Made to measure corset tightlacing: Tales from a fresh beginner

Jill Hoverman corset


KathTea purchases her first-ever custom-made corset from Jill Hoverman and straps herself in for two weeks of tightlacing…

Brand New Beginnings

Where to start when you want to try out your first-ever made to measure corset? I found Jill Hoverman on The Lingerie Addict’s list of 51 Places to Buy Your Next Corset and had been reassured by The Lingerie Addict’s founder herself.

October 11: Initial conversations with Jill Hoverman on Etsy were pleasant. She was very patient when I started asking over 9000 corsety-relatedquestions. She gave me a great choice of taffeta satin and organic twill fabrics to choose from. I settled on gold satin for the bindings and fuchsia twill as the main fabric. Aside from that – since I chose to save on getting a mock-up – I sent her a photo of myself in my Corsets UK piece instead. From there we worked out the measurements I had previously sent to her and corrected a few.

On October 27, Jill received the fabric and completed the corset by November 2. I have to remind some of you newbies out there that if you intend to order a corset for a special occasion, do plan a few months ahead just to be safe. Some corsetieres will finish making your corset sooner than others, depending on how many orders they have received at the time. These people are just human; they can’t simply finish things at lightning speed just because you want them to.

Jill Hoverman corset

KathTea models her Jill Hoverman corset

Photo by Edwin Goh of AGE Studio

Price & Payment

The usual price for Jill Hoverman’s multilayered tightlacing Victorian corset is US $135, with free shipping to the US and Canada (I kid you not!) and a flat rate of US $10 for any other country. As I had requested coutil, she allowed me to have it for another US$5, even though she strongly believes it is unnecessary. As a total I had to pay US $150. Phew! That seems a lot, doesn’t it? Well, to be completely frank, many corsetieres out there actually charge US $250 at the very minimum. Fully bespoke corsets tend to be very expensive, so this is a very fair price for a made to measure corset. Nevertheless, if you’re only, say, earning a bit of pocket money from occasional tennis classes (yes, I am kind of a coach) paying US $150 upfront is pretty hard. Malaysian ringgit is more than 3 times a US dollar.

Thankfully, Jill was willing to work on an incredibly flexible payment plan with me. I am to pay US $37.50 in four instalments with the project only starting after the second payment. However, somewhere in between, my impatient self paid her US $12.50 and US $25.00 which she didn’t seem to mind. Most corsetieres I have spoken to strictly have a 50-50 rule and some don’t have payment plans at all. Some will also expect the payments to be complete within 90 days. There are also some who want completion of payment within weeks. So remember to ask. So far I am thankful to have found Jill – and then there’s another corsetiere who’s willing to work a 6-payment-plan with me! I won’t name names yet, that project will come later next year.

Corset Material, Waist Tape & Modesty Panel

There are four layers to my corset: The fashion fabric, the lining fabric and two layers of interfacing. Remember that coutil I mentioned? Well, Jill missed out on that and when I showed her evidence that she promised me coutil she admitted her mistake and immediately sent me a refund. (That’s how my hoarding abilities come in handy; I keep 99% of familiar e-mails and PMs). Anyway, Jill was not kidding when she said that the twill she uses is incredibly sturdy. She says that even when working for Romantasy, she does not use coutil at all. While a friend of mine (a veteran at waist training and an amazing person) insists that purely coutil should be used, maybe this corset will prove her wrong. Only time can tell, my fellow mooks. The colours of the corset are striking so I am quite pleased with myself – especially after getting appraisal from Jill and a number of others. Fuchsia with gold bindings really has a mix of kooky and feminine, with a really celebratory feel to it. The lining was a surprise! Jill may have forgotten all about the coutil (since she uses it so rarely; understandable) but she gave me a deliciously pretty white jacquard as the lining, something I didn’t even request. No extra charge!

My made to measure corset has 22 bones overall, including the ones at the busk and either side of the grommets, possibly a mixture of flat steels and spiral steels as the bones at the sides of my body adapt to the curvature quite easily. Naturally the ones at the busk and grommets have to be flat steels for stability.

According to Jill’s listing the waist tape is a wide grosgrain ribbon. It’s visible over at the front busk and one of the bones but one would only really notice if they focus on those two areas. Jill says that she has never received complaints about it but will look into making the waist tape less visible in the future. I also received a removable modesty panel which matches the corset and has a soft material inside that makes it quite solid. This panel doesn’t have grommets attached to it, but I like its solidity as it doesn’t bunch up when I tightlace.

Grommets and Lacing

The corset has 13 pairs of grommets and white shoestring type of laces. I don’t know why the number of grommets is so odd but I highly suspect it’s due to the odd length of my torso. Otherwise the grommets would be very far apart or too close! At first tug I didn’t like the stretchiness of the laces but over a few days they remained in their stretched length. I guess this is also a matter of preference. Anyway, I decided to go online and get myself some pretty double faced satin ribbon.

Shape & Silhouette

The first wearing photos themselves just prove that a well-made custom corset looks great and cinches a lot even during first wear! It’s incredibly tempting to keep on lacing my waist to 68cm (like in the photos) but as a rule of thumb 2 inches at a time for 2 hours is best when you’re breaking in a corset. I just love the hourglass silhouette that wearing this corset achieved!

Conclusion & Words of Advice

I am proud with my choice of fabrics which at first thought may appear gaudy or tacky. It turned out to be flatteringly feminine and very suitable for festivities or just to get a bit of fashion attention. That’s a loud and proud Mookychick way of doing things! If you have a unique choice of fabrics in mind, don’t shy away from your instincts and let the corsetiere know what you wish to have. Additionally, don’t be afraid of letting the corsetiere know what you aren’t too pleased with but don’t make any false claims! Remember to back your complaints with evidence if you have any complaints at all. Oh and don’t get argumentative and whiny. Be cool and stay calm.

Overall I am very happy with this corset from Jill Hoverman and I am already planning to buy another corset from her again. In case you were wondering, the fabric choice is going to be louder than ever and I am highly looking forward to it.

After two weeks…

The corset has remained as strong as ever! It has stretched a little more than half an inch making the measurement of the closed waist 24.6″- which is normal since I doubt there’s fabric that won’t stretch at all. I can actually almost close the corset on my body already! The last few millimetres need the help of a doorknob or human assistance. I still don’t really like the lacing as a matter of personal taste – it’ just too plain for me. When cinched completely, it seems that the waist tape becomes quite visible, I’m not sure if this is normal with tightlacing corsets or not.

Where to next for me? I can’t say for sure but I’d be more than happy to own another Jill Hoverman corset. I’ll probably be ordering my future corsets at a smaller waist size, possibly 22″ or so. Who knows? I may even decide to shrink my waist even more. I love a little shock value with my body modifications.