All about corset making and corsetry components

A blog with plenty of information on Corset Making and corset making supplies.

A new "From the Archives" series will be published every Wednesday and Saturday from 25 February 2023, until 26 March 2023, and these posts will contain 'old' information on corset making which will be updated for the revamped Learn Corset Making information portal whereever that may be.

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Category: Corset Embellishments

  1. From the Archives : An old page about corset flossing

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    how to floss a corset
    Ever wondered what those little colourful flashy bits are on corsets?
    copyright: Julia Bremble

    Corset flossing is a form of embroidery invented by the Victorians to preserve the life of their corsets by strengthening the ends of the boning channels where the bones may poke through with wear.  Being the Victorians, they insisted that everything useful also had to be beautiful.  Therefore, antique flossed corsets look very pretty.  Back in the day, they had special machines which flossed factory made corsets. 

    These days we have to floss our corsets by hand and a variety of materials can be used.  I love flossing, especially self coloured flossing where the flossing thread is the same colour as the corset - this is quite a modern iteration of corset flossing.  I have found that John James Embroidery needles are best for flossing, and you may need some bees wax or dressmakers wax to strengthen your embroidery floss.  

    As for what to floss with - there are lots of things.   Button hole thread or "top stitch" thread (the same thing) is the most easily available and comes in lots of lovely colours.  It is very strong and durable, easy to use and doesn't cost the earth.  The other good type of thread to use is perle cotton which comes in various thicknesses, or pure silk thread.  With silk thread and certain specialists embroidery threads you will get a finer look on your flossing.  You can use regular embroidery thread but in my opinion, it really isn't strong enough for corset flossing.  Linen thread is an 'authentic' thread to use for older styles and also comes in a variety of colours.  Linen thread often needs conditioning with beeswax thread conditioner.

    There are lots of way to floss a corset, the best way to learn is to make a flossing sampler and learn by experimenting.  Some people do not like the flossing to be too obvious on the reverse, some people like the workings to show as a sign of craftmanship.  

    There are many resources for corset flossing teqniques online, just search for 'corset flossing ideas' or 'Symington corset flossing sampler' or similar on Google or any other search engine.

    The Symington Flossing Sampler is a huge quilt sized sampler made from lots of samplers sewn together.  It illustrates all the corsetry flossing designs that were available on Symington Corsets during the late 19th century and early 20th century.  You can see the sampler in person if you travel to the Leciestershire County Council resource centre where it lives.  Check the resources below for further links to the Symington Collection of Antique corsetry.

    These days, flossing a corset is more of a decorative pursuit but of course, can still be used as a protection against your bones poking through the channels prematurely.  Design scope is as endless as your imagination!  Go forth and explore!

    corset flossing 1 corset flossing sample corset flossing symington
    flossing sampler flossing sampler back flossing sampler

     All images in this section are from
    The Symington Collection

     Copyright:  Julia Bremble
    Please do not reproduce

     with permission from
    Leciestershire County Council


    modern corset flossing pink modern corset flossing modern corset flossing sheer corset
    Modern corset flossing with Swarovski crystals
    copyright: Julia Bremble / Clessidra Couture

    Staggered flossing
    inspired by a Symington original

    copyright: Julia Bremble / Clessidra Couture

    Self coloured flossing on a sheer corset
    copyright: Julia Bremble / Clessidra Couture