News

Honour for corset fashion legend Sarah Jenyns

Sarah Jenyns corset advert Photo: Contributed
Sarah Jenyns corset advert Photo: Contributed Contributed

 

Sarah Jenyns corsetry. Photo: Contributed
Sarah Jenyns corsetry. Photo: Contributed Contributed

CORSET revolutionary Sarah Jenyns had seven children to feed and her husband's preaching was not paying the bills.

After feeling the sharp pain in her side while lifting a heavy pail she made it her mission to design a corset that would support women's spines and ease their back pain.

Using knowledge from her time as a nurse and her husband's role as a surgical instrument maker, Mrs Jenyns pioneered a pain-free surgical corset.

From a humble workshop in Brisbane in 1909, orthopaedic surgeons abroad praised it as "the best corset the world has seen" three years later.

She had 15 sewing machinists in 1916 but the House of Jenyns had expanded to 1100 machinists and seven factories by 1964.

The factories came together at Ipswich by 1970 and were creating 45,000 garments a day.

The Ipswich factory shut in the early 1990s when the once exceptionally popular corsets became obsolete.

Mrs Jenyns had trouble securing suitable staff in Brisbane but Ipswich was a fertile place to recruit qualified workers.

As the QT reported at the time, former workers had a reunion at the Ipswich RSL Services Club on June 28, two days shy of the 20th anniversary of the closure of the factory - now being used as a motorbike showroom.

But Sarah Jenyns' underwear empire is a Queensland fashion success story that lasted close to a century despite monumental changes to women's fashion.

Last night Mrs Jenyns' entrepreneurship was celebrated when she was inducted into the 2014 Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame.

Ron Jenyns said his grandmother's designs were a major breakthrough in corsets that resulted in her travelling the world.

He said traditionally corsets were based on shaped waists and a laced back which meant women needed help to get them on.

"My grandmother Jenyns developed a new style of lacing which meant the person could put on the corset themselves," he said.

"They could hook and eye down one side of the garment and take hold of the belts that would pull the laces tight.

Sarah Jenyns designed corsetry for all women.
Sarah Jenyns designed corsetry for all women. Contributed

Mr Jenyns, who would take the company to even greater heights after Sarah died in 1952, said he believed his grandmother's success stemmed from recognising women had so many different shapes.

"She created a product that had 12 different figure types. Whether women were short, tall or had a big abdomen, she had a corset deign for your figure," he said.

"Before then there was one shape. She eventually patented these designs and the lacing principal and took them out to the world."

Mr Jenyns said her grandmother came through tremendous hardships in her early days to lead the family to business success.

"She had quite a unique personality," he said.

"She would have been one of the first women who really stood up in business and said she could do it.

"The struggle of feeding your family when your husband just wants to get out on a street corner to preach; I think it was that desperate need that drove her.

"She was the beginning of three generations of business."

QUT deputy vice-chancellor Peter Little said Mrs Jenyns was an astute business woman who overcame several obstacles - including a male-dominated business environment - to reach success.

"Sarah Jenyns' tenacity and determination to help people saw her build a Queensland fashion empire with an enduring legacy," he said.

"She was in an era where there were few women who owned large successful businesses and where women were mainly confined to rearing the children and looking after the home.

"She was determined, she had a vision together with a very strong will and determination."

HIGH PRAISE: Sarah Jenyns’ corsetry was praised by orthopaedic surgeons.
HIGH PRAISE: Sarah Jenyns’ corsetry was praised by orthopaedic surgeons. Contributed

Topics:  editors picks



Last-gasp goal saves Ipswich team's Pride

Western Pride goal scorer Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

Substitute stars for draw specialists

Crash debris shut down motorway

Police say vehicle was travelling wrong way

10 jobs you can apply for right now

Job seekers read the job advertisements on large boards at the Ipswich Showgrounds where the Australian Government Jobs and Skills Expo was held today (140613). Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

Plenty on offer from across the region

Local Partners

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!