May 29, 2010

more packages

The garments I sent to New York to be a part of the conference Underpinnings: The Evolution of Underwear from the Middle Ages through Early Modernity at Binghamton University were returned to me.

Even though the boxes were filled with things I had made it was still fun to open them up. It felt like Christmas. The people at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Binghamton took such good care of everything I sent them. As anyone who has participated in events and had their work carelessly handled or lost knows, it is a pleasure to work with people who appreciate your contributions and take the time to properly care for the items you share with them. Thank you to Heather and the rest of the team at Binghamton!

May 27, 2010

look what just arrived!

Twenty five meters of 13mm German plastic boning!

I ordered it from Vogue Fabrics at 10 pm Monday, and here it is Wednesday afternoon. Wow. I'll probably use cane for the mock-up because it's cheaper, but it will be good to have the best possible whalebone substitute I can find for the finished piece. Silly whales. Why did you have to be so useful for fashions and cosmetics so we hunted you to near extinction?

May 20, 2010


Thanks to all of you who shared your opinion regarding sleeves. I'm going for it.

Those two sort of crescents to the right of the sleeves are the tassets, or, as they appear to be in the photograph on page 32 of Corsets and Crinolines, sewn together tabs.

I haven't decided on the fabric for final bodice yet, but the finished piece is starting to form in my mind as a post modern pirate blouse. Can anyone else envision linen and raw edges?

May 18, 2010

going back to 1650

I'm moving forward with the next corset even though I don't have final pictures of the last. I'll get them, but if I keep waiting to start the next corset until I manage to get stockings so I can photograph the last one I could be a while. So back to 1650.

Page 36 of Corsets and Crinolines has a boned lining of a bodice in silk moiré. Here it is after I've enlarged the pattern, first 200% then 207%.

The notes say it has, "large elbow length sleeves with cuffs sewn into the arm hole and fine pleating on the shoulder. It also has a basque made of twenty-eight small tassets sewn together." I happen to have a copy of Norah Waugh's The Cut of Women's Clothes: 1600-1930 and the complete pattern, with sleeves, is printed there. There is a lovely painting by Gerard ter Borch at The National Gallery, London, A Young Woman Playing a Harpsichord to a Young Man, which shows what the bodice would look like. Pretty. Maybe I should go ahead and add the sleeves.

Either way I'm finishing this corset/bodice by the Fourth of July. That's six weeks. I can not stand how long the corselet took. That means no searching for special ribbons or fasteners, no getting sidetracked by travel, no dilly dallying. So while I'm patterning I ask you, To sleeve or not to sleeve? That is the question.

May 8, 2010

cotton lace and more foundations revealed

Remember the other projects I mentioned? Here's one of them.

That's the top edge of a reproduction of an antique, post Edwardian, corset that I patterned and sewed. I've written an article about it for Foundations Revealed that will be published this June. Yea.

It's also the first corset that I've ever put something purely decorative on. I'd been on the look out for the perfect cotton lace and found it in a little shop in Rome, Passamaneria per l'arredamento, that was packed floor to ceiling with the prettiest ribbons, lace, and trims. Everything was tempting, but I decided to purchase only the 1 meter of lace I needed. Now that I'm far from that shop I wish I had purchased more items. I'm suffering from non buyer's remorse.

May 6, 2010

what's the hold up?

I know. It's taking me forever to show the finished corselet. The loose ends have been tied, but I refuse to put it on until I buy a pair of stockings to wear with it. Otherwise I know it will ride up over my hips and look sloppy. So stockings are the hold up.

In the meantime, here is a picture of my most recent embroidery project.

This was what I worked on during my recent travels. I've had problems in the past with the satin stitch and the chain stitch. The way to solve that was to do satin and chain stitching. No need to avoid them any more.