Saturday, 28 May 2011

Finished project: Underbust Corset.

Here is the finished corset - I'm really happy with it.  Whilst making it I kept looking at it and thinking it was out of proportion but my fears were unfounded!

I scraped together all the leftover scraps of fabric to make the little bow.  If there's anything I can't bear it's wasted fabric.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Finished project - Poison Ivy hooded cape.

Last halloween I made a Poison Ivy costume for myself to wear to a party and this was the cape that went with it.

It's made from forest green and deep red polycotton.  I wanted to make this as economically as possible as I needed 6 meters of each colour.  

To make the cape a bit more interesting I machine embroidered trailing vines using a satin stitch up the entire length of the garment.  Each panel was decorated separately before joining all the panels together.  Once all the seams were sewn, including the hood, I then embroidered across the seams to ensure the pattern had good continuity across the cape.

I love capes with giant, oversized hoods!!

During the construction of this I thought, hey! this really should be reversible....... you know.......just in case....

Saturday, 21 May 2011

New project - underbust corset.

What's the best thing to do if you run out of steel boning half way through making a corset? Answer: start another one of course!!!

It's a dainty little underbust corset from Jill Salen's book. I only had a narrow strip of this fabric, rescued from a remnant bin in a furnishing shop and it was just enough to make this corset.  It took a bit of maneuvering to persuade all the pattern pieces to fit on mind you!

I need to buy a busk for the centre front but that's the only steel this corset requires.  The original was whale boned so I used cable ties either side of each seam.  It still surprises me how robust and effective cable ties are!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Eye Candy -18th Century Inspired Paper Wigs

I came across these astonishing works of paper manipulation whilst poking about on the internet.  I think they are absolutely beautiful and highly recommend the website of the artists that created them.

Image from
Image from

Sunday, 15 May 2011

New project - red corset!

I have become corset obsessed!!! This one is based on one of the Victorian patterns in Jill Salens's book 'Corsets: Historical patterns and techniques'.  The patterns in this book are easy to scale up as they are all drawn on grids.

This corset is made from three layers of fabric, you could use two though, as long as they were strong. Personally I prefer to use three, it just feels really sturdy and gives it extra structure.  I had a scrap of rich red silk in my stash for the outer layer and quite a bit of gold satin left over from the Sirona gown for the lining.  For the middle layer I just use whatever plain white-ish fabric I have lying around.

A photo of the busk in place.

The back panels with steel boning inserted either side of the seams.

This is how far I got before I ran out of steel!  Argh!!!

Monday, 9 May 2011

New project - Gold and blue stays!

I got about half way through my pink stays and decided that I wanted to make another pair that were front lacing and richer in colour.  I chose a gold patterned fabric from my stash for the outer and a pale blue linen for the lining.

I have utilised the same 'Corsets and Crinolines' pattern from my pink stays but I have cut up the centre front.  The front will have eyelets which meant I needed to rearrange the placement and direction of the bones slightly.

This is the lining of one the front panels.  In order to maintain the effectiveness of the shaping around the bust, after slicing up the centre front, I put in this extra layer of bones with gaps for the eyelets.

The finished back panels.

A close up of the fabric.

I have been hunting high and low for just the right shade of blue for the bias binding to finish it off but as yet I havn't found what I'm looking for.  The quest continues.............

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Sirona gown in daylight.

I dragged Claudia out into the garden to take some proper pictures of the finished dress.  Dress forms have got to be one of the most awkward things to maneuver through a house.  Good thing they don't make them with heads or she would have been decapitated on the upstairs banister!!!

I love chiffon - if only it was easier to work with.

A shot of the train.

A close up of the bodice from the side.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Finished project - pink 18th Century stays.

The stays are all done and poor old Claudia was promptly dragged out into the garden and crammed into them.  Actually, I didn't think she'd fit at all because she is so 'un-squishy' but they laced up really well around her.

 All of the boning channels and seams are sewn by machine, the bias binding to finish off all the raw edges was done by hand.

The stays from the back - I used metal eyelets.

The straps tie together at the back with ribbons throught the eyelets.

These were so fun to make, so much fun in fact that I'm already embarking on another set of stays.  This time I'm going for a richer colour palette with front and back lacing.