.
Grommets There are 24, two-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a small-to-medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in black powder coating as well. Rolled nicely in the back, and small washers present.
Laces ¼ inch wide, black, flat, nylon, shoelace style lacing (standard workhorse laces).
Price Available in black cotton, mesh, this burgundy satin, and several colors of brocade.
Sizes range from 18″ to 34″.
This style (burgundy CU8) is $50.49 USD

 

Final Thoughts:

Me (Lucy) wearing the CU8 corset

 

I have to admit, Restyle has been killing it lately with cute, curvaceous and shockingly inexpensive corsets that start around $50. It is not a perfect fit (the hips are several inches too large for me, which is more noticeable in the back than it is in the front). However, construction-wise, this corset somehow hits my bar of standards for most OTR corsets today, and even includes some of my more favorite features: equidistantly-placed bones (one in the middle of the panel and one on the seams – instead of being just double boned on the seams), and black hardware (powder-coated busk and grommets).

Poland’s OTR corsetry trifecta (Restyle, Rebel Madness, and PaperCats) are breaking all the rules regarding “you get what you pay for”, as I’ve tried corsets over $200 which was not nearly as comfortable or well-made as these corsets. Part of me is wondering if the other shoe is eventually going to drop (I do hope manufacturing methods are ethical), while the other part says to not mess with a good thing.

Restyle’s corsets are designed more for slightly pear-shaped people, with both their ‘WH’ and their ‘CU’ style corsets able to accommodate around a 14-inch hip spring. Much of their hip spring is distributed a bit more towards the back of the body as opposed to directly on the sides; this might be an indication that the corsets were drafted to be worn with a lacing gap in the back, so the hip spring is angled forward slightly – but it might also be good for some people who have a bigger booty and need more space along the back.

Check out Restyle’s corset selection on their website here.

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Glamorous Corset “Jenna” Sweetheart Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review for the “Jenna” overbust corset in blue satin, made by Glamorous Corset. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

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

 

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Corsetry & Romance Custom Silver Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the Corsetry & Romance Silver Sweetheart Underbust Review video. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length (Custom fit) Center front is 11 inches long, the princess seam is 10 inches, the side seam is 12.5 inches and the center back is 15 inches long.
Circumferential measurements: underbust is 29″ (rib spring is 7″), waist is 22″, and hip is 33″ (hip spring is 11″). The ribcage is gently rounded, and the hips are very cupped. Somewhat longline corset, and very high back.
Material The fashion is silver satin. The strength fabric / lining is black cotton twill. Both layers are heavily interfaced.
Construction 7-panel pattern (14 panels total). Palina says that the number of panels vary with the size of the corset (larger corsets can have as many as 11 panels per size), the complexity of the pattern, etc. Construction: fashion fabric was interfaced and panels assembled with a topstitch. Single boned on the seams. Lining is also interfaced, panels assembled and topstitched, but the lining is floating (not attached to the fashion fabric).
Waist tape TWO waist tapes in this corset, one attached to the fashion fabric and one attached to the lining. Both 1 inch wide, secured “invisibly” between the layers of fabric. Full width (center front to center back).
Binding Made from commercially sourced black satin bias binding, machine stitched on outside and hand-finished inside.
Modesty panel 4.5 inches wide, finished in matching silver satin on outside, and cotton inside. Boned with 3 horizontal and 2 vertical bones, and suspended on the laces with ribbon.
In the front there is a modesty placket, extending about 1/2″ out from the knob side of the busk, covered matching silver satin.
Busk 10” long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Standard flexible busk (1/2″ on each side) and a bit flexible, but there are added flat steels adjacent to the busk to add stiffness. They are also gently curved to create a spoon busk effect.
Boning 18 bones total in this corset, 9 on each side. Single boned on the seams with ¼ inch wide spirals. The bones sandwiching the grommets are flat steel. There are flat steels by the busk as well. However, corsets with more panels may have more steels.
Grommets There are 36, two-part size #00 grommets (18 on each side). They have a medium flange and are spaced a bit closer together at the waistline, and finished in black. No splits on the underside, no damage to the fabric around the grommets.
Laces Black 1/2″ wide single-faced satin ribbon (glides well through the grommets, holds knots and bows securely, long enough).
Price Price for a made-to-measure underbust corset starts at only $130 USD plus the cost of materials. Overbusts start at $160 plus materials.
Embellishments cost extra (e.g. flossing is another $15 USD).


Final Thoughts:

Model: Me (Lucy Corsetry), Photo: Rosalind Guder Photography, Corset: Corsetry & Romance, boots from Aldo, blouse and earrings from Vanyanis.

Corsetry & Romance is a one-woman business in Poland, owned and operated by Palina.

This piece is exquisite and definitely underpriced for its quality. I gave Palina a huge amount of artistic license with this piece (to the point where I didn’t even look at pictures before it was sent to me, so the final result was a total surprise!). I told her what colors and embellishments I like, and I gave her my measurements, and left the rest up to her.

The center front sweeps down to create an underbust sweetheart shape, but the top edge rises up to a very high back to hold in any “muffin top”. I find I can almost “lean back” in this corset and have ample back support, even along my thoracic spine.

The lovely Chantilly lace is sewn into the top binding around the underbust, and carefully gathered or “ruffled” as it tapers towards the waistline. A delicate silver ribbon, just 1/8″ wide, is threaded through the lace and fastens in a cute bow in the front.

The busk and some of the steels were carefully pre-bent to created a quasi-spoon-busk shape in the front and promote a certain posture and silhouette in this corset. On the loop side of the busk, it’s one continuous piece of fabric that wraps around the busk, with buttonholes for the loops to peek through which prevents any possibility of the center front seam ripping open.

The cording over the hips is one of my favorite features of this corset, as well as the bone flossing. There is a lot going on in this one little corset in terms of embellishment, but it was all tastefully combined to creates a beautifully elegant piece in the end, without being overwhelming or overdone.

The modesty panel and a storage bag are both included in the (already very low) price of this corset, and I honestly don’t know how Palina is able to work such magic with prices as low as she charges.

Corsetry & Romance has no official website at this time, but you can get in touch with Palina via her Facebook page.

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Pearls & Arsenic Red Swarovski Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “REVIEW: Pearls & Arsenic Red Swarovski Corset” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 11.25 inches long, princess seam is 9 inches (3.5″ above the waist, 5.5″ below the waist), side seam is 8 inches and center back is 12 inches.
Underbust 26″, waist 22″, low hip 33″.
Conical ribcage. Comes down low over the tummy, and sweeps up high on the back. This type of corset would fit someone with a high waist.
Material 2 main layers; fashion layer is red satin, with many “garnet” (dark red) and “ruby” (light red) colored tiny Swarovski crystals. The strength fabric (lining) is black cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern (12 panels total). Panel 3 gives space over the hip, and panels 5-6 give plenty of space in the back. For construction: both layers were flatlined and treated as one. Panels were assembled and topstitched (seam allowances on the inside), and internal boning channels (cotton twill) were laid down to cover the seam allowance.
Waist tape 1.25″ wide waist tape, made from single-faced satin ribbon, exposed on the inside of the corset and secured down at boning channels. Partial width (from seam between panels 1-2 to seam between panels 5-6).
Binding Bias tape made from matching red satin, neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside with a small topstitch (may have been stitched in one pass, using a special attachment). There are also 4 garter tabs (2 on each side).
Modesty panel 7.5 inches wide and finished in red satin fashion fabric / black cotton lining. Unstiffened, but quilted with many lines of stitching. Attached to one side of the corset with a line of stitching (easily removed if desired), and finished with binding on top and bottom. In the front there’s a slightly stiffened placket, 1 inch wide, finished in red satin, extending out from the knob side of the busk.
Busk 10″ long, with 5 loops and pins, equidistantly spaced. Slightly wider (3/4″ on each side) and slightly stiffer than a standard flexible busk.
Boning 14 steel bones not including busk. On each side, 5 spirals (1/4″ wide) are single boned on the seams, and 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 24 grommets total (12 on each side), size #00 two-part grommets with small-to-moderate flange; set a bit closer together at the waistline, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. I see no splits in the back, and the back panel is very good at not bowing or warping (see Final Thoughts).
Laces Strong 1/4″ black nylon flat shoe-lace style laces; they have a bit of string, they hold bows and knots well, they glide well through the grommets, and they are long enough. (I would love to switch out the laces for some lush double-face satin ribbon to match the rest of the corset!)
Price Although the corset in this review is a sample, Pearls & Arsenic corsets start at $193 USD.

 

Designer Raven Tao (center, in white) poses with her Pearls & Arsenic team Vera Lui (left) and Natasha Noir (right).

Final Thoughts:

Pearls & Arsenic is described as Hong Kong’s first luxury brand, owned by Raven Tao (who has her own Youtube channel, as well as a channel specifically about corsets!).

There are hundreds of small Swarovski crystals encrusting this corset, arranged in a gradient of deep “garnet” red crystals at the top and tapering down to lighter “ruby” red crystals towards the bottom. These were all hand-applied by Raven herself, and you can tell it was done with care – just the right amount of adhesive was used and each crystal was cleanly applied so there were no strings or residue oozing out from under the crystals. There was also care to keep the design symmetric on both sides, and to not have any crystals under the loops of the busk so it could be fastened properly. The crystals are also holding on securely and none of them are falling off.

On the center front and center back of this corset, there is a heavy-duty interfacing / canvas / buckram, or some other stiffener that helps keep the center front smooth (wrinkle-free) and flat, and prevents the back steels or grommets from warping or bowing along the horizontal plane. I seldom see corsets stabilized in this way and I found it interesting.

See more designs by Raven Tao on her Pearls & Arsenic site here, and see the official Pearls & Arsenic Youtube channel here!

Do you own a corset by Pearls & Arsenic? Let us know what you think of it in a comment below!

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Morgana Femme Couture MF1303 Gold Satin with Black Lace Longline Underbust Review (MFC)

This entry is a summary of the review video “Morgana Femme Couture Lace Overlay Longline Underbust Corset (MF1303) Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 14 inches long, princess seam is 12 inches (5.5″ above the waist, 6.5″ below the waist), side seam is 13 inches and center back is 14 inches.
Underbust 27″, waist 22″, low hip 36″.
Traditional hourglass silhouette with conical ribcage. Longline corset, recommended for tall or long-waisted people. Will hold in lower tummy pooch, recommended for pear-shaped people.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is gold satin, with black lace overlay. The interlining (strength fabric) is 100% English cotton coutil, lining of cotton twill. Boning channels are satin coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. The strength fabric, satin and lace were all flatlined and panels assembled, and external boning channels strengthen seams. Floating lining.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape, secured “invisibly” between the layers, secured down at boning channels. Full width (center front to center back).
Binding Black satin coutil bias tape neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside with a small topstitch (may have been stitched in one pass, using a special attachment). No garter tabs.
Modesty panel By default, MFC corsets don’t come with a modesty panel in back. In the front there’s an unboned placket, about ¼ inch wide, finished in black satin coutil, extending out from under knob side of the busk.
Busk 12.5″ long, with 6 loops and pins (the last two a bit closer together). Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) of average stiffness, and reinforced with backed with a ¼” wide flat bone on each side. See Final Thoughts for how it was covered.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. On each side, 9 spirals (1/4″ wide) are single boned on the seam (and also in the middle of the panels) in external channels, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and an additional flat steel by the busk.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set a bit closer together at the waistline, the occasional split, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong 1/8″ wide cotton flat shoe-lace style laces; they have zero stretch, they hold the bows and knots well, and they are long enough.
Price Available in waist sizes 18″ up to 26″. Currently $300 USD on their Etsy store (standard size, ready-to-wear) or $290-$350 USD on the MFC website (made-to-measure and custom colours, price depends on the size).

 

Additional Thoughts:

Morgana Femme Couture MC1303 longline corset, with satin and lace overlay. Photo courtesy of Awin / Etsy.

I purchased this corset from a friend (Jasmine Ines of Sin & Satin) and I believe I’m the third owner – so this corset has held up extremely well considering how old it is and how much it’s been worn. However, it was not made for my body – it was made-to-measure for the first customer, who has a much smaller ribcage and much fuller hips than I have, as well as someone with a much longer torso from the waist down compared to me.

As per usual, I’m quite impressed by the quality of the materials in this corset. The gold satin and black lace overlay feels lush (and if you dislike the gold, you can have the corset made in nearly any other color of satin you like), English herringbone coutil strength layer, satin coutil boning channels and cotton lining. Once you go quality, you won’t want to go back.

Another rare feature of MFC corsets is their “skinny panel” over the busk – on the loop side, it’s often one continuous piece of fabric that wraps around the busk, with buttonholes for the loops to peek through. This prevents any possibility of the center front seam ripping open. I’m on the fence as to whether I like the look of buttonholes, as it can make the busk look a bit “hairy” compared to a clean seam, but I can’t deny that it is strong construction.

The only thing I would improve upon in this corset is I wish they were available in a wider range of sizes! There are so many full figured women who would love to own an MFC corset, it would be great if MFC could eventually expand their most popular corsets up into the 30+ waist range – at least for made-to-order corsets.

See Morgana Femme Couture’s MF1303 corset here, or visit their Etsy shop here.

Do you own this corset or another piece from Morgana Femme Couture? Let us know what you think of it in a comment below!

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Corsets-UK ‘Instant Shape’ Ivory Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video for the “Instant Shape Ivory Overbust” with floral trim and quilted hip detail by Corsets-UK. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

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

 

Final Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to Corset Laces and Ribbons

In this post we’ll be discussing the 7 most common types of corset laces, their pros and cons, which ones are my personal favorites in different situations, etc.

Round Polyester Cord

You’ll usually find this style of lacing in budget OTR corsets. It’s a round type of corded shoelace, not flat, and often 1/8 inch in width. Being polyester based, it’s a fairly strong fiber.

You may recall that I will almost exclusively use cotton and natural fibers for my strength layer in corsets because of its breathability, but when it comes to laces, I will almost exlcusively use nylon or polyester based laces because they’re so strong.

Polyester cord tends to have some “spring” to it, and when you’re dealing with laces that are often 8 yards (7.3 meters) in length, this “springiness” can become annoying or frustrating, especially when a corset is new, because you just feel like you’re stretching out the laces as opposed to closing the corset.

The thinness of the cord helps the bows and knots to hold well without slipping, but I personally find that such a thin cord cuts into my hands when I’m trying to lace up, and makes my palms sore – for this reason, round polyester cords are one of my least favorite types of corset laces.

 

550 Paracord

30 different color options for 550 paracord from LibertyProducts, Etsy. 100 ft for $5.99 USD.

This cord comes in a multitude of colors online, and they can be purchased in 100-yard lengths in bulk and in any color you can imagine. This is the strongest type of cord used in corsetry today; it’s called 550 because it’s able to withstand up to 550 pounds of tension before breaking, and it’s called paracord because it was often used in parachutes. You’ll find paracord in emergency situations, like sold in bracelets that you can wear while camping, hiking or rafting, so if you fall down a cliff or get swept away by a current, you can unravel the bracelet and throw the paracord around a sturdy object to stop yourself.

In Ann Grogan’s “Corset Magic” book, she mentions that a corset can put up to 90 lbs of pressure around the torso, so this paracord would easily be able to withstand the tension.

In my opinion, this is where the positive things end. The cord has the colored outer coating, and then 7 smaller cords inside. Even while using a proper square knot, I find that my bows are not quite as secure as when I use ribbon or flat laces, and I also find the cord to be quite bulky and conspicuous especially under clothing. Because the inner cords and the outer sheath are not attached in any way, the outer part tends to twirl around the core and twists and bunches up in weird ways, making my corsets difficult to lace up. And once again, I find it painful on my hands when I’m lacing up.

Some people pull out the 7 tiny cords in the center and simply use the colored sheath for their laces – it will be more flat (but more springy), but you won’t have to sacrifice any of the color! It won’t withstand 550 lbs of tension without the internal cords, but it should still hold up fine for corsetry.

LibertyProducts sells 100ft (about 33 yards, enough for 4-5 corsets) of 550 paracord in 30 color options on Etsy for $5.99.

 

Satin Rat Tail Cord

25m long rat tail cord, 2mm wide, for $3.50 USD from Cchange on Etsy.

I consider this a hybrid between round cord and satin laces. It’s called “rat tail” lacing because it’s so thin. I’ve heard it’s diffciult to source in Europe, but I’ve been able to walk into my local Fabricland (here in Canada) and find 3mm wide satin rat tail cord in a multitude of colors. It’s also quite inconspicuous and not bulky under clothing because it’s so thin.

It has no springiness to it, and it’s surprisingly strong, especially for its tiny width. I find rat tail cord great for small grommets (#00 or even #X00 size) and it comes in a multitude of colors. I’m not sure why, but despite its small width it doesn’t cut into my hands as much as the bulkier round cords above – perhaps less friction due to the satin outside.

However, because it has a satiny coating, if there are any splits in your grommets then the laces can catch and cause scarring or fraying of the laces.

Because the satin cord is more slippery, you do have to know how to tie a proper bow and proper knots (not granny-bows) otherwise they can easily slip and your corset can easily loosen.

Cchange sells 25m of 2mm wide rat tail cord (easily enough for 3 corsets), in 24 different colors on Etsy for $3.50.

 

Satin Ribbon:

Single-Face Satin Ribbon

Depending on the corset maker, they will either recommend using ribbon or they won’t – it’s a matter of personal preference. Some claim that ribbons don’t last long, and they either stretch out or break – if this has been their experience, most likely they have used single-faced satin ribbon.

Single-face ribbon does not look the same on both sides. One side (the “good side”) is shiny and smooth, while the underside is more matte, a bit more rough or scratchy, and may even look similar to grosgrain ribbon. Single-face ribbon tends to be a little harder on the hands compared to double-face ribbon.

Double-Face Satin Ribbon (DF ribbon)
DF satin ribbon from Little Mint Company, Etsy. 8 yards for $5.20.

Double-face ribbon has the same texture on both sides (smooth and shiny), and is often a heavier weight/ slightly thicker than single-face satin.

DF ribbon is also used in single-layer ribbon cinchers, as they’re quite strong, have no “springiness” or stretch, and hold tension well. DF ribbon is stronger than SF ribbon, more lush and softer on the hands, but it’s also more expensive.

Regardless of which type of satin ribbon you use, if your grommets have splits, they will catch on the ribbon and cause fraying and scarring, which eventually leads to weakness and your ribbon may break after months of regular use. Fortunately, ribbon is easily sourced and laces are easy to replace.

One of the big advantages about ribbon laces is that they’re very flat and low-profile under clothing.

Most ribbons in corsets use 1cm (or 0.5 inch) wide ribbon. Some brands have slightly less wide ribbons (Starkers uses 3/8 inch wide) and some brands have wider ribbons (Totally Waisted uses 1 inch wide). The wider ribbons feel more luxurious, but consider the size of the grommets in your corset. Using a thin ribbon in large grommets, your corset may loosen as soon as you let go of the laces because they’re so slippery. On the other hand, thick ribbon through small grommets increases the friction, which may make your corset more difficult to unlace.

I will always use DF satin ribbon in my couture corsets – it can usually be perfectly matched to the rest of the corset and it has a luxurious finish – plus I rarely wear my bespoke corsets, so I don’t really have to worry about wearing out the ribbons for long time.

Little Mint Company sells DF-satin ribbon (4 units [8 yards long] and 12mm wide is usually sufficient for a longline corset or overbust) for $5.20 on Etsy.

 

Flat Shoelace

1/4 inch wide flat nylon shoelace-style lacing from historicaldesigns, Etsy.

These are ubiquitous – they’re easy to source, they’re often cheaper than ribbon, and they’re a “workhorse” lacing that will last you a long time. You will find flat shoelace most often in corsets (both OTR and custom waist training corsets). Because they’re flatter they will hold knots and bows well, and they’re “middle of the road” in terms of bulkiness so it’s possible to hide these laces under clothing. They’re quite strong, with minimal spring. They also don’t cut into my hands in a painful way while lacing, as long as the laces are flat in my hand and I don’t hold the laces on their edge, or they’re twisted up.

White cotton laces are more eco-friendly and can also be dyed to match the rest of your cotton corset perfectly. The cotton flat laces are softer and fuzzier to the touch – but for a more definitive test, burn a small sample of the laces (outside) – cotton will create an ash, whereas polyester will melt. Polyester laces take dye less readily, but they can still be dyed.

I personally find that when it comes to waist training corsets, that the polyester lace is a better choice because it seems to have less wear over time compared to the cotton laces (I’ve had cotton laces snap after a few months of wear, whereas I’ve never had polyester laces snap on me yet, even in the corsets I’ve kept for years).

Historical Designs sells 1/4 inch wide flat lacing in white and black on Etsy.

FTC: I purchased these laces for personal use, and all opinions are my own. Tiddly links are Etsy affiliate links which help keep this site online and the articles free for everyone. Photos courtesy of Etsy.

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Corsets Boulevard Global Curvy Overbust Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Electra Designs Longline Underbust Corset Review

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


 

Fit, length Center front is about 11 inches long, 9 inches long. Wasp waist silhouette. Standard size 22T long hip underbust – the underbust is 28″, waist is 22″, hips at iliac creast is 33″ (which is where my iliac crest hits). Gives a flat profile (doesn’t make me look thicker from the side) and the hips are slightly squared instead of rounded.
Material Fashion layer is blue satin (fused to soft interlining); strength layer (lining) is cotton herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Many many sandwiched bones. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Black bias strips of satin, machine stitched on both sides and very tidy.
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape invisibly secured between the layers.
Modesty panel No modesty panel came with this sample, but is available for a markup. Unstiffened placket in front made from a matching blue satin.
Busk Standard width flexible busk, 10 inches long (5 pins, the last two closer together). Reinforcing flat steel bone on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 steel bones (13 on each side), 1/4″ wide spiral bones on each seam and also in the middle of the wider panels. 1/4″ wide flat steel bones in front and back, and special lacing bones in the back (bones with holes drilled into them so the grommets won’t ever rip out).
Eyelets 20 in 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 the top-hat flange of the eyelet for extra support.
Laces Matching blue double-face satin ribbon, 1/2 inch wide. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up, zero stretchiness.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the standard sized long hip underbust with the gently-rounded top and bottom edges is $400 USD. You can see other style options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

 

A close-up view of myself in Electra Designs’ standard size long hip underbust.

This corset was a sample sent to me on loan so that Alexis could test the fit of her new standard size corsets, as a bit of a glorified mockup fitting – I asked her if I could also review this corset on my channel before returning the corset to her, and she graceously agreed. I believe Alexis had modified and updated her old standard size chart, modelling the new proportions off an average of her past many clients, and off her realistic Alvaform dress forms. I was very happy to try the new standard size corsets and find that it is slightly broader through the ribcage compared to the old standard sizes, so the corset holds in all of my flesh and doesn’t give me any ‘muffin top’ in the back. I would just need the corset to have a bit of a longer torso for it to fit very closely to some of my other custom-fit corsets! 

The flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I feel that this style of lacing would be excellent for those who have lordosis (swayback) as it doesn’t force the wearer to “flatten” the lumbar spine or hunch over. Additionally, I feel that this corset preserves my naturally flat profile and doesn’t make me look “thicker” from the side, the way that some other corsets do. Because the lacing bones are so flexible though, you must take care to tighten the corset with as parallel a gap as possible – otherwise the back may bow outwards at the waist, and look like “( )”.

As always, Alexis’ construction technique is extremely strong and definitely suitable for waist training – Alexis remains one of my favourite corsetieres and I look forward to commissioning her for a custom in the near future. At the moment she is 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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Corset Connection “Summer” / Vollers “Nicole” Underbust Review

Vollers Nicole Corset 1891 longline

This entry is a summary of the review video “Corset Connection “Summer” / Vollers “Nicole” Underbust Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches. The length is almost the same all the way around the corset. Very much a longline corset – comes over the hips; I personally find it a bit difficult to sit in – recommended only for those who are tall/ with a long torso. Modern slim silhouette; very gentle curves. Circumferential measurements: Underbust 28″, waist 22″, iliac crest 28″, low hip 32″.
Material Fashion fabric is black 100% polyester satin; lining is a black cotton-poly blend twill.
Construction 7 panel pattern, but extremely unique. Two panels above the waist, two panels below the waist, one central “belt” panel, and then center front and center back longer panels (see video for details). Top-stitched between panels. Corset has internal boning channels.
Binding Commercial black satin ribbon, machine stitched on front and back (not folded under, as the ribbon is already finished/ won’t fray on the edges). 4 garter tabs, and this corset also came with garters.
Waist tape The “belt” panel is in one piece and effectively acts like a waist tape would.
Modesty panel 6 inches wide, unstiffened, and covered in matching black satin/twill. Secured to the corset with a line of stitching (removable). Front modesty placket made from black twill under the knob side of busk, and satin flap over the busk helps to hide the busk overtop.
Busk Standard flexible busk, 11″ long and ½ inch wide on each side, with 5 pins (lower two pins are closer together). There’s another ½ inch wide bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 16 bones total in this corset. There are 10 spiral bones (5 on each side), single boned between the panels. ½ inch wide flat on either side of the busk, and in the back there are ¼ inch wide flats sandwiching the eyelets.
Eyelets Vollers uses 1-part eyelets instead of 2-part grommets. 28 of them total, and set equidistantly. There is no washer on back and the eyelet is perforated to split. Vollers says these eyelets are used in heavy boots so will take quite a bit of stress without pulling out.
Laces 1/4 inch wide black flat braided shoelace style laces. Resistant to catching or fraying; minimal stretch or spring, and hold the bow well.
Price £150 on the Vollers website (as the “Nicole” corset), or $290 on the Corset Connection website (as the “Summer” corset).
Vollers Nicole Corset 1891 longline
Vollers Nicole Corset 1891 longline (“Summer” corset from Corset Connection)

Final Thoughts:

Corset Connection is an official retailer/ distributor of many different corset brands, of which Vollers is just one! This is the reason why this particular corset goes by two different names. Customers in the US may find it easier to purchase from Corset Connection because of shipping times and not having to deal with currency conversion or taxes/duty. Those in the UK may find it easier to purchase from Vollers, for the same reasons. Please note the “Summer” is the name of the corset; it is not intended to be a description of the corset (as in, not strictly to be worn as a corset worn for summertime). This corset is not available as a ventilated or mesh corset.

This corset is one of the most uniquely patterned corsets I have ever tried – with a 7-panel pattern fitting together more like Tetris blocks as opposed to all vertical panels, and having one seamless “waistband” or belt panel take the role of the waist tape, I loved studying this piece to see how it was constructed.  Unfortunately this pattern was very much not suited for my figure, and would be better for someone both taller and with slimmer hips than I have. I would be very curious to know how this pattern would be altered, should one opt for the custom-fitted version on Vollers’ site.

Another feature I appreciated in this corset was the busk cover which allows you to hide the hardware – this would potentially help with “stealthing” a corset under clothing, as the bumps and the shininess from the visible loops and pins would be concealed.

I do prefer corsets that are more heavily boned, and that have two-part grommets instead of one-part eyelets, however for occasional wear (not waist training) it would likely be alright and give a lovely slimming silhouette reminiscent of a 19teens figure. Do note that unless you choose the custom-fitted option, Vollers specializes in a mild, slim silhouette; not a dramatic wasp waist. Those in the UK can find the “Nicole” corset here, and those in the US can find the “Summer” corset in stock here.

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Isabella Corsetry Victorian Underbust Review

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

Fit, length Center front is about 11.5 inches high, and from underbust to lap is 9 inches, center back is 12.5 inches. Slightly wasp-waist silhouette (conical ribcage). Waist is 22″, top edge (underbust) is 29″, iliac crest is 31″. There is a discrepancy between the proportions of this corset vs. my Josephine corset from Isabella. The photo of the Victorian underbust on Isabella’s website does not do the corset justice!
Material 3 main layers: Outer layer is black polyester satin, cotton interlining, lining is cotton twill (with a pinstripe pattern).
Construction 6 panel pattern, panels assembled using the sandwich method and double-boned on the seams, sandwiched between two layers.
Binding Bias tape is a matching black satin; machine stitched on the inside and outside.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel 7 inch wide unstiffened modesty panel attached to one side. No modesty placket
Busk 10 inch long, heavy duty busk (1″ wide on each side), 5 pins equidistantly spaced.
Boning 22 bones, mostly double-boned on the seams except for the one seam adjacent to the grommet panel. Side bones are 1/4″ wide spirals, and there are two flats sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 30 two-part grommets, size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Finished in black (a nice touch). Set a little closer together at the waistline. Large washers on the underside, a few splits in the back but they don’t catch the laces and the grommets aren’t pulling out so it’s not a problem.
Laces Laces are 1/8″ wide round nylon cord, rather slippery and annoying but it’s easy to replace. (My Josephine corset had come with ribbon though which was fine.)
Price At the time I’m writing this, the Victorian underbust in the Immediate line is $175 normally, $230 for made-to-order (standard sized but custom fabric), and $350 for both made-to-measure and custom fabric.
The updated photo of the black satin Victorian underbust looks to be slightly more accurate to the one I reviewed!

Other Thoughts:

I was quite excited about reviewing this Victorian corset, as it had been over 3 years since I purchased the Josephine corset from Isabella Corsetry and I wanted to see if there were any tweaks or improvements to her construction. Although it seemed as though the pattern between the Victorian and the Josephine looked extremely similar (save for the 2nd panel), the fit of this corset is actually quite different on me – this corset is cut for less curves, and the ribcage is more straight and conical compared to the Josephine. While this corset is size 22″, and the underbust is 29″ and hips are 31″; my 3-year-old standard sized Josephine is a size 20″ but has a ribcage of about 30″ and a low hip of over 35″. So perhaps they’re not quite that similar after all?

Talking with some other people who have purchased the Josephine underbust more recently, they have told me that their versions are far less curvy than the piece I own. It seems as though the sizing is inconsistent from style to style of these corsets, and even from corset to corset in the Josephine pieces! But for those who are curious, it is said that the average “spring” drafted for is somewhere in the range of 7″ bigger in the underbust, and 11″ bigger in the hips compared to the waist size.

Sizing issues aside, I am in love with the strong and smooth construction of this corset. Satin is notoriously difficult to work with and make it lie flat and smooth, but Isabella Corsetry does this with the highest skill. And while I can’t cinch down as far as usual in this little piece, it does give me a lovely silhouette.

For those interested in seeing the Victorian underbust in the Immediate Line (the cheapest line where the corsets are standard sized and have fixed colors/ fabrics, visit Isabella’s shop here.

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Vollers “Aida” Review and Revision

This entry is a summary of the two video “Vollers Aida underbust review” and “NEW & IMPROVED Aida Corset (Mini Review)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

*****

 

Fit, length Center front is 9.5″ high, center back is 9″ high, side seam is 7″ high (cuts over the iliac crest) – I would consider this a cincher. Modern slim silhouette; this size 24″ corset has an underbust 28″ and high hips of about 30″. But Vollers has a made-to-measure service, you can get this corset made to your specifications for a 25% markup.
Material 2 main layers; outer layer is ivory satin and inner layer is ivory twill.
Construction 13 panel pattern (closed front), panels assembled with a top-stitch and single-boned on the seams (internal boning channels). The original Aida corset had twill channels, while the revised Aida has herringbone coutil boning channels.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of commercial black satin ribbon, machine stitched on the outside and inside (not folded under, as the ribbon has a finished edge)
Waist tape The original Aida had no waist tape, but the revised version does have a partial internal waist tape.
Modesty panel 6-inch wide modesty panel finished in same ivory satin/ twill under the laces in the back, and a modesty placket under the side zipper (the revised version has a boned placket).
Zipper Closure The Aida has a 6″ long heavy-duty metal Riri zipper; the original version had no bones around the zipper, while the revised version has double boning in the modesty placket under the zipper for greater stabilization.
Boning Original Aida had 13 bones total, with none in the center front and none by the zipper. Revised Aida has 16 bones; a large 1-inch wide heavy duty bone in the center front, and two in the zipper’s modesty placket.
Grommets 18 one-part eyelets, size #00, small-to-medium, quite sturdy. Silver finish, and set equidistantly. The eyelets splay outwards in the back and grab onto the back of the twill; they are not coming out but then again I don’t lace this corset very tightly (about a 3-inch reduction)
Embellishment Closed front with black decorative laces; the original Aida corset had a bow at the bottom, while the revised Aida omitted the bow.
Price At the time I’m writing this, the Aida is £195 in the UK, or $310 USD.

Other Thoughts:

Model shows the location of the heavy zipper.

After the first review of the Aida corset, I’m quite pleased that Vollers had decided to make some revisions and improvements to the Aida corset and loan me their newer version for a mini review. The differences in the new Aida include sturdier herringbone weave boning channels (instead of twill); an added waist tape on the inside of the corset (the original had none); more bones including a double-boned modesty placket under the zipper, and a heavy-duty 1-inch bone in the center front; and the omission of the little black ribbon bow in the center front of the corset. The extra bones contributed to a sturdier-feeling corset, and helped to keep the corset’s silhouette more symmetric on the body. I also feel that the extra stability around the zipper would potentially lead to a longer-lasting corset in general.

Vollers mentioned that they wanted to introduce this new line of zip-up corsets to cater to their Burlesque clientele, who need quick and easy access into and out of their corsets onstage.

It shows great integrity in a corset company that they are willing to listen to the ideas of their customers and change their construction accordingly, so I have to thank Vollers for giving me this opportunity to try out their products and share them with my viewers and readers. You can read more about the Aida corset on the Vollers website here.

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Burleska Corsets Athena Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Burleska Athena underbust review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14.5 inches high (the longest OTR underbust I have ever tried!) and side seam is 12 inches. Not recommended for shorter torsos. Gentle hourglass / modern slim silhouette. Underbust circumference is 30″, waist 24″, low hip is 36″ (gives an impressive 12″ hip spring).
Material 2 main layers. Fashion fabric is black poly satin, lining is black cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, fashion fabric and lining were flatlining together, panels assembled using a topstitch. External boning channels (double boned on the seams)
Binding Hand-made bias strips of matching black satin, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish. 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape 3/4-inch wide waist tape made from ribbon, stretching from panels 2-5 (first and last panels don’t have a waist tape)
Modesty panel 6 inches wide back modesty panel (4″ usable space). Two layers, unstiffened, attached to one side of the corset. No modesty placket in front by busk.
Busk 12.5 inches long, standard flexible busk with 6 pins (bottom two closer together). Supported by flat steels on either side of the busk.
Boning 26 bones total, 13 on each side. The flats by the busk in the front and in the back by the grommets are steel boned, but the side bones in the external channels are plastic boned.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #0 or #1, fairly small flange. silver finish. Set equidistantly. Back of the grommets have multiple splits but don’t catch on the laces.
Embellishment 1/8 inch thick round, dense nylon cord. Quite grippy and holds bows well.
Price At the time that I’m writing this: £50 in the UK, or around $80 in the US.

Other Thoughts:

Burleska Athena corset as it is seen on the website

This is the second corset I’ve reviewed from Burleska (the first review you can read here). Two years later, Burleska had contacted me directly and mentioned that their line of corsets have improved and asked if I would be interested in trying some of their new stock. I agreed to trying this Athena underbust as it seemed to have the most unique construction and the most impressive curves! When I tried on the corset, indeed it gave a flattering silhouette, but unfortunately this piece had been plastic boned as well. The Burleska executives didn’t know that they were plastic as they had been told by their own manufacturer that they were steel – so these corsets are currently receiving an overhaul and Burleska says that they will be more careful about this in the future. I taught them the “magnet trick” to check for ferrous substances inside of a corset (like the steel bones) without having to open up the corsets. I’m not upset about this though; it takes great integrity in a company to admit that they were mistaken, to listen to their customers and to commit to changing their product to keep the trust of their clientele. So all is well that ends well; I wish Burleska success in the future and look forward to seeing what new items they design for their upcoming genuine steel boned line.

You can find the Athena corset on Burleska’s website, here.

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Corset Connection (Versatile) Scarlett Overbust review (& comparison)

This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile/ Corset Connection Scarlett Overbust Review (and Comparison!)”. If you want visual close-ups and further details, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 14″, the longest part from peak of the bust to lap is just under 16″.  Gentle sweetheart neckline, not too long on the hips – good for average to long waists. Definitely modern slim silhouette. The bust is 6″ bigger than the waist (suitable for smaller busts, A – small C cup), and the hips are about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Material 3 main layers – the outer fashion fabric is satin, stabilized/ fused for strength, lined in polyester fabric.  Newer versions are lined in herringbone coutil for custom commissions (the blush piece I showed was a display sample so lined in twill)
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). One version has sandwiched boning channels and a floating fashion layer. Depending on your request, either method of construction can be used (this method or the external boning channel method).Same basic pattern. The other version has topstitched panels, external boning channels, no floating fashion layer.
Binding Binding is made from matching strips of fashion layer material. Binding is machine stitched on both sides. There are also 6 garter tabs; in the old stock, tabs point down while in the new stock, tabs point up.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, either hidden between the layers or exposed on the inside depending on the construction method.
Modesty panel There is a 7.5″ wide modesty panel, attached to one side, covered in matching shell fabric. Also a matching unstiffened front placket.
Busk Busk is 1/2″ wide on each side and 1.5” long, with 6 pins (equidistantly spaced). Reinforced with a flat bone on each side.
Boning 24 bones total in this corset. Double boned on the seams, except for the seam that goes over the bust curve) and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets and a steel supporting the busk on each side. All flat steel bones (no spiral).
Grommets There are 36 2-part size #00 grommets (17 on each side), with a medium flange, spaced equidistantly. Rolled very nicely, few or no splits, not fraying or popping out.
Laces The laces are 1/8” wide round nylon cord. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, with no stretch – however they can often be slippery.
Price  Currently the Scarlett overbust costs $378 for the standard size. Custom fit is a $90 markup.

Final Thoughts:

Asia DeVinyl models a custom-fit Scarlett overbust

It was an interesting venture to compare the old stock Versatile Corset pieces to the new stock. The old “Antoinette” overbust from Versatile Fashions was renamed the “Scarlett” overbust when the company was sold by Ms. Antoinette over to Corset Connection. And with the changing of hands in the company, there were also a few changes to the way the materials that the corsets were constructed with as well – the current Versatile corsets include fused delicate fashion fabrics for smoothness and strength, a herringbone coutil strength layer (instead of polyester lining), and improved spacing in the grommets.

It’s worth noting that the method of assembly itself hasn’t changed that much. In the video, you can see that the red corset has sandwiched boning channels with an invisible waist tape, while the blush corset has external boning channels and exposed internal waist tape. Both these construction methods are still used today, and depending on the style you order (whether or not you want external boning channels or hidden channels), you may receive your corset constructed either way.

This corset also received 4 stars out of 4 on the Bust Test, as the bust line came up high enough on my chest to hold me in during activity. The bust is designed for smaller cups though, as it pushes everything upward – but it still contains my bust as long as it’s laced loosely enough. However if I were to go back and order this custom-fit, I would certainly request more space in the bust area and perhaps have it “cup” over and above the bust more completely. You can see other styles of the Scarlett corset in Versatile’s photo gallery, on their sale page here.

 

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“The Bad Button” Bridal Underbust Corset Review

This post is a summary of the Bad Button Bridal Corset Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

Fit, length This corset was a sample from Etsy, so it was not made to measure – however any corset you commission from The Bad Button will be custom fit to your measurements, so the measurements of my piece is a bit moot. But for the curious: Center front is about 11″ high, but on the sides the corset is only 9″. The silhouette is an hourglass, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are also about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Material Likely 3 main layers: fashion fabric is white bridal satin, backed onto a strength layer (The Bad Button always uses coutil for custom commission) and a sturdy white canvas-style lining.
Construction 11 panels, with an extra wide center front panel (closed front). External boning channels laid down over the seams, and floating liner. No garter tabs.
Binding Blue contrasting satin bias strips (matches the boning channels/ embellishment), hand-finished with an invisible stitch; incredibly tidy.
Waist tape White waist tape (perhaps 1/2″ or 3/4″ wide) extending through all panels of the corset – invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset.
Modesty panel No modesty panel in this sample, but if you requested one in a custom commission it can be accommodated. Closed front, so no placket needed.
Busk No busk (closed front) – instead, there are four 1/4″ wide flat steel bones keeping the center front sturdy. I call these “magic bones” because the stitching for the boning channels are not visible on the outside or inside of this corset!
Boning 18 total bones (including the four magic bones in front). Single boned on the seams with 1/4″ wide spirals, in external channels. Flat steels sandwich the grommets in back.
Grommets 22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with medium/large flange; set equidistantly – held in very well.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-faced satin in matching blue – extremely long.
Price At the time that I’m writing this, to commission this piece (or something similar) custom made for you would be $425 USD.

Final Thoughts

The Bad Button is run by a delightful and meticulous woman named Alisha in Kentucky, USA. Her careful attention to detail is nicely demonstrated in the embellishment on this bridal piece – it looks rather simple at first, but the more I studied it, the more care I realize went into this piece. It takes a lot of patience and careful measuring to keep the criss-cross ribbons perfectly symmetric, and over 100 pearls in the front were all carefully hand-stitched – additionally, the entire motif was hand-stitched onto the closed front of the corset, which also features the “magical bones” that keep the center front flat, yet do not show any channel stitching on the outside nor inside. The finishing must have taken an incredible amount of time and does not go unappreciated.

A similar bridal underbust by Alisha, finished with sage green contrast instead of blue.

I love how the grommet panel is done; there is another purely decorative “channel” of blue contrasting satin laid down before the grommets were set. The grommets have to be set perfectly aligned in order to make the back look tidy, and Alisha does an extremely good job of this. She mentions that she also uses a 2-part setting process in the grommets (hammer and press) to ensure that they are set very securely.

The ribbon laces in the back are extremely long (at least 10 meters) which are both useful for widening the back of the corset to get in and out of it (since it’s a closed front), and they would also be lovely trailing down the train of a wedding gown. But if you don’t like having such long laces, you can easily cut them shorter and seal the ends with a flame or hotknife.

If you would like to see some other creations by The Bad Button, visit the main website or Etsy store.

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Velda Lauder Bridal Overbust Corset Study

This post is a summary of the “Velda Lauder Bridal Overbust Corset Study” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 12.5 inches, and the longest part from peak of the bust to the lap is 14.5 inches. It would be more suitable for a short to average length waist. Interesting sweetheart/plunge bustline, which is cut low on the side and back. I consider this on the border of modern slim/Victorian hourglass silhouette.
Material Likely 2 main layers: fashion fabric is pure white satin – the fashion layer is also the strength layer. (seems to be a thick cotton-backed satin or very-well fused piece), inside is a floating liner of a softer off-white satin.
Construction Technically 5 panel pattern (+ one bust gore in the 2nd panel). Panels assembled using a top-stitch, with grosgrain boning channels laid down under the fashion layer. Floating liner hides the work.
Binding + Embellishment Commercial white satin ribbon, with the edges not folded under. There is another ribbon with attached beadwork, stitched down under most of the top and bottom binding.
Waist tape 1.5-inch wide grosgrain tape invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset; extends across all panels.
Modesty panel 7.5 inch wide modesty panel at the back (about 5.5 inches of useable space), unstiffened, attached to one side, made with white satin.
Busk No busk, only one very thick flat steel bone running down the center front of the corset.
Boning 11 total bones. Single boned on the seams, with very wide bones (I believe 1/2″ wide) and only one supporting bone on the very back edge of the grommets. (The grommets aren’t sandwiched.)
Eyelets 20 grommets total, size #0 single-part eyelets with small to moderate flange; set equidistantly. All the eyelets have rolled nicely, but because there it no back/ supporting washer, there is some concern that an eyelet might come out with rigorous lacing of this corset.
Price I’m not completely sure what this corset was worth when it was still being sold, but I estimate that it would be close to £250 in the UK. (I bought mine for close to half that, because it was a shop/ display sample)

Final Thoughts

Velda Lauder was a well-respected corsetiere, designer, author and educator. You may have remembered when I reviewed her book nearly a year ago, which contained some interesting corset history. Ms Lauder passed away unexpectedly in March 2013; you can read the lovely tribute to her on The Lingerie Addict. After her website was pulled down, I thought I had lost the opportunity to own a piece of her design – until I stumbled across a few overbust corsets in Fairy Goth Mother’s clearance section. I was quite surprised that they were sold for about half price, as I thought the corsets’ relative rarity (now that they’re not longer in production)

The same beautiful white duchess satin curved overbust on a stunning model.

would have caused the corsets to appreciate over time. I didn’t want to pass the chance to own a piece of history.

So this video and study is more meant to be a posthumous tribute and respectful study of a part of Velda Lauder history, rather than a “product review” per se. It is still structured like a review however, if you would ever like to compare side-by-side the construction methods of Lauder’s corsets to others and appreciate the similarities and differences.

Although I must admit that this overbust is not really suited to my body type (and it breaks my heart), I still find many aspects of this corset to be lovely – and quite unique! I think this is the first time I have seen a sweetheart corset that is cut so low along the sides and back – but this allows me to maintain a relaxed posture in the corset and elongate my neck, which is a wonderful feeling (I’m used to looking/feeling like a linebacker in overbust corsets). The thick, 1/2″ wide boning under the seams for the corset were also different, as was the presence of only one bone by the eyelets and not the ‘traditional’ two. I’m sure that many people were equally surprised by the construction of this corset, but it shows that corsets can be made in a multitude of ways, and I’m finding more and more often that notable corset designers don’t play by all the “rules” of corset making! This was one of the most fascinating things about studying corsetry.

Rest in peace, Ms Lauder – thank you for leaving behind such a beautiful legacy that can be studied and appreciated for generations to come.