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How to Deal with Corset Modesty Panels

Struggling with your modesty panel every time you lace up? Worry not, there’s a solution! Read ahead to learn about the 3 most common types of modesty panels in corsets – and how to keep them straight and centered while you’re lacing up. If you don’t like to use modesty panels, most types are completely removable, and panels are usually not required in the first place.

Stiffened, detached modesty panels (Dark Garden)

You can choose to use it or not use it depending on your preference. If you’re wearing a silky shirt, this panel wants to slide off your back before you even wrap your corset around yourself! There are a couple of ways I get around this.

Method 1:
  1. Bend forward a bit, so you can balance the panel on your back. Hold the panel in place with one hand while you wrap the corset around yourself with the other hand. Don’t worry if it’s uneven at this point.
  2. Do up the busk. The laces and very slight tension at this point should keep the panel from falling.
  3. Look in the mirror and adjust the position of the panel so it’s centered, not tilted, and the top and bottom edges match up with the corset properly. This is best done when you’re half-finished lacing your corset (if you try to adjust it when you’re finished lacing up, there may be too much tension for you to adjust the panel easily.
Method 2:
  1. Put your corset on and do up the busk. Do not tighten the laces yet – in fact, it’s a good idea to loosen the laces even more than you usually would (if possible).
  2. Lean over slightly and slide the panel under the corset at the SIDE (if you try to do it at the back, the panel is highly likely to get tangled in the laces).

    Sliding the panel underneath the corset at the side first (to avoid tangling the laces).
    Sliding the panel underneath the corset at the side first (to avoid tangling the laces).
  3. Once the panel is in place vertically, then slide the panel to the back and center it on your back. It should not get tangled in the laces this way.
  4. Give a tug on the laces to provide enough tension to keep the panel in place. When you’re halfway done tightening up the corset, check one last time that your panel is placed where you want it, then finish up lacing.


Unstiffened modesty panels, stitched to the side (most OTR corsets)

This is the most popular style of modesty panel – usually a couple of layers of fabric, fastened to one side of the corset.

Keep in mind, the following steps work if the modesty panel is sewn to the left side (like Orchard Corset). If your corset has the panel sewn to the right side (like What Katie Did, Corset Story, etc.), you’ll need to do these steps in mirror image.

  1. Hold the corset in your left hand and lean to the right. As you swing the corset around your back and catching the other side in your right hand, gravity will help the panel flop towards the laces and flatten across your back.

    The panel is attached to the left side, so I have to lean to the right - gravity helps it flop in the right direction.
    The panel is attached to the left side, so I have to lean to the right – gravity helps it flop in the right direction.
  2. Wrap the corset around your body and fasten the busk.
  3. Look in the mirror. Ensure your modesty panel is flat.
  4. Tug the laces at the waistline. If your panel starts to crinkle or fold on itself. Then use your right hand to reach around your back, and grab the panel to pull it flat.
  5. Lace up your corset a little more, stopping periodically to pull and tuck the modesty panel flat again and again.
  6. Is this a pain in the butt? Yes, but there’s really no way around it (unless you want to modify the panel).
  7. Don’t expect the panel to be perfectly smooth the way the rest of your corset is. A vertical or crease fold over your spine is perfectly normal!

In a previous video I showed how to take an unstiffened modesty panel, detach it, add a stiffener (using either bones or canvas) and suspend it on the laces using grommets (some prefer to use ribbons to suspend it instead, which is also gorgeous). Here’s how I made my own modesty panel for a corset using canvas.
N.B. some types of modesty panels (like What Katie Did) are sewn into the lining of the corset such that the panel cannot be removed using a seam ripper without compromising the integrity of the corset. In such cases, if you want to completely remove the modesty panel, it’s best to simply cut the panel out while keeping the stitching undisturbed.


Stiffened, suspended (floating) modesty panels (Retrofolie)

This is a stiffened rectangle very much like Dark Garden’s modesty panel (the first type) except it’s suspended on the laces. Here’s how to lace up with one of these:

  1. When I initially wrap the corset around my body, I try NOT to lean too much to one side or the other – this helps keep the panel from sliding horizontally on the laces, and minimizes my work to adjust its position later on.
  2. Fasten the busk. Adjust the panel so that it’s not tilted, and the top and bottom edges of the panel is level with the top and bottom of the corset.
  3. Notice in the video that I have to make relatively few adjustments with this panel (it stays nicely in place and doesn’t crinkle too badly). This why this type of modesty panel is my personal favorite! The only disadvantage is that if you want to change your corset laces (or remove the panel) it’s quite time-consuming to unlace and relace.
    However, some modesty panels have easily-removable velcro tabs which fasten quickly and easily to suspend itself on the laces, and can be removed just as easily! Find them here in my shop.

    These awesome modesty panels are boned and they hang on the laces using small velcro loops - super easy to attach and remove.
    These awesome modesty panels are boned and they hang on the laces using small velcro loops – super easy to attach and remove.

Do you have a different way of dealing with your modesty panel while lacing up? Let me know in a comment below!

8 thoughts on “How to Deal with Corset Modesty Panels

  1. My gripe with Orchard is that they sew in a flap. As production is outsourced, the edges are sewn in a bulky way to begin with, making it awkward. Unlike business owners who design and sew their own, or hired fellow sewers who know what they’re doing. The flap was always poking me in the upper back and made the fit awkward for me. I found a huge difference in the fit after removing it. Odd as it sounds, it didn’t feel as rigid around the waist tape area after I took it out. No idea why it made *that* big a difference. Thanks to my reenactment days, I have a good stash of linen and hopefully still some buckram. Time to sew! lol I don’t have grommets, but because I’ve made eyelets for dayyyysss on kirtles (medieval dress) I know how to make some sturdy sewn eyelets.

  2. Thank you for the video! Very helpful!

  3. Where on EARTH did you get that gorgeous Botticelli corset??

  4. What is the purpose of a modesty panel ?

    1. That helps me a lot in figuring this out! I had no idea how to do it and spent several hours on it.
      Thank you for going through all the trouble for us!

    2. To be modest – not show the skin on your back. I personally like the look better with the modesty panel. Classy for a wedding dress or Belle dress. For a night out on the town or sexy halloween costume, can take out the modesty panel.

      1. Given that I’m usually wearing them under a shirt, I don’t need to “be modest” with it. I think it helps tuck the skin back, if there’s some bulging going on. Because the skin is going to pucker for most people. As I’m in weightloss, I’m quite squishy.

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