All about corset making and corsetry components

A blog with plenty of information on Corset Making and corset making supplies.

A new "From the Archives" series will be published every Wednesday and Saturday from 25 February 2023, until 26 March 2023, and these posts will contain 'old' information on corset making which will be updated for the revamped Learn Corset Making information portal whereever that may be.

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Category: Corset Lacing

  1. From the Archives : How to dye corset laces

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    This tutorial has been kindly written for Sew Curvy by Maria of Kitty O'Hara Corsetry.  Thank you Maria!

    How to Make Your Own Coloured Corset Laces

    screen shot 2013-03-06 at 20.50.36

    Firstly, order your length of laces from Sew Curvy!  They are 100% cotton and so accept dye readily.  Synthetic laces will not dye so easily.

    Use a hand dye rather than a machine dye in order to penetrate the laces properly.  Dylon hand dye colours are very close to the colour on the outside of the packet.  

    The packet states that the 50g bag will do 250g of dry fabric, but because the laces are relatively small and weigh so little  a bit of maths is required to figure out the right amount.  Four metres of lacing  weighs approximately 10g so for every 4m length of laces you want to dye you will need to reduce the amounts of the other ingredients by the amounts shown below.  Or if you’ve just got a big bundle of lace and want to dye the whole lot just weight it and work out the amounts from there.

    For 4m of laces you will need:
    2g dye
    20ml water
    240ml water
    10g salt

    Double this for 8m of lace, triple for 12m, etc.

    Now it’s pretty easy, you can just follow the instructions on the packet, which are:

    • Wash laces thoroughly and leave damp.
    • Dissolve 2g of dye into 20ml warm water.
    • Fill bowl with 240ml warm water, add 10g salt.  Add the dye mixture and stir well.
    • Submerge fabric in water.
    • Stir fabric constantly for 15 mins then regularly for 45 mins.
    • Rinse in cold water, then wash in warm water and dry away from direct heat and sunlight.

    Hints & Tips:

    Because corset lacing is a flat tube of woven fabric, you have to make absolutely sure that the dye penetrates right through all surfaces of the laces otherwise they may come out patchy and tie dyed.  To make sure that the dye gets right through them, wash the laces first in water, and then wring them under the water until all the air bubbles have come out.  Do the same when they are submerged in the dye.  This way you can be absolutely sure that all the water/dye has completely penetrated the inside of the laces as well as the outside.  Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the dye.

    The laces will naturally tangle up around themselves so do make sure you loosen any actual knots, otherwise you will end up with tie dye laces!

    When your laces dry they will probably be a bit crinkly and need ironing.  A really quick and easy way of ironing them is to run them through some hair straighteners.

    Et Voila! You have custom coloured corset laces!

    Alison Barlow has kindly supplied the table below which takes the guess work out of how much dye/water/salt you need for the amount of fabric/laces you are dying.  Click on it for a downloadable PDF.

    screen shot 2013-06-11 at 10.26.54

  2. Fan Lacing

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    Customers often ask for 'fan lacing sliders' which are not that common these days and I am unable to find a factory in Europe that makes them now.  To source them in China would require me to find a warehouse here to store them in, such are min. qty amounts from factories in China!  I even spoke about 'opening a mould' with a fellow British indie lingerie brand but we decided that even between us, the expense was prohibitave. 

    fan laced corset ladies
    Ladies wot Lace

    So I thought we could talk about fan lacing - how it came about, how to do it, different types, and how the same (or better imo) effect can be acheived without those pesky metal slides.

    Although the Victorians dabbled in several models of front fastening corsets, it wasn't until 1908 when fan lacing became popular and took off as a viable alternative to the traditional back lacing corset.  In that year,  Samuel Higby Camp of Jackson, Michigan, invented a new system of fan lacing using a special metal buckle which was mounted with loops and was patented in the US in June 1921.

    camp fan lacing with metal slides Camp fan lacing
    Metal fan lacing slides - difficult to obtain in the 21st century

    Camp System diagrams


    Camp's system with the metal buckle uses one single corset lace which is passed through the looped metal tab several times.  The angle of pull means that the pulley effect of the lacing is effective over a wide range and this means that tightening the corset from the front is extremely easy. The other side of the fan lacing slide attaches to a belt which fastens at the front or side of the corset using special sliding buckles which are low profile and therefore sit smoothly underneath clothing.  These are still used today in waistcoats.

    fan lacing systems

    Front fastening corsets
    The Camp fan lacing system on the left is bulkier but uses only one lace passed through the special metal slider.  The Jenyns fan lacing system on the right is flatter but uses several laces all stitched to the controlling belt.

    Camp patented his unique slider but that didn't stop other manufacturers copying the idea, the most successful of which was an Australian firm called Jenyns who in order to circumvent the patent, simply stitched the apex of the 'fan' onto a strap.  The main difference in this system is that sevaral individual laces are required to form an effective closure.  This makes for a prettier effect but it means the system is not quite so effective.  Nevertheless, this was also a popular and successful design and seasoned wearers of both models at the time, report the difference as completely negligible.  Jenyns licenced the UK factory Symingtons to make this type of corset for the European market, and here is one such example I handled and photographed myself in the Symingtons resource centre.

    Jenyns fan lacing symington Jenyns fan lacing with buckle
    1911 Jenyns corset in white coutil.  Low waisted and deep over the hips featuring elastic gussets at the bottom front.  This was one of the first styles made under the Symington franchise.
    photo © Julia Bremble
    Front straps.  The corset has a long graduated busk and spiral supports and four wide fancy adjustable suspenders.
    photo © Julia Bremble
    Below is a diagram from a blog post by American Duchess which clearly demonstrates how the laces are attached to the 'strap' system of fan lacing.  This system was first seen in Victorian times, but made popular much later in the early 20th century.  The blog post describes how to convert a traditionaly laced corset into a fan laced corset using a corset made from a Red Threaded pattern.  Please go and read it!
    American duchess fan lacing

    I can feel a tutorial coming on myself as I'd like to explore this system more in practice and ofcourse the creative options are limitless - I mean, multicoloured lacing for one! 

    Here's some modern interpretations of fan lacing.


    fan lacing asphysxia fan lacing dark garden fan lacing lovesick fan lacing pure one fan lacing v couture
    Asphixia Couture Dark Garden Lovesick Apparel Pure One V-Couture

    Hopefully that's got your creative juices flowing!  Here are a few more resources for you to have a further read.


    Buy belt sliders for making Jenyns style fan lacing straps

    Buy cotton corset laces for fan lacing

    Fan lacing tutorial by Serinde Corsets on Live Journal

    More on the Symingtons 1911 Fan lacing corset by Curve Couture

    Vintage Fan lacing girdle from the blog of Period Corsets

    Spirella blog - Fan lacing corsets

    American Duchess blog - how to convert a regular corset to a fan lacing corset 1830's

    Spirella blog - Jenyns corsets



  3. What is the best type of Lacing for corsets?

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    Sew Curvy corset lacing is specially made for Sew Curvy in a British Factory.  It 100% cotton and woven in a flat tube 7mm wide. This flat tubular weave provides maximum strength and durability.  Sew Curvy lacing is used by the world famous Cirque du Soleil for their trapeze artists' costumes - they like it because it is strong, yet flexible and soft.  

    roll of laces
    Because the lacing is cotton, it can easily be dyed to match the colour of your corset.  There are instructions on how to do this in the Tutorials section of the website.  Try using tea or green tea to dye your laces a 'natural' colour.

    I do not supply finished laces, that is to say, with metal ends in given lengths.  Why?  Because those laces are exactly the same, but cost at least three times as much. However I do supply it either by the metre, or in a whole roll of 100m.  Continuous lacing is economical.
    Ends can be finished with a knot - which will be invisible when your corset is laced, or you can whip the ends with embroidery floss or stitch on special cord ends or aglets.

    For corsets, you only need one length of lacing which is tied in the middle via 'bunny ears'.  I would recommend 4m for a short underbust corset, and up to 7m for a long overbust.

    Click here to buy corset lacing.

    how to lace a corset