Choosing Your Ideal Corset Style

Miss Deadly Red wears the Rosette pink Seirian Luxe

Image credit- Sally Sparrow Photography and Miss Deadly Red

I understand the struggle. You’ve fallen in love with a corset style and are eager to make it your own. But in the back of your mind, a niggling doubt; how is that going to sit on my full hips? What about my petite torso length? We’re always on hand to help with any questions you have but here is a quick quide to our standard size styles* and how to choose the best one for your needs.

*Naturally all our bespoke corsets are made through a consultation process which would deal with your unique build by starting from scratch with your figure as the canvas.

Petite Torso/ Short body

If you find that a lot of “OTR” (off the rack) corsetry digs in under your breasts or into your thighs when you sit down then the chances are that your torso is shorter than the industry standard. This can be the case even if you’re average height or above! It’s all about the spacing between your waist to bust and waist to hips. If you look at our individual corset listings we do put the most important corset lengths at the bottom of the longer description as you scroll down. You can use this to double check a style’s suitability for your exact figure but usually short bodied customers benefit from a waspie style like these

The Seirian and Seirian Luxe are ideal for the most petite frames as they measure just 5.5cm above the waist at the centre front, but the Adara and Eirlys are both still only 11.5cm above and below the waist at centre front and will be suitable for many figures.

 

Extra Curvy Hips/ Hourglass Figure

If you’ve been blessed with a full hourglass figure you may find that many standard size corsets are not roomy enough for comfort. Do remember that we are happy to tweak measurements on our corsets for a small fee if you really want a certain corset style but we have designed something especially for your needs! Our Vala Edwardian underbust is widely acclaimed as our most comfortable style yet thanks to the distinctive generous hip spring that takes the pressure off your curves and really makes your waistline pop! This style also features a dished rib shape to leave more room for your ribcage if you find that is typically a pressure point for you.

The Vala is waiting to smooth your curves in blissful comfort!

Long Torso

As a taller woman I know that sometimes things sitting at the wrong height can be uncomfortable and also unflattering! Our full underbust styles are cut cleverly to suit figures with an average to long torso. That’s not to say that our waspies aren’t suitable for you, but if you’re looking for greater coverage then these styles will be your friends!

The Perle Luxe, Perle in black mesh and Perle in ivory mesh all use the same base pattern which has a high hip (ideal for more movement) and a slightly higher length above the waist than our Vala. If you also want more hip coverage and room for generous curves then our Vala is the perfect choice for you!

Athletic/ Less Curvy Figures

It can be so annoying to find a corset that is comfortable and flattering at the waist but isn’t in contact with the hips or underbust! We can check over your natural measurements against our detailed sizing charts if you get in touch but don’t despair if they aren’t perfect for your sizing as we are happy to tweak the measurements on our patterns for a small fee! This will give you the style you want most with a close fit you will love. However many clients find that waspies will fit better than full underbusts without alterations as they don’t extend to the fuller parts of underbust and hips, so we can look over those sizes with you as well.

Looking For An Everyday Corset

Generally speaking, a less dramatic corset style tends to be a good everyday choice, our Perle or Adara shapes are ideal! However the Perle is made from polyester mesh which is quite delicate compared to traditional corsetry fabrics and can increase perspiration so is not the healthiest thing to wear against your skin consistently. But we are always happy to make a standard size corset in your custom choice of fabric for a small fee which will vary depending on the fabric choice. But our Perle made in a cotton coutil fabric would answer a lot of requirements for a regular use corset! Though not strictly an everyday corset you may also like to look at our Eirlys waspie, made in silk mesh which is an excellent lightweight choice for summer tightlacing!

Lingerie And Corsetry Gift Guide 2016

Close up of corsetry gift voucher

I know it still seems a long way away but Christmas gift giving is just around the corner! Luckily our gift guide is here to help you choose thoughtful, independent, handmade luxuries for the corset lover or lingerie addict in your life. This year we have gifts starting from just £20, and even if you are looking at overseas shipping, it’s not too late to wrap up an Orchid creation to go under the tree, even if it’s one of our beautiful gift certificates! But act swiftly to beat the busy post times that are fast approaching!

£20-£40 Gift Guide

This year we have been designing furiously to make sure that there are plenty of options in this price bracket! First up, we have our Trinity collars, available in black, ivory, or black lace and burgandy with your choice of gold or silver fittings. These pieces have proven really popular and give an instant edgy style boost to an outfit. We even have a new release for Winter with a more dramatic triple drop with rings of ascending size in vibrant indigo blue!

Shop Here

We are really proud to offer mesh corset bags, made to match our custom colour Perle corsets, though we can take custom size and colour requests to suit an existing corset. These handy little bags allow the corset to be hung up in the wardrobe or stacked in a drawer, with an easy view of which piece is inside and no lacing tangling with other clothes! A lovely finishing touch to an order, but a great gift in itself.

Shop Here

Our lace and mesh masks have gained a lot of attention since we brought them out this month! Delicate gold or silver lace overlays with a choice of black or ivory mesh for a seductive, sultry boudoir piece that lets you gaze upon the world through precious French lace. We also have a matching vivid blue eyelash lace mask ready to ship, that matches our indigo collars perfectly!

Shop Here

 

£50-£100 Gift Guide

It’s easy to put a smile on someone’s face with one of our lingerie harnesses- available in black, ivory, scarlet, indigo and new for Christmas- baby pink! Choose silver or gold fittings and style on top of a day to day outfit or with a favourite lingerie look to give it a new lease of life. Personally, I really like these on top of a plain fitted t-shirt or vest top with jeans, they look stylish and sophisticated but a little bit naughty!

Shop Here

A gift set is a wonderful thing to unwrap, and the combination of our indigo collar and lace mask, beautifully presented in a branded box is just the thing for a romantic present. These pieces are feminine, elegant and striking with their bright colour way and seductive styling, and one size fits all so there’s no concerns about guessing her measurements!

Shop Here

We sell gift vouchers in £100 denominations, ready for your recipient to choose from our range of accessories, lingerie and corsetry! We offer a bespoke service on our corsetry, allowing the customer to select every element of their design to fit their tastes and requirements. A perfect option for overseas buyers and those who aren’t confident about choosing sizing as a gift.

Discover More

£100+ Gift Guide

Lingerie is the classic gift to give a loved one at Christmas, and our wide range of styles use luxurious components such as silk, and French lace with contemporary styling that strays from flattering wrap-around briefs into daring cage bras. Many of our styles are adjustable and come in small, medium and large, making it easier to choose a great fit, but we are on hand for advice if you need it!

Shop Here

Corsetry is where it all started for us, and you can treat your loved one to one of our Autumn/ Winter range of waspies, featured in this September’s Vogue! These pieces are standard sized so you can simply choose the usual waist size your corset lover wears, or use our handy sizing chart to work it out for yourself. Again, we are on hand for any advice you may need.

Shop Here

Bespoke corsets are hard to give as a surprise gift but booking a personal fitting with gift certificates for a bespoke piece (and maybe a night away in one of Shrewsbury’s premium boutique hotels while you’re visiting us!) allows the recipient to experience the full pleasure of designing and commissioning a corset from scratch, with an experienced and inspired corsetiere.

Discover More

Save

Behind The Scenes- The Creation of a Bespoke Corset

The finished corset in it's Orchid Corsetry branded box

I often speak about my passion for the engineering side of corsetmaking, but it occurred to me that many clients don’t understand how their bespoke corset is made in the first place. When the beautiful Edith Emerald asked me to take some behind the scenes photo’s of her commission for her blog it seemed a perfect opportunity to share some of the techniques that I use in the studio, and that you may never have realised play a part in your corset’s existence.

Pattern Drafting

When you send over your measurements, we use them to draft you a unique pattern that responds to your individual body lengths and circumferences.

Pattern drafting stages, where a bespoke corset is shaped and styled.
This shows two stages of the patternmaking process, the working pattern (paper) where the dimensions are laid out in basic form and the production pattern (cardboard) where the style lines and shaping are fine tuned.

Cutting Out

This process differs depending on whether you are having a double coutil corset, a four layer corset, a summer mesh corset or a single coutil layer with fashion fabric and lining like Edith, but each seperate layer is cut with care from your pattern, taking care to follow grain lines in the fabric so as to retain the strength of the weave.

Cut layers of fabric ready to be sewn into the main body of the corset.
The three separate layers have all been cut out, a base layer of cotton coutil, a duchess satin fashion fabric for a silky finish and a light cotton lining. This will make a sturdy but lightweight corset suitable for summer use and for discreet wear under clothing.

Pressing

Once the panels of the corset have been sewn together and the sizing carefully checked it’s time to press the work so far, using steam, heat and pressure to get the desired sleek effect over the contours and seams. In many ways, this is where the magic happens!

A corset being pressed.
I always dedicate a good amount of time to pressing a corset. First it’s pressed from the inside, using a tailors ham and wooden clapper for a sharp finish on the seams, and then from the outside with a cloth to protect the fabric. Each seam is allowed to cool completely before it’s moved to let the fabric take on the moulded curve I’m pressing into it.

Basting and boning channels

Because Edith’s corset used a single strength layer (the coutil) we are using boning tape stitched inside the corset to securely retain the steel boning rather than stitching the channels through multiple layers of cloth as we would do on a 4 layer corset. This is hand stitched (or basted) into position to allow for the most effective and attractive top stitching.

Internal boning channels are hand stitched in place before going under the sewing machine so that the stitching can be done from the top giving the neatest possible finish. When the channels are stitched the tacking is unpicked leaving perfect, secure boning channels.
Internal boning channels are hand stitched in place before going under the sewing machine so that the stitching can be done from the top giving the neatest possible finish. When the channels are stitched the tacking is unpicked leaving perfect, secure boning channels.

Cutting and tipping steel bones

No corset would be complete without it’s steel skeleton! many people don’t realise that the steel boning is not there to reduce the waist (this is done at the pattern making stage with how we shape the panels) but in fact to hold the fabric taut and prevent the corset wrinkling and folding under pressure at the waist. The boning gives tension and support to the figure but does not actually change your waist shape.

Spiral steel bones being cut and tipped.
After the boning channels are stitched all the spiral steel bones are individually cut and tipped to ensure accuracy and also in order to use a higher tension of boning than is available pre-cut. This particular steel gives a lovely firm hug that is resistive but comfortable to wear.

Attaching and handsewing binding

With the bones inserted, the corset is nearly complete except for binding the edges…

Machine stitching bias binding on a bespoke corset.
Here you can see the first stage of attaching the binding which finishes the top and bottom edges. This is machine stitched from the inside ready for hand finishing later on, which gives a neat and visible stitch free result.
Handsewing bias binding on a corset.
One of the final tasks is to hand sew the binding closed from the inside of the corset. This means that no stitching is visible and is just one of the many little hand finishes that make a bespoke corset so special. It will usually take around an hour and half for this stage of the corsets construction.

The finished corset

The finished corset in it's Orchid Corsetry branded box
With all the labour complete, it’s time to package the corset and send it off to it’s new owner! This corset uses a hidden zip for a front fastening, and is made in beautiful ebony duchess satin.
Duchess satin is incredibly hard to capture on camera, it's lustre is subtle and glowing but you may just have to take my word for that! However I was delighted with the graceful curves this corset held even while not being worn.
Duchess satin is incredibly hard to capture on camera, it’s lustre is subtle and glowing but you may just have to take my word for that! However I was delighted with the graceful curves this corset held even. while not being worn.

You can read more about Edith’s adventures here, and find on her on Instagram for her latest updates and stunning vintage inspired portraits.

Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- February 2015

Black mesh lingerie set in a box.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- shows, shoots and final touches.

It has been nothing if not action packed this month! Alongside reworking elements of the lingerie range to fine-tune fit and elegance, we were busy taking part in a catwalk event in aid of Severn Hospice, a wonderful organisation in Shropshire that is in constant need of support in order to continue it’s good work. Alongside Shrewsbury based designer Lyuba Carpenter and milliner Laura Cathcart, we presented an evening of high class couture, showcasing casual tailoring, evening wear and bridal. You can see our beautiful model Rhiannah wearing our ivory silk Edwardian underbust corset in this month’s images, and get a flavour of the evening! We were delighted with the funds raised by the evening and hope that all who attended enjoyed themselves.

The end of February also saw us setting off for Birmingham with a suitcase full of corsetry representing months of work and planning, ready to shoot with Miss Miranda and Julian Kilsby! The events of the day will require their own post complete with the soon to be released images, however for now, we can share some of the behind the scenes footage from a day that went exceptionally well. My experience of photoshoots is that so much hangs in the balance, and expectations are high. It can be a pressured environment in which there may have to be compromises as the realities of time intervene in our visions, however having a great team makes these elements manageable, and helps to over-ride my niggling concerns with confidence in a greater overall result. As a perfectionist I am rarely entirely satisfied with the work I bring to a shoot, but thanks to the magic brought to the day by Miranda and Julian I can look back and feel content that we have created something beautiful and exciting. I eagerly anticipate releasing the collection for your enjoyment!

Grey lace "Clouds" bralette
An image of our “Clouds” bralette on a mannequin, made in delicate grey corded lace with halterneck and cross-over back straps.
Black mesh lingerie set in a box.
One of my favourite sets of lingerie from this collection- “Dusk” made in daring but elegant sheer mesh with lace borders and keyhole-back panties. Seen with our new branded lingerie boxes!
Model wearing ivory corset and feather stole.
From back stage at the catwalk event, the beautiful Rhiannah is wearing our ivory and sage Edwardian underbust with a feather stole and lace skirt.
Six corsets and lingerie sets waiting to be packed.
The day before the shoot all was unnervingly organised, with every outfit from the new collection laid out on the studio table, ready to be packed up and taken to Birmingham!
Model wearing a marine and ivory silk underbust corset with ivory silk lingerie.
A glimpse from behind the scenes, with Miss Miranda in our “En Régate” set. A 12 panel underbust corset in marine and ivory silk, worn with matching ivory silk lingerie and harness.
Model wearing ivory sheer corset and lingerie.
Another behind the scenes shot of Miss Miranda wearing our “First light” 14 panel underbust corset with ivory “Dusk” lingerie. First light is made in a filmy ivory mesh overlaid with silk boning accents and shimmering beaded lace.

Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- January 2015

Detail shot of the marine and ivory silk "En Regate" underbust corset.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- New Year’s goals, plans under way, and the big reveal begins.

As promised, the new year has seen us beginning to trail glimpses of the new collection of corsetry before the official release of SS15, including the first views of our upcoming lingerie range which has us really excited and extremely busy making plans for alternative colours available and refining the finishing touches. At first, the underwired bra will be available in sizes 32A-38D, with a flexibility on back size and sister sizing of cups due the styling of the piece but we are asking you to get in touch with us if your needs are not catered to this season so we can judge demand for future releases. We are aware that fuller busted women often feel disappointed that more brands don’t provide for them, and operating as an independent designer means that we are more challenged than the “big names” to provide a wide range but we always consider you, and endeavor to please wherever possible.

January has always been a time when we hear from our waist training regulars, in search of a new goal or aesthetic, but also when we meet a new crowd of eager tightlacers, ready to make their first steps towards bringing corsetry into their lives. The new year started with a bang, and below you can see one of the classic waist training underbusts that have gone to join their new owner this month. If you are considering your own waist training journey, you may find this article helpful.

A beige coutil training corset.
A beautiful silhouette makes this everyday training corset an exceptional piece for any collection. This is made for a client looking for discreet wear beneath clothing on a regular basis, and everything about it is tailored towards invisibility and a seamless integration into your wardrobe.
Detail shot of the marine and ivory silk "En Regate" underbust corset.
First up from SS15, “En Regate” is a 12 panel underbust corset cobwebbed with graphic flowing lines that interlock and wind intimately around the body. An Orchid signature piece of cool contemporary expression.
A close up of Orchid Corsetry's strap-back bondage bra
We will be offering colour variants on our new lingerie collection, and the fresh marine tones used in our “En Regate” corset will also be available in a rich ebony black silk, matched with gold fixings. This underwired, strap-back plunge bra is all about sleek lines, firm structures and suggestions of elegant bondage.
Grey coutil waspie with blue lace detail.
“Clouds Over Stormy Skies” is a minimalist, structured waspie made in soft grey coutil with flashes of indigo Leavers lace and blue central stitching on the double boning channels that run across the surface of this corset. Accompanying lingerie will echo the cool grey tones and the delicacy of the lace.
Close up of the new underbust corset "First Light""
“First Light” responds to the current barely-there cellophane trend. A 14 panel underbust made in sheer mesh with ivory silk accents and drapes of fresh, sparkling beaded lace that lend clarity to an otherwise soft and misty piece.
A black cupped overbust corset on a mannequin.
And last but not least, we have a sample cupped overbust we made for one of our mannequins in the studio. A simple piece to showcase the architecture of the corset, made in black boutonniere coutil with subtle tulle lace softening the bust and hip lines of the corset.