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Below are the 4 most recent journal entries recorded in Luthien "Nekrotica" Firefly's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
11:54 am
Post Symington reflections
I didn't know what to expect when I went to the Symington collection the other morning, as I had no idea how many corsets they would be letting me get close too.
I turned up at bang on 10:30 and was lead to the study room, to find the beautiful black corset with yellow corsing/quilting we all know and love laid out on the desk ready for me... My first reaction was not actually a positive one - I know my corsets and I know this one dates from 1875, one year too early for me to include as research. Unfortunately, allthough I had specified very clearly in my messages to the curator the specific dates I am looking at and why I am looking at them, he only provided me with 3 corsets within this timeframe, and these are all from 1880.
But looking on the brightside I did get very close to the corsets, and was able to handle them etc to check out major construction details. I took a pattern from one of the 1880s ones ( a dead cute black one with a 19" waist) which I am now writing about for Foundations Revealed.
Things I took note of:
All of the corsets used cording.
The eyelets looked the wrong way round to me, with the washers on the outside
There is a particular way the corsets rise at the last but one panel so that the back is much longer.
All of the Symingtons corsets were interlined with hessian (burlap to any Yanks reading this hehe) - I will be using this on my FR version of the corset.

I am uploading lots of pics to photobucket, but i took 119, so it will take a few months unfortunately :(

In other news, my friend Angharad Gamble has sent me two patterns she traced off from an 1882 edition of Harpers Baazar she is lucky enough to have, so I will take a look at those in comparison to the ones I looked at in Leicestershire.

I am also plannng a trip to Snibston Discover Center where a few of the Symington corsets are stored, as my burlesque lessons are in Caolville so it's on the way back anyway :)


Thursday, April 8th, 2010
8:47 pm

So, I'm all hyped up for my visit to the symington colletion in Leicestershire tomorrow, and I am sad enough to be looking at their corsets online now, to try and get an idea of what I may be shown tomorrow. The corsets I am lookg at online from 1876-1882 mostly have a large amount of cording in them, which is surprising, but I will definitely keep that in mind when I am coming up with my final entry piece.

Colour wise there isn't really a very strong theme running through the corsets I have seen so far, of course there has been the typical khaki, and of course black, but If I also include 1875 in my date range the lovely lilac corset which is part of the symington collection is included, which means I haven't had any ideas strike me regarding fabric or colour schemes.

Taking my project to a level which is slightly different to Symingtons I have been looking into what was actually going on in the world at this time for ideas. Of course there was the boer war, but I haven't had many ideas surrounding this.
 But then I decided to look a little closer to home... specifically to Coventry, my hometown.
Coventry, up until very recently, was known as a manufacturing town... silk, watches, ribbons, bicycles, cars, sewing machines and many other beautiful objects were created in my City in the past, (my dad is a classic car fanatic, owning two which were made in Coventry himself right now and being a founding member of the Made In Coventry Motor Association, so I know all about the beautiful cars we once produced!)
Wikipedia sums up the trades which we were famous for here > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Coventry#Industrialisation

What better for inspiring a seamstress than living in an (allbeit nowerdays extremely grotty) city which used to be world famous for the production of silk, ribbon and sewing machines!
But what was going on in 1876-1882?
Unfortunately the silk trade was long since dead, so I have to cross a beautiful silk piece inspired by the life of the Coventrian at this time off my list.
The manufacture of both watches and bicycles was still booming at this point, so I could do a piece perhaps with cogs, rather steampunk-y looking as a refference to the bicycle trade? I have a very old [c1900, not quite 1876 ;) ] hand turned sewing machine which I may use to do some of the work, as a nod to the sewing machine industry.
Ribbons... The ribbon trade was pretty much dead at this point, so I could make a black ribbon corset, in "mourning" for the ribbon trade, allthough the dates for a ribbon corset are probably far later than those given I think that as it is a reference to what was happening in my City at the time it still counts. I could also use one of my Waisted Creations labels in it, as they were made by Cash's (http://www.jjcash.co.uk/) , a Coventry ribbon manufacturer founded in 1846, and still going strong today (and even more miraculously, still in Coventry today!)

So these are my pre-symington thoughts... Hope I havent bored you too much, and I will post some lovely shiny pictures tomorrow :)
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
5:54 pm
waisted efforts
Have just bought a copy of Waisted Efforts for my birthday. Cant wait to see if there are any natural form patterns/ adverts etc in there!
Sunday, March 14th, 2010
8:34 am
Foundations Revealed
So... I decided to cave in and start a blog, as I need a diary of my work for a foundations revealed competition.
This first entry is my initial outburst of ideas, leading up to the latest  news regarding my entry.

When  first read the dates of the competition (1876-1882) I was thrilled. The Natural Form Era is my personal favourite, and I have a lot of books relating to the fashion (and corsets) of this era. So, I got them all out, had a flick through to remind myself of the overall sillhouette and style of the period and then set my mind to how I could apply that to a competition piece. The boundries for the competition are so wide that I had the trouble of having too many ideas and decided to set my own boundries to reign myself in a little.

I looked though Frances Grimbles books on the era, as well as Corsets and Crinolines, Jill Salens corsets and Foundations of Fashion by Phillip Warren, and decided that my corset will have cording and flossing, based on the corsets I have seen from this era, as well as giving a reduction of around 5-6".
This, however, doesn't qualify them as being Natural Form era. I would have restrained myself further by telling myself it needs a spoon busk at the front, but I don't want to do that at this stage.

I wanted to make more than one corset, all based around the same theme and had the idea that I would make them all for one woman living during this period. She would be a young woman, and the first piece would be her first grown up corset, drab and plain, but functional, I would use a pattern from the late 1870's for this. The second would be a part of her bridal troussou, using a pattern from the early 1880's and the final piece would be a mourning corset in black, as  my unfortunate woman lost her husband in the Boer war, this would also involve a pattern from the early 1880s.

My initial thoughts are that I like this idea, and I have several fabrics/patterns in mind for each piece.

My second piece of major research will be a visit to the Symington collection in Leicestershire to view a selection of corsets from the dates I have given them (1876-1882) I explained what I am doing (examining them for a corsetry competition) and they have been kind enough to grant me a study day on April 9th to view the corsets from their archives up close. I am really really excited about this as the last time I went up was when I had made only one corset and was very inexperienced. I am hoping to be able to take a pattern from at least one of the corsets with the time I have been given and photograph them all in detail.

I thin my next blog entry will be after I have been to the collection, so I will speak to you all soon!


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