Monday, 30 January 2012

A green fairtrade upcycled corset

Thanks for all your lovely comments on the last post :)

I thought I'd show you the finished article!

This longline corset is made from fair trade vietnamese silk which is a beautiful lime/pea green colour shot with yellow - it gives a kind of 'beetlewing' effect .. although together with the weave of the fabric, close up, it reminds me of flies eyeballs (!) - it has the most amazing array of colour depending on the light.

The silk comes from a small co-operative business in Vietnam .. it's a bit of a long story as to how I came to have some so I'll give you the short version:-   A lady  who was a journalist, visited some out of the way places in Thailand and Vietnam.  While there she discovered independent co-operatives weaving silk and fell in love with the beautiful fabrics they were producing, so much so that she decided to leave journalism, buy a ton of silk direct from the makers, and open a shop here in Oxfordshire, which she ran quite successfully for some years.  The shop was aptly called "Silken Dalliance".  Well about 18 months ago, she had to close her shop and has been selling her left over stock via various other channels in Oxford.

My next project will use some silk from the same source but blue shot with grey, silver trims and more intricate flossing.  I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, my next post will mostly be about thimbles.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bra recycling

I had this bra which didn't fit, but it had lovely lace details....

so I cut it up and saved the bits ...

 The straps, fastenings and underwires will eventually make another bra.  With the lacy bits, I decorated a corset...

The corset is especially made for the mannequin which came from Lucy.  I love how the bottom of the corset makes a pretty petal shape when fanned out like this ...

I have animal friends to help me!  A magnetised pin whale, and stork scissors..

I'm now inclined to look in charity shops for discarded bras with pretty lacy bits ...

Friday, 20 January 2012

Corsetry and dressmaking

Lordy, I just don't know how I manage to fill up my time so!!  Things on my table already for this year which I will be telling you about in due course ...

Corset making -  I am furiously sewing up show pieces for my new website.  The new designs have to be tested on a real person to ensure fit, proportion and line - the difficult part of this is finding a person with very 'average' measurements so that my fitting can be refined and further designs draped in a way that I know will fit real people.

flossing detail of a longline silk overbust corset with external bone casing
Dressmaking - I'm signed up to teach basic dressmaking over a 7 week evening course starting in May at the local sewing shop.   Working from home means I don't get out much and this chosen work means that even if I did get out, there aren't that many interested in what I do.  So teaching enthusiastic newbies the basics of dressmaking is good.  I've been asked to think of other courses in the line of lingerie and corsetry which could be held here so all is very exciting on that front.

Commissions - A friend from Edinburgh has seen a dress in a vintage shop that she wants me to copy.  She would have bought the original dress but it didn't fit - she is breast feeding, and will be for a while -  so not only does she need extra room up there, but she needs the dress to be altered when she stops.  The shop keeper was more than happy to let her take pics of details to send to me for replication so I am very happy to do this.

Details of the vintage dress
It's a beautiful dress.  Black wool crepe shift with cap sleeves, boatneck and a silk frill at the bottom with some beading and fringing details.  All of the materials we have bought - silk and wool crepe - are fair trade/organic/recyled/ethical which makes this project all the more lovely.  I've been concentrating on corsetry so much over the last year that I haven't made a dress for an age and this one is a lovely little commission -  a simple, classic, elegant design.  Ofcourse made with modern materials and with my own design details included it wont be an EXACT copy but one that will be utterly personal to my friend and hopefully treasured for a very long time.  Perhaps even in 70 years time, it will be admired in a shop window as a lovely vintage piece in it's own right.  We can dream eh?

I also have a ton of silk underwear projects to get through, some for my friend with the dress (above) and some for my mother in law - it's all compatible with my new line that I'll be showcasing over at my other website.

And as if that isn't enough (and it really isn't all), I really have to make some dresses for myself.  My weight has been fluctuating over the last 2 years but I've finally got a grip on the reasons for this and what to do about it!  Basically, as you get older, you can't eat chocolate and other 'rubbish' .. so it's new diet, new year, new wardrobe, new career ... I can't wait for 2012 to happen!