Velvet Glove

"She spoke and loosened from her bosom the embroidered girdle...
into which all her allurements were fashioned.
In it was love and in it desire and in it the blandishing persuasion
which steals the mind even of the wise."

--Homer, The Illiad (c. 700 B.C.)

Mind Caviar, Vol. I Spring Issue, 2000

Featured Artist
Miss Lily of The Lily Guild, Corset Designer
edited by Jamie Joy Gatto

Miss Lily of The Lily Guild She prefers to be addressed as Miss Lily, and at 44 she is radiant: a sophisticated, good old-fashioned knock-out.

She stands 5 feet 10 inches tall and though she is not a daily tightlacer, she boasts of having "very nearly a 22 inch waist-- fully corseted."

Miss Lily's educational background is in Fine Arts.

She has recently moved to and works in the city of Atlanta. Her constant companion is Rosebud, a Mini Pin (miniature pincher).

Vist her website to see more photos and to order and purchase her beautiful wares at
The Lily Guild.

                                                             (Photos taken at photo booth in The Star Community Bar)

Mistress of a Lost Art
by Miss Lily

My interest in boned undergarments stems from early childhood. Great-grandmother at 94 was never without formal dress, which included a full corset, wide garters and heavy cotton stockings. This was quite a costume, especially considering the unbearable heat of the Deep South. I was fascinated to spy the undergarments hanging across glass towel bars like a heavily strapped saddle no longer harnessing a horse.

My first corset originally belonged to great-grandmother, clandestinely secreted away from her old steamer trunk. It was a much smaller, pink coutil garment which had belonged to one of her daughters, but was no longer fashionable for women to wear in the early 60s. At age seven, it covered me to my knees. I was thrilled, and kept it for many years until I was finally able to tighten it properly. I'm quite certain I was the only tight-laced girl in my 7th grade junior high class in 1968.

When I first began making corsets nine years ago, there were no on-line corsetry FAQ's or news groups to directly point the way to supplies and resources, as there are now. I spent long, hard hours at the library to find corsetry parts for which I didn't even know the proper names; it was quite frustrating. My saving grace was Thomas Guide to Manufacturers. Today there are numerous "how to make a corset" sites, pattern generators, and even chat rooms dedicated to the garment itself. Try making a corset from scratch. It's not nearly as easy as it looks; go ahead... I dare you!

Eventually I learned there are generally twelve pieces to a Victorian corset. Edwardians have less pieces, ten or so, but are very curvy parts indeed! An Eighteenth Century pair of bodices, may have as few as two, since shaping generally ends abruptly at the waist, the hips need no accommodation. This does not take in to consideration the twenty-two or so hand-made decorative bone casings that are sometimes used. I cut and file my own steel bones, so a background in metal-smithing does come in handy. I'm a sucker for good tools, especially beautifully obsolete Victorian ones; I collect corset and shoe-button hooks.

A custom Lily Guild corset is made with at least twenty stay pockets. Each steel stay is hand cut to fit; plastic or reinforced paper is never used. My busks (the traditional front closing clasp), are of the finest cutlery steel, and imported from Germany. All corsets are made by me personally, with the greatest care and attention to detail. I am able to use a diverse array of fashion fabrics: from latex and leather, to East Indian and Chinese brocades, and I encourage the use of unusual materials. This assures that you will never see your custom corset duplicated exactly.

Lily Guild Corset Lily Gulid Corset Lily Guild Corset

Approximately twelve measurements are taken of (or by) the customer: some standing, some seated, for maximum comfort and reduction. All first timers can expect to reduce two inches right away, some, as many as six. A four-inch reduction rule seems to be the prevailing gauge. Although I do private fittings, they are by appointment only. The majority of my business is mail order via my web site. If I actually broke it down to hours spent on each corset, I may actually discover that I am working for minimum wage, "Welcome to The Lily Guild... would you like fries with that?"

Last year I added a moderately-priced line of corsets to my repertoire called "ready-mades." Although still made to order, they are fitted according to waist size only, versus the many measurements a custom corset requires. Some are of a heavy sparkling vinyl with fitting names, such as poison candy apple red, or garish green; others are emblazoned with religious tapestries such as Virgin of Guadalupe, or The Madonna and Child.

This year I am pleased to have introduced a line of retro briefs I call "Lily Panties." These feminine, fully-fashioned nylon undies are custom trimmed in lace and may be embroidered with anything from the days-of-the-week, to "spank me", "good girl", or "property of ______". What your panties say about you, or your loved one, may be only limited by your imagination.

I enjoy creating custom-fitted corsets and panties, but what really thrills me is stretching my imagination and coming to a meeting of the minds with my customer. These are the very special orders: the heavy, white vinyl corset with buckling crotch strap with embedded catheter tube, or the severely boned black leather posture collar and matching opera length gloves, boned and laced beyond belief for complete arm and finger immobility. Buckles and straps attach one securely to the other,  "D" rings are attached down the arms. The tips of each finger allow for the attachment of weights, ropes, and pulleys.

Once I was commissioned to create a corset for a lifestyle Master and his adored submissive. It was completely reversible: white lace overlay on the outside, heavy white vinyl on the inside. Hundreds of tiny velcro tabs were attached to the interior to which thorned climbing roses were secured. When the laces were tightened... well, I'm sure you get the picture! It was his vision; I only helped engineer the materials. Will I ever create one again?  No, this was a personal vision and a dream-come-true for a client; to make another would smack of betrayal. Upon completion of these very special projects, I am reminded of how it feels to be an artist creating beauty, merely gilding the lily.

Click Here For A Full Page of Lily Guild Corset Photos

Contact The Artist

Email Miss Lily with questions, comments and pricing. Or phone Atlanta, Ga. (404) 622-2320.

Visit on-line to see more of Miss Lily's handiwork. Featured Corsets and Custom Corsets are available for purchase.
Occasionally Miss Lily posts prototype samples and corsets used for photo layouts to auction at eBay. Her eBay seller I.D. is: thelilyguildcorsets.

Please note that the waiting list for production is two to four months at this time, so one must be patient to order a corset
from The Lily Guild. Wouldn't you agree it's well worth the wait?

Copyright ©  2000 The Lily Guild. All Rights Reserved
All Photos Copyright © 2000 The Lily Guild. All rights reserved.

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