Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- September 2014

Rear view of teal silk cupped-overbust corset.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- birthday celebrations, swan-like elegance sculpted in both ivory and ebony, and cupped corsets galore!

September is always a significant month for us, as on the 6th, it is our business birthday. This date marked 8 years since we began this journey, embarking on a dream of couture and finely sculpted curves, and it was a real pleasure to take a few moments celebrating everything we’ve achieved, and the wonderful people that this path has brought my way.

This month has also been full of wonderful commissions and consultations for Orchid Corsetry. Work flow is at full tilt heading through Autumn, as we work on new pieces for returning clients and welcome a number of newcomers to the studio for discussions about their unique creations- I’ve had the pleasure of seeing familiar faces light up as they try on their latest corset, and fresh ones full of excitement at the dreams about to be realised. Our re-engineered cupped overbust corset has not been officially released yet, as it will be one of the styles that we plan to shoot for SS/15, but this bridal season demanded that it be made available ahead of time, so we have been taking commissions for this most advanced style in droves. You can see some of the results and the early stages that go into making these pieces this month, as the first sample piece has been completed. Just a preview for now though- I wouldn’t want to spoil your appetite.

Orchid Corsetry's 8th birthday cake.
To celebrate our 8th year of couture corsetry, we ended the day with a cake inspired by my favourite cocktail, the Aviation. This is a prohibition era combination of gin, violette and a maraschino cherry, which made a fabulous vegan-friendly cake, though the icing is ample proof of why I am a professional corsetiere and an amateur baker.
Waspie corset in black herringbone coutil.
I really love making our waspies. They are a 14 paneled design, and are a great vehicle for bolder fabrics or design flourishes than one might typically choose on an everyday underbust, however, as with this piece, they still look great as a simpler architectural piece. This piece is the second I have made for the client, and a first foray into the busk and 14 panel style for them. The sweeping shape of this corset is kept simple in plain black herringbone coutil with double boning on each seam for a firm and supportive “hug” each time it is worn.
Rear view of teal silk cupped-overbust corset.
It was high time we got a cupped corset sample together for our new mannequins, so here is a preview of the rear. This piece was made in a teal silk taffeta chosen by our Facebook followers a few months back, and uses delicate fronds of layered silver and gold lace to create a regal and striking effect. The boning is laid in double surface channels, centre stitched with a flash of metallic gold that catches the light.
An ivory coutil overbust and underbust corset for a returning client.
I just found time to capture these two corsets while waiting for them to be collected by a regular client who has been with us for several years. With a delicate, feminine and retro styling, they matched in perfectly with the other lingerie collections they will accompany from day to day. The overbust is styled as a corselette with chunky straps and a high, pointed bust-line, and had the most graceful and swan-like beauty when worn.
Two sample bras ready for a bespoke fitting.
Due to the technical challenges of achieving a really critical fit with a cupped overbust corset, we begin our fitting process on the first consultation with the trial of our own draft of cup sizes (made in the same materials as our corsets) in order to assess the sizing and needs of the client as early as possible. Slowly we are building up a “bra library” of different sizes to make this possible, as with this client’s visit, where we tried both a 32E and 34D for size. A little extra work at the start, but it all contributes to a vastly improved understanding of each client’s unique requirements.
Training corset in nude coutil with zip fastening.
Awaiting dispatch, this is a classic nude coutil training corset, made in our 12 panel underbust style with the intention of ultimate discretion beneath clothing. It uses a single sturdy layer of herringbone coutil with a zip fastening and fine satin cord to cut down on bulk and visible outlines under fitted outfits, and will provide a comfortable and supportive underwear staple for any wardrobe or lifestyle.
A close-up of cup detailing on a cupped overbust.
Another cupped overbust that has gone to it’s new owner this month. This piece uses a three part power-bar and balconette cup to offer great lift and cleavage, with a chiffon halterneck piece to frame the finished effect beautifully. This commission began with the glorious green and black swirl brocade, and developed with subtle touches such as the softening picot lace trim at the bust-line, and the ruffle of brocade that fastens the halterneck. The beauty of these pieces is the ability to balance fine-tuned technical design choices with a finish that flatters the wearer, and offers excellent support and shaping.

Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- August 2014

A princess seamed overbust in silver and purple silk, with accented panels.

In the Orchid Corsetry postbag this month- new arrivals (both for us and our clients!) experimentation and new design flourishes, as well as a glimpse of what is next in line for us as we set up our winter into spring plans.

Our main bridal work is drawing to a close for the year, and it’s been wonderful to work on so many pieces designed to be worn as part of the bridal ensemble, as our contribution to a wedding is often never visible to the guests! This has taken up most of August’s order book, but we still found time for a few beautiful pieces for our regular clients as well as a few moments to complete a sample piece that has been sitting accusingly half finished in the cupboard for too long! With a brief pause between this very busy period and the usual flow of training corsets and costume pieces that come through our doors, we are also planning ahead for a photo-shoot that we hope will take place early next year. This will refresh the Orchid Corsetry website images and add to the heritage of brand artwork that we’ve been steadily investing in over the last few years. If you’re not in the industry it’s hard to get across just how much love and energy goes into each and every photo-shoot that takes place, whether we’re shooting two looks or ten, but I’m excited about the chance to showcase our latest styles and ideas for you all to consider as you plan your commissions.

A close up showing covered eyelets on a pink corset
This is one of three corsets ordered by a returning client from overseas. She was keen to keep the delicacy of the beautiful fabrics she’d chosen as paramount, so we made fabric coverings for the busks and eyelets on her corsets. I love the neat and sleek effect it has, and may well use this again on some of our own designs!
Our new mannequins installed in the Orchid studio.
An exciting new delivery for us this month- our two new mannequins made to co-ordinate with our current linen covered wasp waisted mannequin Genevieve. These are in two different sizes for exhibiting some of our existing pieces, and from left to right in the front row you can see our Edwardian underbust with matching bra, our 14-panel silk mesh training-corset with silk camisole, and a cupped overbust in Chantilly lace.
A close up showing the pattern matching of a peacock motif fabric on an underbust corset.
This commission was based on the clients desire to have something so beautiful that she would be inspired to wear it every day, so together we built up this design, using an elaborate peacock motif fabric matched over the centre front and back seams, embellished with tiny azure Swarovski crystals in the eyes of the peacock feathers. We also toned the busk and eyelets to the gilt detailing that runs throughout the fabric.
A princess seamed overbust in silver and purple silk, with accented panels.
This piece has been awaiting completion for some time. It’s a sample that was designed for our wasp waisted mannequin, and gave us a chance to use the gorgeous simple lines of the princess seamed overbust to create an architecturally beautiful corset. The purple silk taffeta was used to exaggerate the natural heart shape of the neck line, and the plunging back edge, whilst using a single silk covered boning channel to intertwine with the different seams, flowing with the lines of the body and the embellishment.
A set of three corsets embellished and ready to go to their new home.
It was great to hear that the set of three corsets for our client mentioned above reached their destination towards the end of the month! This lucky lady received a cupped overbust, Edwardian underbust and waspie to add to her collection of Orchid corsets, each and every one a beautifully feminine concoction.
The beginnings of a corset design being sketched out.
As the month draws to a close we begin putting into place the designs that will form the core of next years photo-shoots. The first one is due to bring together several different elements of design that I’ve been toying with behind the scenes, so watch this space for teasers and updates!


Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- July 2014

A close up showing the lace matching over the back panels and modesty panel of an underbust corset.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- exquisite bridal corsets, fresh springtime colours and a re-imagining of the classic scarlet silk corset.

Summer is always a busy time at the studio, we tend to be working on deeply personal and intense projects with our summer brides (occasionally including a last minute request!) as well as our regular waist training clients requiring new pieces as they progress ever closer to their goals. This can mean that there isn’t much time to stop and smell the roses, but with such especially beautiful and original orders passing through our hands this month, we just had to find the time for a few snaps of the outgoing corsets. I hope you like this month’s glimpse into the world of Orchid Corsetry, in sunny Shropshire.

A close up of Orchid branded boxes, with a bridal corset resting on top.
This month has seen the release of our latest branding update, including a new style for our overbust boxes and a refreshed logo on the website. You can also see some detail from a bridal commission I was particularly pleased with this month- misty blue satin, delicately embellished with hand cut cream lace appliques, which are intertwined with silk boning channels. Distinguished and sophisticated, with more than a little romance.
A recent commission from our Gilded Cages range, made in scarlet satin and indigo lace.
A really striking example of color and combined materials, this commission was inspired by our Modest Intentions corset from the Gilded Cages range. Scarlet silk satin is paired with double deep purple silk boning accents and painstakingly matched indigo lace, used to create flowing cameos over the front panel.
A close up showing the lace matching over the back panels and modesty panel of an underbust corset.
A further detail from the Gilded Cages commission, over the back panels the indigo lace was cut to flow subtly over the modesty panel, maintaining a match while showcasing the delicate fronds of eyelash lace. What a pity it all gets covered up by lacing!
Details from an ombre silk corset, fading from golden yellow to ivory with different coloured silk suspenders.
This was a great month for unusual and exquisite commissions, and this was a first for me. A silk ombre corset inspired by the client’s spring bridal bouquet, with the warm hearts of narcissi peeking out. The tones fade in and out, from golden yellow to cool ivory and back again, with the silk covered suspenders taking their colour from the part of the corset they match up with. The splash of juicy orange is only visible from inside the corset, an intimate detail hidden from everyday view.
Image showing the subtle colours from the silk ombre corset fading in and out.
The fresh and dewy spring green of the binding and boned modesty panel gives real focus to the gentler shades of yellow and cream that can be seen rolling in and out over the body of the corset here.
An image of the Orchid studio with boxes waiting to be posted.
A little experiment with photo filters while waiting to post the completed orders brought together this fun little image. The mannequins poised behind the Orchid boxes look as if they had been hard at work on these pieces!

Postcards From the Orchid Corsetry Studio- June 2014

Gold silk covered suspenders, partway through being constructed.

At Orchid Corsetry we want to share an ongoing journey with you, it starts anew every day as we unlock the door to the studio, and begin a new stream of creativity. From client meetings and fittings, pattern cutting, selecting fabrics and sketching ideas, to the nitty gritty of shaping steel centered sculptures with you at the centre, we would like you to join us, and follow our progress.

We hope you enjoy these glimpses into studio life at Orchid, whether it’s time-out with a mini tea ceremony and handmade treats, or an unusual commission being formed from ground work to finishing flourishes. Welcome to the wonderful world of the corsetiere, where the silhouette is re-imagined, and our individual ideals of beauty and perfection are realised.

Three mannequins displaying Orchid Corsetry corsets.
A selection of mannequins at the Orchid Corsetry studio, displaying a scarlet silk corset dress inspired by Jessica Rabbit (on an antique mannequin) a black and champagne summer weight mesh corset on a contemporary wasp waisted mannequin, and a teal and black Isis overbust, with an 18″ waist.
A silk satin modesty panel mid-construction, with Leavers lace embellishment.
This is a mid-construction shot from a piece that can be seen in it’s completed glory in next months installment of postcards. This piece is from our Gilded Cages collection (Modest Intentions) and uses a deliciously vivid combination of scarlet silk satin and indigo lace, which is hand cut with great care to create symmetrical, organically flowing details on the corset. This shows the modesty panel, designed to match up perfectly with the rest of the corset when laced up.
Summer corset made from black silk mesh
This 14 panel underbust style corset is made in black silk mesh for perfectly ventilated Summer waist training. It features black and champagne rose coutil at the centre front and back panels with matching silk covered boning channels layered on the outside of the corset. This piece uses a zip to allow for a sleeker line when worn under clothing.
Gold silk covered suspenders, partway through being constructed.
Another teaser image, to be fulfilled next month with the completed piece. This is a snapshot of silk ruffled suspenders being created for an ombré corset inspired by the clients bridal bouquet, which contained delicate, precious Spring blooms of subtle shades. This is a really original commission with the most refined appeal.
Close up of mesh training corset
The beauty of bespoke corsetry is that it allows us to be really responsive to the individual ways in which our clients work their corsets into their lives. This summer weight corset uses a firmer man-made mesh, mixed with extra coutil panels to give a balance between sturdy compression and support for a back ailment, with breathable sections for improved use in hot climates. This was the result of a third project with this returning client.
Tea infusing in a glass teapot
The Orchid Corsetry studio is run almost entirely on freshly infused green tea, so when the lid of our favourite glass tea pot was smashed, there was occasion to use our problem solving skills in a new direction.

Corsets For Men

A few words about making corsets for men, for those considering the leap to a bespoke piece.

Understanding the difference between a bespoke male corset and a female off-the-rack corset

The first thing we hear from our male clients when they make contact is usually that out of desperation, they’ve been driven to buying off the rack women’s corsets, or perhaps borrowing from their girlfriends or wives. This is all very well, and a little experimentation with a medium like corsetry can add a lot of value to the first bespoke piece, however, don’t expect them to fit you well. Why not? Well, a few physical differences will account for the four main complaints I hear from men who’ve been trialing women’s off-the-rack corsetry.

“The corset is too narrow in the chest- it pinches my ribs and there’s a huge gap between the laces at the top”

Women do not flare outwards from above the waist to the same extent as men do. The classic male shape is quite triangular, broad at the chest with little waist definition, and narrower hips. Women will tend to slope more gently out towards the bust,  with the allowance in that area of a corset left for a bust to project, rather than a broad ribcage to fan out.

“I can’t sit down in the corset- it’s so long below the waist”

From making men and women’s bespoke corsets for 7 years, I can say with confidence that most men need a corset around 2″ shorter in the lap than a woman of equivalent (or shorter) height. The male genitalia can make any additional length very uncomfortable in a way that would not impact on women, and as such women will usually prefer a pointed or curved base, allowing space for our thighs when we sit down. Almost all my male clients require a straight base to their corsets, as they do not carry weight on their legs in the same way.

“The gap at the back of this corset looks like a “V”, it’s already closed at the hips and it’s not even tight!”

The simple answer to this is child bearing. Women are built to a much broader hip shape than gentlemen, as mentioned in the first point, a man’s natural triangular shape is in starkest contrast at the hips.

“It’s so hard to reduce the waist”

The male physique tends to be much more muscle bound by default. Women tend to be much softer in the torso, allowing for a greater cinch without really feeling it. A 4″ reduction for a gentlemen is probably the equivalent of a 6-7″ reduction for a woman, making extreme male tightlacers like Mr Pearl even more distinctive in their achievements.

How we approach the challenge of making bespoke corsets for men

Naturally, dealing with bespoke corsets automatically deals with most of our problems above. The individuals own shape is used to sculpt the corset pattern, providing correct coverage and support. However a few things must still be considered to lead us to a really outstanding outcome. What are the goals of the wearer? If they want to retain a natural, masculine figure with back support then we must choose a style that will prove comfortable for long periods of wear. If our client is looking to feminise their figure without the use of padding or enhancements, then we will choose a corset style that will maximise the waist definition and balance out the narrower hips with the broad ribcage. Does the wearer carry weight in front of them? (a “beer belly” or paunch) in which case we must choose the right hardware to smooth out their figure and provide a sleek silhouette. We will also tend to use more rigid boning when making corsets for men in order to work with the stronger muscle tone we mentioned above, we’ll also consider the durability of the construction choices we’ve made very carefully.

What can we cater for?

We offer many different styles of corsets for men- for classic masculine pieces we would tend to offer underbust or waistcoat corsets, where the purpose is to sculpt and perfect the figure, smoothing a prominent abdomen, and creating a trim waist. For more essential wear such as back support, simpler and more functional corsets can be designed, offering discretion under daily clothing and a sleek finish. Where a male client is seeking feminine curves, we can work to padded or unpadded figures, providing overbust corsets that cater to bust enhancement, and underbusts designed to provide a feminine form and act as attractive underwear beneath clothing. Some of our male clients looking for a fetish corset have chosen knee length or body corsets, that fully encompass the upper torso and shoulders. We can create various locking devices and themed pieces for a special event… just send us some details of what you desire to create, and let us help you realise your ambitions.