Corset 101

What Size of Corset to Get?

When ordering a corset it is important to know your bust (OB), under bust (UB), upper waist and hip measurements.
Once you know your measurements you will want to choose your silhouette level. [The number of inches you want in difference from your bust to waist and from you hip to waist]

Brand new corset wearers should error on the side of too big and work their way down into a smaller corset to prevent damage to the corset as well as from harming themselves.


Sillhouette Level

Bust to Waist Ratio

Hip to Waist Ratio
Level One:
Moderate
4 – 5 inches (UB)
5 – 6 inches (OB)
6 – 7 inches
Level Two:
Enhanced
5 – 6 inches (UB)
7- 8 inches (OB)
7 – 9 inches
Level Three:
Extreme
6 + inches (UB)
8 + inches (OB)
10 + inches

If you plan on training your waist we suggest going 4 – 7 inches smaller than your natural waist size. Keep in mind that lean muscle doesn’t train nearly as well as fat tissue. This is known as the “squish factor”. If you are tall and have extra fluff you may find that 8 – 10 inches is not too extreme a reduction.

What is Waist Training?

Traditionally “waist training” referred to the use of steel boned corsets to develop an exaggerated hourglass shape. By cinching a corset tighter and tighter, the waist trainer corset was able to pull in a woman’s floating ribs and even do a bit of rearranging of her internal organs to effectively reduce the circumference of her waist. The effect is semi-permanent, requiring continued corseting even after the goal reduction has been achieved.
More recently, celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Amber Rose have redefined the term with the use of latex waist cinchers during workouts, shifting the entire concept of waist training (we refer to this practice as “waist taming”). Women discussing “waist training” these days are, more often than not, likely discussing it as a part of their workout plan.

How Long Does it Take to Waist Train?

Waist training takes different amounts of time for different people. There are a number of factors that go into how long it will take to train your waist that include (but are not limited to): diet, exercise and how many hours a day/week you cinch.

Is it Dangerous to Cinch Your Waist?

It can be, if done incorrectly.

​The media loves to tell the horror stories of the corset wearers who have gone too far. You can easily find them by Googling the subject. Cathy Jung  is a fantastic example of extreme training. The truth of the matter is that anything can be over done and cause damage.If you are interested in the other side of the argument Lucy’s Corsetry has a wonderful composition of benefits  a person can gain by wearing a corset.

There are also some myths about waist cinching that float around that can cause concern.
The first being the well known quote “no pain, no gain”. If your corset is causing you pain loosen it or take it off completely! Listen to your body and you will be just fine.

The second is the controversy that corsets can break your ribs or that ribs must be removed for a corset to properly function. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone has ever had a rib removed for waist training. In the Victorian Era (when corsets were a regular essential part of fashion) it would have been been extremely risky to have this sort of surgery.

​Your “floating” ribs at the bottom of your rib cage will move in as you waist train. However, once the corset is removed your ribs will pop back out. Not instantly though. If you engage in more extreme round the clock tight lacing you will certainly notice your dramatic shape after removing your corset, but your ribs and flesh will begin to return to their former shape.

As for breaking ribs, that is also nearly impossible. It takes more force than most of us can muster to break a rib. This Victorian myth most likely stems from the fact that early corsets were made from whale boning (Baleen) and those bones did certainly break. So it wasn’t that the corset was breaking ribs but that the corset “rib bones” were breaking.

Putting On And Taking Off Your Corset


We highly suggest wearing a chemise or shirt under your corset. By wearing something under the corset you avoid the sweat and natural oils you skin rubs off onto the lining, which means you can clean it less frequently. If you are wearing an under bust corset, it is possible to purchase tube tops specifically to go underneath.
Ensure the corset is loosened completely before going to put it on. This is to ensure you don’t force the pins and have them pop out or warp your busk. Use a mirror to see what you are doing. Ensure the corset is lined up straight to your center, do up the busk and then pull the center pull loops (aka rabbit ears) to tighten the back. Fix the modesty panel and then going from the top of the corset towards the middle tighten the exes. Fix the modest panel again, re-tighten using the pull loops and then tighten the exes from the bottom of the corset up to the middle. Fix the modesty panel once more and “tie” the corset.

One mistake many corset wearers make is wearing their laces tied around their waist. This will abrade the fabric of the corset and lessen its lifetime. Instead, if you don’t like to leave your laces dangling, tuck the lace ends under the bottom of your corset.
If you need to replace the lace in your corset, we suggest doing so with a polyester ribbon that can be purchased from any craft or fabric store. Measure your previous lace to get the appropriate length and adjust as needed, remembering that it is always easy to make them shorter.

When you go to take off your corset ensure to loosen the lace all the way to avoid unnecessary stress on the busk and boning. Then undo the busk.
Once the corset is off you can spot clean it with mild detergent, delicately wiped down with a damp cloth or take it in for dry cleaning, if needed. Never put it into a washing machine because the boning will warp and bend. Instead of rolling it up, hang the corset with the inside facing out, using the strings to balance it. This allows the corset to breathe and protects the outer fabric from being damaged. The fibers will relax back into shape, and, well, the fresh air will do it good, scent-wise.

How to Measure Yourself

image from thunderlilly.nyc

Here at Kittie’s Kostumes we are able to set you up with designers who can make costume pieces, custom order pieces from afar, or design costume pieces for you to wear. When we do this we need accurate measurements of your body to be able to make these fit you. When a garment fits well not only does it feel better but it looks better too.
To measure yourself you will need a soft measuring tape (available at most Dollar Stores), paper, pencil/pen and if possible a friend to help measure you, as it is easiest to get proper measurements when someone else is measuring you.

Height:

Height is measured from the crown of your head to the floor where you stand flat footed. Ensure to do this on a solid surface as grass and carpet will sink under your weight.

​​Head:

Place the measuring tape around your head about 1/8″ (0.38 cm) above your ear, acrossthe mid-forehead, completely circling your head. Hold the tape firmly but not too tightly. If you fall between numbers, choose the larger size of the two you fall between.

Neck:

Measure around the base of your neck, starting at the hollow. Round up to the nearest 1/2″ (1.25 cm)

Upper Arm:

Measure the circumference of your arm. Wrap the tape measure around the widest part of your upper arm from front to back and around to the start point.

​Sleeve:

​Place your hand at your waist or hip (your elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle). Then start at the middle of the back of your neck and measure to your shoulder, down your arm to the elbow, and then on to the wrist.

​Chest or Bust:

​Measure the circumference of your chest by placing the tape over the fullest part of your bust, wrap it around your body ensuring it is under your armpits and over your shoulder blades, and bring it to the front.

​Underbust:

Wrap the tape around your rib cage immediately under your breasts. Round up to the nearest whole number (in inches) to get your band size.

Rough Guide to Figuring Out Cup Size


Difference in Inches

USA Cup Size

UK Cup Size
1/2 “AAAA
1 “AA
2 “BB
3 “CC
4 “DD
5 “E or DDDD
6″F or DDDE
7″GF

​Waist:

Use the tape to circle your waist, much like a belt would, at your natural waist line. The natural waist line is roughly 2 inches above the belly button but below your rib cage. Ensure not to suck in your stomach or else risk getting a false measurement. If you generally wear your clothes below your waist, take that measurement as well.

Hips:

Measure the circumference of your hips. Start at one hip and wrap the tape measure around your rear, around the other hip, and back to where you started. Make sure the tape is over the largest part of your buttocks. Because making sure the tape is level back there can be hard, measuring in front of a mirror can help.

Inseam:

This is the distance from the uppermost inner part of your thigh to the bottom of your ankle. You can measure your inseam in two ways. Always measure from the crotch down.
With help: While you’re wearing a pair of pants, have a friend stretch the tape from your crotch to the bottom of your ankle.
Without help: If you have a pair of pants that fit you perfectly (and they shouldn’t be too loose around the waist), measure the inseam of the pants, again from the crotch to the hem.
The proper inseam on a pair of pants you’re going to purchase will depend on the height of the heel you’ll be wearing with them.

Thigh:

Measure the circumference of the fullest part of your thigh. Wrap the tape measure around your thigh from front to back and then around to the front. You may be tempted to cheat by lowering the tape measure a few inches, but then you won’t get an accurate measurement.

​Foot:

​Flatten your feet by shifting your weight forward and then measure your foot from heel to the tip of your longest toe. Measure booth feet as one is larger than the other. Feet swell throughout the day so ensure to measure your feet around the time you would be wearing the shoes unless they will be worn all day, then measure them after being on your feet all day.


Measurement in CM

USA Child

Euro Child

UK Child
7.90 Infant15 Infant0 Infant
11.44 Toddler19 Toddler3 Toddler
17.111 Small Child28 Small Child10 Small Child
22.24 Child36 Child3 Child

Measurement in CM


USA Men

USA Women

Euro Men

Euro Women

UK Men

UK Women
20.8.4.35.2
21.6.5.35.5.3
22.5.6.36.5.4
23.5673937.55.55
24.478.540396.56.5
25.489.541407.57.5
26910.542418.58.5
271011.542-44429.59.5
2811.44.10.5.
28.612.45.11.5.
30.214.47.12.5.

Feeling Drained

Now then, I haven’t written this looking for pity or help. It was more of a response to something that happened to me a couple of months ago that I am still trying to sort through. I apologize for the length of it but I cannot make it any shorter and still get my point across. I only hope this will help you understand a snippet of my life.

I am drifting away from everything of importance, unable to find the hard ground beneath my feet. What I once loved passionately, I now feel disconnected from, my life has become a disorganized nightmare. Passion is something that I now envy in others. I am in a state of continually trying to fix “it” and then losing all footing as I slide into another bout of failure.

And talking to friends or family about everything I go through seems out of the question for me. No one wants to hear about the same complaints over and over again. No one wants to see how selfish a person can become or moody they can be when their life is so difficult for them to separate their thoughts from. I’ve lost a good number of friends over this and so instead I say nothing and deal with my life the best I can, trying to shield my loved ones from what I go through.

My brain has a difficult time knowing what reality is anymore and I fear for what that means for my family, my friends, and my children but not myself. I know exactly where it will take me if I cannot change things – to an early grave. Not one made by my own hand but by my lack of will to continue with changes that make things better. If I make it to 50 I will be pleasantly surprised.

I know that my depression and anxiety are starting to cripple my life yet seeking help is too difficult, taking medication too taxing, and my fear of being hospitalized so severe that I won’t even go in when my body is unable to function from pain.

Fibromyalgia is ruining my life. It’s debilitating, depressing, irrational and it robs me of any chance of having a normal life. I have to deal with severe pain every day, every hour, every minute, of every day. I’m not talking about occasional muscle aches and pains, although I get those too. The pain never goes away, never, I am always in pain. It is sharp and stinging, hot and burning, dull and achy, throbbing, pulsating, making me feel tight, stiff, and constricted. It is a nagging heavy, gnawing, never-ending pain that oftentimes feels unbearable.

There are days when I must literally drag myself by my arms across the floor to get a diaper for my daughter. It takes me over half an hour to go the roughly 30 feet, as I must stop to rest my aching body on the way down the hall.

I try to hide the days that I am this bad from my husband so he will still go to work as we cannot afford for him to stay home and care for me. I stay in bed until after he is gone, as best as I can hiding the sound of pain in my voice, the tears from my eyes, and the frustration from my voice. We need the money, I am not on disability and with my health I am unable to be a reliable employee.

Yet I run my own business. Yes, a creative venture I love, it gives me an outlet in which I can be independent. In three years I have had less than 2 weeks worth of sales though. I knew it would be slow to start as I am a mother first but it would be nice to pay off the debt I have incurred getting it up and going…

It doesn’t help that I have to deal with extreme fatigue and exhaustion. It is not the sort of tired that you can rest away, resting doesn’t help. And if I can get more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep in a night, sleep doesn’t make it go away either.

On my best days, which are very few, I function at about 40 to 50 percent of normal health capacity. I get as much as I can done in these days, often overdoing it and causing the next few days or weeks to be agony.

Even talking on the phone can be exhausting for me. It is extremely stressful for me to have any scheduled appointments as I get very anxious and panicky. I don’t know if I’ll be well enough or have any energy to go to them. But if I don’t schedule them, I know I’ll forget and someone will get mad at me for being a flake once again.

I meditate, I do relaxation techniques, I pray. I take medications, I stop medications, I self medicate too. Nothing helps for long and nothing helps completely. Nothing in my life is normal. I cannot take anything I do for granted. I have to be very careful and cautious of everything that I do, if not I can make things worse. That “gentle touch” on my shoulder I got from a stranger two days ago was enough to make me cry, I can still feel pressure from where it felt like they shoved me.

And this is just from my depression, anxiety and part of the fibromyalgia symptoms. There is other stuff going on in my life that I don’t have diagnosis for. Things that only the closest of my friends know, things I don’t even tell my family about as they don’t need another thing to worry about when it comes to me and my life.

Prehaps one day I will be able to feel like myself again, prehaps one day I will have the courage to get the help I need and stick to it. Prehaps one day there will be a cure for what ails me. But for now I must just keep going on, trying to be as positive and strong as I can.

The MotherNapper

There is a portal in the room where I take baths. The world on the other side looks remarkably like my own. It has the counter I sit upon, the brown and silver curtain that hides the bath tub, the post that hold towels and even the particular (white) walls that mark my house as my own.

Daily my mother takes me into this room, not for a bath like expected but so I can look into the portal. What she seems to be oblivious about is the fact that she disappears into the portal every time we look at it.

I hear her as if she is still beside me but she is there on the other side, smiling and happy. But the child in her arms is not me. I do not know who this person is but they have tricked my mother into believing that I am there with her.

I have made every attempt to get on that side of the portal with her. I have smiled at the other child, reasoned with it, yelled at it. I have tried everything conceivable to pass through the portal. Even my mouth could not penetrate the cold hardness that is in the way.

I have started to pound upon the portal to see if there is a weak spot that I could travel through, but the child who has bewitched my mother stops me continually. Every time I put my hand upon it, she blocks it with her own. This is how I know I am doing the right thing, there IS a way to get through.

Now I must figure out how to trick this child into missing my hand as I try to get through to save my mother.  Wish me luck!

2015 Goal Mantra

I am AWESOME just because I exist.

Every morning I awake is another gift, a blessing, even if it is sometimes in disguise. With an eye for the charm and romance of living I will practice aliveness with enthusiasm and aim to do something today that will be a blessing to another being.

I will not be scared of anybody or anything; instead I will pour that energy into being a confident, kind person who will not let people take advantage of me; nor my family. I will not let depression or anxiety get in the way of my successes. “No” will be taken with dignity, not getting me down. By working on keeping both my thoughts and words in good order I will not let negativity take over. I will forgive myself and others, apply my knowledge with wisdom and tact and challenge myself regularly because a person cannot grow without leaving their comfort zone. As I do this I will continue to learn about myself.

I am a spiritual, physical and mental being. By not letting the materialism of the world surrounding me beat me down; I will not forget this. To ensure health in all of these aspects I will meditate weekly for a minimum of 30 minutes, daily practice deep breathing activities and read something educational for a minimum of ten minutes, thrice weekly I shall exercise my body for at least thirty minutes and ensure to eat well balanced meals that have been planned out in advance. I shall ensure to celebrate my spirituality by communing with the outdoors, looking to the skies, ensuring to take part in spiritual holidays and through prayer.

I am a role model, not only for my daughter but for others as well. As much as I would like to have a friendship with my daughter I am her parent first, her life is in my hands and I will do what I can to ensure she grows up to be an independent, strong, beautiful person who is comfortable being herself and doing what she would like with her life. I will foster in her the best parts of me while still remaining true to the person she is.

I am a loving, supportive partner to my man. I will make a point to listen, to open myself up completely and keep my vows to him. While our lives continue to change I will take the time to continue falling in love with him a little bit more each and every day. At least twice a month we will have “date nights” to court ourselves even after marriage.

My family is and will continue to be in my centre.  I will not allow excuses to come in the way of a strong relationship with them. By taking an interest in their lives and being in regular contact with them I will make my connection with them deeper. I will make an effort to do this within my friendships. Weekly activities together will help bind us more closely together.

This year I will abolish my debts completely, get ahead on payments of bills and begin saving and investing for the future. Life is expensive and I will not have money be the cause of distress in my life. I will also apply for insurance policies because things happen that we cannot control.

I will enjoy being able to stay home raising my child, knowing that I will not have to have a J.O.B. that keeps me miserable. Instead I will spend my free times writing weekly, creating and selling beautiful pieces of art and learning how to help others reach their goals and dreams. Come the winter I will work part-time to bring in a little extra for the holiday season.