If you make a corset you’ll have to find lacing cord for it. Also if you buy your corset and the laces wear out you’ll be wondering what you use as replacement lacing. I recommend not using shoe laces which are often the first port of call for corset making newbies. These stretch and are normally too short. I’ve also seen ribbon used which although it doesn’t stretch will wear out very quickly and start to fray.
It’s best to get lacing cord from a corsetry supplier so don’t forget to order it when you buy your busk and steel bones etc. you can get the flat shoe lace like laces but the tubular stuff is better, it’s a thin round cord and because it isn’t flat it can’t get twisted which looks unattractive.
When you buy get a 3 meter lace if your tightlacing as you’ll have enough slack to not have to re-lace every time you put it on. You can also get continuous lace, so you order say 10 meters and cut and tip it yourself. This is a lot cheaper and the colours available are more varied.
You can tip laces using 3 methods, plastic shrink tubing, metal lace ends and aglets.
For the plastic tubing you need to take needle and thread first and bind the ends of your laces by wrapping the end centimetre tightly. Then cut a centimetre of tube, place it over then lace end and use a lighter to heat it gently. The tube will shrink and grip the lace end.
Metal tips need pliers, you put the end in the tip and squeeze it shut.
Aglets are metal cones with prongs at the open end. You place the lace en in the cone and push the prongs in to hold it in place.
There are various methods for lacing a corset but for corset training purposes a criss-cross method from top to bottom with the edition of rabbit ears (sometimes called bunny ears), is most functional and makes tightlacing without assistance much easier.
The criss-cross lacing pattern is very similar to lacing a shoe with one important difference – The lace does NOT go in through the top of the hole on one side, then across and down one to again go in through the top of the hole on the other side and so on always entering the lacing holes from above to be brought across from underneath.
Instead, when the lace goes in from above the hole and is brought across and down one to the next hole, it then goes in from UNDERNEATH, and vice versa – a lace entering a hole from underneath will enter its next hole from above. The other side should be laced in mirror image to create a column of crosses alternating one on top of the fabric, one underneath, one on top, one underneath. Tightening the corset is thus made a lot easier as a finger can be hooked round the centre of a cross sitting above the fabric and pulled to narrow the gap.
Rabbit ears are large loops of lace left on both sides of the lacing at the level of the waist tape (or the thinnest part of the waist if your corset has no waist tape). The lace comes up through the hole just above the waist tape and down through the hole just below the waist tape but ON THE SAME SIDE. An excess of at least a foot is left, after which lacing continues as normal, this loop forms one of your rabbit ears. The process is mirrored on the other side to create the second rabbit ear. Ensure the lacing is loose enough to put the corset on easily and tie the laces together at the bottom.
Once the corset is on you can tighten it by pulling at the crosses from top to middle and bottom to middle, pulling the rabbit ear loops to take up the excess lace, the rabbit ears are then tied together in a knot or bow to secure. ©