On a corset, the modesty panel, or lacing guard, is the piece in back, under the laces, that protects the skin from the laces and keeps everyone from seeing your back cleavage. There are tons of different ways to make modesty panels and no one way is superior. Some ways are definitely less successful than others though. These are a few of the ways I've tried and the benefits and downfalls of them. Hopefully this will save a few people the trouble of having to figure these things out on their own.
A good rule of thumb is to make the modesty panel at least the difference between the measurements of wearer's waist and the corset's waist.
All of these modesty panels were made out of 4 layers of fabric. Two internal layers of organic cotton twill, an outside layer of fabric that matches or contrasts the corset, and an inside layer of organic cotton sateen that I use for all of my linings. Each modesty panel is made from a pattern made specifically for that corset.
1. X with Grommets, Short, Floating
For this modesty panel, I used two spring steel bones in an X to keep the panel taut.
I put two grommets at the top and 4 at the bottom for the laces to go through, to keep the panel 'floating' in place.
It worked pretty well on this corset, but from using the X boning shape on other modesty panels, I know it is sometimes less successful and can get wrinkly at the waist. This technique should probably be used with more stiffening, like a layer of buckram or an extra horizontal bone at the middle of the X. The eyelet placement worked out really well. No extra support was needed to keep the panel in place.
2. Xs with Grommets, Long, Floating
This is the modesty panel of a corset dress, so it's length provides a new challenge. I made three Xs out of spiral steel bones. Using spiral steel as opposed to spring steel helps the bones wrap around the extra contours of the length from shoulder blades to thighs. This modesty panel took the longest to make because I had to line up each X with the others.
I put grommets in at four places along the panel; the top, bottom and in each diamond between the Xs. The grommets had no difficulty keeping the panel lined up.
This dress is still a work in progress, but when laced up, you can see that there is minimal wrinkling of the modesty panel. It could benefit from some stiffer strength fabric in the middle, but that is not really necessary. This modesty panel is quite successful.
3. One Bone, Attached
This is the least successful modesty panel of all of them. It is also the quickest and simplest to make. It is attached just after the bone to the side of the grommets at the back of the corset. It is a rectangle the length of the corset, with one spring steel bone at the outer edge to keep it vertically taut.
The problem though, is that it is almost impossible to keep it from bunching up when you put it on. The combination of not enough boning/strength layer and having it sewn straight onto the corset, makes it quite a mess. I would not recommend this method.
4. X with Ribbon, Floating
This modesty panel has a layer of lace for decoration. It is attached to the corset with a ruffled ribbon that has been zigzagged onto elastic, so it has a little bit of stretch. The panel is held taut by two spiral steel bones in an X.
This modesty panel works really well. It has never gotten wrinkly. The ribbon holds it onto the laces in place. Success!
For future modesty panels I intend to try more boning patterns and different strength layers. I don't think there is any one way that is best for every corset. Different corsets and different bodies will require different techniques to get everything to sit correctly, and people have preferences. Some people will find certain modesty panels uncomfortable. This will be an ongoing journey to see types that work and types that don't.