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!

 

Sheer Silk Summer Corsets

Locking underbust corset made in sheer silk mesh

At Orchid we do try to keep setting aside little nuggets of time to invest in bringing you something new, or to brush up on a new skill. Recently we’ve been trying out a whole host of new practices, the loveliest of all being our new sheer silk summer corsets, made in 100% silk mesh that is breathable, healthy against the skin and as lightweight as you can possibly imagine. I’ve been trialing the first prototype, made with external seams and surface boning channels for the smoothest finish and greatest comfort while you’re wearing the corset. We used delicate flexible spiral steels for support, with a gold zip front to ensure a smooth profile under clothing, and supportive, solid steel bones at the centre front to flatten the stomach and give a sleek silhouette. This corset also has a discreet little overlapping tab, where a locking post can be fixed to turn the corset from sensual shapewear into part of your intimate play, ensnaring you by means of  a golden padlock passed through the zip tab. All hardware is totally removable to restore the corset to functional, glamorous underwear whenever you wish. A locking corset is just one of the ways we can make your everyday wear an integral part of your liaisons, just get in touch to discuss your ideas.

My experiences of wearing the corset have been really positive-  it’s breathable layers make this the most comfortable corset I’ve ever worn, to the extent that I could forget I was wearing it. Unlike our more rigidly built corsets, this fabric has a gentle degree of flex, allowing the corset to breathe with you and move with more grace and less inhibition. Normally I train with a 2 layer underbust (coutil and lining) which is still a very lightweight corset without much bulk, but the difference between the corsets worn under clothing is very noticable; that slight difference in thickness gives an even more distinctive silhouette, making the body appear reduced yet again.

I normally wear an hourglass cut, and decided to make this style with a wasp waist, to see how the material coped with the demands of the additional pressure. As I’ve never trained my ribs it was interesting to see that with a 4″ reduction, my ribs showed signs of following a straighter line than my usual hourglass curve. Whilst not a “true” severe wasp waist, it gave a good approximation of the smooth lines you would expect from that cut.

With regard to the corset playing a part in BDSM or sensual play with a lover- the locking feature is an obvious function, but a more interesting general use is that the mesh allows the wearer to still experience hot and cold sensations on the areas of the body covered by the corset. Clearly care needs to be taken with anything sharp or genuinely overheated that could damage the wearer and the fibres of the corset, but there is a great scope to utilise that sensitivity, where a regular corset would simply remove that skin from access.

The limitations of the corset are as you would probably expect from a sheer silk summer corset with slight give to the mesh, the waist reduction that can be attained with it has a cap. To ensure long life of the corset I’m recommending that a 4″ reduction is the maximum attempted. I would still consider this an occasional use corset, whether that’s just for the hotter months of the year, or for discreet shapewear under clothing on special events, but really, the corset is surprisingly sturdy for something that you can see straight through! Though only available in black for a 100% silk mesh corset, we can offer pure cotton mesh in black, nude and white. This can be teamed up with our beautiful coutil selections for intriguing designs and elegant finishing touches.

To discuss your sheer silk summer corset please get in touch.