Your body will change shape instantly the moment you put on a proper corset training corset and tighten the laces. This is because the corset will displace the fat around your middle and hold your body in the shape of the constructed garment, so you can literally design your own body shape. However your body will return to its natural state once you take off the corset. Yes its a shame it can’t just stay put.
So what, if any are the permanent effects that can be achieved with a corset and how long do they take to make permanent?
The only permanent change you can make to your body using corset training is to the lower ribs, which will compress over time to follow the shape of your corset. For this you’ll need a conical corset rather than one with an hour glass shape as these types leave room for the ribcage. Click here for more details on corset training shapes. The above and below pictures are a little extreme as they are copies from historic drawings, but it gives you an idea of the corset training before and after effects. The bottom floating ribs are easily reshaped as they’re not attached at the front. But it will still take a good 6 months to make a significant difference.
If you plan on tight lacing to the extreme, your internal organs will be affected. The corset will restrict your waist, causing your organs to shift. This does place added pressure on your organs but this is similar to the pressure a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. The female body is designed to take the added pressure and organ movement but if you plan on undertaking extreme tight lacing you should do so under your doctors supervision.
The fact that the corset training before and after effects are not permanent and your body shape is merely held in position until the corset is removed, does not mean that corset training won’t have some effect on your body shape over time. We are talking years though, rather than months. The ribs are a solid bone structure so are unlikely to fully revert back to their original position, soft tissue however, will tend to expand back to its original shape. You would be best advised to corset train as a way of maintaining a slender figure rather than obtaining it, ie someone who starts to tight lace as a young woman will keep her figure thin even as an older woman. Thats why in Victorian times women where corseted as children. The body would form around the corset shape allowing them to maintain the waist size of a young teen. If you do waist train down to a tiny size and maintain it for several years before stopping, you’ll probably remain a great deal thinner than you would have been for several years. However there are reports of it taking under a year for the body to return to its previous size as, just like after pregnancy, the torso seems to remember its natural state. This really does vary from one person to the next though. Corset training really is more a way of life than an alternative to the surgeons knife or a healthy lifestyle. It’s no quick fix and should be undertaken for the joy of tight lacing and with a ‘long term’ mindset.
Permanent Effects and Health
So we’re discusses how tight lacing won’t permanently change your shape in a matter of months -this is because it merely disperses the fat (moves it) and this will move back to its original location. Corset training can however have a permanent effect on your ribs, the lower ones in particular. This really does sound scarier than it is!
As it happens, your lower ribs are a fairly flexible set of bones as they’re attached at the back but the floating ones – as the name suggests – aren’t attached to anything at the front. So maintained pressure from a conical shaped corset will over time reshape them. Theres some debate over whether or not they eventually return to their normal shape if corset training is ceased completely, but as they’re bone this is unlikely unless there is a lot of internal pressure to push them back out. I don’t pretend to be a doctor so I can’t give you a ‘for sure’ answer.
As for the health issues associated with corset training, there is no substancial medical evidence to prove that even the extreme tight lacers of today like Cathie Jung, or those of the Victorian era,suffered negative health effects at the hands of the corsetier. A lot of the historic fatalities attributed to corsets were either laughable or can be put down to other health problems that the Victorians were unaware existed. I’m not saying you couldn’t crush yourself or do yourself a mischief if you tried hard enough, you can. And old or badly made corsets have been known to brake and cause steel bones to pierce the skin. But if your corset training responsibly you shouldn’t come to any harm. The internal organs are designed to be moved around to a degree in the woman’s body to accomodate a growing child, in fact they are put under similar or greater strain during a pregnancy.
There are even more corset pattern shapes to choose from than lengths (on hips, over hips etc, see last few posts for more details). Below are examples of the main ones, the top line shows those commonly used for corset training, the second row are the more exotic but also more problematic corset styles that I don’t recommend for waist training, they’re included for educational purposes.
The waist cincher has been covered in the previous posts – this is the same as a ‘waspie’ or short underbust and is for active wear. The two main types you’ll have to choose between are the hour glass and the conical shape.
The hour glass corset pattern is named after – you guessed it – the hour glass, the ones filled with sand, as its wide at both the top and bottom but goes in dramatically in the middle. The important thing to note here is that this pattern allows for the ribs, you should have little or n trouble taking full lung-fulls of air while waist training in this style. The conical corset however, squashes the ribs which are forced into an upside-down cone shape that tapers down to the waist. This style will restrict lung capacity and over time corset training with a conical corset is said to change the shape of the ribs permanently. A lot of tight-lacers consider this the proper corseted body shape.
Make an Elizabethan Corset – Video & Pattern
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When learning how to make a bodice or corset you will come across a number of corset patterns and knowing how to discern between a good shaped corset or bodice pattern is essential.
In a corset pattern the number of pattern pieces is a great way to tell if a corset is going to hug the body well, 4 pieces is a little low, 5 or more per side will give a good fit. Shape also plays a big part. If the pattern pieces are all very straight in shape the corset will not curve in at the waist enough. They should all look pinched in the middle.
For learning how to make a bodice – bodice pattern pieces will not ‘pinch’ in the middle as the Elizabethan bodice had straight sides. Instead make sure that all the edges of your pattern meet up from top to bottom.