Corsets are not your average garment, they are special and need to be treated as such. Here I will give some tips on breaking-in your corset, cleaning your corset, lacing your corset on your own and some general tips.
Breaking in your new corset
All corsets must be broken in. If you put a new corset on and straight away lace it down as much as you can you risk damaging the structure of the corset. You may pop/split the seams, get rips or tears in the fabric, break the bones or busk, pop grommets, snap laces or even cause serious long term damage to your own body.
The process of breaking in a corset is also widely known as ‘seasoning’. To do this you must wear the corsets at a small reduction every day for a period of time and then slowly tighten it little by little over time. I usually use the 2-2-2 method, this means wearing your new corset at a 2” waist reduction for 2 hours a day for 2 weeks, you then can build up the amount of time you wear the corset slowly. If further reduction is required you should carry on with 2 hours per day for 2 weeks increasing the reduction steadily.
Always listen to your body, if you experience any pain while laced into a corset loosen it or take it off immediately. Seasoning helps your body get used to your corset as well as vice-versa.
Machine washing a corset is never a good idea, you can experience fabric shrinkage which will affect your corsets fit and may cause wrinkles and bubbles depending on how your corset was made, it can also warp the bones or make the bones rust which will stain your corset. For this last reason any kind of full submersion in water is a bad idea. Spot cleaning your corset with a damp cloth is generally the best and safest way, it can also be dry cleaned although this can be risky as well. My suggestion is always to spot clean your corset with a damp cloth and then air dry it. You can also air your corset to keep it fresh. One more tip would be to wear a thin top under your corset, generally natural fibres are better as they breath and wick away moisture, this will protect your corset from dirt, sweat and body oils reducing the need for cleaning.
lacing up on your own can be quite difficult, as it’s hard to see what you’re doing, you need to try to keep the corset straight on your body while you lace, keep the back parallel and concentrate on keeping the pressure at a comfortable level. I find the easiest way to lace my own corset is when it is laced using the ‘bunny ears’ method and for this reason all Chameleon Couture corsets are laced this way when new.
When you are going to put on your corset you first need to make sure the laces in the back are loosened so that there is very little pressure on the busk while you are trying to fasten it. Next make sure your corset is the right way up, this may sound silly but you wouldn’t believe how many pictures I’ve seen online of models in upside down corsets! If your corset has a busk then the easiest way to tell which way up it goes is by looking at the pegs, most busks will have two pegs placed closer together on one end, this end of the corset is the bottom. The reason or this is the pegs being closer provides better support for any tummy pooch.