Article originally posted on Foundations Revealed September 2015. Photos forthcoming
What if a Victorian corsetière had access to today’s tools and materials? What if a 21st-century corset-maker were faithful to yesterday’s techniques and craftsmanship? To answer that question, I made a corset: a small-herringbone-weave gray blue coutil with black French lace, fashioned in the spirit of a W.H.K & S “Catharine Hayes” original over a hundred years old, informed by Luca Costigliolo’s class at the School of Historical Dress in London, but designed and made in 2015 at my workshop in downtown San Jose, California.
Figure 1. Original corset from front, side, and back.
Continue reading The Century Corset Challenge: a Neo-Victorian Reproduction
Article originally posted on Foundations Revealed November 2014. Photos forthcoming
Corset Study- W.H.K. & S. “Catharine Hayes” Corset
I purchased this corset on eBay back in 2009 with the intention of making a reproduction. Five years later I am finally making a go of this project, starting by studying the piece itself. It is a Victorian profile corset with lace along the top edge and flossing anchoring the varying-sized boning channels. It was listed as “Antique WHK&S Victorian Edwardian Corset Size 24”. I wish I had saved more of the information with the auction but alas I did not. The corset itself is in very good condition and is a beautiful antique with little wear and just a touch of rust.
Figure 1. The “Catharine Hayes” Corset flat exterior view
What intrigued me the most were the name stamped inside the corset – The “Catharine Hayes”
(Fig. 2) and the additional boning “OKTIS” shield added into the corset which you can see obscuring the name on the waist tape (Fig. 3). You can also see the trademark of the company stamped on the waist tape like many makers chose to do during this era.
Figure 2. Interior Side view of The “Catharine Hayes” Corset showing the aftermarket “OKTIS” shields and the lacing panel.
Figure 3. A glimpse under the “OKTIS” shield showing the rest of the stamped name on the waist tape along with the Trademark Registered with a stylized W.H.K&S logo.
Continue reading W.H.K. & S. “Catharine Hayes” Corset Beginning Research
This beauty was my favorite corset from the visit. Of course it is because of the dots! I adore all things polka dotted and the large woven in dots on this fabric are divine. I wish I could source or have this type of fabric woven.
*All images taken by me with permission and used courtesy of Leicestershire County Council