What is your corset size?
A little something about corset sizing.
A question I get asked a lot is: what is the right corset size for me?
There is not a simple answer to this question without knowing your exact measurement. However in order to make it a little easier…
I have a very long ribcage and tall hips which means I can only reduce in an area barely an inch wide. I can’t even wear belts unless they are elastic and even then they wind up riding high. My imperial officers belt sits at my waist at the bottom and digs in to my ribs at the top. It’s only just 2” wide.
So I have an hourglass shape where I can indeed reduce to a disproportionately small waist but it doesn’t taper above or below, which makes me look bigger rather than smaller.
Also whatever you reduce at the waist will be pushed up and down. In hourglass this is mostly down while in straight fronted it’s up. I have an article about this style but I think it is in my Girl’s Own Annual from 1911. Anyway it discusses the need to have laces loose while fastening the busk and then pulling the laces and stopping to bring the flesh of the belly up before pulling in to reduce the upper hips. Not sure if that was an article I read or from my GoA to be honest.
Either way you need to account for this as well. And it’s why I love gored bust corsets! My steampunk corset was great in this regard but I had issues with the hip sections (c1904 shape) and the seam digging in and collapsing at my waist that I adapted the pattern to a gored bust with panels to the hips.
Oh and also take in to account the bulk of the corset itself. If you were to wear the corset just barely fitted it would add to your measurements. Especially so with thick boning and fabric. I need to get some steels and see if I can finish my Mina corset to go under my Mina gown for the shazam! ultra defined shape even with a v front and back to the gown. a gored bust corset will allow for this especially made from fairly self supporting fabric. And bust improvers 😉
I find underbust and overbust means different sizes. due to the amount of squish i have i have a 34 waist yet can easily wear a 26” corset if it’s the right kind of cut. Overbust.max 30” unless it’s custom made and yes YES i adore Gored bust corsets because normal over bust just squash the bust and that doesnt look great. I dont think this is just a one rule if you say,are 30” then think 4 inches down. You always have to take into account the style of corset and how much room you have to shape down.
I am about to break out my dodgy stick figure skeletons to show basic anchor points and why padding is really good for issues other than simply bust padding 🙂 I want to do a guide showing some basic engineering points 🙂