About Orchid Corsetry

Two models wear pastel corsets

Redefining The Waist Of The Nation

When I tell people about what I do (and sometimes, after I’ve explained what a corsetiere actually is) people usually tell me that I’m lucky. And they are so right. Everyday, I wake up fizzing with the excitement of the day’s tasks, because the beauty of bespoke work is that no two days are alike. Today I may be working on a simple, structured waist training corset, tomorrow I could be drafting a pattern for a fetish-inspired corset dress with extreme curves. And the day after that? well, who can say. It’s a wonderful life, and I feel privileged to live it.

The Face Behind The Sewing Machine

Bethan Billingsley of Orchid Corsetry

My name is Bethan, I started Orchid in 2006 when my habit of sewing under the table while on my illustration degree became rather counterproductive. Corsets were a compulsion with me. I can trace my fascination back to my love of Disney films as a child, those romantic willowy waists enraptured me. Corsets are the way you confound reality to achieve something nature never intended to give you, and what a gift that is.

I have also been astonished by the ways in which a corset can affect a person’s emotions and confidence. Their armour-like construction makes you feel safe and protected. Some clients I have worked with have used them to help them cope with autism, to reclaim their body after an acid attack, to celebrate overcoming cancer. What other garment can offer you so much?

Crafting the Curve

Every corset that leaves the studio has been handmade by me, every piece of binding hand cut, every eyelet eased through the fabric with the greatest care. Our official base is in the heart of Shrewsbury but I am currently working from a home studio in my beloved Wales, fueled by a lot of tea. Outside my window I can watch storms crossing the hills, and hear birdsong in my neighbour’s pear tree. I like to think that the corsets leave with a little of this serenity infused into their fibres.

New studio work room
Hard at work at the new desk.

I’m often asked if I have a favourite commission. and that’s a really tricky one because it’s constantly changing! What I frequently find is clients choose combinations and styles that I would not have considered, and the surprise of those materials steadily growing into something complete and resplendent under my hands is pure joy. But here’s a recent commission that I loved. This piece was made for a client who basically told me to do what I wanted! We agreed a colour palette and the textures that he liked, and I produced this set for him. I believe he liked it too! You can read more about this commission here.

An Edwardian underbust corset in pink silk with ivory lace
Lace applique flourishes on a blush pink background.

It’s a huge pleasure to welcome back people who return to us time after time, but new clients always bring a fresh perspective with them. So if you’re reading this while seeking a maker for a special project (they’re all special really!) then please get in touch and let’s talk about your ideas.