Waist Not - Want Not
Corsetry News Web Journal
November December 2000
Volume 4 Number 5



In This Issue
Onward 2001!
Onward 2001!


From The Editor
All my best!
Ann
FROM THE EDITOR
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2000

UNBELIEVABLE:
THE HOLIDAYS AGAIN!

Good Yule Tide to everyone! Need I say more? I hope we are all rested and energized to prepare for the New Year -- truly The Millennium this coming year, so let's celebrate all over again. And we have a lot to celebrate this fall! Especially this cute verse sent to us by our new corset trainee PH from London (congrats to him for accomplishing three months of waist training...we will have more on his considerable progress in our next journal, so please stay tuned):

A large mezzo from lower Manhattan,
Gave recitals in jewels and satin.
During songs by Joe Blow,
Lots of bosom would show,
But her corset would help keep the fat in...
by Troubador
Tata
ROMANTASY'S newest Webkittymistress, Tata.

Speaking of Tata, she has a new boyfriend. Or girlfriend: we are not sure. And we intend NEVER to ever be sure...Here's why: one fall evening at dusk, Ann was in her garden surveying her progress, when lo! from under the back fence, came Tata, strolling placidly beside a ....skunk! They seem to be the best of friends. Now, I am known to be quite liberal and accepting, but enough is enough! Unless, of course, her new friend is a corset enthusiast....then we can talk...from a distance!

On a less silly note....

"Dear Ann, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how nicely done your site is! The designer for your web site did a very nice job. When I was perusing the Internet I ran across it and found it to be quite beautiful. I hope that success will always be with you. Sincerely, AC" 8/4/00

"I've been looking for a corset site for days now and I have to say when I found yours, my search was over. Your site is the most fabulous thing I've seen on the Internet for a while. I have recently found out I have distant family in San Francisco when I come to visit them, you will be the first stop on my sight-seeing list. Thanks for the help. Fiona, a distant admirer from Scotland." 8/8/00

"Have looked at the website for the last two updates and am impressed. Kudos to your new webperson. Last month's feature corset was just beautiful! Dave" 8/9/00

"I was impressed with all the information on your website and agree that you're definitely the expert...I've looked at many different websites.... Alicia" 8/12/00

These kind, unsolicited comments are a testament to the wonderful work and guidance recently offered to ROMANTASY by our continuing senior web designer, Jim Cherry. We want to acknowledge and credit them for updating our site, for correcting grammatical errors, for accessing more of the valuable but previously-buried information, and for setting up a secure server and modern shopping cart! Please enjoy our updated "What's New" section, and new features such as the new "Lacisstant" lace-pull product! Thank you, Jim!

Congrats to our senior Webmaster Jim, who won the top award for Golden Gate Business Association Member of the Year, San Francisco, September, 2000! Someday we can say "we knew him when..." but, we are fortunate to know him now and have his considerable support for ROMANTASY's success!

Jim
Here's Jim, our principal Webmaster and guide!

Sumi models the Sabrina.

Sumi models the Scallop Trollop.

TRAVELLING WHILE STAYING AT HOME

We've been busy this past summer and also fall hosting some foreign travellers and students, sharing many chuckles at our language faux-pas's, learning some Mandarin, Japanese, Brazilian, German and who-know-what-else! All are fascinated with the new world of corseting and more than one guest has delighted in spending hours dressing up in our corsets and ballgown skirts. Here are some adorable photos of Sumi, from Tokyo. No, she didn't yet order a corset, but we keep hoping...also to see her on one of her future business trips to San Francisco! Hello Cat and Renee from Taiwan, and Kyoka from Tokyo, Claudia, Thomas and Reiner from Germany! We miss you all and wish you the best for 2001!


Sumi models the Simple Pleasures.

Joanne Joanne Ann in Amsterdam
Here are our promised photos of our new corset customer and friend whom we met and assisted in Amsterdam, Joanne, and another of Ann at the famed Sex Museum, behaving outrageously, as usual...

SUGGESTIONS FOR HOLIDAY DESIGNS BUT, REMEMBER: ORDER NOW, AND ROMANTASY can still produce a custom corset for your Xmas eve or New Year's Eve party - BUT order now! Otherwise some corsetmakers will charge a rush fee. Call us immediately if you need assistance with style or maker. Don't forget to add CA sales tax of 8.5%; shipping included for corsets or listed for other products. And don't forget to order your CorPro tubetop to wear under your new corset! Here are our selections for true party styles, plus the new styles listed below in this column.

Lavendar Dream LAVENDER DREAM BY ISABELLA
We've also seen some of the cutest renditions of regular corset styles ever this fall, some designed by our clients, some by our corset maker, and some by Ann! Just take a look at this adorable purple print with chartreuse lacings underbust by Isabella. Our client ordered this unique color combination, Ann found the fabric and embellishments, and Isabella put it all together.

The Millenium Corset THE REAL MILLENNIUM CORSET, "ENCORE IN PEWTER" BY BR CREATIONS
Remember the Millennium Corset by Ruth Johnson of BR Creations and Princess Amadala hat by Sue Nice? Well here it is once more, just in time for the Real Millennium. Stay tuned for another version for BR Creations to be debuted soon (in progress).

The Millenium Corset ISABELLA'S MILLENNIUM CONTENTION
Kay and Ann worked diligently to design this one, a version of the above, using gun metal grey satin and a unique silver braided trim up the front. Kay debuted this style at the Southern Comfort transgender convention in Atlanta in September, and met another favorite ROMANTASY customer, Jennifer Hope.

Jennifer's Corset HERE'S JENNIFER'S JAZZY SWIRL CORSET BY ISABELLA
A standard overbust corset can be made spectacular merely by choice of a noteworthy fabric, here applied to the front panels to coordinate with a lovely burgundy satin on the sides. Remember to place the darker color on the underarm panels to further reduce your waistline, as did Jennifer.

The Appassionata NEW CORSET STYLE BY ISABELLA In August we introduced ROMANTASY's first underwire bust cup corset: THE APPASSIONATA by Isabella. An adorable tight-lacing corset in Isabella's inimitable style! Perfect construction techniques and comfort in spiral or coiled steel boning. Show here is passionate purple brocade: your choice of fabric and color! Standard sizes $495.

The Jeantte NEW CORSET STYLE BY SHERI
We also debuted a brand new style, THE JEANETTE. Named after our fave corset photographer and friend, Jeanette Vonier, shown here at her wedding wearing her corset bodice over a Donna Karan silk chiffon skirt. Quite a sophisticated look, and modern too! Style as shown in brocade, standard sizes: $475. For the holidays, order it in red satin or green brocade, coupled with a six-yard ballgown, cartridge pleated skirt by Sheri. Typically $345, please consider this special:

Skirt HOLIDAY PARTY SKIRT SPECIAL--$225 waists to 34", or $255 waists 34" and over. BUT ORDER and PREPAY BY DECEMBER 13 ! !
If you order and prepay by December 13, Sheri will produce and deliver to ROMANTASY in San Francisco, by Thursday, December 21, a beautiful, full 6-8 yard satin or taffeta ballgown skirt, just like the skirt shown here! Order by first and second choice color, preferred fabric, waist size and skirt length. Price: regular $295-$320. US Delivery: $10 priority mail, or overnight at prevailing rates. You may deposit via our new secure Shopping Cart, Custom Corset category. Orders placed on or after Dec. 14 will be at regular price plus incur a $125 rush fee for holiday delivery.


Note that we require a personal fitting with Sheri for any overbust corset style to guarantee perfect fit. Not a bad reason to journey to San Francisco for a special weekend, and drop by ROMANTASY for a tea party and to see other new styles on the back burner or in production!

The Feather Extravaganza "THE FEATHER EXTRAVAGANZA" BY SHERI
See this wonderful, imaginative use of feather straps in irridescent coque feathers (detachable). A head turner! Our clear choice for September Corset of the Month! Add $150 for feather straps and $100 for feather bottom trim.

The Lily BRILLIANCE WITH GOLD PLUS FRINGE AND ROYAL PURPLE - 'THE LILY' BY MP GARROD
here's a lovely choice in passionate purple with royal - looking gold braid and fringe! For glitzy, over-the-top frou-frou corsets, we nominate Michael! Check out his page and the fab gold overbust back-laced Lily, debuted last fall at the Bal de Gracieuses.



TESTING FOR FIT OF A NEW CORSET


Ann in Isabella's Sabrina on set of City Beat with Chablis (ribbon skirt and a velvet Victorian on mannekin).

We have entertained some questions recently from customers who received their corsets and felt they did not fit. After analyzing the alleged problems, here is a summary of the most critical tips in testing for fit. Please do all of these things before you call your corset maker or experience one second of distress from an imagined ill-fitting garment:

1. Even though common advice has it to NOT tight lace a new corset, you MUST tight lace it at least for 5 to 10 minutes to check the fit initially.
2. Once you have unlaced, opened up the corset, then clipped it in front and laced it down about 2", then lean sharply to the right, grab the left bottom hem with both hands and pull it downwards. Then lean in the reverse and do the same. Do this several times in each direction. You are actually "seating" the corset exactly at your waistline, the proper place on the body for the corset to ride. We had a customer call us claiming that the center front waist to bottom hem was only two inches long! This was impossible as I had measured her for a 5.5" bottom! Another customer claimed the front bottom edge was protruding out from her tummy in an awkward angle. Once these customers each seated the waistline, the alleged problems were resolved.

3. Sometimes initially the bust cup of an overbust style will seem to gap away from the bosom. It is not unknown, says corset maker Isabella, that simply trying to break the corset in over about four weeks, may actually bend the stays inward to reach an accurate fit! Apparently Sue Nice had exactly this experience, which Isabella passed onto us recently. And seating the corset properly on the waistline may result in lowering the top edge and "seating" the bosom properly inside the cup. Of course, a woman customer should fit a corset the same way she checks fit of a bra: lace into the corset then lean forward from the waist and lift each bosom up into the cup area, then stand up and analyze the results.
4. Corset maker Sheri, suggests that for flat-bodied (18th century and before) styles, the female wearer reach inside the bodice after it is laced and pull the bosom upwards or to the center front to insure proper placement.

Give us your tips for testing fit, and if we publish, we'll gift you a new Lacisstant!

HOW A CORSET ACTUALLY FITS ON THE BODY, AND WHY IT MEASURES DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU MIGHT EXPECT

Recently, a customer raised some interesting questions that merit a thoughtful response, and advice for those deciding on the ultimate waist reduction desired when ordering a corset. These important facts following, also serve to accurately evaluate the fit and feel of your final corset, once it is delivered and after a time, you have fully broken it in and closed the laces down in the back.

The typical waist reduction of a corset closed in the back, constructed for a medium build, medium weight customer be it man or woman, is 4". This means that when you break in your new corset over a 1-2 month period or longer, depending on how many times you can wear it and according to our instructions that come with the garment, your waist will be reduced 4" from its original measurement that you gave us with your order.

Jeanette

However, there are some important points to consider when checking that reduction measurement.

First, you will be 1.25" to 1.5" smaller INSIDE the corset than what you measure OUTSIDE the corset. For a client with a 36" natural snug waist, the corset at a 4" reduction therefore closes on the outside at about 33" or 33.5", not 32". Steel bones add that much to the girth while at the same time reducing the waist overall.

Second, a boned back protector inserted between your body and the corset, will add more girth, even 1/4" to 1/2".

Third, to test the actual measurement of the corset to insure that it has been constructed properly according to your desire for a 4" waist reduction, place the corset flat and open, then measure 1/2 of it, for example, from the front busk clip edge to the back edge where the grommets are. Again, for our client with a 36" natural snug waist, that should approximate (nothing is ever EXACT) 16" more or less. If it does, then the corset has been made properly.

Fourth, sometimes but very rarely, a corset maker overlooks or mis-measures the desired and requested reduction. In those cases, ROMANTASY of course, will re-make your corset.

Fifth, a looser fit than you might expect, could signify that you are extremely plastic or squishy (term of art :-)). That fact is something that is very difficult to tell long distance, without seeing and actually touching the body during an in-person measuring process. Former ROMANTASY clients may remember that staff will usually touch and actually gently press on the waist to determine plasticity. It does not matter the actual girth of a customer: even very large waists may be quite firm and non-yielding, contrary to expectations!

Sixth, a looser fit might also signify some weight reduction between time of order and time the corset is delivered (from 4-12 weeks customarily). We noted that recently, a customer lost two full inches between his order and corset delivery! If your corset is easily closed in the back AND you did order a 4" reduction, could you also have dropped some weight before delivery? Even a 1/2" waist reduction can ease the fit of the corset quite a bit.

Finally, are you completely closing the corset? It is a bit tough to do, as sometimes there remains a 1/2" to 3/4" gap in the back. You should try to close the back completely, as follows:

Pull the top laces of the waist pulls, then pull the bottom laces of the waist pull to try to completely close the corset. Pulling the top usually closes the top and pulling the bottom, the bottom. Also, criss cross the waist pulls to achieve more pulling power as you close off the middle of the corset.

Remember that ROMANTASY now provides the "Lacissant" (R) Romantasy 2000. This handy rope-and-wood device serves as an extra pair of hands to hook and pull the waist lace pulls taught so you can use both hands to lace down. You can order yours for $12 by calling us at (415) 585-0760!

We hope these comments help you evaluate your finished product accurately. Please contact us if you have any further questions about your order, and remember these principles and facts when you place your next corset order!

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS...
HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT IN A CUSTOM GARMENT--

"Recently I have had a horrible experience buying a corset. I ordered it from XYZ. Ten weeks later and after many unanswered inquiries I have an 18th century corset in need of many alterations...the owner was so rude and horrible to me that I don't want to send it back for fear of never seeing it again. It fits all wrong: first the straps are too short and causes it to rise up and cut under my armpits. Second, I paid extra for beading and they appear to be cheap plastic, jet like-things. I have yet to wear the garment and they are already coming loose. The bottom sticks out when I try to lace in at the lower abdomen; I am by no means big in the tummy as this one closes at 22", a 4" reduction. Other than that, it is a beautiful piece. What shall I do?" ESO

Unfortunately, there are a few occasions when nothing seems to go right on a corset order, for either the customer, the corset maker, or the representative like ROMANTASY! We all have experienced those occasions when one mistake leads to ten, and no one seems to know why. Is it luck? Who bears the responsibility? Should the corset maker or business offer a discount? Who decides what kind of repairs can be done without cost and what additional the customer must pay to have the desired garment? Please read on if you would like some suggestions on how to deal with your corset maker when she/he delivers a product that does not live up to your standards or expectations.

CORSETS AND CEREMONY: BUILDING RITUAL INTO TIGHT-LACING

"Hello, Ann! S's medical problems are behind her and we finally got together for the romantic and elegant weekend at the lakeside resort. We had a little candlelight ceremony for her first lacing in. Sheri's corset is an absolute success. It just fits her perfectly, and she fits it perfectly. She is just the most beautiful, elegant and sexy lady in it -- our dreams have been fulfilled!" A. from Bozeman, MT 7/13/00

This glowing account of the first lacing-in by one of our wonderful male customers from Montana, reminded us of our perspective: that corseting itself, the process of receiving the gift of a corset, putting it on for the first time, and every time thereafter, can be made more special through ritual and anticipation. Please read on about the "zen" of corseting. Perhaps you can plan a special holiday presentation ceremony for gifting your Significant Other with her first, or repeat ROMANTASY corset!

GUEST COLUMN:
CHOICE OF CORSET STYLES by MP Garrod/True Grace Corset Co.


In my years of corset making I have had orders from people whose waists vary from anything between 15 inches and 46 inches! Likewise, the measurements around the body, both above and below the waist, vary enormously. The final corset shapes, in consequence, vary between pear shape and the classic Hourglass. (Ed note: please see our Best Style webpage for the general pattern and boning shapes of different basic styles).

There are, broadly speaking, three basic patterns:

1) Panels which are cut vertically with no shape at all. This flattens the pear shape, (Ed. note: recently we were contacted by a FTM (female to male transsexual) and we assured him that indeed, Mr. Garrod could--and has--construct a breast-binding longline corset a la 'Flapper' style!)

2) Panels which are bottle shaped at the sides. This creates a more accentuated waist on someone who has very little hip strong (this is the difference between the waist and hip measurements, say, 4 to 8 inches).


Here's The Man:
Michael Garrod, debuting his blue Lily at ROMANTASY!

Photo: (c) F. Cavaliere
Model: Pandora
3) Panels which are bottle shaped at the sides, but are extended even further by adding gussets/flutes into the hem (Ed. note: a 'flute' is a triangular shaped piece of fabric inserted into a panel piece which has a straight cut with fabric forced open to accommodate the triangular flute). This is suitable for persons with a hip spring of 10 or more inches.

The reader might wonder why it is necessary to add flutes to enlarge the hip spring. The reason is quite simple -- sewing together two panels with very sharp curves on them is physically difficult, a lot depending on the material in use. Also, the resultant shape with flutes fitted, is superior.

I have been asked from time to time to make a "Lily" corset for a customer who has little or no hip spring (the Lily has flutes in it). It won't work! I have even been asked for my alternate patterned Lily for someone with a 10 inch hip spring -- but this style is for someone with a hip spring exceeding 20 inches! I have only made one of these latter styles in 15 years in business! Every pattern has its limitations and it is impossible to adapt any one pattern to every possible figure or desired waist silhouette.

I should qualify what I have said here by saying that it applies to the True Grace range of corsets. Other makers have their own patterns to work from, and what I have said will almost certainly not apply to them as well. My advice to you, in general, is to ask your corset maker -- or ROMANTASY! -- what style or styles will fit you best, and do not necessarily make a choice based on what a corset looks like in a brochure or on a model quite different from you. Michael the glider Pilot
Michael Garrod, the Glider Pilot!
WE GET LETTERS... AND KUDOS!

"Dear Ann,
I received the Isabella corset yesterday evening. what a nice quality corset! Think I like cotton twill for a material much more than satin. Looks more manly. The beige color blends with my skin tone quite nicely. Can wear this corset without a body shirt over it. Nobody would spot it. All they see is my skinny waistline and V-shaped torso! You know, I like this new corset so much, I think I'll order two more just like it so that I can alternate more often between them. Could you get the ball rolling here?" -- Charlie B 12/9/00

"Ann,
Thank you for shipping the corset out so fast. I tried it on Wednesday night and was surprised at how comfortable it was! The difference between my old one and this one is night and day. The old one was uncomfortable to wear and had the tendency to rub against my lower ribs. The new one is very comfortable and accommodates my lower ribs very nicely. I want to thank you and BR Creations for a wonderful product. I look forward to many wearings of this corset and to continued business with you." Tammy 5/18/00

"Ann, Thank you so much for the additional information (on price-value considerations and other). I read your newsletter and the articles (thank you BTW. They were very informative)." PM 6/22/00

"That's really a beautiful (feminine) web site you have. Animated fan waving indeed!" Dr. ___ (leather daddy)

"I have looked at multiple websites on corsets and this one is by far the most complete and informative. Thank you." Jill 7/4/00

"Dear ROMANTASY, Forgive this mail as it isn't to order a corset. I have always wanted one and will someday be able to obtain my dream of having one. But I did find your page wonderful...and exciting...and I wanted to pass that along to you...Thank you for the wonderful page." Truly, JR 7/16/00 (Ed. note: no web visitor should ever hesitate to share our love of corseting, or tell us about their corseting reams, even if now is not an appropriate time to invest in a corset! We are always happy to share stories and dispense advice or information!)

"Dear Ann, I would like to thank you for doing what you do and desire most, and that is ROMANTASY. As soon as I tried a few corsets on at the exhibit, I was hooked on getting one. You were so kind to make me feel comfortable trying on different styles and giving me the courage to get more than just a simple black leather corset. I would also like to thank you for recently taking the time to show me how to wear my new corset. It feels so much like a glove. I love it. It was fun to visit with you again. The conversation was fun and intellectually stimulating. With a world full of such crazy things, it is nice to make a new friend. The cookies were such a delightful treat." Julene 7/16/00

*        *        *
AND IN CONCLUSION...

Take a fan, Ladies.
This really IS the Millennium we hear, not last year after all! OK. It's a good excuse for another over-the-top celebration I think! So lace down and show off this holiday, but be safe, too. Carry a fan with you in case you overindulge and feel faint. Partners be aware: watch for flushed faces or feel for clammy hands, indicating that your corseted wench needs to sit down and the corset opened a bit. It takes a bit to a lot of personal motivation and sacrifice to tight-lace, thus an attentive companion who cares about and watches out for our well-being, progress and achievement can be grand! Happy Yuletide and New Years to all, old and new friends, those whom we've met and those dear email correspondents. Our best wishes to one and all, and to all a Good Night! Gute Nacht!

Oh Suzanne!

Robby, MP Garrod & Monica
Love, Model Monica, Michael and Robby.
Martina
Love, Martina.
Ann and Chablis
Love, Model Chablis and Ann


Ann Grogan
with Corset Dream Makers, Robby Cannedy and Martina Ostermann

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