Becoming Jessica Rabbit By Alayanna Bates

8 Nov

This astoundingly amazing blog post is by one of my readers-come-friends Alayanna Bates. She is a busty beauty with a healthy corset obsession…

Jessica Rabbit, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Bettie Page and Mame Van Doren. What do all these women have in common? Well, besides the fact that I would give my soul to look like any, or combination of them? HOURGLASS figures! Are these luscious ladies with their coveted curves naturally occurring? Maybe…Or it’s more likely help from a dear friend of mine the Corset. And who knows…Maybe I have some other tricks up my sleeve too.

“In a woman with a true hourglass figure, the measurements of hips and bust are essentially the same, and the waist measurement is equal to less than 75% of either the hip or bust measurement. The result is a very curvy figure which emphasizes broad hips and large breasts, two traits which have been prized historically in many cultures. In cultures where the hourglass figure is considered a beauty ideal, the narrow waist is considered a sign of femininity.” (

I could go into some lengthy explanation about how corseting started and for what purpose etc etc, but we all have Google, so I’ll move on to the lesser found info on the web. Things I’ve learned through years of trial and error.

Hard lesson #1
There is a HUGE difference between Corsets, bustier and clothing items with “boning” made of plastic.

Words to look for when purchasing a corset: Suitable for tight-lacing, Steel boning all around, Steel busk (be sure this follows with steel boning all around), Canvas, Heavy satin material, Waist belt, modesty panel, heavy duty cording.

Dead give always that it’s not actually a corset: Its CHEAP (Sorry, its true), Spiral steel, Boning (they will leave out what type IE its PLASTIC), “Fashion Corset”, Ribbon ties, any corset that looks overtly adorned (this is possible, but mostly you will find corsets are rather plan minus a few gems or ruffles/fringe)

Cheap Fashion corsets do NOTHING for a figure, in fact, as seen below:

they will even make it appear LESS hourglass. There is no reason to own these monstrosities, if you have one, throw it out!! Besides, you know the plastic boning has already folded over and is sticking out making a strange shape, because that’s what they do!

Hard lesson #2

Sizing and length/Over bust or underbust/Premade or custom

How to pick your waist size.

If you are average or smaller sized lady, Go for 4 inches under your natural waist (the smallest part of your body were you nip in) For curvier average to plus size girls go 4-6 inches under your waist size (we can squish in a bit more, so its an advantage for corseting)
Now you say, But my waist is 34 inches, but my hips are 54, will that fit me!? Or my waist is 30 but so are my hips!? Either way, you will be fine. One thing I do recommend though. If you have a “problem spot” try to think about how you want your corset to fit before purchasing one. Have Large bust (Like most or all of us here) Go for an under bust, then you don’t have to worry about fitting your breast in, besides unless you have extremely full perky bust, they will not look that great without support or they will tend to fall out of the corset (see photo of me in over bust). Got big lovely hips? Go for just a waist cincher (short length corset, maybe around 13 inches depending on your torso length) and avoid corseting your hips at all and focus on your middle. If you’re like me and have a bit (or bunch) of a tummy pooch, you’ll want to go with a long lined corset, which is generally 14 inches or longer. The under bust corset below in magenta and black is considered a long line at 15 inches long. This is enough to come down over my pooch and help push it in. (I’ll go into how to smooth it out later) be sure that you pull your tummy up a bit into the corset before lacing so it’s not hanging out the bottom. You can do this by getting your corset on, then tightening a bit, but still have enough room to reach down from the top near your bra and gently pull your skin up, so everything is contained in the corset, the proceed to tighten.
I’d generally recommend an under bust for anyone’s first corset. They will do the most for your shape with the most comfort. Take a measuring tap and find out where your corset will sit on you, is it long enough etc, take all that into account.

As for pre-made ready to order (polka dot corset is an example size 30 inch waist from Corset Wholesale) or custom made (made to your body, such as my under bust pink and magenta is) that is ultimately up to you. Just like anything you get what you pay for (mostly) and it’s the difference of buying a dress of the rack or having one custom made for every delicious curve on your body. The pricing difference can range from slight to extreme, but you can pick up a custom corset for around $200 USD. Keep in mind to buy from a reputable corset maker. They should take three measurements of your bust, waist and hips, then the length of your torso, the length of your waist to your hips, the measurement of your hips when you sit, so that your corset doesn’t dig into your legs etc, they may even take more. The more the better! Here is an example of a GREAT fairly priced corset maker’s measurement list, also a great place to buy from with lots of options.

Terms to learn: Modesty panel – The back panel usually made of the same heavy duty material as the corset that covers where the laces are so that you do not see any skin. Keep in mind that a correctly fitting corset should have about 2-4 inches in the lacing, so that you can continue to corset down. Mine is too big for me, as I can no longer lace down, it prevents me from taking my waist in further.

Cording- Cording should be made of heavy duty smooth cord. NO RIBBON, as ribbon is not strong enough to withstand the pressure of tight lacing.

Hard lesson #3

Do you want to tight lace, or just wear for fun?

Big difference!

Tight lacing is the art of moving your ribs and sometimes organs in efforts to permanently reduce waist size, even when the corset is no longer on. This requires between 12-18 hours DAILY for several months before you will see results, but you will! Then you only have to occasionally lace to maintain the shape. Keep in mind the more drastic the reduction the longer it will take. Most women will get an inch reduction within a month or two. This is how all the famous curvy cuties from the fifties looked the way they did! The ladies I mentioned at the beginning of this article are ALL tight lacers (minus the cartoon character that is)

Just for fun?

Cool! You can see some real differences with the right corset in an INSTANT. You can safely reduce your waist with a corset by 1-2 inches on your first try. While most of us CAN go smaller, you should not. One reason is that the corset needs to be broke in or it will get “stress marks” or pulls in the fabric. It will not stretch properly and will lose its shape or WORSE break. Also, your body needs to adjust as well and feeling light headed and not breathing right are terrible things to do to your body. You should feel comfortable (another reason why customs beat out pre-made hands down) and non-restrictive, but secure. Also, if you have any medical conditions (especially HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE) you should talk to your doc before you lace!!! Lacing has been known to increase blood pressure!!


Corsets are laced the same way. One side from the top to the middle then the other from the middle to the top. When you lace you should start by grasping the top middle cords and pulling downward (toward the ground), once they are in place you should tie them, then proceed to the bottom middle cords pulling upwards (toward the ceiling) and then tie. Never pull straight out from the middle. It’s best to have a friend help until you are effective at tight lacing yourself.

Too smooth out lumps under a tight fitting outfit: Place a shape wear garment OVER your corset. This will smooth out most edges (see photo) Also, be sure you are wearing a corset stocking (it’s a tube top that you wear between your corset and your skin, and it helps prevent your body oils from breaking down the corset.

Start breaking your corset in by wearing it for small amounts of time and a moderate lacing (not too tight) and working your way up each day. Maybe start at 10 minutes an add 5-10 minutes a day until you either break in it (after about 10-15 hours of continuous wear broken down into small increments) or up to 18 hours if you are wanting to tight lace. They even make tight lace corsets that are meant to be slept in so that it’s easier to train!

Do not eat big meals while wearing a corset or while training. You should eat six small (200 calorie) portions each day if attempting to train your body into a smaller corset. Make sure that these meals contain mostly protein and veg. IE 2 ounces of Chicken breast and 2 cups of spinach. Avoid overly processed foods. You will not see a waist reduction if you gain weight while training!

To help build up your core muscles (your bodies natural internal corset) Do waist exercises such as these and these:

Also, to develop a more hourglass shape remembers to asses your body type. Are you larger on top and smaller in the hip (like myself)? Then you’ll want to bulk up your outer thighs and hips through weight lifting exercise (high weights and low reps) to balance out. Hips larger then your shoulders, then aerobics and leg lifts (low weight high rep) will help slender that out. It’s important that you take an unbiased view of your body to see if what you can do to balance your top and bottom half, while working to have a smaller waist. If you want a quick fix to it with clothing! You see how the blue shift and fuller skirt visually takes inches off of my waist!

Also, to melt fat off of your midsection try walking! Did you know that keeping your heart at 65-75% of its max heart rate will burn off mostly BODY FAT, while your harder exercises and workouts burn off mostly sugar? That’s right; you can work out comfortably and burn a TON of fat just by putting one foot in front of the other. Keep in mind that you must work out for 30 minutes before your body starts burning stored body fat, so work up to 45min to 1 hour 5 times a week to really see a difference! I’ll link a place to find your target heart rate below. This WORKS girls, I’ve lost 10 inches off my waist in only 5 months!

Remember that this calculates your TARGET heart rate. You should then multiply it by .065 and .075 to find out what 65%-75% is and keep your heart rate within that range. This is normally you talking ok, but just a tad out of breath.

I am constantly testing ways to improve my hourglass shape and will share more as they come along!

Alaynna Bates of Vintage Imagery Photography

Well, I hope this is enough info to get you excited about corsets! Long live the hourglass!

Wow, I need a lie down!
I hope that Alayanna’s amazing post has been of some use to you. Let me know your thoughts, as ever, in the comments section.
You can follow Alayanna on Twitter here
and check out her Facebook page here.

19 Responses to “Becoming Jessica Rabbit By Alayanna Bates”

  1. Curveissa November 8, 2011 at 12.53 #

    excellent read Alaynna!!! Very good info for anyone wanting to do this. Got a friend who has got a very tiny waist that she’s gotten with the help of tight lacing As I’m pro comfort I could never do any of this and like or try to like my body shape as it is, still wearing one for fun without it being too tight is sometimes fun :) There is no denying hourglass shapes are hot.

  2. Ms. Pris November 10, 2011 at 12.53 #

    Marilyn Monroe wasn’t a tight lacer, nor was Bettie Page. They had naturally slim figures and they were physically active. Not every famous hourglass was created by a corset. Jayne Mansfield is another example of a natural hourglass.

    Also, it is really a myth that you can permanently change an already-developed body through tight-lacing. I’ve only known one person who went in for really tight lacing, she only took her corset off to bathe. She got down to around 14 inches, and stayed that way for years. But, when she decided to give it up, her waist returned to normal within hours of removing her corset.

    • cassie December 28, 2011 at 12.53 #

      maybe its just ur friends body cause ive did this for a few months straight and i didnt have to wear all day either just for a couple of hours a day and my waist did shirks 3 inches and i havent wore my corset for like 3 months and my waist is still down 3 inches….

      • Sam February 28, 2012 at 12.53 #

        But that’s because when you wear a corset, you don’t eat as much because your stomach is compressed. So you lose inches by losing weight. But you won’t be able to permanently lose inches by moving your fat the way a corset does…or moving your ribs permanently. They will go back to normal.

      • cassie March 4, 2012 at 12.53 #

        so corsest moves ur fat i dont get what ur saying there..i dont know noting about corset but i do know from my exprenice that waist is still down without losing weight my weight was the same as well as my chest and hips but only my waist went.. i didnt wear it when i ate and i didnt wear all day either just a like 2 to 3 hours at the most ..maybe itll go back now since im prego..

    • Summer rain January 28, 2014 at 12.53 #

      Sorry to burst your bubble but Marylin did wear corest aka girdles also in most of her films it was custom and many ppl in the movie star range wore girdles and still do spanx is a good example and it doesn’t work for all but it helps

    • Sarah April 30, 2014 at 12.53 #

      Both Bettie Page and Monroe wore corsets and were tight lacers. You can find photos and information of the both of them frequently wearing corsets. However, they were not waist trainers… there is a difference between tight lacing and waist training. But, corset wearing does help accentuate an hour glass figure and lasts as long as you waist train, as you are correct that if you stop, your body returns to it’s natural state.

      lucycorsetry is a good place for accurate corset information.

  3. Alaynna Bates November 12, 2011 at 12.53 #

    Yes, they did already have naturally hourglass slim figures, but they were documented corset wearers. They did not lace down to the extreme of say, dita von tease, but they did indeed train. According to doctors, both that i have researched, and my own, have stated the contrary in regards to your statement about permanently changing your waist. Of course the waist will be larger without the corset, but it takes months or longer for the organs and ribs to move back into place. That is a medical fact :)

    • kate November 15, 2011 at 12.53 #

      Do you blog? I am always looking for interesting corset blogs that arent fetish erotica or trying to sell me plastic crap. I read a corset sewing blog which is great but long lag time between posts.

      • Carianne November 15, 2013 at 12.53 #

        she also has a regular blog but she’s one of the most reliable persons about corsetry, she doesn’t try to sell you anything and she posts a lot and also talks a lot about the biological effects of corseting and tight lacing.

  4. Eternal*Voyageur (Venusian*Glow) November 18, 2011 at 12.53 #

    I loved the post! Especially the part about wearing shapewear on top — I was wondering whether I’m weird for having to do that.
    A question: I never know how high / low to wear the corset. It is an underbust and I am short-wasted, and I can’t seem to get the feel for the proper height — is it ok when it goes over the breasts slightly?

  5. Alison April 21, 2012 at 12.53 #

    A couple of little points from a corsetmaker :)

    Double satin ribbon is very, very strong and is certainly strong enough for a corset. It isn’t as easy to lace as it tends to slip, so for a regular wear or truly tightlacing corset I’d still suggest proper corset lacing. But it certainly doesn’t signify a lower quality product. Many very well known and respected makers use satin ribbon.

    Great corsets aren’t all plain. To go to the ultimate, look at Mr Pearl’s fabulously embellished corsets for Mugler, Galliano and Gaultier.

    Spiral or flat steel is just a matter of preference (apart from in certain parts of the corset). One isn’t better than the other.

    Fabric should be strong and have no stretch. It doesn’t have to be heavy or bulky. Coutil is the most commonly used for a quality fabric although there are other alternatives.

    Good suggestion about the shapewear :)

  6. Russell April 6, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Sorry to nitpic, but there is a slight math error that might cause some problems. The following quote: ” .065 and .075 to find out what 65%-75%” is off by one decimal place and will give you the rates of 6.5% and 7.5%. I think your heart rate only drops that low when you’re in a coma, though I’m not sure as I’m not a doctor. Multiply the maximum rate by 0.65 and 0.75 to get 65% and 75%.

  7. Ness August 17, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Something else to consider is that you should never tie the extra lacing around your waist as it can cause damage to the corset and the boning.

  8. amber mae November 15, 2013 at 12.53 #

    any good recommendations of where you can get a custom or REALLY good corset? I live in Wisconsin and frequent both the Twin Cities (MN) Madison Wi, and Milwaukee often, so I can manage to hit the big cities that are up here!

    • Kam March 6, 2014 at 12.53 #

      Try Orchard Corset. I shop with them because I have trouble getting corsets that fit properly; I have more than 10 inches difference between bust and waist measurements and again with the waist and hip and a long torso as well. Orchard Corset has “silhouette” levels and different lengths of corsets to suit just about any figure, and the corset construction is good too. It is the next best thing to a custom corset that I have found.

  9. Peggy December 21, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Were do you buy corset i would love to buy one

  10. Jo July 21, 2014 at 12.53 #

    Hello ladies! I totally get that an underbust is a great “first” corset, however I’m struggling when sat down my 40e breasts are pushed up ridiculously! As I’m trying to train my waist, sitting at work in this state might give my colleagues a nasty shock! Help, please, what do I do?



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