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29 August 2014 @ 07:34 pm
Corset type to correct posture and ease back pain?  
I'm preparing to make a corset for myself and could use some advice. I'm a chef and I stand on concrete floors for 8-10 hours at a stretch, bent over a work bench. I have constant low-grade pain in my upper back and frequent muscle spasms in my lower back from working in this awkward and punishing position for the last umpteenth years. I'd like to make a corset that will support my lower back and pull my upper back and arms back a bit so that I'm not slouching. My corset will need to be rugged enough to wear 5 days a week for 8 hours at a time, breathable because my kitchen is always hot, not so constricting that I can't do my very physical job, and free of embellishment since I'll be wearing it under a chef coat. I should mention here that I've never made a corset but I have pretty good sewing skills and with a good pattern or tutorial, I'm hopeful that I can create something that fits the bill.

So, my questions are:
1) What sort of corset can pull my shoulders back and support my lower back? Straps seem like a good idea.
2) What fabrics have breathability, strength and will hold up to rigors of the kitchen? Can a corset be washed once a week or so? Kitchen odors get in my clothes so I imagine my corset will get stinky too.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have!

EDIT* Not sure why the butterick pattern is in my tags. I tried to delete it several times but it just reappears.
isabelladangelo: bustle skirtisabelladangelo on August 30th, 2014 02:40 am (UTC)
With a corset, what gives it it's rigidity isn't the material but the boning. I'd suggest to start with simple duct ties (like at any major hardware store. Duct ties are thicker, longer cable ties). As for the material - really, it can be made out of anything. I'd be tempted to stick with any heavy weight 100% cotton (duck or canvas). Heat leaves your body through your upper chest/neck area - which the vast majority of corsets don't cover. So, unless you are making the corset out of a plastic bag or fur, heat really shouldn't be an issue. You'll also want to wear a tank top, at the very least, under it. It helps with the whole washing thing as well as how the corset feels while you are wearing it.
nellypea on August 30th, 2014 03:16 am (UTC)
Thanks Isabella. About the duct ties; I have a Rago waist cincher that has plastic boning and I've started wearing it at work over a tank top just to relieve some of the strain on my back and it helps a little but I always feel like it would feel better if it were more structured. Of course the cincher is mostly elastic stretchy material and it just doesn't feel supportive enough.

I'm definitely going to use your suggestions to make a mock up.
isabelladangeloisabelladangelo on August 30th, 2014 04:16 am (UTC)
The plastic boning in most commercially made corsets is a lot more flimsy than the duct ties. I think you'll be surprised at how supportive the duct ties are. :-)
Amanda: regencygreenmandie_rw on August 30th, 2014 05:07 am (UTC)
Definitely straps. My most comfortable corsets are actually my 18thc stays, which have shoulder straps! I don't quite recommend the style for modern wear since it gives you an odd silhouette, very conical (though when I was having sudden random back pain, I wore it to work for a week and just looked weird, haha).

I generally draw my patterns out from diagrams of period corsets, so unfortunately I can't recommend a pattern; hopefully someone else can. I can second Isabella's rec of cable ties, though. I love the things! To be fair I don't, uh, have much to support, so I've never run into that issue. Plus they won't rust from washings, being plastic.

And for fabric, I'd go for a strong cotton (but not *too* thick, or it can crumple and look icky) like drill, denim, or twill.
Annarabid_bookwyrm on September 2nd, 2014 12:12 am (UTC)
You can draft a higher back and straps fairly easily onto most basic corset patterns. For ease-of-use the Truly Victorian pattern gets very good reviews.

I don't know if this is an option, but could you raise your countertops?

I fixed your tags. Only mods can remove tags from a post, but anyone can add them. You probably clicked it accidentally when you were making the post.
scandium21_45scandium21_45 on September 12th, 2014 11:51 am (UTC)
Aside from corsetry, I'd also advocate getting a physio (or good osteopath, chiro) to see if there are exercises, stretches etc to help with your back as well. I don't think any treatment of back pain has ever been focused on just bracing it, although the support sounds like it'll be helpful