Measuring For A Bespoke Overbust Corset

Before you begin

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!

Measuring circumferences

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.

Body lengths

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 beth@orchidcorsetry.co.uk and we can advise you on how to get the best results.