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California Corset Adventures – NALACE, Puimond, Interviews & More

As you know, throughout 2015 I spent about 2 months traveling for business. You might recall my Thailand adventures video and my Texas adventures video, so here is a brief continuation of what happened in California in July of 2015. (Unfortunately I broke my phone and I had also misplaced some memory cards for my travel camcorder for two years so I lost a lot of my footage – but by some stroke of luck I found one of my SD cards which had a few tidbits of footage).

The clip with myself, Sarah, and Jim Cox (the owner of Timeless Trends) at the beginning of the video above is of one of the first prototypes of the Gemini back in June of 2015 in Bangkok. I had included a very short clip of this in my Thailand video two years ago, but I didn’t want to give away too much about the two different silhouettes and the cut, but now that the Gemini corset is for sale, I’m comfortable extended version now!

After staying in Texas for about 3 weeks, Amber (Lovely Rats Corsetry) and I flew to Los Angeles together to attend the first ever North American Lingerie and Corsetry Symposium, coordinated by Jasmine Starfire. Some of the teachers included Jasmine of Sin & Satin, Amara from Vintage View Atelier, Jessica from Ties That Bynde, Sidney Eileen, and also in attendance was Heidi from Strait-Laced Dame, Alisha from The Bad Button, Lori of Bound Angel Designs (who also helped me on the Corset Database), and Lori’s mom Celia, who was everyone’s mom for that weekend. Celia unfortunately passed away from cancer in early 2017. If you would like to support her family during this difficult time, please consider donating to their GoFundMe here.

Two examples of Sin & Satin ribbon cinchers without a side seam.

There were some great workshops during this weekend, including:

  • Jasmine (Sind & Satin): how to create her signature ribbon cinchers without a side seam.
  • Jessica (Ties That Bynde): how to drape and modify patterns from start to finish, and how to grade sizes of a standard size collection.
  • Sidney Eileen: flossing and other couture hand-finishing techniques.
  • Jasmine Starfire (the coordinator): millinery techniques that can cross over to corsetry, including using bronze molds on silk petals to make custom flower embellishments.
  • Amber (Lovely Rats): how to pattern-match / motif-match.

And there were also opportunities to stay longer and visit the amazing fabric market in the LA area.

I also got to catch up with Sidney Eileen, and interviewed Sidney on how her health has improved since the 2013 fundraiser to help treat her lyme and anaplasma infections.

After the Symposium I decided to stay for an extra two days in California and take in what the LA area had to offer (what I could afford at the time). Unfortunately I did not make it to Disneyland, but Laysa and I went shopping in Burbank, visiting stores like Pinup Girl Clothing, What Katie Did, and Unique Vintage. Laysa also took me to Venice Beach where I touched the Pacific ocean for the first time, and the two of us also spent a day with Puimond and his two adorable and well-behaved dogs, Dobby and Handsome (RIP to them both, they passed away I believe in 2017). If you want to see the full interview with Puimond, click here.

I wish I had more footage to show but it really was a whirlwind trip of about 4.5 days! I definitely would love to visit California again in the future. Californians, if you can think of anything that is an absolute “not to be missed” attraction that you think I should see next time I’m there, leave a comment below and let me know!

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Ties that Bynde ‘Helen’ Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the video “Ties that Bynde ‘Helen’ Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized 24″: Center front is about 10.5 inches high, from underbust to lap is 10 inches, and the center back is 12.5 inches. Waist in this corset is 24″, ribcage is 30″ (6 inch rib spring) and lower hip is 34″ (10 inch hip spring). Mid-hip in length, conical in the ribs and cupped over the hips.
Material Fashion fabric is teal satin and a beautiful black dupioni silk yoke or belt. Boning channels are made with black coutil (covered in dupioni silk) and there is a cotton floating lining in a fun retro rockabilly print (I told her to surprise me).
Construction 6 panel pattern (probably) in a very interesting pattern with the yoke/ belt and flared panels above and below. It seems like it was designed through creative draping! Fashion and strength fabric flatlined, single external boning channels, floating lining.
Binding Commercial black satin bias binding. No garter tabs.
Waist tape 3/4 inch wide invisible waist tape, sandwiched between the layers. Full waist tape, from center front to center back.
Modesty panel Original corset does not come with a modesty panel, but I purchased one for $25 extra. 6.25″ wide, boned (resists crumpling) and suspended on the laces, finished in black coutil and black dupioni silk. Tiny 1/4″ placket in front.
Busk Tapered busk! (thicker on the bottom than the top), 10 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. Slightly more rigid compared to a standard flexible busk.
Boning 20 bones total, 10 on each side. Single boned with 1/4″ wide spiral steels and 1/4″ flexible flats, and there are four flat steels in the back sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 44 two-part grommets, size #00, with medium flange. Finished in black and equidistantly spaced (3/4″ inch apart). Big washers, all grommets rolled nicely. There is a lot of friction lacing up but probably because of the modesty panel.
Laces Black flat shoelace style lacing – no spring, very strong, long enough, no complaints. :)
Price $200 base price (standard size and no modesty panel). Modesty panel is another $25.


A quick, backlit snapshot while I was breaking in this corset (hips still worn a bit loose).
A quick, backlit snapshot while I was breaking in this corset (still worn a bit loose, so the hips weren’t fitted yet).

Ties that Bynde is a business based in Detroit, Michigan, run by independent corsetiere and all-around super woman, Jessica. Jessica not only takes custom corset commissions, but she also frequents conventions as a corset vendor, creates entire lines of corsets and couture outfits every year for fashion shows, attends corset conferences and lingerie symposiums, teaches corset making classes, AND she is also a contributor to my book Solaced, where she discusses the insurance-covered, therapeutic corsets she makes for herself and others.

The Helen corset was a star in my corset collection – there are several features that make corset relatively unique, including the black dupioni ‘belt’ and copious external channels, and the sweetheart top edge of this underbust corset.

I adore the look of sweetheart underbust corsets, and if you have a problem with corsets pressing painfully against your sternum, then this may be an option that avoids your sternum altogether. However, I have a freakishly high sternum, and  personally find that I sometimes get mild indigestion if my corset doesn’t come high enough in the front (this is true of both cinchers and all sweetheart corsets, so it’s not a mark against Ties that Bynde at all). Plenty of my friends are able to wear sweetheart corsets quite comfortably, though.

Size 24″ is an in-between size (Jessica normally makes her standard size corsets in every-other size (e.g. waist sizes 22″, 26″, 30″, etc). Upon reading her size charts, I quickly realized that her 26″ would be too big for me but the 22″ would be too small. Jessica offered to make me a size 24″ at no extra charge which was incredibly generous of her. If you needed custom fit (where you change the rib and hip springs or the length of the corset) this would be an upcharge, but I found that my body fit the standard size 24″ fairly well.

See more of Jessica’s work on Facebook.