Corsetry and so called waist training is making a massive comeback or have corsets simply never really left at all? Even after the Victorians, corsets have been a staple part of fashion even if sometimes invisible and used as the base of a haute couture gown or wedding dress. Sexy girdles in the fifties worn with those iconic seemed stockings and gorgeous corset like stage wear from Jean Paul Gaultier. For me it was the latter that first grabbed my attention. Growing up in de eighties and seeing the likes of Madonna in her iconic corsets, they intrigued me beyond measure. Also watching costume dramas with my mother awakened my thirst for knowledge about this enchanting piece of clothing.

Once I turned fifteen I bought my first corset, steel bones and everything. But soon I came to realise that off the peg corsets are just that, off the peg. I had bought a corset from a well known corset brand and didn’t skimp on the price but nonetheless it was extremely uncomfortable. The boning pressed on my ribs and hipbones, leaving them bruised when worn for just an evening. In my naivety I figured that was just part of the deal, I mean that’s nearly all you hear about corsets. They restrict your breathing and movements and they hurt. By the time I entered fashion school and extended my knowledge of pattern drafting it became clear to me that there was something not quite right with the corsets I had since bought. They were too tight on my ribcage and hips but didn’t seem to be tight enough on my waist, they didn’t give me the silhouette I had in mind. So I started to draft my own corset patterns and after a lot of trial and error I managed to make myself corsets that I could practically wear for days on end. I made sure my ribs and hip shape remained unaltered and only taking in the squishy bit of the waist just under the ribs and above the hipbones. Giving me that shapely silhouette I had dreamt of.

I let myself be inspired by historical patterns but still to this day I prefer to draft my own patterns to get the ultimate fit and slightly more modern look. It’s just a personal preference but also one that my customers are attracted to. Historical accuracy is wonderful when one is into reenacting, and I have great respect for those who make historically correct corsets, but I get more drawn to the high fashion side of corsetry.

The corsets I tend to wear range in waist measurements, I have some that are only minimally reduced and some that are quite severely reduced for more special occasions. I love the feeling of wearing a corset, it’s like wearing a (tight) hug, I know it sounds cheesy. But I know a lot of corset wearers that will recognise the feeling, also the sound of the laces sliding through the eyelets and the initial sound the fabric makes as it’s pulled taut.

My heart started beating faster when I noticed that corsets are getting more and more popular and there are new people discovering and making them every day. It inspires me to see other people’s takes on corsetry and it excites me to see a fresh breath of air swirling through the sewing world. Since the internet age it has become much easier to get in touch with other corsetières and follow their work. It is also a very harmonious and friendly community indeed. Even when you are sat in your atelier by yourself there is a web full of artists within arms reach, wether you need advise or want to show other connoisseurs your creations. Slowly but surely more customers are becoming aware of the craftsmanship and artistry that is involved in handmade garments. They choose corsets that are well made with high quality material and high speck finishes, all designed and made to fit and compliment their own body shape. It can be a most luxurious experience getting something made especially for you. Just imagine the smell of new silk, the sound of the laces, the lush silhouette… Midnight is calling your name…