A corset is a silhouette's best friend -- it cinches in the waist, lifts the bust line and improves posture. When a corset is properly laced, the wearer looks equally attractive coming and going. Because it's a difficult task to lace a corset-back dress if you're the person wearing it, this job requires an extra pair of hands. When you lace a corset for a friend, make sure the corset ribbon is even and flat, and the wearer feels secure but not squeezed in the dress.
Adjust the dress so that the bodice sits on the torso as it should be worn -- not too high or too low. Smooth out the modesty panel, or the panel of fabric that sits behind the lacing to avoid exposing the wearer's back. You may have to readjust the panel occasionally as you lace so that it doesn't bunch under the lacing.
Tie a shoelace or additional ribbon through one of the left and right loops at the waist of the corset. Tie in a bow or loose knot so you can remove it later; this holds the dress in place as you work.
Find the center of the corset ribbon. Insert one end of the ribbon in the top left loop. Insert the other end into the top right loop, positioning the center of the ribbon at the center of the wearer's back. You can insert the ribbon over the loop, in which case you'll feed the ribbon inward toward the dress, or under the loop, feeding out and away from the dress. Both methods are recommended and both will look aesthetically pleasing.
Cross the left side of the ribbon over and insert it into the second loop on the right side. Cross the right portion of the ribbon and insert it into the second loop on the left side, so that the two lengths of ribbon make an "X."
Cross and lace the new left ribbon into the next right loop and repeat with the right ribbon in the left loop. Continue lacing, keeping the ribbon flat and the modesty panel smooth against the wearer's back, until you reach the shoelace or additional ribbon you used to hold the dress in place.
Remove the shoelace and continue crossing and lacing until you reach the final loop.
Tighten the laces according to the wearer's comfort, starting with the first "X." Pull each side of the ribbon at the "X" equally until the dress feels snug -- not tight -- against the wearer's torso. Pull the ribbon again at the second "X" and continue until you reach the bottom of the corset.
Tie the two ends of the ribbon into a secure, tight bow. Tuck the bow into the bottom of the corset just below the last two loops if you prefer that it doesn't show, or you can leave the bow visible. Adjust the bow so it is even and horizontal.