Friday, 1 July 2011

Corsets - the beauty of fan lacing

The fan lacing corset was designed with only one idea in mind : to make the corset easier to lace up ones-self.
There are two notable companies that were at the top of their game in this specific corset design genre: Jenyns and Camp.
When I did research at the Symington Collection I got to see oa Jenyns corset up close, and I kid you was a fantastic feat of engineering!

The things that defines this type of corset is the lacing at the back and how the criss crossing of the lacing between the fan and the corset provides the ingenious ability if the wearer to be in complete and sole control of tightening the lacing without the need for assistance.

This particular corset is made under license by the Symington Company, and is dated 1911. Here is the original advertisment:
The corset sat low under the bust, and provides no support there, and low over the hip - giving supposed excellent suport of the lower back. This model was popular well into the WW1 era when women donned their Jenyns to support their backs as they worked in factories for the war effort.
The corset is made of white coutil.

This is an exert from my sketchbook about this specific model.

The brand 'Camp' was the main rival to the Jenyns and was invented by Samuel Higby Camp in 1908, but not patented until 1921. Whilst the original Jenyns models used lacing sewn into the fan shape Camps featured a metal fitting that allowed the lacing to remain in one length and allows the lacing to be adjusted using a pulley system rather than simply by front buckles as in the above Jenyns example. Later jenyns examples feature Camp's pulley concept.
In trying to understand the way this works I have mocked up a simple short version of a Jenyns corset. Unfortunatly at the time of experiment I didn't have any of the little metal pulleys, so have replaced it with eyelets. At this stage I have omitted the belt tightening because it clashes with the eyelet system. I have used two different coloured laces to show the crossing's the geek in me.
 Since then I have now sourced the metal bits I need to create a true fan lacing corset I'm off to do some mor experimenting...

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