Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- December 2014

A front view from a pink silk locking collar.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- surrendering the keys, buckling up, trials and tests, and silhouettes at sunset.

December has been a month dedicated to pushing ahead with work on our SS15 photo shoot, and we were thrilled to have the four main pieces of corsetry completed and waiting for their accompanying lingerie and accessories as we close for the year. January will now be much more relaxed, with plenty of time for the waist training kits that will be starting our clients on their 2015 goals. We will begin to showcase the key looks already completed throughout January so stay tuned for the first views!

We also have a more extensive view of the collar we shared at the end of last month, which was a cherished project that gained a lot of interest from clients old and new! Projects like this give us a great opportunity to showcase another side of our aesthetics and to be playful with materials, something that will always feed back into our more classic pieces.

Black chantilly lace applique on a dusky rose satin.
A first glimpse of the work going into SS15 piece “Silhouettes at Sunset”-Chantilly lace being pinned into place, ready for hand sewing.
A front view from a pink silk locking collar.
A pink silk collar with lock-on lead and black lace and ribbon detailing.
Back view of locking collar
A double locking buckle finishes this collar, which is a perfect blend of feminine softness and steel hardware.
A close-up from a blue ribbon corset.
Midnight blue satin and grosgrain are layered in this ribbon corset, an “in-progress” shot showing the hand basting stitches that help create neat, sharp lines.
A toile being fitted to a mannequin.
A visit from a fellow couturier, Lisa Nelson, resulted in some impromptu draping on the stand, creating a special something for our wasp-waisted mannequin Genevieve! More to come soon.
Keys in an Orchid Corsetry box.
“The Keys To The Kingdom” A very special parcel, wrapped so that the keys are the first thing to be presented to the new owner.

Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- November 2014

A pair of lace panties mid construction.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- Journeying through the morning mists, sketches and concepts taking wing and the most intimate of garments taking form.

What a month! This has seen preparations for next years shoot becoming a reality as final designs are put to paper for our SS15 theme of “En Plein Air”, as toiles are conceived and fitted to our beautiful model Miss Miranda and accompanying lingerie is created. This process is always more intricate and organic than I am prepared for but as the years have gone by I have grown to relish the flexibility and responsiveness that working on a collection like this demands. It is refreshing to have a brief that we can distort and build upon as the lines of the body dictate to the eye.

There is a little something different in the outgoing mail this month as well, an opportunity to work with a client on the most personal garment, loaded with meaning and symbolism and designed to intoxicate the senses of the wearer. It was an honour to be chosen for such a personal and special piece.

Sketches of corset designs for SS15.
After much deliberation and planning we have narrowed our choices down to 6 looks for our SS15 shoot. This is the largest collection (including lingerie) that we’ve ever worked on, and I feel it will be a strong base for us to showcase our latest ideas and practices. A lot of hard work lies ahead, and every minute will be worth it.
A waist training underbust corset in black coutil.
A smart and sleek waist training underbust in our Edwardian style, made in glossy black tulip coutil to kick-start a client’s new tightlacing program.
A sketch of a cupped overbust corset.
We are currently working on building up a book of sketches and ideas for clients to browse through when visiting us at the studio. Here is an excerpt from the cupped overbust section, where we were playing with ideas for mesh corsets.
A pair of lace panties mid construction.
A great pleasure of working on a shoot is the chance to try your hand at something different, and building up my lingerie skills with some panties has been a lot of fun! This lace was begging for a special project, and I think it has found it’s place.
A view across the Hertfordshire countryside from a train.
Taken as we sped through the clearing morning mists on the Hertfordshire countryside on the way to London, fitting a series of corset toiles and underwear to Miss Miranda.
Close up of a pink silk collar with double locking buckle.
A very special piece indeed. This close-up shows the double locking buckle on a collar and lead set for a client who is planning another ambitious project with us for next year. These buttonholes will neatly slip over the locking loops, ready to fastened with a silver padlock when the time is right.


Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- October 2014

A selection of navy ribbons and lace laid out for perusal.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- ribbon corsets, weddings, falling leaves and glowing gold silks.

I do love Autumn. I feel whisked up on the blustery winds, and full of delight at the transformations and colours that we’re treated to as the trees change for the season, and this month has been especially beautiful in Shropshire, as the dry weather left us with a glorious canopy.

I’ve also been able to work on some imaginative creations with new clients, in glorious seasonal shades which is a real joy. Many people have been taking advantage of the waist training starter kits to begin a new journey in tightlacing and figure enhancement, and I look forward to building on these relationships as the client progresses towards their goal. Work continues towards the Orchid Corsetry SS15 collection, and you can see the initial developments shaping up as we collate fabrics, textures and ideas around our central theme.

Fallen leaves in gold and yellow.
The beautiful display finally fell to earth, as Shropshire’s crowning glory graced our pavements instead of our skies.
A ribbon corset made in gold silk.
This bridal ribbon corset was designed to be worn with a stunning sari at a traditional Hindu wedding. We selected the accent colours from the sari to base this regal and glowing corset on, and in turn making a versatile piece that can live a useful life after the wedding.
Blue and gold ribbon corset with star embroidery.
This ribbon corset formed part of a waist training kit, and was designed to be a real indulgence to wear. Small pinpoint stars are hand embroidered over the satin ribbons, which were layered over sturdy grosgrain for a long life. The flashes of gold at the centre front and binding give the corset a majesty all it’s own.
A selection of navy ribbons and lace laid out for perusal.
Selecting the materials that will form the core of our SS15 collection is a sensory indulgence unlike any other. Here we are playing with a combination of ribbon types and textures in shades of inky blue.
A wrapped parcel from Orchid Corsetry.
A tissue wrapped parcel makes it’s way to a bridal client with our warm wishes for newly married life.
An ivory and gold silk Edwardian underbust corset.
This beautiful Edwardian underbust corset uses shaped panels to imitate hip gores whilst emphasising the drama of the tightlaced form. The rich golden green tones of the silk taffeta were a joy to handle.

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!