Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Unusual tools for sewing

Have you laid a wooden or laminate floor lately?  In which case - have you got some of these ....

I said BLOCK!

This is a "heavy duty knocking block" - sounds a bit risque doesn't it?   I use it for weighting my patterns - like this...

tracing a corset block from a master pattern
I also use large washers to weigh down pattern pieces on fabric.  You can get them from any hardware shop.  Mine cost 5p each - i've got 20.  They are indispensable.  I'm going to make some heavy duty ones by glueing two washers together.  I use the washers to hold the patterns in place, and then the knocking block to hold the pattern piece and the fabric in place while I cut it out with the rotary cutter.  

When I use my washer weights, I feel like a croupier!
As for my indispensable sewing tools - the rotary cutter you see pictured, my graders set square which isn't pictured, and my lovely wonderful French curve.  Sewing tools I just couldn't live without these days.
This is not the same as the Shoben Patternmaster which I have put firmly in the dustbin.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

My first bridal corset commission - Done!

There has been blood, there has been sweat, there have been tears, there has been swearing, and sobbing and also hystericaly euphorical moments, all of which have contributed to the completion of my first ever paid commission ...

It's been a very very steep learning curve.  Even though I have made lots of corsets and been studying the subject for years,  I have learned more than I could ever have imagined by doing this,  and I have made some wonderful corset making friends along the way, some of whom I'll be meeting on 20 August at the Foundations Revealed field trip to the Symington Collection of Corsets.  Details here.

Luckily today was a beautiful sunny day and so I took her outside for a photo shoot.

Now all I need to do is think of a name for my 'label' ... Any ideas?  Anyone?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Sew Curvy Competition

Oh no!  It seems that I am unable to purchase my signature black boxes which I pack my corset kits in.  Apparently it has become impossible for manufacturers to purchase black board economically, and as my boxes are thoroughly eco friendly (no plastic coating or other un-biodegradable nasties) I am unwilling to source a more 'shiny' alternative.  I can get the same box in brown or white, but they seem a bit boring to me, and they don't go with pink ribbons so well!

SO, we're having a little competition, and here is the prize:

It is the new (ish) book by Velda Lauder, Corsets:  A Modern Girls Guide.. It's a lovely little handbag sized book all about corsets, but most specifically, those delicious creations by one of the UK's leading corsetiers Velda Lauder.  It was her corsets which inspired me to start making them for myself, and now for other people.

Inside, there are sumptuous pictures and the information  starts in the historical beginnings of corsetry right up to 'modern' corsetry against backdrops of high fashion, couture, burlesque, and fetish.  Is right up to the minute - including details from London Fashion Week 2010.  

There are pictures and words about other famous designers, their corsets, and their clients - here's one of Kylie Minogue in a space age style silver corset by Jean Paul Gaultier.

So!  Get your thinking caps on people.  This book will be sent to the person who can think of the best alternative idea on how to package my very popular corset kits.  Here are the rules:

  • I need to be able to package my corset kits in a way that makes people feel 'special' when they receive it. A gift for themselves or a gift for someone else.  My current package includes the black box, pink ribbons and pink tissue.  In other words,  if you were to buy a corset kit containing all parts required to make a corset, how would you like it to be presented?
  • The packaging needs to be pretty, light weight, inexpensive and eco-friendly - all parts need to be either biodegradable, recyclable, or re-usable.  It need not be a box, but I do not want to use plastic and I need to be able to use my labels so that people know what they're getting.

Competition is open to anyone where ever you are!  The best / most original idea will win.

Closing date is Friday 22 July.  Enter as many times as you like, using the competition form on my website here:  Sew Curvy Corsetry: Competition

Please spread the word! The more entries the better.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Been and gone ..

I've been away! Not that you'd probably notice ... I've been to north east Italy to see my friend who I refer to here as 'The Italian Connection'.  She's not Italian, just lives there, and we've been best friends for 22 years this September!  We had a perfectly girly (or girlily perfect?) 4 days filled with peace and quiet, husbandless solitude, lots of chatting, eating, more chatting, more eating and general flopping about in the sun ... absolute bliss.

I must have needed the break! It's been non stop frenzy at Sew Curvy HQ ever since I returned on Friday, but in a good, refreshed way.  Not only did I wrap up a large backlog of a orders, I also changed around my sewing room so that it now resembles a proper studio.  I'm VERY pleased with the results.  Mr Marmalade made some 'stilts' for my regular table making into a perfect cutting table, and we moved an armoir downstairs where it is more useful.  He also constructed a 'bone holder' for all the different sized corset bones I have to keep organised. I now have a useful, workable area for sewing, design and admin. 

Here's the 'design and making' side - can you see the stilts on the table?:

Here's the 'sewing and admin' side:

I even managed to utilise some CD shelves which would otherwise have been passed on for recycling elsewhere - now that we all have ipods, there is no need for CD's to sit around collecting dust (we don't even have a CD player in the house).  Ideal for storing rolls of ribbon, tape, threads etc for my shop.

So it's been all go, but now thanks to long luxurious evening drinks on an Italian patio, I am itching like mad!  We were right in the sticks there and I was practically eaten alive!    Luckily, my friend Jane has posted a timely tutorial on her blog The Soap Teacher, giving instructions on how to make an antiseptic balm which takes the sting away from bites.  A summer essential for anyone I think!