Monday, January 31, 2011

Last chance for a FREE class!

Last chance for the FREE 1812 costuming class is today!

Any comments on any of my January blog posts will earn you a ticket in the draw.

Tomorrow I am going to put all your names in a hat and draw three lucky winners!

Thanks for all your supportive comments. I really appreciate it.


Friday, January 28, 2011


If there's one thing I enjoy making, it's a corset. There's something about the precision sewing and turn of cloth that excites my creativity. This example is one of my funky offerings. It combines cut velvet and jacquard fabrics to create a great look. I combined a traditional Victorian corset pattern with straps to make an evening bodice. My model wears it with jeans, but it would look fantastic with a full skirt and a bit of lace.

The effect of the Victorian shaping is a nice cinching of the waistline and support of the bosom. I've had clients wear these with lace t-shirts which look fabulous.

My current creation is a turquoise silk corset, which will be laced with purple ribbon. Sumptuous. I've been asked to make custom corsets for a couple of people this year already and I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Antique clothing

It's so exciting when things like this come my way. I become a detective, along with all my friends in the biz that I show these things to. The mystery of who wore it and what methods of embroidery or construction were used are so intriguing.

These garments were given to me by my friend Peggy, who had them in her family trunk for a long time. She doesn't know the provenance, except someone in her family once wore them.

I date them to 1840 or so. The bodice is silk, opens in the front and back. This indicates to me that it may be a nursing bodice. It is lined in linen and has whale bones on each seam and dart and is entirely hand sewn.

Under sleeves
The under sleeves may have been worn with this bodice or not. They are typical of the period and were pinned or basted into open bell sleeves. Sad to say, there are only one of each under sleeve. Why, I don't know.

The one has beautiful hand sewn lace. It's some kind of drawn thread work and knotting combination. Exquisite. The sleeve on the right side has a delicate netting cuff which has cotton flowers embroidered onto it and lace edging added on. The blue silk matched the bodice and may have been worn in colder weather with the bodice.

Blog giveaway
Don't forget, if you comment on my blog this month, you will be entered in the draw to win a free online class in 1812 doll costuming. It's detailed on my other blog and you can preview the class on my Edwina Dolls site.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking the train

Back to working on Mrs Abbott's gown. Now for the train. Using the full width of the fabric, so as to avoid a seam, the train is 60" long from the bodice tip. I lined the train with peau doe soie, to give it body, then added an organza and lace trimmed dust ruffle, as per the original. This should peek out as the bride floats down the aisle. I can visualise this little touch catching the eye of the guests.

The top is gauged or cartridge pleated to match the point at the back of the bodice. I have now created a yoke to match the bodice shape, which the train will be sewn to. This serves to create a detachable train. Most brides want this option if possible.

Now to finish the trim on the bodice. I took a shopping trip to Toronto and trawled the fabric stores along Queen Street west. I bought braid at Mokuba to create the medallions with. I appreciate the skill those 19th century dressmakers had. the original used such fine braid for the medallions. Still haven't found the perfect silk roses for dress number two. this one is for museum display, so I want it to be right. I found a polyester, but shrink from using polyester for such a fine gown. I'm such a purist!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

FREE Blog giveaway in January!

I'm very excited to offer my first blog giveaway. I am offering my 1812 online class FREE to three people who comment on my blog in January.

Yes, all you have to do is comment on any of my blog posts this month and you will be entered in the draw. Please make sure you add your email to your comment, so I know how to find you!

The class explains how to create a period costume for a doll. It can be any doll. I guide you through the process of creating the costume, cap and shoes, step by step.

If you want a preview of the class, you can see it on my web site. Just click the link on this page to see a preview. It takes a few seconds to load, so be patient!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Photo by Edwina Sutherland