As I turn over the “back in 10 minutes” sign on the virtual shop door I thought it was worth putting up a explanation for anyone who missed my earlier social media post. If you are wondering what’s going on, I’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily close the online shop as of Sunday 11th April. What this means is that made-to-order styles like our Seirian, Perle and Adara will not be available online for the forseeable future. The reason for this is that I try to keep the shop at a 4-6 week turnaround and right now, I can’t hope to keep up with that on my current waiting list! Demand means I’m currently booking in July/ August work so in order to make sure everyone gets the service they deserve I will reopen the shop when I’ve got better turnaround times to offer to you lovely people.
You can still place bespoke orders as usual (bearing in mind the long lead time!) and if you’re happy with the wait on delivery you can send me a message at any time to get added onto that list! Naturally, if you already have an order placed with me that still stands.
Needless to say, I’m still here doing what I’ve always done, and just to prove I haven’t been idle, I released a new style last month! You can check out Heledd here, a standard size stealthing corset suitable for daily wear, with multiple options to help you get a great fit.
Last but not least, I’ve added a new item to the shop that will remain live during the shut down. A bespoke design pathway! When you enquire about a bespoke order and we have worked out the basic details I will be asking you to purchase one of these to take us to the next stage of design development. It’s not an extra charge but a downpayment of sorts on the time taken to work on your ideas, taken off your final balance payment when you place your order. This allows me to give my focus to clients who are ready to commit to the design process as time is so short these days. Thankyou to everyone who has embraced it so far! Seeing how you readily value my time and energy has been really touching. Including some people who have purchased one before we’ve even spoken! I feel endlessly blessed with the clients I have gathered in this little nook of the internet! You’re good eggs, as my gran would say.
I’m sure none of you have missed the memo- Black Friday started a month early this year, and it just hasn’t stopped. It is LOUD out there and I’ve never been one for shouting. Many of you will be unsurprised to hear that, as last year, I will not be joining in the Black Friday melee. What I will be doing is sharing some great independent brands who deserve recognition for their incredible work, and, if you can spare it, a fair price for their labour.
I’ll be very honest here- I have written the remainder of this blog post a few times now. I have railed on about how independent brands that don’t get supported this Christmas will not be here next year. I’ve written a heartbroken rant about how Brexit is threatening my own business very personally as of 1st January (that one will probably still get released when I’ve reigned it in a bit) But I actually wanted this post to be about the satisfaction and JOY of buying with a business that genuinely needs and covets your individual order. Naturally I hope you will choose to continue buying with me, and I hope there will be some little Orchid parcels of love under some trees this Christmas. However I felt it was more in the right spirit to fight the Black Friday/ Amazon juggernaut with some solidarity and to showcase some great talents! I hope you find something that excites you.
Your Future Treasures…
Logandria- Illustrated silk scarves and artwork for lingerie lovers.
Logan is an artist who creates rich aesthetic worlds, full of adventurous midnight spellcasters, lovers feasting in opulent gardens, and mythic figures in whimsical scenarios. How can I put it better than she has? “Deliciously hedonistic 100% silk scarves illustrated with scenes of mythology, fantasy, queer love, the natural world, and soft eroticism” Many of her designs are strictly NSFW but the beauty of her scarves is that you can be wearing something utterly inappropriate to your important meeting, but if you tied it right, no-one need know!
This year I have several beautiful scarves from Logan (most as part of an exchange) a print of her infamous Garden Party scene for my studio, and she has even made a custom illustration of one of my designs which will be in your orders soon when I get around to printing my care cards!
Why will it bring you joy? Not only are you supporting an artist who has created an astonishing portfolio of work, but her creations are full of colour, deep with stories, and bursting with charming detail that you will keep discovering anew. I can hand on heart say a gift from Logandria is a treasure to adore year after year.
Blue reign– Vegan leather lingerie, power dressing for the boudoir.
I came across London based brand Blue reign before their official launch, and I just found myself really drawn to the atmosphere Alyx was creating. There was a clear communication of strength, confidence and sensuality that shone through. I also really appreciated the vegan leather angle, as a lifelong veggie! In Alyx’s own words “Everything must exude a fierce sense of confidence, an overzealous sensuality and above all, the complete ownership of your sense of self”
This year I took the plunge and added a Nova K bra to my collection. It is everything I hoped it would be- decadent, vampish, and beautifully, beautifully made. I’m a huge sucker for packaging, and Blue Reign truly presents your purchase like a gift to be lingered over.
Why will it bring you joy? I have watched a video of Alyx being extremely real and sharing a bra she had made that she just wasn’t happy to send to a customer, explaining her process, and why she would rather start from scratch at cost to herself than send out something “that wasn’t fit for a queen” and that is honestly the attitude you deserve from EVERYONE you work with.
Pillowbook– Conscious, compellingly made lingerie, unlike anything else you have discovered.
What is the Pillowbook look? Heirloom pieces that draw deeply from traditional Chinese designs with contemporary flair and bold colour. Techniques that are precise, graceful, feminine in a fresh and un-familiar way. As a maker I have enormous fascination with how other artists work, the nitty gritty of stitch and fold, and the gentle perfection of Lu’s simplest creations is very simply a mastery.
I was restrained and just treated myself/ my insomnia to a sleep mask from Pillowbook- I use it most nights and I honestly think everyone needs one! It’s pure silk and she uses silk scraps from her work to stuff them so they are fluffy, soft and really block out the daylight! I spent some time just delighting in the little mesh carry bag it came with. Everything is pure beauty despite it being truly functional.
Why will it bring you joy? Lu is not only a master of her craft, but she is conscious of not wasting a scrap of silk that passes through her hands. She created an entire range to piece together fragments, back into the luxury garments they belong as.
Figure of A– Shibari inspired accessories for the erotic aesthete
There is forever a part of me sworn to lace and silk, however the industrial and intricate world Figure of A have created draws me in every time. “Edgy, architectural, feminine and body-aware, Figure of A pieces function equally well as part of your everyday styling as they do as part of a fetish-heavy ensemble.”
Earlier in the year I bought an Eri choker from Anna- I work with a lot of bondage pieces and there is something grounding and thrilling about the weight of the metal, the smooth symmetry of the knots… Everything is beautiful quality, precise and purposeful with a flourish of movement.
Why will it bring you joy? Another proud “made in Britain” brand creating their own niche in a crowded marketplace. The subversion of a decorative bondage practice that you can make part of your everyday wear! Treat yourself to a harness and turn some heads! This is the sign you’ve been waiting for!
I hope I’ve been able to introduce you to some makers you might not have heard of. Perhaps even encourage you to become patrons! They are all very deserving of your appreciation, this Black Friday and beyond. I suppose I would just ask everyone to shop slower, to gift consciously, and remember how joyful it can be to choose something deliberately and consciously, not racing against a timelapse coupon! Makers like these are waiting to give you an experience, and to offer you something made with care and consideration.
We are pretty much fully boked for this year but keep an eye on our sale section as I may be adding a few bits and pieces here as December moves on! Newsletter subscribers get the first heads up so remember to subscribe if you haven’t already.
Take care of yourselves, I wish you a very peaceful and happy festive season, full of warmth and love and great company. And… maybe a corset under the tree! But only if you’ve been very, very good.
Something has become very apparent to me over lockdown. It announced itself with tentative emails from new clients, most of whom were complete newcomers to corsetry as well as to my door. These weren’t practical daily wear corsets they were seeking either- questions about elaborate locking corsetry, punishment corsets and decadent fetish pieces came up again and again. As these clients began to explain their stories, and talk about what had lead them to finally making contact after a life of curiosity, I realised we had all been given a bit of a wake up call.
When our routines and our plans and our security were summarily cancelled a few months ago, some of us took a look at ourselves in this new hush we found ourselves in. We began to question why we’d been denying ourselves things that held our hearts so fast. I don’t want to seem glib here, as I know that for some of my clients, corsets are something fun that they indulge in, and there have been serious hardships and sacrifices made during this crisis. However I also know from nearly 14 years of working with trans clients, crossdressers and fetishists that corsets can be a part of a deeply fulfilling practice of self actualisation and acknowledging a part of themselves that is absolutely vital to their well-being and happiness.
The frank and open conversations I was having with these new clients kept returning to emotions, to roots of this long held passion or self knowledge in childhood- seeing a particular actress on stage or a style of nostalgic dress that has fascinated them for a lifetime. And yet, those dreams have been subdued for years, put to one side in order to fulfil other people’s requirements from them, or perhaps from trepidation of the unknown. However, this catastrophic shock to the system in whole and our lives in particular has left us reeling, and questioning something simple and profound of our secret hearts. If not now, then when?
I would also add that something I frequently hear from my fetishist clients is how this other world they build for themselves (or with a partner) is pure immersive escapism, and how during times of stress it can be a refuge to open a drawer full of transportive garments and items. How the touch of certain materials is enough to push away a hard day or the smell of leather change a mindset. One client calls his corset from me “a holiday in a box!” It strikes me that there can never have been a time so fitting to have the means at home with which to lose oneself so completely.
There was one hurried video I published to YouTube back in January that seemed to be the siren call to all these new enquiries. It was a commission from late 2019 featuring a locking punishment corset for a male client, with locking panels inspired by a Edwardian bathing corset! You can see it here-
Something about this corset has really captured imaginations, or possibly just a new audience as I’ve tried to reach out through this new platform a little more. It was so commonly referenced in new enquiries that I started to keep a tally! The thing is, I’ve been so eager to work on corsetry like this and had come to believe that there wasn’t really much demand at the level I work at. These pieces are seriously labour intensive (my most recent commission used 20 metres of steel boning which all had to be individually cut and tipped into around 60 bones) and there is an unavoidable cost attached to this. Not to mention that I really dream of working on locking corsetry with an opulent, couture approach, which makes the process even more exclusive. Working with exquisite French lace, lovingly handstitched to jewel toned, gleaming silks- the juxtaposition of delicacy and luxurious indulgence against a hard working and well engineered fetish corset.
I’ve been delighted to find not only imaginative, creative clients through this process, but also some who share my vision for blending a detailed and lavish aesthetic with sleek locking mechanisms, so there will certainly be some exciting pieces to show you in the coming weeks and months! but in the meantime, here is a second video of a different style of locking corsetry, fully removing access to the lacing and fastenings. I’m fascinated by the subtleties involved in making these deeply personal pieces- every tiny decision has a lot of thought and intention behind it.
Another interesting note is that most of my new commissions have needed to be built for self locking! Either because the client plans to use it entirely unaided, or because they are sometimes away from their partner and need to be able to follow orders remotely. I will be releasing another video soon showing how to self lock your corset if this is of interest to you! However I have also been looking into some very interesting technology that could play a part for couples using our locking corsetry! Watch this space!
If you have questions about your own locking corsetry commission then please feel welcome to contact us.
Taking accurate measurements at home can be easily achieved by following the golden rules.
– Never measure yourself- always ask a friend or partner to help.
– Always be honest- no breathing in!
– Take your time
– If in doubt- measure again.
Pick the time you choose to take measurements carefully, make sure you are not at a stage in your menstrual cycle that will distort your results, and measure between meals, so you are neither larger nor smaller than your average size.
It is useful to measure wearing the sort of underwear or clothing you would typically be wearing the corset with or over. For instance, if you are intending to wear your corset over a shirt or blouse, measure over a blouse style that is common to your wardrobe, or ensure that you are wearing the style of bra that you usually buy. If the corset is intended for underwear, measure up in your underwear.
Be sure to wear a good fitting bra! The position of the underwire will help you get accurate length measurements as well as support the breast into the best position for your measurements.
If you are asked for front half measurements for bust and hip please wear a tight fitting vest/ t shirt where the side seam sits straight and even on you. If you don’t have one you can draw this line on carefully with eyeliner.
What you will need
New measuring tape (they can stretch over time) preferably a narrow one, around 1cm wide.
A 12” ruler
Masking tape OR a kohl eyeliner and make-up wipes
Paper and a pen
Step 1- Lengths below the waist
**Words in bold are measurements for you to note down on your sheet**
We start with these length measurements because we will need them for mapping the body in the next step. Please start by marking your natural waist with masking tape/ kohl liner. Your waist is the gap between floating ribs and hip bones, usually the narrowest part of the torso. Sit in an upright chair like a dining chair and look straight ahead.
First measure down from your marked waist point down into the middle of your lap for waist to lap while seated. This is where the corset will end and must be short enough for you to sit comfortably. Our example is 15cm/ 6″.
Next take a ruler or a thin chopping board and lay it across your lap. Measure from the waist down to this point for waist to tops of thighs while seated. This measurement should be shorter than waist to lap or around the same. This measurement tells us how short the corset must be mid centre front to avoid digging in when you sit down. Our example is 12.5cm/ 5″
Mapping the body
You can stand up now!
Next mark on all the points we need to measure with masking tape or kohl liner, starting with the underbust. This should be just under the underwire of your bra if you are wearing one, or at the base of the breast tissue/ pectoral muscle.
Next up is the hip bone. This is the first swell of the hip below the waist, usually around 7.5cm /3″ below your marked waist.
After this mark your hips at “waist to tops of thighs” level by checking your measurement you just took for waist to tops of thighs while seated. Our example was 5″ so our next mark is placed around the body 5″ below the waist. If your waist to tops of thighs length was 4″, place your mark around the body 4″ below the waist.
If you are having an hourglass cut corset (follows the curve of the ribs) you must also make your mark for the mid ribs. This is halfway between your underbust and waist tapes. For instance if there is 5″ between your underbust and waist marks, place this new mid rib mark at 2.5″. Measure it so it’s accurate.
You are now ready to mark on your centre bust, place your mark over the fullest part of the breast, usually around the nipple and be careful to keep the tape level at the back.
After this comes the overbust marker, place high up under the arms and above the swell of the breasts.
Lastly, if you are taking “front half” measurements and you are not wearing a vest with a straight side seam as suggested, mark on your side line now.
You are now ready to take your measurements!
We will start with your overbust measurement. You want the tape snug but not digging in and it’s best to be between breaths- not breathing in and not breathing out for a relaxed measurement.
Repeat for centre bust, underbust, mid ribs, natural waist, hip bone and hips at “waist to tops of thighs” level. You may notice I’m using a narrower tape measure for the hips- this is because it is more accurate on very curvy areas!
Front half measurements
We ask for these to better understand how the measurements you just took are balanced on your body- for instance if your hips are fuller at your buttocks than at the side! Measure the front half of each measurement from side seam to side seam. These sizes should be roughly half of your original measurement, so for instance if your underbust was 30″ we might expect your front half underbust to be 13.5″.
Measure front half overbust, front half centre bust, half underbust, front half mid rib, front half hip bone and front half hips at “waist to tops of thighs” level.
We now check the lengths between each measurement. Measure from underbust to waist, mid ribs to waist, and waist to hip bone (around 7.5cm on most people) We already have your length from waist to tops of thighs while seated from earlier on.
Next we take some more specific bust measurements- underbust to nipple and underbust to top of sweetheart curve which is measured over the nipple to the highest desired point of the corset over the breast
Nipple to nipple and underbust to overbust, this is measured over the curve of the breast.
You can also give us your cross cup measurement which is taken over one breast side to side, over the fullest part, and your desired length from waist to top of corset at the centre of the body.
Last but not least, we want your waist to underarm measurement! This is the highest point of the corset under the arm, and is measured up the side of the body. Check that it won’t be too high by holding a ruler against your body at this point and clamping your arm against it. Take your nape to waist by bending your head forward to find the top of your spine- measure down from this point to your waist.
We now have the main measurements for your corset!
There is a lot to think about when ordering a bespoke corset but we are here to help! If you are struggling please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can advise you on how to get the best results.
For some time, I’ve been thinking that it would be fun to do a corsetry Q&A session. I know from conversations with new clients that a lot of the same questions come up regularly, which suggests the information isn’t easy to find online. I have tried to cover a lot of popular topics in this blog but not everyone has the time to trawl through years worth of posts seeking their answers! (incidentally I do have a corset information hub at the footer of the website- do click here for a nice summary of links you might find useful!)
I had also pledged to do more with video for the business this year as I know I’ve neglected it in the past- so, long story short, we now have a YouTube channel! It’s very new so your support is especially appreciated, you can subscribe here if you’re feeling generous!
So, feeling a little like the new kid at school, I asked what you wanted to know about corsetry in general, my work in particular, and anything else you had a burning question about! I was so overjoyed at the response, and had a lot of fun answering your insightful queries. Some of you who know me a little better will know I’m fairly techno-phobic so learning to edit video has been a real learning curve. Added into the mix were seemingly endless technology issues from a broken data transfer cable, to the limitations of my smartphones video capacity, and a sudden loss of internet for days at a crucial moment! There was plenty of colourful language and self medicating with chocolate biscuits.
I have some ideas for the next few videos but I’d really love to hear from you if there’s something you’d like me to focus on in future. I want to talk to you in more depth about the tools I work with, walk you around some of our most popular corset styles in the shop, some instructional videos on self lacing and measuring for a corset perhaps! But please contact us if you have any ideas.
Well, without further ado, here’s Orchid’s first corsetry Q&A! It’s very long so in the comments I’ve listed times each new question starts, so you can fast forward to where you want to be.