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Whalebone v Steel: A Comparison

icon smKelly compares synthetic (plastic) whalebone with spiral steel by making two identical late Victorian corsets. Which works best?

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  Question - Did you use the "German" plastic whalebone or just the standard plastic?

I would love to see this test expanded to include a corset made with all flat enamel steels, one with "German"plastic whalebone everywhere but center front and center back and one with the zip ties so many people seem to choose.

Beautifully done buy the way!

Last edited on 06.06.2015 17:12 by Lara Greene
  Thank you!

No it was not the German plastic, just the ones called "bones" So standard plastic on the Farthingales plastic page. In the photos the most obvious difference is the German ones have stripes. I didn't order any of the German because I remembered using it for something awhile ago and not liking it/ finding it flimsy.

Well, I haven't actually closed the two corsets up, so I probably could switch out the boning to expand the comparison. I shall have to chat with Marion.
  I actually use a lot of flats in my works, but only in the fronts and sides as I feel they're rather hard on the lower back.

I had plans to do a similar experiment a year ago but withdrew due to time constraints. Would definitely love to revisit the idea for an article next time.
  Thanks for posting this. I was just in the process of trying to decide if I was going to use synthetic whalebone for a series of corsets I am designing for a show. I think now I might use a mix of flat steels and SWB. Really appreciate the time it took you to write this up!  
Last edited on 09.06.2015 02:07 by Erinn Larsen
  It was my pleasure, I am glad you found it useful! Good luck with your show, I hope you post photos somewhere public so we can see the results :)  
  I would be very interested in getting an update of how the whalebone performs over time. My biggest concern with plastic is warping over time.  
  How fascinating! I shall conduct experiments of my own as I am currently developing an "exercise" and "swim" corset.  
  Thank you for this comparison, it's so helpful to see them side by side!  
  I really like the pattern, the shape and the bust gussets result in a lovely silhouette. Beautiful work!! I recently bought some synthetic whalebone and can't wait to try it out; I struggle with getting a pleasing fit and shape at the bust and hope the SWB may help.  
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