Cathy Hay (peacockdress) wrote in corsetmakers,
Cathy Hay

The ultimate flossing squeefest starts here!

OK, here it is. The corsetmaker's dream: Symington's sampler of all their flossing patterns.

All photos in this post are (C) Leicestershire County Council: The Symington Collection

It's so big, it takes up three photos.

In fact, this gorgeous specimen is a huge quilt made of smaller flossing samplers. Someone at Symington's had the job of testing out all these different patterns so that they could select the best for the corsets they were selling.

It looks as though someone waited until flossing was out of style and then sewed all these bits together to make a fantastic wall hanging. (It even has fringe at the edges.)

Click to enlarge anything - I have huge versions too, if you're desperate to see any of these closer up, but this is the biggest size Photobucket could take for posting on LJ.
Some of the patterns were used on corsets; some were not. This was simply a big sampler of all the possibilities to choose from.
All the sewing is machine made, they're pre-programmed patterns just like you'd get on a modern sewing machine (d_gold can tell you more about flossing-ready sewing machines of the period). But there's no reason why we can't reproduce them today by hand and make people drool relentlessly on our creations.
(Wait - do we really want that??)
Which are your favourites? I love the crowns in red and yellow on a black background. Very Vivienne Westwood. Very vivcore too, in fact.

The flossing patterns were done on corsets (or portions of corsets) that were boned with cane, since the needle could pierce the cane in the event of a mistake or miscalculation. Apparently, the inheritors of the collection found samples of flossing that they'd tried and failed to do through other materials; as you can imagine, it just hadn't worked on whalebone and steel.

Here's the back of the sampler - you can see eyelets, bits of boning, even patterns that got left on the seam allowances of the finished hanging/quilt/big patchwork thingie:

So the question is this: how can we use these patterns? I've got some ideas for what I'd like to do with them, and I'm sure you have too. Leave a comment and let me know whether we're on the same wavelength here...

Also, do you know the nuts and bolts of how you'd use the patterns? Where to use them for the best effect without overdoing it or understating it too much? Where to start if you want to transfer a really cool pattern into a step-by-step way to actually DO it on your corset? I know there's not a lot out there on *how* to do flossing.

There's been talk lately of starting a sister site to YWU that JUST deals with corsetry and underpinnings, and this'd definitely work as a Masterclass on a site like that. What do you think? What would you need or want that Masterclass to teach you?
Tags: construction|embellishments, construction|flossing, miscellaneous|embellishments and details, timeline|1820-1900 victorian corset, timeline|1900-1920 edwardian corset, topic|eyecandy, topic|reference article
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