Corsets are an incredibly important part of my life for a variety of
reasons. At the top of the list is my awareness that they completely
affect the way the wearer feels. This is emotional as well as physical.
At their most basic, corsets are excellent core support - and in
today’s world where posture is quite neglected, we need all the help we
I don’t often speak about myself, my body image issues,
or my background outside of corsetry, but a lot of things have brought
me to be very interested in the human body and its abilities.
I grew up not only very interested in costume history, but dance also.
I’ve been a devout yoga practitioner, love Pilates and swimming, and
trained in circus arts for several years, constantly testing my own
limits physically and mentally. I look at corsetry as sculpting - both
as a corset wearer, being able to affect the shape of the natural body,
and as a corset maker, creating line and form from simple pieces of
fabric and steel.
I studied ballet very passionately until I
was 12, when a run-in with a school bus while on my bicycle cracked my
pelvis and made dance near impossible for several years. It may have
been that injury, or some other predisposition to hyper-mobility that
means I often have severe pain in my hips. Lately it’s been shocking to me how
much pain I experience on a daily basis.
I suggest to clients and
friends frequently that they try a corset for relief from back and
pelvic pain, but it took me over a week to listen to my own advice.
Because of my dance background I focused first on stretching,
strengthening, chiropractic, acupuncture…but as far as instant
pain relief goes - the corset wins. Don’t think I won’t pursue these
other things - I’m not remotely interested in chronic pain, nor do I
ever want feel like I *have* to wear a corset, but that I can feel
instantly held and supported, and feel the screaming pain melt away -
sign me up for that!
The other bonus
is feeling more elegant, I like the line of my body better, and am
sitting up straight at my computer or drafting table. The mind-body
connection may never cease to amaze me. Better posture genuinely leads
to feeling more confident - a positive feedback loop if ever there was
Some people worry that corsets make your core weak, that you
can be lazy, but as I’ve been sitting typing this, I’ve felt myself try
to slump back into my bad posture several times, only to have the corset
remind me to sit up straight. The corset isn’t doing the work for me,
it’s keeping me present to the work that I need to be doing. It’s also
stabilizing my sacrum, which doesn’t come easily.
The photo above is of my second maternity corset client, one who needed bust support as much as back support. She has since delivered a healthy baby and will be getting a new belly section to help her body return to its pre-pregnancy shape.
I work regularly with clients who have been referred by doctors,
chiropractors, and physical therapists, for lower back support, upper
back support, scoliosis support, bust support as back pain relief,
hernia support…the list goes on. It’s always a delight to see people
move from pain into comfort, and to see the emotional transformation
take place at the same time.
There is a lot of unsolicited, ‘helpful’ advice going around these days about not tying your corset laces around your waist because it can damage the corset. Here’s a point of view on this topic by some corset makers.
When we sell a corset to a client, we provide all the facts and information about how best to care for and wear their new corset. We educate our customers on how to 'season’ their corset, how to store it, keep it clean and the best way to wear it to ensure as long a life for it as possible. Once it’s left our studio, it is no longer in our control, nor do we have any right to tell people what to do with their garment. That’s right, *their* garment. That they paid for, and now own it.
We don’t go around telling people what to do with other garments like bras, jeans or jackets (all of which can cost just as much if not more than some corsets).
“Don’t wear socks with your leather shoes because it may stretch them and then they wouldn’t look as good.”
“Don’t wear bras with corsets, extra pressure on the wires will wear out the under wire casing.”
“Try not to put things in the pockets of your coat, as it can cause the fabric to warp and that would be a shame.”
“Don’t wear gloves with long nails or you’ll wear through the lining.”
“Don’t wear boots over your jeans as the friction of the boots on the denim can cause it to wear away over time.”
How ridiculous does all of that sound? If someone wants to tie their laces around the waist of the corset, that’s their choice and their right. If they’ve bought a corset from a reputable seller then they’ll have been provided with care instructions. Your concern can come across as hostile to someone unfamiliar with corsetry and can put them off the community as a whole, and noone wants that!
At the end of the day, a corset is a (beautiful) garment. Garments experience wear and tear over time. It’s normal.Let people wear and style their corsets however they want :)
I’m planning to go to ComicCon this year wearing three corsets (on separate days) to try to drum up interest in my corsets. I am, however, at a loss for what to wear beneath each underbust corset. I want to spice it up and mix in some variety, without feminizing my appearance. Keep in mind it’ll be hot as balls in the middle of June in Colorado.
Depends on what kind of corset I want. I’ve come to realize that there is not any one “perfect” corset out there for everyone - each corsetier(e) has their own specialties, rules about what commissions they will and will not accept, etc. But if you have a specific kind of corset in mind, I give a few names of corset makers in the video who would be good for the job.
Stuff from the past couple of days. I have more but it’s for orders.
Sometime ago there was a confession trying to put me down, saying how my stuff is crap compared to that famous corset maker. Confessions like that do affect me but not in a way the Op wanted. I don’t really get discouraged or give up. It just makes me step my game up.
I think I did…
Oh and for the third of the price XD
If you’re an aspiring corset maker looking for someone to take you under their wing and become a mentor to you here is some helpful advice to help you
on your corsetry journey. When finding a mentor consider (first and foremost)
*why* you want them as your mentor. What can they teach you and where do you
know them from? Mentoring is often ‘born’ from an existing relationship between
an intern and corsetiere, or perhaps a student and teacher.
Let us clarify what qualities a mentor should have. A mentor is a
teacher and someone who will be helping you grow into the fabulous corset maker
you are wanting to become. As well as having the necessary knowledge and
skills, a mentor needs to be patient and kind. The role of mentor is something that should be
taken seriously, by someone with the knowledge and skills to be of help to you.
Mentors need to be able to communicate and teach their student in a positive
way. A mentor will only communicate with their student - there are no public
“reviews” or discussions of their work. It’s a private arrangement
and there is a lot of responsibility on the mentor to be patient, nurturing,
educational and kind. Just like a teacher should be. A mentorship is often
quite long, perhaps a year or even more (depending on the arrangement).
Should you be lucky enough to find a mentor, don’t expect a mentor to
sit down and give you one-on-one lessons each week or spoon feed you all the
information. You’re going to have to work hard on your own and do a lot of independent
research and work. But, once you have something to show for it (a finished
corset), your mentor will look over it and provide some constructive feedback.
Your mentor needs to know about stitching, hand finishing, patterning, fitting,
construction… all these things from firsthand experience or else how are they
going to advise you? Wouldn’t it be amazing to learn from someone you admire?
Mentors are rare, and they are valuable, but no one is entitled to one
and a professional corsetiere shouldn’t feel obliged to be one. Corsetry is a hard,
time consuming business so devoting many resources to an apprentice with no
financial or business gain really won’t make sense for most (and nor should it).
You’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to take you on as it’s an
investment of their time and resources, so don’t expect a corsetiere to
automatically take you under their wing (and don’t be offended if you ask and
they say no). We don’t mean to be blunt, but it’s a serious reality of the
industry. All that said, it is an incredibly rewarding one and making beautiful
corsets is one of the most rewarding things a sewer can do (from our
Mentoring no-no’s to consider: 1. Someone offering to be a mentor is usually looking for a cheap corset
and they’re very unlikely to have the qualifications to help you and are just
trying to benefit from your skills. It would be more beneficial to you to make
corsets for friends or family - people you can fit in person. Then get feedback
on the corset and fit from your mentor (or from respected corset making
groups). 2. Mentors don’t act like clients (even if they’re paying for
materials). It’s an entirely different scenario compared to a client paying a
reduced rate for a sample corset “in exchange for feedback”. That
feedback will be coming from a different perspective and it’s a onetime thing.
A client like this can leave a review as well as provide direct feedback to the
maker and this is different to the role of mentor. 3. People who don’t make corsets
cannot be a mentor unless they are extremely experienced wearers and then there
are other things you need to consider such as: who’s work do they buy? Who do they
admire? What’s their track record in corsetry? Etcetera.
4. There are so many people trying to
grab a deal on the internet (kind of in the same vein as 'alt’ models asking
for 'sponsorship’, 'gifting’, 'collaboration’ from businesses). People want
things for free (or super cheap), and they won’t reasonably adjust
expectations. Be careful of people offering to pay for materials in exchange
for 'mentoring’. Why not instead make your friends some corsets you can learn
from? Wouldn’t it be nicer to make pretty things for people you know and love
instead of making corsets for strangers?
else to consider is that just because you’re going into corsetry doesn’t mean
you have to go into business. There’s no
rules that you have to sell them just because you’re making them, and you
should only bother selling if you’re willing to do the research and the work to
make it a proper functioning business. You need to learn how pricing works and
if your product is not up to scratch, don’t sell it until it is! Don’t
underprice things because they aren’t good enough - if they’re not good enough
you shouldn’t be selling them. Underpricing damages everyone around you and
most of all yourself and ruins your future potential (pricing up is always so
much harder than pricing down). If you can’t find a mentor, or are just wanting to make corsets for fun
there are many corsetry courses all over the world, as well as many books and
online resources. Be proactive and take charge of your learning. You can do it!
Lastly, we’ll leave you with some things to
consider when finding a mentor:
1. Do you admire their work? 2. Are they well thought of in the community? 3. Do they have a helpful attitude? 4. Why would they be a good mentor for you? 5. What do they really know about corsets? 6. Have they mentored anyone before?