Corset class – All laced up

Corset lacing

I have a brief discussion about what to use for corset lacing that I’d like to share as well.

For the most part you want strong laces, that can withstand the tug and pull of cinching your corset up firmly.  I prefer round laces simply because with flat laces, I think they need to be smoothed out and flat to look their best – and unless you have someone helping you get into your corset and then flattening all of your laces, that’s just not going to happen!

A ribbon laced corset of mine. You can see even though I tried really hard to smooth out all the ribbons, it's still not perfect.

Some corset makers use double-faced satin ribbons in their corsets, but generally for regular wear I don’t recommend it.  Again there is the issue of twisting, curling and flattening the laces, but also the holes the laces pass through are round, which means that when faced with strain, the ribbons will naturally start to curl within the grommet hole.  Additionally, I’ve see satin ribbons pass through less-than-perfect grommet holes, and get snagged – which might not mean much, but satin ribbon has a high percentage of floating threads (which gives it that great sheen) which means the chances of snagging your ribbon increases.

The only time that I’d suggest ribbon (and then again, double-faced ribbon) would be for a wedding corset – where the time can be taken to slowly get into the corset and flatten the ribbons, and where the corset will not be worn extremely tightly.  The look of white or cream ribbon (or black, or red, or whatever colour you like) on a wedding corset really does have an appeal, but for normal wear I just don’t feel that the effort is worth it.  YMMV (Your mileage may vary) on this one!

Some individuals recommend parachute cord, which apparently is readily available (though I’ve never found it), shoelaces (I’ve never found them long enough) or other alternatives.  I prefer a simple nylon round cord that I can purchase by the meter or by the spool.  (I have two spools actually, one white, one black, and that suits me just fine!)

A corset of mine with the round nylon cord for back lacing. (Shown on a dressform, so it doesn't fit properly...)

I would recommend avoiding anything:

  • Too expensive (you’ll need a lot of cord to lace your corset!)
  • Bulky (it will just get in the way)
  • Too narrow (it needs to be able to support your tugging without cutting into your hands)
  • Too fragile (again, it needs to be able to support all of your tugging)
  • Slippery (it needs to be able to tie a firm knot) (Satin rat-tail cord is pretty, but save it for a different project.)
  • Too short (having three knots all the way down your corset lacing doesn’t look great in my opinion)
  • Too long (you don’t want those laces dangling too far down)


Take a look at any of the corsets you already own – what do they use for lacing?  Do you like it, or do you think you’d like to use something different for one you’ll make yourself?  Leave me a comment below!

4 comments on “Corset class – All laced up

  1. Heather says:

    I’ve never found a SHOElace long enough, but I have been known to steal a lace from my boot to lace up a corset! 🙂

    • Dawn says:

      Haha – true enough! Boot laces would make a lot more sense – especially for those huge tall boots. I suppose it might also depend on how much lace you need to get into your corset – even with the boot laces I’ve tried, I need more length than they offer. (Without using multiples that is.)

  2. Caroline says:

    For waist training corsets I use paracord in matching colors. I find the cord slips more easily in subsequent cinching and It last longer than standard cord and ribbon.

    • Dawn says:

      Since originally posting this back in 2011, I’ve tried paracord too (parachute cord) though I haven’t found it in a lot of colours. The paracord I’ve seen at Michael’s craft stores in the past few months seems to be a different quality – though definitely lots of colours! Have you seen it – how does it compare?

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