Thank you for this article! I've noticed for the last two years that there was something about my work that made it whisper "Alva", and after reading this I realized that it is indeed the shaping and my love for rather sharp and dramatic hiplines. (I adore exaggerated hips, possibly because I have a slightly Y-lined figure myself.) Bringing this thought to the surface will really help me make conscious choices instead of just continue going on reflex.
I'm already looking forward to the next article!
//Alva - sighing, drooling Sparklewren fan-girl
You're very welcome Alva! Glad the article was of use to you. Perhaps there are other ways of exaggerating the hips that you can explore too? Padding, built-up sections, embellishment and so on?
I feel silly, but I've never thought of building padding into the corset itself instead of just adding hip-pads beneath. This is an idea I will return to in the future. Perhaps one could build a box-like hip shelf by cording?
Absolutely! I've used corded gussets to create hips that stand away from the body before, and I've seen catwalk pieces (Gauliter being a great example) that feature built-up sections that look kind of like pyramids, boxes, and even thick satin coils. There is lots you can do!
I think this is exactly why I find your simple waist cinchers to be so unsatisfying to look at - they don't give the shape my eyes say they want to see! In comparison, your dramatic silhouettes with the conical rib cage and huge hipspring make me squee in delight! lol I made my second corset exactly to the measurements of a pattern taken from an antique riding corset and though it fits me and shapes really well, I don't like the shape it gives. I don't like the busk not being firmer at the front - it ends up cinching in a circular manner as opposed to being flat at the front and cinching at the sides. The curves it gives are not exactly tubular, they are a bit like this - ) ( But I like a smooth line, gently curved yet still conical over the ribs, down to a nipped in waist, then out in a smooth sweeping line over nicely rounded hips. Its for this reason that I prefer the shape of the first corset I made (other than the bendy busk issue).
I have a couple of corsets which have what I'd consider to be a more hourglass shape - they curve around the ribs and around the hips with a very nipped in waist. Just like you get with actual hourglasses you can buy to time stuff. The top and bottom end up looking a bit bulbous. They aren't too bad, but I find that the silhouette of them isn't as appealing as it would have been if it forced my lower ribcage into a more conical shape. I have particularly sticky out ribs on one side and find that cupping the ribs, though very comfortable, just highlights how much it sticks out. In the corsets I make for myself I will be endeavouring to find the right balance between aesthetic and comfort.
Well this is indeed part of it... Balancing the ideal shape you *want* with the shape your body is able to achieve and the function/purpose of the corset (eg: daily wear? occasional wear?). I've been writing on that a little bit more, so hopefully Part 2 will be interesting for you too :-)
Very interesting, and I guess we could spend hours talking about this. I rencently wondered how I could manage my preference for cupped busts toward clients who (at least those I've met so far) mainly want squished busts.
I guess some people always want a particular style... I just try to fill my portfolio with the ideas I want to build upon and delete anything out of date. That way you get more people seeing your preferred shapes and understanding why you love them so much! *Show* them how gorgeous your cupped busts are :-)
Hi Jenni, Thank you for such an informative and well written article. Since I've read it though, I've found myself kicking it around in my head many times. How do you take personal body type, personality, use, etc. into account if you have basically a main house style? When I design for clients, I absolutely LOVE altering their body shape (if there are problem areas) and designing for each one individually - custom, custom. I love trying out new ideas and so I'm really interested if you believe that developing one or two unique styles are the key to growing and expanding business. For instance: I have a client who purchased a very expensive signed designer shoe. She now wants a corset designed to complement the shoe. Not just in color, but in design. If I were to have a certain house style/pattern, etc. that would not be possible. I love what you do btw and really appreciate your insight.
Hi, thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed the article!
I'm writing on these questions a little bit for the next instalment... But here are a couple of thoughts to get you started:
1) With bespoke, you can still have a house style in terms of silhouette. It could be seen to limit the clients you will get, but I would actually see it as refining and strengthening your client base. In truth, most clients don't actually consciously notice these details, but I believe they perceive the care and attention inherent in developing a beautiful signature shape.
2) If you wish to create new shapes for each and every client and body-type, then by all means do! There are other ways of turning your work into a "brand" or making it recognisable than silhouette. You might find my branding articles interesting for this.
I'm sure I'll have given you more to think of rather than answered your question completely, but I hope it's of some use and that you will find Part 2 useful too :-)
Thank you for responding. I am going to start reading your branding articles now. And really looking forward to Part 2!
Jenni, I am actually rethinking the House style aspect. After reading and re-reading your article, I am starting to understand a bit more of how I can accomplish a house style while still accomplishing my goals. As you well know, it is very time consuming to make a custom piece for each individual client in a completely different style. If I were to make a style or two that would be compatible with vastly differing body types, I think it would be much less labor intensive in patterning/fittings and final corset. I appreciate your article so much. Am totally looking forward to the second installment.
Ah, very glad that you've been mulling all this over! I was saying just the other day, I think the important thing for an educational article is that it encourages some sort of thought or response (whether the reader agrees with you or not) so it's nice to know you've been thinking about it.
Yes, it is massively time-consuming if each corset is a completely different style. It's already very time-consuming when you have key silhouettes! But if these enterprises are to be businesses rather than hobbies, all that time and effort has to be a) streamlined, b) fairly financially compensated, or ideally c) both! Having key silhouettes makes this more possible, whilst also allowing for individual artistic expression.
There are quite a few corset makers out there nowadays and I totally agree that developing a "signature style" is probably a better long-term strategy than trying to cater to everybody's preferences.
I think some commenters here mistake developing a solid base you can then build upon and play with for turning yourself into a one-trick-pony.
If you want a successful example for a highly recognisable corset shape that works across all kinds of body types and all sorts of corset styles and fabric combinations, check out Bizarre Design.