Sign Ups for OCOC16 Close This Month!

The Oxford Conference of Corsetry is a can't-miss event for corsetmakers. Though for many it is a yearly pilgrimage, it's an event that every person in the craft should try to attend at least once. The networking and sense of community is not found anywhere else, whether you're a beginner or an expert. Each year's program is stronger than the last. The workshop leaders, keynote speaker, and models are all top-notch. This year, sign ups are closing early, and I encourage you to take the plunge if you've been tempted by the program!

Due to restrictions that we have with the new venue, we have to announce that although ticket sales are healthy, we need a further 20-25 definite sign-ups before the end of the month in order to meet the requirements of the venue and the conditions they have imposed upon us. If we do not meet that target, we will have to defer the conference to 2017 when we have our regular venue back.
— Oxford Conference of Corsetry

I've been involved with the conference since its inaugural year, when I was on the committee of Corset Fellows. In its second year, I taught a workshop on pattern grading corsets, and my mentor Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden came as our keynote speaker. Last year, I attended as a regular delegate to experience the workshops first hand. Autumn in turn brought Mister Pearl himself and led a curated Q&A panel with him.

Sketchbook excerpts as I designed my wedding gown (seen on the right).

Sketchbook excerpts as I designed my wedding gown (seen on the right).

For the 2016 programme, I am slated to teach a workshop on illustration. Fashion illustration was my passion before I discovered corsetry. My sketching skills have come in incredibly handy for designing my ready-to-wear line and custom pieces both. I use my sketchbook to map the construction of integrated corset concepts, which simplifies the patterning and sketchbook phases. On Sunday, there will be an additional mini workshop in which I discuss technical flats. And for the conference gift bags, I'm working on special croquis which delegates can use as a template for their own designs. The latter is inspired by a vintage croquis pad which I've been using of late.

Technical drawing of wedding dress design.

Technical drawing of wedding dress design.

Eveningwear corsetry design sketched on vintage croquis pad.

Eveningwear corsetry design sketched on vintage croquis pad.

Build your design skills and your brand with us at OCOC16! We will have more workshops and more models than ever - just take a look at our 2016 programme! Sign up now for an unforgettable weekend in a classically English location.

Corset FAQ: Where's my waist? Am I wearing this thing in the right place?

Today I will answer for you a question that I often see asked in online corset communities. I've touched upon this in one of my posts for The Lingerie Addict, 3 Most Common Corset Lacing Mistakes, but here I'll be going into greater depth. Just where is your waistline, and where should you wear your corset?

Pop Antique Integrated "Bombshell" Corset Top | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

For a modern audience, many of us think of our waistline as where the waistband of our jeans rests. From a dressmaking standpoint, this is actually called the "high hip," and not part of the waistline. The "natural waist," or, "apparent waist," is the visually narrowest part of the torso, generally about an inch above the belly button. High-waisted skirts and pants or dresses with a waist seam utilize the natural waist and it's an important point of reference for fit. As there is such a variance in body shapes in proportion, of course, your natural waist may be in a different position or less obvious.

Neither of these, however, is the waist level where you'll settle your corset. For comfort and maximum reduction, it's best to cinch your corset to your skeletal waist. The skeletal waist is the space between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the hips. Many people assume that their ribs end at their apparent waist, and when they realize this isn't so, they then assume that their body is "weird." Nope, your body's not weird! First of all, there's a lot of natural variance, but it's actually pretty standard for the lowest ribs to be below the apparent natural waist. So when you lace on, make sure your corset is settled at the skeletal waist to avoid putting undue pressure on your ribs. Proper waist placement will also provide better support for the stomach and low back, and help the hips of the corset to fit smoothly.

Pop Antique "Vamp" corset styled with Angry Rabbit high waisted jeans | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

Corset neophytes often try to lace their corsets to their apparent waist, then get concerned when it naturally settles at the more compressible skeletal waist. Better to lace to this level from the get-go and enjoy the extra cinching (and comfort!) it will provide. If you think your corset might be settled too high on your waist and you've already laced up, there's an easy fix. Firmly grasp the bottom of the front of the corset with both hands. Holding it in place, inhale upward, arching your back. This will stretch your spine and raise your ribs above the waist of your corset.

Personally, I tend to wear my corsets a full inch below my apparent waistline. You can really see it with the long ribs and sharp hip spring of the Gibson Girl. Speaking both generally and specifically, the sharpness of the hip spring is tied into the length of the waist - or rather, the level of it, with a lower waist corresponding to a sharper hip spring.

Pop Antique "Gibson Girl" waist training corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

The space between the top of your pelvis and the bottom of your rib cage can also vary quite a bit. Short-waisted individuals may have as little as half an inch between these bony masses, whereas someone long-waisted may have three or more inches of compressible space.

Lastly, be sure to take this variance in waist placement into account when taking your vertical measurements! It's for this reason that I prefer to use separate waist to underbust and waist to lap measurements, rather than a continuous torso/princess/busk length as reference. It's entirely possible for two individuals to have the same underbust to lap measurements, but different waist levels within that range. So the same corset might leave one wearer's stomach unsupported while prodding into their bust, while on another individual expose the ribs (creating a pinched roll between bra band and corset top) and instead poke into the lap, making sitting difficult.

~Marianne Faulkner
The Corsetrix, Pop Antique

Welcoming LeighAnn to the Pop Antique Team

Pop Antique has a new team member! Meet LeighAnn, my new assistant. I am overjoyed to have her on staff, enabling me to focus on my craft.

LeighAnn will be the main contact for new and existing clients - you'll first encounter her when you send your initial inquiry email. She'll walk you through the ordering and payment process and provide status updates on your order as-needed. If your consultation gives rise to any advanced questions, LeighAnn will run them by me before conveying the answers to you. Since my sewing machine and my computer are entirely separate entities, having email in LeighAnn's court will make for a much faster response time for you - and more efficient production for me. The Pop Antique queue for made to order corsetry is currently full, but LeighAnn will still be handling consultations as they come in, and has started a wait list for new orders.

While taking email off my plate is a Big Deal on its own, LeighAnn's presence in Pop Antique will have an even wider impact. LeighAnn will also be livening up the Pop Antique Facebook page and Twitter feed, and helping me with administrative production tasks like ordering fabrics and scheduling.

Bringing on an assistant is a crucial next step for the business and I have a very good feeling about this collaboration. Please welcome LeighAnn to the team!

~Marianne Faulkner
The Corsetrix, Pop Antique

P.S. LeighAnn's talents don't stop here, of course - check out her band, Good As Gone, based in Austin, TX.

A Brief Hiatus

Hello friends and fans,

Busy days here at Studio M, the Pop Antique headquarters! If you follow Pop Antique on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen that I am engaged! My partner and I are planning an October wedding, and as a pair of designers, we're DIYing much of it. We may also be moving soon, into a home of our very own. I try not to move very often, as I'm a very settled person. Between looking at houses online, finding a realtor, and actually going to open houses and eventually filling out much in the way of paperwork and making offers, I don't want to risk underestimating the impact this move will have on my available time.

My beautiful engagement ring! A recreation of a 1920s design, presented in, yes, a box that is shaped like a macaron and surrounded by actual macarons.

My beautiful engagement ring! A recreation of a 1920s design, presented in, yes, a box that is shaped like a macaron and surrounded by actual macarons.

I'm hoping this hiatus will only last a few weeks - as you can imagine, I don't really want to cut back on work now that I have a wedding to pay for! Starting in a month, I am pleased to announce that I am giving up one of my "day" jobs, and will focus on all things corset related. I am increasing my hours at Dark Garden, my mentor in corsetmaking, where I most notably work as a patternmaker. I'll be contributing regularly to the blog for the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, which will give me an outlet for a more technical side of my musings than that which I post on The Lingerie Addict. Hopefully I'll be updating this blog more as well with general pontifications about corsetry and waist training as well as studio news. I'm also working on a couple of exciting projects for waist trainers that I'd like to get off the ground over the summer.

Pop Antique Integrated Corsetry Bombshell in grey herringbone coutil and silver-shot mesh. Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo © Alyxander Ryan.

Pop Antique Integrated Corsetry Bombshell in grey herringbone coutil and silver-shot mesh. Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo © Alyxander Ryan.

Of course I will be completing all current orders if we've already been in touch. If you've sent an inquiry about an order and not received a response, I do apologize. Until I am caught up on current work and my schedule is stabilized, I won't be taking on new commissions. If you happen to know of anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area who is interested in learning the art of corsetmaking, I am seeking an intern/assistant. Having an assistant would make a big difference in my studio and definitely have an impact on how quickly the hiatus ends.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Marianne Faulkner
Corsetrix, Pop Antique