Tag Archive: swing hooks

6 Different Types of Corset Front Closures

See the video above for an explanation of several different front closures for corsets – or read away below!

HOOK & EYE

The Goddess Longline bra can be partially folded under to accommodate for an even lower back.

Hook and eye closures are usually found on bras and bustiers, not corsets. (This is the Goddess bra, click through for more information.)

You will pretty much never see this in a genuine, off the rack corset (or a couture one, for that matter). If you see a garment marketed as a waist training corset and it contains hooks and eyes, I personally wouldn’t trust it.

If you are making your own corsets, this form of closure is easy to source and fairly inexpensive. I’ve seen it done (recently) in a viewer’s homemade gentle reduction corset, but it was supported by steels on both sides, and still had a lacing system in the back – this allowed the wearer to fasten up the hooks and eyes with zero pressure on them until they were ALL fastened, and then they tightened the corset using the laces in the back. This can take a long time to fasten and unfasten!

One concern is that the little metal hooks can bend, warp and break if they have uneven pressure on them. If one breaks, you have a few others surrounding it that might be able to support it temporarily, but once the garment has uneven tension, more hooks will be at greater risk for also warping and breaking. The entire row of hooks and eyes would be inexpensive to replace as you can purchase them in a tape – but for me personally, I overwhelmingly prefer a busk.

 

BUSK

Busks come in a multitude of colors, like these by Narrowed Visions (click through to the Etsy shop)

Busks come in a multitude of colors, like these by Narrowed Visions (click through to the Etsy shop).

This is like your bread and butter closure for corsets. Loops on one side, and knobs (aka pins, aka pegs) on the other side, each side supported by a bone. Busks can come in a multitude of lengths, widths and colors.  My friend Nikki (Narrowed Visions on Etsy) sells several lengths of heavy-duty busks in a rainbow of colors, as you see above!

The bones are strong and help support the abdomen, and the busk can fasten and unfasten in seconds once you get used to it. But when a knob breaks, you either have to replace it with a screw or a rivet, but more likely will need to replace the knob side of the busk with a new one.

I also have a video on how to completely remove an old broken busk and replace it with grommets to make it a front lacing corset.

 

FRONT LACING

Electra Designs made this cincher which is laced both in the back and in the front. They can be individually adjusted to your comfort.

Electra Designs made this cincher which is laced both in the back and in the front. They can be individually adjusted to your comfort.

In a previous Fast Foundation article, I discussed why wearing your corset backwards is usually not a good idea because of the way panels are individually drafted to contour over a different part of your back or abdomen.

But a corset that is deliberately front-lacing can be good for people with arm weakness, inflexible shoulders or just aren’t very coordinated when fiddling with laces behind their back.

A corset that has only a front lacing system and back closure will need to be loosened a lot and you’ll need to shimmy into it: either pull it down over your head, or step into it and pull it up from your feet.

I would personally not recommend a high-reduction corset that is closed in the back and laced in the front, as it personally caused some discomfort around my floating ribs after a while and I had to purchase a new waist training corset with back lacing.

 

ZIPPER

Wearing my Contour Corset under my sweater tunic and toddler belt.

My Contour Corset (metal zip closure) is strong enough for a dramatic silhouette, but incredibly smooth under my clothing.

Some of my favorite corsets have zippers, like my Contour Corset. A front zip should have metal teeth, it should be made to military specification, and it should be flanked by steel bones. The stitching around the zipper should fail before the teeth do!

The right zipper can be just as strong as a busk, and can also be zipped up and unzipped in seconds once you’re accustomed to it. Another nice thing about zippers is that they can be more discreet under clothing compared to busks.

However, those bustiers sold in Halloween shops that have a nylon coiled zipper and no supportive stays supporting them, so the fabric wrinkles around the zipper from stress? Expect them to fail if you lace them too tight.

But even if you use the best quality zippers – like with any other garment, if you break the zipper or lose a tooth in the zip, just replace the whole thing.

 

SWING HOOKS

black cashmere swinghooks long hourglass corset

Hourglass Cashmere Longline corset with Swing Hooks, available through my shop (click through).

Swing hooks are neat, and they’re very very decorative, but very high profile and will not hide well under clothing. I first saw swing hooks used by Lucy of Waisted Creations, many moons ago. She even made a tutorial on Foundations Revealed on how to insert them yourself! After that, it spread like wildfire and you saw corset supply shops selling the swing hooks, and different OTR companies started selling corsets with swing hooks.

If you plan to use swing hooks in your own corset, it’s best to put a swing hook at the waistline where there is the most tension. If you don’t, the fabric in the center front will gape, and even the bones in the center front might bow a bit if they’re not high quality.

 

CLOSED FRONT

Angela Stringer Corsetry mesh and floral longline overbust model Victoria Dagger

Closed front corsets allow for a beautiful unbroken line, but they’re less convenient. Corset: Angela Stringer. Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo: Chris Murray.

Closed front corsets have no opening, but rather are stitched completely closed. Similar to the front-laced corset, it will require you to shimmy into it! This takes some extra time, and if you have anxiety or claustrophobia I might not recommend this style – because it also takes time to get out of it. But this is the smoothest option under clothing if you want to “stealth” your corset under your clothes.

Which corset closure is your favorite? Do you know of any other closures not mentioned here? Leave me a comment below!

CorsetDeal Silver/Black Gothic Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “CorsetDeal/Corsets-UK Gothic Overbust Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Gently curved, gives a slim silhouette without a lot of cinch. The center front is 14”. From the apex of the bust to the bottom is not quite 15″, and the longest part (the side, where the hips peak) is 15.5″. Good coverage in the bust.
Material Two layers; the outside has alternating panels of smocked shiny black PVC and flocked black and silver floral polyester brocade. The inside cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are top-stitched at the seams, with seam allowances always pressed toward the brocade side. Internal boning channels laid down made of black twill.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are black shiny PVC. Also has 6 garter tabs.
Waist tape Waist tape running through the corset, seen on the inside, made of 1” wide single-faced satin ribbon.
Modesty panel Unboned modesty panel, 7.5 inches wide made from silver/black brocade on the outside and black twill on the underside. Also has a 3″ wide placket beneath the front closure, made from PVC on the outside and twill on the underside.
Swing Hooks 5 large silver swing hooks riveted to half-inch-wide bones in the center front. The bones in front are 12.5″ long. Very strong, no sign of breaking or falling out. I like that there were 5 swing hooks used – the extra hook a the waist prevents bowing of the bones in this area.
Boning 14 steel bones in this corset not including the busk. Single boned on the seams. The two bones that curve over the bust are made of spiral steel; all the other bones in this corset are spring steel.
Grommets There are 24, 2-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side), finished in nickel. The grommets are sturdy with moderate size lip around, there is absolutely no fraying around the material, they’re not pulling out.
Laces Black flat nylon braided shoe-lace style. Very strong, grips fairly well. It has a little bit of spring. They are resistant to fraying and catching.
Price Currently around $164 USD or £105 GBP.

Final Thoughts:
This is such a fun corset. If I ever had tea at H.R. Giger’s house, this is probably what I would wear. It’s an interesting combination of elegance and edginess.
Of all the overbusts I’ve reviewed made by CorsetDeal/Corsets-UK/Punk69, this is the one that fit me the best. It’s also the corset that I was most impressed with in regards to workmanship/stitching – I know from personal experience that PVC is not easy to work with! I might have kept it in my collection if I had any place or reason to wear it, but unfortunately it’s not a style I often wear, and I don’t go out that often. This corset would be great for clubbing/performances, and for attracting some attention when going out on the town.

CorsetDeal Steampunk Overbust Review

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

Fit, length Gently curved, gives a slim silhouette without a lot of cinch. The center front is 14”. The longest part of the corset at the apex of the bust is 14.5” so it’s a VERY gentle sweetheart neckline, barely any difference in height from center front to top of bust. Fits like a demi-bust on me and not a longline corset.
Material Two layers; the outside heavy polyester brocade and the inside cotton twill. The binding and decorative external channels are faux leather.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are top-stitched at the seams, and then internal boning channels laid down, made of black twill. The external faux-leather boning channels are simply decorative and have no bones. The buttons and chains on the side are finished in Antique Brass and they’re set into grommets which means that it shouldn’t fall off like other sewn-on buttons do.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are faux leather. Folded under on the front, but on the inside it’s just stitched down and the raw edge is visible. This is typical of leather or PVC type binding as it reduces bulk. Will not fray.
Waist tape Waist tape running through the corset, seen on the inside, made of 1” wide single-faced satin ribbon.
Modesty panel Unboned modesty panel, 7 inches wide made from brocade on the outside and black twill on the underside. There is also a 2 inch wide unboned placket under the front fastener, made from the same fabrics.
Front Closure (Swing hooks) NO BUSK!  There is a flat bone 3/8” wide on either side of the opening in the center front, where these large swing hooks were fastened. I believe that they could have added 1 more set of hooks in the front and spaced them closer together, as I’m noticing that the bones at the waistline are wanting to bow out slightly. For this reason (and because of the mild curves of the corset) I recommend getting this corset only 2-4 inches smaller than your natural waist even if you are able to cinch down more than that.
Boning 14 steel bones in this corset not including the center front. Single boned on the seams. The two bones that curve over the bust are made of spiral steel; all the other bones in this corset are spring steel.
Grommets There are 24, 2-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side), finished in antique brass. The grommets are sturdy with moderate size lip around, there is absolutely no fraying around the material, they’re not pulling out like a couple of them were in the taffeta corset.
Laces Brown flat nylon braided shoe-lace style. Very strong, grips fairly well. I find it nice that all the colours in this corset blend well together.
Price Currently £105 in the UK ($165 in the USA).

Final Thoughts:

This was the first style I had seen of the 2012 collection from Corsets-UK/ CorsetDeal, and I was floored. After so many years of the same classic (tired) designs, at last this was something cool, fun, affordable and usable for more situations than just “burlesque dress up” like their frillier options. And in many ways, it was fun and cool – I loved the rich chocolatey brocade, the faux leather trim and casings, the various chains and other hardware… but it was also a bit dangerous on the top edge. I’m wondering if the models the company used on the site was short-waisted (or just short stature) because wow, the corset was kind of low cut on me, and the waist tape was several inches higher than my natural waist. I’ve now seen this corset on other customers; they’re of smaller frame than I am and it looks incredible on them.

This was the first corset I owned that had the swing hooks. My goodness, I love those swing hooks! However I wish that there were 5 of them instead of just 4. I was sort of beginning to see the center front edge beginning to bow out (it could just be the fabric and not the bones) and felt that could have been avoided if the hooks were placed closer together and an additional one were added right at the waist where there was most tension.

As for any actual cinch in this corset, I didn’t experience much. Yes the corset does take me in a few inches on the inside of the corset, but this corset is so heavy and bulky that I don’t really look cinched at all on the outside – so keep this in mind when ordering. This corset is primarily for a fun addition to an outfit, and not suitable for tightlacing or waist training. This style of corset also has about an 8 inch difference between bust and waist – for example, on that 24″ corset, the bust measurement was 32″.

Update (Sept 2012) I hear that this corset continues t0 sell well, and CorsetDeal has even started offering this in organic materials if anyone is interested. The price has also dropped down to about $120 USD. You can see the corset here.

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