Then and Now

Back in 2015 we shot this corset the first time. I felt that while it was very historical in nature and worked for my Christmas theme, it didn’t feel finished.
Here it the Snow Flower shoot:

Fast forward two years later when I went bananas buying antique lace at the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale. I had just fractured my 5th metatarsal shortly beforehand and was just starting to use crutches more to get out of bed. If you have been wondering why I was pretty quiet the first half of this year, I spent 6 months in casts, air casts, and finally physical therapy. The physical therapy continues as the soft tissue damage on the ankle persists, they say at least a year to recovery.

Anyhow, I needed to find more hand sewing to keep my busy as it took quite a while to learn to sew as accurately with my left foot. No driving, no sewing… all this took a big toll on me. But I kept working on finding the final elements to finish this corset. I added a bit of cream silk flossing first but wanted something to anchor the shaping of the hips and the detailed seaming on the corset which was lost when it was left all red.

I went to the yearly lace sale, on crutches, and found the perfect remnant of lace! It wasn’t until my grandfather died that I knew how to finally finish her. Here is the Ex Voto corset inspired by my grandfather’s fight against cancer. In the winter of 2015 I flew out last minute to see my grandfather who was given a few weeks to live, but he didn’t die then. Growing up Catholic with religious grandparents I prayed for his survival. Even though I had lost my faith long ago, I still consider myself a spiritual person and find solace that he lived 2 years!

I purchased this 1930s Ex voto in memoriam of my grandfather. It is the representation of the miracle of how he fought for his life, his devotion to the church his wife so much adored, and his devotion to raising us kids when my mom needed him. I miss you Grandpa.

Ex Voto Corset
Photographer: Iberian Black Arts
Model: Threnody in Velvet
Corset, garters, and knickers: Laurie Tavan
Headdress: Creations by Liv

Lilac Fairy- En Pointe

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Corsetry as an original foundation of ballet is often overlooked. Many of the ideals of carriage and motion hark back to the original clothing worn for ballet which was not like a modern bodice. The corset and structural underpinnings of original opera ballet costumes of the 18th century show full sets of stays underneath entire gowns with panniers.  In the 19th century, the rise of Romanticism, woman dancers are able to have more freedom of movements in their corsets and tutus sans full gowns.

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Romantic Tutu- layering

Romantic tutu time #tulle #ballet #tutu #foundationsrevealedcontest #foundationsrevealed with @ladybreabrea

A photo posted by LT Laurie Tavan (@ltlaurietavan) on

Breanna mentioned Marion’s article when I couldn’t find a tulle to color match the custom dyed silk fabric for The Lilac Fairy, and it was super handy. I read up on her suggestions and picked a set of 4 different tulle colors to layer to create a coordinating romantic tutu. Each layer is doubled up so there are a total of 8 layers of tulle in the final tutu. At 4.5 yards in each layer, that makes 36 yards of fabric of varying widths.

watercolor tulle tutorial

Catherine D’Lish Robe

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For Valentines Day this year my husband gifted me a custom robe from Catherine D’Lish. Quite a luxury. I’ve lounged around in it, eaten jam on crumpets in it, taken it on vacation, and just enjoyed it hanging in my home. It is a very decorative piece that I’ve found is more useful than I could have imagined. Here are the images my husband shot of me enjoying our vacation. I have to admit it is fun to wear coming down a staircase and I have one of those at home too!

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This was at the apartment we rented and outside in the private calle during out visit to Venice, Italy for Redentore this year. I wore it over my sheer bobinette corset for the boudoir shots, then added a lovely gown underneath for shots out in more public spaces.

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Marianne Wedding Reception Corset Collaboration

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Now I slightly strong armed my way into Marianne’s ( PopAntique ) wedding corset project. When Marianne told me her plan to pass her reception corset around, to be decorated by many makers, my inner self squeed with joy. We both have a strong attraction to pink and gray and I had purchased some Solstiss lace during the Oxford Conference of Corsetry that I very badly wanted to see on her corset. I didn’t take a lot of convincing as she agreed immediately that I should join in the project. Yay!

We finagled our travel plans, to the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, so Marianne and I would get some time discussing the project on the plane. I thought I’d start the decoration then, but changed my mind. We both felt it was better if she didn’t see any of the decoration applied to the corset, so the final reveal would be…well revealing and a big surprise. So while most of my lace was applied by Sparklewren (I did add some details from it to the final design) it makes me so happy to see it on her corset. Here is the bare corset awaiting the detailing and the lace I included in the project:

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I have no idea how she trusted us all! The first thing the dawned on me was the effort it would take to collaborate long distance, with makers of different aesthetics. We had a very active discussion chat history scheming along the way. It was very helpful to talk and get others feedback to cull ideas, but also to watch it evolve. The timing was pretty tight but it all happened and was completed in time.

When the corset made its way to me the majority of the work had been done with some elements needing to be pulled together along with final construction finishing work.

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Costume College- On the way

This year I was not overly prepared for Costume college. I managed to power through jet lag from our family vacation, pack, and hop right back on a plane, this time to LA. This year my alpaca Rainbow sherbet accompanied me on the trip.

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I always enjoy having along a hand sewing project so this lovely nursing corset was flossed over the span of my costume college trip.

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Vienna, Austria at the Hofburg Palace Balls

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I love to see where gowns from our shop make their way out in the world. My client was kind enough to share some images of the lovely Wisteria in Velvet gown at her ball in Vienna, Austria. The final design has a sheer ruffle added to the bustline and flowers trailing down the skirt in continuation of the flowers on the corset.

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Winter Rose Collaboration with Sealaced – Final imagery

One of my best friends is also a lovely corset-maker, model, and one of my ultimate muses. Now there are plans for three corsets to make up a bouquet of roses but here is our final entry into the Foundations Revealed Competition this year.

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“What’s in a name?…

That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” -Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

When my best friend Jen of Sealaced messaged me and said, “I have an idea for our collaboration for the Foundations Revealed competition”, little did I know what we were getting ourselves into! She explained” Don’t get scared” as this project was way outside my comfort zone. Something more sculptural and certainly not historical! Of course I jumped on board when I saw the photos she sent for inspiration:

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