Corset Making

From Victor, for those interested in corset making:

"My late brother James/Jamie was a corset devotee for many years and a director of the London Corset Company until it closed in 1987.  In the early 1990s, he
corresponded with and met Iris Norris on numerous occasions to gain insight and practical observation of her method of fluted-panels in corsets. Since Edwardian times,
this technique has almost died out. It was their intention to issue a short training monogram on the technique but Mrs. Norris became too ill and died in 2000.  Descriptions
below the images.
  Showing the triangular inserts [flutes or gores or gussets] in the corset to produce a shaped waist-reduction over the hip bones without extreme curvature in the corset panels themselves. Mrs.Norris believed that the other panels in the corset should be as straight as possible to maintain their strength. She never wanted to make a waist reduction of more than eight inches in the ordinary panels, so that the rest of the reduction would come from flutes. This image shows two flutes.
  Shows the inside of the corset with the sewing of the flutes under the waistband.
  Showing the shape of the flutes she used for a particular. Note that the reduction over the length of the panel was three inches [not counting the hems.] So a corset with four flutes [2 each side] would show a total waist-reduction of 4x3inches plus the 8-inch in the "straight" panels. That is 20 inches less than the hips.
  Showing the finished corset. Note that the waist band is not fixed all along its length; shown by her pen placed underneath the band.
  Showing the finished corset with its satin cover, also cut to show the flutes.
"Mrs. Norris used this technique on most of her tightlaced corsets.  For a greater reduction, she would introduce more flutes; their width and length depending on the
design desired by the client.  She says, in one of her notes, that one corset had '...three flutes a side, with two at 3inch and the third at 4inch over the hipbone itself...'
In addition to her normal 8inch reduction in the straight panels, this totals a 28-inch hip-spring.  That would be worth seeing, don't you agree?"


Chris J. writes:

"I’m a resident of Letchworth, England (where the Spirella factory is located) and did once meet Iris Norris, who used to live about 20 miles away in Dunstable.
Corset collector Pandora Gorey also once lived in Letchworth and may well have examples made by Iris Norris.

See here for example

"I think I once saw Pandora at a local historic fashion show. Iris Morris gets a mention here.  I think that somewhere there is a link to Iris Norris’ granddaughter,
although I can’t find it at the moment."

...and Victor responds:

"I have information on Iris Norris' grand-daughter, who is named Zoe.

"For a few years after Iris' death, Zoe made corsets to order using her grandmother's patterns and methods.  My late brother, Jamie, commissioned two. One was in the
Petite Taille style from the Gardners catalogue. The other was a special design with lacings at the back and also either side at the front, just in front of the the hips. He
showed it to me and and explained it could achieve amazing hip-spring.  I don't know where either of them is now.

"More importantly, Zoe has closed the corset-making business so far as I know.  A main reason was that various items of essential corset-making equipment were stolen
from a house she and her husband owned in Bradford, Yorkshire.  Such equipment is impossible to replace these days, and Zoe became discouraged; so she closed down.
Now I think she and her husband live in the West Country, meaning Devonshire or Cornwall.

"I hope this will interest LISA-folk, although it's a pity whenever a corset-maker shuts up shop."

Rediscovering the Lost Arts of Corset Making

From David (apparently the webmaster of this site):

"Whilst targeted at corset makers, articles on lacing and wear will
be included, as will period advertisements as soon as I scan some."

Extract (1910)


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