Spring bride collection part 1 – the dresses…….

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And so it is done! The collection is finished and photographed and as we are awaiting the professional pictures,  I thought I would post some technical information about the frocks themselves – fabrics used, pricing, etc. this post is illustratedwith the pictures taken on the day by my hunband, Lucas, the proper images and a blog about the day of the photoshoot with all credits etc, will be posted in a few weeks time!

 

 The theme: Spring, flowers, pinks, greens and whites, all freshness.

1. Briar rose ( already photographed extensively at St. Audries – link here)

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Briar Rose

17th century inspired bodice, fully boned, coutil base covered with silk satin, linen lining,decorated with antique metallic and silk ribbon lace, plus the skirt fabric at the neck; lacing at the back. here size 12 ( so a bit too big for me);

 Skirts, worn on net petticoats and muslin petticoat, are in 3D rose fabric, mounted on cotton organdy base. fabric used – 9m or the top and lining,

Price bracket – this design  can be rendered in any colour and almost any fabric with labour prices starting from £800 for a bespoke item. 

2. Alice

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back view

A 50ties inspired gown consisting of a corset in silk taffeta and an assymetrically draped circle skirt in silk taffeta (James Hare, 5m), worn on  a net petticoat and a funky flounced petticoat, the corset and the  skirt are decorated with a pink trim.

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the petticoat under the skirt

 This design can be rendered in any colour, with taffetas and satins working best for the skirt. Labour prices starting from £600

3.Lily of the Valley

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A truly fairytale gown, ideal for summer and spring weddings, especialy for handfastening ceremonies in the fields ( but that just my imagination running wild towards the vision of celtic priestesses, elf beauties and woodland nymphs…)

 The outfit consists of a silk brocade corset, decorated with simple lace trim. The skirts  of silk georgette ( 10m) are worn on a light petticoat  for decency’s sake:-) silk armbands with the flowing sleeves add the elven, 12 century look to the ensemble

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Again, can be made in any colour, labour prices starting from £800

4. Gwendoline

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 A Victorian inspired ensemble: corset  and skirts in silk duponi (2 shades, altogether 15m used) lined with organdy and silk, with braid ( 10m),  lace( 15m), fringe (4m) and flower decoration. the skirts can be worn with or without the apron fronted overdress.

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 The design can be reproduced to match any colour scheme,  with the labour prices starting from £1000

5. Helena

 

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A simple and graceful dress in white embroidered cotton (4m), with a silk sash. Inspired by the 20ties and Downton Abbey series, this dress is perfect for  brides favouring  freedom of movement and natural lines – ideal for boho and destination weddings!

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 Can be customised to fit with any colour scheme and the dress can me made more elaborate by adding  a short train. Labour prices from £400

6. Rosamund

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 A 18th century inspired gown consisting of a silk petticoat with a flounce, silk skirt with a train (7m) and  a cotton stays ( corset) with decorative lacing. All worn on a muslin chemise and hip pads:-)

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 A Rustic Tuscany vineyard look, can be rendered in many colours and many different trims. labour prices starting from £900.

 some of the dresses may be offered on sale as samples, please do enquire!

 And that’s it in part 1 – in part two we will no doubt drool over Paul Mockford professional photos: I will also provide a full list of all the suppliers involved in the shoot – so stand by!

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NYE 2012 – White Mischief party

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   New Year’s Eve is always a good excuse for a party, and since our carefully prepared plans to go and spend ours in the Carpatians, skiing and snowbording, fell through due to various injuries, we needed a back up plan.

  Fortunately, merely a week after I transferred out skiing holiday to my parents,  White Mischief announced their New Year Extravaganza – ideal! We attended Tobias’ event before: we went over to see a Stempunk concert he organized  in Scala in October – featuring one of my favourite bands, Abney Park.  We were both impressed by the quality of the gig,  so we had no doubts this one would be just as good.

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on the way to the Abney Park concert, here just after being laced in in the corset – in the middle of St. Pancras station….

Bedford Borough-20120823-00857  And so the train tickets were booked,  the hotel sorted out for the night ( thanks to BA Airmiles we stayed in Marrior not too far from the venue 🙂 ), and all we need to do was to sort out our attire for the night.

 The theme was Steampunk, cabaret, burlesque,  Victoriana etc – so a lot of choice! In the end, Lucas decided on a Victorian Vigilante style, an elegant dandy in a topper and with a walking stick, and I went for a more eclectic  corset/skirt combo.

  I have decided that for this outfit I was not going to buy any fabric but to make it from whatever leftovers I have living in my workroom and  garage.   I also wanted to experiment with Edwardian corset styles. I had made one before, for the Steampunk traveller’s collection, but this time I had something more complex in mind.  I fell in love with a corset I tried on at my friend Julia’s studio. Julia is a professional corsetier, running both a corsetry supplies business, Sew Curvy, but also making stunning bespoke corsets at Clessidra

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lovely corset made by Julia!

  Julia was generous enough to give me the copy of the pattern, so I planned to adapt it, making sure its modern version is a proper overbust, and to make it in white  and black satin, silver tissue and lots of bling on it .

 The first stage was redrafting the pattern and making a mock up.  A bit tricky, but armed with both experience and with Julia’s corsetmaking dvd book, I managed the task, getting a comfortably fitted toile.

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the toile!

 

 all that remained was to make the thing in the proper fabric ( even more tricky as the silver tissue proved to be stretchy….

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corset in main fabric, final fitting

 

 And then stitch on all the decoration –  I accummulated quite a lot of  leftover freshwater pearls over the years, and thought this would be a good wway to utilise them. In total there is about 600 on them on the corset, each one sewn individually by hand. I do admit, I stitched the last ones on the day, already in the hotel…

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bling galore!

 

 On the day, we made sure we were well fed ( Nandos! ) and made our way, in pournign rain to the venu at Sheperd’s Bush.

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Arrived!

 The place was heaving but we made a wise provision of booking a table – and soon our friends, Heather and Matthew joined us.

 The event itself –  well the entertaiment was great! the compere was provided by Professor Elemental ( another favourite performer of ours) and all the other artists: trapeze performers, singers, dancers etc were exceptional.  a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all – and a few pictures froom the night below!

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Professor doing his thing…

  

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One of the 3 burlesque performers we were lucky to see on the night

 

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stunning act by this incredible girl!

 

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Great acrobatic jiving couple

 

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and a rather bizzare act of a man to did amazing things with ping pong balls.

 

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a funny act by the girls

 

 On the way back we strolled through the centre of London – very nicely lit!

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 And  back in the hotel we even had enough stamina left for a little ‘after the party’ photoshoot:-)

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going for the seductive look here….

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and having some fun dancing in the corridors….

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more dancing…

  Altogerher – a lovely party, happy with the outfit ( might wear it for our Spectacular ball again…) – so Thank you White Mischief!

Victorian Christmas at Holkham Hall

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 For the last two years we were lucky enough to be working at Holkham Hall during their spectacular Christmas events – again organized by  Black Knight Historical .  The venue, located on Norfolk coast, nearby a lovely beach is simply stupendous – indeed it has been used in a few film productions ( The Duchess was, I believe, one of the most recent ones). The Coke family still lives there and it is a real privilage to be able to work in such lavish environment – our favoirite room was the  South Dining Room.

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The room set up for Christmas dinner.

 In the 2011 we spent a weekend  there – and since it was just a few months after our Victorian Wedding, we assumed roles of a newly wed couple on their visiting round. Our task was to interact with the visitors, chatting about  Victorian wedding customs, fashions and dances. We were also scheduled to do a short public talk about Victorian dances and do a Vienesse waltz demonstration.

 

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the Christmas tree in the upper hall

There were lots of interesting things happening around the venue: the kitchens were busy preparing festive food ( lovely stuff by  4and20 Blackbirds), and at noon Her Majesty Queen Victoria ( eve from  Live’n History ) arrived in style.

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 The Queen had a good look around the Hall, and then sat down to tea – and to spend some time chatting with the children.

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Her Majesty, Eleanor as the MIstress of the Robes and two brave girls asking for a position at court no doubt!

 

Altogether two very busy days, in great company and fantastic surroundings. So when we were approached to participate in the 2012 event, for two weekends, we did not hesitate!

 One thing was clear – I needed more frocks! My wedding gown, worn already on several occassions  needed a rest – and I now had a perfect excuse to make some new  Victorian  outfits!  I have decided to wear my 1885 Riding habit on one day, and make a warm 1877 polonaise and a walking dress for the other days.

 The polonaise was based on a fashion plate from Harpers Bazar and I made once before – for one of my bridesmaids. this time i wanted to make one in wool, with decorative border.

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1877 promenade dress in wool

 the other outfit was also based on a fashion plate from the same book.

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autumn costume,1883

 This time the whole of the house was open and the decor was absolutely amazing. the rooms were transformed – and one corridor was made into a lovely winter’s paradise, complete with moving animals!

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the wintery paradise

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 There was a different Christmas tree in every room – my favourite was the one made from the antlers shed by the stags from the local deer park.

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unusual tree!

 

 A different room was set up for the feast, all being prepared by a  an army of servants in the kitchen, and the laying of the table supervised by a dashing butler.

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the maids

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 The yard and the museum were alive with entertainment, Victorian market, photographers carriage rides and storytellers – a little paradice for the kids! Inside the little ones could visit  The Green Man ( the Victorian Santa!). The entrance was guarded – we all felt extra safe with sucha  sentinel!

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 Each room had different interpreters entertaining the public. Lucas, Eleanor and I were in the South Dining room; my role was to talk about the secret language of the fan, Victorian ettiquette, manners and customs. What we did talk about ranged from fans to railways, toys manutacture, corsetry and post cards – absolutely everything, so we had an extremely interesting time – and we talked to  over a couple of thousands people each weekend!

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antique fans at the ready!

 altogheter an action packed  4 days were had – and we did enjoy wearing our new frocks! Here’s Eleanor, resplended in silk taffeta

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Eleanor in her new mouring gown, 1885

  and my promenade dress, which turned out very christmassy and very cosy! – more pictures here

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1877 polonaise

 Am very happy at how wellthe welking outfit turned out – called now The grape dress due to the pattern and the colour of the silks. again, more pictures on my page, here.

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the grape dress

  and , just a few silly pictures of what was happening after hours…

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some were naughty and needed a bit of discipline

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the boys being up to no good no doubt

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corsets? what corsets, all I need is a bit of exercise to keep my waist trim! as if…

 

   And the good news is – we are back for the Victorian Christmas 2013!!!!

 

Spring bride 2013 – Briar Rose dress shoot at St. Audries Park

   I am currently working on the Spring Bride 2013 collection – 6 frocks with a spring theme of pinks, greens and ivories. The big photosoot is scheduled for the 23rd of April, but since we were in Devon and … Continue reading

Seeking the Pimpernel

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Last autumn we were asked to participate in an 18th century event at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum. it was a fairly generic do, the first of many more to come hopefully, as the place is steeped in history and boasts not only lovely interiors but also rather spectacular gadens. I agreed to provide a few dresses for the display, and, accompanied by my hubby,  to interract with the public.

 The dresses to go on display were  3 items from 1770-85: a robe anglaise, a polonaise and a riding habit. I had a nice francaise too, but it got sold and now lives with a lovely lady in Paris!

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The robe francaise – here at a wedding photoshoot, so excuse the modern hairdo!

 The other frocks:

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Polonaise en fourreau in silk brocade, petticoat in silk taffeta

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robe anglaise worn at one of the markets

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riding habit, here at Audley End House

All that meant that I needed something new to wear…

 And since Lucas agreed to entertain the visitors with tales of his daring deeds  as Scarlet Pimpernel, I became Lady Margueritte Blackney – and the lady needed a travelling outfit suitable for autumnal temperatures and comfortable to wear.

 It was an easy choice –  I have always loved the simple elegance of the redingotes and the one in LACMA has been on my to do list for ages.

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the original…

And since it just happened that a suitable fabric was living in my closet for a while, I set to it – I had 2 days to make the redingote and the muslin petticoat, and two days to get my Scarlet Pimpernel a waistcoat and a coat suitable for his role.

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set and ready to go!

On the day,  it was rather brisk – so the travelling outfits were a blessing – even though we were inside.  The rest of the team was getting ready; we were joined by lovely Julia Gant and her team from the  4and20blackbirds and  Eleanor from  The Guild of Historical Interpreters.

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the team!

  The event was lovely – not crowded, but with lots of interesting people popping by for a chat – and it was a real pleasure to  discuss history,its military,  social and costuming issues. The contrast between our 1790 outfits and the earlier focks on display provided a valued starting point to a discussion to all the social changes the French Revolution brought about. so a very interesting day!

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 In the meantime Eleanor was  showing the kids how to decorate fans – and I also had a go at cutting out silhuettes:-).

  Scarlet Pimpernel was not as elusive as he is supposed to be ( though he did suggest  that the best way to re-enact him would be not to turn up at all so that we  send the folks looking for him…)

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Lucas having problems being elusive…

 The lunch was a rather yummy affair, beautifully presented and  tasted as well as it looked!

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Altogheter, a great day’s fun, informative and entartaining! and of course, rather pleased with the way the redingote turned out 0 i did  amend the front slightly later on, but happy with the first attempt!

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