So today’s question is ‘what is the difference between a corset and a bustier?’ Which can be quite a tough one as even some of us who are well versed in corset making don’t really know.
My old corsetry tutor told me it’s a question of layers –
A bustier is a one layer garment, a corset has a minimum of two layers. This made sense until we took a look at one of my old antique Victorian corsets that appeared to be one layer. It was indeed one layer with extra material attached in places to hold the bones. Since then I’ve never really held to the layer rule. I’ve seen lots of sturdy one layer corsets, (not a good choice for corset training but still) surely they can’t be lumped in
with underwear bustiers and those dreadful stretch fabric things you can pick up in regular woman’s clothing stores.
Recently however I’ve come across a new rule of thumb that feels right and makes much more sense; the real difference between a corset and a bustier seems to be all in the sizing! Anyone familiar with dressmaking will know all about ‘ease’; you add ease to your measurements, more for a shirt, less for a dress etc. This allows you to move freely without restriction. Otherwise a shirt would rip as you lifted your arm to hail a cab, pants would rip when you bent over to pick something up etc etc. Well a bustier is made exactly to the wearers measurements, no ease. Where you go in it goes in, where you go out it goes out.
A corset on the other hand has minus ease, it is designed to change and constrict the body, not mirror it. The waist of a corset will be smaller then that of the wearer and will curve in different, more aesthetically pleasing places. A corset will normally have more boning too, in-order to support the constriction. This is the major difference between a corset and a bustier and why you need to make a corset for corset training, nothing less will do.