Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Double the Brides, Double the Fun!

Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
What a week, what a month! Now that the hectic rush of Pride is past, we have a moment to breathe and share some lovely staged bridal photos we took with Jim Vetter. (No, Autumn and I aren't getting married! I'll be marrying a different curvaceous, talented, creative brunette this October... and of course, Dark Garden is making our gowns!)

Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Here at Dark Garden, we've had the pleasure of working with many, many queer couples to create ensembles for their weddings. After the back-and-forth battleground that California was, we are so very thrilled that gay marriage is now a right across all 50 states. It's been a joy for all of us to watch the news and see couples across the entire country have the opportunity to (legally) express their devotion and commitment, and have access to all the vital partnership opportunities that affords.

Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Thank you to all of those who participated in, facilitated, and enjoyed our fashion show at the Pride VIP party on Sunday. It was a pleasure to be involved with a cause that is so important to all of us here at Dark Garden.

Victoria Dagger
in a bridal 
Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter 

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Friday, June 19, 2015

On Waist Training with Dark Garden Corsets


This post was originally written on MissDarkGarden.Tumblr.com, as part of Autumn's Daily Corset Posts series.

I was recently asked to provide some bite-sized information on waist training, including what type of garment is best suited. What follows is more than a bite or two, but easily digestible at one sitting.
Dark Garden Bespoke "Underbust Victorian"
in Peach Fireworks Brocade Coutil
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
Many things can be used to train the waist, but none is better than a shapely corset. Corsets reduce the waist by compressing the waistline, but also comfortably supporting the ribs and hips. Some “waist trainers” being sold simply compress the whole mid-section, a far less comfortable approach, as this squeezes the ribs, resulting in the notorious inability to breathe. In addition, many waist trainers are stretchy and have no boning, which means they have the potential to roll up into a small band: uncomfortable, and liable to create unsightly bulges above and below the waistline. Well-made corsets are supported with steel boning, which keeps the length of the corset consistent, no matter how snugly the corset is pulled.

Dark Garden "Cincher"
in Signature Collection Red Silk Satin
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Joel Aron
Waist training works by gradually reducing the areas of the body that are being compressed. This is another reason why it’s important to have a garment that is shapely and fits you well. Some people believe you can “season” a corset into fitting by starting out with something that is large for the ribs and hips, but only snug at the waist. This has the potential of not only intestinal discomfort, but training the organs down into the lower abdominal region, since in that situation there would be no support. A corset that is comfortably snug over the hips and tummy can actually create a flatter stomach than the wearer starts out with.

To make progress, frequent, comfortably snug wear is more superior to infrequent, very tight lacing. It’s very much like results from exercise and diet - the better your habits are, the more progress you make. Likewise, as soon as you go off your program, your results begin to diminish. There is not a hard or fast rule about how much you have to wear a corset to make progress, but again, like exercise, if you do it once a week, your progress will be less than if you wear it moderately for a little while every day, or even every other day. That said, even once a week will get you more progress than never starting!

Dark Garden "Valentine"
in Signature Collection Red Silk Satin
Model: Allie Diane
Photo © Joel Aron
Most people are able to begin with a standard-sized corset before eventually graduating to wanting a custom or bespoke corset. The majority of waist trainers use an underbust corset on a daily basis, but some women with fuller bustlines are very happy to have the bust support of well-made overbust corsets as well.
Dark Garden "Corselette"
in Signature Collection Black Lace Overlay
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Joel Aron
At Dark Garden, we developed our unique ready-to-wear corset patterns after years of making exclusively custom sized corsets, and put the information we gathered there into creating some of the shapeliest, most comfortable corsets available anywhere. We continue to refine our patterns, and add styles as needed. With us, most waist trainers begin with our Cincher or our Cupid, a more shapely underbust corset. Those that are shorter waisted or just want a nip at the waist enjoy wearing the Corselette or Waspie. Many eventually go on to have a bespoke Underbust Victorian or Underbust Edwardian custom fit to their body via exhaustive measurements and multiple mock-up fittings.

Dark Garden Bespoke "Underbust Victorian"
in Peach Fireworks Brocade Coutil
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
As someone who has worn corsets both lightly laced and very tightly laced for more than 20 years, I firmly believe that good corsets can feel absolutely wonderful - comfortable and supportive - but there are plenty of poorly made and uncomfortable corsets on the market, especially these days. I recommend looking for a corset that creates more of this } { shape (an hourglass with a defined waist), than this ) ( shape (a shallowly flared tube).
Dark Garden "Cincher"
in Signature Collection Black Silk Satin
Model: Dwoira Galilea
Photo © Joel Aron
Quality materials and boning are more important than one might expect. You don’t want cheap steel, because it can break, causing damage to the corset and wearer. It needs to be made well, because a poorly constructed corset will twist around the body, which can cause back problems - just like wearing a back brace that forces your body into a poor posture and holds it there.

Lastly, make sure you’re putting your corset on properly, as this can make or break your corset wearing experience - if the corset is too high on the body, or tilted forward, it will put pressure on the ribs, making breathing difficult. The waistline should be parallel to the floor. Here’s a lacing video we made, all about lacing someone else into a corset - no bedposts or knees required! If you think you can’t put a corset on yourself - here you go!

Dark Garden "Underbust Victorian"
Photo © Chris Gaede
-Autumn Adamme
Proprietress


Read More

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dark Garden's Inclusivity Policy

Dee and Nya from AsiaSF, another San Francisco mainstay of the queer community,
trying on Dark Garden corsets.
Inclusivity Policy
It always has been and always will be our policy at Dark Garden to assist all customers and try to meet their needs to the best of our abilities. Gay, bi, straight, cis, trans, or genderqueer, etc., our door is open to everyone. Through our bespoke corsets and couture, we love to build corsets that express our client's individuality. Our boutique staff are trained to fit the styles from our ready-to-wear line on any body, and we can execute minor alterations on these styles to personalize them to your form. Whether you are looking to waist train to enhance a feminine physique or invest in a butch, shoulder-emphasizing, tailored vest corset, we promise your needs will be met with sensitivity and care.

From left to right:
Associate Designer Kalico Delafay in a Dollymop Cavalry corset
Proprietress Autumn Adamme in a Risqué Cincher
Production Manager Kristin Argue in a Dollymop Lancer corset
Photo © Joel Aron
A Queer-Owned Business
Dark Garden is not only a woman-owned, queer-friendly business, we are queer-owned! Our atmosphere of acceptance has attracted not only San Francisco's legendary gay community as clientele, but also as our employees. The overwhelming majority of our staff identify along the LGBTQ spectrum, though of course our self-identified straight employees are equally welcomed. Our team is a very close-knit group, fostering a playful atmosphere in the workroom where we create our corsets, each one individually made to order.

Dark Garden Corselette and Jacob corsets
Photo © Joel Aron
Our History
"Is this a new shop?" is a question we probably get at least once a week. Tucked away at 321 Linden St, a small side street in Hayes Valley, our boutique and atelier is nestled cozily next to Blue Bottle Coffee. Despite our bright purple exterior, many people don't even realize we're here. But not only have we been in Hayes Valley for over 15 years, we've been in business in San Francisco since 1989, and it's been our pleasure to serve the gay and fetish communities since our inception. As you can imagine, the cultural landscape of San Francisco has changed a lot in the intervening 26 years. In that time, we have made corsets for hundreds of queer, trans, and cross-dressing clients.

Dark Garden Pointed Victorian with straps
Photo © Joel Aron
Celebrate Pride with Us
Our doors are open six days a week. We invite you to stop by for a consultation at the 321 Linden St. boutique during business hours and be dazzled by the array of corsetry options. Not only has it been our joy to serve our local queer community but we are so grateful for the support we have received from that community through the years. We would not be the business we are today without that support and collaboration!

We will be tea modeling our couture fashions at the Gay Pride VIP party on June 28 from 2-5pm. See you there!


Marianne and Autumn, getting faux married in
bridal Alexandra and bridal Dollymop Lancer ensembles
Photo © Jim Vetter


~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Monday, June 1, 2015

On Wings: Introducing Dark Garden's Newest Underbust Corset, the Cupid

Dark Garden Cupid & Dollymop Gown
Model: Proprietress Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
After careful development, we are thrilled to herald the arrival of our newest underbust corset style: the Cupid. The Cupid is the underbust version of our best-selling Valentine corset. If your hourglass is more than half-full, then the Cupid is for you.

Dark Garden Cupid & Dollymop Gown
Model: Proprietress Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
The Cupid features ten shapely panels with double boning on each seam, for a total of 22 spring steel bones plus a sturdy German busk. Most of our ready-to-wear styles are eight panel construction; the extra panels of the Cupid and Valentine allow for smoother and more dramatic curves. In sizes 28 and up, the Cupid has an even more pronounced hip spring that accommodates the extra compression that is possible in those sizes. As compared to the Cincher, you will find the Cupid to be even more supportive, having a bust-framing point at the center front and a slight high back to encourage smooth lines.


Dark Garden Cupid
Model: Tuesday Blues
Photo © Chris Gaede
We currently have the Cupid available in sizes 24" through 34", as measured at the waist. We will soon be offering it in our complete 18" to 38" size run, in store and online. Visit our 321 Linden St. boutique, where our staff will help fit you in a corset of the correct size and even measure you for any fit personalizations you may need. The Cupid starts at $335 in basic black poplin - an excellent choice for beginning waist training. Come try on the Cupid and get struck by love's arrow!

Dark Garden Risqué Waspie
Photo © Chris Gaede

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Double the Brides, Double the Fun!

Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
What a week, what a month! Now that the hectic rush of Pride is past, we have a moment to breathe and share some lovely staged bridal photos we took with Jim Vetter. (No, Autumn and I aren't getting married! I'll be marrying a different curvaceous, talented, creative brunette this October... and of course, Dark Garden is making our gowns!)

Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Here at Dark Garden, we've had the pleasure of working with many, many queer couples to create ensembles for their weddings. After the back-and-forth battleground that California was, we are so very thrilled that gay marriage is now a right across all 50 states. It's been a joy for all of us to watch the news and see couples across the entire country have the opportunity to (legally) express their devotion and commitment, and have access to all the vital partnership opportunities that affords.

Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Autumn Adamme in a bridal Dollymop Lancer corset ensemble
Victoria Dagger in a bridal Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter
Thank you to all of those who participated in, facilitated, and enjoyed our fashion show at the Pride VIP party on Sunday. It was a pleasure to be involved with a cause that is so important to all of us here at Dark Garden.

Victoria Dagger
in a bridal 
Alexandra corset ensemble
Photo © Jim Vetter 

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Friday, June 19, 2015

On Waist Training with Dark Garden Corsets


This post was originally written on MissDarkGarden.Tumblr.com, as part of Autumn's Daily Corset Posts series.

I was recently asked to provide some bite-sized information on waist training, including what type of garment is best suited. What follows is more than a bite or two, but easily digestible at one sitting.
Dark Garden Bespoke "Underbust Victorian"
in Peach Fireworks Brocade Coutil
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
Many things can be used to train the waist, but none is better than a shapely corset. Corsets reduce the waist by compressing the waistline, but also comfortably supporting the ribs and hips. Some “waist trainers” being sold simply compress the whole mid-section, a far less comfortable approach, as this squeezes the ribs, resulting in the notorious inability to breathe. In addition, many waist trainers are stretchy and have no boning, which means they have the potential to roll up into a small band: uncomfortable, and liable to create unsightly bulges above and below the waistline. Well-made corsets are supported with steel boning, which keeps the length of the corset consistent, no matter how snugly the corset is pulled.

Dark Garden "Cincher"
in Signature Collection Red Silk Satin
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Joel Aron
Waist training works by gradually reducing the areas of the body that are being compressed. This is another reason why it’s important to have a garment that is shapely and fits you well. Some people believe you can “season” a corset into fitting by starting out with something that is large for the ribs and hips, but only snug at the waist. This has the potential of not only intestinal discomfort, but training the organs down into the lower abdominal region, since in that situation there would be no support. A corset that is comfortably snug over the hips and tummy can actually create a flatter stomach than the wearer starts out with.

To make progress, frequent, comfortably snug wear is more superior to infrequent, very tight lacing. It’s very much like results from exercise and diet - the better your habits are, the more progress you make. Likewise, as soon as you go off your program, your results begin to diminish. There is not a hard or fast rule about how much you have to wear a corset to make progress, but again, like exercise, if you do it once a week, your progress will be less than if you wear it moderately for a little while every day, or even every other day. That said, even once a week will get you more progress than never starting!

Dark Garden "Valentine"
in Signature Collection Red Silk Satin
Model: Allie Diane
Photo © Joel Aron
Most people are able to begin with a standard-sized corset before eventually graduating to wanting a custom or bespoke corset. The majority of waist trainers use an underbust corset on a daily basis, but some women with fuller bustlines are very happy to have the bust support of well-made overbust corsets as well.
Dark Garden "Corselette"
in Signature Collection Black Lace Overlay
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Joel Aron
At Dark Garden, we developed our unique ready-to-wear corset patterns after years of making exclusively custom sized corsets, and put the information we gathered there into creating some of the shapeliest, most comfortable corsets available anywhere. We continue to refine our patterns, and add styles as needed. With us, most waist trainers begin with our Cincher or our Cupid, a more shapely underbust corset. Those that are shorter waisted or just want a nip at the waist enjoy wearing the Corselette or Waspie. Many eventually go on to have a bespoke Underbust Victorian or Underbust Edwardian custom fit to their body via exhaustive measurements and multiple mock-up fittings.

Dark Garden Bespoke "Underbust Victorian"
in Peach Fireworks Brocade Coutil
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
As someone who has worn corsets both lightly laced and very tightly laced for more than 20 years, I firmly believe that good corsets can feel absolutely wonderful - comfortable and supportive - but there are plenty of poorly made and uncomfortable corsets on the market, especially these days. I recommend looking for a corset that creates more of this } { shape (an hourglass with a defined waist), than this ) ( shape (a shallowly flared tube).
Dark Garden "Cincher"
in Signature Collection Black Silk Satin
Model: Dwoira Galilea
Photo © Joel Aron
Quality materials and boning are more important than one might expect. You don’t want cheap steel, because it can break, causing damage to the corset and wearer. It needs to be made well, because a poorly constructed corset will twist around the body, which can cause back problems - just like wearing a back brace that forces your body into a poor posture and holds it there.

Lastly, make sure you’re putting your corset on properly, as this can make or break your corset wearing experience - if the corset is too high on the body, or tilted forward, it will put pressure on the ribs, making breathing difficult. The waistline should be parallel to the floor. Here’s a lacing video we made, all about lacing someone else into a corset - no bedposts or knees required! If you think you can’t put a corset on yourself - here you go!

Dark Garden "Underbust Victorian"
Photo © Chris Gaede
-Autumn Adamme
Proprietress


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dark Garden's Inclusivity Policy

Dee and Nya from AsiaSF, another San Francisco mainstay of the queer community,
trying on Dark Garden corsets.
Inclusivity Policy
It always has been and always will be our policy at Dark Garden to assist all customers and try to meet their needs to the best of our abilities. Gay, bi, straight, cis, trans, or genderqueer, etc., our door is open to everyone. Through our bespoke corsets and couture, we love to build corsets that express our client's individuality. Our boutique staff are trained to fit the styles from our ready-to-wear line on any body, and we can execute minor alterations on these styles to personalize them to your form. Whether you are looking to waist train to enhance a feminine physique or invest in a butch, shoulder-emphasizing, tailored vest corset, we promise your needs will be met with sensitivity and care.

From left to right:
Associate Designer Kalico Delafay in a Dollymop Cavalry corset
Proprietress Autumn Adamme in a Risqué Cincher
Production Manager Kristin Argue in a Dollymop Lancer corset
Photo © Joel Aron
A Queer-Owned Business
Dark Garden is not only a woman-owned, queer-friendly business, we are queer-owned! Our atmosphere of acceptance has attracted not only San Francisco's legendary gay community as clientele, but also as our employees. The overwhelming majority of our staff identify along the LGBTQ spectrum, though of course our self-identified straight employees are equally welcomed. Our team is a very close-knit group, fostering a playful atmosphere in the workroom where we create our corsets, each one individually made to order.

Dark Garden Corselette and Jacob corsets
Photo © Joel Aron
Our History
"Is this a new shop?" is a question we probably get at least once a week. Tucked away at 321 Linden St, a small side street in Hayes Valley, our boutique and atelier is nestled cozily next to Blue Bottle Coffee. Despite our bright purple exterior, many people don't even realize we're here. But not only have we been in Hayes Valley for over 15 years, we've been in business in San Francisco since 1989, and it's been our pleasure to serve the gay and fetish communities since our inception. As you can imagine, the cultural landscape of San Francisco has changed a lot in the intervening 26 years. In that time, we have made corsets for hundreds of queer, trans, and cross-dressing clients.

Dark Garden Pointed Victorian with straps
Photo © Joel Aron
Celebrate Pride with Us
Our doors are open six days a week. We invite you to stop by for a consultation at the 321 Linden St. boutique during business hours and be dazzled by the array of corsetry options. Not only has it been our joy to serve our local queer community but we are so grateful for the support we have received from that community through the years. We would not be the business we are today without that support and collaboration!

We will be tea modeling our couture fashions at the Gay Pride VIP party on June 28 from 2-5pm. See you there!


Marianne and Autumn, getting faux married in
bridal Alexandra and bridal Dollymop Lancer ensembles
Photo © Jim Vetter


~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Monday, June 1, 2015

On Wings: Introducing Dark Garden's Newest Underbust Corset, the Cupid

Dark Garden Cupid & Dollymop Gown
Model: Proprietress Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
After careful development, we are thrilled to herald the arrival of our newest underbust corset style: the Cupid. The Cupid is the underbust version of our best-selling Valentine corset. If your hourglass is more than half-full, then the Cupid is for you.

Dark Garden Cupid & Dollymop Gown
Model: Proprietress Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
The Cupid features ten shapely panels with double boning on each seam, for a total of 22 spring steel bones plus a sturdy German busk. Most of our ready-to-wear styles are eight panel construction; the extra panels of the Cupid and Valentine allow for smoother and more dramatic curves. In sizes 28 and up, the Cupid has an even more pronounced hip spring that accommodates the extra compression that is possible in those sizes. As compared to the Cincher, you will find the Cupid to be even more supportive, having a bust-framing point at the center front and a slight high back to encourage smooth lines.


Dark Garden Cupid
Model: Tuesday Blues
Photo © Chris Gaede
We currently have the Cupid available in sizes 24" through 34", as measured at the waist. We will soon be offering it in our complete 18" to 38" size run, in store and online. Visit our 321 Linden St. boutique, where our staff will help fit you in a corset of the correct size and even measure you for any fit personalizations you may need. The Cupid starts at $335 in basic black poplin - an excellent choice for beginning waist training. Come try on the Cupid and get struck by love's arrow!

Dark Garden Risqué Waspie
Photo © Chris Gaede

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere