20th Century

Finished projects: Madame O’s Cymbidium Orchid Corset

Here is Madame Ornata’s Poison Ivy/Cymbidium Orchid corset.  I do believe the photos say it all with this one.  Anything you want me to add?


Oh, what I should add is that I have seen Madame O in her corset, and she knocks the socks off of these photos.  She looks exactly like the ideal late Victorian beauty.

She is Ah-MAZE-ING.  She makes the corset.  If you are really lucky she’ll do a photoshoot in it.


  1. No. No need to add anything.

    Only I’d like you to add the option “Own some and wear them sometimes” into the poll. 🙂 I don’t purposefully collect vintage pieces, but I’ve gotten some from friends and relatives, just a few, but when I have them, I also wear them. See where I’m coming from?

  2. Lynne says

    Elderly lady grovels in respect at your feet, oh Dreamstress! Amazing work. Thing of beauty!

  3. Stella says

    What a beautiful green! There’s also something quite architectural about this pattern that makes it fun to look at. I bet it’s comfy too because of the cording (that’s the reason I’m so in love with cording).

    • Isn’t the colour amazing? It’s such a classic Madame O colour. I’ve yet to make a corded corset for me, so I can’t comment on comfort.

  4. Wow. Just wow. What a spectacular job you did on this! I can’t even imagine how long all of that cording must have taken. I really hope we get to see her wearing it!

  5. Marguerite says

    That is pure gorgeousness! Such an outstanding colour and the cording is beautiful. I would love to see the lady herself wearing it

  6. Beautiful! Would the channel under the bust be simply a bias covered seam over which the boning crosses (vertically)? Or does that curvy bias strip under the bust contain boning?
    Why do some corsets tie only at the bottom edge and others in two places?

    • Thank you 🙂

      The channel under the bust is simple a bias covered seam. It’s very unusual for corsets from post 1790 to include horizontal boning. There are bust enhancers and bust reducers from around 1900 that include horizontal boning.

      The double-ties with the corsets is a complicated question! Very briefly, it dates to the 1840s, when the introduction of metal busks that opened up the front led to the adoption of criss-cross lacing (as opposed to spiral lacing). With a front opening busk, and criss-cross lacing, women could get into corsets and tighten them on themselves without outside assistance.

      It is much easier to do this if there are loops just below the waist (so the corset, like this one, laces by going x x x x all the way down the back, and then just below the waist it goes || and then finishes up with a few more x x ‘s, and then the two ends of the laces tie at the bottom). The wearer can reach around behind themselves, grab the || loops, and pull them across and out, and tighten the corset on themselves. The tightening loops are the ties in the middle, but with one lace, you still need the two ends to tie either at the top or the bottom – hence two ties.

      There are two kinds of criss-crossed single tie corset. The first are cheap corsets, which aren’t laced with waist loops. They only have a tie at the bottom. You can re-lace them with waist loops, but they usually still aren’t made well enough to really tighten properly. Some good, properly made corsets have two ties, rather than a single long tie. One tie works down from the top, and one works up from the bottom. The two loose ends meet just below the waist, and the two ends are pulled (instead of the loops in a single-lace corset) and tied. My nougat corset is laced like this.

      Hope this answers your question!

      • It does! Genius to use = and xxx keystrokes to illustrate your description. Much appreciated.

  7. Knowing Madam O as well as I do, it seems to be missing an abundance of embroidered pink flowers 🙂

    It is beautiful though.

  8. Natasha McAllister says

    You astound me. This is AMAZING! and the colour.. OMG I am in LOVE!! x

  9. This is awe inspiring. I would never have thought of a colour like that but it just pops. Madame O is one lucky lady!

  10. Elise says

    Oh I love it–and look at that shape! The color makes me grin.

  11. brandy says

    oh, amazing. the detail, the design, the workmanship.. I am speachless and envious all at the same time. one of the nicest, if THE best, I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.
    well done.

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