Corsets are uniquely refined, structured garments. Everything has to be just right, measured thrice and reinforced to ensure a good fit, solid support and lasting strength. There’s a lot of math involved, and the people who make them have to be engineers as much as artists.
Conversely, the people who wear corsets don’t want to worry about anything. A good corset shouldn’t feel like a device, like hardware, but a beautiful and even delicate work of wearable art which expresses something perhaps integral to one’s identity. Ideally, they should just fit, with no faffing about.
But at least one part of the way a corset fits your body is entirely up to you.
Bones are pretty important. Without them, people would be all flippy-floppy, and the same is true for corsets. We normally don’t get much of a choice when it comes to human skeletons, but where corsets are concerned there are options to consider.
I’ve seen people use all kinds of things, from zip-ties to reeds, lengths of rope and even chopped up milk jugs. I can’t speak to the efficacy of any of those ideas, and I’m more than a little skeptical about some of the innovations I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest, but people are clearly struggling to find the right answer. Back in the day they used baleen, of course, which is basically whale teeth. Whale teeth, I say! Good luck finding that stuff in the 21st century.
Editor’s Note: “Good luck” in this case means “Please don’t kill whales, you shit.”
At Fiendish Imp we’ve made a choice to use German plastic boning–sometimes also called synthetic whalebone–in all of our corsets. It’s a decision we couldn’t be happier with, but in the community of corsetiers it could be seen as something of a controversial move. Steel is far and away the boning material of choice, and there are good reasons for that, but we believe German plastic has its place and has been woefully underused by artisans.
We were celebrating the grand opening of our new shop, you see. After working on it quite a lot over the past couple weeks, it felt like it was finally time to let loose and take a night for ourselves.