It may take some practice but it's completely possible to lace yourself up in a corset. It is a bit easier with someone to help you, but once you get the hang of it you will find that it is probably faster to put on a corset yourself. Here are the steps required whether you are lacing yourself up or someone is assisting you.
1. Fully loosen all slack in lacing of the corset each time you are going to put it on. Try to make the separation in the back gap as even as possible. You don't want all of the slack at the top or bottom of the corset, you need it evenly distributed across the entire gap.
2. Place corset around your waist with lacing in back and garter loops on the bottom (garter loops are found inside the corset). Hook the busk, starting with the 2nd eyelet from the top and work your way down to the bottom of the corset (do not start with the top or bottom eyelet). When you reach the bottom, go back and hook the top eyelet last.
3. Remove slack in lacing by pulling the two loops located in the center of the corset (this is where the lace does not criss-cross). Pull as much slack out as possible and adjust the straightness of the corset making sure the corset is positioned correctly before fully tightening. This is also a good time to adjust your breasts in the cups of the corset if you are wearing an over bust corset.
4. Tighten the top portion of the corset by pulling the 2nd "X" from the top (red "X" in diagram below) and then the third "X" (blue in the diagram). Again, remove extra slack on the top half by pulling center loops mentioned in step 3. You can also hold the center loops with your opposite hand to maintain tension as you pull the "X's" with your primary hand.
Tighten the bottom by pulling the second "X" from the bottom, then the third "X" just as you did on the top. Remove slack by pulling center loops (step 3). All three "X's" on both the top and bottom of the corset should have most of the slack in the laces removed at this point. If you do not have a gap at the laces, this means that the corset is too large for you and you need to go down by at least one size.
5. Repeat step 4 until you've reached your desired fit and tightness. The corset should be comfortable and you should not experience any pain. If the corset is too tight, loosen the "X's" at the area of discomfort to create a proper fit.
6. Finally, tie the center laces into a bow.
Gap Information: Please note that the corset's gap should just clear your spine. A gap too small may put pressure on and hurt the spine and a gap too big will feel very uncomfortable to wear. To see the shape be sure to have a proper gap.
If you are using a corset for back support, or have any medical concerns, be sure to talk it over with your physician first.
Corsets rely on tension to reduce your waist and provide shape so it is absolutely imperative that you fully loosen the tension in the lacing before removing your corset. This must been done each and everytime you wear your corset. Failure to loosen the corset before removing is the most common cause of damage. In extreme cases, the busk may be broken. In less extreme cases, one or more of the loops or pins of the busk may be bent, making the corset difficult to both remove and put on.
Untie the bow at the back of the corset and pull on the "X's" to remove all of the tension from the laces. Start with the third "X" and pull out at least a foot of slack. Move up to the second and third "X's" respectively and repeat the process moving down. Be sure that the corset is now loose enough to move and shift a bit around your waist. If you skip this step, you risk breaking or bending the pins or the loops of the busk. The reason for this is that you will be able to unhook all but the last loop fairly easily. The last pin and loop will then receive all the pressure that should be spread over five or six pins. It will be overstressed and almost impossible to open. If you continue to work it back and forth in an attempt to open it, you will eventually either break it or bend it.
Once the corset is loose, proceed to unhook the busk. Unhook the very top loop and pin pair and then start at the bottom and work your way up to the 2nd from the top. You never want to have a middle loop and pin pair as the last to undo as it will be almost impossible.
Now that the corset is fully unhooked and the laces are completely loose, you can store the corset for the next time you wear it (see the section below on how to store and care for your corset). Since the laces will have to be completely loosened before you wear the corset again, you may want to store it in this open position.
Before storing your corset, be sure it's completely clean and dry.
When storing our corsets before shipping them out to you, they are kept in plastic bags in drawers to prevent moisture and dust from damaging them. This as an option for your home storage method as well. You can save the plastic bag that we send with the corset or keep the corset folded flat in a drawer, making sure that the is nothing heavy or sharp sitting on top of the corset that might bend the metal components or damage the fabric.
If you choose to fold your corset, be sure to close the busk and tighten the laces before folding so that they stay straight. If you prefer not fold your corset, you can simply lay them flat in a drawer.
We do not recommend rolling up your corset. The studs and eyes can be pushed into the fabric, causing damage to the fabric. Additionally, rolling the piece can distort the shape of the corset, therefore folding or hanging is a better option.
If you choose to hang your corset, do not use hangers with squeeze clips that grasp the edge of the corset. These can damage some of the more delicate fabrics. If you would like to hang your corsets we recommend letting out all of the slack on the laces and draping the corset from those loosen laces over a hanger with the liner side facing out.
While keeping the outside of the corset clean is as difficult as with any other garment there is a lot that can be done to keep the inside clean. We recommend wearing something under a corset. A camisole or corset liner works well. These will absorb sweat and body oils and can be easily washed after wearing. This is especially important for anyone practicing waist training.
There are two ways to thoroughly clean corsets: dry cleaning and hand washing. We strongly recommend dry cleaning your Timeless Trends corset; however spot cleaning is a good option for in between more thorough cleans.
If you just have a small spot that needs cleaning you may spot clean. Plain water is best, used with a lint-free cloth. If necessary, use a gentle cleanser and rinse thoughly with water applied to a lint-free cloth. If the trim is made of the same fabric as the outer fabric it is a good idea to test the cleanser on the inside of the trim. If you want to remove body oils or light sweat from the inside of the corset just wipe the area with a slightly damp absorbent cloth. Be sure to let the corset dry completely before storing.
When choosing a dry cleaner, try to find one with previous corset experience. Experience with theatrical costumes (which tend to be delicate and require special care) is also good when looking into dry cleaners. Make sure they are aware your corset has steel inside. Do not dry clean your corset too frequently as this can cause wear and tear.
Our leather and vinyl corsets must be dry cleaned. Be sure to ask the dry cleaner if they have experience with leather or vinyl. Do not attempt to wash them at home. If you want to clean and maintain the outside of your corset you may use leather polishes , but it is best to test them first on the inside trim. Various products may be used to clean and maintain the vinyl as well, but again, test them on the inside trim before applying them to to outside of the corset.
While we do not recommend washing the corset yourself, we realize that even infrequent dry cleaning can become expensive. If you choose to wash the corset there are many things things to consider.
CORSETS CANNOT BE MACHINE WASHED OR TUMBLED DRY. These actions will cause the steel boning in the corset to wear through the fabric in very short order. The fabric moves and the steel does not. One machine washing will destroy a corset. If you choose to wash your corset it must be done by hand and with great care. We recommend removing your corset's laces prior to washing and relacing it once the corset is completely dry.
Water and corsets do not mix well. Timeless Trends uses steel busks, steel bones, and steel grommets. Water, and some chemicals, cause steel to rust. To prevent rust we galvenize, or coat, all of our steel components; however, you should still limit exposure to water to the shortest time possible.
Use cold or lukewarm water rather than hot water. The inner layer of the corset is 100% cotton. It is preshrunk, but very hot water could cause futher shrinking. If this happens, it will give your corset a permanent wrinkled look.
Cleansers should be chosen with care and bleach should never be used. We use a tremendous selection of fabrics and cannot recommend any one cleanser that works for all of them. You should use as gentle a cleanser as possible. As with fabrics in any garment, the chemicals in some cleansers can cause damage. There can be bleaching, changes in fabric texture, and with some heavy cleansers, if they are not entirely rinsed out residues can cause transference of dyes to skin or other clothing. Be sure to thoroughly, but gently, rinse out all cleansers. Since we use three layers of fabric in the corset this takes some time and patience.
Drying the corset also takes a little extra care. NEVER RING WATER OUT. This motion (just like the motion in a washer or dryer) will destoy your corset. Immediately after washing, lay the piece on an absorbent towel and then use another towel to sponge as much water away from the corset as possible. Finally hang the corset over a plastic hanger with the fashion/outer layer of fabric facing inwards.
There are instances where you may have odors like cigarette smoke which you want to remove. If you do not want to either dry clean the corset or wash it, a fabric refreshing spray such as Febreeze may be effective. Again we recommend testing the spray on the inside of the corset (if possible) before spraying the outside of the piece to be sure that the chemicals from the spray do not damage the color or finish of the fabric. Always allow the corset to dry completely before storing. Sometimes simply airing it out for a day or two may be enough to remove an odor.
Ironing corsets is neither necessary nor recommended.