Black Friday, And A Little Moment Of Slow Creation.

Black Friday done right, a slowly made bespoke corset.
Halo Haynes wears the Artemis, shot by Artype Visuals

A Sprinkle Of Gold Dust On Black Friday

Black Friday is here again, folks! Brace yourselves for a whiplash turnaround after a global conference where we all agreed to consume less, and prepare for a frantic climate of deals and discounts. As in previous years, Orchid is not participating. I know from the wonderful reaction I’ve had from clients that you support this, and I feel so grateful! I fully back any independent brands that choose to take part, we all have to make a living after all. But for me, it stands against what I am for with this business. And that is making exquisite things slowly, with consideration and heritage. This with the understanding that someone will cherish, and feel empowered by each stitch and hand-tipped bone. You can’t rush that.

I thought long and hard about what to do as part of my quiet Black Friday non-observance this year. And I thought it would be fun to share with you a little of the process behind the velvet curtain. Or in my case, up the stairs in my attic lair! This is actually a piece I made at the start of 2020, and I photographed the different stages with the intention of making a little video of it. Naturally, this is something that fell by the wayside during the intense workload that came with the lockdowns. However, as it’s a corset that people still have a big reaction to, I thought it was worth reviving the idea! Scroll down to the bottom if you just want to watch the video without the chat.

The Artemis corset as an initial sketch with fabric selections.
Starting out with a sketch and some silks.

Sicily, Lockdowns and Silk Satins.

The original plan with this corset was for it to be a statement piece for the wonderful model Artemis Fauna, who was planning a photography trip to Sicily. I designed the piece with classic Goddess themes in mind. Soft warm shades, delicacy, richness and femininity. I also set myself the challenge of working with what I had in the studio, so this piece was designed around some remnant pieces of silk satin that blended together beautifully and had the desired effect of lending a feeling of otherworldly grace.

Sadly, as we journeyed towards March it became clear that Artemis was going to have to cancel her trip as airports closed and travel shut down. It was devastating for her, as such a significant part of her work was made impossible overnight. Thankfully, she has been able to shoot with it since! Here is a beautiful shot by David Brown from earlier this year.

Artemis Fauna in a lavish bespoke corset, shot by David Brown.
Artemis Fauna, shot by David Brown Photography

We were also lucky enough to send this corset to other models and photographers. There was a beautiful set from Halo Haynes and Artype Visuals which I thought should feature in the video, as they showcased the dreaminess of the corset so nicely! It’s a real joy to see how different artists interpret your work and bring out something new.

So without further ado, I give you the making of Artemis, from sketch to shoot. I hope this gives you some insight into the layers of technique involved in corsetry. And remember to shop small and slow this Black Friday!

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


SS15 collection- En Plein Air

Model wears grey waspie and matching lingerie

We couldn’t be happier or more proud as we release our first seasonal collection! SS15 responds to the theme of “En Plein Air” or “Yn Yr Awyr Agored” in my native tongue of Welsh. In the process of building up a portfolio of designs inspired by the great outdoors this became an increasingly personal body of work, drawing on specific moments that I treasure from the rugged and breathtaking landscape that I grew up in, as well as adventures from more recent times, including a glorious day at Aberdovey harbour with my love when we had just met. I wanted to draw from the sentimentality that these places can hold for us against the raw power and thrill of nature, the way that our human lives interplay with the timeless landscape.

Choosing our team for the photoshoot wasn’t all that hard when it came down to it. I have been looking for an opportunity to work with Julian Kilsby for some time, a photographer based in Birmingham whose reputation precedes him in every sphere, and this seemed like the ideal time to draw on his talents. Julian and I share a love for Guy Bourdain’s darkly sensual fashion photography, and this allure is really visible in his work to date. We talked about some models whom we were both excited by and agreed wholeheartedly on Miss Miranda. Miranda and I have previously worked together on our Gilded Cages collection, and I was so pleased that she could join us on this project. Every image I see of Miranda has an iconic feel, and I often refer to her as my muse because she really seems to wear the mood of each photoshoot like a second skin, weaving her own artistry with that of designer and photographer.

The final styling of the photoshoot sets were a complete surprise to me- I simply told Julian a little about what I was bringing along with a few in-progress photographs and he worked his own way into the theme. He saw that although we were talking about a shoot inspired by nature we would be working indoors (it was February after all!) and that we had an opportunity to play with the artificiality of the scenario (another link back to Guy Bourdain) by allowing a little of the studio into the scenes- a light left in shot, the back of the sets used to show the 2D nature of it all. But the real magic comes in with a combination of Julian’s subtlety and cleverness with lighting and Miranda’s delicacy with pose and presence. For me, it’s only on second appraisal of the images that one starts to pick out these details, what is initially viewed as a vibrant moment captured with a beautiful woman at the heart of it becomes something more complex and dynamic. A layer of concepts and perceptions that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

No collection I have ever produced has been perfect. There are many compromises that have to be made in order to get all the pieces together in time, and SS15 is no exception. Are there things I’d do differently next time? Absolutely. I made a few last minute changes to pieces that didn’t work (boning accents on First Light!) and experimented with new construction techniques that I will probably not repeat (alternative flatlining method on “Silhouettes at Sunset”) but as a body of work I feel that is my strongest offering so far, especially as it’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever attempted, with 6 separate looks including full lingerie sets! I’m trying to move onto a stage in my career where instead of trying to hide mistakes, I embrace what I’ve learned from them and take it for experience. After all, what is a photoshoot for, if not an excuse to stretch your boundaries and experiment!

I hope you enjoy En Plein Air. It’s been a pleasure from this side of the sewing machine.

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.