Solo Corset Fun: How to Lace Yourself Up

As a lifelong fan of corsets, I’m super excited about today’s guest post.  We all know corsets are sexy and glamorous, but they can also be a little intimidating.  And while it’s easier if you have a friend around to help you into one, that may not always be an option.  Fortunately Maggie, author of the informational site Swimwear & Lingerie and the blog Swimwear & Lingerie has some great advice for us…complete with useful charts and illustrations.

Corsets are a fascinating piece of lingerie.  If you’d like to learn more about them, I recommend purchasing the book Corsets: A Cultural History by Valerie Steele. If you’d like to buy one, then check out this classic Lingerie Addict article featuring some of my favorite corset designers

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My name is Maggie, and I am very excited to be posting about corsets and a do-it-yourself attitude on the Lingerie Addict. One of my favorite aspects of lingerie is the element of surprise. My day is instantly brightened by the sheer excitement of wearing something that is a little out of the ordinary. The luxurious feel of the fabric and the boost to my posture never fails to put a little extra strut in my movements. However, it is the anticipation of the big reveal later on that really delights.

But the big reveal moment is far less exciting when you need help putting on the lingerie in the first place. Let’s face it, there are some less than glamorous aspects to getting into something tight and lacy that can kill the mood. For example, I have yet to figure out how to put on stockings and adjust them in a sultry way; frankly I resemble a line worker in a sausage factory.

So, when I purchased my first corset, I was baffled as to how I was going to get the darn thing on and properly fit without having someone around to lace me up. I was interested in simply wearing a corset for fun and frolics and not a serious tight-lacing, waist trainer, so my needs were not quite as stringent as theirs. After struggling quite a bit and actually having to ice my back after pinching my skin, I have come up with a foolproof technique that ensures a nice tight lacing and a comfy fit.

Step 1: Check that your Corset is laced properly. Often they are laced at the store by people who don’t understand the intricacies of corsetry. For example, there should be X’s on both the inside and outside of the corset, the X’s should not go between the fabrics when tightly laced. This is how pinches can happen my friends, plus it hampers the tightening of the corset and prevents a pleasingly flat closure.

You will want to count your eyelets and note where the middle of the corset is, relative to where your natural waist line falls. When threading and lacing your corset you will stop at the mid-point and create an extra long loop of slack on each side. Continue lacing as before, ensuring that the loops remain at the middle. When you reach the bottom of the corset pull the laces through to the outside and tie a knot in each at the very end of the laces.

Step 2: Before putting on the corset ensure that the back lacing isn’t so tight that you can’t do it up at the front and isn’t so loose that it will fall off or have more than a 2-3 inch gap between the back panels.

Step 3: Starting at the top and arranging your breasts as you go, do up the hook and eye closures completely. Now revisit grade seven and see if you really can touch your elbows behind your back (I fell for this gag sadly), seriously, stretch out a bit because you need to be able to tie your laces behind your back. You will be able to tell right away if the corset is too tight or loose in spots during this procedure. If this is the case, take off the corset and adjust the lacing in those trouble spots. Seems tedious, I know, but it is all worth it!

Step 4: Once you have achieved a mostly good fit, it is time to reach around and pull on the rabbit ears you created in the middle. This will cinch up the back and can be fastened with a good old knot and a bow. Voila you have successfully laced yourself into a corset. See? You really did learn everything you ever needed to know kindergarten.

But wait. You’re not done yet, try bending and moving around. You want to be comfortable in your lingerie and a full range of movement is necessary for that, as is breathing. If you feel overly impeded in a direction, consider loosening your stays and giving yourself a little extra wiggle room. After all, you are wearing the corset, don’t let it wear you! Now when you take off the corset, just loosen the bunny-knot a bit and then undo the hook and eye front closures. That way your corset is laced to your specifications and ready to go for the next time. Don’t you feel proud? You did it all by yourself!

Now get to the boudoir and try it out. With all this summer heat, you should be wearing your underwear as outerwear and celebrating your curves.

Cheers,
Maggie

Photo Credits:  What Katie Did

12 Comments

  1. Petra Bellejambes
    23/07/10 at 7:43

    Hey Maggie, great article!

    Corsets are sexy, no doubt. So are people who take the time to figure out a nice little problem (like how to lace up a corset) all by themselves.

    Keep up the sexy. Must go visit your blog now.

    Cheers – Petra

  2. Tights Lover
    23/07/10 at 15:53

    This was a great read. I've only tried a corset once, and it was an uncomfortable experience.

    After reading this, I'm eager to give it another go!

  3. Panty Buns
    25/07/10 at 13:28

    i have never owned a corset like the ones shown but would love to own and wear them. i had not a clue as to proper lacing before reading this. Do most people go to get custom fittings? It would be nice to have guidance and assistance if necessary whilst learning to do it myself as outlined by Maggie. Wearing it as outerwear sounds wonderful, but i've put on weight. Do i have to lose it again first? How much size range does a good corset have? What a wonderful article. i didn't know any of this.

  4. madamori
    26/07/10 at 22:16

    I am so glad you included a post on this! I have always wondered how to put on a corset and surprise my lover, which is virtually impossible alone and not always convenient to have help.

    As always, this blog rocks!

  5. Treacle
    26/07/10 at 22:17

    I'm glad so many people got something out of this article, and I'm sure that makes Maggie happy too! Thanks for commenting, y'all. :)

  6. The Constructive Dissident
    27/07/10 at 14:18

    am i the only person who thinks corsets are anti-feminist? i have a few and i admit they look great when not too tightly-laced, but all that dita-von-teese 18" waist stuff just puts me about a bit.

  7. Treacle
    27/07/10 at 14:20

    @The Constructive Dissident

    I don't think corsets are anti-feminists because there are no requirements, cultural or otherwise, for women to wear corsets. That is, every woman who purchases a corset, wears a corset, or even tightlaces with a corset does so because she chooses to. And the feminist movement, at its heart, is all about women choosing what to do with their lives.

  8. Bella
    27/07/10 at 16:00

    @the constructive dissident

    i think asking that question assumes you're wearing it for a man… that being your only motivation… not because its pretty, an artistic creating, sexy or something that makes you feel good. i guess one might say that it was a fashion meant to enhance the feminine shape that men would desire (although it depends where/when, different figures were fashionable) but the same question could be asked about numerous trends in fashion. what about spanx, girdles and other pieces we use to control our bodies? how about going to the gym, is that anti feminist?
    as for the restraint to the body, cases like Dita and Mr. Pearl are incredibly rare. very few pieces of vintage lingerie have been found with measurements so drastically small and are more reasonable body shapes.
    i think it depends on your intention in wearing a corset, but i hate all the criticism they attract.

  9. Chillinfoxie
    31/07/10 at 2:06

    Great article, tks for posting…

  10. Suzanne
    07/08/10 at 17:15

    I have a gorgeous corset that I've never worn just because I couldn't figure out how to get into it myself. Thank you for this very informative post! I'm printing it out and putting it in my "corset" drawer. (Yes, I own as much lingerie as most people own clothes!)

  11. Amanda
    23/08/11 at 13:55

    OH MY GOODNESS! right after reading this post I checked out the lacing of my corsets and they were done the wrong way (of course). So I took the time and changed them right away and WOW that made it sooo easy to get on and tight. THANK YOU!

  12. 27/07/12 at 13:44

    Brilliant tutorial!! I can now lace everything up properly and make it easier to lace up my corsets! Thanks.

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