Tightlacing 101, Part IV: Lacing In + Orchard Corset

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's been an INSANELY long time since I did a post in my corseting/tightlacing series (like, over a year).    I've done posts in the past with some general advice (here), about choosing a corset (here) and about seasoning a new corset (here).  I still get a lot of questions about corseting so I thought it would be a great time to revive the series and start with something basic that is commonly asked: how to lace into a corset, mixed with a review of a brand I promised a while back, Orchard Corset.

I will mention that I KNOW tightlacing/waist training aren't the same thing and the terms aren't meant to be used interchangeably, but my journey started with the intention of just wearing my corset and lacing-in for periods of time (tightlacing) and not semi-permanent waist reduction (waist training), also explained on Orchard Corset's blog here.  Now I'm definitely waist training but I have no desire to rename all the past posts I've written about corseting. haha

I'd heard of the brand, and even mentioned them in my prior post about choosing a corset (here), but I ended up having a wonderful introduction to Orchard Corset.  Some Instagram followers + I were discussing corset fit and how many different important measurements there are when choosing the right one.  I was in the market for a new corset and the ladies of Orchard Corset offered to help. I sent along my measurements in an email, relevant measurements include:
            1. Bust
            2.  Underbust
            3. Waist
            4. Hips
            5. Torso length (commonly overlooked, particularly important)
I've only 4'11" so my torso is a bit shorter than a lot of my fellow corseters (it's only about 12 inches long).  For that reason, I comb over corset measurements while shopping.  If your corset is too long for your torso, it will be incredibly uncomfortable when you're sitting down and you'll basically feel like the bottom of your own corset is bent in your lamp. It's awful.

With my shorter torso, they recommended the CS-411, CS-345, CS-411(mesh) and since that time, they've also released the CS-426 (short).  I'm still INCREDIBLY eager to try the others, but I chose the CS-411.  For those of you who are reading this thinking "my  torso is average length", you basically have your pick of any corset on their site, short or otherwise.

My new ivory satin CS-411 arrived and it was absolutely beautiful, even the packaging was adorable and I like how they included instructions about breaking in, storing, cleaning, etc. for ladies who open their new package and thank "oh god, what now?"  I wish my first corset had come with them.  They also have a wealth of knowledge on their Corset 101 Page, which I can't recommend more.

Orchard Corset was sweet enough to surprise me with ivory satin laces to change out from the original nylon laces.  I'd never tried ribbon laces before and I love them, they're such a fun change and they make the corset feel ever cuter.  For $7, I see many more colors in my future.  I will mention that this particular corset doesn't have garter tabs, which I sorely miss, so it stays in the drawer on days when I'll be wearing stockings.

My natural waist is around 25.5 inches, this corset is a 22 inch and my corseted waist, depending on the day fluctuates in the 24's and even sometimes in the 23's.  Your corset, if you're waist training, should probably look something like this in the back.  It's not going to be "closed", my corseted waist isn't 22 inches, so there's about a 1.5 to 2 inch gap.

Also, usually, you want to try to do your best to keep the sides parallel to one another when you're laced-in, as opposed to an "A" shape, caused by it being tighter at the top, a "V" shape, caused by it being tighter at the bottom or a "( )" shape, caused by it being tight at the top and bottom and looser in the middle.

I'm definitely more of a visual person.  The GIF is a sample of how I lace-in every morning, don't worry, the video is slowed down a bit.  When I was learning, I got really frustrated trying to listen to people explain how to lace into a corset.  So here, you can watch and read to know what I'm doing.  Here's what's going on in the video:
      1. Loosen your laces, put your corset on, fastening your enclosures in the front
      2. Straighten your modesty panel (the little panel under the laces in the back)
      3. Take the top part of your laces, the ones coming through the first set of grommets in the middle, and pull them upward, diagonally
      4. Take the laces on the bottom, the set coming through the second set of grommets in the middle, pull then downward, diagonally
      5. You'll inevitably need to re-adjust your modesty panel again at this point, you'll be doing this a lot, especially at the top and bottom, it tends to shift most there
      6. Starting at the top, grab each set of X's, where your laces cross one another, and pull out the slack, once you get to the middle where you tie your corset, give your laces another upward tug.  Start at the bottom, do the same thing.
      7. Rinse + Repeat
      8. How do you hide those laces? 

// Also, everything in Orchard Corset's store is 15% off with promo code "BIGSALE15" until tomorrow, for anyone considering buying themselves something.

Do you have any other questions about tightlacing?
Have you already started the process or purchased your first corset, how's it going?


  1. Thanks so much for this post. I am exactly 5' and have wondered how OC's corsets would fit me.

  2. Hold the phone!!! OC came out with a short 426??? THANK YOU OC CORSET
    GODS!!! Kudos to you for lacing yourself, I make the hubby do it.

  3. You'll love it! I think I might go with something a BIT longer next time, like the shortened 426 or the 345, but I love my little 411.

    Also, whipping out your tape measure and knowing your torso length is always nice! It helps a TON when shopping. <3

  4. I've never trusted anyone else (including Katie or my husband) to lace me in. haha. I just felt like it was something I needed to force myself to learn since I wear mine every day and I'm usually home alone when getting ready.

    Also I KNOW, RIGHT?! I want to try one so badly! I also really want to try one of the mesh corsets and also the 345 (which I'm most drawn to, but I fear the silhouette isn't very dramatic).

  5. Eventually I'll have to learn on my own. Today I was seasoning the limited edition 411 cherries corset for the blog. Maybe someday I'll corset train, I just can't get over wearing them all day everyday quite yet.

    The 426 short is now on my wishlist, it was an epic fail for me originally as I'm petite as well. You'll love the mesh, I find it is the most versatile corset I own and cinches like no other.

  6. I find this so interesting! Since reading your other posts on corseting, I've been considering giving it a go - it's something I've always thought about trying but have never gotten around to actually doing. Also, until coming across OC, purchasing a good quality corset was a wee bit out of my budget.

    Thanks so much for your wonderful tips, Amanda! You make the whole process seem quite accessible and worth trying!
    I know you tightlace almost everyday, but I'm curious about whether you have a 'separate' wardrobe for days you choose not to wear a corset? Is there that much of a difference in your waist size when you don't wear your corsets?


  7. Thanks for this post! I've got a WKD Laurie, although it doesn't work as well as it could thanks to my bust size, and I've got the Orchard Corset 426 short on the way which I'm crazy excited about, so I can start wearing corsets a bit more regularly. At the moment, I only put on a corset occasionally so this post was really helpful in seeing how you lace yours, and it's just made me all the more excited about my OC one arriving!

    PS: Your link to Orchard Corset's blog seems to be broken at the moment :)

    Sian xx Rebel Angel

  8. I'll tell the honest to god truth and say that when I first started, I used to loop my laces around a doorknob and use it to help me. hahaha. So, not a good idea. And it took me a LONG TIME to get used to the feeling of wearing one daily, I still prefer my corset without the enclosures in the front for daily wear, especially because it's cotton twill and super soft on top of the fact that it doesn't have enclosures.

    OH, my too! I've wanted to try a 426 for so long now! Also, I've recently been talking to a WKD rep and my Morticia is too long (a bit of a fail) but apparently the Vamp Corset is the exact same corset with an inch taken off the top and bottom each, so I'm also eager to try that one now too.

    Now you've made me want to race off and buy a mesh corset... must.... resist.

  9. Love this post! I was actually just combing through your old tight lacing posts just yesterday! I had commented ages ago and still have not bought a corset. Today it finally the day though! Thank you for your posts!

  10. It's a really fun experience and you really learn A LOT about your body and your shape. But I agree, OC definitely makes corseting a lot more attainable, they're incredibly budget-friendly while also being amazing quality which, I agree, usually isn't a combination that exists.

    Thank you so much for saying that, I try my best to lay it out there the best way I can. I don't actually have a separate wardrobe, but I do have a few pieces I prefer the look of with my corset on (usually wiggle style items) and a few pieces I prefer with my corset off (any crop tops and things with peek-a-boo cut outs in the back, etc.). I also find myself having to use "work arounds" with pieces that become loose with my corset on so I wear a lot of belts or safety pin things on the inside so you can't tell, things like that. <3

  11. Haha that is the exact reason why I've always been afraid to try an overbust corset! Have you worn your 426 short yet? I'm so eager to try one out! If you're ever back in the market for a WKD corest, I hear the Vamp corset is perfect for short torso'd ladies searching for a good underbust.

    I think my next OC corset might be one o the mesh ones, I can't decide yet! Also, fixed that link, sorry about that! <3

  12. Thank you! I'm so happy to hear that you purchased your first corset and I hope you LOVE it! Which corset did you choose? <3

  13. I haven't got my 426 short yet, but I'm so excited to try it! I actually managed to try the Vamp on the other day (http://instagram.com/p/yzm4kdsPyS/?modal=true) and it was amazing - I was down in London for a trip (I'm from the north of the UK and their store is in the south), so I had to take advantage of being near there to give it a go. Just need to save a bit first if I'm going to buy one though, they're a bit pricey!
    Ooh, the mesh ones are gorgeous, and I guess would be good for you in the climate you live in - I need as many layers as I can get most of the time here!

  14. You'll have to let me know how you like it! It's so new, I haven't heard much feedback about it yet so I'd love to hear some lady's thoughts before I order mine!

    And oh my god, the Vamp corset is beautiful on you!!! You're making me want to rush over to the site and order myself one ASAP! I think I might do a custom version with the coloring of their peach sheer Cabaret Morticia:

    I'm definitely going to have to save up as well, though.

    And yes, apparently the mesh is nice because you don't have to wear a corset liner, which in our climate, would be a nice change because in the summer, any extra layers are very unwelcome. haha.

  15. I got the CS 426. I measured and it appears my torso is long enough. I thought about getting the 411 or 426short, but I wanted one long enough to cover my mommy pooch haha

  16. I wear a corset some for reenacting, but mine is too small and laces closed. I made it in a collage class and don't know why it wound up like that. I need to make a new one since I am going to make my own clothes for reenacting and you have to work from in out, but I'm intimidated by making my own now. Maybe I'll make it an April goal...

    How do you stop the corset and laces from showing though your clothes? Do you have any problems on the days that you don't wear it?

    Have you read the book Victorian Secrets? Its a memoir written by a lady who live in my hometown. I thought it was a fun read, it would be interesting to hear what you think about it, as you also wear a corset so much.

  17. I feel like if my torso was just ONE INCH longer, my life would be so much easier! haha. But I think I might try the 426 short soon and see how I fair! <3

  18. I think there are a lot of really good tutorials out there online for ladies making their own, already knowing how and having an experience making one is a HUGE step ahead. I bet it will be wonderful!

    And funny that you say that, I actually filed a video of that yesterday and decided not to include it, but since you ask, I went and put it back in the post haha. It's up there now ^^^^ . My only problems on the days that I don't wear it are that I feel naked without it now, but that's about it. More of my problems come from my clothes being a bit loose when I DO wear it.

    And I haven't! I think it's been recommended to me before, I'll have to go take a look.

  19. I really want to start wearing corsets daily, but am wondering how to hide all the strings so they dont show trough the back side of the dress. do you wear shapewear over top? or how do you hide the lacing and strings

  20. Did you catch the very last GIF at the end of the post? Usually all I need to do to hide my laces is tuck them underneath the bottom of the corset. I know that, to an extent, there will always be some external "tell" that I'm wearing my corset but usually my lines aren't bad. Sometimes, if I'm wearing a really thin t-shirt, I'll forgot wearing a tank top under my corset and wear it over the top instead. In the event that I'm wearing something really tight, I'll throw some Rago Shapewear or a What Katie Did piece on over my corset. 9/10 times though, I don't have to do either of those things and simply tucking my laces is enough to hide it. <3

  21. thanks!! i'll have to try it out. also you have amazing hair. as a gal who also has very long hair, I am oh so curious how you get your hair looking for fantatsic? have you done a post on it before? if not, can you ;)

  22. I'm hoping I love it when it gets here! Let us all know how you like the short when you get it!

  23. I'll definitely be doing a review if/when I decide to order it. xoxo

  24. Thank you so much! And I'm terrible at hair and also at explaining my styling because it's a day-to-day thing for me, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, so I've never actually done a post on it. If I can figure out how to explain it coherently, I'll do a post on it. haha ; )

  25. Thank you for this post! I bought my first corset some weeks ago (yay to the CS 411!) and I love it, but I am having some troubles in lacing it correctly. Just when I think I got it tight enough I feel it too loose :(

    Btw, I discovered your blog some time before Christmas and I think it's amazing! Keep up the good work ;)

  26. It's so pretty! Trying to explain how to lace up over the internet sucks.. a video is always needed! haha

    I saw they recently added a lilac one in Short.. wish I could fit OTR!!

    The length of the 345 is nice but the curve is just too soft in comparison to the 411.

  27. I have been hunting for a corset that will not give me that roll over the top of the corset… does this corset fix that issue? I love wearing corsets, but whenever I buy one and try it on.. it looks great… up until the shoulders/arm then BAM… flab pouring out… any advice would be wonderful ;D- Hillary

  28. What do you think of fan laced corsets?

    Is it a bad idea to use a vintage corset?

  29. Dear June,
    I absolutely love this series! Thank you so much for reviving it :) As someone who's extremely interested in waist traing, and a bit over whelmed while try to do research, your experiences help a ton! Brava dear!

    Any who, I have a question about corset liners, as touched on in one of your previous posts; what do you do when wearing a dress with a neckline that would show a bra strap, and there for a tank top/cami strap? I am also a well endowed lady, and I own several awesome strapless bras...but do I wear a tubetop as a liner *shudders* or just go with out?

  30. Chiming in from BEASTLY HOT New Orleans to say I really do love my mesh 411! I'm very much looking forward to my smooooooth-fronted cotton Meschantes corset but for NOLA Summers, mesh is the only way to go.