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Addendum to “Corset Gaps”: troubleshooting more corset fitting issues

Many people have seen my “Shape of Your Corset Gap: What Does it Mean?” video and article, but several people have walked away with the wrong idea – they think that if you have anything BUT a straight, parallel gap down the back, that this means it’s going to break the corset.

This is actually incorrect. In this article, I will explain a bit more about what the gaps mean, and will also discuss some other fitting issues, like flaring, gaping, and problems with curviness/ lack of curves. If you’d like you can watch the video below instead of reading (it’s the same information):

Revisiting the V shape and A shape:


The V shape
The V shape

If your corset is making a V shape or A shape, the bones are not parallel but they’re still kept straight and they’re not bent per se. What it means is that the corset is not the best shape for you (I call it a corset-body mismatch). What may happen is that your corset may become seasoned in the V shape or A shape – but as your ribs and your hips are not going to dramatically change their natural measurements, there’s no reason that you should be worried about wearing the corset any other way. It is not likely to ruin the corset to wear it this way, as long as the bones in the back don’t bend or twist in their channels.

Some corsetieres and designers even deliberately draft a corset to have a V shape in the back. This is seen all the time on the backs of wedding dresses, and other formal wear and costumes. Some lacers and performers specifically request that their authentic corsets are drafted to have a V shape in the back. Also, Elizabethan stays/ payres of bodies were often made to have the V gap in the front, to show off the decorative stomacher. The “rules” of corset gaps are not universal throughout all fashion eras!


The A Shape
The A Shape

I also sometimes see people wearing a corset with the V shape or inverted V shape online (mostly Youtube and Tumblr), and people will tell the wearer that they’re wearing the corset incorrectly and the gap needs to be corrected so it’s parallel. This also isn’t true. If your corset is too small at the top, and you try to force the corset closed and reduce your own underbust measurement, you may find that it’s more difficult to take a deep breath and/or you’ll have flesh spilling over the top of the corset. In the opposite case, if your corset is too small at the bottom (A-shaped gap) and you try to force it closed and reduce the girth of your hips, you may feel some uncomfortable pinching or numbness in your hips, bum or legs; or you could even long-term nerve damage or bruising! Wearing a corset with an uneven gap doesn’t mean you’re wearing the corset incorrectly – it’s not the fault of the wearer, they are lacing it so that it’s comfortable and it’s not going to cause injury. However, this corset is simply not the right shape for the wearer’s body, and ideally the corset should be modified (one can add expandable hip ties or gores) or it should be returned/ exchanged for a curvier corset that will fit with a more even gap.

Revisiting the ( ) shape and )( shape:

The () shape
The () shape

The gap shapes you really need to worry about are the ones that look like parentheses. If you have the top and bottom of the corset touching and a big gap at the waistline (known as the “()” shape) or the opposite where the shape of the gap is echoing the hourglass shape of the corset (the “)(” shape), this means that the corset is the wrong size for your body, it’s either too curvy or not curvy enough for your experience level, and/or there may be something structurally wrong with the corset.

These gap shapes show that the bones are literally bending and twisting and not remaining straight and flat like they’re designed to do. What can happen to the corset in this situation is that the bone may permanently kink or bend, which weakens the bone and can dig into you uncomfortably. Not only that but because the bone has space to rub and twist in the channel, the fabric channel is being worn more (and less evenly) than a snug bone and this may cause a bone to pop out of its channel if there’s too much friction wearing away at the fabric. Also, the bones are there to support the grommets! If the bones are not doing their job, it can warp the fabric, putting uneven tension on the grommets and may make them more susceptible to eventually ripping out (think of those fashion corsets that are unsupported by bones in the back, and they crumple with any tension on the laces). The () and )( gap shapes are the ones that can really ruin the corset; not the V-shape.

The )( shape
The )( shape

Other fitting issues: Should my new corset flare away from my body or not?

I’ve been asked a lot lately about “flaring”, when people first try on a corset and it gapes away from your body. This is not only normal, it’s to be expected. In fact, if you’re seasoning your corset at a gentle reduction and you’re NOT getting some flaring (it’s snug around your ribs and hips, not loose or “big”), something might be wrong and the corset is probably not curvy enough for you.

Most people buy a corset that is curvier than their bodies (this is often the point of corseting). A well-fitting corset is supposed to have a smaller waist than your natural waist, but will have an underbust measurement the same as your natural underbust, and a hip measurement that is the same size as your natural hips.
This way, when you cinch down in the corset, it’s not trying to reduce the size of your underbust, waist and hips simultaneously, but will only reduce your waist while gently supporting the ribs and hips – when it’s not too big, it won’t flare, and when it’s not too small, you don’t get pinching or spillover.

My corset has a big gap in the back, but there’s no more room in the ribs or hips to cinch down further!


This corset cannot be laced down further due to the underbust and hips. I keep a parallel but wide | | gap down the back.
This corset cannot be laced down further due to the underbust and hips. I keep a parallel but wide | | gap down the back.

Many OTR corsets out there are not curvy enough for some people’s bodies. I have reviewed some corsets in the past that were not curvy enough to close all the way on me, because the ribcage and hip measurements of the corset are smaller than my own. You’ll notice that I don’t force the waist to be smaller to give the )( gap, I just leave it with a huge gap in the back because I want to show the true silhouette of the corset, and I also don’t want to ruin the corset.

My corset has a wide parallel gap in the back, but I’m seeing flaring.

This is the proper scenario: let’s say you have a very curvy corset but you’re not achieving large reductions in your waist yet. If the corset isn’t closed in the back, it is perfectly normal to have the top and bottom flare away from your body at this stage, because the corset is designed to fit when closed. You have to keep your eye on the end result, not on what the corset is doing at very gentle reductions.

In the meantime, does this mean that you should lace the top and bottom tighter, and keep the waist more loose so the back of the corset looks like () ? I personally wouldn’t. That is a good way to make the bones by the grommets bend and twist in the back, and potentially ruin the corset in the ways outlined above.

Click the photo to see my seasoning series, where I talk about flaring in more detail.
Click the photo to see my seasoning series, where I talk about flaring in more detail.


When I’m seasoning or training down in a corset that has a dramatic waist reduction, I just deal with the gaping or flaring at the ribs and hips. I don’t like the way the corset looks with the gaping, but it can be hidden by wearing sweaters or jeans under the corset to add bulk – or I’ll just wear the corset under my clothes so I don’t have to see it. It might feel wobbly, but I just remind myself that it’s a very temporary state until I’m able to train down further.

My corset is closed all the way in the back, but the top/ bottom are still flaring away from my body!

The corset is either too curvy for your body type, or it’s too big for you. If you feel that you’re able to cinch smaller and you want to train down further, then exchange the corset for a size smaller. If you have no interest in having a smaller waist, then see if you can get your corset exchanged for a less curvy one. Maybe a dramatic wasp-waist just isn’t for you, and you would prefer a more gentle hourglass or modern slim silhouette – there is nothing wrong with that! This is why different shapes of corsets exist for different people.

Hopefully this has helped clarify some points from my previous “Corset Gaps” video/article, and you’re able to troubleshoot your fitting issues more effectively. Do you have any other fitting issues that you’d like discussed in the future? Do you have anything to add, or do you disagree with anything said here? Do let me know in a comment.

67 thoughts on “Addendum to “Corset Gaps”: troubleshooting more corset fitting issues

  1. Hey Lucy,

    I was wondering what kind of variance in the gap is normal. I seasoned my first corset for the first time, and after trying to make the gap as parallel as possible with a 2 inch reduction, it kept becoming uneven. The bottom and top would increase around 1 inch and the waist would decrease, giving me a )( gap. I tried to tighten the top and bottom but it would go back to being uneven and tighter in the waist.

    The corset is mcc72 with hip ties from mystic city. The measurements are (UB-W-H) 30-22-32 (not including the hip ties), I marked where the corset sat on me for my measurements and they were 32-29-36. I tried keeping the hip ties loose and also tightening them but because it flares at the hip and underbust, I dont think it matters.

    Is this variation in the gap alright or is this not a good for me?

    1. Hi Robynn, thanks for reaching out – the “)(” gap might happen because either your body is too curvaceous for the corset, but from your measurements, technically the corset should fit with a parallel 2-inch wide lacing gap in the back (with the hip ties a little open). One other possibility is you might have a deep curve in your lower back that the corset is trying to compensate for. Corset gaps like “||” or “V” or “A” are fine because the bones are not curved or twisted in the channels, but warping might occur over time in the case of “)(” or “()” shaped gaps.

  2. I can’t thank you enough for all your advice and experience in waist training! You are my go to when I have questions about my corset. I just purchased my 2nd corset from Mystic City (mcc57) and it fits my underbust and hip measurements perfect, waist being 6-7 inches smaller than my natural. I questioned whether I should exchange it or wear it…after reading above, I feel the corset is meant for my body and I’ll achieve a smaller waist without worry of spillage or pinching. Thank you for a free site with so much useful information!!

    1. Thank you Becky! I’m so glad you found this helpful. ^_^

  3. Hi, I own 2 corsets and made sure I got the right size BUT when I lace them up I have a HUGE gap where my breasts sit. I can squish them but at the back I have flesh bludging over and if I tighten it it doesn’t help just hurts that flesh.
    I’m big chested and a small waist naturally. I don’t know what to do to fix this.

    1. Hi Dee, do you have a ribcage measurement that’s the same size or smaller than your natural waist? Sometimes that can happen – another reason could be that the corset is designed to give a different posture than you naturally have. If you sort of “lean forward” in your corset a bit, are you able to temporarily fill out that space in the front and alleviate some of the pinching in the back? I’m not saying to sit like that all the time; you don’t want to have to slouch to get a corset to fit properly!
      One small way to improve the fit can be to curve the steels in the back like I show here – but it sounds more like you’d get a better fit in your corsets by taking away some of the material in the front and adding gores in the back to better distribute that ease.

  4. I have a high poking out booty (some people call it a shelf butt) and have begun my corset journey with a custom corset made by my late grandmother. I have worn it to nothing and need to replace it. I am not in a position to buy a custom one right now nor do i fit the measurements of most of the OTR corsets I like. I have a strong preference for conical & more extreme hourglass shapes like Isabella Corsetry’s Josephine but that shape doesn’t have the hip spring I need because of my butt. The issue is that when most corset makers add the hip spring they often create the room in the actual hips. I do have some flare in my hips but my butt is where most of that measurement comes from. (BTW my measurements are underbust 32”, waist 31”, high hip 38”, low hip 40”, torso length (seated) 10.5”, length from natural waist to where my butt starts to flare out is only about 4” and within a couple inches it pretty quickly hits the 38” mark. I had considered buying a Josephine and adding hip ties in the back as after watching your video I think I could accomplish that if you think it would work. Or are there brands that cater to big bootys? I considered Mystic City and some others you mentioned in a video where you covered similar things but even most of those seem to have the bulk of the fabric in the hip area. Any thoughts or suggestions as I get into retail corseting (aside from I should just save up to get a custom one as I’m already doing that)?

  5. Hey Lucy I’ve noticed mild () on one of my corsets and wanted to know if it wasn’t a concern. In the photos you’ve posted all of the bowing is very noticeable while in mine it isn’t very noticeable and looks almost parallel. I measured the bow and found it to be 1/8th of an inch wider in the middle then the top and bottom of the corset. The gap at the top and bottom measures 3 inches. It’s very mild so I was unsure if it should be a cause for concern or not, please let me know what you think.

    1. Hi Alyssa, if your steels are veering by only 1/8th of an inch, it’s not much to worry about. I deliberately show situations where the lacing gap is dramatically wonky because I don’t want people to agonize over smaller variations. 1/8th inch can sometimes be attributed to the fabric straining as opposed to the bones themselves.

  6. Hi, Lucy. First I want to say thank you for your hard work in making available so much helpful information.
    I started my corset waist training almost 1 year ago and have had success in reducing the size of my waist. But also since then have become aware that I have a mild case of pectus excavatum. The main relevance is that it causes my lower ribs to flare out a bit. I have hopes that I can train my lower ribs over time to correct this deformity by using the right kind of steel boned corset. However, until this can be corrected, my lower-ribs measurement is disproportionately large relative to my upper-hips measurement, creating an issue with rib-spring versus hip-spring in off-the-rack corsets. If you have any advice about this specific congenital defect related to corseting I would like to know it. Otherwise, I’m wondering is it better to buy my future corsets prioritizing correct hip-spring which results in a V-shaped corset gap and a little gaping around the top (my current problem), or prioritize correct rib-spring which might result in some looseness or gaping around the upper-hips (I haven’t tried it yet). Or maybe an overbust corset would work better? Keeping in mind I hope to train my ribs to a more normal shape, or as close as is possible. Thanks, Lucy!

    1. Hi Jane, unfortunately I don’t have any experience with rib training with pectus excavatum, I’m sorry! I think an overbust corset would still fit you with a “V” shaped lacing gap in the back. There are corsets out there with cupped ribs so it’s not too dramatic or too much pressure on your ribs all at one, and they may be more comfortable for you (whether you like the silhouette of the corset is another thing). Some people start with a round rib corset and “graduate” to something with a bit more of a conical rib later on.

    2. I do something called Fascial a Stretch Therapy and work with the structure of the body. If you are looking to resolve this, a corset may help some but this is a structural issue due to connective tissue adhesions and in my experience can be resolved with consistent bodywork (weekly at least) with an experienced practitioner in fascial structural therapy. If you would like help finding someone in your area I am happy to help you do that. Shoot me an email with your contact info and I will call you, get some more info on your situation and then find the best person in your area. If you want to go with a corset alone I would start with at least some cupping so that you do not require too much change too quickly. Remodeling bones happens all the time, it is not unrealistic at all but it is a slow process so work your way into a more conical shape very slowly and again I would highly recommend working with a professional in this area. Hope this helps!

  7. I just brought a corset from OC an it’s the 411 in the size 22. I don’t know if it’s the right size for me. My measurements are
    Waist: 27
    Upper hip: 33
    Lower hip: 38
    Torso (standing):10
    Torso (sitting):9
    How do I know if it’s right for me. I have pictures to help you see where my problem is. At the top of the corset its space (right under my underbust). Another question is it also possiable that the corset isn’t tight enough? I can still stick my stomach out (like push it out more). I hope you can be able to help me

    1. Hi Imani, with many corsets, it’s normal in the beginning (when there is a wider gap in the back of the corset and it’s only being laced lightly), the top and/or bottom edges of the corset to flare away from your body.
      Most corsets are designed to cinch in primarily the waist, while gently supporting the ribs and hips instead of cutting in or pinching at the top and bottom.
      Once your body gets used to the compression and you’re able to lace the corset tighter in the back, you should notice that the top and bottom edges of the corset come in to meet your ribs and hips and that flaring should dissipate.
      Your corset may still be stiff and need some breaking in and softening before you are able to pull it tighter, even though you feel like your waist can accommodate more cinch. However if it’s causing any discomfort or pain to your ribs and hips, it may not be the best fit for you.

  8. I just bought a corset for Orchard Corset and I love it. I have only worn it 2 times and I am totally new to this. So, my question is, is it normal for the 2nd time wearing it that the back doesn’t even meet the modesty panel (shy 1/2″ from the modesty panel edge). I guess I’m confused as to if this is the right size or maybe the wrong type? If you could please give some advise it would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Sasha, if your modesty panel isn’t fully covering the back of your corset, I’m guessing that the lacing gap in the back is around 5-6 inches wide? I normally don’t recommend a super wide gap in the back and there’s a chance that your corset is 1 size too small for you. I have a different article where I explain how a super wide gap in the back can affect the fit and support of your corset.

  9. I am making my own corset, and have noticed a developing “()” problem in the mock up. I am pretty skinny to start with (the corset is for back support and is part of a historical ensemble I’m making) and I had to take in the pattern already. Right now, the middle has the proper gap width, but the bottom touches and the top overlaps. What should I do?

    1. Hi Rosie, if you want a parallel lacing gap in the back, I would take in the bust and hips so they’re a bit smaller than your body, and will create the same amount of gap as you get at the waistline. If you’re simply looking for the back to be more rigid and resistant to bowing, I have another big article on how to do that here.

  10. This is a very helpful guide, but I’m having a problem I haven’t seen addressed anywhere. I have a large, high butt (I call it a shelf butt), that pushes the bottom of my corset up, often buckling or causing it to bend painfully into my lower back. My corset fits perfectly everywhere else, butt my butt doesn’t exactly squish down like other, fleshier parts.

    1. Hi Lizzie, this other post on how to gently curve the back steels so they accommodate a shelf bum or sway back might be closer to what you’re looking for. I hope it helps!

  11. Hello!
    I’ve found your article so so helpful but I have a question that’s really bugging me .
    My natural waist is 22 inches. I have purchased a new corset ( it isn’t my first one) and I am experiencing the )( shape problem . Unfortunately I cut the tag so I can’t return it .
    I am not too worried about the corset but I am wondering if it is still going to reduce the size of my waist ? Is it still going to be efficient and is the corset going to modify my body in a weird way since it’s not squeezing the ribs in?

    Thank you xx

    1. Hi Mariah, if the gap in the back is bowing, it’s still more or less accommodating your figure. The fit is not perfect or ideal, but people are still able to wear their corsets (and some see results) even when wearing a corset that doesn’t fit perfectly. If you measure the internal waist, is it smaller than your natural waist? If so, the corset is doing something. :) But if you are in the market for a corset that fits you better, you can check out the Corset Database or submit your measurements for a personal recommendation. :)

  12. Thank you so much for this informative post.
    I now understand that my corset doesn’t fit the shape of my body, and that expandable hip ties or gores might fix the problem.
    I am awful at sewing. How might I find someone to hire who could do this alteration for me? Is this something corsetieres are generally willing to do even if it isn’t a corset they made?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Veronika, I would recommend contacting a corset maker near you via the corsetiere map. Sometimes they are willing to alter your corsets, sometimes not, but it’s worth a try! If they are not willing to or if there are no makers who work near you, I would try a local tailor you trust.

  13. Mine isn’t even any of those, sadly. The busk of my corset is actually bowing open in front because the busk is too weak for just four swing hooks over 14 inches, and this is a steel-boned corset from TrueCorset. Bad structure. I’m tempted to just sew the front shut to stop the thing looking like it’s about to split open.

  14. My corset is just slightly too stiff to fasten the center 2 hooks in front. But the more i wear it the more flexible its becoming, I feel after a few weeks it will be fine, i ordered the right size its perfect for my curve and torso, but its my first serious corset. I have a 426 from orchard corsets in a 24 and had no problems, vut it didn’t have enough curve. I got lucky enough to find the what katie did morticia in a 28 which I assumed would be a little big but its perfect inspite of those two hooks. They touch when i xlose the others…. I hope its just a matter of seasoning. I haven’t dared tighten it yet i want it to fir with ease since ive been drooling over it for over a year. Worst case scenario i lose ten pounds. Please give me any input, I love it so much i dont want to mess it up. Ive been wearing it an hour a day, for three days so far and can feel slight changes.
    Help ❤

    1. Hi Rachel, I have a video on how to fasten a tricky corset busk – it might help you:

  15. quick question! I just got my first corset, it’s an over bust corset, and while I do like the way corsets look I also bought it for the back support/to help with posture. I’ve just done 1 day of seasoning it so far but there’s actually flaring at the top, the over bust part seems to go straight up instead of laying flat on my skin. is this similar to the flaring at the hips and will go away with time? I plan on wearing my corset under clothes most days but there’s a very noticeable outline at the top right now due to the shape.

    1. If you still have plenty of space in the back of your corset to eventually lace it tighter, then part of that flaring should dissipate with time. But if the bust of the corset was sewn straight up instead of curving around the top part of the breast, that is the actual pattern/ design of the corset. You can *try* to curve the bustline of the corset with your hands to get it to mold to your breast shape, but it will probably never have a true curve the way a molded bra cup would.

  16. Hi
    First let me say thank you for all your videos and your website. I just started corsetting and I believe my corset is the right size and shape for my body. I have seasoned it so there are no gaps. I noticed that the front closure seems to be slightly slanting to the left on the bottom. So that the top of the closure is centered under my bust and at first glance it isn’t noticeable but at the bottom of the front closure it is a little off center to the left side.

    Should I be concerned about this? Or is it just my body’s natural unevenness that caused it?

    1. Hi Kristine, if your corset is slanted there may be a few different reasons for this. It could be your own body asymmetry (if you already know you have some asymmetry) – I have a video on that here. It could also be if the fabric for the corset was slightly off-grain, or if it has a strength fabric of twill which is an asymmetrically-woven fabric, so when it breaks in, sometimes it can begin to twist. If it is not terribly noticeable and it’s still comfortable, it shouldn’t be an issue, but if you think it is putting uneven pressure on your body, then I would personally stop wearing it.

  17. Hello,

    How do you pull the strings of the corset to keep it parallel just pull them evenly at the same time? and how is it to stay parallel if your waist is getting smaller isn’t the gap supposed to be smaller at the waist ??

    1. Hi Michelle, a good quality corset should not be a tube with the bust, waist and hips all the same size. Rather, the corset should be smaller in the waist, but bigger at the top and bottom to accommodate for your bust and hips. Best case scenario is when you find a corset that fits your bust and hips exactly, and only compresses your waist. That way, the gap remains parallel in the back at all times, and it’s most comfortable too.

      To find a corset that fits your body exactly and compresses only the waistline, you can see my Lace Base where I listed measurements of dozens of different corsets. You might get lucky and find one that fits you very closely! Or if you want to really make sure you get the best experience, then you can locate a local corsetiere to create a corset to fit your body like a glove.

  18. Hi Lucy, I have been following you for about a year now and been researching up through your videos on corsets but I have run into a problem that I can’t seem to find the answer to already online.

    I have 3 corsets that all fit me except for one place, the area at the bottom front on the busk line. I realized recently that my back is rather curved when I stand which is probably reflected in my front and that could be it but I really don’t know. I’d like to wear my corsets under my clothing but because of this point that is very visible under neath, I can’t.

    Thanks for all your hard work with videos and responding to questions on your site hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment! I’m not sure if this will help, but I have a tutorial on how to curve the back steel bones of the corset to match your curved back. You can also do the same for the busk (being careful not the pull off the pegs of the busk!). It’s true that some people with a pronounced lumbar curve can also have a more rounded tummy; Amber of Lovely Rats corsets regularly curves her busk to resemble the shape of a spoon busk for her lordotic clients.

  19. Hi Lucy!

    So, I finally managed to close my Restyle wide hip corset tonight! Unfortunately, there’s a mild gap at the hips… Not a huge amount, and the rest fits snug (Waist, underbust, illiac crest (not sure if I spelled that right…).), if I were to size down to a size 28, the the rest would be too tight. So I’m wondering if there’s any way to either reduce the hip size, or if it’s okay to just deal with the slight gapping? Thanks!

    Oh yeah, a couple quick add-ons:
    1. I think restyle’s Hip measurements on their site are actually the high hip measurements, because a size thirty has a 44 inch hip (according to the sight) but seeing as I have a forty inch hip and it’s huge well… I do have a 44 inch high hip, and THAT fits perfectly. Just a note.

    2. I’m a trans-female, I feel that should be made a note of for a specific reason: Male bodies have that extra (or missing if you want to put it another way) rib, meaning that a corset will feel have a slight asymmetric pressure on the body since one side because of that rib.

    3. Restyle corsets DO have a waist tape now, but it’s a partial waist tape, not a full.

    And here I wanted this comment to be short, hah. Sorry for the ramble!

    *As a side note, I hear you’re Canadian (Or at least living in Canada) that’s awesome! I love it when awesome youtubers are Canadian, sense of pride you know? I think I actually live like… three hours from you.

    1. Hello Midnight,
      Thanks for your comment! If the lower hip is flaring away from your body, you can sew a little dart at the bottom to take it in but that’s up to you. Since the corset is essentially single layer (the two layers are fused together and can’t be separated) then sewing hip gores to take in the hip measurement (when you make the width of the gore smaller than the seam allowances used) will leave you with a raw edge, unless you decide to put a decorative binding over it.
      When I measured my own Restyle corset and logged it in the Lace Base, I took note of both the upper hip and the lower hip. Mine had a high hip spring of 12 inches and lower hip spring of 13 inches, however OTR corsets are not always the exact same and the Restyle ones in particular do have a tendency to run a little on the large side, so I’m not surprised if yours measured different.
      If you feel some asymmetric pressure from the corset, I would probably investigate further into it. Andreas Vesalius, a medical illustrator in the 16th century had determined that males and females have the exact same number of ribs (both normally have 24 ribs or 12 pairs) so if you are feeling some asymmetry then something else is likely at play, like muscle tightness or another skeletal asymmetry like tilted hips which might be able to be corrected with physiotherapy or chiropractic.

  20. Hi Lucy!! :) How are you? Well If I may, I had a question… I seasoned my corset in June. Well I took a break and started wearing it again for 13 hours a day with a waist cincher for working out and bed. I ordered a cs426 longline satin from Orchard corset which I am pleased with. Great people and customer service. Now the lady told me a size 24 might work but be a little on the small side. I have a 29 inch waist 38 hips 39 bust. Can I still train in this corset even though it has a bit of room 1 inch outside of the modesty panel? I should have listened and gotten a 26, but I have a lot of time and I’m very dedicated most importantly patient. I am a mother of 4, 28 yo and only have a 1 year old at home anymore so this gives me something to look forward too for myself. I have been working out and eating healthy like you recommend as well. Will this be OK the size? I understand the gaps at the bottom and top are normal, have been using shirts to hide it. Thank you Lucy for your time have a good day.

    1. Hi Ashley, if the corset is open with 1″ of your back not being covered by the modesty panel, this isn’t the most ideal but you could still make it work – especially if you’re losing weight and you’re losing inches consistently all over. Within 2-3 of weeks, your waist may be responsive enough to the compression to allow for another inch of reduction, and then the modesty panel will fully cover the back. Remember to wear a liner or shirt under the corset so the laces don’t irritate your skin. When the size 24″ corset is completely closed, it will accommodate a ribcage (underbust) of 30 inches, iliac crest of 34 inches and low hip (at lap level) of about 37 inches, so remember to compare this to your own ribcage measurement, and measure your own hips at the same level where the corset stops.

  21. Hi lucy, thank you for all the love and research you share about corsetry! I just bought my first corset from timeless trends, the cashmere underbust. I am on day 3 of seasoning and am noticing a bigger gap at the bottom vs the top, even though there is slack enough to lace tighter, and it seems my belly pooch is what causes this…corset doesn’t sit flush across the lower abdomen. Thing is, when I trey to loosen the top and cinch up the bottom it more or less readjust so the gap is bigger at the bottom. I do have a bigger chest/shoulder measurement than hip naturally. I have had to buy tops and bottoms in different sizes my whole life, with tops being one size larger than bottoms….so this type of fit baffles me. Any suggestions/recommendations? Thank you. P.S. I do love the corset, just want to season properly.

    1. Hi Verica, did you order the original silhouette cashmere underbust, or did you order the hourglass silhouette underbust in the cashmere finish? (If you purchased it before last Friday, it’s probably the original silhouette version). Would you be comfortable letting me know your ribcage and hip measurements, and the size corset you purchased? I might be able to figure out why it’s not lying flat on you. You can email me if you like.

      1. Hi Lucy, it’s me again. First I wanted to thank you again a million times over for all your research and information! You really helped me get comfortable as a first time corset wearer. Next, I think the “issue” is working itself out with the seasoning process. After another 4 hours I am seeing less “A” as well as less “hourglass “, starting to straighten out. First I believe it was operator error, I had the corset a bit too high up. Once I figured that out, and after 21 hours of seasoning I am seeing a huge improvement. I will highly recommend this site to anyone looking to learn and shop for corsetry. You are the best! :)

        1. Thank you so much, V! I’m so glad that the issue is working itself out and you’re getting more comfortable in your corset. :)

  22. Hi Lucy, thank you so much for the detailed gapping explanations. I am a newbie to corset training and have only been corset training into my fourth week. I bought 2 CS201, the style that was suggested by the customer care rep. after I gave her my measurements. As I live in Toronto and had the corsets sent to a US mailbox, I purchased 2 corsets (of the same style) wanting to save on the handling chargers of US$5.50 at the US mailbox place. I also had to drive over the border from Toronto.

    To my disappointment, the corset did not fit me as there is a lot of gapping on the top (underbust) and the bottom. I am not able to wear anything over my corset. I sent Orchard Corset my pics, 3 weeks into my corset training and was told that I have a small ribcage which is causing the gapping. I was asked to return the other corset which I have not worn yet to exchange for a CS411. Not only would I have to pay shipping charges for to return item for an exchange, I would again have to drive over the border to pickup my exchange when it arrives. I am worried that the CS411 they have suggested I exchange for may not fit properly either. Now I feel so frustrated! I am not one who does online shopping as this is exactly what I am afraid of and the one time I shop online, this happens!

    Lucy, my question to you is, how would I know what style to get that would fit me? Also I did provide them with my measurements and yet I still encounter this gapping problems. Is there a company you can recommend and the style that you feel would fit me better?
    my measurements are:
    Underbust: 28
    Waist: 28
    Upper hip:33
    Torso: 9

    Many thanks and looking forward to your reply and your help is very much appreciated!

    1. Hi Jan, are you driving over the border to save on shipping fees or on customs? I believe OC has a free shipping option to Canada now, it just takes a month or so.
      When you experienced gaping in your last corset, was it closed all the way in the back? Because it’s very normal to experience some flaring, and this dissipates over time as the corset can be cinched more and more. I have a sizeable database of the proportions of most OTR corsets I’ve tried here; what you would be looking for is (say for a size 24″ corset) something with a rib-spring of 4 inches and hip spring of 9 inches when fully closed. Alternatively, I’d be happy to meet you for a consultation if you’re lost or don’t have the time to search through the research area.

      1. Thanks for your quick response bishonenrancher! I drove over the border to save on the customs. I remembered my daughter had something shipped over from the US and she had to pay almost C$100 on customs when the courier came to the door! I bought the 2 size 22inch as that was the size I was told to get. I was only 4 weeks into my corset training and the back is not closed all the way yet. I feel like I am having heartburn and short of breath when I tighten it too much. I still have abt a 2inch gap in the back. I should maybe get a size 24 as oppose to a size 22 to lessen the chance of gapping?

        Thank you so much for the chart! I cannot imagine the time and work you have put into making this chart! Thank you so much! :)
        I will go through the chart and take it from there!


        1. Hi Jan, a size 24″ corset will likely close in the back faster, but all the corsets of the same style are cut to have the similar proportions – so theoretically, wearing a size 22″ corset with a 4″ gap in the back, will give similar flaring wearing a size 24″ corset with 2″ gap in the back, or a size 26″ completely closed. As each corset size gets smaller, the ribcage and hips get smaller too. So even if a corset would fit you perfectly when it’s completely closed, if you’re not able to deal with the flaring at the top and bottom edges of the corset for a few weeks or months while you’re able to train down your waist, then it might be better to go with a less curvy corset as an intermediate and then switch to a curvier one later on once your waist is accustomed to the compression.

  23. Hey I bought this corset CS411 size 38 it fits me good in my stomack cuz I’m a size 42 but it fits me big from the top I can slide my hand you think I should get a different corset like a CS426

    1. Hi Meytha, if your corset is completely closed in the back and it’s comfortable for you but still flaring at the top and bottom edges, I’d recommend going down one size. The CS-426 has more curve to it so getting that one in the same size will just likely create more flare at the top edge.

  24. Hi! :) I have a question regarding sizing in a corset; If my waist measurement is 40 inches, my bust is 46 inches, and my hips are around 50 inches, how many inches smaller in the waist would be suitable for me? Thanks! :)

    1. Hi Kaylee, at first glance I might put you in a size 34″ corset but it depends on the type of corset since each brand has a different silhouette and different curviness. Are you looking for an overbust or underbust? I’m guessing since you gave your bust measurement, you’re looking for an overbust.

  25. Lucy, Thank you so much for all your information and responses to your viewers/fans. I’ve been watching you for about two years now, and I finally buckled and bought the Orchard Corset CS-345 they had for sale on Black Friday. (Yay!) I got it in the mail today, and immediately tried it on but I noticed that the tension on the ribs and lower waist line was creating the () curve. Since I am just seasoning should I relax it and wait for my body to adapt to the shape? I also noticed a little pouch in the lower front of my torso, perhaps a longline corset would fix this? I was very surprised at how comfortable the corset is to wear even without seasoning! The curvature from tightening is minimal and not very dramatic. Thank you for any response. :)

    1. Hi Kim, I notice that the Orchard Corsets are known to have the back bones bow quite a bit. You can change the lacing method to help give more control at the waist and help prevent bowing. You can also use a zipper foot to sew adjacent to the back bones of the corset and tighten the boning channels, which will help prevent them from twisting so much in the channel and thus help prevent the bowing.
      The bottom flipping out on the 345 is a common occurrence – many people have experienced the same thing, including myself, and I don’t have any lower tummy to speak of. If you need more control and flattening of this area, I recommend a longline corset – the fabric wrapping around the hips will give leverage to pull in the bottom front.

  26. My first 411 from Orchard Corsets had a huge gap at the back and no room in the hip or ribcage for further reduction. After e-mailing a photo to OC customer service to ask if my corset was too small, they told me that it was the correct size but I had received a defective corset. They immediately sent me the correct corset free of charge. The new one is much curvier and fits much better (though it’s still a little tight in the hips, that is just because of my hip shape). So if any of you have a 411 that seems too straight or too small, definitely let OC know!

    1. Good to know, Hannah! Thanks for letting us know. :)

  27. My corset just came in yesterday & i bought it size 24. But the top of my corset where the boobs are is loose, but on the waist and hips it fits perfectly. Also, the bottom steel pokes my abdomen. Im not sure what the problem is.

    1. Hello Maria, what brand of corset did you buy? Different corsets exist for people of different bust sizes, just like different women need different bras. If your bust is a bit smaller, you may be interested in seeing the overbust corset options on this page.

  28. Thank you for this!!! I’m very much a novice and, after watching your video, I WAS afraid to lace my corset very tightly at all. I get the A shape. As a matter of fact I had googled to see if I could modify the hip to make them larger. Whew! Thanks again for clearing things up!

    1. Hi Clover, I’m so glad that you were able to find the question to your answer! And as an aside, it IS possible to modify corsets to add hip ties or gores and give yourself room in the hips! Here is my tutorial for the hip ties, and here is (part 2 of 2) tutorial for hip gores. :) Cheers!

  29. I recently bought a corset but when I put it on the first time there was no gap in the back. I ordered a XL 30″-32″ which my underbust is 31″ …. should I have gotten a Large? or smaller than a L.

    1. Hi Betty, what specific corset are you wearing? A real corset normally doesn’t have a S/M/L/XL style sizing, but rather the actual size of the waistline when closed. Moreover you should measure your waist just about an inch above your navel, and subtract 4-6 inches to find your suitable corset size.

  30. Your website is very helpful and informative–I just ordered from Isabella Corsetry, my first corset (!) based on your suggestions. Thank you!!!! I would have been stumbling around in the dark without your help!

  31. First of all, thank you so much for your videos! I am a science nerd too, so I love that you use logic and explain the physics and biology so well. (I also have long hair too, and also dress from secondhand stores so much that I ignore the fashions…)

    Anyway, on topic. I recently made my first corset. It was the first real garment I ever sewed start to finish, so I’m not very experienced with fitting in general. I used the Foundations Revealed tutorial to draft it to my measurements, with pretty good success, but I still have a few questions… I am getting a slight A shape even though the hip measurement is correct, due to the corset being accidentally a little longline and hitting my butt… But lacing it parallel anyway doesn’t result in any discomfort because my butt is compressible. Is it bad to lace it parallel? I am planning to cut my next corset higher to avoid the issue, but if I eventually want to make longline corsets, how should I draft in more flare at the back? Wouldn’t hip gores/laces just cause more fit problems, since the side hip fits fine? Is it possible to make butt gores that don’t look silly? lol!

    1. Hi Jess! Thanks so much for your comment, and your compliments! :D Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see “butt gores” on some corsets – if you see the WKD Morticia corset, they have a gore on the last panel by the back. But I do find it odd that the corset is cutting into your bum while keeping the hip measurement true. Could it be that while you were initially measuring, the measuring tape was lifted up in the back by your bum so your hip measurement was on an angle? It could also be that the flats at the back by the grommets are pretty stiff, and they want to cut into the bum instead of curving over it.
      There’s another way to avoid the bum completely when you make even longline corsets! What you can do is raise the line of the bottom line on the last panel in the back, so it curves up towards your tailbone and leaves space for the bum. You can see that in my most recent L’Atelier de LaFleur review, and I think Sparklewren and Waisted Creations have both utilized that in the past as well. :)

      1. Thanks so much for the help! It’s possible I could have curved the measuring tape… I boned it with all cable ties, though, so I don’t think it’s too stiff.

        I think I will follow your advice to curve upward at the tailbone next time! I looked at it again and it actually curves downward a bit at the tailbone… I don’t remember why I did that!

  32. I’m a big girl and bought my first corset at size 42. Now I’ve exercised and trained down to close that corset and I’m wondering if my next step down should be sized according to what I am inside the corset or without it on? I plan to go with Timeless Trends or Orchard corsets, if that makes a difference.

    1. Hi Angela, if you can close the size 42″ corset, you can size down to 40″ or possibly even 38″ if you have extra room. The size also depends on the curviness of the corset, because it has to accommodate your ribs and hips, and not squeeze them too much.

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