A new trick- cardboard corset form

When preparing to attend the 2015 Oxford Conference of Corsetry, the organizer and corsery fellow Julia Bremble suggested we think about doing forms for our corsets for display. I have seen this done in museums before, where they use lightweight plexi-glass forms to create an insert into the corset. I loved seeing corsets suspended from the ceiling, floating in space with no mannequin in sight.

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Dames a la Mode for the win!

Hello.

I have been away from this blog too long. I have many updates and with the current American Duchess Giveaway I decided to start with updating you on my new accessories. I’d love to feature Dames a la Mode jewelry along with images of Dickens Fair this past weekend. Each year we have a special Royals day where the Royal family stays out longer to visit. I get to change into my ballgown bodice which is rare for Dickens Fair. Therefore I wanted a bit of new bling (as if I don’t already wear enough of it), but more bling is always welcome for the Royal family.

Photos are all courtesy of my husband and ©2015 Tavan Photography. I am so lucky to have these to share. I hope you enjoy them:

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Queen Victoria earrings
Queen Victoria Necklace

Continue reading Dames a la Mode for the win!

Steampunk Doctor – Preview

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My lovely friend & client loaned back her Steampunk corsetry ensemble for a shoot this week. My son has been going on and on about Doc McStuffins (kids tv show) and wanted to direct a doctor shoot. Honestly I was a bit worried trying to include a 4 year old in my shoot but what is a working mom supposed to do when her kid is only in preschool till noon each day? Incorporate him into the fun of course. He seems really proud his mom is a corset maker and will tell everyone about it.

We did a walk through of the building during the day and I chose to shoot in the kitchen and my son said we had to so some in the dark basement. All day he was so excited and couldn’t wait till the evening shoot. He surprised me with his acting to the point where I had to keep asking “are you really afraid” and he’d giggle or do something silly to show me he wasn’t really scared. Some of the poses during the shoot were his idea and I loved helping facilitate his creativity too. A big thanks for my husband for working with me setting up lighting and for shooting.

The Brief: Steampunk Doctor treating a little boy. I directed Rene, our model for the day, to think of Rachel in Bladerunner. I think she nailed it. The content goes a little dark thematically and is a departure from my husband an my usual photography work. I’m excited to gather together the best images into a little flip book we will share with you once all images are processed. I was too exited so I’m posting up this teaser that I edited today.

Photographer: Tavan Photography
Model& MUA: Rene Rodgers
Hair: Laurie Tavan
Hat & bow tie: Kristi Taylor
Corsetry Ensemble: Daze of Laur by Laurie Tavan

Violet’s Breath corset

This is my first time dying coutil. It turned out fairly even. I learned that since the edges of the fabric on dot coutil tend to roll, it is more likely to be streaky near the edges. So either in future I’d dye a larger section than I needed to cut the corset or I need to figure out some way to stretch the fabric and dye it that way. So much to learn!

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Continue reading Violet’s Breath corset

Brown and Blue Ensemble: inprogress

The frogs on the zouave jacket sleeves. I added this fun braid I’ve had around forever. I have just enough to add it to the bottom of the skirt as well (again meant to be!). I love when stash fabric and trim turn out perfect for a project.

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Continue reading Brown and Blue Ensemble: inprogress

Brown and Blue Ensemble

I started the skirt for the ensemble years ago, probably two but I don’t remember for sure. That is how long ago I started it. The fabric is a fun stripe. I have enough to make a matching bodice but didn’t have the time or energy to actually get moving on that in time for Dickens Fair.

I had cut out a waistcoat for my husband in this brown/dark brown wool and the rest of sitting in a pile. I shrugged my shoulders grabbed it and drafted out a zouave jacket and as I laid the pattern on I knew I’d have just enough.

Many times when I start a project and I have on idea where I”m going with it, I turn around and the exact amount of fabric is sitting there waiting for me. I never planned to make a wool zouave for this outfit. But then it jumped out at me that this was finally the project for these fabulous braid frogs my mother-in-law gave me. Or at least they are for now, I imagine I’ll be reusing them on another project eventually or trying to make reproductions of them anyway. Continue reading Brown and Blue Ensemble

B&C Plaid Victorian- ballgown bodice

I still have to sew the skirt top to the waistband and add the bertha actually onto the ballgown bodice, and and… design the day bodice. But we do have the go ahead from Liz Martin, the costume director, to make a day bodice and word from the higher ups that they are interested in seeing what it does in the Dickens light before making a decision. I was making it to wear to a Gaskells ball but now it will get more use if Queen Victoria can wear it. If not, I still love it.

I decreased the volume in the bottom tier & raised the patterning a bit on the upper tier so the trim was a bit further down. I think it looks more spiffy this way :) Thanks for all the advice so far.

Princesses Gowns- 10 months later

The goal of this project was to make gowns for two growing young girls which could be altered to fit for a second year. They were worn in Jan. 2010 for a ball and now will be worn for Dickens Christmas fair. So we first adjusted the sizes around and lengthwise. I left growth pleats in the skirt for this purpose and extra fabric in the seam allowances for the bodice changes. Then we added longer sleeves. Here is one of the gowns (I forgot to photograph the other before it walked out the door):


Continue reading Princesses Gowns- 10 months later