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Frequently asked questions from customers about products and services.

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  1. 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