Symington corset pattern 1907-07 experiment

Victorian Black and Blue-8

 

When, earlier on this year, the scans of Symington corset patterns were released, (by Leicester County council, link to the patterns, etc: Leicestershire symington patterns), a lot of corsetmakers  stormed the site and bought the images they wanted to use as an experiment in pattern-making. Well, I was one of the horde who grabbed an image (or two…) but it was only recently that I had time enough to have a go at one of the patterns.

I chose 2 complex patterns and up till the last moment I couldn’t decide on which one to make first – but  in the end the decision fell on one with a lot of gores. I know, a masochistic choice, but well… I just couldn’t resist it, as the ‘gore within a gore’ concept worked for me on a variety of levels –  historically accurate and yet with styling  that would not look amiss in a modern or steampunk corset.

So ‘Gore Galore Corset’ it was – and it turned out be be even more gore-tastic than I had imagined….

IMG_0286

But,  let us start at the beginning.

 

The moment I measured the printed out pattern, I knew there would be serious issues with the fit – it just wasn’t very curvy! There were just a few inches of difference between the  hip, waist, and bust, and my bod calls for more than just a few. Still, I worked out (read: husband  did the calculations) how much the  pattern has to be enlarged, and blew it up in the local photocopying place.

IMG_0287

Then, I took the sheet, components and lunch and drove over to Sew Curvy for our usual Stitch and Bitch session – the corset was to be constructed there –  good company and nice space make it easy for me to focus, and having an accomplished corsetiere on hand to help with the fitting can only help… 🙂

The work could then begin.

IMG_0289

tracing the seam lines on the blown up copy

 

IMG_0288

calico on the pattern and could trace the pieces next…

IMG_0290

Pieces traced

IMG_0291

and pieces cut out….

 

At that point I was cleverly distracted by Julia who dug out 2 lovely antique corsets and I stopped to drool over  them… A teaser here, no doubt Julia will put more info and pictures of them on the Sew Curvy blog at some point…

IMG_0295

 

Then it was back to work – I wanted to assemble the mock up before lunch…

IMG_0301

The pieces assembled….. outside view

IMG_0302

 

and inside, below…

IMG_0303

 

IMG_0304

 

The moment of truth! How does it look on the body..?

IMG_0305

 

Pretty straight – as expected to be  honest.  As the proportions, length etc worked, I just needed an inch more reduction at the waist – and  to add a few inches at the hip and bust to accommodate my curves…

IMG_0307

And the easiest way to do that was just to cut inside the gores and use bits of calico to cover the areas that needed more expansion… and a bit more boning in front for support…

 

IMG_0308   The hip spring already looks much better, (and feels more comfy too)

 Then it was lunch time!

IMG_0310

well, we had soup first…..

After lunch I amended the pattern to accommodate the changes – all that needed to be done was to enlarge the inside gores….  and since the incisions were sort of already there, I decided to let them remain split – and just get another gore in…. A gore within a gore within a gore! A bit mad, but it just seemed to work better than simply making the inside gore bigger – and it resulted in a much more interesting look too…..

IMG_0311

Corset pieces cut out in black and blue sateen

Alas, it also meant I had 12 gores to sew in…. ouch….

IMG_0314

seam allowances pressed and ready for assembly

but with help of coffee I persevered…

IMG_0318

the corset will be boned with internal boning – but since back looked a bit boring in comparison with the front, I decided to make a casting for double bones in contrasting fabric there to balance the design

The rest of the evening was spent flossing the gores…..

IMG_0320

 

And next morning saw me with the gores flossed (is it only me, or does that sound a bit weird? ), and I was ready for some boning. (Seriously, take that sentence out of context and it sounds damned indecent! Corsetry nomenclature joys…)

IMG_0327

 

I marked the channels as close to the original as possible, and added a few more to support my boobage a bit better too…) The tape was applied over a waist stay.

IMG_0330

 

and done!

IMG_0331

It was time to try it on – if anything needs changing, there is still some scope for reshaping things, if needs be, before the lining comes in and covers all the inside…

IMG_0353

verdict – not too bad!

IMG_0339

a tiny bit too loose at the back hip, but easy to amend. very comfortable too!

At that stage I  said goodbye to Julia and Sew Curvy studio and drove back home, where I finished the corset the next day – black cotton lining was added and the bones were flossed in black. Then it was binding time and it was done!  If needs be, suspenders can be added at the front center and sides, but that can be done later once I decide whether to use it as an undergarment – or a modern top layer corset…

IMG_0554

 

As it turned out, it was over a month later that we were able to get any decent photos – and  surprise, surprise, my overindulgence in MMA and other martial activities  at the club meant that I lost some inches… The corset still fitted, but was a bit on a loose side. 😦
Even with the corset a tad too big, we got to shoot it and ended up with some interesting images.

First we shot in in the historical style – with black lawn chemise and drawers, with a matching blue ribbon.

Victorian Black and Blue-7

Victorian Black and Blue-11

Victorian Black and Blue-14

Victorian Black and Blue-17

 

And later on in the evening,  on the way back from the movies, I  changed into leggings, black top and a wig – and we shot it with a cyber punk/comic/ Tron convention  in mind – the results below….

 

Black and Blue SciFiAngel Underlight Neon

 

Black and Blue SciFiAngel Neon-2

Black and Blue SciFiAngel Underlight-4

Black and Blue SciFiAngel Underlight-5

Black and Blue SciFiAngel Underlight-9

Black and Blue SciFiAngel Underlight-8

 

As you can see, it turned out to be a pretty versatile piece –  just a shame it is a tad too big now….   And as it is a bit too big, it has already been sold to a friend  who plans to use it for some steampunk events – so it is bound to lead an interesting life….

But I am not saying goodbye to the pattern per se – indeed I liked the gores so much, I have now purchased black and yellow lacquered leather – it will be made into a Hornet Corset:-)

 

 

 

 

Hussar style corset

 

 

Hussar Corset-35

 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….

10255715_616226248468711_2867767774444041898_n 10366068_644974078927261_4483094348385408243_n

 

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:-)

IMG_20140915_143023

 

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….

IMG_20140916_101302

So even with help ( ahem…) it took some time….

IMG_20140917_094027

 

Once the frogging was on, I could put some silver soutache on the borders and the collar….

 

IMG_20141203_231126

 

Then it was only getting some buttons ( beads….) and we were ready for shooting!

Hussar Corset-39 Hussar Corset-40

 

I tried the corset first with my Regency chemisette and plain black leggings….

Hussar Corset-11

 

Hussar Corset-4

Hussar Corset-14

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:-)

Hussar Corset-22

Hussar Corset-27

Hussar Corset-32

Hussar Corset-38

 

The chemissette, in case anyone asks :

 

Hussar Corset-41

 

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….

IMG_20150215_104205

 

Hope you liked this  experiment!

 

Credits:

Clothes, as always, Prior Attire

photography Pitcheresque Imagery

 

 

1885 day gown – stock item

LJP_5824sepia

 

Since after the WWI corsetry shoot  we still had the set living in the garage, I decide to use the opportunity to snap a few atmospheric shots of a  circa 1885 day dress in cotton from our stock.-a skirt with an asymmetric drapery and a bodice, both lined in cotton. It was about 2 sizes too big for me, but clever pinning and padding worked, to some extent . Would suit a corsetted size 14-16, with bodice closing at 34 inches, chest 40. sleeve 23 “, skirt length 41inches. here worn on a corset ( unlaced) and a bustle cage and a petticoat. It  will be available to purchase from our online store soon:-)

And in the meantime – enjoy the pictures – really happy how they turned out,  Lucas is really getting the hang of it now!

LJP_5789

 

LJP_5791sepia

 

LJP_5796

LJP_5815sepia

LJP_5818

LJP_5821sepia

 credits – Clothing: Prior Attire

photography: Pitcheresque Imagery

 shoes: American Duchess

hair ( well, the fringe)- Wonderland wigs

Corsetry experiment – 1884 patent by C.W. Higby

 Image

1884 patent by C.W. Higby; US Patent #294620

Now this one was a true adventure – and an intrepid one, for someone with my limited corsetry experience!  But when the challenge was announced on FB by the corsetry website, Foundations Revealed, I simply couldn’t say ‘no’ to it as I liked the lines of the particular corset in question. I must admit I regretted that decision a few times as the date for the article got closer – but my regrets stopped the moment I started working on it.

So, to take the things from the beginning.  As I said, I am not a particularly experienced corsetiere – I have made in total maybe around 30 corsets or so, and about 20 of those in the last year – but in these cases I was working from a selection of ready patterns. Yes, they needed adjustments and tweaking, but  generally the proportions and scale were there. I have never made a corset pattern on my own, though I have made loads for historical outfits and especially for the bridal side of my business – bodices, skirts, coats etc.

This one was a very different proposition. All I had was a drawing of the corset, a drawing of the pattern and an explanation of the patent online – http://www.google.com/patents/US294620. That’s it.  The rest was up to me.

Knowing that my own experience might not be enough, and also that I would need help with fitting the corset onto myself, I came up with a very cunning plan and decided to work on the item during one of my visits to Julia Bremble – a friend who runs ‘Sew Curvy’, a corset making and corsetry selling company in Oxfordshire. Her studio is great, both spacious and peaceful, and we seem to work well together, “stitching and bitching”. Also, since Julia is a professional corsetiere, I would have an expert on hand to nudge me in the right direction. So, one lovely morning in May, I packed my sewing case and drove over to Oxfordshire, and the work began…

What we know from the patent’s description:

  • The most visible feature was the lacing at the sides – I have seen corsets with side lacing, like the maternity ones, but the lacing was usually vertical. Here the side lacing is diagonal, curving gently.
  • The inventor states his aims clearly: the corset is to fit well and comfortably, allow for easy movement of the body and for adjustments, all the while being able to support as required of a corset.
  • Boning – diagonal cording or boning or any other suitable method is encouraged. From the picture it looks like boning /cording is placed more or less in the middle of each main section, and at the edges of the lacing parts.
  • No mention of the waist tape.

What we don’t know – or at least things that were not apparent for me:

  • How many layers? 2, 3, or 4 including decorative fabrics? Possibly much depends on the individual – and lining was not always present in the historical corsets, mainly because they were worn on a chemise anyway.  I decided to go with 2 layers of coutil, so that the boning/cording is sandwiched between the layers, with a lining added later.
  • Seams – somehow it appeared to me that lapped seams would work better on the curved lines of this corset – as they do on the Edwardian corsets, yet I wasn’t sure if they were used in 1884. So lapped or standard seams? In the end, and after a longish discussion with Julia, I opted for lapping it.

Pattern:

I printed out the pattern from Google and had it blown up to more or less half my measurements. Btw – this was almost entirely the only bit of maths I did, and it was probably a dodgy one anyway… I drew the lines on the original printout, where I predicted the waist to be (the point of the hip gore was my reference). I measured each piece on the line, added the numbers up and had ½ waist measurements of the piece.  From that I realized that to match my measurements we would have to blow it about 4 times bigger.  So for the ‘mini me’ version, 200 percent bigger would just do the trick

Image

 The idea was to cut the pattern out, put it together and see if the pieces actually matched up. I traced the pieces onto patterning paper,

Image

 cut them out and used masking tape to attach them all together. A useful tip – cut the paper with the seam allowance, it will be easier to glue it!

Image

Image

 What became evident was that the pieces matched well, but not perfectly – a few pieces in the front section were either a tad too long or too short to match smoothly – but not drastically. In principle, however, it worked.

The next stage was to cut out the corset in calico – but bigger so that it would fit a human being – I was not concerned about the precise fit, I simply wanted to see how the pieces worked together as fabric, on a scale I was a bit more familiar with. And so, I simply worked out that by making the pieces about half as big again, they should fit an adult human being.  This meant adding about 2cm all around to every piece.

Image

 Fortunately at that time Julia was too preoccupied with her own work (she was working on a lovely bridal skirt), or she would possibly have suffered a coronary seeing my ‘intuitive’ grading and sizing method. I must admit that maths and I are not the best of friends, and we try to avoid each other – for historical dressmaking this is just fine, and I love working with toiles, sculpturing the fabric to fit a body and then using the toile to adapt the original pattern. This method does not always work, however, and corsetry is one of those precise arts that do need at least some maths, so it is a bit of a trade-off. Here however, as I was just playing, I decided to give it a go.

I stitched all the pieces together, using ready-made eyelet tape at the sides, or punching the holes in calico – at the back I used an eyelet and bones tape that enabled me to have the back stabilized enough for the sake of the experiment.

Image

calico pieces stitched up

Image

and laced up

I held it against my body (as you do…) and realized that it was just a bit too big for me – but not too badly!

Image

Image

A miracle! I actually had a proper toile there! I quickly stitched up the centre panel, taking an inch off it, moved the back eyelet tapes in by another inch as well, attached wide flat steel in the front, (a masking tape job), and asked Julia to lace me in.  It was still too big, but it was possible for us to work on it – marking the areas where we needed more room and the ones where we needed less…

At the same time, the shape created by the long lacing strip in front suggested that the pattern may be adapted and made into a nice modern corset, or maybe a steampunk one. So we left one half of the pattern as it was, true to its Victorian original, and started to play with the other half, eventually coming up with an overbust  shape that looks like a big heart in front .

Image

playing with the toile – one side is the original Victorian pattern, the other one is being built up into a modern Steampunk one…

ImageImage

 What I learnt from the toile:

*The side back lacing panels need to be longer.

* It is still too big at the waist, but the back top and the hip could do with more space (1/2 an inch more at the top back and an inch at the hip).

* The sweeping curves are rather pretty….

Next step – adapting the pattern slightly and tracing it on the coutil, to make the sample corset in my size.

Planning boning channels too– I decided to go for boning as opposed to cording, and bone the corset in 4mm spiral wire in the middle of the pieces, with the 5mm going in the lacing at the sides, and  flat bones at the back lacing.

Image

preparing the proper coutil, marking channels here!

Once traced, I cut the pieces out, pinned them together and started sewing….

Image

cutting out!

Channels first – I sewed them on the a and b pieces.

Image

sewing channels

Image

The side lacing strips were sewn along the edges on the wrong side, flipped over, pressed and a channel was stitched just next to the edge.

Busk was inserted into the front pieces and laid aside.

Pieces were stitched together using lapped seams (for a detailed tutorial I do recommend Sew Curvy’s DVD on corsetry – worked a treat for me!). This involved careful pressing on each piece’s seam allowance, then aligning and pinning – but though time consuming, it was a relatively hassle-free procedure.

Image

Image

 Side lacing piece and busk piece were connected last – and we have the first quarter ready!

Image

Image

The process was repeated on the other side piece

Image

 Back pieces:

and b pieces and the side lacing strip were sewn together first.

ImageWith the back panel, the long a piece needs to be boned before attaching the back lacing panel – it is the only piece with the boning channels closed up during the construction.  Once that is done, the back lacing piece is attached.   And the whole is repeated on the other side.

Image

back panel ready

Image

one back piece ready, the other in progress!

There are now 4 pieces – and they all need to be boned.

The boning I used, as mentioned before, were lovely 4mm and 5m spiral steels, and flats for the back lacing piece

Image

Image

all pieces boned!

Once I had all 4 pieces boned, it was time for some eyelets. Quite a lot of them actually, as I used about 90 of them. Since it was an experimental sample I didn’t want to waste that many proper eyelets on something that might not work, so I dug out a little pouch of 100 yellow eyelets that looked funky and could go to waste.

Image

 Once that was done, the sides could be laced – and I simply had to go for the yellow Russia braid I had handy on the mock up…

Image

 The moment had arrived – I could actually try the thing on!

Image

side….

Image

front… and backImage

Image

hip unlaced – looks better!

The first impressions:

  • Very light and comfortable
  • Definitely not giving me my usual 27” waist – here  only a slight reduction, to 29-30”
  • It picked up the asymmetrical features much more than usual – I very rarely  have to adapt the corset patterns  because of my slight asymmetry, but here it showed more, especially at the back –my slightly asymmetric back muscles meant some of the boning at the back was a bit too low (see the back view ). So channels will have to be undone and re- stitched a bit lower in that piece.
  •  The corset had a bigger wrinkle at the back/side – I put it down to the lack of any boning along the seam of the two a pieces at the back – and decided to add 2 channels running parallel to the seam there.
  •  Hips felt a bit too tight and constricted when the side lacings were laced up – but loosening the laces resulted in a much better fit, and looked better too!

Not too bad. I readjusted the boning channels on the side and hip, and stitched additional ones on both sides of the seam between the two back a pieces

Image

more channels added!

Next step – flossing. At that stage I rather liked with black and yellow combination, so flossing was done in dark yellow cotton thread.

Image

flossing detail

Image

 I also decided to add lining – since it looks as if the thing may actually be wearable, I might as well make sure it feels nice if I decide to wear it outside the Victorian setting, (it does have a certain steampunk look to it, even in its original form!) so cotton lining was stitched to every part of the corset

Image

 Then there was only binding left to do – and adding some yellow lace I found in my stock. It was ready to wear!

Image

binding….

Image

all bound, lace added, time to put it on!

the result….

Image

side view, hip laced

Image

front view

Image

back – asymmetry much less pronounced

Image

front, hip unlaced

Impressions – as stated before, very comfortable, providing lots of support, but not giving as much pronounced waist as my usual corset does; Still, a perfect choice to wear around the house, for country dancing or  for riding too. – I have since used it for a Steampunk Amazones shoot , for riding sidesaddle and it worked perfectly!

 Image

 The side-adjustment lacing is useful as the corset can be adjusted for a more energetic activity in seconds. It may also be used during pregnancy, I suppose, but since I have never been pregnant, I have no experience with which to compare…

Although made as a prototype sample, I think it is more than wearable – though for that purpose I will need to get better laces than Russia braid – I will either use black laces or white ones (and dye them yellow…. 🙂

What I have learned and would do differently next time.

  1. The spiral boning works well, but more is needed at the back than is indicated on the original drawings.
  2. Chatting when marking boning channels can result in wonky channels – the front channels are slightly offset as a result…
  3.  I would use silk for flossing
  4.  …I would use better eyelets too; (The ones used here were without washers)
  5.  If I want to keep the side lacing laced up, I will need to add another inch on each hip…

Having said that, the next project will be making the steampunk version of this corset, so I may employ some different techniques and materials…

Many thanks for Julia  from Sew Curvy for help with fitting and expertise! 🙂

Garage Fire and Post-Conflagration Photoshoot

Image

As some of you may already know, on December 28th we had a garage fire – a faulty socket started a rather unexpected conflagration. The fire was discovered by our neighbours and the fire brigade was called….

Image

whatever you do, do not open the door…. raging inferno inside….

Image

fire quenched…. all steaming nicely…

The firemen did a sterling job, and an hour later the garage was soaked in water, steaming like hell, but secure – and so the boys left,  bearing quite a lot of our post Christmas posh choccies –  at least a token of gratitude.

The next morning we inspected the damage….  there was a lot of personal items there, bikes, re-enactment stuff, tools, tents, camping gear, furniture etc – but also almost all my stock – both finished items ( including the gowns from the Autumn Bride collection) and  wool, silk and linen awaiting their turn to be sewn up into lovely costumes. It also contained quite a lot of other people’s items,  things left  behind, or brought for re sizing, embellishment etc…

The inspection did not bring good news – just a few pictures here…

Image

that heap contains most of our re-enactment footwear – Regency riding boots, 18th century shoes, medieval ones, my cavalry boots ; all melted….

Image

that’s what remained of my bucket tops cavalry boots….

Image

unlikely survivors… fire-starters… how ironic!

Image

the culprit

ImageImage

Image

the clothes were ruined – the ones n plastic covers, or in the wardrobe were covered with melted plastic, charred, some burnt. some , mostly wool, were just dirty – but changed size a bit – being first hot, then wet, and then drying up in still hot garage overnight, the wool shrank…

Image

  Fortunately we were insured – unfortunately I didn’t realize  that in order to cover the 3rd party items i need to have an additional third party option – public liability was apparently no good, as the folks who lost their things would have to claim on their own insurances and prove that I was liable – negligent, or actually starting the fire. Since it was plain I wasn’t – they would lose the case. So now it looks like the money the insurance is going to pay for the stock and business equipment  is going to be mostly spent on paying up other people. The insurers were a bit surprised that that ‘s what I intended to do – they clearly though that was other people’s loss and nothing to do with me. It was just as clear to me, that I cannot afford to treat my clients so – and they are all being reimbursed ( about 4 grand…) as soon as the money arrives..   lesson to other costumers etc – do check your insurances for the 3rd party damage!  I have learnt my lesson….

 I will  just have enough to pay up for the new fabrics to help me rebuild the stock ( will take a few years…).  oh well. Not a good start of  the year, but nobody was hurt – and most of the possessions are just that – possessions….

 There was a silver lining though – we decided that the lovely charred wall in the garage and all the damaged items are only too good not to take advantage of, so we held 2 photo shoots in the garage, exploring the post apocalyptic, distressed ideas, letting the gowns shine one last time….

  Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

a bit of Judith and Holofernes going on here….

Image

good acting, Lucas!

Image

Image

Image

a bit of lady Borgia….

Image

Pride and prejudice and the Zombies!

Image

Image

 Many, many thanks to the models who come over and got dirty with us!

 photography – Pitcheresque Imagery

models: Miss Lilian Love, Helen Underwood, Jenny Bowers, Izabela Pitcher, Lucas Pitcher

Quirky outfit for Christmas

Image

Christmas 2013 was supposed to be a bit different.  Well, at least stress free.  So a decision has been made,  we are not doing it.  No tree, presents, food etc, no last minute decisions who is doing what and where and when, no last minute family travelling plans. instead, we made plans to go to London. Not far, we can get a nice hotel for our airmiles, just pure relaxation.

 Until I realized I have nothing to wear….

 Yep, alas, as far as modern clothing is concerned, my wardrobe is rather limited. I buy sports clothing and  occasionally casual clothing, but  apart from a few old dresses ( I don’t think I bought a dress, top or trousers in the last 2 years…), there was nothing suitable to parade about in the posh London hotel.  True, I can take a few Victorian/Steampunk bits, they would work, but since it was Christmas, I wanted to have something special.

 So a project was born – and after a short rummage in the garage I emerged with a few lengths of nice corduroy fabric and a vague idea of what can be made out of it.

 The most important bits to have in mind were – Original, quirky – but wearable, comfortable and suitable for sightseeing in winter.

 Then a ripple jacket pattern caught my eye – and that was really it.  A smart 1895 bodice, can be paired with a skirt – and would look smart, quirky but not too weird.

 December temperatures in London were a bit of a problem – but seeing i have enough fabric, i decided to make the jacket reversible. it worked, sort of, though a major pain, as the jacket still has seams boned, so making it was a bit tricky.

 Skirt was easy – 4 panels, and a waistband, plus a contrasting binding.

 And since i still had some fabric left, and had a few hours left before we were due to leave,  I decided  to make a pair of breeches – just in case it would be either too cold or we wanted to do something more energetic.

 Monday 23, we were packed, with half finished gear –  buttons to sew on etc. I also managed to cram an old hat into the suitcase, plus some fabric straps – may just be able to make a matching headgear!

Image

How long are we staying in London? Are you sure it is only 3 nights?

 The hotel was indeed a tad posh (Crowne Plaza near St.James’ park  ), but our weird clothes met with applause – the first day, after a nice sauna we set off to a Mexican restaurant, braving the gale force winds and rain – wrapped rather nicely in long Victorian skirt and coat, Lucas sporting his  Regency Great coat 🙂

Image

Suave…. 🙂

Image

getting ready 🙂

Next day saw us walking around and looking for quirky bits at Camden town. In the evening, after  a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at Zizzi and a stroll over to the Westminster, it was time to finish my outfit.

Image

Big Ben! 🙂

Buttons were sewn on and it was time to work on the hat.The base was this: a modern I wore for a friend’s wedding:

Image

 a few hours work with leftover fabric, feathers etc, I ended up with this:

Image

I was ready.

  On Christmas day we had a brief photo session with the new attire – the hotel’s lounge and courtyard was ideal!

Image

the jacket and skirt….

Image

the jacket on ‘the dark side’

Imageand with the breeches

Image

perfect for taming elephants,,,,

  and after the session off we went –  on our bikes! the Barclay bike scheme means you can get public bikes for pennies and cycle around London – so we spent Christmas days enjoying a leisurely ride through the Royal Parks – Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, then after a short walk ( just for a change) back on bikes again, heading towards Chinatown for our Christmas meal –  crispy duck and noodles:-)

Image

Image

the Serpentine

  Funny thing, it was not the jacket or the  trews that attracted the most attention – it was the hat! very amusing.

 A very nice break – though badly marred by the Boxing day ‘adventure’ – we got to the train station to discover that when we were sold return tickets nobody bothered to tell us the trains actually don’t run on that day….  so getting back to Bedford was a bit complicated – and costly. well, you cannot have everything!

 Rather pleased with the  result of the costuming experiment too; the jacket was warm and cozy ( though turned out a tad too big)- and am now tempted to make something proper from the 1890ties….  will see….. 🙂

 needless to say, clothing by Prior Attire,

 photography by Pitcheresque Imagery

Steampunk Asylum, Lincoln, September 2013

Image

   Our first Asylum. The biggest Steampunk event of the Year – and what an event it was! We were there mostly as traders, selling Steampunk and Victorian themed articles of clothing to fellow Steampunks – but we also managed to  go to the ball and take part in the Fashion show.

  We arrived on Friday,  staying in a hotel conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the centre of Lincoln. On arrival we had just about half an hour to  unpack and then deliver all our bits for the fashion show – almost across the street!

 The Fashion Show.

  Prior Attire  was participating in two parts of the show – first part was mostly historical costume – and here we showcased a 1877 poloniase ( modeled by lovely Jill) and a 1883 evening gown in pink silk ( modeled by Sandi) and 3  riding habits – 1785, 1810 and 1885 – forming a nice bridge with our Steampunk collection to be shown in the second part – The Steampunk Amazones. Lucas was drafted to do the commentary, so both of us were busy ! the habits were modeled by Anett, Adrienne and me.  you can view  the habits in this post

Image

getting ready…

Image

Sandi modeling our evening wear…

Image

almst there – all of the models, some of them in Steampunk bits, some in historical habits . Natasha, Jill, Mercedes, Rogue, Anett and Adrianne. And Lucas, with all the pretty girls!

The show started – first the historical part…

Image

1885 habit

then a quick change into the steampunk gear and the Amazones were parading on the catwalk

Image

just before… girls having fun with props..

Image

lots of fun….

 Alas, with me supervising the attire and modelling, and Lucas commentating, neither of us was able to take photos of the show:-(  but dont worry, you can see the collections here and here, and i will add the official pictures once they make their way over to me.

 I also regret not being able to take photo of the other designers  there were some truly spectacular  designs, clothes, hairdos etc around – very, very varied, and very very impressive!

 After the show, things were packed up, showed into the car – and we could at last relax – and more importantly, eat something! we found a fantastic little Mexican restaurant jut next to the venue, so without much ado we  got in and tucked in – and the food was amazing!

Image

looks good, tastes even better – at Tequila’s

 not only the food was good – the music was superb and since we were the last customers, we even got to dance a couple of salsa tracks and a merengue – with some of the stuff joining in. i bet it must have looked pretty weird, Mr. Darcy spinning the Ringmistress around, but it was fun!

 Next day = the market! we were at Westgate centre, all set up by 10 and ready to trade .

Image

fascinators and corsets on this side….

Image

and skirts, bloomers and jackets on this….

 there were loads of interesting  stands and people around – and this time we did manage to take a few pictures!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Kate turned out sporting one of our skirts – customized with her own fabric to match the corset

After a very busy day we had just enough time to get back to the hotel, get changed and to head for the ball…

Image

 the ball started with drinks and food, very welcome after all that work – but alas it disappointed on the dancing front. we did manage to find a few tunes on the dj’s list and  the name of the ball was saved by having a couple of slow waltzes – and a few couples did join us on the dance floor. alas, about 4 waltzes was all we had and after that music turned to bland pop and nobody danced at all. fortunately, the remaining entertainment was great -especially when the unmissable Professor Elemental appeared on the podium – the whole room vibrated with the rhythm of his chap-hop, and the lyrics were great. for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet – check his site…http://www.professorelemental.com/home

Image

  Next day saw us trading in our Neobedouin guise ( thanks to Navigatrix for the pic!)

Image

 and again,  we were busy chatting to all the folks, selling and buying things. alas, being stuck at the stall, we missed out on all the other events going  on in other places – the dirigible races, parades etc.

  Altogether, a smashing event – if you are interested in attending next year, her’s the link – http://steampunk.synthasite.com/

 and if you need clothing – well, the have put the remainder of the stock on ale in our etsy shop – have a browse!

The Autumn Bride Collection – Mockford Photography

Image

  And here we go again – the last seasonal collection of the 2013 done!  The team  this time  ventured to a lovely Coombe Abbey near Coventry for the shoot – and for the first time the weather didn’t really  want to play with us – though we did managed to snap a few shots outside between the showers! still – the interiors were absolutely amazing – one of the reason I had Coombe Abbe bookmarked as a potential location for the shoot – the place is utterly mesmerizing. I think I will have a separate post just to talk about them! anyway, it worked brilliantly with the theme of the shoot – Autumn of course, but also Victorian, Steampunk, and Pre-Raphaelite inspired gowns for alternative brides.

This time Paul did a very speedy job on the photos – and so we decided to get his images to go first and pave the way for the subsequent post  describing the designs, costing, materials, etc, alongside with the day o the shoot.

 For now though – let the images speak their tale of our Autumnal brides…. enjoy!

1. Mina

Image

Image

2. Veronica – the Steampunk Bride

Image

Image

cheeky bride! 🙂

Image

Image

3. Ceridwen

Image

Image

Image

4.Constance

Image

Image

 and here shown with the  little helpers… 🙂

Image

5. Guinevere

Image

Image

Image

6. Elwira – the Goth bride:-)

Image

Image

 and , just to show them off in their full glory, some very special autumnal bridal shoes from Crystal Calla Tiara!

Image

  The team, as always were just a delight to work with – and so credits, where credit is due –  all the provides below!

the venue: Coombe Abbey http://www.coombeabbey.com/

 Photography: Paul Mockford: http://www.shearsmockford.com/

Bespoke Bridal gowns: Prior Engagement www.priorengagement.co.ukwww.priorattire.co.uk

Styling, hair, makeup: – Sarah Dunn from http://sarahsdoowopdos.wordpress.com/

Bridal bouquets ( real flowers): Anita Smith from The Vintage Rose – http://www.vintageroseflorist.co.uk/

Bridal bouquets (crystal and silk flowers) The Haberdashery Bride http://www.thehaberdasherybride.co.uk/

Bridal shoes and accessories Tracy from http://www.crystal-calla-tiara.com/

Models: Miss Lilian Love, Adriana Renarde, Anett Novak, Izabela PItcher

 Many, many thanks to all involved –  what a team we make! 🙂

Steampunk Amazones Part 2 – Mockford Photography

 Image

As promised in my previous post,  the present entry is  to honour the awesomeness that is Paul Mockford. I felt the photos deserved a post on their own and they clearly do – very, very happy with them!    Let me detain you no longer, simply relax and enjoy….

Image

 130830-AmazonesHI-012

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 and a few shots of the location and the owners!

Image

the cleanest livery EVER

Image

130830-AmazonesHI-036

Beth and Simon

 

more photos here:

and the credits…

Photography: Paul Mockford : http://www.shearsmockford,com;

facebook page:  Mockford Photography

 

make up and hair  – Sarah Dunn: http://www.sarahsdoowopdos.wordpress.com

own styling and modelling – Miss Lilian Love https://www.facebook.com/MissLillianLove?fref=ts

clothing – Prior Attire’s branch – https://www.facebook.com/OffTheRailsPriorAttireSteampunkBazaar?fref=ts

location – http://www.thurleighequestriancentre.co.uk/

 

models – Anett Novak and Adrienne Renarde

 

 

Many thanks to everybody involved – you rock guys!

and just to refresh –  more info about the attire, designs and inspiration in the previous posts: Steampunk amazones part 1   and part 2

 

And I just cannot leave you without at least one of the outtakes – a cheeky photo of Miss Lilian Love at her lunch break…

130830-AmazonesHI-024

 

Steampunk Amazones Collection, Part 2

Image

 And at last I can now share the second part of our collection ( first part here) – this time shot locally, bu Lucas and also by Paul, our regular pro – I will make a separate post with his pictures, they do deserve a moment of glory on their own!

 We were fortunate enough to find a lovely location to shoot the last 3 amazones – about 10min drive from where we live:-)  Beth from Thurleigh Equestrian Centre was more than happy to let us use the premises, and horses for the shoot. After a short visit to the Centre and a chat to Beth, all was settled… everybody was ready to go and shoot, and the weather was simply great. but, without further ado, let us present our last 3 Amazones.

1. South America – Ranchera. Here the image was to be of an independent and proud gaucha, incporporating the original Spanish elements and the vision of the Patagonian plains – a simple outfit with a few exotic touches.

 original sketch:

Image

 I was making this outfit as the last – and since I foolishly made a shipping expedition to the local Leather warehouse, i ended up with some new fabrics – and changed the idea of a corset  completely. Don’t worry if you wanted to see the original leather corset with side lacings – i made that too, in a bit different convention…

Image

leather corset created later for a separate shoot

Nice, but since i happened to get some rather unusual materials at the warehouse, a different corset was created….

Image

glittery stuff!!!

Image

the back

Our Ranchera was modeled twice – first by Anett, in a more stationary shots…

Image

Steampunk Amazone – South American Ranchera

Image

  And for more mobile shots I donned the gear, slightly adapted to provide a variety. My mount was  a gentle creature, and it was my first time in a western type tack – loved it!

Image

Image

Image

and at a rodeo pace too! It looks my steed enjoyed it too… 🙂

and since the whole theme wasn’t far from a Zorro image, we simply had to include one too..

Image

2. Australia.  Our Steampunk Sheila was

to combine style and elegance with practicality – essential in the outback.  and so I decided to use some original Edwardian patterns – and to make the culottes/skirts, popular in the beginning of 20th century when ladies started to ride astride too.   The only concession was shortening the length of the culottes to mid calf…

original sketch

Image and the realization – though I now see we forgot to shoot the culottes with the front panel closed…

 the culottes and corset in soft tweed, the corset is decorated with leather and big buckle:-)

Image

Image

Image

  This is one of my favorite outfits and am keeping it for myself for everyday wear:-)

3. Central America. Here  I wanted a bit of a tough cookie – a cross between a can can dancer, rodeo rider and a fast shooter 🙂 The Escaramuza ladies provided the inspiration for the  outfit – escaramuza ( skirmish) is a highly skilled display of precision riding – all ladies, all side saddle, all at speed….

 the sketch…

Image

 and Lizzie modeling it:-)

Image

linen chemisette, corset with metallic braid and funky decoration, and lots of flounces in the skirt…

Image

Image

 and that’s the Amazones!

and since we finished early and the weather was  superb ad location fantastic – we kept on shooting… -we also revisited Mulan….

Image

on lovely Blackie

and, having borrowed some weaponry from my martial arts club, Rising Crane,  we played around with that too…

Image

Image

 we shoot close up of Anett’s hair – a real masterpiece!

Image

 we  also too some photos of the residents – the owners, their ponies and the livery inmates….

Image

Beth Maloney with her Blackie

Image

Image

 and that’s it – Amazones done!  The whole collection was presented on the catwalk at the Steampunk Asylum in Lincoln, and them advertised for sale at the market.  The Neonavajo outfit has gone on a bit of adventure – to be used in a shoot in Paris, supporting a campaign No Bounds – raising awareness of Scoliosis. The last few remaining bits are  available on etsy

 Now, what shall be the theme of the next collection then, I wonder? some ideas are already brewing in my overactive head…

 credits: Photography – Lucas Pitcher

 make up and hair  – Sarah Dunn: http://www.sarahsdoowopdos.wordpress.com

 own styling and modelling – Miss Lilian Love https://www.facebook.com/MissLillianLove?fref=ts

clothing – Prior Attire;s branch – https://www.facebook.com/OffTheRailsPriorAttireSteampunkBazaar?fref=ts

 location – http://www.thurleighequestriancentre.co.uk/

 models – Anett Novak and Adrienne Renarde