c. 1890s Symington Reproduction Silk Corset By Cathy Hay

c. 1890s Symington Reproduction Silk Corset By Cathy Hay. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography Tigz Rice

Date: 2017

Origin: United Kingdom.

Fabric: Cotton/silk satin with cotton lining. Silk flossing. Vanyanis engraved busk.

Brand: Cathy Hay


Cathy Hay’s passion is to build a bridge to connect the past and the present, both in her own work and as the overall mission of her business Foundations Revealed (a membership based website dedicated to teaching the art of foundationwear construction and history).

Cathy’s belief is that the most innovative progress in the present day can only come from a solid grounding in the rich research and development undertaken during the 19th century. Modern corsetry is intrinsically connected to its Victorian roots, and from there, back through the whole history of fashion. The corset is so much more interesting as an evolving creature with a life of its own than it is as an isolated branch of modern dressmaking.

This corset is made to measure from an 1890s pattern found in the Symington company pattern books. Original boning placement and flossing designs have been reproduced. Its base is a silk/cotton satin blend, with cotton lining and boned with synthetic whalebone. The corset has been constructed with an incredibly narrow stitch length and binding, both features that are incredibly rare in modern clothing but much more common in antique corsetry.


Photographed at the Oxford Conference of Corsetry 2017, garment loaned by Cathy Hay.

Museum number: OC-2017-004


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