Some agenda stuff

So it’s 2017 and I’m getting back into the swing of things after more than a month with the flu.  My energy level is still low, but I’m kicking!

I have a few exciting things on my plate right now.  Up right now are finishing a spacey silver silk “school girl” corset for a friend’s birthday and a Goblin Queen gown that my daughter will have the end say over (by request of the Goblin Queen who shall wear it).  After that, two lovely regency gowns in black silk taffeta and an embroidered muslin.  Since Titanic is back, let’s add a pink wool coat to likely be followed with the Breakfast gown, and a Heaven dress for one friend’s wedding.  Not enough fanciness yet?  Toss in Cinderella’s ballgown in silk and crystals.  And a friend’s wedding gown that’s being custom designed.  Still not enough?  Though it doesn’t work for the character, that yellow ball gown from Beauty and the Beast in silk and embroidery.  This all doesn’t even touch on what’s going on later in the year!  More Disney, more wedding, more cowbell!

 

Salamandre renaissance-inspired gown

Flashback to 2007. An invitation late on a Wednesday night to a renaissance fair that following Saturday resulted in some turbo-sewing and lots of sweat and worry over ruining any of that brocade!

This gown was made in a fantasy-renaissance style with a reversible front panel and reversible sleeves using black silk velvet and a silk brocade in a pattern available at the time only from Scalamandre. This not-trademarked pattern has since been made available by other companies, which is fortunate as fabric from Scalamandre easily runs hundreds of dollars. The ten yards of this fabric used retailed for a staggering $280 per yard at the time (thank goodness I had a day-job in the pre-recession tech industry). Another ten yards of the velvet was used, seven in the overskirt alone.

The skirt is two separate pieces. The underskirt of brocade is pleated to a waistband at the front and closes in the back with a ribbon tie in a casing that gathers the fabric in the back. The overskirt is densely pleated to another waistband and ties in the front. This construction enables the skirt to be worn by a lady with a waist measurement between 26″ and 42″.

The bodice’s front panel is reversible. One side is velvet and the other is brocade. It has a thick busk and the bodice is fully boned. Reversible sleeves (see a trend?) tie at the shoulders with three black ribbons. Each point on the sleeves and bodice bottom have beaded tassels.

The “hood” is an entirely, 100% period-incorrect-in- every-way piece plucked from an overactive imagination. I constructed a base from buckram in a style I’ve never actually seen in paintings and covered it with silk velvet, and lined it with black silk charmeuse. I made a drape with five points of black silk chiffon, a fabric not invented until hundreds of years after the renaissance ended, and made the same tassel at each point as the sleeves and bodice. The “hood” itself features several hundred more black beads.

Another shoot will be done soon with a better camera.  These photos are nearly a decade old.

More old-fashioned digital photos are in this Facebook album.

Green silk brocade wedding corset

This green pure silk brocade corset is certainly a statement piece! It required drafting each half entirely separately.  This is a lot more work than a typical corset, whether overbust or under. The gorgeous fox clasps aren’t actually used to hold the side closed. There is a separation there, but a panel behind it holds it closed. The back modesty panel is in two overlapping pieces as the measurements provided to me were a off. Thank goodness for being local enough (two hours) to meet to pick up!   This corset also has a small pocket on the right hip.

This corset underscores the importance of providing accurate measurements, not the measurements you hope to be, as this bride’s now-husband informed me, in front of a seamstress-friend of mine, had happened.  The prevalence of dream measurements being given are a large part of why so many seamstresses point-blank refuse to work with brides.  Brides always, always blame the seamstress (which is why the bride’s now-husband disclosed what happened) when they set weight loss goals, and fall short.

You can see more photos of this corset, as well as the concept drawing, on this Facebook page.