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Corsets as Backbraces and/or Tightlacing

I've been wearing my corset for most of the last couple of days. Not at night, but through most of the day. I have been going for some waist reduction, although what constitutes "tightlacing" seems to be up for debate. Some say any more than 2" of the natural waist is tightlacing, others say 4", others seem to say that it's tightlacing if the intention is to alter the body over a period of time (actual physical changes that progress with extended wear, as opposed to just cinching the waist a while wearing it.) Elaina mentioned in chat one evening that she "technically" tightlaces, because she has a 5" reduction, but it sounded as though she doesn't actually feel as though she's a tightlacer. That makes sense, since she has been wearing them for a very long time, and started wearing them as an adolescent, specifically as an alternative to a back brace. Since my natural waist is quite undefined, the idea that I'd want to reduce it at least a bit seems like a foregone conclusion; if I'm going to be wearing a corset, why continue to have a waist measurement that's barely smaller than my bust measurement? Another part of that one is that wearing a corset without lacing it tightly seems like a half-measure. After all, anyone can make a fashion corset, the real test is whether you can make a functional corset. To say "this corset isn't meant for tightlacing," unless it's a corset from a time period in which corsets weren't intended for waist reduction at all, usually translates to "because it's not particularly well-made."
The last part of this particular equation is that it's gotta be fairly tight if it's going to be a back support. I have mild scoliosis that causes some back pain (I think that's what causes it, anyway, and it's not usually too much unless I sneeze while lying down, which tends to hurt a lot,) and so how would it straighten my back if it weren't tight? It actually does seem to be improving my back; I've not noticed my back hurting much during the past few days. Whether that's because of actual improvements, or because I'm distracted by soreness in my abdomen, I'm not completely sure. The soreness is mainly just in the area of my Xiphoid process, and feels quite distinctly like a sore muscle, so I'm 98% sure that it's just my body getting used to a new posture.
The fit of my corset isn't perfect, but it is pretty good. I've discovered that my actual waist isn't where I thought it was; the narrowest part of my torso is an inch or so above my actual, squishable waist. I think the front of my corset is also a tad too long. These are quite minor issues, and while I'll certainly correct for them on my next corset, they don't really cause significant discomfort with the current one.
I'd been reading about how a properly fitting corset, even tightly laced, should not restrict breathing, which became a bit confusing to me, as obviously in a corset, the abdomen can't expand as it can otherwise. However, after asking in the PR chat about how normal people breathe (granted, there aren't actually normal people in the PR chat, but being abnormal and breathing like a normal person are not mutually exclusive) it seems that most people breathe more from the chest than from the diaphragm. Having been a wind player, I was not in the habit of breathing like a normal person. As far as I can tell from online research, my corset as I've been wearing it causes no more breathing restrictions than the back braces/medical corsets that are actually designed for the treatment of scoliosis, so it's not actually problematic, it just takes a bit of getting used to.
I have had some trouble finding relevant information on modern tightlacing. Most of the information available is either Victorian or bondage-related, neither of which is overly detailed on comfort or mobility. I would really think there would be more blogs on the topic. As with most corset-related topics, it seems like almost all of the relevant information is in the CorsetMakers LiveJournal group. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising, as it does seem to be the place where corset enthusiasts congregate. (Besides the small group of us on PR, of course.)
I still do have to admit, though, that despite the benefits as a back brace.. the real reason I want to tightlace is just because making corsets not intended for tightlacing just doesn't seem obsessive enough for me. That's kinda silly, huh?

New Busks

Busks: My three new busksBusks: My three new busks The three new busks I just received from King andCompany on Etsy. I'd heard about the shop while reading through the CorsetMakers group on LiveJournal. I'm quite happy with them. They're exactly what I expected them to be-- sturdier than the standard busks sold at places like Vogue Fabrics and Corsetmaking.com, the shape of the opening on the loop side is also altered slightly, which is supposed to help make it less likely to accidentally come unhooked, and the bottom two loops are spaced closer together than the others, which is apparently more historically accurate. And they're cheaper, too, by a couple dollars apiece, plus cheaper shipping!
I'd actually been putting off making an Etsy account for quite awhile, because the name Maggiedoll was already taken (as it is quite a few places) and I'm really bad at coming up with new names! But after finishing my last corset, I needed busks, and there was nowhere else nearly as good to get them from, so I bit the bullet and made a non-Maggiedoll account.

Dfr's Mystery Wool

Dfr's Myster Fabric CloseupDfr's Myster Fabric Closeup

Dfr's Mystery FabricDfr's Mystery Fabric
I just got Dfr's "mystery maybe-wool knit," as she mentioned in her Reveling in Fabric post. I have absolutely no doubt that it's wool. ...it's also not a knit! Here's a closeup of the fabric, it's a wool tricotine: a worsted wool 63 degree double twill weave. Just like the other worsted wool tricotine I have, but in a different color.

I managed to get quite a good closeup of it, with a piece flipped over so you can see both the front and back of the fabric. If you follow the image link for the closeup, you can then click "original" to see the larger image; the details of the weave are very nicely visible. (Although it's quite obvious even from the preview picture..)

I'm going to have fun with this one!

Silverado Corset on Me!

Silverado on Me: Picture of my Silverado corset on me.  I used the "self portrait" function on my camera, which I believe is intended to be held out in front of you and snapped blindly.  That's what I did, except that I did it in front of a mirror, so that I could see the viewfinder in the mirror and have some idea of what I was getting!  It was still quite difficult.Silverado on Me: Picture of my Silverado corset on me. I used the "self portrait" function on my camera, which I believe is intended to be held out in front of you and snapped blindly. That's what I did, except that I did it in front of a mirror, so that I could see the viewfinder in the mirror and have some idea of what I was getting! It was still quite difficult.

Here's one of my finished Silverado corset on me. Besides the puckering at the bottom (and the fact that I apparently overestimated the size of my hips.. or probably more accurately, overestimated how quickly they curve. The widest part of my hips is at a lower point than I keep thinking it is. This has really caused me a lot of fitting problems in a variety of different projects.) it actually seems to look better on me than on a pillow! I suppose that shouldn't be surprising, given that I did create it to be worn by me, and not by a pillow. I probably should have used darker thread for the flossing, I don't feel like it's quite visible enough.

My Silverado Corset is Finished!

Silverado Finished!: Finished Silverado corset, picture taken with the flash.  It looks better this way, but is difficult to see the flossing.Silverado Finished!: Finished Silverado corset, picture taken with the flash. It looks better this way, but is difficult to see the flossing.

Silverado Finished! 2: The finished Silverado corset, taken with my camera's "manor/museum" setting.  This setting makes the wrinkles look much more obvious, but it shows the colors a bit better, and makes the flossing more visible. *sigh*  It does look less glamorous like that, though.Silverado Finished! 2: The finished Silverado corset, taken with my camera's "manor/museum" setting. This setting makes the wrinkles look much more obvious, but it shows the colors a bit better, and makes the flossing more visible. *sigh* It does look less glamorous like that, though.

My LM100 Silverado corset is finally finished! While it's imperfect in about a zillion ways, and there are a ton of things I'll do differently on the next one, this if the first corset I've actually finished and considered "worthy" of a busk. I should have considered the boning more carefully, used more boning in the front panels, taken the flossing into account while cutting the plastic bones, and thought out the binding more thoroughly. I also should have thought ahead of time and used a light-colored canvas layer rather than olive-green canvas with muslin sandwiched between the canvas and dupioni. BUT, for all that, it's a finished, flossed corset that's not half bad if I do say so myself! Not only that, but all of it is stash fabric, and so with all 4 layers taken into account, it's two yards for the stash contest!

Laughing Moon 100 Bound

Laughing Moon 100 BoundLaughing Moon 100 Bound
More progress on LM100. I used foldover elastic as the binding. This may not have been ideal, but I had some in light-ish purple, and I had matching thread for the flossing, so I used it. I've only just started the flossing, but I figured I may as well put up another update, since besides the flossing, it is more or less done. Not perfect, but the fabric couldn't have handled too much more seam-ripping and re-sewing, so I'll give it some details and wear it. The flossing is actually more visible than it looks in the picture... and it matches the binding better!

Progress on Silverado Corset in Dupioni

Dupioni Silverado  --in progressDupioni Silverado --in progress

I've spent a lot of time working on this version of the Laughing Moon Silverado corset. It's not done yet, and I plan on adding a few more boning channels, as well as perhaps attempting to smooth out some of the warping of the outer layer. This is the version that I altered according to the Foundations Revealed instructions. Besides lengthening it by an inch, the alterations were actually fairly minor. It's a total of four layers, cotton lining, the canvas core, and muslin in between the canvas and the dupioni, because the canvas is dark colored and was showing through too much. I really should have used a light colored canvas. The extra layer has increased distortion problems quite a lot. Of course, the fact that I don't have a walking foot massively increases that problem, I've really gotta get my paws on one. I'm hoping that I can get at least one more boning channel into each piece 13 (the front side piece, with the worst distortion there. It is coming along, though.
After the needle that shattered when I hit a pin making one of the boning channels, I'm seriously considering wearing safety goggles for sewing! It very nearly did serious damage.

Jalie 2005 with Thermal Knit

Jalie 2005 Tyedye Thermal: A third Jalie 2005 long-sleeved tee in thermal knit from a Joann half-off red-tag sale last year.Jalie 2005 Tyedye Thermal: A third Jalie 2005 long-sleeved tee in thermal knit from a Joann half-off red-tag sale last year.

Jalie 2005 Swirl Thermal: Another thermal knit Jalie 2005.  Yes, it's bright and eye-hurting.  Kinda cute as pajamas or something, though.. maybe.   This fabric really works better as a trim, but I got a whole bunch of it last year during a 50% off red-tag sale at Joann.Jalie 2005 Swirl Thermal: Another thermal knit Jalie 2005. Yes, it's bright and eye-hurting. Kinda cute as pajamas or something, though.. maybe. This fabric really works better as a trim, but I got a whole bunch of it last year during a 50% off red-tag sale at Joann.

Jalie 2005 in Hearts Thermal KnitJalie 2005 in Hearts Thermal Knit
The top two have a kinda cool optical illusion effect when you scroll..

It's amazing what a little bit of context can do..

What does it look like Elaina is saying here?

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But...

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Wait for it..

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Link in reference.

Laughing Moon 100 Silverado with Foundations Revealed Alterations

Laughing Moon 100 Foundations Revealed AlterationsLaughing Moon 100 Foundations Revealed Alterations

I have (I think) finally finished the Foundations Revealed alterations to the Silverado corset from Laughing Moon 100. Many of the adjustments seemed overly minute and fiddly, especially given that it's a gored corset anyways; perhaps it wasn't the best pattern choice for the alterations. But I started it, and finally finished it.. and now it's time to actually sew it!

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by Dr. Radut