Monday, December 19, 2011


I failed a bit in my intention of documenting the making of the dress, but here is the finished product :)

Trying on the night before while the girls test the bustle

Stressed much? LOL

Side shot 

back bustle

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

100 Project Challenge

I have been reading on others blogs about a 100 project challenge. What a great idea to stay motivated and track your own progress over time. I am not sure if I actually have 100 patterns, but I am sure I am pretty close. Msot of the ones that I have seen on others boards seem to be ongoing for a while now and I would feel way to far behind to jump in, so I will just track on my own.

Here are the rules that I am setting for myself.

1. Patterns may not be bought unless they are for a gift for someone, or a RR

2. Stash may only be bought to go with a pattern already owned, if it is up in the next 5 listings to be started.

3. Every 5 projects that get completed I may buy myself 1 new pattern or book.

4. Everything counts. RR’s, freebies, smalls…everything. And I will count Corsets as completed projects due to the amount of time and enjoyment I get from them.

I may add or amend to these rules as I go, but this is it for now.

So…about that list…Here are the first 25, but not in the order that they will probably be stitched
1. Mermaid of the Pearls
2. ye olde Saint Nick
3. Tuscan Flavor
4. TW Fruit Bellpull
5. Stone Roses
6. TW Noah’s Ark
7. TW Spring Carousel Horse
8. TW Carousel
9. Mira Midsummer Nights Fairy
10. Mira Mermaid of Atlantis
11. Mira Bluebeards Princess
12. Mira Savannah’s Curtsy
13. Mira Scent of Old Roses
14. Celtic Christmas
15. Royal Holiday
16. Mira Autumn Queen
17. Celtic Autumn
18. Mira Summer Queen
19. Celtic Summer
20. Mira Spring Queen
21. Celtic Spring
22. Mira Winter Queen
23. Celtic Winter
24. Dimensions Friendship Sampler
25. Celtic Welcome Kit


After many hours of cussing, I finally have progress.

Here is the test run of the corset with the bustle. There is still a little to be done on the bustle (mainly adding a waist band), but it will have to wait. I need to get the skirts done and then evaluate how much bulk three waist bands is going to add at the waist

The plan for this weekend is to get the underskirt done with the box pleated trim added and maybe, just maybe, get the overskirt sewed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Giveaway!

Pop on over to Measi's blog for a super cute summer themed Giveaway!  The Cape Cod Summer chart is adorable!!

In other News:
still do not have pics of the test corset, though in two weeks I will be at the deadline to get it compeltely done and the bustle too...cross those fingers for me girls...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

corset progress

Wasn't feeling well yesterday so I decided to stay home from work.  I did get some sewing done and watched the entire Pillars of the Earth series.  WOW, I really wasn't expecting to get sucked in, but it was great!

First I got my busk put in!

I quilted my Gores for the corset.  There are two bust ogres and three hip gores.

Hand stitched the slashed edges for the hip gores

basted around the gore placement

I did get them fully inserted and sewn in.  I tried it on, and the hips were too big.  So I took the two big ones out and trimmed, replced, tried again.  STILL too big.  It took three rounds of inserting and trimming before they were correct, but YAY!  it now looks like a corset.

I am hoping to get it boned this weekend and will post more pic on Monday!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mentioning Unmentionables

Mentioning Unmentionables

Your hair is perfect; your makeup tasteful; your gown is a marvel of compromise between artistic expression and historical wonder. You are corseted, bustled, primped and beautiful. As you do one final check in the mirror you notice a tragedy; there is a wrinkle straight across your bodice. You smooth it out and head to the ball. As you twirl and dance, stroll and flirt you feel your skirts shifting. You step into the ladies room for an adjustment and it is back….that bothersome wrinkle, nearly dissecting your perfect silhouette in half. Your skirts have gotten a bit sideways, your bustle is no longer center and the euphoria of stepping from Romantic Victorian London has been shattered. Now you are just in another Halloween costume.

After all the planning, sweating, sewing and preparing, how could this happen? The answer is really quite simple, even if hard to believe. It is your corset.

If we think about this for a moment, it really is understandable. In your modern wardrobe, how many bras (or brassieres) do you own? Do you just have one that will work under anything? Why shouldn’t we assume that it was the same back when? If your corset is not creating the proper foundation how can we expect our labors of love to fit properly?

Following is a brief selection of corsets from varying years, even within the same year, many corsets had different overall shapes to help produce varying effects depending on the activities of the function it would be worn to and show how quickly the designs would change with fashion (pictures are of patterns reproduced by Ageless Patterns and are from original Harpers Bazaar and Le Mode newspapers):

1876 Corset for Cuirass Basques


1876 Short Striped Jean Corset

1876 White Coutil Corset

1877 White Jean Corset

1877 Coutil Spoonbill Corset


1886 Spoonbill Corset

1886 Lady's Gray Twill Corset


1888 Riding Corset of Gray Twill


1890 Twill Corset for Stout Lady

1891 Young Ladies Corset

1891 Lady's Riding Corset

1891 Corset for Elderly Lady


1893 Short Riding Corset

1893 Lady's Low Corset

1897 Corset for Stout Figure

When creating a period in clothing, it is always easier to start in the order we would dress.

Shift first – will it fit with the time? Will it be visible under our planned garment? Will it be comfortable under all those layers?

Then we would put on our corset – Is the line correct? I.e. does it mirror the shape that we wish our bodice to have? Where is the waist? Does it smooth over the hips for late Victorian; does it bring the waist high and tight like civil war?

Crinoline, bustle petticoat etc. – Will bones show through? Does it hold the gowns shape at the bottom hem? And most importantly – Can we sit, dance, walk and move with natural ease?

Skirts – will they stay where put? In the late Victorian era, these were meant to sit on the hips instead of at the waist to allow the long torso to be displayed. To keep them in place, small hooks were attached to the corset that would hold the skirts in their position and prevent them riding high to the waist, which is where skirts sat just earlier for civil war.

Bodice – the last and most certainly not least. It should be smooth (unless rouched by design), it should be flattering, and it should hide all the layers of undergarments making one wonder if there really is a corset under all that.

With all the consideration we give our gowns through color, cut, decoration, and accessories, we must give that same amount to all the aspects that will not be seen. The foundation of our garments is just as important to style as a solid foundation is to a house. Don’t skimp, or it could all come down around you!

Happy Stitching!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally - PROGRESS!!!

My fiancé went out of town this weekend with some friends and I decided it was time to begin the bustle project. For some reason this one part has given me more anxiety than any other. I had a pattern that I was not fond of, and after spending considerable time analyzing and deciding how best to get what I want, I was quite nervous.

I found a couple yards of a medium weight woven ivory fabric and used that for the base. After sewing together the shell, I lined the bottom six inches with buchram for stability and then sewed in my boning channels. I cut tipped and inserted the bones and pinned in some ties and tried it on.

Here are the pics as it currently stands.

The next step will be to add lace to the outside to hide the bones and give some fullness.

Including redrafting part of the bustle, adjusting the darts three times and refigiuring the stablility factor as I went - Time: 20 hrs (would only take about 10 if I made another)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

just a rambling update

So…For 6 months I have been planning to make my wedding dress, and while I do still plan do such…holy cow have the fates thrown wrenches into my plans.

My future mother in law has cancer and this Friday will have a masectomy (think is after a lumpectomy which did not get all the cancer), then last week she feel down the stairs at her apartment and broke her tibia and fibula just above the ankle. She is recovering well after surgery and she will be in the rehabilitation facility until the around the first week of April. Then she will come to stay with us while she heals. This is fine, but I of course had to transform my sewing room into a bedroom for her, so the walls got new paint, organization went through that room like a tornado and now all I have to do is shampoo the carpet so everything is fresh and clean and pick up the bed my girlfriend is loaning us.


All this and I have to be in Atlanta for the two week prior to her arrival.

Now, on the plus side, I have finally made a dent in Mermaid of the Pearls:

And Stone Roses is at about 25% done! YAY!!!
Now, if you are unaware, I started this on a piece of fabric that I had laying around and did not realize how horribly uneven the weave was…I officially hate it. The big question is, do I put it away and let it become a UFO, push through and complete it or restart on something prettier? Thoughts?

Yeah Giveaways!!!

For those stitchers out there, there seem to be quite a few giveaways this month.

Be sure to check out:

Measi's Musings
Ramblings of a Geeky Witch

Barbara is having a Birthday Month Giveaway with lots of lovely stash.

Lynn is celebrating 125 followers on her blog with a celebratory giveaway.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


YAY!!! Fabric for underskirt has arrived. It is a satiny duponi material that I found on Ebay - 10 yards for 15.00. So 23 total with shipping!

The color is a perfect match (there is no yellow to it, just a pretty ivory cream) and the texture difference will make it noticable. I think I have decided to use the goldish fabric from my mothers dress to make a box-pleat trim to go around its hem, and when we bustle the dress up properly, it will be a very pretty accent. Will post a pic of moms dress soon.

Also, I found like 20 yards of lace that my fmil gave me years ago, so that will be gathered and flounced to make the petticoat cover for the wire frame.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Ordered a beautiful pearl trim for the bottom hem of the overskirt...what I got were lace collars. I returned today and the seller should be sending me the correct item...I hope.

Here's the trim though: