Over the years I have been asked about a variety of problems within historical costuming – and how to avoid them. I have already written a few posts on different aspects such as the look, fabrics, etc – but here … Continue reading
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
After the WWI event at Hereford one thing became apparent – I cannot wear my original mourning outfit in these temperatures! it was only silk, but black, and having it drenched with sweat was just a crime. So for the next WWI event, in St. Neots, I decided to whiz something simple and more appropriate – a light cotton summer dress.
I had only 1 day to do just that – recent house move meant I had to finish some commissions early and catch up with others after the move – but I managed to save up 1 day to get the frock sorted. I had a lovely cotton with embroidered border in stock ( to make one of the stock item dresses…) and decided to use that. my inspiration came from a few fashion plates picturing a skirt and a bodice/jacket combination – you can see the board here.
The whole thing turned out to be a bit more complex than I had originally imagined. The top needed a sitted waist ( underbodice) with the looser , longer layer being mounted directly on it. I did not have time to make a late Edwardian corset in lighter fabric, and my black one showed through the layers – so I had to use my early Edwardian corset – shorter and without suspenders, but it turned out to work just fine. I also added some vintage lace to the borders of the jacket…
The only pair of shoes I had, were my new Gibsons from American Duchess – and so to match them I found a scrap of beige silk in the scrap box and made a belt to compliment the shoes – whatever as left of the silk went on the hat…
And so, the layers were – The stockings, drawers and the chemise with a corset on top….
then the petticoat in light cotton and lace…
Camisole and the skirt next…
And then the jacket. It can be worn in 2 ways – as a cross over…
or open in front, revealing more of the decorative waist…
The hat was an original item, restyled just a bit – added silk bow, velvet ribbon , some bling and ivory and brown feathers.
On the day I forgot my gloves – and felt half naked wondering around town looking for a shop that would sell anything suitable… Fortunately, lovely ladies in Beales found s the last few pairs of net gloves somewhere in the stock room – and they were perfect!
Here am leaving for a day’s work on the second day – this time with a parasol as sun was merciless!
The event itself, ran by St. Neot’s museum and Black Knight Historical, was great – we chatted to the public, recruited nurses, encouraged young lads to join up – and talking about the impact the great War had on the history and everyday life…
– and in between all that we sat at a nearby vintage cafe, enjoying amazing scones, tea and lemonade… If you ever are in St. Neot’s this place is well worth a visit – Betty Bumbless Vintage tea Rooms.
I also spent some time making sketches – to be used by one of the local artists – and it turned out to be a real magnet for the public, and inspired a few very interesting discussions about the war fashions….
At the end of the day we indulged in a little photoshoot session in the cafe – their first floor turned out to be a time machine – styling was mostly WWII, but generic enough for us to have a go at a few pictures…
Lastly, we paid our respects at the local monument…
All through the weekend the temperatures were scorching – and the new dress worked well – it was light, breathed well and I felt much cooler than in the black silk – success. in fact, it proved so popular that I got some more of the fabric to make another one, this time for sale:-). Considering the fact that in the next 4 years we will be doing quite a lot of the WWI events, I suspect I will be making a few more summer dresses, day dresses and walking suits… a few of them are already done, available in our shop! ore to come over the next few months….
Photography – as always, huge thanks to Pitcheresque Imagery
Shoes – American Duchess,
Clothes ( my dress, Blue silk dress, and Lucas’ breeches ( try as I might, I simply couldn’t get out of making theses…) – Prior Attire
gloves – Beales
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!
Well, since I had the 1914 mourning dress sorted, I also needed proper underwear. I have never been particularly fond of the WWI fashions, but since we are getting more and more bookings for that period for the summer, it makes sense to be prepared. Also, since the current WWI interest is going to last for another 4 years or so due to the centenary, we are bound to be either booked for shows, or to make clothing from that era. And so, I bought a pattern and decided to have a go at it next time I was due for our monthly Stitch and Bitch session at Sew Curvy.
Pattern – Nehalenia patterns, 1910 corset – earlier than the WWI, but this type of corset was worn generally till at least mid decade if not longer – a quick look at other sources confirmed it, and so the decision was made. I adapted size 12 – with the bust from size 16, as specified by my measurements.
materials – bits of cotton broche, black – remnants form other projects. Alas, it turned out that they cane from different batches and one piece was darker than the other – but the difference in hue would hardly matter on an underwear corset.
boning – flat and spiral steels enclosed in channels made with herringbone tape.
All components,apart from the lace came from Sew Curvy shop.
mock up first…
Once I saw how flattering the corset can be, I set to making the real thing with renewed enthusiasm…
then eyelets were inserted…
and then the boning:-)
the whole thing was bound in cotton binding
and it was time to try it on…. 🙂
very pleased with the fit – just need some nice lace to put on top, and the make and attach suspenders:-)
And while I was having fun with the kit for my mourning kit, Julia was working on a sweet bridal sheer – a few taster pictures below, official photos not disclosed yet! 🙂
If you like the look of the sheer corset, check out Sew Curvy courses – the was a recent course on sheer corsetry, but i believe the dates for the next one will be announced soon!
once back home I sorted out the suspenders…
and then added lace and a velvet ribbon, flossed the bones for that extra security and fashionable look – and the corset was ready. Here worn over my late Edwardian chemisette and drawers, the stockings and shoes from American Duchess
Altogether, I am very well pleased with the thing – it is comfortable, gives a much better silhouette than I had expected, and above all, serves its primary function – this type of corsets did not aim a waist reduction ( though there is some!), but at streamlining the body, so that the loose, close fitting garments of the era ( hobble skirts especially) looked smooth, flowing down the body in a relatively undisturbed fashion.
In fact, I liked them so much I made 5 others, in different sizes, as a trial batch for our online shop ( news on that shortly) – we will be offering them as off the peg items alongside other corsetry items ( Regency, mid Victorian, late Victorian, early Edwardian) in standard sizes 10-18 🙂
Well, I must say that once we hit the Teens, I start to get bored with the clothes. But, being in business means that sometimes you have to stretch beyond your comfort zone – and this suit was just such an exercise…. I am not a tailor – and not particularly eager to become one, so I usually leave the tailoring bits to those who are trained accordingly. On this occasion, however, since it was a friend who asked, I relented and tried my hand at a tailored suit 1910-14 style.
Eleanor knew my attitude to suits so to make it easier we agreed on a commercial pattern to be used, and we got absolutely stunning check wool and soft linen for lining. The undergarments were made, measurements taken – it was time to unpack the pattern ( Reconstructing History, 1052) and get down to it – make a mock up.
And that’s when it started….
The pattern….. though I usually make my own patterns, I have used commercial patterns before – and as with everything in life, some are better and some are worse; most require some fiddling with the mock up – there are no miracles after all and nobody is the ideal size.
Well, this one required the most fiddling I have ever experienced….
The skirt: Pattern was simple – but the pieces were marked in a weird way – some upside down….
Not a major thing, though confusing. However, here the size was the issue. We cut out the required size – only to realize that for some reason it was almost 10 inches too big at the waist… So it needed re-cutting and darts needed re-positioning. again, not a big deal, but a nuisance.
Well, mock up was cut out ( 1 fronts 2 side fronts and 2 backs), and put together – and it became apparent straight away that there are several issues:
* front – the front, princess seam needed re- positioning over the bust curve…
* the back – the back was simply cut in 2 big pieces – and they hanged loosely, not fitting at all looking at the picture on the pattern, you sort of see the side back seam, splitting the back piece into two – alas, the pattern piece did not acknowledge the fact, merging the 2 pieces together….
so a back piece had to be split, and since the front piece had a seam, we decided to continue the seam over the shoulder, splitting the back into two, and providing a better fit over the back and size… the correction is marked on the pattern now.
Once we seam was in place, the whole thing looked much, much better – here on the stand, interlined wool turned outsize, ready for another fitting
and on Eleanor…
Sleeves were next – the ones cut according to the pattern were HUGE! looked like elephant’s legs:_)
The second fitting sorted the little kinks out – and I was able to proceed with finishing the thing, lining with linen, adding velvet cuffs and collar, and velvet covered buttons.
The hat was next – and here huge was the target size:-) we had black-watch silk tartan, ostrich feathers, peacock feathers and velvet to decorate it…
The base is made in buckram, wired, covered in calico and then covered with silk, with edges bound in the silk bias binding,
Altogether, as far as the pattern was concerned – it is not a beginners thing. If you are familiar with working with toiles, you will work your suit out of it, but be prepared for quite a lot of fiddling.
To me it seemed that some of the issues we experienced were due to a few factor – the size – I suppose a size 10 small chested lass may have the princess seams spot on – but on a curvier sizes it simply didn’t work. Also, i suspect the pattern may have been drawn on a dummy or a model who was not wearing period correct underwear – and we are still in corsets at that time! Admittedly, long line corsets, mid or underbust too, with bust improvers or not – but the position of the bust is changed nevertheless.
In conclusion – workable pattern, but in the future will another draft my own or experiment with another one. It may work for a more experienced tailor – maybe the issues we had wee also due to the fact that I am no such! 🙂
Still, very pleased with how it turned out in the end – we did a small shoot in the park on a beautiful spring day and Eleanor looked resplendent in the suit:-) Her layers are – chemise, corset, princess petticoat, blouse, suit, vintage furs, vintage bag and jewellery. shoes by American Duchess
The inspiration for the finishing touches and hats – taken from out pinterest board!
The black dress I am wearing – well, that is another post altogether! Soon!
photos by Pitcheresque Imagery