Corset 101 Series,  Corsets

Corset Dictionary: Terms You Should Know

Corset Anatomy:

Corset Terminology in Plain English

Don’t you hate when you reading about how to lace your corset, or how to put on your corset, or even how to take care of your corset-and you have no idea what they are talking about?! We have put together a quick dictionary with definitions and pictures to help you better understand the parts that make up your authentic steel boned corset.

CS-511 Overbust Corset in Royal Blue

Busk (Split Busk): Refers to the front center opening of the corset. It is comprised of two long flat steel bones.

Spiral Steel Bones: Boning that moves in all directions to allow the corset wearer to move and twist. Spiral boning is found around the sides and over the bustline in most corsets.

Flat Steel Bones: Boning that moves in just two directions, usually found in the front split busk and at the back lace closure of the corset.

Shell Fabric (Exterior): This is the stunning (but strong) layer of fabric you see on the outside of the corset. Our corsets are generally crafted with high strength, high shine satin, high strength polyester or poly brocade fabric or premium lambskin leather.

Grommets: The round metal holes the laces glide through at the back of the corset. At Orchard Corset, our grommets are set between two flat steel bones.

Modesty Panel: Also called a lacing guard, this flap of material is usually 5-7 inches wide and attached to the back of corset. The modesty panel is usually fashioned from the same material as the corset and not only protects the wearer from lace burn, but creates a cleaner look as it covers the gap between the lacing bones for a seamless look. Some corsets (like most of ours) also include a small 1/4 inch modesty panel at the split front busk.

Channels (Bone Casing): An extra strip of material sewn into the corset to create a pocket, or channel, to hold the steel bones in place. This not only keeps the bones from moving around, but reinforces the fabric for a more durable and long-wearing corset.

Strength Layer (Lining): This is layer of cotton or other strong fabric to provide strength and durability to the corset. This can also be the lining of the corset (as it is with our corsets) or a middle layer between the exterior fabric and fashion liner.

Waist Tape: A layer of material to provide additional strength and support at the waist of a corset, as there is more pull and strain on this section of the corset wear the corset is cinched with the pull loops. The waist tape can be seen between the layers of the corset, or exposed on the inside.

Pins (Nobs): The steel “buttons” along the one side of the front busk that are inserted into the loops (hooks) on the other side of the split busk to fasten the corset.

Loops (Hooks): The steel attachments on one side of the front busk designed to hold the pins (nobs) on the opposing side of the split busk to fasten the corset.

Boning: In early corsets, the rigid structure was achieved  with actual boning, usually from whales. Modern corsets, like those at Orchard Corset, are constructed with spring steel bones, both spiral and flat. Be aware that lesser, flimsier fashion corsets are often made from plastic boning.

Well, there you have it! We hope this has been helpful as you embark on your corseting journey. Shop for the highest quality, service and value you will find anywhere.

I have been with Orchard Corset since June of 2012 and what a journey it has been! I've gone from complete newbie to Marketing Director to Chief Operations Officer and I've learned more about corsets, corseting, shapewear, social media and myself than I would have ever thought possible. I have really enjoyed the journey and we at Orchard Corset are dedicated to providing a wealth of information for new and seasoned corseters alike.


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