Friday, December 31, 2010


I love finding new blogs to explore. I thought I'd share a few of those I follow with you. It's nice to have some new directions to follow when you have some time to look at them. One blog leads to another and so on, but you already know that! Enjoy!

Fashion is My Muse
Commentary on the intersection of fashion, art, books, history and life. I enjoy reading about this unique look at what is happening in the world of fashion, history and books. There is always something to explore on this blog.

American Duchess
A fan of 18th century costume writes this site, which also has an Etsy store. Many useful link share, too.

The Orchard House Wardrobe
This costumer has some fabulous projects to share!

Maggie Grey
Is an English textile artist that I just find so inspiring. You may know I also create textile art and art dolls, so that's why I like Maggie.
You can see my other sites on Etsy, my other blog and site.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trains and ruffles

I love sitting down at my sewing machine, joining sections of fabric together. Stitch, stitch, the hum of the machine and pop! See how they come out, all joined together. I had to design someway to support a detachable train for the gown. It was decided a removable train was more practical than attaching it, as the original Mrs Abbott gown was done.

I shaped a yoke to match the back of the bodice. It was interfaced and lined to stiffen it and support the pleating. I hand sewed the gauged train to it. It worked! I shall use either whopper poppers (snaps) or a belt to secure it. It may need both, depending on the weight. I avoid Velcro whenever I can, since it can do so much damage when the rough side is left exposed in storage.

Assembling a modern gown using period techniques is a challenge, but it’s such a thrill to see it turn out right. Like the orginal, I have installed an organza and lace dust ruffle under the train. It will peek out as the bride walks down the aisle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Washing day

The costume for Argenteuil has been on hold for a while, pending approval and vintage lace preparation. The Brussels lace is now washed. I soaked it in oxy wash and rinsed it well, laying it out in the sun to dry. I was told not to iron it, but to block it out with pins. I laid it out on a thick white towel. It came up very nicely, definitely whiter. The rust spots remained, however.

The next sunny day, I repeated the process, this time dripping lemon juice on the damp lace where the rust spots were. Then I sprinkled salt on the stains. I have used this successfully in the past. It did remove many of the spots, but not all. I'm not sure on my next move, but the lace is much brighter. I may decide to leave it as is. Given its age, this is the prudent thing to do.

I gave it one more rinse and carefully blocked it out once more. With careful placement, I'd say I'm ready to use the lace. I need to get some fine tulle to place under the sleeve lace.

The ladies from Argenteuil came by this week to see the costume and were well pleased with what they saw. We made some decisions as to final construction, according to their requirements.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Victorian Wedding?

I am currently having a new design created for my web site To this end, I have been looking at various sites and looking for some inspiring images. I found this one, which is a lovely image of a bridal party. In one site, it was labelled "Victorian Wedding."

Now, I may not be the world's foremost expert at costume dating, but this is surely an Edwardian style. Such inaccuracy bother s me. Does no-one care to be accurate? There are no bustles or crinolines here. The lady on the left is clearly wearing an Edwardian hat and dress. Think "Upstairs, Downstairs" here.

Enough of my rant. The new site will be up soon, divided into historic and Bridal. Some of my bridal gowns are historic, so I must decide whether to place them in one gallery or both.

Here's an image of a corset-style bodice I created a while back. It's based on a Victorian corset shape, which I adapted with straps to cover the breasts. I styled it with nylon boning and lacing at the back. It really cinches in the waist.
I had a client bring me a suit she wanted to wear. I was to make a bustier to go with it. The suit was a little tight in the waist, until I laced her into this style of bodice! She looked gorgeous and I didn't alter the suit at all!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010