How to lace a corset
 

Lacing yourself can be done fairly easily with some practice, in about 2-3 minutes! But you must practice and increase your finger dexterity behind your back. You may also wish to purchase a "Lacisstant" (c)(R) ROMANTASY 2000, which acts like a second pair of hands to assist you more easily lace your corset by yourself.

I find it easiest to loosen the corset very wide, clip it in front, reach around back and then crisscross the waist pulls, and pull. I then place both pulls in my left hand (I am right handed), and with my thumb, hook it under the bottom most crossed lace set. I pull about 2-3 inches outward, then move up to the next set of crossed laces and pull outward, continuing up to the waist. At that point I crisscross the waist pulls once more and pull. Next, I commence the same process starting from the bottom up then top down to the waist, continuing several times to adjust the back gap, keeping it more or less parallel as I go, until I reach my desired reduction level, and tie a bow at the waistline. I repeat this process from the bottom up. I repeat this process several times keeping the sides of the corset parallel, as one should not close a corset in only one movement. Finally I tie a bow but do not knot it. I tuck the laces under the bottom of the hem to insure I do not have an unsightly and sloppy dragging "horse tail."

Annlacing1Annlacing2

O.J. Dalziel, one of our tight-lacing lifelong corset enthusiasts and email correspondents insists that one must start to lace a corset at the bottom and lace up to the waist fairly snugly, before going to the top. In this fashion, he says, the organs and flesh are lifted up, rather than pushed downward into the already "squished" abdominal cavity at the waistline and below. This makes sense to us as it would seem to avoid creating more of a belly under the front bottom of your corset. In addition, Mr. Dalziel also clips on his corset then before lacing, reaches inside the front of his corset to smooth his skin starting under the arm and moving it to the front center. Then he laces down, repeating this smoothing process once more before reaching closure of his corset. This keeps the skin to a minimum of wrinkling underneath the corset and helps to avoid excessive perspiration catching in multiple folds of skin. A dryer skin will prevent injury such as chafing or cracking under your corset.

 

To the left is a photo of "The ROMANTASY Salute", named by our friend David. If you are fortunate enough to have someone assist lace you in, it helps to lift your hands skyward and hold them up while being laced. This lengthens the torso and allows for more waist reduction than otherwise. Also, once you are initially laced in, lean to one side, grasp the bottom edge opposite to your 'lean', and pull several times downward, in order to "seat" the waistline exactly at your waist. Then, lean the opposite direction and repeat the process. Pay attention while you are wearing your corset during the day as it may sometimes tend to 'creep' up and press on the ribcage. At any time you may repeat the leaning process to 're-seat' the waistline in its proper position.
 


There are several common methods of lacing the back of a corset. The standard method is perhaps best represented by a graphic (top left image) we attribute to the Voller's Corset Company (England).

Our preferred method enables the tight-lacer to completely and more easily close the back at the waistline. It starts with one set of lacing ribbons or cords criss-crossed at the top, followed by one set of lacing ribbons or cords criss-crossed under, followed by the next set over, and continuing thusly to the bottom where a knot or bow is tied off (middle left two images).

Lacing


A third method of lacing was prevalent in the Elizabethan Age in England, known as spiral lacing. Just one end of a lacing cord travels through each eyelet as you lace from the bottom up. The lacing cord is tied under one of the bottom eyelets, then moves horizontally to the opposite eyelet hole and through it. It then travels diagonally up to the opposite available eyelet hole and so on to the top where it is again moved horizontally through the top two eyelets and tied off. In this style of lacing there are no waist pulls. This lacing was used on closed front corsets but is difficult for a person lacing him or herself to do alone. The corset must be donned with the back opening facing front while the lacing is undertaken, then the corset turned around and lacing finished off on the top. I think this would be extremely difficult to do on one's own!

Kimberly, one of our corset enthusiast friends prefers this style of lacing for her Elizabethan costume corsets and says, "This corset is cut so high in the back, that the lacing at the waist, where the tension is greatest and the corset is tightest against the body, can't really let go very much. Also, there area several inches of not-so-high tension lacing above it to hold it secure without tying it off at the top." 


We welcome our reader's suggestions of other useful or unique methods of lacing a corset. Whatever works best for you, is what you should choose.

Another version of lacing that was prevalent in the Elizabethan Age in England, was spiral lacing. Just one end of a lacing cord travels through each eyelet as you lace from the bottom up. The lacing cord is tied under one of the bottom eyelets, then moves horizontally to the opposite eyelet hole and through it. It then travels diagonally up to the opposite available eyelet hole and so on to the top where it is again moved horizontally through the top two eyelets and tied off. In this style of lacing there are no waist pulls. This lacing was used on closed front corsets but is difficult for a person lacing him or herself to do alone. The corset must be donned with the back opening facing front while the lacing is undertaken, then the corset turned around and lacing finished off on the top. I think this would be extremely difficult to do on one's own!

Kimberly, one of our corset enthusiast friends prefers this style of lacing for her Elizabethan costume corsets and says, "This corset is cut so high in the back, that the lacing at the waist, where the tension is greatest and the corset is tightest against the body, can't really let go very much. Also, there area several inches of not-so-high tension lacing above it to hold it secure without tying it off at the top."

Here are some illustrations of lacing results and relevant comments that may assist you know when you are lacing properly and when you are not.

To the right is a photo of our Waist-Training Coaching Program student, SL. About a month after receiving her new BR Creations corset, she wrote of some unsightly "lumps" of flesh at the top back edge of the corset, which she demonstrated in this photo. We believe that she has laced the corset closed at the top edge a bit too fast, giving the new corset neither the time to ease a bit nor the stays time to mold to her body. We suggested that she simply open up the top and bottom to match her current waist reduction, and keep the sides parallel in the back.