Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bespoke Corset FAQ

At Dark Garden Unique Corsetry, we have designed, fit, and created literally thousands of bespoke corsets over our 27 years of business. These bespoke corsets were averaged to create our exceptional standard fit line, but the best fit will always come about through the bespoke atelier experience. In today's mass produced market, the bespoke process is an anomaly, and we realize you might have some questions! For example, what is bespoke? How does it relate to, and differ from, the standard fit offerings? If you have a specific question, you may wish to type "command F" and search for your question's keyword(s).
Dark Garden "Aziza" bespoke corset
Model: Vienna La Rouge
Photo © Joel Aron
What is bespoke?
A bespoke corset at Dark Garden is one that has been custom drafted for your unique body, and has been fit tested with mockups (lightweight prototype corsets). We also have a much wider range of fabrics and design options and upgrades for our bespoke styles, as compared to our Signature Collection ready-to-wear line. Our Signature Collection contains pre-designed styles in our standard fit, which are what we have available in our boutique and on our website for immediate purchase.

Is bespoke the same as custom?
We used to use the term "custom" to describe this process. However, the high degree of customization available through our Made-to-Order corsets (which start with a standard fit base) caused some confusion. Bespoke is a traditional tailoring term that speaks to the higher fit standards and labor-intensive efforts required to achieve them.

What about the "personalized fit" offered for your Made-to-Order corsets?
Brace yourself for a little vocabulary lesson! Our Made-to-Order with Personalized Fit corsets are much more like the "Made-to-Measure" of tailoring vernacular. We use samples from our standard fit line plus measurements to create a personalized fit. While MTM and bespoke are often both considered "custom," Made-to-Measure corsets generally skip the critical mockup/intermediate fitting phase. The original fit sample garment stands in for the mockup, and this is the only fitting.

Dark Garden "Adelaide" bespoke corset
Photo © John Carey
I tried on a bespoke corset from your archive, but I didn't like the way it sat on me. Is the bespoke line similar to the standard fit styles where various styles work better for different bodies?
Yes and no. Depending on the silhouette you're trying to create, different style lines will enhance or detract from that end goal on your body. However, when looking at the archive or trying on someone else's personal corset (perhaps at the annual rummage sale), you must remember that that corset was built for someone else's body. The proportions and lines of the style are always customized to the individual. So if the underarm was too high or the waist shape too mild, that would be a non-issue in a bespoke that was created for you.

Are all of your standard fit styles available in bespoke?
Yes! Some of the standard fit styles have direct bespoke analogues; others have equivalent styles with a different name for various reasons. The bespoke versions of the Sweetheart, Dollymop and Victorian have more panels, which creates the opportunity for a much more finessed fit. Functionally, the bespoke equivalent of a Valentine would also be a bespoke Sweetheart; the Cincher and Cupid both translate to an Underbust Victorian, etc. Remember that the fit of the ready-to-wear style doesn't inherently reflect how well its bespoke equivalent would work for you. Let us know your shaping and styling goals at your consultation and we can guide you. We have a much broader range of bespoke styles and can also design new or hybrid creations to meet your needs.

Do I need to make an appointment for a bespoke consultation?
We pride ourselves on being able to take walk-in orders for bespoke corsets. If one of our fit experts isn't available when you come by, our retail associates should be able to help you as well. If you are looking for a more extravagant couture piece, then a consultation with a member of our design team should be scheduled. This ensures both their availability and the appropriate length of time for discussion, sketching, and swatching.

Dark Garden "Sweetheart" bespoke corset
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Perry Gallagher
In what sizes are bespoke corsets available? I have a standard fit corset that is a half size (with an odd-sized waist), can my bespoke corset be made in a half size?
We sometimes will do Made-to-Order corsets in hybrid sizes - a 24 front with a 22 back, for example. Because every dimension of a bespoke corset is customized to your body, there's no limit on how exacting the waist size is! Though most of our standard fit styles are sized in even numbers, we often fit our bespokes to the half, quarter, or eighth of an inch at the waist. It all depends on your personal compression, body symmetry, and goals. Please be communicative (and also realistic) about your waist shaping goals during the consultation and fitting.

Are the bespoke corsets gendered?
We can make any of our bespoke corsets to suit any gender identity or presentation. Please note that if you intend to pad your hips or bust for your corset, we will be fitting to a particular level of padding. Thus, you should wear the same pads for each fitting, and know that your corset won't fit as well when worn with other accoutrements.

There are so many bespoke style options! Which one should I get?
Of course, there's no one answer to this question. A bride, a waist trainer, and a fetish party reveler will likely all choose different styles. However, our most popular overbust corset is the Aziza, a fetching style with a sweetheart neckline, waist-accentuating angled body seams, and optional straps. The most popular underbust is the Underbust Victorian, a classic style which fits from just below the bust to the mid hip.

Dark Garden "Underbust Victorian" bespoke corset
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
What are the "Cinderella" corsets you sometime have for sale in the boutique?
Cinderella corsets are brand new bespoke samples which we have elected to sell rather than incorporate into our archive. Like Cinderella's slipper, if it fits, it's meant to be! These pieces are typically discounted roughly 30% from the list price from a new bespoke.

What measurements do you take for a bespoke corset? How is this more personalized than the personalized fit, aside from the mockup fitting?
We take 10-20 measurements for bespoke corsets, a comprehensive cross-reference of both circumferential (such as the bust and multiple hip references) and vertical measurements. The latter is critical in bespoke corsetry, to maximize support and idealize coverage without sacrificing mobility. Bespoke also affords the opportunity to refine the exact silhouette sculpting, top and bottom edge shaping, and angles of seams. This last point is crucial for comfort as well as aesthetics.

You keep using the word mockup, what does it mean?
A mockup, sometimes called a toile, is a lightweight prototype used to test fit. While a mockup is much softer than a brand new finished corset, it gives us the chance to see how your body compresses. We analyze the angle of the seams and boning as well as the coverage and support of the length. Measurements only tell half the story and mockups are crucial to achieving a good fit. Every body compresses differently; your posture and body composition will affect your corset's shape as much as your natural measurements.

Dark Garden "Underbust Edwardian" bespoke corset
Model: Mina
Photo © John Carey
How many fittings are there?
Typically, we do two mockup fittings, plus an initial consultation and measurement session. We also strongly recommend you try your new bespoke corset on at pickup. We can walk you through putting your corset on - many perceived fit problems can actually be addressed by adjusting your lacing and the placement of the corset on your body. This means for most corsets, there will be a total of four sessions with us. In addition, strapped corsets require a strap fitting.

So what are all the steps for a bespoke corset?
First, the consultation and measurements. Then, a unique pattern is drafted just for you. This is cut out and stitched into the first mockup. You will be called to schedule your mockup fitting with proprietress/lead designer Autumn Adamme, who will adjust your pattern. Typically, the mockup process then repeats itself one more time. At your final mockup fitting, your designer will confirm the fabrication details with you. With the design finalized, your corset is ready to be cut, sewn, grommeted, and laced. On strapped corsets, there's one more fitting before the top edge is finished and your corset is complete. This makes for a total of four to six appointments.

How long does the process take? Is it possible to do a rush bespoke order?
Our standard turnaround for bespoke corsets is 3 months. Depending on the time of year, if you are prompt in scheduling your fittings, a 2 month turnaround can often be accommodated without a rush fee. We encourage you to schedule your fittings promptly regardless, as it gives your body less chance to fluctuate throughout the process! If you have need of an even tighter turnaround, we can do rush turnarounds of 1 month if fittings are pre-scheduled. The fee for this turnaround is $500. A one-week turnaround is possible for a fee equivalent to the base price of your corset and may not be available year-round.

Dark Garden "Baroque" bespoke corset
Model: Anneka
Photo © Betsy Kershner
What can I do to aid the bespoke process?
We're so glad you asked! Please be sure to provide us with the most up-to-date contact information for you. Schedule your fittings promptly - you may even wish to schedule them in advance. Please understand that additions or changes to your order are liable to incur an additional fee. Be very communicative during fittings: we only know what we see, but not what you feel, or what you prefer aesthetically.

Are bespoke corsets only available for local clients?
While we strongly recommend that you come in person for a bespoke corset, we are very adept at remote fittings. We have measurement guides to aid you through the first step of the process, and a questionnaire to guide you through self-fitting your mockups. Photographs or a Skype fitting must accompany the questionnaire.

I'm planning to lose weight and/or have cosmetic surgery, should I hold off on ordering a bespoke corset?
If you have a surgery planned for the immediate future, then we ask that you wait to order a bespoke corset until after your surgery and an appropriate healing period. If you plan to but have not yet begun to lose weight, we recommend having the corset made to your current size. If you're already actively losing, we would prefer to hold off until your weight has stabilized. However, given deadlines of events, standard seasonal fluctuations, and/or the occasional medical necessity of a corset's support, we understand that this is not always possible. To this end, we will start by drafting your base pattern 2" smaller (to fit with a 4" lacing gap) and continually assess the corset's fit in relation to your goals at each fitting.

Dark Garden "Alyscia" bespoke corset
Model: Morgan M.
Photo © Max Johnson
I want a bespoke corset or ensemble to wear at my wedding, when should I begin that process?
Congratulations! It's never too early to get started on the design process for a couture wedding ensemble and many brides and grooms come to us nine to twelve months before the big day to begin planning. Given that weddings often go with weight loss (intentional or unintentional), we often put measuring and garment construction on hold until 6 months before your wedding date. Your penultimate fittings may likewise be put on hold as to minimize the chance of your changing size during their creation.

Dark Garden "Dita" bespoke corset
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Joel Aron
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

1 comment:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bespoke Corset FAQ

At Dark Garden Unique Corsetry, we have designed, fit, and created literally thousands of bespoke corsets over our 27 years of business. These bespoke corsets were averaged to create our exceptional standard fit line, but the best fit will always come about through the bespoke atelier experience. In today's mass produced market, the bespoke process is an anomaly, and we realize you might have some questions! For example, what is bespoke? How does it relate to, and differ from, the standard fit offerings? If you have a specific question, you may wish to type "command F" and search for your question's keyword(s).
Dark Garden "Aziza" bespoke corset
Model: Vienna La Rouge
Photo © Joel Aron
What is bespoke?
A bespoke corset at Dark Garden is one that has been custom drafted for your unique body, and has been fit tested with mockups (lightweight prototype corsets). We also have a much wider range of fabrics and design options and upgrades for our bespoke styles, as compared to our Signature Collection ready-to-wear line. Our Signature Collection contains pre-designed styles in our standard fit, which are what we have available in our boutique and on our website for immediate purchase.

Is bespoke the same as custom?
We used to use the term "custom" to describe this process. However, the high degree of customization available through our Made-to-Order corsets (which start with a standard fit base) caused some confusion. Bespoke is a traditional tailoring term that speaks to the higher fit standards and labor-intensive efforts required to achieve them.

What about the "personalized fit" offered for your Made-to-Order corsets?
Brace yourself for a little vocabulary lesson! Our Made-to-Order with Personalized Fit corsets are much more like the "Made-to-Measure" of tailoring vernacular. We use samples from our standard fit line plus measurements to create a personalized fit. While MTM and bespoke are often both considered "custom," Made-to-Measure corsets generally skip the critical mockup/intermediate fitting phase. The original fit sample garment stands in for the mockup, and this is the only fitting.

Dark Garden "Adelaide" bespoke corset
Photo © John Carey
I tried on a bespoke corset from your archive, but I didn't like the way it sat on me. Is the bespoke line similar to the standard fit styles where various styles work better for different bodies?
Yes and no. Depending on the silhouette you're trying to create, different style lines will enhance or detract from that end goal on your body. However, when looking at the archive or trying on someone else's personal corset (perhaps at the annual rummage sale), you must remember that that corset was built for someone else's body. The proportions and lines of the style are always customized to the individual. So if the underarm was too high or the waist shape too mild, that would be a non-issue in a bespoke that was created for you.

Are all of your standard fit styles available in bespoke?
Yes! Some of the standard fit styles have direct bespoke analogues; others have equivalent styles with a different name for various reasons. The bespoke versions of the Sweetheart, Dollymop and Victorian have more panels, which creates the opportunity for a much more finessed fit. Functionally, the bespoke equivalent of a Valentine would also be a bespoke Sweetheart; the Cincher and Cupid both translate to an Underbust Victorian, etc. Remember that the fit of the ready-to-wear style doesn't inherently reflect how well its bespoke equivalent would work for you. Let us know your shaping and styling goals at your consultation and we can guide you. We have a much broader range of bespoke styles and can also design new or hybrid creations to meet your needs.

Do I need to make an appointment for a bespoke consultation?
We pride ourselves on being able to take walk-in orders for bespoke corsets. If one of our fit experts isn't available when you come by, our retail associates should be able to help you as well. If you are looking for a more extravagant couture piece, then a consultation with a member of our design team should be scheduled. This ensures both their availability and the appropriate length of time for discussion, sketching, and swatching.

Dark Garden "Sweetheart" bespoke corset
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Perry Gallagher
In what sizes are bespoke corsets available? I have a standard fit corset that is a half size (with an odd-sized waist), can my bespoke corset be made in a half size?
We sometimes will do Made-to-Order corsets in hybrid sizes - a 24 front with a 22 back, for example. Because every dimension of a bespoke corset is customized to your body, there's no limit on how exacting the waist size is! Though most of our standard fit styles are sized in even numbers, we often fit our bespokes to the half, quarter, or eighth of an inch at the waist. It all depends on your personal compression, body symmetry, and goals. Please be communicative (and also realistic) about your waist shaping goals during the consultation and fitting.

Are the bespoke corsets gendered?
We can make any of our bespoke corsets to suit any gender identity or presentation. Please note that if you intend to pad your hips or bust for your corset, we will be fitting to a particular level of padding. Thus, you should wear the same pads for each fitting, and know that your corset won't fit as well when worn with other accoutrements.

There are so many bespoke style options! Which one should I get?
Of course, there's no one answer to this question. A bride, a waist trainer, and a fetish party reveler will likely all choose different styles. However, our most popular overbust corset is the Aziza, a fetching style with a sweetheart neckline, waist-accentuating angled body seams, and optional straps. The most popular underbust is the Underbust Victorian, a classic style which fits from just below the bust to the mid hip.

Dark Garden "Underbust Victorian" bespoke corset
Model: Autumn Adamme
Photo © Chris Gaede
What are the "Cinderella" corsets you sometime have for sale in the boutique?
Cinderella corsets are brand new bespoke samples which we have elected to sell rather than incorporate into our archive. Like Cinderella's slipper, if it fits, it's meant to be! These pieces are typically discounted roughly 30% from the list price from a new bespoke.

What measurements do you take for a bespoke corset? How is this more personalized than the personalized fit, aside from the mockup fitting?
We take 10-20 measurements for bespoke corsets, a comprehensive cross-reference of both circumferential (such as the bust and multiple hip references) and vertical measurements. The latter is critical in bespoke corsetry, to maximize support and idealize coverage without sacrificing mobility. Bespoke also affords the opportunity to refine the exact silhouette sculpting, top and bottom edge shaping, and angles of seams. This last point is crucial for comfort as well as aesthetics.

You keep using the word mockup, what does it mean?
A mockup, sometimes called a toile, is a lightweight prototype used to test fit. While a mockup is much softer than a brand new finished corset, it gives us the chance to see how your body compresses. We analyze the angle of the seams and boning as well as the coverage and support of the length. Measurements only tell half the story and mockups are crucial to achieving a good fit. Every body compresses differently; your posture and body composition will affect your corset's shape as much as your natural measurements.

Dark Garden "Underbust Edwardian" bespoke corset
Model: Mina
Photo © John Carey
How many fittings are there?
Typically, we do two mockup fittings, plus an initial consultation and measurement session. We also strongly recommend you try your new bespoke corset on at pickup. We can walk you through putting your corset on - many perceived fit problems can actually be addressed by adjusting your lacing and the placement of the corset on your body. This means for most corsets, there will be a total of four sessions with us. In addition, strapped corsets require a strap fitting.

So what are all the steps for a bespoke corset?
First, the consultation and measurements. Then, a unique pattern is drafted just for you. This is cut out and stitched into the first mockup. You will be called to schedule your mockup fitting with proprietress/lead designer Autumn Adamme, who will adjust your pattern. Typically, the mockup process then repeats itself one more time. At your final mockup fitting, your designer will confirm the fabrication details with you. With the design finalized, your corset is ready to be cut, sewn, grommeted, and laced. On strapped corsets, there's one more fitting before the top edge is finished and your corset is complete. This makes for a total of four to six appointments.

How long does the process take? Is it possible to do a rush bespoke order?
Our standard turnaround for bespoke corsets is 3 months. Depending on the time of year, if you are prompt in scheduling your fittings, a 2 month turnaround can often be accommodated without a rush fee. We encourage you to schedule your fittings promptly regardless, as it gives your body less chance to fluctuate throughout the process! If you have need of an even tighter turnaround, we can do rush turnarounds of 1 month if fittings are pre-scheduled. The fee for this turnaround is $500. A one-week turnaround is possible for a fee equivalent to the base price of your corset and may not be available year-round.

Dark Garden "Baroque" bespoke corset
Model: Anneka
Photo © Betsy Kershner
What can I do to aid the bespoke process?
We're so glad you asked! Please be sure to provide us with the most up-to-date contact information for you. Schedule your fittings promptly - you may even wish to schedule them in advance. Please understand that additions or changes to your order are liable to incur an additional fee. Be very communicative during fittings: we only know what we see, but not what you feel, or what you prefer aesthetically.

Are bespoke corsets only available for local clients?
While we strongly recommend that you come in person for a bespoke corset, we are very adept at remote fittings. We have measurement guides to aid you through the first step of the process, and a questionnaire to guide you through self-fitting your mockups. Photographs or a Skype fitting must accompany the questionnaire.

I'm planning to lose weight and/or have cosmetic surgery, should I hold off on ordering a bespoke corset?
If you have a surgery planned for the immediate future, then we ask that you wait to order a bespoke corset until after your surgery and an appropriate healing period. If you plan to but have not yet begun to lose weight, we recommend having the corset made to your current size. If you're already actively losing, we would prefer to hold off until your weight has stabilized. However, given deadlines of events, standard seasonal fluctuations, and/or the occasional medical necessity of a corset's support, we understand that this is not always possible. To this end, we will start by drafting your base pattern 2" smaller (to fit with a 4" lacing gap) and continually assess the corset's fit in relation to your goals at each fitting.

Dark Garden "Alyscia" bespoke corset
Model: Morgan M.
Photo © Max Johnson
I want a bespoke corset or ensemble to wear at my wedding, when should I begin that process?
Congratulations! It's never too early to get started on the design process for a couture wedding ensemble and many brides and grooms come to us nine to twelve months before the big day to begin planning. Given that weddings often go with weight loss (intentional or unintentional), we often put measuring and garment construction on hold until 6 months before your wedding date. Your penultimate fittings may likewise be put on hold as to minimize the chance of your changing size during their creation.

Dark Garden "Dita" bespoke corset
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Joel Aron
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

1 comment: