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How to Prep and Pack Corsets for Shipping

It’s well-known that I sell off my gently-used corsets once I’ve finished reviewing them. I’ve received a few requests to show how I safely mail my 2nd-hand corsets, and in the video below I show the most common method I use.

Please keep in mind that there is a spectrum for the way corsets come in the mail. When I purchase corsets from professional corsetieres, some corsets had been literally bent into an “L” shape and stuffed into a (non-waterproof!) manilla envelope. Conversely, some other corsets had been wrapped lovingly in acid-free tissue paper and tied with a ribbon, spritzed with perfume*, included a hand-written thank-you note and topped it off in a high quality engraved box!

My method is “middle of the road” finding a balance between keeping the corset protected and dry, while minimizing waste and keeping the package as light as possible – and when it comes to mailing a heavy steel boned corset, minimizing the weight of the packaging can mean the difference between shipping costs of $12 (small packet) vs $25 (full parcel)!

I know that some people will be appalled that I don’t ship my 2nd-hand corsets in a cardboard box with a load of styrofoam. Despite this, I fortunately have a 100% success rate of corsets being delivered to their new homes unmarred. (So far.)

Here’s how I prep and pack my corsets for shipping (feel free to follow along with the video above!):

  1. Weigh your corset, bag/ box, tissue paper and any accessories on a kitchen scale that can measure in grams (or ounces if you’re in the US). In the video, you see that a cardboard box adds nearly a pound of weight, which inflates the shipping price by $6-10! This is why I use waterproof bubble mailers which have an almost negligible mass.
  2. Measure the dimensions of the bag/ box as well.
  3. Check over the corset for any flaws or issues. (Although, your customer should know about these before purchasing the corset in the first place!)
  4. Tighten the laces and either tie in a bow or wrap it neatly with a band.
  5. Use a (CLEAN!) lint-roller and get rid of any dust or lint on the corset. You do not want to transfer pet hair onto a corset, nor would you want to lint-roll a white corset right after rolling a black one – so really, just use a clean piece of lint tape for EVERY corset.
  6. Fasten the busk. You can either put one (or two) loops under the knob side of the busk to lock it in place (so it doesn’t unfasten). If you’re worried about the busk bending in transit (or if your corset has a modesty placket under the busk) then fasten the busk normally and put an elastic band over the knobs to prevent the busk from becoming undone.
  7. Fold the corset (some corsets fold more nicely than others. Most, I’ve found, like to fold in thirds).
  8. Wrap the corset in some tissue paper. This is especially important if shipping two corsets of different colors, because you don’t want the ink to transfer! Also, don’t wrap a white corset in colored paper. Just don’t do it.
  9. Add a business card or personal thank-you note, if you wish.
  10. Waterproof your corset: if you are using a paper envelope or box, then wrap it in a plastic bag or plastic wrap beforehand. But as I use a waterproof bubble mailer, I don’t usually need to worry about this extra step.
  11. Then seal up your box or bag with the corset and accessories inside!
  12. If mailing in a soft bag/ mailer, I tend to write on the mailer: “PLEASE DO NOT FOLD OR BEND” (fortunately, my post system is good about respecting this!)
  13. Add the address as per your post system’s requirements (in Canada you can hand-write it, while in some other places they must be typed, especially if shipping internationally).

*I actually prefer no scent, as some people are sensitive or allergic to perfumes.

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How to Fasten a Tricky or Difficult Corset Busk

Don’t let a difficult, bendy or misaligned busk get you down! There are ways to deal with it.

Depending on the brand, some corsets have trickier busks than others. I have some corsets that clasp up in two seconds, while other ones I’ve struggled for 5-10 minutes to get those last few knobs and loops to match up. Sometimes I would bend the busk this way and that way, or lay down on the floor, or end up doing some kind of strange acrobatics to clasp up the busk… usually by the end of the struggle, I’d be exhausted and sweaty.

If this is you, have no fear! I’ve finally unlocked the secret to fastening virtually any corset busk. ;) Here are the steps:

  1. Loosen the laces as much as possible. There should be no “slack” in the bunny ears at the waistline, and the gap in the back of the corset should be as wide as it will go.
  2. Wrap the corset around yourself. There should be absolutely no struggle, in fact it may be so loose on you that if you let go, it may even slide down over your hips.
  3. Start by clasping the 2nd bracket from the top. If you do up the very top or the very bottom one first, then it can result in the busk acting like a “hinge” which makes you lose control.
  4. After that first clasp (2nd from the top) is done, take the knob side of the busk in your left hand. Fold the fabric back behind the busk bone itself so you can pinch the busk between your thumb and fingers.
  5. You should then be able to use your thumb behind the knob side of the busk to keep it straight and push each knob through the corresponding loop.
  6. Some people notice that the very bottom bracket or clasp is the most difficult to fasten. One lovely viewer has suggested sticking your arm down inside the corset with your left hand, palm facing forward (away from you) so you can grab onto the bottom of the busk and fasten it up.
  7. Once you have finished all the lower knobs and loops, go back up to the top and fasten that one as well. Sometimes when you are fastening the lower ones, you may observe the top ones starting to undo themselves. That’s okay, just fasten them up again at the end.

And you’re done! You can now tighten the laces as much as you find comfortable. This method has never failed for me, even on my most difficult corset busks.

When taking off your corset, once again loosen the laces as far as they will go. I find it easiest to start by undoing the bottom bracket and working my way up to the top. Be careful not to struggle and pull the loop directly away from the knob until the little “rivet head” of the knob can be sure to not catch onto the loop. Too much upward pressure in this direction can result in the knob popping out of the busk bone, even in the highest quality German-made busks!

To see a demonstration on how to clasp and unclasp your busk, see this video:

Happy lacing!