Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Thinking about a blog makeover.....

So I have been toying with the idea of revamping the look of this blog.  I've had this look since it began and feel it's time for a change.  Although not too much of change, the thought of trying to get my head around HTML is enough to send me running and screaming in the other direction!

What I'm thinking of is a simplified colour scheme like this...

And a personalised header like this....

Ho hum, decisions, decisions......

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Ribbon Corset

One thing I have yet to explore whilst on my sewing adventures is the ribbon corset.  I can't help but look at them with a sense of slight mystery as I need to get my head around what makes them tick.  I must add it to my increasingly long to-do list!

Anyway....this has got to be the prettiest ribbon corset I have ever seen.  It's constructed from silk floral ribbon, dated to 1900-5 and it lives in the Bath Fashion Museum.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday Eye Candy: V&A Museum - Ballgowns Exhibition

The Victoria and Albert Museum's latest fashion exhibition running until 6th January 2013 sets out to showcase the story of the ballgown in fashion and society since the 1950s.

Erdem A/W 2008

The V&A have gone all out - with the opening of the renovated Fashion Galleries inorder to set a spectacular stage.

The exhibition will feature designs by McQueen, Zhandra Rhodes, Gareth Pugh, Vivienne Westwood to name but a few.  This is definately one to catch if you're in London.  Full details on the V&A Website.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Finished Project: Pre-Raphaelite Inspired Choker

I hate throwing out fabric - even the scrappiest of scraps, it just seems so wasteful.  That's how this project came about, it's a fusion of my desire to find a use for leftover strips of fabric and a corset I made a little while ago which I covered in some of the Pre-Raphaelite's paintings -  Pre-Raph Underbust.

This item is available in my Etsy Shop

Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Corset Laced Mannequins

I stumbled across these beauties the other day and I would love to own one.  Here is just one from their gorgous range.


If you like pretty dressforms I highly recommend you check out the other scrumptious designs at Corset Laced Mannequins

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Finished Project: Discordia Underbust Corset

As I continue on my corsetry journey, which has basically been trial and error with a bit of help from books and helpful tidbits from the internet, I think I am now finally getting a really good grip on the pattern cutting aspect of it all.  This corset was another step on the ladder.

It's a long underbust cut to be very flat across the centre front but with lots of defintion on the waist.

 I made this one out of recycled gold furnishing fabric with a pale blue lining, binding and ribbon.  Then I added an extra bow to sit on the front for added prettiness.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Snow White and the Huntsman

Colleen Attwood has been hard at work again and I'm super excited about seeing Snow White and the Huntsman when it's released.  There is a fantastic interview here where she talks about her processes and how she went about costuming this movie.

Ravenna's costumes look particularly interesting and gorgeous (my favourite combination).

Soooooo many feathers!

These gowns look so decadent especially next to Snow White's, as she spends most of the film in warrior mode.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Finished Project: Dusky Pink Gown

Recently I was invited to a murder mystery evening which was so much fun.  A few weeks before we were given a costume brief and mine was to be a socialite who should wear a full ballgown.  I couldn't find anything in the local charity shops so naturally came to the conclusion that two weeks is plenty of time to design and make a gown from scratch!!!

Luckily I had this fabric in my stash, it's lovely pink chiffon and I used black satin that I had lurking around for the underdress/lining.

I just about got the thing sewn in time and then realised I had just enough fabric left over to make a sash to tie around the waist.  It's funny how last minute ideas like that can really complete a project in a way that surprises you.

These photos were taken the day after the murder mystery, when the British weather decided to behave itself  for once and the blossoms were at their prettiest.  Good timing all round!!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Underwater Photography by Zena Holloway

For this weeks Eye Candy I thought I would show you the very special photography of Zena Holloway.  She originally started out as a scuba diver and gradually perfected her technique of taking underwater photos.

So pretty - I love the way the fabric comes to life.

Holloway is a master of bringing an ethereal, dream-like quality to her photos.

How gorgeous is this crinoline?  Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Finished Project: Red Obi Belt

I've been really naughty about blogging this year and I have fallen behind on my posts.  Don't worry though I have given myself a firm telling off and promised I won't do it again.  What this does mean is that I've made lots of lovely things to talk about, starting with this...

I made this belt when I had a sudden urge for a quick sewing project.  I love the labour of a corset but sometimes it's nice to make something that you can whip up in an hour!

I happened to have red habutae silk on hand and it works well enough but I think it would be better in a richer/deeper colour.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Eiko Ishioka

A few months ago I was saddened to hear that the incredibly talented and inspirational designer Eiko Ishioka had passed away.  She is mostly known for her work designing the costumes for Cirque du Soleil and Bram Stoker's Dracula for which she won an Academy Award.  I am a big fan of all her work but I'm only going to show you my most favourite of her designs,  Mina Murray/Harker's red bustle gown.

Eiko's original concept sketch.

Front view

View of the back.

The beautiful, elaborate bustle.

The last film Eiko worked on before her death was Mirror Mirror, a charming retelling of Snow White, which has just been released in the cinemas.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Finshed Project: Purple and Gold Underbust Corset

Just a quick post about a new corset I made.  I cut it to come down nicely over the hips wtith simple, no fuss panels so I thought I would have some fun with the colours.

The finished corset has a 24" waist.

 As you can see I finshed this one with black ribbon and bias binding.  I'm very happy with this one and I am planning to grade it into different sizes.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Glass Dresses by Diana Dias-Leao

Yes that's right - glass dresses!!!  Diana Dias-Leao decided to take her established career in the fashion industry down a more fine arts route when she took up glass making at the age of sixty.

Not designed to be worn although they have been for the purpose of photo shoots, these magnificent pieces are more sculptures than clothes.

So intricate and pretty.

Not to mention ingenious - I can't work out how this one is holding itself together!

I think I saved the best one until last, I love the subtle blue-green tones.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday Eye Candy: Mary Katrantzou Autumn/Winter 2010

I love looking at high end fashion, it's a source of inspiration but it's very rare for me to see something that I would ever consider purchasing.  Like the majority of people I'm happy carving out my personal style from whatever takes my fancy on the high street.  These dresses by Mary Katrantzou are the exception, I adore them, they tick every box.  Bold and refreshing, feminine and demure and above all deliciously quirky.
 A piece inspired by the 'Portrait of Marquise de Pompadour' 1759 by Francois Boucher

Even more amazingly she has found ways of transfering these rich works of art onto knit fabrics, enabling her to be even more versatile with her collections.

Yep, I'm in love....

Friday, 20 April 2012

Finished Project: Elven Priestess Costume

This was something I made a little while ago.  It started off as just an idea for a gauzy textured, embellished hood which as I developed became a concept for a whole costume.

The further I got with sewing the hood the more it felt like something was missing so I made a matching robe to go with it.  The whole thing is made from pale blue voile, the hood has been embellished with small amounts of other fabrics in shades of blue for example organza, manipulated into floral forms.

Close-up of the hood.

I used triple-flex plastic boning to give it it's shape.  It's perfect for projects like this because it's incredibly lightweight but will still give fantastic support.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Finished Project: Alice in Wonderland Underbust Corset

This is a variation on the Pre-Raphaelite corset I made using the same pattern.

I had a lot of fun with this, playing around with the text, trying to create a feeling of whimsy.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Finished Project: Pink and Silver Butterfly Corset

The most fatal thought when sewing must surely be "the hard parts done, the rest should be plain sailing........".  followed shortly by "D'oh!".  Maybe it's just me but if dare to think that a project is going really well, it's like asking for trouble.

It turns out that sewing delicate filigree wire with fairly delicate silver thread onto the surface of fabric which has steel boning in it is not 'plain sailing'...but I got there in the end.

View of the front-ish.

View of the back-ish.

And a close-up!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

New Project: Pink and Silver Butterfly Corset

As part of my ongoing quest to improve my corsetry skills, my latest mission has been to draft a pattern for a simple six panelled overbust corset from my basic dress block.  I did a quick toile to make sure there were not any glaring errors and then moved onto phase two which involved some pretty pink fabric from my stash....

The perils of flash photography - it's a little bit shinier than in reality!

I thought it would be fun to incorporate my printing technique from my last corset (the Pre-raphaelite underbust) as well as some wire applique.

My method for bringing the design together across the front was a bit precarious to say the least.  I positioned my wire filigree and took loads of photos to document their position on the corset.  Then I had to carefully maneuver the corset around whilst applying the butterfly print.

Once the butterflies were set I could then place and sew each piece of filigree wire down.  A bit of a fiddly job but it was worth it and I will show you the results in my next post.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Finished Project: Pre-Raphaelite Inspired Underbust Corset

Ok, so there was a brief, panic-filled moment during construction, when I genuinely believed this corset was going to be a complete failure.  The further I went with it, the worse the weird, plasticy buckling effect got but once I put in on, it behaved itself.

And there was much rejoicing........

I'm completely thrilled at the way this turned out and now I can't stop thinking of all the interesting ways this technique could be used.

I'm wondering whether this could be pulled off a bigger scale....say 18th Century stays! Hmmm............

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Project: Pre-Raphaelite Inspired Corset

I have always adored the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and have been forever meaning to do something inspired by one or more of them.  This project isn't so much inspired as it a direct homage to some of the gorgeousness those chaps put on canvas.

It's a bit of an experiment with printing, I've never used this technique before and I'm not quite sure how it's going to turn out - but that's part of the fun!  I've used inkjet printing paper to transfer images onto a pale fabric.  I'm using a strong off-white recycled curtain fabric which has a a very subtle floral design on it which I'm hoping will add to the overall texture.

I cut my own corset pattern for this project - I needed decent sized panels to do the images justice.  Once I cut out my fabric I then began the task of collaging and building images onto the fabric.  Getting an image to fit exactly onto a panel proved too fiddly so I used layering to fill in any tricky little gaps.

Here are the finished printed panels for the right side of the corset.

And these are the finished left panels.

The printing has the effect of giving the fabric a 'plasticy' feel with a glossy finish.  The fabric now has much less natural flexibility so this could be interesting,  I just hope it doesn't cause too much buckling as it comes together.