V364: Corset Training – Week 2 Report

It’s been about two weeks now that I’ve been consistently wearing a Victorian corset for about 7+ hours per day.  I’ve already learned so much about my body, the effects of the corset, and corsets in general (shape, boning materials, lacing).  Here is my Week 2 Report…

Again With The Comfort
One of the days, this past week, I wore a vintage dress to an evening get-together, and opted for a waist-cincher-panty-girdle thing made by Rago.  I really love my Rago corselette, but my WORD this waist-girdle thing was a torture device! I was so bloody uncomfortable, I couldn’t wait to get it off.  Putting on the Victorian corset the next day felt so good in comparison!


Comfort is so important.  I’ve been wearing my new mid-bust Victorian, and have learned that I need to keep the hips loose, as well as the rib cage, when I lace it.  In the morning I will lace it up to wherever it is comfortable – most of the time that’s about 26.5″.  It loosens throughout the day, and after a couple hours, I can lace it comfortably, but tightly, to 25.5 inches, but no more.

The left side – spiral steels; the right side – zip ties

I have two pressure points on the side fronts of the corset, at my lower ribs, that tell me loud and clear that I’m compressing my ribs, and that’s not a good thing.  I used cable ties in this corset, which I love, but I have also ordered a selection of spiral steel bones for these “trouble spots. – on the left side in the photo (my right side), I’ve put the spirals, and on the right side (my left) are the zip ties.  Already I can feel a massive difference in comfort, and I will definitely be using spiral steel in all of my corsets from now on.

When it comes time to make this pattern up again, I will reduce the bust, and flare the hips more.

I also ordered two corset patterns from Ageless Patterns, a company that provides *original* patterns found in antique women’s publications.  I just received them, and I’m just itching to try the first one out – it has large hip gussets, as well as bust gussets, so I hope to be able to flare that hip in a dramatic way, but keep the bust small (The pattern is 36″ bust, 26″ waist, and is described as a short corset for a “fleshy woman.”  Zonks!)

Mocking up the 1869 “Fleshy Woman” corset.  It’s complicated, short waisted, and too big for me, but that’s the point of a mockup!

Shifting Goals
When I started this experiment, my goal was to reduce to 25 inches, and my extreme goal was to reduce to 24 inches.  I’m not all that interested in that anymore – 25 inches would be nice, but I’m really very happy with 26.  Going back to the ideal Victorian proportions, with a 10 inch difference between bust and waist, I think I shall much prefer an easy reduction to 26 inches at the waist in combination with even easier increase to 36 inches at the bust, rather than a reduction to 24 inches at the waist only.  Yay for stuffies, and historically accurate at that!

Getting Used to It
So much of this seems to be just that – you get used to how a tight garment like this feels to wear.  I’m always aware of it, but it doesn’t bug me.  I’m *really* aware of it when I take it off.  I miss it, and it feels good to put it on again, rather than like a chore.


I definitely stand up straighter when not wearing the corset.  My muscles have *not* atrophied, and I don’t collapse in a heap of goo when I take the corset off.  On the contrary: my body has been upright through the abdomen all day long, and continues, at least for a awhile, to hold itself in that position.  That in itself makes one look more svelte!


  • Verdaera

    February 6, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    I'm glad to hear your report on different bone types! So far my biggest problem has been discomfort on my lower ribs, I'll definetly try spiral steel on the new corset I'm making 🙂

  • k8

    February 6, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    Hip gussets in corsets are FANTASTIC. I can't wait to see how you make yours. I own several What Katie Did corsets with hip gussets and they've changed the comfort-ability of corset by at least half. It doesn't compress my hips, but instead allows room for them all while shaping my waist.

    Bravo for making your own! You're my hero 🙂

  • Zo

    February 6, 2013 at 4:28 AM

    I don't understand why anyone wouldn't use steel bones in a period corset. I used plastic bones in a corset-style top for my prom dress–not made for shaping, just to look nice–and it was awful. I also have some store-bought corset tops with more plastic boning, and they can get really uncomfortable too. But the steel bones in my underbust corset bought at the Renaissance Festival are so nice and supportive!! I just finished making a corset-top for my friend with steel bones as well, and she really likes it, even though she's not using it for any shaping.

  • Anne Elizabeth

    February 6, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    This is so interesting! I've often thought about trying something similar, but never got around to. Thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us!

    One of the things that stopped me from trying is that so many items of clothing show the edges of the corset or the lacing knot through the fabric, and I didn't want people at school/work wondering about it. I could try again now that I have more wardrobe options. I bet it would also totally help against lower back pain.

  • Anonymous

    February 6, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    I'm so enjoying these posts! I'm getting ready to transition to wearing period clothing full-time which, of course, means wearing a corset full-time and it's like getting a little glimpse into my future. I can't wait to read more!

  • AuntieNan

    February 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Thanks ever so! I'm making my first kind-of Elizabethan (I say kind of because it will wind up onstage in the summer outdoor heat) and was debating the boning question. Previously, in a 1903 I built for an indoor show, t he actress had a rib problem and I was able to shift the bone placement to make her more comfy. Maybe that would helps.

    Beautiful mockup. I am very jealous of your nicely accommodating dummy, too!
    Auntie Nan

  • Robin's Egg Bleu

    February 6, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    I am curious to know if you are wearing your bra along with the corset during the day? I always wear a bra with my corset, I am very large busted and I can't even get the corset on without the bra keeping the girls out of the way of themselves.

    My straps don't show under my period clothing so I figure no harm no foul. Of course I'm not doing Regency or a period that exposes the area where the bra straps would be. Anyone else out there wear a bra with their corset?

  • ajpiffle

    February 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I'm curious about which ageless pattern you are really using. I think you are referencing AP #1036 (1869 Short Corset for Fleshy Lady 36 Bust – 26 Waist), but your mock up looks more like AP #1034 (1869 Short Corset 21 Waist). Both can been seen on this page here (http://agelesspatterns.com/corsets__2.htm) (1034 is the very first one and 1036 is the third one down)

    Thanks so much for documenting this process. I made a corset recently, but I'm inspired to do a little training with it to see how it wears for comfort. You have pointed out some things that have always been discomforts that I assumed came with wearing a corset, but now I see they can be fixed with proper fitting. Yay!

  • Unknown

    February 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I am really enjoying what you are learning as the weeks are going by. Corsets are amazing little items of clothing that work very well for many things. Reading your updates are really making me want to do corset training as well. I know it would help with my back pain.

  • Anonymous

    February 8, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    In case you are unaware, cable ties will become brittle in time and crack, which can bust right through fabric…and skin. Spiral steel is nice due to the 4 way flex, but I find that straight steel (2 way flex) is much nicer. I've been corseting for years and honestly, the straight steel has been the best for support, wear, comfort, etc. I'm enjoying reading about your adventures in corsety. 🙂

  • Caroline

    February 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    This is so interesting to follow. Also, I know it's just a mock up of your corset, but it's so pretty! I actually love the fabric. It's like a patchwork quilt corset 🙂

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