Lucy of Lucy’s Corsetry is pretty much the coolest thing in corsetry on the internet. Yes okay, so Cora Harrington of The Lingerie Addict is also other-level amazing for her work sharing the joys of lingerie (including corsets) but when it comes to the specialist world of corsetry, I feel that I can quite reasonably say that almost every newbie corseter on the internet has been touched by Lucy’s work, and she’s touched the lives of many corsetieres too.
With YouTube reviews, tips, tutorials, shapes, safety, and a highly informative blog, Lucy lends her scientific mind and meticulous brilliance to making corsetry videos that are accessible and easy to understand for viewers across multiple continents, answering questions and quandaries with level-headed grace and ease.
Hundreds of thousands across the globe are impacted by Lucy’s valuable work, making her legacy a tangible one and proving her to be todays most recognised everyday icon of modern corsetry.
It is an honour indeed to have Lucy reveal some of her thoughts and opinions here on TheCuriousRaven.NET.
MEET THE CORSETIERES
Name – Lucy’s Corsetry, (trade name Lucia Corsetti)
Role – Corset reviewer, educator, & enthusiast
Country where you’re based – Canada
How and when did you become interested in corsets?
That is a long and winding story, but I first became interested in the corseted silhouette around 6 years old, when I watched “Gone with the Wind”. In my teens I was highly interested in cosplay, and I made my first “peudo-corset” at 15 for a costume, and then a better steel boned corset from a Simplicity pattern at 18. I didn’t have any other corsets to compare my work with at the time, so didn’t know if it was correct in construction, historically accurate, or if the fit was correct. This was the reason I started purchasing some OTR corsets, and I was fascinated that each different brand had their own construction technique and gave the body a different silhouette. My interest deepened, and the rest is history.
What made you think of creating / designing corsets?
At first it was because I was too poor at the time to afford the cheapest OTR corsets, nevermind a custom commission for every costume I wanted to create – and because I wanted a full understanding of the corset’s components and how each part functions, the way an engineer is fascinated by the way an electronic works (on that note, I’ve taken apart an entire sewing machine before!). I also wanted to be able to combine my favourite elements of some of my favourite designers, as my personal aesthetic seemed to be a blend of many others’. I also enjoyed learning the new skills. These days, I have less time to design, so I mostly commission from others.
How long have you been making / designing corsets?
I made my first corset more than 10 years ago, and designed more of them off-and-on since then, but only started making corsets for others about 5 years ago. Commissions are not my first joy (mainly because 80% of people want a black waist training corset) but I would love to have more time to make extravagant samples.
Where do you get your inspiration from for corsets?
At first they came from anime/ manga, videogame characters, mythical goddesses etc. but now inspiration can come from anywhere – the signs of the zodiac, the life stages from a seed into a tree, the geometry of a cast-iron fence, and even the materials I’m working with, like LED lights or thin strips of cork.
What was your first memory of corsets?
Definitely the scene of “Gone with the Wind” where Scarlett O’Hara tells Mammy to lace her tighter, so her waist can return to 18.5 inches like it was before she had her baby.
What was your first experience wearing a corset?
The “pseudo-corset” at 15 was little more than a longline bra with the waist taken in, but it did pull my waist in about 2 inches. I remember feeling warm, having excellent posture, and a zen awareness of every breath I took. It had a comforting effect like being swaddled, even though I didn’t have the words to express it at that age – and I delighted in having a defined waistline. With my Simplicity corset at 18, it was much of the same except with the added feeling of immense pride in the work I put into creating this piece from scratch.
What was your first corset like?
I have a love-hate relationship with my first Simplicity corset. It was made with an old 100% cotton bedsheet, and was a combination of flat steels and plastic because I couldn’t source enough steel for all the channels (I put the steel in the most important areas; the channels where the corset had the most curve so the garment wouldn’t collapse inward, roll up or wrinkle at the sides of the body). I didn’t have tailor’s chalk, so I used sidewalk chalk which left a greasy residue that remains on the corset to this day. The busk was an overpriced piece from a local anime convention, but at least it had a busk – and the grommets held in surprisingly well. I had no help from instructors, books or the internet in making this corset; only navigating the Simplicity instructions – in retrospect it’s not a terrible first try, but it’s not something I like to show others today.
How are your corset tastes different now to what they were then?
In my teens, I preferred utilitarian corsets that were strictly used under clothing – although I did create a few for specific costumes. In my early 20s, I remember researching the most elaborate corsets in burlesque and on the runway. These days, I love subtle luxury – some well-placed Leavers lace (rarely a full lace overlay), Swarovski crystals (not sequins), hand-flossing (rarely machine-embroidery), etc. I love when each corsetiere leaves his or her mark on the corset, but sometimes less is more when it comes to making a statement.
Do you still wear corsets?
Yes, very much so! I very rarely make corsets anymore though; I have only made 3 this year.
How often do you wear corsets if so?
These days I am continually seasoning corsets in preparation for weekly reviews – so preferably I’m wearing corsets almost daily, although only for a few hours a day – I no longer consider myself a lifestyle corset wearer or waist trainer, although I used to be. Perhaps one day I will again, if I feel up to it.
Are there any issues you face when wearing corsets?
Last year I had a string of bad luck, where I fell down the stairs and then 3 weeks later rolled my car and suffered injuries to my neck and pelvis. I still see a chiropractor regularly, as I occasionally experience whiplash and sciatica from the accident. While before I could wear almost any silhouette, I now feel more comfortable in a corset with a more rounded ribcage, and cupped convex hips as opposed to sloping hips or a conical ribcage. Edwardian corsets are out of the question, as the unnatural posture encouraged while wearing them puts extra strain on my neck.
Do you have any tips for putting on your corset?
Do take your time with it, and don’t be afraid to poke and prod and tuck and wiggle as you go. People rarely slap on a bra without adjusting their bust in it; or rush to put on their shoes without ensuring that all toes are in the right position and not trapped at a strange angle – and so we should also ensure that our skin and flesh and ribs and organs settle comfortably in the correct position every time you put on the corset. And of course, always loosen the laces before taking it off!
What kind/shape/era of corsets do you prefer?
While I adore the look of a conical, tapered ribcage and dramatic square hip shelf, it takes awhile for my body to train to accommodate this shape. I can easily wear corsets with a rounded ribcage and cupped hips, and can always obtain a waist reduction of at least 6 inches in them.
Do you have any other preferences in your corsets?
I have been enjoying mesh corsets more and more these days! They are cool and breezy, yet can also be made with some “body” to the corset (I like a more rigid corset as opposed to a very flexible one).
What 3 tips would you give to corset newbies?
For newbies at wearing corsets: Take your time!! It is not a race, and you don’t have to close the corset right away. Respect your body – including when it is telling you to loosen or take off the corset. While custom has the potential to get you a fantastic and comfortable corset from the very beginning, OTR has the advantage of being exchangeable/ returnable if you find you don’t like it. And don’t lose hope if your first corset is not what you expected – corsets can be made in all different silhouettes, levels of rigidity, etc. and some may be more suited to your body than others.
For newbies at making corsets: while doing some research beforehand is important, the best learning is done by doing – so find some cheap fabric, get some bones that you can reuse again and again in your future projects, and jump in while you still have the creative inspiration and energy! Slow down, and write out a list of tasks for the construction. Give each task your care and attention. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes during this process, but be proud that you recognized these as mistakes (because it means your eye is becoming more trained to detect them), and make a note of them so you can learn to fix them in your next piece.
Do you have any favourite fellow corsetieres?
I am lucky to be friends with many corsetieres around the world, and I usually hesitate to tell people which makers I consider the most skilled or most talented. But I am particularly close with Lowana of Vanyanis, and Amber of Lovely Rats – we speak almost daily and I consider them two of my best friends in the industry. I also adore Mina of L’Atelier de LaFleur and am very fortunate to live relatively close to her.
Fabulously eccentric actress, TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant, beautiful & inspiring. My Dearest Beloved and I live with a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob, and his dwarf-lop bunny brother, The Earl of Tillington. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao
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