Herringbone Coutil & Lace Appliqué 'Jay' Underbust Corset By Sparklewren

Herringbone Coutil & Lace Appliqué 'Jay' Underbust Corset By Sparklewren, c. 2015, UK. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.

Date: c. 2015

Origin: United Kingdom

Fabric: Cotton herringbone coutil

Brand: Sparklewren


This underbust corset was originally created to illustrate an as-of-yet unpublished corset making book. It demonstrates the ‘Bird’s Wing’ patterning and construction techniques, inspired by the antique ‘Bird’s Wing’ corset from the Symington Collection held by Leicestershire County Council’s Museums Service. The garment was supposedly named for the fact that it looks like a bird’s wing when laid flat. The original 1900s antique used an unusually high number of 21 panels per side, with a lapped seam construction enclosing a bone in each seam.

This underbust also uses a great many panels per side, using lapped seam construction to enclose the spiral steel bones. It uses only a single layer of herringbone cotton coutil fabric, with the lapped seam technique making this a very sturdy garment. It is embellished with layered, hand painted laces that have been hand appliquéd to the garment base. The lace is further decorated with a mix of metal spikes, hand stitched glass bugle beads, and freshwater pearls.

Jenni Hampshire began creating corsets under the moniker ‘Sparklewren’ in 2009. The designer’s background in Fine Art has resulted in a body of work akin to wearable sculpture. Historically inspired silhouettes and construction techniques are paired with lush, opulent embellishment and couture construction techniques. The brand specialised in one-of-a-kind heirloom garments, with each garment taking weeks of carefully considered embellishment and craftsmanship.

Kindly loaned by Cassie Rae.

Museum number: SP-2019-006


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