I am so excited to be writing about the project I am currently working on as part of Leicestershire Museum’s ‘Click; Connect; Curate; Create’ project. I have been commissioned to produce a series of corsets based on of the Symington Corset Patterns in their archive, which is held at Leicestershire Costume Collection. These corsets will be used to promote the sale of one of their patterns, and to explore different creative ways of selling corset patterns online.
This project fits into a wider two year research project looking at how museums can work with technology online. I know I use online archives more and more. I find them to be invaluable resources,enabling me to access collections around the globe from my living room (and that is another Blog post I will add to my to-do list - my top favourite online archives! ). So the world is changing, and how we find, access and use information is ever changing. The internet has created a huge platform and opportunity for museums to widen their audiences and share the treasures which are held inside.
The pattern I was given to work dates from around 1890s, and has been starting point for all the corsets. We do not know if this corset was ever made, and it is just one of many which can be found in the Symington Collection. If you haven’t visited the Fashion Gallery at Snibston Museum there is a beautiful selection of the corsets on permanent display. Leicestershire Costume Collection has been working really hard to make this 1890’s pattern available to purchase very soon. The paper pattern will be sold in a beautifully designed reproduction corset box, so you too can remake this corset.
My challenge has been to design and make 12 corsets based on this pattern. This is an exciting chance to flex my corsetry making skills once more. Having taught corsetry for the past three years with Central College Nottingham, it is nice to be well and truly behind the sewing machine again and swimming in pattern pieces and ideas. Having tight parameters for a project actually makes me be more creative. It has made me look at everything in front of me very closely, and by using different fabrics, slight adaptations to the pattern, and exploring decorative techniques, I have developed each design to be unique and different.
Each corset has been based on a different theme as the starting point - such as Bridal, Gothic, Floral, Retro, Burlesque, and Victorian, to name a few. I will be sharing the design inspiration behind each theme, and some of the ‘How I did it’ tutorials along the way here on my blog and over on my pinterest board.
On Tuesday I will be looking at the story of how Symingtons grew from a small family business in Market Harborough to being a global leading manufacturer and what I think are some of their greatest achievements.
But for now, take a look at over at Image Leicestershire. This is a growing database containing images from Leicestershire Museums.