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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.

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De-Sensationalizing the Corset

I received a very refreshing and pleasant message from a subscriber the other day, which included this passage (published with permission):

I just wanted to tell you how much I really love your channel, and how pleasing it is to see someone who makes corsetting something that’s empowering, fun and sort of a hobby. I found that before you, there seemed to be two camps of social stigma: Sexy Corseting for the bedroom and nights out, or Grandma Corseting that’s seen as uncomfortable, demeaning and anti-feminist (not to mention a bit utilitarian and unflattering!). What I mean to say here is, thanks for giving it the air of girls chatting together, rather than guys saying “They’re only doing that to look thinner/sexier!”. I think corsets are fun and beautiful, and so do you!

The part of her letter which made me smile the most was what she said about my channel giving the air of girls chatting together. I had never really thought about it that manner, but in a way that’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for – educational and demystifying, but also colloquial and relaxed, instead of the focus being on strictly the fetish community or strictly historical re-enactors/ Grandma’s attic. But let’s expand on this topic a bit…

Continue reading De-Sensationalizing the Corset

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Deborah Roberts’ blog on Waist Training experiment (ABC 20/20)

Just a few hours ago, the late-night TV show ABC-20/20 had aired an episode on “Going to Extremes”, in which corseting was discussed (in the same light as plastic surgery and feeding-tube diets). While I could make this post easily dissolve into an argument on why I think the simple wearing of a garment (which can be removed at any time) is not necessarily as extreme as going under the knife, the real reason I’m posting is to bring attention to Deborah Roberts’ latest blog entry on the ABC website and discuss the representative doctor’s statement. In this article, Ms. Roberts explains how she received a custom-fit underbust training corset (made by Jill Hoverman) and undergoes a waist training experiment over the course of two weeks, under the guidance of Ann Grogan, owner of Romantasy.

I’m certain I’m not the only one who noted a tiny discrepancy in the mood of the TV segment vs the blog. While I have 100% respect for Dr. Gottfried and still maintain that one should see their doctor and ensure that they’re in good health before and during the process of corseting, I’m extremely curious to know where she found the statistic that “Corsets can squish your lungs by 30 to 60 percent, making you breathe like a scared rabbit”. In my several years of research, I have only found studies that had shown a maximum of 30% reduction in capacity while wearing a corset, with the average decrease in lung capacity among corseted females being only 20% (see my article on corsets and lungs here for more information). Being one who believes in backing up research with proof in numbers, I’d be annoyed in either scenario if I were to learn that the 30-60% statistic came from a study that was only available within the medical community and deliberately concealed from the public, OR to learn that number were mere speculation and stated as absolute fact.

A diminished capacity of the traditionally reported maximum  30% would be less likely to cause hyperventilation (compared Gottfried’s statistic of 60%) since the tidal volume – the amount of air a healthy, uncorsetted individual takes in during a typical relaxed breath – is a mere 10-15% of the vital capacity for an average human. It would, of course, be stupid to run a 100m dash while tightlaced – but under normal, relaxed circumstances I and many other corsetted individuals have never experienced adverse effects in breathing, particularly when using an underbust corset (which was largely not used in daywear during the Victorian era). If anyone can find the study that states capacity reduction of up to 60%, please let me know because it would be worth adding to my research.

In the very least, the written blog is refreshingly corset-neutral and fairly highlights both Deborah Roberts’ positive and negative experiences – and even Dr. Gottfried’s statement is somewhat ‘softer’ here compared to that on the TV segment. I thank Ms. Roberts for being sensitive and sensible around the subject of corseting.

 

If you would like to watch the video of ABC’s 10/12/12 20/20 “Going to Extremes” show, click through this link. The corset segment runs six minutes and starts at the 20 minute mark—about 1/3 through the “bar” at the bottom of the screen.

Deborah’s blog: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/10/10/my-life-in-a-corset-squeezing-into-a-new-dieting-strategy/

Finally, this video shows more of the interviewer’s week-long trial of corset wearing.

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“Disco Armadillo” PVC Ribbon Cincher Case Study

This entry is a summary of the video “‘DISCO ARMADILLO’ PVC Ribbon Corset”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

***

This was my first attempt at sewing a corset from vinyl. I have to thank Marta “Snowblack” for her wonderful  Foundations Revealed tutorial on sewing leather and vinyl corsetry. Just a few things that I have learned about handling vinyl:

  • The material stretches (so you must back it with coutil) however it does not drape like most other fabrics.
  • It is also not a self-healing fabric, and will show all pinpricks. Therefore you should pin your panels only in the seam allowances.
  • Using a teflon foot (or a piece of tissue between the vinyl and the presser foot) will help the vinyl to feed smoothly without dragging or sticking to the presser foot.
  • Lastly, feed dogs will leave permanent marks into the bottom of the vinyl, especially if it has a metallic foil finish. Putting tissue or masking tape on the underside of your fabric (where your seam line will be) will protect your fabric from the feed dogs digging in.
***

Here is the overview of my Disco Armadillo, in typical review form:

Fit, length Center front is 10.5″ high, and I drafted this corset to be very curvy: underbust about 32″, closed waist 24″ and hips 34″.
Material Just two layers; the outer PVC ribbon and the inner coutil.
Construction 5-panel pattern – three vertical panels at front/side/back to hold the bones, and two ribbon panels. I learned how to draft a ribbon corset from Sidney Eileen’s ribbon corset sewing tutorial. The coutil panels aren’t “ribboned” like the outer pieces; rather they are in one piece. Most seams are topstitched as I was afraid that lockstitching would cause the PVC to become too perforated and tear apart. However at the busk, seams were lockstitched nonetheless as it looked better. Some edges of the ribbon were left raw, as folding those edges under would be too bulky.
Binding There is binding at the top and bottom of the vertical panels only; the ribbon panels do not have binding. I also left the inside edge of the binding raw – this is normal with binding made out of leathers or vinyls.
Waist tape Ribbon corsets typically don’t have a waist tape; a horizontal piece of ribbon running around the waist will act like a waist tape anyway.
Modesty panel I didn’t make a modesty panel for this corset because I designed it to close completely at the back.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long. Although it is quite flexible, having 3 layers of PVC ribbon surrounding the busk makes the front panel quite stiff and sturdy.
Boning Only 8 bones total in this corset (not including the busk), only boned on the vertical panels. There are two spring steel bones sandwiching each row of grommets at the back, and an additional two bones on each side panel, all 3/8″ wide.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 grommets (10 on each side). I used self-piercing grommets and a new press to insert these, and they work very well with the PVC. I placed a layer of heavy canvas in the grommet panel to give the grommets more to “grab onto” and to prevent the PVC from stretching. There are no splits and the grommets are holding up quite well with regular use.
Laces I used some 100% nylon purple paracord – it’s extremely strong (holds tension up to 500 lbs) and has no stretch, is resistant to fraying but has a tendancy to twist. You will definitely need a square knot or bow (not a round one) to keep your corset securely tied at the back.
Price Ribbon corsets in general are not particularly difficult but they are time-consuming and require a bit of pre-planning. I would most likely place a typical satin-and-coutil ribbon corset at around $150. However, because the PVC ribbon is extremely challenging to work with and also quite expensive ($10/meter when not on sale, and this corset used 9 meters), I wouldn’t remake this corset for less than $250.
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Orchard Corset Maroon Underbust (CS-426) Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Orchard Corset Maroon Underbust (CS-426) Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Gives a nice hourglass shape – this is a Level 3 silhouette, gives the most extreme curves. Center front is 13″, shortest part is 10.5″. Longline corset that comes over the hips. Quite comfortable.
Material 3 main layers – the outer satin fashion fabric, flatlined to a sturdy cotton interlining, and lined in twill.
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). The shape of the panels is very, very similar to the Josephine corset 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 matching maroon satin, double-thickness. I like how it’s very narrow. It’s machine stitched on both sides, folded under nicely on the front and then stitched in the ditch between the corset and the binding, to catch the rest of the binding on the underside.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers and glued to the lining.
Modesty panel There is a modesty panel on the back, made of a layer of satin and a layer of twill. 5” wide and attached to one side with a line of stitching, reinforced with glue.
Busk Standard busk, half an inch wide and 11” long, and 5 pins. However it’s less bendy than other busks of the same width, which is one perk.
Boning 22 bones total in this corset. On each side, 9 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 24 2-part size #00 grommets (12 on each side). They have a medium lip around. They’re spaced equidistantly about 1” apart. I see some fraying and coming away of the fashion fabric around some of the grommets around the waist. On the underside every grommet is split and quite scratchy, they catch on the laces, the modesty panel and my shirt.
Laces The laces are ¼” wide flat nylon shoe-lace style. I find them to be long enough, a little springy but that’s alright because they’re still strong – you just have to tug a little harder to get the corset to stay closed because of the elasticity of the laces, is all – not a big deal.
Price Currently $95 USD, but you can save 10% by using the coupon code CORSETLUCY

 

Final Thoughts:
I really do like the shape this corset gives; it’s quite curvy (especially for its price). I wish they hadn’t used so much glue in the manufacturing, and that they could spend just a little more on higher quality grommets.

Lastly, one thing that made me PO’d (perhaps not the company’s fault but the shipper’s fault) was that I bought it on sale (around $59) but when it was shipped to me, the value on the package was stated as the original $95 which resulted in my having to pay higher duty/taxes coming into Canada. I ended up paying nearly as much in shipping/duty than I paid for the corset itself! International customers, be aware of this before you buy.

*** EDIT January 2014 – it’s been a couple of years since this review, and a few things have changed. Orchard Corset’s newer stock has higher quality grommets with fewer splits, and they recently introduced all cotton corsets, which are more sturdy than the satin ones and much less prone to coming away at the seams or having the bones pop out. Additionally, the owner of Orchard Corset mentioned that several years ago, they had placed the value of the parcel as product+shipping, which is why the price was so high and I was hit with duty. These days, OC says that they only place the value of the merchandise (the literal price paid for the corset itself) as the value of the parcel, and they don’t include the shipping price, so duty should be much lower for international customers.

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“Wrinkly Pig” Corset Case Study

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

***

Note: the following are the differences between the “Wrinkly Pig” and the “Tickled Pink” corset in terms of construction:

  Wrinkly Pig Tickled Pink
Fusing Fused the brocade to a layer of woven fusible interfacing, then flatlined that to coutil. Fused the brocade directly to a layer of coutil using “Heat n’ Bond” (fiddly sheet of glue, I don’t recommend it).
Roll-pinning Everything was flat-pinned, not roll-pinned. Some roll-pinning was done on the side panels.
Seams Lock-stitched seams; allowances were not trimmed or clipped at curves. Seams were trimmed and flat-felled.
Boning channels Double-boned at the seams, sandwiched between two layers of coutil. Single boned at the seams, used external boning channels (cuts down on wrinkles slightly)

***

And here is my review:

Fit, length Decent curves. Used to be a slightly long-line corset but I later shortened the hips so it is more of a cincher now. Center front is about 11″ long.
Material 4 layers including the interfacing: brocade fashion fabric fused to interfacing, then flatlined to interlining of coutil and another lining of coutil.
Construction 6-panel pattern. Seams were lock-stitched (stitched twice) at the seams, the allowances were pressed open. The brocade/interfacing/coutil flatlined panels were all assembled, then the coutil lining was assembled. The layers were then stitched together at first/last panels, flipped right-side out and stitched in the ditch between panels and also secured at boning channels.  Bones are sandwiched between the two layers of coutil.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of commercial hot pink cotton bias tape, machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape 1” wide twill tape between the coutil lining and interlining, stitched invisibly so it’s not noticeable.
Modesty panel Suspended modesty panel made from brocade fused to twill, and stiffened with plastic canvas. 7″ wide.
Busk A standard flexible busk, 1/2” wide on each side, with 5 pins, 9.5″ long.
Boning 22 steel bones in this corset not including the busk. The seams between the panels are double-boned (except the seam closest to the grommets with ¼” inch wide spirals, and there are a pair of flats sandwiching each column of grommets.
Grommets There are 30 2-part size #X00 eyelets (15 on each side). They have a medium flange around and are spaced out 3/4 inches apart. No pulling away of fabric yet but they are very small so many types of fat cord is hard to thread through.
Laces 1/2″ wide double-face satin ribbon, baby pink in colour. About 5 meters and not really long enough for my tastes. I think I may change out the laces for some longer ones.
Price If I were to re-make this corset, I would roll-pin the panels and also use wonder-under or stitch-witchery to directly fuse the brocade to a layer of coutil to eliminate wrinkling. Keeping other construction techniques the same, I would likely charge around $260 USD for a corset like this.
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Gallery Serpentine Victorian Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Gallery Serpentine Victorian 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 Victorian Hourglass shape, nice moderate curves. Center front is 13”. Stops just at the upper hips, it is not longline. One “pro” is the unique feature of how low the corset stops on the back, it curves nicely over the top of the bum instead of cutting into it. One “con” is how distended my torso looks in profile.
Material 3 main layers – the outer satin, a thick cotton non-woven interfacting as interlining, and black twill lining.
Construction Made from a 4-panel pattern. The satin and the heavy interlining are either flat-felled or fused together (depending on whether the interfacing was fusible or not), then those panels are topstitched at the seams. Bones are placed either in the seam allowances between the panels, or internal channels are made with twill tape.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are made from black satin bias tape. Folded under nicely on the outside; on the inside the raw edge is serged to prevent fraying and just stitched down flat.
Waist tape None.
Modesty panel None. To get a modesty panel costs another $15 from the website.
Busk Standard busk (flexible), half an inch wide and 12” long, and 6 pins.
Boning 12 bones total in this corset, 6 on each side. All of them are plastic. These are heavier-duty polypropeline bones but I would still prefer steel. To get the steel bone upgrade costs another $15 from the website.
Grommets There are 18 2-part size #0 grommets (9 on each side) and have a medium flange. They’re spaced 1.5” apart on the top and bottom and are spaced closer together (1” apart) at the waist for better cinching control. Grommets are very sturdy, no popping out, no fraying. However I would have preferred to have 10 more grommets because lacing down is difficult on the top and bottom. On the underside there are no splits; they’re nicely set.
Laces The laces I received with this corset are reportedly not the original laces. The laces I got are 1/4″ wide single faced satin ribbon, quite slippery and difficult to grip. The laces that I have read now come with the corset are black shoelace-style laces.
Price Currently $190 (AUD) for basic fabric and standard sizes. $210 for made-to-measure, and add $10 more for Asian brocade fabrics. Note that steel bones/modesty panel also cost extra.

Final Thoughts:
This… was not my favourite style. A lot of people noticed that my review was blasé. Perhaps my review would have been more fair if I had spent some extra funds to get a made-to-measure item with steel bones, but for financial reasons and accessibility, this was the right option at the time. I doubt I would buy from them again, but I guess I should never say never. Many of their happier customers have contacted me to say that their corsets are much more flattering, better constructed and include things like a modesty panel, so perhaps there are several makers for that company and there are inconsistencies between their products. I will give them the benefit of the doubt, however this one simply did not go well with my body type and looked unflattering on me. I ended up altering this corset by adding steel bones and a modesty panel.

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Isabella Corsetry “Josephine” Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Isabella Corsetry Josephine 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 Dramatic curves, extreme hourglass. This is a longline corset coming over my hips. The center front is 13” high; the shortest part of the corset is 10.5″ hiugh.
Material 3 main layers. The outer fashion fabric is black satin, then there’s a layer of twill as interlining and another layer of black twill as lining.
Construction Made from a 6-panel pattern (so the corset itself is 12 panels total). It looks as though the coutil panels were lock-stitched at the seams, the allowances were pressed open. The layers are joined together by stitching in the ditch between the panels and also by making boning channels. The stitching is perfect on the outside, but the seams are wiggly on the inside. The lining does not float. Bones are sandwiched between the two layers of twill (lining and interlining).
Binding The binding at top and bottom made out of black satin bias tape machine stitched on both sides; it’s small on the outside, then folded under and machine stitched in the ditch, in the seam between the corset and the binding itself, to catch the rest of the binding underneath.
Waist tape 1” wide twill tape between the lining and interlining, invisibly stitched.
Modesty panel There an unboned modesty panel in the back made from two layers of just satin. Slightly over 6” wide.  Easily removable if you want to remove it. No modesty placket on the front.
Busk A heavy duty busk, slightly under 1” wide on each side and 11” long, with 5 pins, it’s EXTREMELY stiff. Keeps the front very straight.
Boning 22 steel bones in this corset not including the busk. On each side there are 9 spirals about 3/8” wide, and they’re mostly double boned at the seams except for at the back between panels 5-6. By the grommets they also use about 3/8” wide flat steels; very sturdy.
Grommets There are 30 2-part size #00 grommets (15 on each side). Black finish to match the rest of the corset, they have a medium lip around and are spaced equidistantly. Functionally they’re very sturdy, no popping or pulling away, whatsoever. On the underside there are no splits – much nicer than the grommets used in Isabella’s Bat cincher.
Laces 1/2” wide black double satin ribbon. They’re very nice, strong, pretty, glide through the grommets nicely and also seem to hold the bow well with little slipping out over time.
Price Currently $175 USD for immediate line. For other fabrics (made-to-order) it’s $250, and for custom fit/fabric it’s $360.

Final Thoughts:
This corset continues to be one of my favourite off-the-rack underbust corsets. It’s comfortable and gives a crazy curvy silhouette – to this day, I think I have gotten more compliments when wearing this corset than with any other off-the-rack corset. It’s relatively affordable compared to other major brands out there. The only con I could say is that Isabella is quickly gaining more and more recognition and thus she’s becoming busier, so wait times have been increasing for her corsets! However, I’m happy that she’s overflowing with commissions; I think her work should be credited. I could definitely see myself commissioning another piece from Isabella in the future.

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Heavenly Corsets Wasp-Waist Training Underbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Heavenly Corsets “Wasp-Waist” Training Underbust Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

***

Note: the following are the differences between the “standard” wasp-waist corset and the “training” wasp-waist corset:

  Training Corset Standard Corset
Materials Always made in coutil, with an inner layer of twill, and a cotton lining layer Either a layer of outer fabric (unless coutil) with an inner layer of twill and cotton lining layer OR if you chose coutil, a single layer of coutil and a cotton lining layer
Boning double boning throughout 6 fewer bones than the trainer
Busk wide solid steel busk standard steel busk
Modesty Panel included NOT included
Seams triple-stitched seams double-stitched seams

***

And here is my review:

Fit, length Dramatic curves, “wasp-waisted”. This is a longline corset coming over my hips. The center front is 12” high. Measurements (both circumference and vertical) were taken to fit my body; quite comfortable with no pinching. One issue with the bones in the back bowing outwards and twisting so creates a gap at the waistline.
Material 3 main layers. The outer fashion fabric is red satin coutil, twill interlining and lightweight cotton lining inside.
Construction 6-panel pattern. It looks as though the coutil panels were lock-stitched (stitched twice) at the seams, the allowances were pressed open and zigzag stitched again. (Some people may not find this aesthetic but if it makes for a strong corset then I don’t mind.) Bones are sandwiched between the satin coutil and the twill, and the cotton lining is primarily floating.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made out of commercial red satin bias tape machine stitched on both sides; it’s folded under and stitched in the front and then topstitched to catch the back.
Waist tape 1” wide twill tape between the lining and the twill interlining. Stitched down horizontally across all the panels of the lining (so is not invisible but still cannot be felt).
Modesty panel Unboned modesty panel, 4.5 inches wide made from satin coul on the outside and lightweight cotton on the underside. No placket beneath the busk. (I would have preferred a slightly wider panel.)
Busk A heavy duty busk, 1” wide on each side, with 5 pins, it’s quite stiff and it’s 11” long.
Boning 22 steel bones in this corset not including the center front, ALL flat bones. The seams between the panels are double-boned (except the seam closest to the busk) with 3/8 inch wide flats (slightly wider than ¼”), but on the outer edge of the grommets in the back those bones are ½” wide flats.
Grommets There are 20 2-part size #00 eyelets (10 on each side). They have a medium flange around and are spaced out 1¼ inches apart. I would prefer for them to be spaced closer together and there be more of them, but functionally they’re sound; no pulling away or fraying of the fabric. On the underside there are no splits.
Laces  ¼” wide flat braided cotton laces, NOT nylon. They’re easy to pull and they grip well, not much wear so far. Cotton laces are sometimes prone to snapping so should be replaced more often, however I’ve had this corset for about 9 months and haven’t had to change the laces yet.
Price Currently £160 ($250) for the 23/7 waist training wasp-waist corset, or £120 ($185) for the non-training wasp-waist corset.

Final Thoughts:

I received a mixed reaction from this review. A few previous customers of Elle came forward and told me that they didn’t like certain aspects about this style of corset, such as a wobbly stitch line here or there, or the fact that she uses all spring steel bones. I put all this into perspective. Back in 2012, I hadn’t found a more affordable 23/7 training piece, and the materials used (including English coutil) are quite high quality. From what I can see, the primary stitch lines (the straight ones, holding the panels together) are straight and even, and although the zig-zag stitching (which is technically the 3rd stitch on each panel) does veer a bit and is not aesthetically pleasring, it still serves its purpose – to further reinforce the panels together. At that point in the construction process, it has no effect on the overall shape or measurement of the corset.

This did not come as a surprise to me, because I asked Elle a thousand questions before I ordered (and she was quite patient with me every time). The purpose of this corset (for me) wasn’t meant to be pretty or be shown off on a regular basis, it was meant to be strong.

Edit December 2014:

It’s been about 4 years since I ordered this corset, and nearly 3 years since the review – truthfully, I had forgotten about this corset review until recent events brought it back to my attention.
How did my corset hold up? The seams remained strong and none of the bones wore through their channels, but the very flexible bones in the back by the grommets became annoying, so I ended up switching them out for stronger (but more narrow) 5.5mm steels from Vena Cava. I also added more grommets between the pre-existing ones in the back of the corset for better control (the size #00 self-piercing grommets that fit the C-Step 2 machine are a decent match), and changed the lacing style. This was the only issue I experienced with my corset. However, other clients of Elle have had different experiences than myself, and I encourage you to read some of the comments below so you can gain a balanced view before deciding.

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Isabella Corsetry “Bat Cincher” Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Isabella Corsetry Bat Cincher Review”. If you would like more complete information, detailed close-ups and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Dramatic curves, I would say “wasp-waisted”. This corset starts lower down on the ribcage on me so I have room to move and to breathe, yet this is a longline corset coming over my hips. The center front is 11.5” high.
Material 3 main layers. The fashion fabric is a custom-printed cotton which is interfaced. There’s a twill interlining and another layer of black twill for the lining.
Construction 4 panel pattern. This constructed in what seems to be the sandwich method; each layer was assembled individually and then the layers were stitched, wrong sides together, at the seam of each panel. Bones are inserted between the two layers of twill (being the lining and interlining).
Binding The binding at top and bottom are made of lime green satin bias tape. Each curve between the peaks of the “bat” shape are individually bound. It’s stitched neatly on the outside, and then just folded down and machine stitched again in the “ditch” of the first stitching.
Waist tape 1-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset between the layers (inserted invisibly).
Modesty panel None.
Busk A heavy duty busk with 5 pins, it’s quite stiff and 1” wide on each side. 11″ long.
Boning 16 steel bones not including the busk. The seams between the panels are all double-boned with ¼ inch wide spirals, and then 3/16 inch wide sturdy flats on each side of the grommets.
Grommets There are 26, 2-part size #00 grommets (13 on each side). I’m very impressed at how well the grommets have held up. None of them show any sign of pulling out whatsoever, despite the fact that every one is split along the back.
Laces Came with ½” wide ivory double-faced satin ribbon which has held up remarkably well.
Price Bat cincher available as “made to order” for $225. If you want custom fit, the closest other corset is the “Vamp” at $350.

Final Thoughts:
This corset is cute as a button. I adore the crazy fabric print (although that is to be credited to the original person who commissioned this corset) and the cut of this corset is crazy curvy. I’m still impressed by how curvy Isabella managed to make this with just four panels per side. I did have issues with this corset, like a wobbly binding seam here or there, and the split, small grommets, and admittedly the flesh over my ribcage did give a “muffin top” over the top edge (that may have been because it was made to another girl’s measurements and not mine) – however, when comparing this corset to the Josephine, there is a great difference! I know that the Bat cincher is a couple of years older than my Josephine corset, so I have the unique opportunity to see how the workmanship of a corsetiere has changed and improved in a short time. This is why I don’t want to say “never” in terms of ordering twice from a (fairly reputable) company. If I have reason to believe that their work has improved, I will sometimes give them the benefit of the doubt even when my previous experience wassn’t 100% positive or as expected.

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CorsetDeal Longline Pinstripe Overbust Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Longline Overbust Review (CorsetDeal/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 Gently curved, gives a slim silhouette without a lot of cinch. The center front is 15.5”. The longest part of the corset at the apex of the bust is 18”. Sweetheart neckline. Longline corset, ending low over the hips.
Material Two layers; the outside heavy polyester pinstripe fabric, and the inside cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are top-stitched at the seams, and then internal boning channels laid down, made of black twill.
Binding The binding at top and bottom are black polyester bias tape. 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, 8 inches wide made from polyester pinstripe on the outside and black twill on the underside. No placket beneath the busk.
Busk Slightly heavy duty, almost 1″ on each side. Stiffer than a standard flexible busk. 14″ long with 6 pins.
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 32, 2-part size #0 grommets (16 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 ranges from $40 USD – 85 USD (£25 to £54 in UK).

 

Final Thoughts:

After experiencing the unflattering way the shorter Corsetdeal overbusts barely covered my girls, I opted for a longline style instead. This was a slightly better fit. I definitely felt that my bust was more secure, and the position of the waist tape was in a more reasonable place, although still not right at my waistline (it was sitting perhaps an inch above my natural waist).

The pattern for the overbust corsets have the same bust/waist/hip circumference as the pattern for the regular overbusts, so keep this in mind. It’s as if they took the original pattern and simply stretched it out vertically to elongate it (i.e. what they did not do, was theoretically take the original pattern and extrapolate the lines to longer [and wider] top and bottom edges). I hope at explanation made sense – if not I will draw a diagram for you all. How this translated to fit on me, is that it fixed the flaring issues that I had at the hips in my shorter overbust corsets, but it resulted in the appearance of a less curvy corset overall. Therefore I recommend this corset to buyers who are tall/ have a long torso, and are either slim/ruler shaped, or slightly apple shaped. If you are a pear or natural hourglass shape, there is a possibility that this corset may not be curvy enough for you.

I didn’t have any problems on my hipbones here in terms of the pattern itself, although the placement of the internal bones at the side seams was unfortunate, as the rigid spring steel bones sat right over a nerve on my iliac crest, causing some chafing and discomfort. The problem was partially resolved by simply replacing the flat bones on the sides with more flexible spiral steel boning, which was a surprisingly easy operation.

For those interested in trying a corset from CorsetDeal, I’ve found a coupon for 20% off anything on the CorsetDeal site here (aff link).

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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: For those interested in trying a corset from CorsetDeal, I’ve found a coupon for 20% off anything on the CorsetDeal site here (aff link).

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Corsets-UK Overbust “Waist Training” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Corsets-UK ‘Waist Training’ 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. The center front is 14”. The longest part of the corset at the apex of the bust is a little over 15”. Very straight back, I wouldn’t recommend this for people with swayback.
Material Two MAIN layers, the outer red taffeta and inner black twill, but both have fusible interfacing on the inside.
Construction 6 panel pattern. The seams appear to be lock-stitched, NOT top stitched. The bones are sandwiched between the layers of fabric. The lining is attached to the other layers by stitching in the ditch.
Binding Binding at top and bottom are black taffeta. I would have preferred binding in red to match the rest of the corset. Machine stitched on both sides.
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, hidden between the layers.
Modesty panel Unboned modesty panel in the back made from red taffeta on the outside and black twill on the underside. There’s no placket under the busk.
Busk Heavy duty busk, a little less than 1” wide on each side. It’s 12.5” long with 6 pins.
Boning 24 steel bones in this corset. Double-boned on the seams, there are 10 ¼” wide spiral steels on each side, and then sandwiching the grommets are 2 spring steel bones each about 7mm wide.
Grommets There are 24, 2-part size #0 grommets (12 on each side). The grommets are sturdy with moderate size lip around and no obvious splits on the underside. There is some pulling away of the fabric from the grommets at the waist (around the “bunny ears”).
Laces Round braided nylon cords, NOT flat laces as one sees in other brands of corsets. They glide smoothly through the grommets but I find that they don’t grip well, meaning my corset tends to loosen over time. It’s extremely strong, hard to break, but I would rather replace the laces.
Price Currently £72 in the UK ($114 USD).

 

Final Thoughts

I actually ordered this corset a long time before I finally actually got around to reviewing it. This doesn’t mean that I wore it a lot, though. It was a lovely little piece and I liked how smooth the satin was around my body – prior to this corset, I experienced satin wrinkling up from stress on the corset, particularly at the waist, but it didn’t happen in this situation because it was fused to another layer. That was one thing I did like about it.

The fit of this sweetheart overbust corset is much more comfortable and more flattering than their underbust corsets. In the overbusts, the bust is 8 inches larger than the waist, and the hips are 10 inches larger in the waist. In the underbust corsets, the ribcage is only 4 inches larger than the waist, and the hips 6 inches larger than the waist. Why did they make the hips so much smaller in the underbust compared to the overbust? Anyway, for this reason a lot of people would naturally decide to use an overbust to train in. In my experience, underbust corsets are usually easier to breathe in (since they don’t extend so high up the ribcage), easier for mobility, and easier to hide under clothing. I just wish that this brand’s underbust corsets were curvier! I did try to cut this overbust down to an underbust, and failed miserably because of the way the bones were sewn into the corset and can’t be removed.

Is it theoretically possible to waist train in a Corsets-UK or CorsetDeal “waist training” corset? I have sorta seen it done in the past (there are die-hard Corsets-UK fans out there who don’t use any other brand), but I can’t guarantee that it’s going to be as safe or effective compared to a custom waist training corset. Even the owner of Corset Wholesale said that there’s no point in comparing a $40 corset with a custom made corset. Therefore, don’t expect a cheaper corset to do the same job as a custom one.