A lacing panel is a lightly boned panel that fits underneath corset lacing to provide a fully finished look without skin or undergarments showing down the length of the corset. It is usually a separate piece, but is sometimes sewn to one side of the corset or suspended in the lacing to prevent it from becoming lost. The boning is needed to prevent the panel from collapsing while the corset is tightened, but for the most part it is a low-stress item, so I usually make them with a core of cotton duck. If the corset is not made with a separate cover layer, then I use matching coutil.
There are many different patterns of boning that can be used, and most work equally well. I usually use the pattern in the first illustration below. For smaller figures, ¼” wide bones work well. For larger figures, I advise ½” bones on the sides to help ensure the panel will stay smooth and not buckle vertically. You can also add another bone or two vertically towards the center of the panel.
Another pattern is to create an “X” across the body of the panel. This can work well, but can have a tendency to twist or buckle if the back has very much curve.
The simplest way to ensure the panel stays completely vertical is to place bones vertically along the entire width of the panel.
I have seen other lacing panels created by other corset makers that have very different shapes and boning styles from my own that work just as well. Feel free to experiment, because as long as the panel covers the lacing gap and doesn’t create discomfort, it’s a good lacing panel.
Cutting the Fabric
To determine the size of the core layer, measure the height of the grommetted edge of the corset. This the vertical height of the core layer piece.
If you are placing bones horizontally, the width of the panel will be the length of the horizontal bones plus the widths of the vertical bones. To determine the width of the core fabric when cutting, it is
2(length of horizontal bone + 2(width of vertical bone) + 1/8″ + seam allowance)
If you are using an “X” pattern or a vertical only pattern, I recommend a finished panel width relative to the waist measurement of the corset. It should be at least 5″ wide, and no more than 1/5 of the waist measurement. The width of the core fabric when cutting is twice the finished width, plus twice the seam allowance.
If a cover layer is used, the height of the cover and lining pieces is the same as the core piece. The width of the cover piece is the width of the final panel plus four times the seam allowance. The width of the lining piece is the width of the final panel.