The Interior Corset

The strapless dress has dominated the market for bridal and evening wear for over a decade, but the top concern from our customers about this style is fear of spending the whole night pulling it up.

Custom fit corset bodice on one of our bridal clients

The secret inside every properly constructed strapless dress is a corset, an interior armature that molds the figure and distributes the weight of the gown across the torso. Unlike a strapless bra, a corset will support and and lift the bust, shape and reduce the waist, and smooth the hip. Since the weight of the dress is supported completely, it cannot slide down or shift. The dress stays where it belongs, and the bust line remains high. The dress is cut to skim over the inner shaping, and can be fitted very close to the body without riding up or bunching. Top designers such as Dior, Balenciaga, and Monique Lhuillier use this technique inside their couture and bridal lines.

A corset layer inside a Dior evening gown

Petersham ribbon bone casings inside a Monique Lhuillier bridal bodice

Surprisingly, a formal corset is quite comfortable. Because they are made specifically for each client, we can adjust the fit for the specific needs of the individual body. Multiple fittings allow us to remove pressure points and correct curves to enhance the natural shape without force. Our goal is a dress that feels like a hug, not an ordeal.
The corset and slip are cut and fit first. Once the shape for that is corrected, we cut the pattern for the dress and top layers.

Fitting one of our brides in her structured corset lining

The corset layer can be made with 2 different methods: (1) by sandwiching two layers of cotton satin (a very strong, breathable, but still beautiful fabric) together and sliding steel bones between the layers, or (2) by stitching rows of petersham ribbon or bias binding to the inside of the lining, and sliding the steel bones between the ribbon and fabric. In both cases, foam bust cups can be added for shaping.

Method 1: Two layers of satin with bones slid in-between. Only rows of stitching are visible inside the dress.

Method 2: Bias binding stitched to satin lining, creating interior casing for steel bones

The interior corset layer is usually closed with a separate, heavy duty zipper and hook, while the exterior dress is closed with a lighter, invisible zipper and more delicate hook, concealing the structural layer.

The tops of the two separate zippers and hooks are visible here. The interior zipper has larger, stronger teeth than the exterior invisible zipper.

Once the dress is completed and our client is wearing it, the interior structure is nearly impossible to detect.

Our client at her hem fitting. Fit adjustments are completed, with only final finishing and pressing still to do.

This strapless dress will stay in place comfortably for the entirety of this bride’s wedding day.






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