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Frequently asked questions from customers about products and services.

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  1. lockdownlaceup

    Post and Communications

    Well the postal service is really slowing down now.  Special Delivery can no longer be next day guarnateed and the rest of the mail is now down to 2-4 days + instead of 1-2 days.

    The Royal Mail have made an update announcment about their postal services HERE.

    Instead of my postal deadline being 4pm at the post office, it's now 1pm, so orders may be delayed leaving the post office as it can sometimes take a whole day to do the packing!

    Our own supply chain has slowed down too.  Wheras my UK suppliers were always next day delivery, now it's 'delivery within the week if we can' ... frustrating for everyone involved but not much we can do at this stage.  I'm sure things will improve soon.

    However, my suppliers are still operational so things are getting through, very slowly.  If your order is delayed, it's because we're waiting for stock.  Obviously for the last three weeks orders at Sew Curvy have been through the roof as people prepare their lock-down projects! (I've never sent out so many kits!).

    With that in mind, please understand that as a one woman operation I can only be in one place at one time - either in the stock room packing orders, or in front of the computer doing admin.  Obviously the order packing is my top priority so if you have a question, then please either look on the website because the answer WILL be there somewhere, or please be patient.  Stock enquiries i'm afraid will be ignored - the stock on the website is up to date and I simply do not have time to answer those type of questions routinely on top of other types of question.  If by any chance you order something which is out of stock, I will let you know.

    Similarly, if you've received a despatch note, please could you wait a week before asking for the tracking number if you have paid for tracking.  This is because literally everyone is requesting tracked parcels right now and everyone wants their number as soon as i've posted!  I therefore have to prioritise that sort of communication to people who's orders may genuinely have been delayed or gone astray.  Again if you don't receive a reply, please be patient.

    Anyway everyone, I'm going to try and update Instagram a bit more now that things have calmed down here a bit.  Follow us at @sewcurvysupplies and tag your posts #lockdownlaceup so we can see what you've been up to in your confinement!

  2. corset making supplies ready to post

    So the postal service has slowed right down.  It's still operational but instead of the last collection being at 4pm, it is now at 1pm.  This means that although I will still be packing and posting at the same rate as usual, the packages will be slower to get going because if I drop off my parcels at the post office after 1pm (likely), then those parcels wont go till the next day. 

    In practice this means that if you have a deadline, you really will have to order about 2 weeks in advance JUST IN CASE. 

    It's not just collection times that have changed, it's the speed and efficiency of the postal services.

    As ever I am self isolated, the post mistress is still dressed as Cleopatra (en bandages), and everything is being wiped and cleaned as if a murder has taken place!

    Stay safe everyone!

  3. Lock Down and Lace Up !

    Sew Curvy is a one woman business.  As I am mostly self-isolated all the time, orders are being posted as usual. I am washing my hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces, and everything in the studio is safe as it is stored upstairs away from the public. 'The Public' in the world of Sew Curvy are: courier drivers, my post mistress and neighboring artists who are all keeping locked away. All my corsetry clients are now cancelled/postponed and the last time I was 'out and about' was some weeks ago!

    masked

    I'm still here! Self-isolated most of the time!

    At home my husband - a key worker - is also self-isolating as his workplace have sent all management home to work so that they can keep the emergency services operational with as little risk as possible.

     

    OFS

    This is basically the Fire Service in a nutshell right now! All of the managment are working by tele-call and video conference every day (sooo many meetings!)

    My local Post Mistress has taken extreme measures to keep herself and her customers safe by basically dressing up as an Egyptian mummy (wrapped in scarves and gloves!) with a protective visor!

    Post office

    Anna, my lovely Post Mistress is taking things very seriously!

    Orders are busy as you can imagine - food is not the only thing being stockpiled! (don't worry, Sew Curvy customers are sensible!).  Please continue to order your corsetry and sewing supplies, safe in the knowledge that all is germ free and that everyone this side of the chain is taking as many precautions as possible!

    Parcels

    Supplies are still coming through and being sent out so its safe to

    LOCK DOWN AND LACE UP!

    However please be patient.  Demand increased, there's only one of me packing, and the postal service has slowed down a bit.  I can't answer all emails immediately so correspondence is a bit slower too! 

    Packages seem to be taking much longer to get to their destination. For this reason it's best to choose first class (tracked) mail while we are on this reduced service as second class even if tracked, seems to be taking forever.

  4. Customers often ask for 'fan lacing sliders' which are not that common these days and I am unable to find a factory in Europe that makes them now.  To source them in China would require me to find a warehouse here to store them in, such are min. qty amounts from factories in China!  I even spoke about 'opening a mould' with a fellow British indie lingerie brand but we decided that even between us, the expense was prohibitave. 

    fan laced corset ladies
    Ladies wot Lace
    source

    So I thought we could talk about fan lacing - how it came about, how to do it, different types, and how the same (or better imo) effect can be acheived without those pesky metal slides.

    Although the Victorians dabbled in several models of front fastening corsets, it wasn't until 1908 when fan lacing became popular and took off as a viable alternative to the traditional back lacing corset.  In that year,  Samuel Higby Camp of Jackson, Michigan, invented a new system of fan lacing using a special metal buckle which was mounted with loops and was patented in the US in June 1921.

    camp fan lacing with metal slides Camp fan lacing
    Metal fan lacing slides - difficult to obtain in the 21st century

    Camp System diagrams

    source

    Camp's system with the metal buckle uses one single corset lace which is passed through the looped metal tab several times.  The angle of pull means that the pulley effect of the lacing is effective over a wide range and this means that tightening the corset from the front is extremely easy. The other side of the fan lacing slide attaches to a belt which fastens at the front or side of the corset using special sliding buckles which are low profile and therefore sit smoothly underneath clothing.  These are still used today in waistcoats.

    fan lacing systems

    Front fastening corsets
    The Camp fan lacing system on the left is bulkier but uses only one lace passed through the special metal slider.  The Jenyns fan lacing system on the right is flatter but uses several laces all stitched to the controlling belt.
    source

    Camp patented his unique slider but that didn't stop other manufacturers copying the idea, the most successful of which was an Australian firm called Jenyns who in order to circumvent the patent, simply stitched the apex of the 'fan' onto a strap.  The main difference in this system is that sevaral individual laces are required to form an effective closure.  This makes for a prettier effect but it means the system is not quite so effective.  Nevertheless, this was also a popular and successful design and seasoned wearers of both models at the time, report the difference as completely negligible.  Jenyns licenced the UK factory Symingtons to make this type of corset for the European market, and here is one such example I handled and photographed myself in the Symingtons resource centre.

    Jenyns fan lacing symington Jenyns fan lacing with buckle
    1911 Jenyns corset in white coutil.  Low waisted and deep over the hips featuring elastic gussets at the bottom front.  This was one of the first styles made under the Symington franchise.
    photo © Julia Bremble
    Front straps.  The corset has a long graduated busk and spiral supports and four wide fancy adjustable suspenders.
    photo © Julia Bremble
    Below is a diagram from a blog post by American Duchess which clearly demonstrates how the laces are attached to the 'strap' system of fan lacing.  This system was first seen in Victorian times, but made popular much later in the early 20th century.  The blog post describes how to convert a traditionaly laced corset into a fan laced corset using a corset made from a Red Threaded pattern.  Please go and read it!
    American duchess fan lacing

    I can feel a tutorial coming on myself as I'd like to explore this system more in practice and ofcourse the creative options are limitless - I mean, multicoloured lacing for one! 

    Here's some modern interpretations of fan lacing.

     

    fan lacing asphysxia fan lacing dark garden fan lacing lovesick fan lacing pure one fan lacing v couture
    Asphixia Couture Dark Garden Lovesick Apparel Pure One V-Couture

    Hopefully that's got your creative juices flowing!  Here are a few more resources for you to have a further read.

    Resources:

    Buy belt sliders for making Jenyns style fan lacing straps

    Buy cotton corset laces for fan lacing

    Fan lacing tutorial by Serinde Corsets on Live Journal

    More on the Symingtons 1911 Fan lacing corset by Curve Couture

    Vintage Fan lacing girdle from the blog of Period Corsets

    Spirella blog - Fan lacing corsets

    American Duchess blog - how to convert a regular corset to a fan lacing corset 1830's

    Spirella blog - Jenyns corsets