Frequently Asked QuestionsUpdated September 2013.
Ordering from Felix & Kitty
The Care & Feeding of Your Corset
Tops, Dresses, Coats & Shirts
Ordering from Felix & Kitty
Right now, please email us directly. We're still just two people trying to keep it at grass-roots level, and making stuff for you is taking precedence over getting the shopping cart working! In any case, it's probably easier and better for you to talk to us directly; we often have suggestions and ideas that you can't find on the website.
General Questions1. What size range do you carry?
Any size. We fit everyone from the truly tiny to the majestically proportioned. If we don't have your size in stock (and we probably do), we will make it for you.
2. Where can we find your stuff?
You can find us at the shows listed in the News and Events section of this website.
3. Why don't you have a store?
If we had a store, the overheads would mean raising our prices about 300%. You get top-quality products from us at very low prices because we don't need to pass on to you the cost of store rent, power, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc..
4. Can I come for a private fitting?
You're welcome to come by for a private fitting at our home studio if you're going to place an order of $500 or more (so come with a friend if you just want one thing each, and you're probably covered). You can email us for an appointment. It's best to do it well ahead of time, because we're away at shows quite a lot of the time.
5. How do I know what size I am?
Our size range is different from ready-to-wear – for instance, a “Medium” is a normal-sized person, not a ridiculously small one! The best way is to measure your chest at the largest point, your waist at the smallest point, and your height, and email us with the info. You'll get detailed instructions on how to get the most accurate fit from there.
The shipping is whatever the post office charges us plus the packing material and fees we pay ourselves. On average, shipping for a single item like a shirt or corset runs about $15 for general, or $50 for overnight. The farther you get from Vancouver, the more it costs.
2. How long will it take to get to me?
That depends on several factors. Mail is slower during holiday seasons, and only business days count to the post office, so something sent on Monday will get there faster than something sent on Friday. Normal mail takes three to four business days within BC and Alberta. If you're really in a hurry, we can overnight it to you, but that tends to get expensive.
Remember, we make all the products ourselves, so if we're really swamped or we're away at a show, it can take a few days longer. If time is an issue, let us know when you order, and we'll give you an estimate of how long it will take.
The Care & Feeding of Your Corset
First and foremost, you need strong, stiff boning (that's the vertical ribs that keep a corset from scrunching down into the smallest part of your waist). If you can take four inches of a corset's boning in your hands and bend that length in half, it's far too weak to support you. Weak boning will kink, poke, and stab you!
Next, you need heavy-duty lining. If the lining fabric is thin, you'll get pull lines going across your tummy when you pull the corset tight – not attractive! Also, if you tend to get warm easily, make sure the lining material is made out of a breathable natural fibre, preferably cotton.
Finally, make sure the corset comes in different shapes, not just sizes. A good corset maker will have different corsets for people with long or short waists, straight or flared hips, small or large breasts, and varying heights.
2. How do I lace up the corset by myself?
You lace yourself up the front just the way you do up your shoes. If you forget how, look at the way the back is laced and imitate it. If you have someone to help you, it's easiest to loosen off the back laces until you can close the front easily, then get another person to re-tighten the back.
If you're on your own and aren't flexible enough to reach the back laces, tighten the front as far as you easily can, and wait for five or ten minutes. Fabric is stretchier when warm, so you'll find it much easier to close the front once you let the corset warm up to body temperature. If you like your corset really tight, you might need to tighten it after five minutes or so, then again after another five minutes, and so forth, until you get it to close all the way.
3. How tightly can I lace the corset?
That depends. If the material or stitches are showing signs of stress, such as horizontal pull wrinkles or visible stitching at the seams, you are lacing too tightly. Loosen it off a bit or try a larger size.
Our off-the-rack corsets are very sturdy for everyday wear, but are NOT intended for tight-lacing or waist-training. If that's what you're after, email us for information on specially designed tight-lacing corsets (which MUST be custom-fitted to your body for safety).
4. How should the corset feel?
Contrary to popular myth, wearing a corset should never be painful or uncomfortable. A properly fitted corset that follows the contours of your body does NOT hurt, pinch, or dig in anywhere. You should feel like you’re being evenly contained all over. Your back feels supported, your posture becomes perfect, your abdomen is gently held in, and if you’re large-busted, your shoulders should relax as they no longer have to carry the weight of your breasts.
The first time you put on a corset, you may feel short of breath; if that happens, loosen it off in the back! You must NEVER wear a corset that feels uncomfortable. In a short while, your body adjusts, and suddenly, you’ll want to tighten it up. Ten minutes after putting on a well-fitting corset, you should forget you have it on, unless you’re deliberately tight-lacing.
Remember to drink water and eat; your body may not realize you’re hungry due to the constriction of your stomach. Small quantities of food more often works better than one large meal.
5. What can I wear with a corset?
That depends on the effect you want. A corset over a very full ball-gown skirt makes your waist look tiny and creates a dramatic, elegant formal dress. The same corset by itself or over a low-necked T-shirt or camisole with leather pants makes great club wear. Worn with a simple pencil skirt or dress pants, it becomes an outfit for a date or an evening out. You can take it to a historical re-enactment event by wearing it over a white chemise and simple gathered skirt, and to a cosplay or anime convention as a “Gothic Lolita” character outfit over lace and tulle petticoats.
One of the best ways to wear a corset for everyday is to put it under a blazer or suit jacket, or to wear it like a vest over a standard collared button-down blouse.
6. How should I clean my corset?
We can’t guarantee that dry cleaning will be safe because of all the hardware that goes into a corset. Washing the entire corset is not necessary if you wear something between you and the corset. If you spill something on the surface, you can usually spot-clean it by gently dabbing it with a dampened (not wet) soft cloth (don’t try this on a silk or satin surface!).
If you absolutely need to wash it, you could try this: fill your bathtub with several inches of cool but not freezing cold water and add three or four tablespoons of gentle clear (preferably colourless) liquid soap or detergent. Stir until dissolved. Lower the corset into the water, keeping it flat, and immerse all at once. Swirl around in the water and rub any stain very gently with a finger, with a small dab of extra detergent if needed. Drain the water and fill the tub with clean water, and swirl around until rinsed. Take out the corset, lay flat on a large light-coloured towel (so you don’t risk getting dye transferred onto your corset), and roll up tightly. Press evenly to blot excess moisture, and repeat with new towels if needed until you get the corset as dry as you can. Lay the corset on a dry towel and use your blow dryer to thoroughly dry the area around the metal grommets to prevent rusting, being very careful not to scorch the fabric.
When in doubt, contact us for help before cleaning your corset!
7. Why does a custom corset cost so much more than ready-to-wear?
A custom corset costs two to three times an off-the-rack one, mainly because it takes much more time to construct a custom corset. When you order a custom corset, we'll need to spend lots of time consulting with you and making a pattern from scratch to your specs and measurements. We may even need to go on a fabric shopping expedition. You get to choose your own fabrics, trims, and details, and you can select every aspect of your garment from the height of the neckline to the length to the exact shape you want the corset to give your body. A ready-to-wear corset takes five to eight hours of work for two people. A custom corset, on average, takes twenty or more hours.
The good news: because we make our corsets in so many different body types as well as sizes, it's pretty unlikely that you'll need custom work, unless you have medical issues that need special accommodation or particular details you really want.
8. How can I keep my corset clean?
If you’re wearing your corset to a historical event, you’ll probably wear a chemise beneath it, so this won’t be a problem. If you want the corset-only look, consider protecting your corset from body oils and perspiration with a cotton-spandex tube worn underneath. This will also prevent laces from digging into your skin at the gap of back-laced corsets without modesty panels. Just tuck in the visible spandex fabric away under the corset after lacing to make sure it stays out of sight.
9. What if I shrink out of my corset?
Sometimes, it is sometimes possible to stitch a small tuck on the side front and side back panels to take in the corset by as much as 2 inches. If you have sensitive skin, this may not be an option, since the tucks can dig sometimes dig in. This is not possible for corsets with straps.
10. What if I outgrow my corset?
If you just need an extra inch or two, we could add a modesty panel under the lacings of most styles. Contact us with photos of you wearing the corset from teh front, side, and especially the back and we'll let you know if it's possible.
11. What if my corset needs repair?
It happens – you catch the fabric on a ring or a splinter, you pull too sharply on cold fabric, you scorch it on a candle, and so forth. Contact us, and we’ll see if it can be repaired. You’d be surprised at what we can do. If you followed all your care guidelines and it’s been a year or less since you bought your corset, repairs are free – you just need to cover the postage.
12. Why has my corset become bent in spots?
The boning in your corset molds itself to the curves of your body in time. This is a good thing to a point, because this is what makes the garment comfortable and fully customized. However, if you have a ready-to-wear corset, you may find that some panels bend more than they should, or buckle a bit at the narrowest point. This usually means you have one of our earlier-model corsets (from before we switched to our current boning, which is much stronger). Bring it in to show us, and if we can't fix it, we'll replace the boning for free.
It could also be because you curve more than the number of corset panels can accommodate, and each boning channel is being asked to support more of you than it can. If you’re very curvy, we may need to add extra boning for you – just ask!
13. My corset seems to have changed the way it fits when I got it home!
Most of the time, the edge with the binding points down. If a corset that fit well at the event seems not to fit when you get it home, the most common cause is that you have it upside down! If you are having any fit problems, please contact us.
14. What sizes do you have?
Any and every size, from really tiny to extremely voluptuous. So far, the smallest person we fitted had an 18-inch waist, and the largest had a 72-inch waist. There are no limits.
Tops, Dresses, Coats & Shirts
Our shirts and dresses are designed to be machine-washable (cold water, gentle cycle). Most items last longer, of course, if you choose to wash it by hand the same way as for corsets (see above). If the item has trailing or lace sleeves, it's often safer to put it in a lingerie bag or pillowcase so it doesn't snag on the blades of the washing machine. Hand-wash jackets and coats to be safe, though if you're an incurable bachelor(ette), you can probably get away with machine-washing at your own risk.
Don't panic! Pull it out all the way by the end that's sticking out, pin a safety pin to one end, and feed it through the neckline using the buttonhole in the centre front.
What do you need? If we don't have it on the rack, we can probably make it specially for you. Just email and ask.