Scarlet O'Hara had help for a very good reason. Corset lacing is a tough job, particularly if you lack biceps, so asking someone else to do it is always preferable. There are several ways to lace a corset, but this one is both the easiest and the kindest to your corset, not to mention your back, as the strain of the laces is on the eyelets, not the fabric and, as the corset will be completely closed, your skin won't be pinched. Lacing your corset the way you lace your trainers requires the kind of upper body strength only acquired by going to the gym and will leave a gap at the back, which, although it looks pretty, puts more strain on the garment and will also lessen your waist reduction.
First of all, put the corset flat on a table. Do not attempt to lace your corset while it is on you, unless you are a contortionist with perfect hand-to-eye-in-mirror coordination. Count the number of eyelets from the top to the centre of the waist. If this is an odd number, start the lacing from the underside, if even, start from the outside. The diagrams below show a corset with an odd number of eyelets, as if you are looking at it from the outside. If your corset has an even number of eyelets, begin with Step 1, then Step 3, then Step 2 - you might want to read this bit again.
Step 1 Using one long lace, starting from the inside, slip the lace through the top eyelets of the corset. Pull the lace through so that the horizontal lace is on the inside of the corset and make sure that the two ends of the lace are of even length.
Step 2 Take the lace on the left and cross it over to the right on the outside of the corset, thread into the next eyelet, so that the lace is now on the inside of the corset.Repeat this with the right lace. The trick is to make an "X" on the same side that the lace originated from.
Step 3 With the laces on the inside, take the right lace, cross it over to the left side and pull through the next eyelet. Repeat with the left lace. You will now have an "X" on the inside and the tails of the laces will be on the outside.
Step 4 Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you reach the waistline of the corset. This is where the clever engineering comes in, as you are going to create the puller loop. This is what you pull on to tighten up the corset. With me so far? The puller-loop MUST be on the outside. If it isn't, you either can't count or it has all gone horribly wrong.
Step 5 Take the left lace and thread it through the next eyelet down on the left side (in other words on the same side). Do not pull it tight. You now have a loop on the outside of the corset and the tail of the lace should be on the inside. Do the same on the right side.
Step 6 Now thread the left lace through the next eyelet on the right side. Repeat with the right lace, crossing it over to the left side. (The same as Step 3). You will now have an "X" on the inside of your corset, with the tails of the laces on the outside. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you reach the bottom. Make sure you have approximately 5 inches of slack in the laces between the two sides, so you can put the corset on easily.
Step 7 Tie the bottom laces in a bow. Now put on your corset. If you pull on the puller loops, the back of the corset should completely close and should resemble the diagram, and you should look gorgeous!
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