Over my years of historical costuming, I’ve learned enough about corsetry to know I know nothing.
This is engineering to a T, with bust-to-waist ratios, shaping, materials knowledge and use, construction techniques, and fitting methods that I am not very well versed in. CAN I make my own corsets? Yes, and I have, but none of them have ever really been fitted well to me, or very comfortable.
So I’ve taken the plunge and had a Victorian corset custom-made for me.
The maker is Anachronism in Action, who produces stunningly beautiful corsets for all sorts of applications. One of her most famous (and my favorite) is her Lady Loki.
Kelly is a professional entertainment industry costumer with loads of experience, so I felt confident that I would be getting a properly made, properly fitted, properly historical piece.
I initially provided Kelly with a whole mess of measurements, from which she did the mock up corset. At Costume College, we met in person for a fitting and discussion about materials, trims, boning materials, and boning channel placement.
My corset arrived shortly thereafter and I’ve begun to season it, or break it in – wearing the corset lightly laced each day, to allow the fabric and boning to shape to my body and form its “memory.”
|Yup, those are my ribs – the benefits of a custom-made corset is that all your measurements are accounted for. I have always had trouble fitting my ribcage, and usually I have pinching there, but not with this corset!|
I so happy with this piece! It’s so nice to finally have just the right corset that I can reliably build my Victorian costumes over and wear for a full day without pinching, chaffing, or pain.
|As I season the corset, I will be able to lace the waist tighter, but leave plenty of room in the bust and waist (you can see I have the bust too tight here – my back fat is spilling over!|
If you’re interested in a custom-made corset by Anachronism in Action, check out her Etsy shop and consider requesting a custom order.
TaylorOctober 27, 2015 at 12:41 AM
I've always admired her corsetry so much. She's really masterful! How exciting to have one custom made!
LaurianaOctober 27, 2015 at 3:44 PM
Your corset looks lovely and very well-made. And I completely recognize that issue with ribs… I have a RTW corset I have never been able to wear for more than half an hour for that very reason. I still want to make a corset shaped around my ribs, like yours is.
I have one question though: I know options vary, even among corsettiers, about how far one should be able to lace a well-fitted, well broken-in closed but most say something between all the way closed to a 2 inch gap. And, as far as I know, corsets are usually supposed to be laced with the back edges forming parallel lines. This makes me wonder about the last picture: If the top is laced less tight, that would mean a considerable gap and combined with a tighter waist, it would curve the back edges like this )(. Is this corset designed to be laced like that?
Lauren StowellOctober 27, 2015 at 10:30 PM
From what other corsetiere friends have told me, the )( shape is fine, but () is a problem. I asked Kelly for a 2" gap built in, which I'm nowhere near yet – I wanted to leave myself room for waist training a little. In that last picture I had the hips and bust hardly tightened at all, which is fine for seasoning, but isn't how it will be worn once it's broken in.