Last week, I introduced you to my new corset from Orchard Corset and discussed the first phase of seasoning it—that is, wearing it for progressively longer over a period of 14 days to mold it to your body’s shape and get used to wearing it.

In my last post, I reported on Days 1-3 of the seasoning process. As a reminder, here is the suggested schedule from Orchard:

As a further recap, I measure as follows using Orchard’s measuring instructions:

Underbust: 30.0
Natural Waist: 29.75
Squished Waist: 27.0
Upper Hip: 37.0
Seated Torso Length: 11.0

…and I selected the CS-345 Romantic Curve Longline Underbust Corset, pictured here:

As I write this post, I’m on Day 9 of the seasoning process and there have definitely been some lessons learned—and some changes!

In case it isn’t clear in photos, the “laces” are actually one extraordinarily long shoelace-style string. It starts out being laced similarly to a shoe—folded in half with the centerpoint at the top of the corset, then criss-crossed down so that every other crossing is on the surface of the grommets and every other crossing is underneath the grommets.

When you get to the “waist” point of the corset, the string jumps to the grommet directly below instead of crossing over, then it starts the cross-over process again. Finally, at the bottom, you tie the two ends into a knot.

The result is two long loops at the waist of the corset. Then you can tighten from the top to this point, and from the bottom up to this point, leaving you with a very long loop of string on each side of the corset once it’s fully tightened, which you can tie and tuck into the corset or wrap it around yourself so that you end up with a small bow instead of super long tails.

On Day four, I realized that this waist point created by the tie tails was too high above where my actual waist is located—long torso strikes again! However, this was easily remedied by unlacing the bottom half of the corset and moving the grommet jump point one spot lower.

Also on Day 4, I measured my waist in the corset, and I was tightening it from 29.75” to a flat 29”. Day 4 also saw an increase in the hours spent in the corset, from only 2 hours to 3 hours.

On Day 5 (3 hours), I felt comfortable tightening the corset further, bringing the waist down to 28”.

On Day 6, I struggled to tighten the corset myself, so I enlisted my husband to help. It felt rather loose at the top, so I instructed him to tighten it more there and bring it down to the waist. However, he actually tightened it too much, and the final 30 minutes that I spent in the corset were quite uncomfortable and borderline painful. Of course, I only realized just how tight he’d made it when he photographed me later. You can see here that the top half is much tighter. I was told by Orchard Corset that it’s best practice to keep the columns of grommets parallel, so this is definitely not right.

For good measure, here’s the same day viewed from front and side. To the naked eye, there still doesn’t appear to be much difference from Day 2 even though it’s an inch smaller:

Moving on to Day 7, I increased from 3 hours to 4 hours. This time, I asked my husband to help me tighten it, but to keep the grommets parallel. My waist remained at 28”. Even though I wore it for longer, the corset was much more comfortable today than on too-tight Day 6.

On Day 8, my husband wasn’t available, so I tightened the corset myself. I did an okay job. I still managed to get the waist down to 28”, but it was a bit tighter at the top and bottom than the center, resulting in the grommets as a slightly convex shape rather than remaining entirely parallel. It was a busy workday, so I spent almost the entire 4 hours at my desk, except for the 45 minutes or so that I sat on the couch and watched a little TV while eating lunch.

Ironically, it’s much more comfortable to sit in my computer chair in the corset than it is to sit on the couch. My couch is quite cushy and deep, but the corset keeps your back very straight, so my body can’t really conform to the plush cushions. Meanwhile, in the desk chair, the corset actually helps me maintain proper posture.

However, the most comfortable way to wear it for me is to keep moving, such as when I walked to and from the supermarket. So I’ll probably skip wearing it to events where I expect to remain seated for most of the evening (such as a Broadway show), but will happily wear it when I know I’ll be continually moving or not sitting still for more than 2 hours straight (such as a wedding).

On Day 9, I managed to tighten the corset all by myself and keep the grommets parallel! So I’m definitely learning. It also took only about 7 minutes to get it all done up and tied, while I started out at more like 20 minutes. As I write this, I’m arriving at the 2-hour mark (out of 4 hours), during which I’ve been sitting at my desk the whole time. I’m definitely ready to get up and move around, but not in any pain or great discomfort.

Here are photos from the end of Day 9:

As well, here are comparison photos without the corset. The black “tube” I’m wearing is a bamboo liner from Orchard Corset. You must wear a layer between your corset and your body, to keep the corset clean and to prevent any possible rubbing or pinching of your skin. This thing is really soft and comfy, and I would buy a whole shirt made of it if I could!

One final thing I’ll note is that from Days 4 – 7, I wore a shapewear skirt over the corset to encourage it to flatten more at the lower tummy. There was a big snowstorm on Days 8 and 9, so I stuck with sweatpants since I knew I’d have to go out in boots and snow gear to walk the dog. But I did tuck the sweatpant waistband over the bottom edge of the corset and cinch the drawstring tight to keep it close to my body.

To be honest, though, I don’t know how much of a difference this is making. I know I’m still 5 days away from the end of the seasoning process, but so far the corset is still sticking way out from my belly despite the fact that it’s starting to dig into the sides of my hips. It seems like the corset is remaining straight instead of molding into an hourglass shape, and all the volume is staying on the front of the corset instead of going out to the sides—though it looks great from the front!