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The Perfect Lacing Length Calculator

Earlier this year, I worked on a new calculator to determine the ideal length of lacing anyone needs for their corset, and I shared it on Patreon but I completely forgot to share it here on my site once it was beta tested!

It looks extremely simple, and I’m hoping that ends up being a good thing for most. Do keep in mind however that this is an estimation – it’s not going to take into account teensy details like whether the grommets are closer at the waistline. That would be overkill for only negligible differences in the total lacing length. It’s just laces folks!

The calculator takes both centimeters and inches for your natural waist size and the corset size, and it will give you the total length lacing answer in both yards and meters.

I will eventually update this post with a video tutorial, but if you’d like to try the calculator for yourself, I’d love some feedback on it! If you don’t trust the calculator and you’d prefer to calculate your own length, then below the calculator I will post a step-by-step guide on how to determine for yourself how much lacing you need for your own corset and individual situation. :) But the calculator is designed to work whether you own the corset yet or not – in other words, if you’re trying to decide whether you need to purchase extra laces along with your new corset, this is a good way to test it before checking out.

Remember: this formula should theoretically work for any corset brand!

How to calculate the ideal length of lacing without my calculator:

(If you want me to “show my work” so to speak and break down how the calculator works)

Step 1: take your corset and expand the back enough that you’re able to do up the busk easily (if you’re struggling with the busk, the laces are too short). Don’t tighten the laces – just remove your corset and lie it flat, so that the laces are still extended to the ideal amount.

(The first step is important: don’t just take your corset off at the end of the day and measure the laces then. The point of Step 1 is to make sure you have a measurement of the lacing gap when you’re putting the corset on at the beginning of the day, not when you’re taking the corset off. Because the waistline is marginally smaller after several hours of waist training, it might take you 6 inches of slack to comfortably put the corset on, but only 4 inches to take the corset off, so be mindful of this difference.)

Step 2: take a tape measure and measure how wide the lacing gap is at the widest point – you want to measure from grommet to grommet (the holes that the laces are threaded through), instead of back edge to back edge of the corset.

Example: say your corset is 10 inches wide from edge to edge; it’s probably closer to 12 inches wide from the grommets on the left side to the grommets on the right side since you’re going over the bone and the fabric, to the middle of the hole.

Step 3: multiply that by the number of grommets in the corset.

Really we’re using the number of grommets as a substitute for the # of times the lacing criss-crosses the back. For the most common lacing methods without any tricky business, the number of grommets always matches the number of times the laces criss cross along the back but it’s easier to count grommets than it is to count a mess of laces. Don’t take my word for it, you can count it yourself!

Example: For the Gemini, it has 28 grommets, 14 on each side. You’ll see the laces criss-cross 28 times from one side of the corset to the other. Counting the Xs, there are seven on the outside the corset, meaning it crosses 14 times. On the inside of the corset there are another six Xs, so it crosses 12 times. Plus the very top and very bottom where the lacing runs straight across two single times. 

So a 12 inch wide lacing gap x 28 criss-crosses across the back = 336 inches

Step 4: we’re not done yet – it’s good to have a little extra more, just in case. Do you see how each criss-cross, or “X” is on an angle, the laces are not going straight across? Remember back to trigonometry in school where you were made to find the hypotenuse of a triangle, the hypotenuse is always going to be a little longer than the base. When it comes to a triangle as squat as this, the difference is quite small, but when you add them up with 28 different triangles, all those little bits can add up!

But let’s not make it too tedious – let’s fudge the answer for the sake of simplicity and add the length of the back of the corset times 2.

Example: The Gemini is 14 inches high at the back, add (14×2 = 28 inches). Adding this to the above, 336 + 28 = 364 inches.

364 inches is about 10.1 yards, or 9.24 (about 9 and ¼ meters).

So, if you need your corset to expand at least 10 inches wide (from edge to edge) to get the corset on and off, that’s about how many inches of lacing you’ll likely need!   When it comes to lacing I will almost always round up to the nearest half meter (because places like Fabricland or JoAnn will often ask for rounded measurements when it comes to lacing and trim). The additional length will to make it even easier to get the corset on and off, and if it’s excessive, I can always trim the lacing back if it’s too much. More than likely though, the extra tiny bit will just go into the bunny ears of the corset so that you can get a good grip on these to tighten your corset.

Remember, this formula should work for any corset brand!

Did this calculator work for you? Let me know in the comments what changes or improvements you’d make.

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Introducing the New Corset Sizing Tool!

This past weekend I made a free corset sizing tool – one that accurately calculates your ideal corset size based off of your measurements, lifestyle, and personal needs (because “4-6 inches less than your waist” sometimes isn’t specific enough.)

After testing this calculator with close to 100 people, it seems to have over 90% accuracy rate. While it won’t replace talking to a real person for their recommendation, and it doesn’t take every life situation into account, it will give you a good place to start.

One more important thing:

Just because this calculator recommends *A* specific size, does not mean every corset in that size will fit you perfectly. (After you find your ideal corset size, you need to find a corset that suits your curve as well! Head on over to the Corset Database for more free tools!)

See the video below for a tutorial on how to use this free tool!

In the video I go through four examples:

Example 1: a slender athlete who wants to start waist training. (Timestamp: 1:20)

  • 26 inch natural waist
  • visible abs in front
  • bit soft, fingers sink into side
  • wants to waist train
  • weight fluctuates, with a natural tendency to lose (because they’re doing sports all the time)

This would recommend a size 22” if they want their corset to lace closed, or size 20” if they prefer a small lacing gap in the back.

Example 2: someone who works in an office and perhaps has a sedentary lifestyle, but likes to wear vintage clothing and wear a tightlacing corset underneath. (Timestamp: 2:40)

  • 32 inch natural waist
  • bit soft in front
  • bit soft at the side as well
  • interested in tightlacing
  • wants to wear their corset laced closed

This gives a waist size of 27″, which you can correct to a “real” corset size by using the extra question at the bottom. Size up if you have less experience, or size down if you have a little more experience.

Example 3: a mother who’s had multiple pregnancies, a lot of weight gain and loss over the years, and suffers from lower back pain. They’re not interested in waist training, but just wants something to smooth over the loose skin of their tummy and support their spine. They might have a similar waist size to the last person but a very different composition, and different needs. (Timestamp: 3:56)

  • 35” natural waist
  • very soft in front
  • very soft on the side
  • wants a corset for back support or pain relief
  • fluctuates in weight, with a natural tendency to gain
  • prefers a lacing gap in the back

This calculates a waist size of 29″ which can be corrected up to 30″ if they have no corset experience. When worn with a small lacing gap, the corset will be just snug enough to hold in their loose skin and support their posture.

Example 4: someone starting out a bit larger, who has made a new year’s resolution to lose weight (I’ve been getting a lot of emails like this in the past few weeks!) and wants a corset to last them a little longer through their weight loss. (Timestamp: 5:16)

  • 49” natural waist
  • very soft in front
  • very soft at the side
  • interested in waist training
  • they are actively in the process of losing weight (the wording is intentional here – see below)
  • NO gap at the back (see explanation below for the reason why)

This calculates a corset size of 38″ which will carry their waist training at least several months through their weight loss journey, depending on how much they plan to ultimately lose, and how quickly they’re dropping weight.

Extra notes on this case:

Please choose the “actively and intentionally losing weight” ONLY if you are currently in the process of losing weight – because if you only intend to lose weight but have made no steps to start, clicking this option might not be realistic and might leave you with a corset that’s too small to wear. Clicking this option takes you down a size, so that you don’t have a corset that you shrink out of too quickly. (Same with the other option of intentionally gaining weight, it will take you up a size!) So if you’re actively in the process of losing weight already, you may click that option. You’ll also see a cautionary note pop up on the calculator, if you are changing your weight quickly, so be sure to give this a read!

Then you get to the question for a lacing gap in the back – if you’re already losing weight, we recommend choosing the “no gap” option otherwise it will give you a corset that can be around 12 inches smaller than your natural waist (which is not recommended or safe for beginners).

People with a larger natural waist tend to be able to cinch more. Some experienced corset models have a natural waist over 40 inches and are quite soft, and they’re able to cinch down 8 inches within minutes! If you’re also losing weight on top of that, the calculator will size you down. But do keep in mind that there’s a point where OTR corsets don’t have laces long enough to open up by 10-12 or more inches – also, if the gap in the back is too big, you won’t have the right torque to pull it tighter so it wraps around the body and fits properly.

Hope this tutorial helped! Try out the sizing calculator for yourself and let us know if it worked for you!