June 24, 2014

an excuse to wear stays

There aren't many places where one can wear a taffeta petticoat over panniers, stays covered in pearls, and a glittered ship perched on a pompadour and feel underdressed, but the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is one of them.

I did not bring a camera with me. Big mistake. But a talented parade goer shared this beautiful portrait with me, and I found the picture below on Gothamist.

This ensemble felt extravagant when I was getting ready but was nothing compared to the fabulous costumes on display once I arrived at the staging area. Look at these photos at the Village Voice to see some fine costuming. 

My favorite thing about this costume is that I knocked it out without a pattern.  I wasn't worried about perfection, there was none of the regular pattering, fitting, re-patterning that I normally do. I didn't even use a ruler. Fabric was just draped on a dress form then sewn together. The panniers were made first, then the petticoat was draped over them, and the stays were done last. They are reed sandwiched between two layers of linen, and a outer layer of cheap taffeta. They're just three pieces, a front cut on a fold and two sides that wrap around to the back. They work. I felt secure in them and I can easily rip the taffeta off if I need stays for another costume. Which I'm sure I will. Dressing up in 18th century garments is so fun.

I should acknowledge the long absence. I could make excuses, but we're all busy, right? I just couldn't seem to find the time to pattern, sew, and document. But the Corsets and Crinoline corsets aren't going to sew themselves so I have to find a way to make the time. Thank you for your continued interest!