Making the Calendars

 

 

Making the 2010 Calendar

Making the 2012 Calendar

Making the 2014 Calendar

Making the 2015 Calendar

Making the 2016 Calendar

Making the 2017 Calendar

 

The History of the Calendars     or     Whatever happened to the 2011 calendar?

 

Books and Lectures

 

The calendars have always been made and sold for various charities; that is how they started and will continue. They are not cheap to produce but we have always made a profit for the charities usually selected by the models themselves. We have been most lucky to receive two very generous donations from a visitor to the site to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

 

Making the 2010 Calendar

 

 

 

It really is quite amazing how a dozen professional women, ranging in ages from late 20's to early 80's, enjoyed the unusual task of modelling some choice garments from the Ivy Leaf Collection. The glorious corset quality satins were much in demand and, although nobody had ever worn a lower foundation before, several of the ladies found the experience thoroughly good fun, interesting and quite an education. The youngest model when asked if she would like to wear a corselette, corset or girdle, paused for a few seconds before replying that she was not exactly sure what such things were! In the event she was one of the most enthusiastic models and tried on many garments from the collection although, as her expression (below left) reveals, struggling into a 1970's Marks & Spencer girdle was not an easy experience. The final product however (below right) shows that, as many women have learned over the decades, that one must suffer to be beautiful!

 

        

 

The design of the calendar was inspired by many of the publicity photographs used by Spirella and Spencer since the 1920's. Models posed in apparently normal household situations, having a cup of tea, chatting with friends, sitting in the library, all the scenes redolent of a comfortable lifestyle. The charming eccentricity of these photographs is that the women apparently have forgotten to wear any clothes. The lifestyle depicted is somewhat aspirational since many clients of Spirella and Spencer came from far humbler abodes.

        

 

All the models were given a free choice of garment from the extensive range in the Ivy Leaf Collection. It was quite apparent that the intricacies of the more complex foundations were neither understood nor appreciated, however, the elegance of the satins and the brocades was the attraction. Since we were trying to fit garments that had been specifically made-to-measure for individual clients, it is not surprising that the fit on many of the models would make (and indeed did make) a corsetiere cringe! Short of re-constructing all the garments to fit the models, an exercise that, even if it was possible, would cost many thousands of pounds and negate the simple objective of the calendar that was to make money for charity.

 

In order to get the calendar made, we had to recruit volunteers from a professional woman's society, get the measurements of all the amateur models, find a venue, find photographers and construct what I believe is called a 'story board'. Then we would would try and take all the photographs in a day-long session. As it happened, we were lucky on nearly every count.

 

My husband initially was highly sceptical that we would find any volunteers, so the enthusiastic response was something of a surprise. We tried to fit between two and four models per evening however, time pressures meant that on one hilarious occasion, we had four models, two helpers, a guest and somebody's mother all in the limited area of the fitting rooms at the same time! It was only the mother that recognised some of the garments and volunteered "I used to wear one of those." Without exception the fitting sessions were incredibly good natured. The only stress was when today's woman failed to fit into yesterday garment (we are a species that has been growing with our increased wealth, a sentiment that caused my husband to suggest that we'll all be as thin as rakes in 10 years time!) We realised that the models' estimated measurements and reality were often a little adrift. "Oh dear; I seem to have grown since I last measured myself!" We would call up my husband to search the collection for the larger garments "Are you all decent up there?" he would enquire, totally un-nerved by the feminine giggles and arch comments. Eventually, all sizes were not just fitted as well as we could manage, but looked very elegant as well.

 

At this point, we were very fortunate in that one lady possessed a fabulously decorated house and offered it for the whole photographic session. The snag was that she was going on holiday far sooner than we would have wanted, however, there's nothing like a deadline to concentrate one's mind.

 

Another lady volunteered her son-in-law as photographer. This was extremely fortunate. There is no way we could have afforded a professional's fees, however, the son-in-law, although breaking into the professional business, offered to do the shoot for expenses only, realising that he would be able to add a unique collection to his portfolio.

 

It took many evenings, spreadsheets, plans and crossings out to come up with sufficient scenarios to fill the 12 month calendar whilst keeping to the theme of the women's society. Finding a date was actually helped by the restricted time-frame. "It's that Saturday or nothing. If you can't make it, you won't be in the calendar. Sorry, but that's the way it is!" Since everybody wanted to appear, everybody found a way to make it on time, however, not all could stay for the whole day. So the plan was torn up again, and re-drafted to accommodate the timings, to move the photo shoot from the top of the house to the bottom and to minimise the setting up time for the photographers.

 

The day, thankfully was very sunny, that allowed some photographs to be taken outside. Sometimes  it is worth noting what is going on in your neighbour's garden.

 

 

Even opening a door brings surprises!

The two photographers were brilliant. They knew that this was a rare opportunity for them and their artistic interpretation of our clinical 'story board' really bought the scenes to life. "Pink ladies in the library - five minutes" would be answered by a flurry from within the dressing room and the 'pink ladies', ranging from 50 to just over 80 years old, would troop more or less obediently into the library. Meanwhile the properties would be placed in the next room on the schedule. "Ladies to the garden; grab a glass of Champagne on the way out" was a popular one. "Lunch in the kitchen (a room that I might add is larger than many apartments) - and don't loosen your stays, ladies!"

They were most inventive, and quickly we realised that we should modify the 'story board' on the fly and let the photographers have their head whilst ensuring that our critical scenes were taken.

Despite many of our secret worries that we could not complete the photo shoot in one day, we did. We are most thankful to the photographers who saw scenes where we simply saw rooms.

Within a few days we were visited by the son-in-law with a DVD of all the photographs and some glossy prints of what he considered to be the best and most appropriate shots. We took his advice with very few changes. We hope he really does well in his new profession.

 

The photographers not only amassed what may be a unique portfolio, but one of them had the interesting privilege of photographing his mother-in-law looking rather stunning in a reproduction Victorian corset! The lady in question was very pleased with the corset and wore it all day. She has a back problem and the garment seemed to work wonders. The only drawback, unknown to women of today, was the embossed markings left on her back after the sessions. Nevertheless, she still wanted to buy such a corset!

 

It wasn't all plain sailing! The poor lady below suffered through a poorly fitted (rather loose Jenyns - left) and subsequently has her rib cage squashed and bosom hoisted by the crushing embrace of a 1970's Spirella 305. No wonder she has to steady herself on the stairs!

 

 

 

 

An incredible diversity of garments was modelled that day. On the left is a German Ilona brassiere from the 1970's and an Australian Jenyns corset from the 1960's. On the right is a relatively modern British Spirella brassiere from the mid 1980's worn over a Canadian Spirella 325 corset (front and back-laced) from the 1960's. In the middle we see an American Spencer matching brassiere and corset from the 1950's and a beautiful pre-War Charis all-in-one. A purist (and our corsetiere friend is one of those) could point out many deficiencies of the fit, the looseness of the lacing and that the lady on the left wears her brassiere inside the corset, but without a seamstress on hand, we simply had to manage as well as we could. As the smiles below indicate, everybody enjoyed what was for many, one of the most unusual days of their lives.

 

 

Credits:

 

Photography:  DDM Photographic  www.ddmphotographic.co.uk

Fabrics:  Indigo Flair  www.indigoflair.co.uk

Garments supplied by the Ivy Leaf Collection  www.corsetiere.net/ILC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the 2012 & 2013 Calendars

 

Four of the 'models', that is respectable middle class ladies ranging in age from late 50's to early 80's, have agreed to pose for a new calendar. Our fan-laced friend makes a welcome return and, I might add, I hope I look that good when I turn 80!

 

 

Preparation:

 

I managed to gather together four ladies from the calendar of 2010 who are very enthusiastic to try on garments from the Ivy Leaf Collection once again. It was such fun two years ago and all of us are keen to re-kindle the experience. As before, we have been granted the use of a lovely house for the setting. I love the picture on the left where a lady, completely unused to the crushing embrace of a Spirella 325, attempts to sit upright and eat lunch. It was not easy and yet she was one of the most enthusiastic models. What I found interesting was the models' preference for the satin foundations. Certainly they look very elegant and allow clothes to move well, but satin is a cold material and I had always thought that it was more of a male preoccupation.

 

Who would have thought that a selection of middle-aged women would volunteer to pose in vintage foundations for charity. What really surprised us was one of the volunteers for the 2010 calendar who phoned us to ask why she had not been selected for the 2012 edition! The lady in question has just had heart problems and is in her early 80's!! I suspect the photographer in 2010, who was called in to help with the lacing might have had heart problems, certainly he was unusually flustered!

 

We wish to recreate some of the scenes that Spirella used in their house and training magazines. We hope to feature the measuring garments and foundations of the 1960's. Why? Because 2012 is the centenary of Spirella in Britain!

   

 

 

Fitting Sessions:

 

 

The fitting sessions for the 2012 (and possibly 2013) calendars started two Mondays ago. In contrast to the previous calendar where few changes of clothes were required, this time, there are far more garments to wear. Our first model was as full of enthusiasm as she was two years before and in the fitting room we were reduced to helpless laughter as we struggled to get our volunteer into corsets and bras that patently were not designed for her. The girdles, by the very nature of their elasticity were easier to fit. "My mother wore one of these" commented our model as she zipped up a 45-year old Marks and Spencer girdle (right). Afterwards, we estimated that her mother would have been born in about 1920 - 1930, so indeed would have been wearing girdles in the 1960's. Our model, as a young girl in those days remembered them well but is of an age (and enviable figure) to have never worn a foundation garment (other than a bra) in anger. My husband, who climbs a steep learning photographic curve (as he has done for several decades) learned much about lighting whilst taking some photographs of our model. He was called into action several times to force some recalcitrant hooks-and-eyes to meet. We discovered a serious problem with black foundation garments. The black painted hooks on a black background were very difficult to see clearly, certainly at our age. What a fund of knowledge must lie in the memories of the old corsetieres!

 

Models two and three have passed through during the last week. I have a reasonable eye for what will fit whom, but there were still some struggles and some beautiful garments that sadly will not make it to the final photo session next month. Our third model apologised for weight gain in the hip region, but to our eyes, she had simply become more shapely and filled out a brand new M&S girdle to excellent effect (above). My husband, who fully approved of the classic combination of M&S girdle and Triumph Doreen bra (surely one of the all-time great sculptors of the female form), has improved his lighting technique and can now even get some shots in focus! The third model, whilst rummaging through some of the larger brocade garments destined for model four commented "My aunties and granny used to wear stuff like this!"

 

The fourth and final fitting session was as hilarious as the others, but due to our improving eye for fit, less of a struggle for the poor 'model'. Yet again, the hours spent wriggling in and out of the collection prompted recollections of the past. "I'm sure my mother was fitted by a Spencer lady; I remember the contraption well!" Model four was game enough even to try on this amazing garment. Once again, as all the models have commented, the Triumph Doreen long-line brassiere was a major success and the powerful elastics and laced brocades of yesterday far less restrictive than legend portrayed. All have been most enthusiastic, and if we can carry this through to the calendar, we may end up with a decent product! Each model has asked whether they could buy some of the garments that they have stoically paraded, however, I suspect that this is a whim of the fitting session, and however glamorous or shapely these garments might render the wearer, I doubt whether they would ever adopt the confinement of such foundations on a regular basis; although one never knows!

 

The Spencer fitting garment that, in practice, was so complex that many fitters never used it!

 

 

The Photographic Session:

 

 

The mirror was popular

Yesterday, the photographs were taken for the new calendar. We are so lucky to have four charming ladies who are prepared to model the garments from the collection. That they thoroughly enjoyed the experience is such a bonus. The highlight had to be where the oldest model was put into a Spencer measuring garment. These are not easy to assemble and the hysterical giggles from the dresser and the other models brought the house owner and my husband rushing along from one of the sets to see what was happening. Discrete as always, my husband called out "Are you decent?" at which point the laughter erupted once more. Fortunately, my husband brought his engineering skills to bear and our long-suffering model was finally encased in the contraption. We are also incredibly fortunate to have a friend whose house is a perfect backdrop for the scenes that we had in mind. Our own humble abode is gezellig (there is no English equivalent), but with neither the style, furnishings nor space to accommodate such a venture. We are very lucky; in fact, the day started inauspiciously. Thick fog determined us to avoid the main roads and head across country, however, the road we needed was closed and we only got to our destination just in time. The house owner's husband staggered upstairs with a 25 kilo suitcase full of corsets whilst my husband assembled his camera and lights. At this point, one of the models phoned up from Exmouth to say that she had a flat tyre and would be late; she hadn't actually left home. The second dresser then phoned up to apologise. She couldn't leave her farm due to some malady afflicting the herd. We decided to press on regardless since we had a tight schedule. The first scene was to feature the gorgeous satin Camp from the previous calendar but to our horror, we discovered that one of the metal-centred suspender knobs had disintegrated. Safety pins to the fore, we attacked the errant garter whilst my husband muttered darkly about PhotoShop. After this shaky start, we all settled down and the team began to function as a unit whilst our fourth model turned up and almost leapt into a back-laced German corselette. There were so many off-hand yet hilarious comments that one model suggested that we should be recording sound as well as pictures. In the jolly atmosphere, we broke for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed a totally inappropriate lunch of sandwiches, stollen bread, sticky buns and chocolates. "I really will need a corset after this" was uttered by several of the models. By chance, our planning had put the corset scenes in the morning, and the more forgiving girdle scenes in the afternoon. This is a handy piece of advice for all aspiring corset calendar designers!

Rather complex!

 

 

In view of Letchworth's Spirella Centenary next year, we planned to re-create some of the scenes from the Spirella magazines of the 1960's and the models dressed in clothes of the period. In this respect we were very lucky. The models all found something to fit. I realised that my husband has a disturbingly good eye for picking the right clothes for the right model. He puts it down to his engineering training but I do wonder! During the 'black corset' scene, an unwelcome piece of Spirella history manifest itself as the seam of one of the black orchid material 305's started to rip asunder. Our model was quite distressed but we assured her that the corset had already split and it was a fault with the last batch of black orchid that Spirella ordered. They never made black corsets again!

All in all, it was a very successful day. In fact it was one of the most enjoyable days that I can remember and the models assured us that they felt the same way. I do believe they were sincere in this since they asked when were we going to make another calendar and could they buy some of the girdles and corsets!

 

 

The Calendars:

 

We took some 300 photographs at the photographic session with the idea of accumulating enough material to make a calendar for 2012 and also one for the Letchworth Heritage Museum in 2013. Drafts have been made and we intend to issue the 2012 calendar in January and the 2013 calendar in September since it will be a more commercial version for the Museum. The 2012 calendar will purely be sold to raise money for charity. We have tried to keep the pictures in the calendars different whilst maintaining a similar theme. In the final version, we hope that there will be no repetition of pictures. The 2012 calendar will be sold on the web and in some local shops. The 2013 calendar, that contains extra pages on the making of the calendar, will be sold by the Letchworth Museum.

 

2012                  2013

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the 2014 Calendar

 

 

As has been the case in the past, the gestation period of the calendar has not been without its problems. Two of our models have decided to spend November in warmer climes rather than parade around a stately home in their corsets! Can you imagine that? Nevertheless, plans are advancing and the garments, properties and locations have been secured.

 

The trials and tribulations of the 2014 calendar come thick and fast. Having lost two models determined to follow the sun southwards, another has just slipped a disc. Nevertheless, we will persevere with whoever remains! My poor husband who composes the 'story line' for these calendars is getting more frazzled every day. We have tried to persuade Bunty to help out. It's high time that she came south to visit us. Mind you, she has lost so much weight that the corsets that used to fit her Rubensesque figure probably no longer do so.

 

There is bad news and good news. A model that we recruited for an impromptu photo session came down with a cold and cried off. On a positive note, Bunty breezed into our lives in her indomitable style and said "I say, I understand you chaps are in a bit of a tight spot!" We resisted the temptation to point out that, if she modelled for us, she would be in a far tighter spot than we were! After a long evening of catching up with the news, as good friends do, and banishing my husband to his study whilst we indulged in 'women's talk', Bunty volunteered to model if we could put her up for a week whilst she took the opportunity to visit some old school chums before the tabloid-predicted "worst winter in living memory" set in.

 

In typical enthusiastic style, whilst I sorted out some garments that might fit our new 'slim-line' friend, my husband started to get some practice at fashion photography before the real photographic sessions next week. Bunty has, indeed, lost quite some weight (10 kilos in new money and one and a half stone or 22 pounds in Imperial units). After an excellent pub lunch (not really a good idea before a corset session but she had had a long journey) I helped Bunty into a size 34 Marks & Spencer girdle, a feat that would have been impossible a year ago and then only because Bunty is particularly strong. She then tried on a size 18 dress and, with not too much effort and many thanks to the Marks & Spencer engineers of four decades ago, I pulled the metal zipper all the way up. "I can't believe that I'm a size 18" she cried as she tried to smooth the shiny material over her hips "Perhaps only just" she admitted. My husband has many faults, however, in his defence, he is totally honest and his heartfelt "Wow!" when Bunty entered our dining room (hastily converted into a studio) was both accurate and immensely pleasing to our guest.

 

Not being able to assemble all the models on one day, we have split the photo-shoots for the calendar between two locations. The models and venues have confirmed their commitment and the models admit that they can hardly wait. The last calendars have been so much fun in production. My husband has visited the untried venue to assess lighting and camera angles. All the garments and props are ready for the first session.

 

 

The photo sessions

 

 

Not being able to assemble all the models on one day, we have split the photo-shoots for the calendar between two locations. The first shoot was more or less successfully accomplished yesterday and the next one will take place in the middle of next week. As always, the first session was hilarious with my husband banished to his camera unless summoned to the dressing room to solve some engineering detail such as a missing suspender or such like. The house owner undertook the job of dresser, her real job precludes appearing in such a calendar, but she has the advantage of having worn a corset for real as a teenager. Even so, the myriad of hooks-and-eyes, lacings, straps and buckles posed a serious challenge! Our novice model, a stunning lady of about 50, was amazed at how comfortable the foundations were and how good they made her feel when attired in clothes of the period. Isn't that what corsetry is all about?

 

Of course, as my husband has discovered, when a lady says that she is a size 12/14, it really means that she is a size 14, but once was, or would like to be a size 12. Of course, these are modern sizes and relate to a vintage size 16. Our elegant friend donned a size 14 vintage taffeta dress and was reluctant to disembark once ensconced. "I'll have to borrow it for Goodwood" she exclaimed. Bunty of course has lost weight and is now a good size 18, a little larger in fact than the lovely patterned dress (above). The most elderly member of yesterday's trio, the sky-diving 89 year-old, is actually thinner than she used to be. My husband can not understand why women find it impossible to measure themselves accurately, but then again, he's an engineer, not a woman so why should he?

 

The second photo shoot has gone very well but my husband appears to have aged about a decade! He used the comment "It's like herding cats!" more than once and I distinctly heard him say "How long can it possibly take for a women to get into a girdle?" with heartfelt emotion. It actually can take some time. We had a younger model than ever before and she went through one scene (clothed) with the girdle on back to front. The dresser, unfortunately, had to leave at lunch-time and some 'howlers' slipped through the editorial net!

Despite all this, we did get some decent shots despite my husband's efforts. There were some classic moments when my husband was summoned to the dressing room to fasten a foundation garment onto a torso that was not quite the size that the optimistic owner had volunteered. In summary, of the six models, a 20 had gone to 18 (and a bit), a 16 had gone to 15 (in some places but not in others), a 12 had become an elegant, but rather shapely 14, our rock-solid 16 had developed a comfort-eating habit and the youngest, extremely charming daughter of the 12 that was a 12, was an 8 instead of a 10!

These are not professional models, but amateurs who are prepared to appear on calendars for charity. They are busy women who do not understand the meaning of the word "bored" but will gather together for a hilarious day posing in corsets and period dresses for charity. Donations from those that appreciate these calendars have already reached 1,300 and that is before we sell any of the final product.

 

This classic shot (above) starts us off and on the right, one of the mature models helps the newest recruit to remove stockings that were not required for the Sears panty-girdle scene. If nothing else, even with a dresser, it appears that aligning bra and corset is not an easy task. Of course we see these mistakes now, but at the time, with the models trying to squeeze in modelling time (not to mention corsets) with the other facets of their busy lives, even the best director might be tested to their limits - and, although he has many positive qualities, my husband is not quite up to Hollywood standards, even if some of the ladies are!

The making of this calendar really has had its challenges! We were promised by our local chemist to have photographs of the calendar pages ready for a meeting with the models cum Christmas Party. The photos have been lost! It is the last time we will entrust Dick Whittington's Cat (if you get my meaning) with any picture developing!! At least we have a good set of prints featuring our 31, 53, 59, 63, 81 and 89-year old models. We struggled with the oldest model during the first photo session since weight loss around the hips made it very difficult to fit her. Spirella came to the rescue with a 1980's front and back-laced white corset and Triumph brassiere. They fit her like a glove and gave gave her a waist and elevated bosom that she had not seen for several decades. She was, in fact, a star model! Another act of bravery was displayed by our youngest model who admitted to being camera shy. Well she certainly was anything but after a few hours!

 

Whilst I nipped into the local museum to print off the calendar mock-up, a number of female staff admired it and two volunteered to model next time!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the 2015 Calendar

 

We have put together some ideas for a new calendar. It sticks to the ethos of 'what lies beneath' and the elegance of the post-war decades, but the setting and style is very different. A possible title is "Ivy's Leaf's Foundations of Fashion". We have received positive and constructively negative comments about the preview.

 

Currently, the printer has produced a draft 40-page version of potential ideas including those above, however, the work is by no means final and an impending trip abroad may be required to get more material for the calendar.

 

 

 

Progress on the 2015 Calendar

 

Meanwhile, the composition of the 2015 calendar proceeds apace and, to the astonishment of the printers, we may well get it into production before the end of the year. Currently, the printer has produced some draft 40-page versions of potential ideas, however, the work is by no means final and we would appreciate any comments on such a departure from the style of previous years. The final calendar will have 28 pages showing the best ideas and the draft versions will eventually be auctioned for charity. Where the calendar is similar to previous years is the theme of 1960's - 70's fashion and 'what lies beneath'. The departures from previous tears are false backgrounds and just one model (left) who at 19 years old is 72 years younger than our oldest model from the 2014 calendar (right).

 

A Request

 

We have a rule never to pass on phone numbers or emails without the permission of the owner. So if anybody out there is still in contact with the lady who marketed under the name of 'Lyn Locke', please could they ask her if she would like to get in touch with us. We last corresponded in October 2009, nearly five years after the successes of 'Garters & Lace', however, the death of Lyn's partner Mike removed her from the 'girdle scene' which we believe is such a shame. Please get in touch with ivyleaf@corsetiere.net

 

 

2015 Calendar

 

The calendar has gone to the printers. We expect to receive a draft version early next week and then we will go for the production run. Many thanks to all those who have made suggestions, some positive, some doubtful and some negative, but always constructive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the 2016 Calendar

 

Although the 2015 calendar was extremely successful in terms of raising money for charity (we received two unsolicited donations that were very substantial), we felt that we would return to a format similar to the previous calendars for 2016. Sadly, we no longer have access to the magnificent house owned by a member of the women's club that originally sponsored the idea, however, another member was happy for us to use her, more modest abode for our photo-shoot.

 

For the first time, we planned the layout of the calendar before the photo-shoot. In previous years we had taken the photos and then designed a theme around what were the best shots. The plan lies below and you can see that the calendar was originally to be called "Victoria's Little Women" on a green and beige background. Compare the plan below to what was eventually achieved:

 

 

 

What we ended up with was "Ivy Leaf's Little Women" so as not to emphasise one model over the other. After the photographs were taken, we realised that a blue and pink background would be more suitable. Regarding the models, we decided to ask Victoria, as a professional model from 2014, to work with two amateur models who had appeared in all the previous calendars from 2010 to 2014. We knew all the models very well and felt sure that they would work together as indeed they did. That the hilarity and enthusiasm was undamped and unchanged from previous years was a testimony to the good nature of all concerned. We chose models that would represent the three ages of woman: granny, mother and daughter. Earlier plans to enrol a great-granny as well were deemed too complicated. As it happens, the models were aged: Madeleine 81, Marjorie 60 and Victoria 20. A 50 year old Marjorie would have been better but we felt that this was close enough.

 

Nothing ever goes quite according to plan! Madeleine had put on quite some weight since we last met and the corset that we had selected was simply not big enough. We tried Bunty's Spirella 325 that now is too large for Bunty but this was also too large for Madeleine (far left). Eventually we settled on a Spirella back-laced, buckled-front device that would accommodate a large variety of shapes - and it did at last. The satin CAMP that Madeleine has always loved still fit although the back lacing didn't close as tight as it did in years past. The models were sufficiently experienced to help each other dress that was very handy since I had hurt my right arm and as a dresser was somewhat hampered by this. (Left - Victoria laces up Marjorie who responds in kind). My husband, banished to the lounge, was occasionally called in to help once the models were decently covered. On one occasion, Victoria and Madeleine simply failed to get the zipper closed on Madeleine's black girdle. My husband was called in and despite Victoria's "You'll never get those hooks-and-eyes to meet" and my husband's "I say, do you mind if I man-handle you a bit?" the hooks-and-eyes eventually met and Madeleine emerged sleek and trim but with no ability now to sit down. All the models loved their costumes and underpinnings although Madeleine was a little unsure of the satin bloomers.

 

 

Eventually it all worked out. A lesson learned was that in a scene, for example with three models, take front, back and side photographs of each model in turn before starting. Those photographs may come in handy later.

 

 

Amazingly, by coincidence, the date of the photo-shoot was the same as the year before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the 2017 Calendar

 

We were most fortunate to gain access to the lovely house that we used for the 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 calendars. We could not think of a better setting for Cathie and her Victorian costume. At this venue, Cathie, Marjorie who has played the part of the corsetiere in previous calendars, and her friend Margaret all posed. Unfortunately, we had to use another venue to get Victoria and Cathie together so the theme of the calendar has become a little disjointed but we still hope you will enjoy it.

 

 

Victorian Cathie posing for the camera.

 

       

You can put a girl (Victoria in this instance) into a Victorian corset, but 21st century habits prevail. The flowery girdle was fresh out of a packet where it had resided for nearly 45 years.

 

   

Even models need sustenance and certainly Bob and Cathie are fans of the British pub. As always, Victoria was charming and really enjoyed herself working with Cathie.

 

Another Iris Norris corset lies by Cathie's peignoir.