We decided to try Laurence Lenton, who advertised regularly in London Life magazine, and wrote for his measurement forms and samples of fabric. We chose a beautiful black satin broche, and ordered a very long corset like one in Lenton's London Life advertisement.
It was to extend 6" (15 cm) above the waist in front, at the sides right up under the armpits, and even higher in back. The lower edge went far down over the hips, and below the lower end of the busk, the two halves of the corset were joined by 6" (15 cm) of eyelets and lacing. An extra piece of metal was added behind the busk to strengthen it.
We went to Laurence Lenton for a fitting. This time the waist was to be 15=" (37 cm). He had a patented design for the rear of the corset, plates about 5/8" (1.59 cm) wide drilled to accept eyelets. Thus there was only one stay on each side of the back opening, instead of two, with eyelets in the fabric between the stays. The two advantages of his idea were that the eyelets could not pull out of the fabric during tight lacing, and the two stays between the eyelet holes could not turn on edge and cut into the flesh when the top and bottom of the corset was closed and the waist remained open. The disadvantage was that his holes for eyelets weakened the stays, which broke easily. Unlike Mme. Lorette, Lenton was unwilling to make repairs when one of his stays broke, so ordering a new corset every time this happened became expensive.
Even the wide back stays, when not fully closed, tended to turn on edge and pinch the flesh between them. Will solved this problem by making a 4" x 5" (10.2 cm x 12.7 cm) pad of white kid leather to put inside the waist at the rear. When the back of the corset was not fully closed, the lace at the top and bottom, where it was less tight, tended to move to the waist, which was much tighter. This permitted the rear stays to turn on edge. To prevent this, Will added an extra lace through a few holes at the waist. After the main lace was tightened to the desired size, the second lace at the waist was tightened to hold it at that size.
Because Lenton's corsets were tighter over the lower ribs, they were not as comfortable as those of Mme. Lorette. If Ethel had started training her figure at a younger age, it would have been possible to shape her lower ribs to fit his corset pattern. Because Ethel had started late, her lower ribs were less flexible.
Their next corset from Mr. Lenton had a waist of 15" (36 cm). It was made of pink satin broche and was not so long below the waist, and therefore easier to wear than the first corset. Ethel's waist was now very malleable, and this corset was laced closed with little difficulty. Will could easily span her waist with his two hands. When Ethel was laced to the limit, she had to gasp for breath, but Will was delighted with Ethel's figure. When he felt her waist, it was as hard as iron.
Ethel was able to walk all day in her 5" (13.3 cm) heels. All her clothes had to be taken in to show off her beautiful waist. She did not like people to see how small her waist really was, so usually she wore her belt looser, not in the smallest hole possible.
During this period Will continued enlarging the piercing in her septum. Ethel had been wearing a 3/16" (4.8 mm) black ebonite stud there for a long time, Will gradually enlarged it until she could wear a ring almost 3/8" (9.5 cm) thick there, but they finally settled on a size of 5/16" (7.9 mm). In it Ethel wore either a ring or a straight stud with a diamond at each end.
Meanwhile they received Ethel's third corset from Laurence. It was made of black satin but without Lenton's patented stays in back, a bit longer than the previous corset, and with a waist size of only 14=" (37 cm). Unfortunately it was too tight over the lower ribs. Ethel fainted once or twice while becoming accustomed to this corset, but finally they got it closed. Because Will and Ethel were not completely satisfied, they decided to find a different maker for her corsets.
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