Again there are no hard and fast rules, everyone is different and my best advice is to listen to your body and accept its limits. It can become a compulsion for some people – getting that last half inch, fitting back into that wedding dress. Its dangerous if you don’t stop when it feels wrong or even starts to hurt.
That said generally its easier to reduce down the first 2-4 inches, these are sometimes managed within 6months, then it can take up to a year per half inch. People with a lot more body fat will find it easier to compress their body than those of a leaner build and combining corset training with weight loss means there are no hard and fast rules to follow as your body mass is reducing along side any corset induced waist reductions.
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.
Yesterday was (I’ll admit!) a bit of a strict telling off for those trying to push their body too far too soon, apologies if I sounded like anyone’s mother
Now, how to corset train properly:
Its very simple and you can’t go far wrong if you follow the golden rule – ‘listen to your body’, if it hurts stop. If your just starting out you need to brake your corset in (more on that tomorrow) otherwise it won’t have time to mould to your body shape, wont feel as comfortable ad it could and won’t last as long as it should.
When you put your corset on after the braking in period you still need to do it gradually. Give yourself a minimum of 20minutes to gradually tighten it, allowing time in between tugs for your body to settle in and the corset to start feeling loose again. Stop when the corset stops feeling looser after 10minutes or so.
If you’re corset training correctly like this you can expect to reduce your waist by between 2-5 inches in the first 3 months, the longer you go on tight lacing and the smaller you get, the harder it will be to reduce further. You should be wearing the corset all day for this except when bathing and exercising. Again start slow with 2-4 hrs and work up to full days.
Always listen to your body, its the most important bit of advice I can give any new corset trainer. Also make sure you are checked over by your doctor regularly when practising extreme corset training – in my opinion this is anything beyond a 5 inch reduction on someone with a stable weight.
For those of you learning how to make a corset this might amuse! I had to share this image of one of my fave pin up artists paintings from the 50s. Gil Evgren painted hundreds of tiny waisted 50s bombshells. This ones of a girl making a corset!
Want a really professional finish to your corset making? Then make your own bias binding.
Don’t get me wrong I use the pre-made bias binding a fair bit, but for when the shop bought plain colors just don’t sit right with your beautiful corset fabrics, go one better and make your own. It also means you can customize the width of the binding, so if you have tighter corners you can make it thinner to cope better with the harder turns. Thinner binding is also easier to handle when your learning how to make a corset.
Different widths of binding
Sounds great you say? Well lets get going!
You’ll need to have bought (or go back out and buy) a bit extra fabric in your chosen corset material. A half meter, or even a quarter meter will just about do but bare in mind the narrower it is the more joins you’ll have.
You need to grab a set square with a 45degree angle or take a piece of paper and fold the top edge down so it meets the left edge and flatten (45degrees is just half a 90degree angle like the one at the corner of a piece of paper). Now place the 45degree triangle against the edge of your material at the top and draw along the diagonal. Use a ruler to continue the line across the material to the other side. Use the angle and ruler to draw more lines all the way down your fabric which you will cut along to make your bias strips. You need to make sure your strips are four times the width you want your binding to be as you will be folding the strips in half twice to make the binding. So a half inch binding will require 2inch strips. Join your strips together by lining the edges up right-sides together and sewing them together with a small seam allowance of about 5mm. Then open out and press open the seam allowance before trimming it so no seam allowance sticks out beyond the edge on the right side.
Now for the folding! You can get a little folding tool that you push the binding through and pull out the other side folded. You just pull the binding through and iron as it comes out. But if you don’t have time to go out and get one you can fold the binding in half and iron it, then open it again and fold each raw edge into this center crease and iron again. Once both edges are folded into the center and ironed flat your done!