Harlots & Angels “Asylum” Full back

Asylum corset

  • Value for money:   1/5

I paid £10.70 for this pattern around 3 years ago, however, their Etsy store now lists this pattern at £12:60 + p&p) If you go directly to their website however, you can purchase the PDF version of the same pattern for £9:70.  The Asylum is a mid-range price for a pattern, but I really, REALLY liked to look of this corset so I bought it.  There was no PDF version at the time I bought mine, so mine came as a hard copy. Unfortunately this scored low on value for money because:

  1. The pattern I received was clearly a hand drawn pattern, the lines were wobbly and amateurish and for the same price, I can buy computerised patterns with much cleaner lines and look more professional.
  2. There were no clearly defined sizes on it despite it being a multisize pattern which was unfortunate as it just added to the overall lack of value & professionalism I’d expected with a pattern in this price bracket.
  3. My pattern was sent WITHOUT the instruction booklet as to how to construct it and I had to ask a friend to send me a copy of hers because Harlots & Angels are not great at customer service (more on that later)
  • Ease of use:   1/5

I wouldn’t recommend this to newcomers to corsetry or sewing garments in general.  The instruction booklet that I managed to obtain was again, rather amateurish, it read more like personal notes to the maker, rather than instructions to a customer, large parts of the construction were missed, and assumptions are made that you already know basic construction techniques, how to set in collars and so on as there is nothing more than “sew on collar pieces”  – this *could* have changed since I bought my pattern 2 years ago, but recent enquiries show that there have been no significant changes to the pattern or the instructions.  As it happened, I’d never set in a collar before, I had to research how to do this and what stiffeners to use elsewhere as none of this information was provided.  I am fine with basic corset construction techniques so the rest went together fine, although the alignment of the pieces was out and also needed tweaking.

  • Shaping & fit:   2/5

This is more for costume that any form of waist training, it does not offer much in the way of shape and reduction, but it does fit fine as a costume piece and the fact that the boning goes the full length of the back can offer a great deal of spinal support.  On their Etsy page: Harlots & Angels They state that this corset IS suitable for waist training -I personally would dispute this and would advise AGAINST waist training in it – this is because this is a full backed corset, and generally, waist training is done in underbust corsets with standard or slightly higher arched backed corsets, but not overbust or total back corsets – the back lacing panels will have solid flat steels which will run the entire length of the corset (so yes, right up to the base of the neck unless you chose spirals) and if you are undertaking actual waist training, that’s a lot of pressure that’s going to transmit up the length of the boning which may become very uncomfortable.  The shaping of this corset also means that serious waist training would require more alterations of the pattern to give any meaningful reduction.

  • Conclusion & thoughts:

I had several issues with th2015-02-11 18.14.21e pattern, the largest being that there were no instructions which was a fundamental flaw of my purchase, It appeared that this was a one off, as I was able to ask one of several friends who also had the pattern to email me a copy of theirs – however, I could have done without as I am fairly competent at corset construction.  I purchased my pattern via Etsy, so I sent a message (and 2 further ones) via Etsy to the company which weren’t replied to, I also messaged them via their Facebook page which also went unanswered.  There is a contact email address on their website which I also tried and again, this was ignored.  Customer service is clearly not their forte as several other users have also reported the same issues.  This is not to say that everyone will have the same experience, so if this is a pattern you would like to try, do not let my bad experience put you off. The pattern design itself is nice, and would work really well for Cosplay and could quite easily (with a few alterations) fit & suit men as well as women as there isn’t significant waist reduction.  Overall, this is best suited for the more experienced sewer/corset maker or someone confident with pattern manipulation and working with minimal instruction.