Tag Archive: steel bones

Corset Back TOO Straight? Curving Steel Bones for a Healthy, Neutral Posture

Last week I wrote about what to do when your steels are too bendy or difficult to keep straight – so this week, we’ll discuss whether there’s anything you can do for steels that are too stiff (and of course you can! Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it). This will help you change the curvature of the back steels by the grommets

Since we’re talking about both human bones and corset bones in this post, I’m going to distinguish between them by saying “bones” for the human skeleton and “steels” for the corset bones.

Human vertebral column from the National Cancer Institute SEER training modules. This work is in the public domain.

Human vertebral column from the National Cancer Institute SEER training modules. This work is in the public domain.

Looking at the profile of the OTR corset in the video above, it’s pretty straight in the back which is potentially good for supporting the spine and promoting better posture than someone may have naturally. However, if you look at a vertebral column in the sagittal plane (from the side), you’ll notice that upright humans are designed to have some curve to the spine. There’s a small amount of lordosis of the neck, a mild natural kyphosis of the thoracic region, lordosis again in the lumbar area, and then (fused) kyphosis in the tailbone. While any exaggeration of these curves is not ideal, neither is having a spine that is perfectly straight.

Esther Gokhale did a fantastic TED talk on this concept of the “J shaped spine” and primal posture, which you can watch here.

If you have exaggerated lumbar lordosis (more swayback than the average person) you may find that when wearing a corset with a very stiff, straight back may feel like they’re encouraged to hunch forward at the waistline – and people who have a high “apple bottom” may find that the steels tend to dig into the top of the bum as opposed to curving around it. What can be done about this?

When your new corset comes in the mail, the steels are straight – they are typically not pre-bent in any manner.

Interestingly, corsets in the late Victorian era used to be pre-seasoned by steaming the starched corsets, whalebone included, on formed mannequins as the last step in manufacturing! So these corsets did have pre-curved whalebone. Today, pre-bending steels is something reserved for custom corsets by some corsetieres – and some other custom brands prefer to use flexible steels in the back which easily bends to accommodate the lumbar curve. To prevent twisting or bowing of these flexible bones, see the post I wrote last week.

If you have pronounced swayback and you can afford to go custom, I would recommend Electra Designs, and also Lovely Rats Corsetry – both of these corsetieres have a case of lumbar lordosis themselves and have learned how to draft to accommodate this curve (and adjust the pattern for the severity of the curve of each individual client) so the curve is built into the shape of the panels in the fabric itself, in addition to the curve of the steels.

But if you can’t afford to go custom, or if you already have an OTR corset where the steels in the back are too stiff for you, here’s an extremely detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to curve the steels yourself.

How to curve the back steels to fit your neutral posture:

  1. Firstly, be sure that you are committed to keeping the corset. Curving the steels is manipulating the structure of the corset and this may void any returns or warranties.
  2. Try on the corset as is, look in the mirror, and figure out where you’re experiencing the most stress in your back and the most unnatural curve to your spine. In my corset, I noticed the most stress was below my natural waistline – which on me, is below the pull-loops of the corset and around the “inflection point” of my spine, where the kyphosis of my thorax turns into the lordosis of my lumbar region. Mark this line with fabric chalk (make sure your chalk doesn’t have any oil in it and can brush off easily). I know that I will have to curve everything below this point.
  3. Take off the corset and take the back panel of the corset in your hands, flanking the area where you need the most curve, and bend it gently to create a smooth rounded curve. Start with a small amount, of only a few degrees (enough that when you put the corset flat on a table, you can just barely see that the top and bottom edges of last panel doesn’t touch the table anymore).
  4. Try the corset on – see if it’s more comfortable or if you need a little more curve. If you think you could use more curve, remove the corset and gently coax the steels with your hands, only adding a couple more degrees at a time.
    DO start with less and add more curve until you’re happy.
    It’s less ideal to start with a huge amount of curve and then try to straighten it back. If you do end up being a little overzealous, you can use your hands to coax the steels straighter again, but be careful to curve them in the same area as before so your steel bone doesn’t become “ziggly”. Also try not to bend the steel back and forth too much as this weakens the steel.
    DO go by comfort and listen to your body.
    DO NOT go by what simply looks cute – remember, S-curve corsets were considered alluring because they accentuated the curve of the bum, but they ended up creating more back pain and strain because of the exaggerated curve.
  5. If you have weak hands and you do need more leverage:
    DO use a tailor’s ham like this one, or curve the steels over your knee.
    DO NOT fold the steels over completely backwards and create a kink in them. This is not origami.
    DO NOT brace the corset against the corner of a table to create more leverage to bend the steels.
    We are not geometrically shaped, and a jagged bend in the steel bone can create uncomfortable pressure points – not only this, but a sharp bend can also weaken the steel even if you try to bend it back the other way! You don’t want to increase the risk of the steel snapping over time –  so be gentle and only create a smooth rounded curve.
  6. If your problem area is only your tailbone, then only curve the very bottom of the steels upward like a ski jump. This will prevent the bones from digging into your bum.
    If your problem is more your upper lumbar area, then only curve this area instead. Again, try it on to test the comfort before making any other changes.

When I did this to my corsets, I noticed a few different benefits:

  • I no longer felt a strain in my lower back
  • Because my lumbar region felt more neutral, I stopped hunching forward with my shoulders and found that my chest opened up and I reduced tension in my upper back and neck
  • I could wear my corset for longer durations without feeling tired from my back trying to “fight” the corset to maintain proper posture
  • The upward flip of the bottom of the steels took pressure off of the top of my bum and personally helped improve my sciatica (a complication from my twisted pelvis from a childhood injury)

Remember that this is not a perfect science, so only go a tiny bit at a time, try it on for fit, see how it feels, then rinse and repeat until you hit a point where the corset feels most comfortable for you and your posture feels the most neutral. Most people have a natural lumbar lordotic curve between 40-60° (whereas a totally straight spine would be 0°), and some people will have a higher or lower bum, a more prominent or flatter bum, so not everyone will require the same amount of curve.

Other modifications you can make to a corset may include removing the back steels and replacing them with more flexible flat steel bones, or even spirals (however, this can be quite annoying and difficult to keep the back gap parallel), or you can add hip gores in the last or second-last panel to give the corset a bit more kick in the back and curve over your bum more comfortably.

How do you modify your corset for greater comfort? Leave a comment below!

Please note that this post is to modify the corset to help maintain your personal, natural posture for comfort purposes, and is not intended to be used to correct or modify any spinal deformities, whether congenital or acquired, for therapeutic purposes. If you feel that a corset can help improve your skeletal structure and/or health, please consult your trusted healthcare practitioner.

Corset Connection (Versatile) Snapdragon Underbust Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 9.5 inches long, center half is 10.5 inches. Slim silhouette. This corset is quite short, just ending at my iliac crest – if you have a longer torso, I recommend the Dita underbust which is a more longline version of this. The top line of this corset comes up around the sides of the bust, which pushes the bust forward and together, and can help flatten any “side muffin top”. The back then scoops back down.
Material 3 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton black American coutil, fashion fabric is a heavyweight purple satin and it has a rose lace overlay. Boning channels are black satin.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Coutil is flatlined/rollpinned to satin and lace layers; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. Also contains 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of black satin.
Waist tape 1″ wide petersham waist tape exposed on the inside.
Modesty panel Attached 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in black satin, stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 8″ long (4 pins), with a flat steel bone on each side.
Boning 22 total steel bones not including busk. On each side, 8 spirals (1/4″ wide) double boned on the seams, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This type of grommet is my personal favourite used in American-made corsets.
Laces This particular corset has purple ribbon, about 1/2″ wide 
Price Currently $358 USD for the standard size on the Versatile website.

Final Thoughts:

This is the second of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. The samples will later be returned and sold at great discount.

There are a few things I like about this corset, and a few things I would change if I had the opportunity to get it custom made. Aesthetically I do prefer the more dramatic silhouettes, so if I were to go back and purchase this, I would likely have it made-to-measure, and in a smaller size (the one in the video was a size 26″) so that I could have a bit more curve in the waist (more like the lavender version seen left, instead of some of the other styles seen in their gallery on their product page).

The thick halter strap was comfortable around my neck; it’s made of a smooth-yet-strong matte black satin that can be adjusted with bra hooks. I didn’t personally find that the straps pulled too much on my neck, and I was able to keep my shoulders and my neck back – however, for those with forward-head posture looking for a solution, this corset will not miraculously help. I like how the fabric of the corset wraps up and around the side of the torso, which both helps to flatten any breast tissue that wraps around the side and in the armpits, and for those with smaller busts this cut helps to lift the bust and push it together to create cleavage. 

 The Snapdragon corset is available in various colour combinations as you can choose the main fabric, have a choice of lace overlay if you wish, then choose the type of trim, external boning channels, and binding – they can all be different fabrics if you wish! I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences in construction between the various different corsets depending on the styling choices.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset. However I think the Dita underbust is a little more suited to my figure, as I have a longer torso. (I will be reviewing the Dita underbust several weeks from now!) To see other models in the Snapdragon corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

Versatile Corsets Valerian Overbust Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 16″ inches long, and full length is 17″ over the bust. Modern Elizabethan or slim silhouette (*although please read the Final Thoughts section). A bit of a longline corset; comes over the hips and includes expandable hip ties. Good for women with an long torso; shorter torso probably not advised to wear this unless you get custom sizing. Will accommodate at least E cups, has a demure neckline and built-in off-the-shoulder adjustable straps that can accommodate broader shoulders. Has a high back that gives no opportunity for muffin top.
Material 3 main layers: the lining is 100% cotton American coutil, fashion fabric is a heavyweight satin that is possibly interfaced (I didn’t take it apart) and it has a tulle/lace overlay.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Unique pattern which gives a very flat front yet accommodates a full hip and bust; almost all the panels are angled in a V-shape towards the bottom front. Coutil is flatlined/rollpinned to satin and tulle; top-stitching between panels (seams are double-stitched at minimum), external boning channels. The seams that contain the hip ties are lock-stitched as it helps the seam lay flat and gives a neater finish. Also has 8 garter tabs.
Binding Black binding that matches the external boning channels, made from bias strips of satin.
Waist tape 1″ wide petershame waist tape exposed on the inside.
Modesty panel Attached 6″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, covered in the same silver satin and tulle overlay, stitched on one side of the corset; unstiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13″ long (6 pins), with a 3/8″ wide flat steel bone on each side. The rest of the length on top of the busk includes grommets to tie at the bustline.
Boning 22 total steel bones not including busk. On each side, 8 spirals (1/4″ wide) double boned on the seams, 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and another flat bone beside the busk.
Grommets 34 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. This corset has a very long back, hence so many grommets.
Laces Strong nylon cord-style laces; they’re thin, strong and they are long enough but quite slippery.
Price Currently $438 USD for the standard size on the Versatile website (right now they’re having a 20% off sale on all their corsets – enter the coupon code FIREWORKS).

Final Thoughts:

This is the first of several corsets I will be reviewing for Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection. I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the owner of both sister sites, and she was generous to loan me these samples for review. The samples will later be returned and sold at great discount.

I do notice one difference in the construction of this one compared to the Mimosa (which I had reviewed last year) – the waist tape in the Valerian is exposed. I speculate that this difference is due to the Valerian having external boning channels instead of having the bones sandwiched between multiple layers; whereas my Mimosa overbust has the bones sandwiched between multiple layers. If the tape on the Valerian corset were sandwiched between the coutil and the fashion fabric, it may have left an undesirable outline on the outside of the corset.

Aesthetically I do prefer the more dramatic wasp-waist silhouettes, so if I were to go back and buy this again, I may invest in a smaller size. I was not the right model to show off the curves of this corset effectively because it’s a size 26″, and I could probably fit a size 22″ with the proportions of this standard-size corset. It’s very roomy in the bust and the hip ties can accommodate 6-8 extra inches in the hips. To the left you’ll see this exact same corset on a model who fills it out more appropriately.

 The Valerian corset is available in various color combinations as you can choose the main fabric, have a choice of lace overlay, then trim, external boning channels, and binding. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences in construction between the various different corsets depending on the styling choices.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to try on this corset. Although I usually prefer Victorian, Edwardian or 50’s wasp-waist styles, this Elizabethan-inspired corset was lovely to try on and the construction was a joy to study. I’m tempted to try other Elizabethan-inspired corsets in the future. To see other models in the Valerian corset, Versatile has a small gallery so you can see how it fits different people. You can see it on their website here.

Contour Corsets Review (Summer Mesh Underbust)

This entry is a summary of the review video “Contour Corsets Summer Mesh Underbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 12.5 inches long, back is 13.5″ long. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage mostly follows the natural contours, tapering a bit through the lower ribs, but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape – almost wasp-waist in silhouette. I had requested this type of ribcage – if you prefer a more natural shape, this can be accommodated. This is called a “mid-hip” cut; coming slightly over the iliac crest but not longline. Extreme hipspring. See the “Final Thoughts” section on other fitting notes.
Material Primarily one layer of very strong, almost no-stretch poly mesh. I chose the “gold” color to match my medium-olive skin tone (it’s a cross-weave of a light yellow and deeper pinkish-copper). Despite being synthetic, the holes in the mesh allow my skin to breathe. Still, I always wear it with a liner underneath. Boning channels and binding are made from somewhat matching light-brown twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern, with most of the hip-curve between panels 3-4. At least triple-stitched: Lock-stitching between panels, seam allowances pressed open and zig-zag stitching to further stabilize the seam, then external boning channels, double-boned on the seams (external channels often contribute to an even stronger seam). No garter tabs (not requested).
Binding Brown twill that matches the boning channels; machine stitched inside and outside.
Waist tape None. This corset is strong enough without a waist tape, and in fact stronger than many of my corsets that do contain waist tapes. (I admit I had my doubts, but this corset has been tried and tested for nearly a year.)
Modesty panel 4″ wide stiffened modesty panel (lacing guard) in the back, suspended on the laces. 1″ wide modesty placket under the front closure, with a very heavy flat steel bone (essentially a boned underbusk).
Front closure Not a busk! The front closure is a “stayed zip” – heavy duty metal YKK zipper, secured into twill panels with the mesh overlayed. A 1/2″ flat bone is on either side of the zipper, and a 1/4″ flat bone sits on top of either side of the zipper as well. The very stiff and heavy 1″ underbusk further stabilizes the zipper so it doesn’t buckle. This has been my first tightlacing corset with a zipper and I’ve had no isssues with it.
Boning 29 total steel bones. On each side, there are 10 bones in external channels, then 2 flats on either side of the grommets in the lacing system, as mentioned before another 1/2″ steel beside the zipper, another flat bone on top of the zipper, and the last 29th bone is the heavy underbusk underneath the zipper.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with a large flange; set closer together at the waistline; high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces I opted for the heavy-duty lacing; nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up; they glide through the grommets well but hold their bow tight. Zero spring.
Price The Summer Mesh underbust costs between $520 – $575 at the time of this review. The price depends on the size and other considerations (see below). Asymmetric patterns (for those with scoliosis, etc) add $100. You can see her full price list here.

Final Thoughts:

When I first recorded the review and did the “first edit”, it was nearly 20 minutes long because I had so much to say about this corset. It is like no other corset I’ve had before, so even for a review such as mine (which is on its own pretty objective, but still comparable if you read across the tables of different reviews on this site), it can’t really be compared to other corsets in my collection. The posture, the materials, the construction, the pattern/ silhouette – everything  about this corset is just… different. Be prepared for a really long discussion (and as model KathTea had once said, “If this is tl;dr then corseting is probably not for you”).

Read the rest of this entry »

Orchard Corset CS-411 Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset CS-411 Underbust Review”. If you want visual close-ups, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 10″, shortest part is 8.5″. It’s a shorter corset that fits closer to a cincher on my body. Gives a moderate hourglass shape – this is a Level 2 silhouette, so the ribcage is 4″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 8-9″ bigger than the waist.
Material 3 main layers – the outer coarse-weave poly-brocade fashion fabric, flatlined to a sturdy cotton interlining, and lined in twill.
Construction 4-panel pattern (8 panels total). The shape of the panels is very similar to the cincher by Isabella Corsetry, although the contours are slightly less, the ribcage and hips a little smaller. Constructed with a slightly modified sandwich technique.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from commercial black satin bias strips, machine stitched on both sides. There are no garter tabs in this corset.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers. I did not check to see if there was glue used in this one (see my CS-426 review if you want to know more about that particular corset).
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of a layer of black satin and a layer of twill. 5” wide (~3″ usable space) and attached to one side with a line of stitching.
Busk Slightly heavier busk, slightly under an inch wide and 9” long, with 4 pins. It is fairly sturdy; less bendy than a standard 1/2″ busk.
Boning 16 bones total in this corset. On each side, 6 of them are spirals about 3/8 inch wide and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 grommets (10 on each side), with a small flange, spaced equidistantly. On the underside every grommet is split and quite scratchy, but they don’t catch on the laces so I can’t complain.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, but also rather springy – you just have to tug a little harder to get the corset to stay closed because of the elasticity of the laces. However, Orchard has some higher quality laces (in several colours) available on their website – I very much prefer their ribbon laces to the standard shoelace style laces.
Price Currently $69 USD.

Final Thoughts:

Although this particular fashion fabric is not available to purchase through Orchard Corset (as it was a prototype), the cut of the corset, construction methods, and other fabrics/ materials should all be the same – so in this review I’m really commenting on these features as opposed to strictly the shell fabric.

I very much prefer this style of thicker poly-brocade compared to the thin shimmery satin shown in my CS-426 corset review. I found that satin had a tendency to wrinkle easily, when the satin started to pull in places, you could see the crossweaves of coral and brown threads and the wear of the corset was quite apparent. The satin also pulled and frayed easily where it had caught onto things (keep it away from any hooks, scratchy/sharp edges, or especially velcro!). This brocade is sturdier, doesn’t wrinkle as easily, is harder-wearing (doesn’t pull or fray as easily) and is better at hiding general wear and tear. A bird told me that Orchard may begin stocking all-cotton corsets in the future, which would be an even better choice for those looking for regular support.

Waisted Creations Underbust Corset Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, and the shortest part (from underbust to lap) is 9″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips end a little lower than the iliac crest and very rounded. Luthien specializes in extreme hip springs, so this shape would be comfortable for hourglass or pear-shaped corseters. This corset was made to measure.
Material Fashion layer is dupioni silk in “dragonfly”; backed onto cotton coutil; lining is lightweight printed cotton.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, many bones sandwiched between the layers, and a floating liner. No garter tabs. One of the seams at the waistline did rip, but has held up well after mending.
Binding Matching dupioni silk, machine stitched outside and hand-finished inside. Slight frayed area in the top edge of the binding, but I will be fixing that later.
Waist tape 1/2″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None. (Not requested.)
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins).
Boning Heavily boned; 34 steel bones not including busk. Most of the ones around the side are spiral steel; double boned on the seams and additional bones in the center of the panels. Another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets on each side at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, 5mm two-part Prym eyelets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, there are some that didn’t roll perfectly, but there is no fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong cotton braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price At the time of recording this video, a made-to-measure, unembellished underbust corset is £200 (about $310) and overbusts start around £300.

Final Thoughts:

This corset was used in my “corset seasoning” mini series a number of weeks ago – anyone who had watched those videos will know that this review doesn’t tell the whole story of my ups and downs with this corset. I was originally upset that my mini series didn’t run as smoothly as anticipated, but over time I’ve come to agree with viewers that a “perfect” seasoning process wouldn’t have been half as useful, as I wouldn’t have been able to show people what is normal wear and what is atypical during seasoning, or offer troubleshooting/ solutions to issues as they were encountered. You’re welcome to learn more about how this corset wore in over time by reading or viewing the mini series here. (I do promise to catch up on the written versions!)

Much of this corset was left to the creative liberty of the maker. I had provided my natural measurements, gave suggestions of silhouettes and shapes that I liked, and requested a specific silk from Silk Baron. At the time that I received my mockup to test the fit, the maker mentioned that she was not able to get the specific colour of silk I wanted, and offered some complimentary embellishment as compensation. The change in colour was subtle and I didn’t need to match the corset with a pre-existing skirt or anything, so this wasn’t a huge issue for me at the time. I chose the gold lace to go along with the shade of green silk provided. The crystals/rhinestones weren’t discussed; they were a surprise. Once again, not a huge issue for me, but if you are the type to want to know exactly what you’re receiving, please be very specific before ordering.

The turnaround time of this corset was approximately 5 months, which is a longer duration than I’ve experienced from other corset makers – there seem to have been some complications, and the maker is very busy. If you plan to commission a corset, be sure to contact her at least 6 months ahead of time, in order to give your corset a proper break-in session prior to your event. She mentions that at the moment she is not accepting new orders, but she normally only accepts commissions on an extreme case-by-case basis.

Meschantes RTW Waist Training Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Meschantes RTW Waist Training Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Meschantes

Fit, length Front is about 11″ inches long, back also 11″ long. From underbust to lap at shortest point is 10″. Moderate hourglass silhouette. Mid-hip corset (not short on the hips but not longline) – good for average-to-long torsos. Will hold in a bit of lower tummy pooch. Looking at the size chart for the RTW corsets, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips about 8″ bigger than the waist. Always take this into consideration before buying a certain size.
Material 2 main layers; fashion layer is cotton twill and the lining is bull denim. Some interfacing on the back panels.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Sandwiched boning, double-boned on each seam. Top-stitched between panels. The liner doesn’t float, and there are no garter tabs.
Binding Black satin bias tape machine stitched on both inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the two layers.
Modesty panel Attached 7.5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, can be removed if desired.
Busk No busk; closed front. Instead there are four flat steel bones in the center front, all 10″ long. Two center bones are 1/2″ wide, and adjacent to those are two flats about 1/4″ wide. Keeps the center front quite flat.
Boning 24 bones, including the center front bones (where the busk would normally be). On each side of the corset you’ll find 8 spirals steels (1/4″ wide) double boned on the seams; then 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets; and as mentioned in the “busk” section above, another two reinforcing the center front **Please note that some people have found plastic bones in the center front instead of steels in their Meschantes corsets. I had picked the binding of my Meschantes corset and found spirals in the channels I checked, but I didn’t check every channel so I can’t say whether my corset had plastic or steel in the center front.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with large flange; colored black on the outside (washers are silver). Grommets are set closer together at the waist for more control when cinching. No splits, no catching on the laces.
Laces Strong flat shoe-lace style laces; they grip well and they are long enough that I can pull the corset over my head when putting it on and taking it off (because there’s no busk). No springiness to the laces, and difficult to break.
Price Ranges from $140 – $185 depending on the size and where you purchase it. They have a regular website, but I recommend purchasing from their Etsy store instead (see Final Thoughts below).

Final Thoughts (and discussion on conflicting reviews):

Even though I’ve received requests for a couple of years now to do a review of Meschantes, I was hesitant to do so because of so many other conflicting reviews out there. Meschantes has a very enthusiastic and loyal customer/ fanbase, and then another significant group of people who’ve had very disappointing experiences with the company. My own contact with them was also limited as they didn’t respond to my own emails. Although I had wanted to try their custom/ made-to-measure service, in the end I decided to try one of their RTW corsets.  I usually don’t like to depend much on heresay, but I’ve heard enough stories from people getting their corsets months late (or not receiving their custom orders at all) that I didn’t want to risk dropping my money on something that I knew couldn’t be shipped out immediately.

That said, I found fit and the quality of the RTW corset to be decent for the price (especially if you go by the price on Ebay). Meschantes is different to some other companies in that all the layers used are cotton (instead of polyester), allowing the skin to breathe. The shape/ silhouette it gives is quite lovely, and the reduction is decent on my figure (although due to the rib-waist-hip ratio, I would have fit the size 24″ better than the size 22″). For those who are conscious about the economy and fair trade, all of Meschantes corsets are constructed in the U.S. 

Meschantes theoretically has a lot going for them; they have the ability to make beautiful and high quality pieces. I want to like them – my only wish is that their service were a bit more consistent. Very rarely do I see a company in which their customer base has such a “black or white” opinion; it seems that many people either love them or hate them. Granted, it’s usually the people who receive exceptional service and products (whether exceptionally good or exceptionally bad) who are the loudest. Although corset makers are human and we all make mistakes, after hearing from customers “for” and “against”, it sounds like purchasing from here is rather a game of roulette.

If you want to try Meschantes but you are nervous about the service, I would definitely recommend purchasing through Etsy – the positive/negative feedback system on these sites can add incentive for sellers (in general) to deliver what they promise.

If you have any real, 1st hand experience with Meschantes or their products, whether good/bad/meh, I encourage you to comment below this post – maybe then we can see a proper reflection.

Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 13 inches long, back is 13″ long. The shortest part from underbust to lap is about 11″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips are mid to longline; holds in any lower pooch. High back prevents muffin top, very flattering. Recommended for extreme hourglass ladies.
Material Fashion layer is silk cherryblossom brocade; backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, boning channels on the edge of each panel plus extra ones in the middle of the wider panels – these channels are in special boning casing to protect the brocade. Floating liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs (wasn’t requested).
Binding Complementary pink ribbon, machine stitched inside and outside; not folded under on the inside because the edges are already finished.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None. (Wasn’t requested.)
Busk Standard-width busk (0.5″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins).
Boning 18 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 7 spirals (always one on the edge of a panel, and a few more in the middle of some panels) and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – very few splits but don’t catch on laces, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong braided cord-like shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up, holds the tension well and bows don’t slip out. Zero spring.
Price The PY09 is advertised as $410 for regular fabric (brocades, satins, silks etc) and $550 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

I just had to make Puimond my featured corsetier for April, as the cherry blossom brocade reflected the blooming cherry trees this month. This is my first underbust corset from Puimond, and also my first custom-fit corset from him. I had no doubt that Puimond is extremely well-respected in his field before, but it’s this corset that most definitely secures his place as one of my top 5 favourite individual corset designers, ever.

Puimond’s soft skills are also right up there with his corsetry skills – he was always very friendly, approachable, and patient as I explained my usual “problem areas” when it comes to corsets, namely a longer/ lower torso, very compressible waist, and needing enough room in the hips. He worked fast, gave me occasional updates, and the finished corset went from his studio and into my hands (across the US/Canadian border) within 48 hours. You can see the result here – a strong yet lightweight that gives firm reduction (this is so far the smallest corset I own), while still lending to an overall soft, feminine effect.

Puimond is a master of textiles; he works just as easily with temperamental brocades as he does with coutil, satin, leather and PVC to give a very smooth, no-wrinkle, no-fray piece. His construction techniques adapt depending on the corset pattern and materials which is a reflection of his extensive experience. Excuse me while I fan-girl about this corset all over again.

To see Puimond’s other styles, please do visit his website here.

What Katie Did Raw Silk “Morticia” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “WKD Raw Silk Morticia Corset Review (UPDATED)” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 13 inches long, shortest part (from underbust to lap) is about 10.5 inches. Wasp-waist silhouette. Good for medium to long-waisted people, may be too long for those with a short torso. Has enough room in the ribcage and hip areas; very comfortable. Will cover lower-tummy pooch. This Morticia seems straighter/ flatter in the profile than the last Morticia.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is 100% raw silk and the lining and interlining are both 100% cotton twill.
Construction 5 panel pattern (may be considered 6 if you take into account the back panel) with an additional 2 hip gores per side. Top-stitching between panels, external boning channels (double boning), and a floating liner. Also has 6 garter tabs.
Binding Matching raw silk bias tape neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Attached 7.5″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back, finished in same raw silk and twill lining (cannot be removed); stiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins), backed with a stiffener on each side, and a reinforcing bone on either side of the busk.
Boning 22 steel bones not including busk. 8 spirals (1/4″ wide) in external channels on each side, plus another 2 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets and the extra reinforcing bone beside the busk.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thick, they grip well. They were long enough for my purposes. Has some spring to the lace but very difficult to break.
Price Currently $310 USD on the What Katie Did website.

Final Thoughts:

There have been a few changes to the Morticia corset (if you compare this review with my previous Morticia review in the plain black satin) – whether these changes have occurred over time or if it’s what sets apart the smaller sizes from the larger ones, I can’t be totally sure. But I will still say two years later that the Morticia is still my favorite cut of all the WKD underbust corsets, and still seems to be the popular amongst other reviewers – the first Morticia video review I’ve done is still my highest-watched review to date! For those who have a bit of lower-tummy pooch, WKD also makes a spoon-busk version for extra support.

Of all their underbust corsets, the size 22″ Morticia is closest to my “custom” measurements with an underbust measurement of approximately 30″, iliac crest of about 33″ and bottom edge (close to low-hip) around 35″. Therefore from the smallest part of the waist to the bottom edge, I believe that this corset (in any size) is capable of giving no less than 12″ hipspring which makes it suitable for hourglass and pear-shaped corseters. Some clients find that they even need to order a size down from what they usually order (usually 5-6″ waist reduction instead of 3-4″). However be realistic about this – if you are relatively inexperienced with corseting, you may find this corset to be quite challenging for you to close – be patient and go slowly; you may be able to close this corset and have an enviable 50’s silhouette in good time.

To see the Morticia underbust and other cuts/ styles of WKD corsets, visit What Katie Did’s site.

Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique Lace Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 14 inches long, from peak of bust to bottom (at longest part) is 15.5 inches. Very gentle hourglass shape. Bottom edge is a rounded shape so the corset stops just at the iliac crest (upper hips). Sweetheart bust, and plenty of room in the high back to prevent muffin top. Quite comfortable on me – very curvaceous shapes may want to invest in the upgrade for made-to-measure.
Material Fashion layer is silver/ pewter satin with black lace overlay; backed onto a sturdy strength layer underneath; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 5 panel pattern. Top-stitching between the panels, single-boned on the seams, and a floating coutil liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs.
Binding Standard black satin bias tape, machine stitched inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Matching 5″ wide modesty panel, made from the same coutil/satin/lace overlay, and also bound in black bias tape. Attached to one side of the corset; removable if desired.
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 13″ long (6 pins).
Boning 12 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 4 spiral bones on the seams and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 30 grommets total, size #00 two-part eyelets (Prym brand) with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – few splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong cotton braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price This particular piece was a one-off (sample) but Kirsteen does take special orders outside of what is available in her store. Most of her corsets on Etsy, made to standard sizes, are advertised as around or under £150, and these corsets can be made to custom measurements for an additional £50. You can see the options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

This piece is absolutely beautiful. I had seen Kirsteen’s work around the internet for awhile, but I first learned of the name “Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique” when it was featured in the Lingerie Stylist’s “Top 10 Corsetieres” article in late 2012. Finally had the name of the designer of these fun, circus- and military-themed corsets. Checking out her Facebook page, I stumbled upon an auction of her pieces, and I instantly fell in love with this floral and lace number – not because it was rather different from the pieces normally available in her store, but because it was elegant in and of itself; simply put. I hadn’t yet owned a piece embellished in this way. The fact that it was one-of-a-kind made it that much more special!

I was not disappointed in Kirsteen’s workmanship at all – the stitchwork is neat, the lace overlay doesn’t wrinkle in the slightest, the beaded lace trim and roses are secured with care and attention, the coutil lining inside is high quality, smooth and comfortable. For a piece that was not intended for my measurements, it fits surprisingly well (I feel so fortunate to have these body dimensions). Do not be surprised if you see me review her work again in the future. In fact, I might almost guarantee it. 😉

To see the other styles available by Boom! Boom! Baby! Boutique, visit Kirsteen’s Etsy shop here!

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