Corsetry is currently experiencing a bit of a revival – which is great ( if you still think they are torturous, rib-breaking, garments-from-hell, please read this first…). However, since they were out of fashion for quite a while, people nowadays … Continue reading
At last a holiday! Our first proper adventure since our honeymoon over three years ago – so long overdue. and since it as tropics last time, we knew this time it will be somewhere colder.
In the end we we chose an Arctic Adventure in the Muotka Wilderness lodge – and we didn’t regret it! The holiday snaps will be put into a separate post with all the details, but suffice it to say, we did lots of interesting stuff – skied, snowshoed, mushed a husky team, drove snowmobiles, rode in reindeer sled, seen the Aurora and ate lovely food.
but apart from that, I managed to scramble a few outfits together to photograph – and since somehow the cold climate spoke East to me, I went Manchurian – and Russian. The inspiration board is here.
Time to make the clothing was one thing – the cost and weight another – it needed to be light, and made from the materials from the stash…. a bit of a challenge, but not much!
The Manchurian inspired set was the first, and the least trouble to create. I already had silk trousers and long kaftan in silk from my Steampunk Mulan( Steampunk Amazones), so all i needed to make was a warm wool kaftan – and i wanted it to be something i would be able to wear not just for a shoot, but as a garment.
In the end, I ended up with a dark aubergine wool, with lots of trimming, including a fur trim, and a belt. Topped with my Varengian hat, it served the purpose well… the hairclips are by The Colorful world of Kanzashi
Since the snow was quite deep, getting into places could be challenging…. a short video here
Next was a formal Russian gown with a kokoshnik – all in silk, with silver lace. Fun to wear, though it does feel like wearing a silky tent 🙂
It turned out that modern skidoo and a modern down jacket were not bad accessories 🙂
And the last look was a traditional Russian sarafan – garment that was worn for several centuries, especially amongst the countryside folk, and in all its simplicity and elegance remained in style since about 13th century – till well into the 19th… cut and styles changed a bit overtime, but basically it was a dress work with shoulder straps over a long, often embroidered chemise. Worn with a headdress ( kokoshink for married women, scarf or similar for unmarried), the style is simple, but effective.
Here I had neither time, nor inclination to embroider a chemise, so I got mine from a lovely Ukrainian lady from etsy – made bespoke, it arrived promptly, and was absolutely stunning – her facebook page is here, and her etsy shop here – well work a look if you like the style, prices are very affordable too!
The kokoshnik I could make myself – but I saw a lovely one on a page Creations by Liv Free – and simply had to get it for the photoshoot! The artist was very accommodating, and the kokoshnik was amazing – I think it is still for sale in her shop
The sarafan was made out of some stock fabric, blend of wool and cotton – lovely weight and flowing stuff, but not best to sew in – so i ended up sewing all the decorations by hand… 2 braids were used to decorate it, and I think this look is by far my favourite one!
I was even made to work – towing a block of ice!
and that’s the height of the snow banks….
Hope you liked the wintery scenery – I must say I enjoyed the shooting immensely, but was glad it was not too cold – only minus a few degrees, so nothing major! 🙂
This was the last bit of the Geisha collection ( Part 1 and Part 2), and already drifting towards a Chinese or Manchurian influence. I had enough good-quality Chinese satin brocade, (proper silk stuff, not the poly/viscose thing, for a change!) to make a skirt, corset and a little bolero jacket. And since I knew that Threnody in Velvet, who modeled a part of the collection, is not only an amazingly gifted model but a talented photographer and make up artist, I decided to book a little makeover session with the other side of her business, Iberian Black Arts … and I wasn’t disappointed!
So a date was set, and I put some time aside to actually make my outfit. And as luck would have it, I ended up with an emergency commission instead – so had just a day to make something wearable…..
The corset was first – and from the start I regretted the choice of fabric.. the satin frayed like a mad, fraying thing, it wrinkled, moved, had a life of its own. It was too late to get fusible interfacing, so had to just get on with it and relay on roll-pinning and pure luck – and hoped the cat wouldn’t mind the amount of bad language that issued forth during the production…
In the end, success was just partial, I didn’t manage to get rid of all the wrinkles, but since it was not an item for sale I decided to leave it as it was and maybe trust the power of Photoshop….
On the day I grabbed the outfit, accessories etc – and since I was asked to bring another outfit just in case we had time to shoot more I packed my ‘snow queen’ gear too…
On arrival at Patricia’s studio we did not waste much time and got straight down to business. That is, I was munching on my sandwich whilst we were just getting the final details of the make up and hair – I had set up a board for inspiration, so we looked through different photos to get a clear idea of the styling.
The calm scene before we started…
Make up and hair took a bit of time, but not too much – and it was time well spent on a pleasant chatter, as well as deciding on some editing options, etc, and then it was time to don the gear, lace up and pose!
One important thing to mention beforehand – I am not a big fan of over the top post-production (Photoshopping, etc). I mentioned this, giving examples of what I definitely didn’t want – I wanted my body to stay the way it was, with no reduction etc, and my face basically unchanged as well – I often see the results of the popular boudoir make overs where ladies are virtually unrecognizable in the final image. This is fine if you are working on a product shoot ( though even here I tend to have problems with overphotoshopped models setting impossible standards), but not really for a personal image – everybody who knows me will just chuckle at a weird attempt to look much younger and much slimmer, and so I asked for minimal amount of post production. This is actually also why I chose Iberian Black Arts – the images showcased in the portfolio were a high quality ones, but not overly ‘over the top’.
And to be honest – the make up and the light worked wonders on their own…. well, see for yourself below……
After we finished shooting, I got the proofs the same day and chose the images I liked most, for editing. We discussed background options for both looks and the rest was just Patricia working her magic….
The Chinese look ( with a spectacular yellow kanzashi made especially for the shoot by Kikuya Kanzashi )
and the Snow Queen one…
By comparison, see the uneditted behind the scenes shots – three of the proofs, straight off the camera, showing me having some fun…:
As you can see the skin tone was smoothed and lightened to work with the styling for the image, the corset wrinkles magically disappeared, but it is still recognizably me, my body with slightly glamorized face. Happy with that:-)
Altogether, I must say I was delighted with both only the experience and the end product – highly recommended – If any of you folks would like to have a go at a makeover with Patricia ( Ipswich based), do give her a call, you won’t be disappointed – and the prices are good too! I found it a great way to showcase my work as a designer and maker, and have a bit of a girly fun as well – so work and play combined 🙂
The first of the corsets was in fact the first to be designed – and was also the most challenging one as for the first time I was making it completely from the scratch – not using and adapting other patterns, but actually designing piece by piece, hoping it would all work together:-)
The initial design with different silk choices… I wanted to convey the traditional aspect of geisha but with a strong modern twist, including the bondage element as well – think sexy bondage manga and you will more or less see where I was planning to head…. 🙂
I used my wasp waisted mannequin to get the shape of the pieces right – it is not too far off Threnody’s measurements, so it was a useful tool. once the pieces worked on the dummy, I made a mock up in plain coutil, boned it and sent it to Threnody to try on and mark any problem areas etc – since she specialises in corsetry modelling, she was able to provide a valuable feedback – a great help!
Once I received the mock up with the corrections back, I was able to implement them and change them a bit and start making the thing for real…
I was again due for our bitch and stitch sessions with Julia from Sew Curvy, so took it with me – and Julia’s suggestions and input helped a lot when we were considering minor changes in design.
Then the work started in earnest…
Once the inside was tidies up, the suspenders were added ( with a decorative Japanese buttons) and the corset was flossed with yarn – the flossing character chosen here was a kanji symbol meaning ‘red’.
Next were the posture collar, reflecting the design of the corset, and the pasties – it was my first go at the pasties, but was pretty please with them – they are made out of leather, silk and the edges are decorated with a chemille braid.
Then the whole set, including satin ribbons for the wrists and kanzashi flower for the hair was packed and sent on to Threnody.
On the day of the shoot we discussed accessories, hair and make up styles and I got the first proof the very same day – and once I chose the photos I wanted, Threnody ( yes, she is also the photographer, editor, make up artist – you name it! a very talented lady!) worked on a suitable background options and credits font etc.
and the results – well, I loved the pictures – and I hope you do too!
The corset is now back from its adventures and is available on sale in our online shop – and i think a few more of the same design will be appearing there at some point too 🙂
The other corset was already half made when due to a sudden change of plans I had to remake it, and make it fit Threnody – this one was a sheer number with the front panel and exterior boning channels made in vibrant kimono silk. as accessories, I made a matching set of vambrances:-)
And the corset was ready:-)
Again, it look great on Threnody, and the colours suited her exceptionally well!
This corset already sold – as I write it is making its way to Hong Kong:-)
Btw, the kanzashi flowers used here were by Colorful world of Kanzashi.
Hope you have enjoyed my little forray into the ethnic inspired corsetry – and, not surprisingly, I have another collection planned for the summer, with a completely different part of the world being represented:-)
The inspiration struck when I was making a Napoleonic set for a client – a thing with loads of braiding, military lace etc. Against all odds, I enjoyed making it ( and a post on that one can be found here) and thought that it would be nice to have something like that for myself…. And then I remembered artwork of a Polish artist, Bartek Drejewicz and his Napoleonic pin up girls ( do check his facebook page out, – not only Napoleonic but different armies through the centuries, beautifully rendered!). And yes, there are Steampunk corsets with military styling etc available – but non actually using the ‘proper’ military lace or specific historical styling… So I wanted to have a go….
The final design was actually worked out one evening when I was clearing my offcuts and left overs bits – and noticed narrow scraps of the broadcloth i used for the jacket. Not good for much more, but just enough for corset panels… I quickly adapted an overbust pattern to work as a waistcoat – with a black busk in front and lacing in the back. It did come out a tad short ( not enough fabric) but the first step was done – a waistcoat in broadcloth, cotton twill being used as the strength layer. I opted for a slight curve and not much of a reduction – so that I would be able to wear it at work at the markets- but also because it was the trial version:-)
I ordered more military lace and braid and once it arrived i started putting the lace on – it took me a few months as was working on it in between commissions….
So even with help ( ahem…) it took some time….
Once the frogging was on, I could put some silver soutache on the borders and the collar….
Then it was only getting some buttons ( beads….) and we were ready for shooting!
I tried the corset first with my Regency chemisette and plain black leggings….
Then I had an epiphany and fished out Lucas’s dancing breeches – in lovely white superfine. The just about fitted too! Then e had some fun with my old cavalry sabre as a prop:-)
The chemissette, in case anyone asks :
The conclusions – well, loved wearing it ( and wore it to markets since) but a few improvements will be needed for the next ones – longer in front, more hip spring, and probably not using busks and frogging together – it is a pain to do it all up! Still, I think it is a success – and more corsets in the style are planned, in different colours – already have a small stash of silver and gold military lace and braid, and am slowly collecting fabrics and props – I suspect we will have a bigger photoshoot with more models ( and hopefully horses) just before Waterloo 🙂 Once the next models are done, will post a link here – including a link to the shop as they will be offered on sale….
Hope you liked this experiment!
Clothes, as always, Prior Attire
photography Pitcheresque Imagery
I have done a lot of earlier Victorian (1876-86), but i have not really ventured into the 90ties ( though I did make a 1895 Ripple jacket for my Christmas outfit last year), so the Belle Epoche ideas had been brewing awhile here…
and then, a few moths ago, I saw this on Pinterest
I mean – huge skirt ridiculous lapels, mega-sleeves, a very ugly hat – how can you not love it!? I immediately pinned it onto my 1890ties board and started planning…
It was a longer project i planned to do more or less over the Christmas break here – I don’t celebrate it, but many of my clients do, so there is a bit of a free time to carve for my own projects there:-) I wanted to make as many bits as I could in the gaps before the commissions and hopefully shoot it with a wintry landscape, should we be so lucky as to get any snow here.
starting ith the foundations..
I already had a corset cut to a Symingotn pattern ( patterned by Cathy Hay) – I made it for my wedding 3 years ago, when I was just starting my corsetry adventure, and so it doesn’t fit particularly well ( the back laces form () at the back, never a good sign.. ) Still, it survived 3 years of extensive use, and it looks nice and is very , very comfy…
Since I now had an excuse to make a new one, i set down to work. I redrafted the same patter to fit me better, and this time made it a one layer affair in a lovely mink coutil from Sew Curvy. I also decided on external bone channels – and you can see the details on construction in the little video I put together – Here.
The blue flossing and external tape worked well with the mink colour and I put some antique lace at the top too.
It fits nicely and is comfy, and once it is properly seasoned ( worn for a bit, so that it adjusts to my body) i bet it will close in the back. Both corsets are 27″ waist.
The petticoat was easy – I used my old antique one:-)
To get the proper width of the hem, an underskirt was often worn too – there are a few existing ones , and whereas some are made in cotton, there are a few made in silks, with rather nice lace – a very elegant affairs!
I hunted out some nice lace on etsy and used leftover silk from my Regency gown
I used up 12 metres of that lace… all gathered and sewed in two tiers – to the hem and to the flounce
The skirt was next. I used a Truly Victorian Pattern for the Ripple skirt and it worked a treat! I made mine in boucle wool, with stiff cotton lining.
The blouse – well, in this instance i ran out of time a bit and used a blouse I found on ebay, from Cotton Lane. Thy make pretty neat shirtwaists, that are not too different in construction from the proper stuff – and as I dislike sewing shirts etc, I simply plan to alter this one – I will remove the sleeves, cut out the pin tucked panel and the cuffs and sew them onto a proper, leg of mutton style sleeves in the same cotton. I will need to re-insert the collar too, to fit my neck better, but altogether I think it should pass muster – will update this post once it is done ( february, as want to wear it for the next market! )
And then it was time to think about the coat….
I wanted to make it in green wool and line with cotton. When I went wool shopping i was irrevocably drawn to the wool I used for mu 1876 February dress – lovely , napped fabric, soft and warm. I couldn’t say no…
The lining was a rather pricey cotton flanelett – light, but soft, with a slight nap, to keep me war,
Other ingredients included rabbit fur, linen interlining for the lapels and collar, tape for channels and lovely buttons made by Gina B.
Looking at many original coats and patterns from the era, it is easy to notice that the coats dould me made either with bodice and skirts cut separately or together. I decided on the former – and adapted a pattern for the skirts from one of the coats shown in this book – 59 Authentic turn of the century patterns
The bodice getting ready… I adapted a pattern of my old Victorian bodice and played with a mock up untill I had the correct shape of the lapels… took a few goes…
The ‘sleeves of doom’ were quite a challenge. I found a pattern for the sleeves in the same book and played with them – they consisted of a normal sleeve, lined, and a puff . the sleeves are cut on the bias, to achieve the fitted forearm, and the puff is interlined and stiffened with layers of net…
But the net and pleating wasn’t enough to achieve the desired look. shoulder supports were needed.
I found a few pictures of them, and in the end settled on the wire and tape ones. they go inside the puff, and are tapes are sewn onto the undersleeve.
I must admit that try as I might, the pleated effect seen on the original escaped me ( I almost got there with cartridge pleating but realised in the end that i would have to have more fabric – and a different shoulder support, possibly with the wired running in the other direction, so that the pleats fill in between… just a theory.
Still the sleeves did work out quite well…
time to attach the skirt to the bodice… the bodice was boned on every seam and has a waiststay as well.
Thebuttons were next – they are decorative items, as the coat closed with hooks and eyes under the fur trim:-)
The hat was simply an adapted hat from my 1876 frock – i simply drew the line at making an ugly hat and decided to temporarily re-arrange an existing one – and since the brim was wired, it was easy to shape it differently, add feathers and a bow:-)
On the day we used a new backdrop for some of the pictures ( no snow here, alas) for a cheesy Victorian postcard look, with the props being a few things we picked up on ebay – antique sledge and skates 🙂
it was time to get dressed – and I realised a bit of a mistake as soon as i put the coat on – the skirts were voluminous and heavy, squashing the shape of the Ripple skirt, and dragging on the floor 😦 so that’s another thing I will need to sort out before a proper outing – cutting the hem short and probably adding a bit more stiffening to it too, to help it flare out.
Apart from that I am very happy how it all turned out – and hope we will see some proper snow at some point to take better pictures!
as it is – the results below:-)
The cost.. ouch…
corset – materials and labour – approximately £300,
underskirt – lace – £90, silk £30, labour £90 – £210
ripple skirt – fabrics – £50, labour – £150 – £200
coat – fabrics and notions – £100, labour £300
cheap blouse – £35 😉
total – approx £1000….. plus the hat…
Altogether it was not the most expensive but not the cheapest set either – but it is comfortable, stylish and more or less practical ( once you get used to the enormous sleeves) so I will be wearing it quite a lot for the markets etc, I think:-)
And yes, I do love the sleeves… Power dressing!!!! 🙂 hope you like it too 🙂
usual credits – Dressmaking – Prior Attire
photography – Pitcheresque Imagery
corsetry supplies – Sew Curvy
Buttons – Gina B Silkworks,
Wool – Bernie the Bolt
cotton lining, notions – Tudor Rose Patchwork
Fur – GH Leathers
I have never actually been to a proper Halloween Party, but this year we were seduced into attempting one. Admittedly most of the seduction was done by the location – we have been to Gosfield Hall before, to shoot our Summer Bride collection last year – and loved it! So the tickets were bought, and since it was Lucas’ birthday on the 1st, I treated us, as a surprise, to securing the sumptuous Bridal Suite for our stay.
And with a venue like that and lodgings dripping with gold, I obviously needed suitably splendid attire….
Fortunately I had a cunning plan – I have designed the Batdress several months ago, a spur of the moment thing, and then was lucky enough to get a bargain fabric – 15m of crushed silk velvet – useless for historical outfits, but perfect for a bit of Halloween fancy dress.
The original sketch,
and a work in progress sketch – yep, that’s how I make skirts and gauge how much fabric to use…
the foundations first – a cage crinoline, mid Victorian design, and a muslin petticoat from one of our bridal frocks….
then the skirt….
The corset was a bit of a challenge – because it was to be worn over a crinoline and not underneath, it had to be much shorter, allowing for the skirts to billow up. As a result, it turned out to be a surprisingly comfortable wear:-)
The corset used plain coutil as a strength layer, tape castings for channels and cotton for lining. Decoration – silver and black lace appliques, silver thread flossing and red beads.
The overskirt/wings were made of the same fabric and lined with faux duponi silk from James Hare – and boned with thin metal flat steel.
other accessories included these..
Once the dress was done, I have 6 hours to make something more before we hit the road – and in a mad rush I made another corset, satin and calico , with lace and silk tulle decoration:-), styled for a Bridal vampiric look…
The plan was to arrive early and shoot the bridal stuff first, then change and have fun in the Bat dress. alas, we underestimated the traffic – Friday, end of half term, halloween – we were stuck on the motorway for much too long. as a result, we arrived in time to get ready, but not to shoot the bridal stuff – that will have to be done the following morning!
We were surprised , very pleasantly, by a nice card and a bottle of white wine awaiting us in the suite – a present from our friend Eleanor, who was also attending the party! 🙂
Before the party a girl needs to relax – a bath and a face mask was in order. Lucas did have a bit of a shock when i joked I could go to the party wearing this….
but at last the clothes were on, make up and hair was done and we could take a few pictures….
The event was very atmospheric – an amazing singer in one room, roast boar dinner and a cobweb covered pianist playing tunes from the Phantom of the Opera in the other, fireworks outside – amazing!
apart from relaxing, eating and enjoying ourselves, we did take more pictures at the end of the night….
as to the question i was asked a few times at the party – how do you go to the loo in that?
well, the answer is simple – wear split drawers ( or none….) and go in forward….
In the morning we got up early and shot the Dracula’s bride styling – corset with lace, with a scrap of lace as a headdress, my bridal veil and a silk chiffon skirt….
we were having so much fun we almost missed breakfast – as a result i rushed downstairs half dressed – don’t think many people minded though – the corset looked great with jeans too!
I must admit I loved wearing the Batdress – but it was a one off and is going to be put on sale ( though not before we shoot it somewhere else – the original idea was a forest or a cemetery), just like the bridal corset – no doubt next year I will come up with a different kit: – )
hope you enjoyed the madness – we did, and are planning more Halloween outings in the future!
As Halloween was approaching and I noticed a few bits of non historical fabrics in my store room, an idea was hatched – we will do some Halloween photography! We mentioned the idea to a friend at one of the markets, and she volunteered lending us some of her corsets for it. we mentioned it on facebook and withing minutes we had more contributors and models agreed on, and time set asid e for some Halloween/Goth/Victoriana fun.
We started with an organic look for a pumpkin queen – my Spring Petal Dress had a remake ( a brief encounter with spray paint), and after an afternoon of drilling and carving the pumpkins ( the jigsaw power tool was perfect for it!) we were ready…
and on the day we prepared the set for the Pumpkin Queen in the nearby woods… the results below:-)
Next day was the big day! our make up artist, Sammm Agnew arrived just after noon, and the models, Gem and Hannah followed shortly after.
My workroom was transformed into a make up and hair styling centre…
and we shot several different looks around the house… the results below – wherever possible I provided inks directly to the products featured as many of the items are actually available to purchase straight away 🙂
Innocence Tainted – Gem is wearing a silk skirt and a corset by Prior Attire… Head by Samm Agnew!
Victoriana – the ladies of the night;-)
The girls are sporting Victorian attires – the purple one has sold already, but the chocolate pumpkin one is still available here
Pumpkin corset – Hanna had a quick transformation and here is sporing a silk corset with black lace decoration from Prior Attire matched with a black skirt
Demon Bride – Gem had a go at the wedding dress that got damaged in the fire – with a festive spray of blood….
and then got quickly into this stunning piece by Wyte Phantom
Even our MUA vamped out her make up , donned a lovely corset ( again, Wyte Phantom) and a skirt ( Prior Attire) and jumped in front of the camera
and after having my face and hair transform to fit with Vampish Gothic criteria, I joined her:-) The overskirt, corset and posture collar by Wyte Phantom, flouncy skirt ( sold already, sorry….) and the fascinator by Prior Attire
and that was it for one long day – but it was not all! 2 days later lovely Miss Lilian Love joined us for a classy corsetry shoot – and in one evening we shot some more Halloween stuff and some elegant vintage inspired stuff with superb corsets from Clessidra ( there will be a separate post on that, here’s a teaser)
and the Halloween stuff –
again, we put Lilian in the Wyte Phantom corset and a Prior Attire skirt
As you can see, it was a lot of fun ( tiring, but fun!) and that was not the end of it – the following weekend saw us at a Halloween ball from which I had a very special creation – but that a topic for another post! 🙂
Make up and hair – Sammm Agnew
models – Gem and Hanna Bow, Miss Lilian Love,
photography – Pitcheresque Imagery
With the trailer of the film running amok in the internet and showing in every feed, we were a bit fed up with the 50 shades of Gray overexposure. I do sincerely hope the film is going to be better than the book, which was a serious abuse of my gray matter – those who have read it know it, those who didn’t – well, if you fancy a badly written parody with hardly any plot, no character development worth speaking about and seriously bored soliloquies and dialogues ( blessedly short, mind you ) – have a go, you’ll enjoy it once you realize it is a bit of a parody:-). Anyway, fingers crossed the film will be at least a bit more interesting.
In the meantime, we decided to have our own 50 Shades – but in sepia… Lucas went through our few last stock photoshoots ( the Edwardian corsetry and Stock photography) and picked out the most tasteful/funny/ridiculous/atmospheric shoots of historical lingerie and render them in sepia….
Here is Mr. Sepia himself…
and his girls…
Hope you like the experiment – some of the corsets etc are still available in our shop!
Many thanks to our elegantly playful models : Miss Lilian Love, Helen Radlett, Adrianna Renarde and Anett Novak
So we have got a new website – and it comes with a shop! Online shoo for some essentials has been on my to do list for quite some time, and so I decided to go ahead with it. And your products need to be photographed, right? Well, since we were moving house, we decided to get as many pictures sorted before we do so – and 2 long sessions have been set aside and done!
The first was a fun session with Miss Lilian Love – featuring our modern corsets – the elegant sheer…
and a cyberpunk/sci fy underbust – in a few looks!
then a week later we had Anett, and Adrianne..
and a few outtakes from the shoot…
after the shoot the girls went to bed…. 😉
The next day Helen joined us for more fun..
and then Lizzie got to model some more stuff too 🙂
even I got to model one of our stock items!
and after all the shooting was done, it was editing time – photos, of course, by Pitcheresque Imagery
All the items here ( and many more) are already available in the shop – but will get a proper post on the shop at some point too!
Many thanks to all our models for their hard work, creativity and simply being great company!