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Symington's Flossing Sampler

In 2014 I posted a call for help, and you answered. In just four weeks, we turned this ship around. 

In return, you lovely people deserved a special treat....

 

Samplerdetail detail

Image © Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection. Used with permission.

 

The Symington Collection Flossing Sampler

At Foundations and Wardrobe we're big fans of the Symington Collection, the material legacy of a corset, foundationwear and swimwear manufacturer who operated in Market Harborough, UK from the 1850s right through until the 1990s. They not only kept examples of their own work and the work of their competitors (unintentionally leaving us with what may be the most remarkable collection of Victorian corsetry in the world), but also this extraordinary sampler.

 

Flossing Sampler (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection

The Symington Flossing Sampler: so huge, you have to knit three photos together to get it all in
Image © Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection. Used with permission.

 

Today, we baby corsetmakers of the 21st century hold our corset bones in place with a few stitches forming attractive, contrasting Vs and crosses. The Symington flossing sampler goes so much further... it demonstrates, perhaps more starkly than anything else in this remarkable time capsule, how we haven't yet scratched the surface of what the Victorians did, and what's possible in corsetry.

We've begun the painstaking task of breaking down our hi-res images of the sampler into the constituent designs, sorting them, straightening and sharpening the images, and lining them up in rows. They can now form a detailed record for the corsetmaking and costuming communities to take and use to push this art form forward just a little bit further.

 

(c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection

(c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection

All images © Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection. Used with permission.

 

Click to enlarge and study each design in detail for the first time. Play with these designs and draw inspiration from them for your own corsets - either to create modern corsets, or to create authentic historical recreations.

 

(c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection

 All images © Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection. Used with permission.

 

Although all the photos are copyright protected, the embroidery designs themselves, being well over a century old, are totally free for you to steal and recreate in both amateur and professional costuming and corsetry!

 

(c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection

 All images © Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection. Used with permission.

 

The 40 designs I've shared here are only about half of those uploaded so far to the Corset Flossing Design Library at Foundations Revealed, which will always be free for everyone to use, paying members and non-members alike. These seventy designs in the library so far are less than a third of the contents of the whole sampler! Better get stitching, people!

 

(c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection (c) Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection

 All images © Leics County Council Museum Services, Symington Collection. Used with permission.

 

Are you feeling inspired? Which of the designs are your favourites? How will you use them? What should we add to make the Flossing Design Library even more useful? Share your ideas below!

Kelli  
  This is so fantastic! Thank you so much! I'm sure that lots of use have spent a lot of time searching the web for flossing ideas - great to have access to this!!  
 
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cathyhay  
  You're welcome, Kelli, glad you like them, I hope you get lots of use out of the Flossing Design Library!  
 
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  Dear Cathy,
This is great news (about the membership). I was wondering about this when I did a search on the forum and saw that many of the postings were more than a year old. I belong to other groups, mostly automotive related and people are posting things all the time, then I stumbled across your posting in April with the dire message. I hope you received my email regarding the Asian countries. I am working on how to spread the word to individuals.

This is also great news about the flossing. I have seen pictures of Symington flossing in Jill Saleen's book, but these photos show much more detail.

Best regards,
Paul
 
 
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cathyhay  
  Hi Paul, thank you for the good wishes!

Yes, the forum is a curious thing. Our members clamoured for a forum for a long time, but when we added it, it didn't really get used in the way we'd hoped.

Thank you, I did receive your email and you have some great ideas. We have a backlog on email right now, I'm sorry to say, but I did read it and it has given me a great deal to think about! Thank you!

Yes, I've been aware for a while that there's a need for more info on flossing; I'm so glad to finally get this information out there and see it used!

All the best!
 
 
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Anya Kovacs  
  This is wonderful - thank you so much! Would you consider putting social media buttons on these articles for ease of sharing?

Anya
 
 
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cathyhay  
  Glad you like it, Anya! Yes, social media buttons are a great idea. We've tried it in the past and had trouble getting them working with our software, but you're right, we should take another look at that. Leave it with me!  
 
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Cathy Hay  
  Anya, fyi - social media buttons have been added to the site now! Thank you for poking me about it!  
 
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lbc42  
  Your Web Producer is super happy about this also! :-)  
 
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cathyhay  
  That's *always* a good thing!  
 
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