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Isabella Corsetry Victorian Underbust Review

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

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

Other Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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Where to buy Conical Corsets for Training the Ribs

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Christian Dior’s “New Look” (1947) required a tight wasp waist with a preferably conical ribcage.

Rather than an hourglass silhouette, some people prefer their corsets to give them a more conical, tapered ribcage like what was so popular around the 1950’s New Look era. A human’s floating ribs (the 11th and 12th ribs) often have flexible joints, and they’re designed to swing in and out like a hinge with each breath you take. It is also possible for some individuals to train their ribs to be pushed inward, so they have a slightly tapered ribcage with or without the corset on.  There are arguably over 100 different makers who can cater to the conical ribcage to give that 50’s “wasp waist” look, but I will just show some of my personal favourites, and some particularly impressive corsets that I’ve found to give this shape.

As mentioned before, different ‘schools’ of corsetry have different definitions for silhouettes. I was first introduced to this style as the “wasp waist” silhouette, as rib shaping is often more demanding to wear compared to more rounded hourglass silhouettes. Others may call this the conical silhouette, or the ice-cream cone silhouette – so when purchasing a corset, do clarify what kind of silhouette you’re looking for.

Continue reading Where to buy Conical Corsets for Training the Ribs

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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”).

Continue reading Contour Corsets Review (Summer Mesh Underbust)

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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.

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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.

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Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 10.5″ inches long, unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for a wasp-like effect. Hips likewise follow the body’s natural contours; very comfortable. Longline corset. Will hold in lower tummy pooch, recommended for extreme hourglass ladies. Exaggerated plunge neckline; I recommend using double-sided/ toupee tape if your breasts tend to migrate.
Material Fashion layer is 100% silk charmeuse; interlining is 100% cotton coutil, lining is cotton.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, sandwiched bones, and a floating liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs.
Binding Matching silk charmeuse bias tape, hand-finished.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Floating 4″ wide stiffened lacing protector on the back; placket by knob-side of busk.
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 10″ long (5 pins), with several bones on each side.
Boning Continuously boned. 64 steel bones not including busk. I’m guessing 58 spirals (ranging from 5mm to 7mm wide) and 6 flats (6mm to 8mm wide) – two on either side of the busk and four sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 32 grommets total, size 5mm two-part Prym eyelets with moderate flange; set closer together at the waistline; no 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 Sparklewren has every client sign a confidentiality agreement; please contact Jenni if you would like to commission a similar piece.

Final Thoughts:

This is my second corset purchased from Sparklewren, and my first true experience ordering bespoke from a professional corsetiere. This overbust was commissioned back in January/February of 2012, and completed in May. I was given the option of different colors of silk charmeuse, different types of antique lace and layout of said lace, different flossing motifs, etc. It was an incredibly exciting process and it fits like a dream, too. Jenni is a true artist in her field.
See more of Sparklewren’s creations at her website, here.

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Sparklewren Flossed Swiss Cincher Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Sparklewren Cincher Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 9.5″ inches long, dramatic hourglass or wasp-waist silhouette. Side is 8.5″, good for average or even short-waisted ladies. I would not recommend this cincher for someone who has a problem with lower-belly pooch, though. Very comfortable due to high cut on the hips and external, continuous boning.
Material 2 or 3 layers; fashion layer is satin coutil and the lining is a plush satin (not coutil). May have strong interlining as well (guessing from thickness) but not sure.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Panels are assembled and external boning channels laid down and flossed before a floating liner was added. All the finishing is done by hand.
Binding Black satin coutil bias tape neatly machine stitched outside and hand-finished on inside. Very thin binding (I like it!).
Waist tape ~0.75″ wide invisible waist tape under the lining.
Modesty panel No lacing protector on the back; unstiffened placket attached to the knob side of the busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 9″ long (5 pins) and has an additional 1/4″ wide flat steel bone on either side of the busk (this bone is extremely stiff).
Boning 34 steel bones not including busk. 28 spirals (1/4″ wide) all in external channels, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets, an additional 2 flats (1/4″ by the busk).
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #X00 two-part grommets with small flange; set closer together at the waist, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces Strong cotton braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip better than nylon laces, and they are long enough with absolutely zero springiness.
Price Currently £350 for a made-to-order cincher (in your size, with your suggested flossing color/ motif). Contact Sparklewren on her website.

Final Thoughts:

Oh my God.  Despite the fact that this corset wasn’t originally made for me, it fits like a dream. If fate exists, then this cincher was fated to be mine. This corset is super comfortable – as I mentioned in the video, the high cut at the hips bypasses the issue I usually have at the iliac crest, and the continuous boning prevents any pressure points. The external channels mean the inside is completely smooth. Due to the army of bones, this corset is rather heavy and thick – the external measurement is around 24″ but the inside measurement gives a waist measurement of closer to 22.5″, and with barely any rib compression as well!

This was the first corset I purchased that contained flossing, and first with continuous boning. It’s amazing how the smallest details “make” the whole corset – what seems like just a sweet, simple cincher actually has a startling amount of work and detail. This pretty piece of armour has ruined all other cinchers for me!

In addition to her skill, Jenni (the lady behind Sparklewren) is one of the kindest, most communicative and helpful corsetieres I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I will speak more of this when I review my custom overbust from her, but I will say now that her customer service is as good as her corsets.

To see the Sparklewren’s other work, do check out her website.

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What Katie Did “Mae Extreme” Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “WKD Mae Extreme Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 11″ inches long, wasp-waist silhouette. Longline corset, good for average-waisted ladies. Has hip gores/ fluted very comfortable. Will hold in lower tummy pooch, recommended for hourglass and pear-shaped ladies. The Mae Extreme has a further 2 inches reduction compared to the original Mae – for example, a person who can comfortably close a size 26″ Mae around their ribs, waist and hips, should also be able to close a size 24″ Mae Extreme corset with the same comfort around the ribs and hips, with waist 2″ smaller.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is satin (100% silk brocade with metallic embroidery) and the lining and interlining are both 100% cotton twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern with an additional 2 hip gores per side. External boning channels, and a floating liner (very comfortable). Also has 6 garter tabs.
Binding Black satin 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 8″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back; stiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 10″ long (5 pins), backed with a 1″ wide stiffener on each side, and also has a reinforcing bone on either side of the busk.
Boning 16 steel bones not including busk. 10 spirals (1/4″ wide) in external channels, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets, and another two reinforcing the busk.
Grommets 22 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 and they are long enough. Has some spring to the lace but very difficult to break.
Price The classic version with a satin finish is originally £167 in the UK (about $260 USD), however I bought this December Gold Label edition on sale for £87 ($136) in the lingerie section of the What Katie Did site). (P.S. the sale is still on until the end of August!)

Final Thoughts:

A year and a half after I filmed the review of the original Mae underbust, I purchased this silk Mae Extreme corset. The extra 2 inches of waist reduction does makes a difference in comfort! For my figure, having more of a reduction is more comfortable because of less pinching or pressure on the ribs and hips. I also feel that it “hooks” under my ribs and stays in place much better. The dramatic shaping of the hips means that the corset barely even touches my iliac crest, which prevents any pinching or numbness I often experience with other cuts or brands. I’d say I recommend the Mae Extreme more than the traditional Mae corset!

The difference in silhouette between the Mae and the Mae Extreme is not that different on my figure (as one can see in the video) but if you see side-by-side pictures of Miss Miranda modeling both on the WKD website, the difference is more evident. The silk brocade of this corset both looks nice (it behaves very well over curves) and feels lovely and it can be worn either overtop or under clothing, since the top and bottom edges are straight across instead pointed like so many other corsets are today, so it doesn’t make any awkward peaks underneath your shirt or dress.

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The Corset Gap: What does it mean?

This entry is a summary of the review video “Shape of your Corset Gap – What does it mean?” which you can watch on YouTube here:

 Shape/ meaning

Brands to avoid for your body type

Brands to consider for your body type

A shape

The A Shape
The A shape

This means that your hips are too wide for this corset pattern. This type of gap is common for women who are naturally a pear shape. Do NOT try to force the hips smaller because then you may get an odd bump at the lower edge of the corset, and it can also make your hips go numb.

Avoid any corsets that say “modern slim” silhouette or “gentle curves.” This may include any of the “Level 1” corsets from Orchard Corset, or the underbust corsets from Corsets-UK. For those who have a larger hipspring, look for corsets for vintage figures: What Katie Did or Isabella Corsetry are good choices. They have a hipspring of more than 12-14 inches.

V shape

The V shape
The V shape

This means that your ribcage or shoulders are too broad or fleshy for the corset. While it is possible to train down your ribcage, it’s unlikely that you can train it right from the very top edge.  This often occurs in swimmers or in men who wear women’s corsets.

Corsets that have a relatively narrow ribcage, which include some WKD underbusts. For standard corsets with a larger ribcage, try Timeless Trends and the CS-426 from Orchard Corset.

() shape

The () shape
The () shape

This is when you have gaping at the waist – the bones in the back are either too flexible, or the waist is too small than you’re ready for. This CAN ruin the corset because it’s forcing the bones to twist in their channels. It can even make the bones kink outward or inward into your back, which is quite uncomfortable.

Avoid corset patterns that are curvier than you are ready for. If you have a very “unyielding” figure, you may have to train down before buying corsets like WKD or Isabella.  I’d recommend you start with a larger corset size, or go for a corset that makes more gentle/ natural hourglass or slim silhouettes like Timeless Trends.

)( shape

The )( shape
The )( shape

This is when your body is more of an hourglass shape than the corset itself! The corset doesn’t have enough curve in it. BEWARE of this common trick on websites! They will use models who are naturally quite curvy and this will make their corsets curvier. A corset that is modelled with a gap like this in the back will likely look more tubular when it’s laced straight.

Avoid any corsets that say “modern slim” silhouette or “gentle curves.” This may include any of the “Level 1” corsets from Orchard Corset, the underbust corsets from Corsets-UK. Try What Katie Did Morticia corset, the Curvy Girl corset from Azrael’s Accomplice, or several options available from Isabella Corsetry or Ms Martha’s corset shop.

//

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 2.33.47 AM
The // shape

A diagonal but fairly parallel gap means that the corset fits your ribcage, waist and hips reasonably well but it is twisting on the body. There are several reasons why this may be happening: 1. If the corset is made with twill and all of the panels have the twill running in the same direction. Twill, while strong, has an asymmetric weave so stretches more on one bias than another. To test if your corset has stretched differently on either side, measure the ½ circumference on each side of your corset at ribcage, waist and hips. See if both sides are equal. 2. It may just have been how you put the corset on that day! Always lace in front of a mirror to avoid tying it skewed. If you notice your corset is twisted, take it off immediately and put it on again straight. It is possible for a corset to season into a permanent twisted shape! 3. It may not be the corset, but rather your body that is asymmetric. If you have any of the following then this can make a symmetric corset look asymmetric:

  • scoliosis
  • a previously broken rib
  • one leg longer than the other
  • some other skeletal or muscular asymmetry
In the first situation, I recommend not buying corsets made with twill – or if they are made with twill, make sure the corsetiere is experienced enough to sew it perfectly on grain, and to flip every other panel so that the bias of all panels don’t run in the same direction.Also, as bad as it sounds, avoid “risky investments.” Ensure that your corsetiere is scrutinous about making each half of the corset the same way, and to specification (whether symmetric or asymmetric). In the last situation (physical asymmetry), I strongly suggest finding an experienced corsetiere who can fit you with an asymmetric corset, which will then end up looking symmetric on you!

 ||

This is the coveted vertical parallel gap! Some people prefer to have no space in the back, while others like about 2 inches of space so the back edges don’t touch the spine. Either way, your corset fits you well. Congratulations!

 Make sure that your corset is not too big for you; when the corset is closed there shouldn’t be any significant gaping between your ribcage and the top edge of the corset, or your hips and the bottom edge of your corset.  You’re very lucky, my friend! If  You’ve found an off-the-rack corset that fits you nearly as well as a custom corset. If it makes you look good and feel good, then take it and run!

Final Thoughts: Many people have no problem with the shape of their corset gap (after all, the wearer doesn’t have to see it!). If this is you, then continue rocking your corset just the way you like it. However if you, like me, are a little more conscientious about achieving the vertical parallel lines of a well-fit corset, I hope these suggestions can help you choose a better off-the-rack corset for next time – and if all else fails, go custom! If you enjoyed this article, or even if you need clarification, you may also like my “Addendum to Corset Gaps: Troubleshooting More Fitting Issues

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Chocolate Faux Suede Giveaway Corset

This entry is a summary of the case study for the Chocolate Faux Suede giveaway corset, made for the winner of the “Giveaway in Memory of Phoenixjodirae”. Following the summary was an interview with the winner of the corset, which you can watch in the video at the end of this post.

Material 3 layers; fashion layer is faux suede in chocolate brown, interlining of cotton coutil, and lining of hot pink twill.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Double boned; it has one bone on each seam (sewn into the seam allowances) and another bone inserted into the middle of each panel using bone casing. Includes a floating liner.
Binding Matching faux suede binding made from bias tape of the same fashion material. It was very fiddly to work with; I don’t recommend using suede binding.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining, secured down under boning channels.
Modesty panel 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of faux suede and twill, stiffened with plastic canvas and suspended on the laces with grommets. Also includes a placket under the busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 9.5″ long (5 pins). Also has a bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. 18 spirals (1/4″ wide), 4 flats (1/2 inch wide on the outer edge, 1/4″ wide on the inner edge) sandwiching the grommets, also two 1/4″ wide flats beside the busk.
Grommets 18 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with large flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets, thanks to some better quality grommets made of a more malleable brass.
Laces 5/8″ wide double face satin ribbon in hot pink, to match the lining.
Price A reproduction of this corset would be approximately $270 USD.

If you would like to see the interview with the winner of the giveaway and her story, you may watch her video here:

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Totally Waisted! Black Taffeta Underbust Corset Review

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

*****

This is the first of a few reviews of custom corsets made by individual corsetieres. I’d like to celebrate the work of small businesses and the artists of the corsetry world! This video is a review of the “not so typical” black underbust corset, made by Kate, the owner of Totally Waisted! (The ! is part of the name.) I met Kate in downtown Toronto this past spring; it was my first experience having a professional mockup fitting done by another corsetiere! Her artistry combined with her great business ethic and her spunky nature made for a fun and smooth experience overall.

Fit, length Center front is 13 inches, height from underbust to lap is 10.5 inches, however this version was made to measure. This is a longline corset (goes over the hips); the back has a unique sweeping lower edge that is both flattering and comfortable. I would recommend a shape like this for anyone who has had issues with lower edges of other corsets poking into their lower back or top of bum.
Material Two layers: fashion fabric is black taffeta, strength layer German coutil. The coutil has the tightest weave of any coutil I’ve seen before and it’s insanely strong. There is no additional liner; the stitching is neat enough that a liner isn’t needed to hide the “guts”, and Kate also likes to make her corsets as light and unbulky as possible.
Embellishments include lace overlay in large motifs (which is mirror-matched) and black Swarovski crystals, hand-set.
Construction 5 panels per side – gives a curvy, wrinkle-free shape. It feels as though the coutil and taffeta were treated as one layer. All boning channels (except for the pair by the grommets) are external channels – all spring steel bones.
Binding Made from matching strips of black taffeta, neatly machine stitched on both outside and inside. Extra care was taken to make the corners/edges neat and match up properly
Waist tape Waist tape is about 1″ wide, visible on the inside of the corset, secured at front and back panels and also by the stitching of the boning channels. Even though it’s exposed, it is not uncomfortable in any way.
Modesty panel No modesty panel as Kate designs her corsets to close completely in the back. She makes these corsets to order, so the waist size is of your choosing. There is a placket extending from the knob side of the busk to prevent pinching or skin from showing through.
Busk 11” long with 5 pins, a standard busk –  ½” wide on each side, although it is reinforced with a bone on each side. When I had this corset made to measure, I was given the option of several different lengths of busks. As I have a long torso, this was a great asset.
Boning 24 steel bones total, not including busk. All of them are spring steel (flat) bones. The front and back are sturdier to keep the line straight, but the bones on the sides are made of a special more flexible spring steel to accommodate curves.
Grommets 24 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly, no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets.
Laces The laces are 1” wide black double-faced satin ribbon, very strong, pretty, and holds its bows reasonably well. The ribbon can glide smoothly through the grommets with no catching.
Price Standard size for this corset is $325 USD, and if you’d like made to measure with mockup, it’s an additional $40.

Final thoughts:
This corset really isn’t your typical black underbust. Due to its custom fit (and its comfort), its lightness and its sparkly embellishment, this has replaced the majority of my other black underbusts. I’d love to work with Kate again in the future.

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What Katie Did Silk “STORM” Corset Review

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

Fit, length Front is about 14.5 inches high; the highest part (from the apex of the bust) is 15.5 inches high. Gives a nice hourglass/ wasp silhouette. Appropriate for average torso length. Includes hip gores, gives good hipspring (no pinching!). It is slightly longline so I’d recommend this cut for those who want to hide lower-tummy pooch. I would also recommend this for larger-busted women with a cup size of C or more. Smaller sizes can use bust inserts.
Material 3 layers; fashion layer is 100% raw silk, and the lining and interlining are both 100% ivory cotton twill. External channels and binding are made from ivory velvet.
Construction 5 panel pattern, 2 hip gores per side. External boning channels, a floating liner (very comfortable). Also has 6 garter tabs.
Binding Ivory velvet binding neatly machine stitched on both inside and outside.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel Attached 7″ wide fabric lacing protector on the back made of ivory silk and twill; also includes a stiffened placket under busk.
Busk Standard flexible busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins), backed with a 1″ wide stiffener on each side. Also has a bone on either side of the busk for reinforcement.
Boning 22 steel bones not including busk. 16 spirals (1/4″ wide) in external channels, 4 flats (1/4″ wide) sandwiching the grommets, also two spirals 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 and they are long enough. Has some spring to the lace but very difficult to break.
Price Plain satin version of this is currently £179.50 in the UK, or $275 USD – however do check What Katie Did’s ebay boutique as they do sometimes list corsets on discount. I bought mine for half price!

Final Thoughts:
The Storm overbust has immediately become my favourite cut of the “What Katie Did” overbust corsets. I like the large hipspring from the hip gores, as well as the roomy (and safe!) bust. After buying this one, I have no desire to try out the “larger” bust versions of Laurie or Sophia – I like the Storm that much. I may remove the bow in the future and just have a hook-and-eye secure the front, since bows aren’t often my thing. Maybe it’s because it’s a new style, but I feel that the Storm is higher quality than the previous WKD overbusts I had reviewed; with its double boning and reinforced busk. I would have probably preferred the black satin version since it’s more versatile, but this was the right price. Also, after all the compliments I got with the ivory against my skin tone; I’ve definitely warmed up to this colour, heehee. ;)

You can see this corset and others at What Katie Did’s website.

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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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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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Ms Martha’s Red Silk CorsetVest Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Ms Martha’s Red Silk CorsetVest Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 15 inches, comes over my hips like a longline corset. I have a size Medium (waist of 22 inches). Very curvy hourglass silhouette.
Material 3 layers; a red silk fashion layer, stiff interlining and cotton twill lining.
Construction 4 main panels. The silk and the interlining fabric are flatlined, then panels are faux-flat-felled together. Floating liner inside. Bones are sandwiched between the layers of fabric. The collar fastens with velcro.
Binding None, the edges are folded under and topstitched.
Waist tape None. Ms Martha says her corsets are not for tightlacing.
Modesty panel Modesty panel has 3 layers of fabric, attached to one side of the corset and has a single vertical spiral bone running down it. Also the front has a little modesty placket on the knob side of the busk.
Busk Heavy duty busk, 13 inches long and 1 inch thick on each side, with 6 pins. Quite sturdy.
Boning 16 bones in this corset. 6 on each side are spirals, double-boned at the seams, and two sturdy flats sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 24, 2-part size #0 grommets. These grommets and the washers both have a very large lip which I like. The inside of the grommets have a few very tiny splits, but it’s forgivable because it doesn’t catch on the laces.
Laces Flat braided nylon shoelace style in black; they have a little bit of spring to them. Bulky, but it glides through the grommets more smoothly than in the leather cincher. Very strong and difficult to snap.
Price Currently $225 USD in silk, $285 in leather.

Final Thoughts:

I am in love with this corset. I was initially apprehensive about buying one of these since Ms Martha said that they’re not designed for tightlacing, but wow is this thing ever sturdy. Despite the fact that this doesn’t have a waist tape, this easily took 4 inches off my waist and tapered my ribs down (temporarily). My bust was well-supported (due to the halter design, I couldn’t booble out if I tried) and my hips didn’t hurt. The outer fabric is silk and I initially expected it to be this delicate layer that I could barely touch. Nope. This silk has not stretched even remotely while I was breaking this corset in.

Now, be aware that I don’t know what will happen with your corset if you tightlace in this – mine has seemed to hold up fine – but there might be a possibility of a busk pin popping or a seam coming loose, if Ms Martha doesn’t give guarantees that her corsets stand up to tightlacing. I’m just putting that out there.

One thing I want to touch on is the sizing. These corsets run small. When I was looking at the size chart, a Small was recommended for natural waist sizes 20″ – 28″. Since my waist was around 27″ at the time that I ordered, I thought a Small would be great. Ms Martha strongly recommended that I go with a Medium instead, and I heeded her advice. I’m glad I did, because a size Medium has a closed waist of 22″. Apparently the size Small has a miniscule waist of only 18″ which would have been far too small for me! So if you are petite or around my size, consider ordering a size up. If you’re naturally on the fluffier side, then you will probably be able to reduce more than me, so order true. This store has the largest range of sizes of any off-the-rack store I’ve found to date, offering corsets for people with waist sizes 18″ up to 52″.

You can find the CorsetVest on Ms Martha’s corset shoppe page here, and for your consideration, here is Ms Martha’s size chart that has the “closed waist” corset sizes:

Small Medium Large XL 2XL 3XL 4XL
 18″  22″  26″  30″  34″  38″  42″
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Ms Martha’s Leather Geometric Cincher Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Ms Martha’s Leather Geometric Cincher Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is 12 inches, side is 8 inches, cut high on the hip and doesn’t pinch.I have a size Medium and it has a waist of 22 inches. Small has a waist of 18″; each size increases in increments of 4″. I advise you to order the size for your natural waist, or up one size if you’re on the upper end of a size.
Material Leather fashion layer, cut in a ribbon-corset style with horizontal panels. The inner layer is twill. I had to air out the leather for a week before the factory smell dissipated enough for wear.
Construction 5 main panels – 2 of them create most of the shape with horizontal stitching, while the vertical panels hold the hardware and boning. Floating liner inside, and 6 garter tabs.
Binding Black leather; folded under on the front and then clipped short on the underside – common in leather or vinyl binding to minimize bulk.
Waist tape None –  typical of a ribbon-style corset. Ms Martha says her corsets are not for tightlacing.
Modesty panel MASSIVE 10-inch wide back panel that has a single bone running vertically down the center. Leather on the outside and twill on the inside. Also has a 2″ wide leather placket in front.
Busk 11-inch long, heavy duty busk – one inch wide on each side. Quite a bit stiffer than the standard flexible busk.
Boning Total of 8 bones in this corset. 2 spirals on each side seam and 2 spring steels sandwiching each line of grommets in the back.
Grommets 24, 2-part size #0 grommets. These grommets and the washers both have a very large lip which I like. The inside of the grommets have a few very tiny splits, but it’s forgivable because it doesn’t catch on the laces.
Laces Flat braided nylon shoelace style in black; they have a little bit of spring to them. Bulky, so they don’t glide through the grommets quite as well as a thinner one would, but it’s still very strong and very difficult to break.
Price Currently $175 USD in leather, and $170 in silk.

Final Thoughts

This cincher has a beautiful shape – I think it’s one of my favorite shapes of my underbust collection. It is totally comfortable over my hips and feels very secure but not overbearingly tight around my ribs. Because this is made out of leather and twill, I feel that it has stretched out a bit, but not dramatically. Note that the leather did have a strong scent to it when I first opened the package, but I left the corset to air out for a few days in a ventilated room and the smell soon dissipated. Later on I did change out the laces – while the original ones were very strong, it was also quite thick so I experienced a lot of friction when trying to tighten the corset, making it difficult to put on and take off so I simply changed them with thinner shoelaces. But I still own and wear this corset quite often, a year later – you can see it in some of my later videos, like this dressing with your corset post.

Now, be aware that I don’t know what will happen with your corset if you tightlace in this – mine has seemed to hold up fine – but there might be a possibility of a busk pin popping or a seam coming loose, if Ms Martha doesn’t give guarantees that her corsets stand up to tightlacing. I’m just putting that out there.

One thing I want to touch on is the sizing. These corsets run small. When I was looking at the size chart, a Small was recommended for natural waist sizes 20″ – 28″. Since my waist was around 27″ at the time that I ordered, I thought a Small would be great. Ms Martha strongly recommended that I go with a Medium instead. Apparently the size Small has a miniscule waist of only 18″ which was been far too small for me! I later heeded her advice and she was very kind and patient with me about exchanging this cincher. A size Medium has a closed waist of 22″.  So if you are petite or if you are around my size, consider ordering a size up. If you’re naturally on the fluffier side, then you will probably be able to reduce more than me, so order true. This store has the largest range of sizes of any off-the-rack store I’ve found to date, offering corsets for people with waist sizes 18″ up to 52″.

So for your consideration, here is Ms Martha’s size chart that has the “closed waist” corset sizes:

Small Medium Large XL 2XL 3XL 4XL
 18″  22″  26″  30″  34″  38″  42″