Measuring For A Bespoke Underbust Corset

Before you begin

Measuring for a corset at home can be easily achieved by following these 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.

Even though this is for an underbust corset, wear a good fitting bra! The position of the underwire will help you get accurate length measurements. If you do not usually wear a bra don’t worry.

If you are asked for front half measurements for underbust 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 by measuring these lengths 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″. Measuring this length will ensure that it’s accurate.

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.

measuring for a corset- mapping the body

You are now ready to take your measurements!

Measuring circumferences

We will start by measuring your underbust. 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.

measuring underbust for a corset

Repeat for 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 underbust, front half mid rib, front half hip bone and front half hips at “waist to tops of thighs” level.

Waist reduction amount

If you have worn a corset before you may already know what reduction you want at the waist but if not, you can get an indication by cinching the tape measure down as tight as you feel comfortable with at the waist and comparing it to your natural waist measurement. Remember that the corset will distribute the pressure far more evenly than the tape measure! around 4-6″/ 10-15cm is typical for a first corset.

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.

We now have the main measurements for your corset!

Additional Information

Depending on the style of your corset we may want some extra measurements. For instance “desired rise between breasts” which is for corset styles like this which have a little curve at the centre front underbust. around 3cm is typical for this but we can advise on what is suitable based on your measurements.

Close up of model wearing a training corset by Orchid

If we’ve asked for centre chest to low bust and centre chest to side bust we will be talking about styles like this which curve up to the sides of the bust (usually uses rise between breasts as well)

For styles like this we need you to measure like this, from the centre of the chest to the lowest point of the breast (about half way) and centre of chest to the side of the breast, where the underwire sits. This should be roughly double the first measurement.

There is a lot to think about when ordering a bespoke corset but we are here to help! If you are struggling please email and we can advise you on how to get the best results.