Sunday, 18 December 2011

An Edwardian Sportswoman's Riding Corset

Bah humbug, I HATE snow!!! Here in England, if it snows a few flakes, everything shuts down and gets cancelled.

It was supposed to be the Christmas clear round jumping show today run by my local riding club but instead it got cancelled at the last minute this morning due to the light sprinkling if snow we had this morning just as we were about to get ready.

I was so disappointed as the show got cancelled last Christmas but that was understandable due to the amount of ice and snow we had. This year, it was going to be a bit special as we were going to jump side saddle and my 10-going-on-11 year old son was going to enter the kid's fancy dress class on my friend's Connemara, Smokey.

I had started the costume last year but never finished it as the 2010 Christmas show got cancelled a few days beforehand so I ended up finishing it this week in preparation for today's show. Now he will never get to wear it after all my hard work, as it probably won't fit him next December and he will be nearly 12 for the next show and more than likely, won't want to do the class (it took much coercing to get him to do it this year). All ruined due to a light dusting of snow that was gone before I got back home before 10:30 the morning (the show was supposed to start at 10:30).

I was too annoyed to ride today so instead, here is a look at a lovely turn of the century riding corset which was once part of my antique corset collection...

1900- 1905. A sporting corset made from creme colored silk and lined in white jean.

Although there are no maker's marks present, it was most likely made by Symington(Market Harborough, Leicestershire). The Symington corset collection describes the corset as being "an avant-garde design for the sportswoman, this corset includes many features and adaptations to make it suitable for riding, cycling, tennis and golf."

The corset is cut under the bust to allow the body to move with ease and cut high in the hip to allow for the correct position during side saddle riding.

The top and bottom edges of the corset are trimmed with a narrow band of Broderie Anglaise. Extremely narrow rows of cording run parallel with the top and bottom edges of the corset. The boning is whalebone and runs the full length of the corset at the sides and alongside the grommets while shorter whalebones are seen on the stomach and back side panels. These short bones along with the cording, would have given the figure the required support yet still allowed for ease of movement during sports. Stocking suspenders on this corset were kept to a bare minimum of two so that stockings could still be worn but without the constraint of additional suspenders.

The busk is perfectly straight as was fashionable during the Edwardian era. Measurements: Waist 22 1/2", Busk length 11".


  1. That is too bad, especially considering the work you put in. I wish more barns would host Christmas-y shows around here. I'm sure some do, but they are probably for in house students.

    Perhaps you can underfeed your son this year to keep him from outgrowing his costume.

  2. Oh - I know how disappointed you must be. The corsets are lovely!