Friday, 7 August 2009

General Progress Reports

Explorer Dreadlocks
I have started making roving dreadlocks for my explorer falls, so far I have about 15 or various lengths. These will be interspersed with dreadlocks made from fallen hair and I shall do multiple plaits underneath to add bulk and texture. For decoration I have wrapped some in wire and leather thing, others have beads and embroidery thread wraps. I still need more roving, but have to wait til the Textile Workshop gets a delivery in.
felting wool is quite fun, but really hurts my hands and you have to be in a good mood or the locks get creases in, or so it seemed! The creases are really annoying, I'm hoping my felting needle is in the drawers that my grandparents are bringing over.

The boyfriend drafted the pieces to my size and I have started a first draft with cotton drill (£1.50 a metre!), I don't have any steel bones, so I'm just going to stiffen with cable ties. My boyfriend has bought me a busk and lacing bones for my birthday, and as this corset is more supportive than cinching it should be ok.

Promenade Dress
After reading Norah Waugh's 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' I have found a style of 1911 sleeves I like, haven't decided on the rest of the bodice though.

The embroidery for the venusian pricess smock is going well, all the stones and swqins are on, and I've started sewing on the border trim. I need a clever Idea for the sleeve detail though, as I have run out of green Aida.

Sewing Machine
My grandparents are buying me a sewing machine for my birthday! Very exciting. I think they got tired of lugging the iron one around. >>

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

1910s on Flickr

I've created a 1910s Fashion group on Flickr, to pool together lots of visual resources. There are plenty of pictures of women wearing these clothes, as well as fashion plates and museum pieces.

I 'm also tempted start a 1910s Recreation group too, to collate pictures of reproduction and 1910s inspired outfits.

Also I went ot the library today and got out Norah Waugh's 'Corsets and Crinolines' ! I am excited.
I also got out ' THe Cut of Womens Clothes' and 'The cut of mens clothes' .
Most of the other fashion books I want to read are in the Nottingham Trent Library in town.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Corsetry, Bras and General Adventures with the 1910s.

With the help of the Corsetmakers LJ community I found some more information about 1910s corsets.
Seems women wore a bra with the under bust corsets (and that overbusts were available but rarer) I was directed towards google patents search and found this one, designed by Marie Perrillat, that is on the right period for the corset pattern I'm using and looks moderately easy to reproduce.

I think my next task is to try and find some 1910s pin up girls so i can see the underwear 'in the flesh' corsets on mannequins and stylised fashion illustrations can only go so far. There must be some some 'What the Butler saw' films out there.

I've also found some more sources, this time extant 1910s clothing in museum databases. Kendra of Démodé has a list of links to these here .
She also has dress diaries of a couple of teens dresses and a collection of fashion plates from 1913 and 1917.
Also have a look at the headers and some of the buttons, lovely deco style line art of 1910s fashion.

The boyfriend has hopefully borrowed Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines from the library for me, but the uni library doesn't seem to have Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail, 1730-1930 or Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion.

Darwin Sampler Progress

I've finished the centre piece of the sampler, the tree , cursive copperplate handwriting doesn't translate so well onto square bases Aida, but it still looks OK.

I have now started on the top line of the sampler, the doves, these are based on the traditional pigeon on page 35 of Lesley Wilkins' 'Beginners Guide to Blackwork' .

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Corsets, and Obscure Cosplay

I've been working hard on translating the German corset pattern and it seems pretty simple. Evenmoreso if I buy ready made boning channels. The hard bit is going to be making it fit me.
I'll make it in white cotton coutile with black bias binding, a black pleated ribbon at the bust, black lacing and dragonfly flossing; dragonflies were popular motifs in Art Nouveau and occasionally popped up in Art Deco.

I have had another idea for cosplay which should be fairly simply, if utterly unrecognisable due to Mary Oliphant (revolutionary and Patriot) being from a radio show. Simple lower to middle class 1770s dress, with an apron and hat, I imagine her wearing a sort of rusty reddish orange, but blue would be just as apt. If i feel up to a challenge I could make stays (corset) and try and find the buckled shoes they wore at the time.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Hats! Dresses! Corsets!

One of my livejournal friends reccommended Lynn McMaster's hat patterns, so I'm thinking perhaps a low crowned asymmetrical boater sized hat.

I might have to buy some hat pins, and I really need an antique button hook as the buttons on my gorey girl blouse are awkward.
I have decided that I shall wear a large bow for that outfit rather than bunches.

The university library has Norah Waugh's 'Corsets and Crinolines' and as that seems to contain the only English language 1910s corset pattern I'm going to borrow it.

There is a 1910s corset pattern online, but with instructions in German, I've done a gist translation and might have a go at it.

Ageless Patterns has fascimiles of a old french pattern (Corset Nouveau 1910) for sale, but I'd have to pay.

I've found a new resource for 1910s fashion plates , 100 of them.

I've also looked at

and of course googling designers of the period such as Erte, Paquin and Poiret.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Just spotted a model for Skeletons in The Closet who has pretty much the hair I am planning on for my explorer outfit, there are a couple of shots of her in pretty steampunk looking attire and in this this shot which I think is also her, she has a lip ring too!

Till now I have never seen anyone with red dreadlocks, but it's nice to see someone rocking the locks ginger style (and it looks just as good as I imagined it)

Edit: The model is Femke van Hilten and it looks like the model with the piercing is not her.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Explorer's Hair

I was washing my hair the other day, and putting on conditioner made me think, if i didn't use it my hair would tangle and eventually become dreadlocks.
So if I were a Victorian Explorer I wouldn't have access to conditioner but i might have dreadlocks.
A lady wouldn't cut off her crowning glory after all ;)

I shall create some dreadlock hair falls from wool roving and dye them with henna to match my natural colour. i might add in some synthetic hair or chunky knitting yarn to add bulk.

I shall probably wrap some of them in leather thonging or wire and decorate them with beads or silver bands, I might even add some lace as if i have ripped some off a petticoat to keep my hair order.
I shall probably hold them in place with some hair sticks.

These are some of the places that have inspired me


Layla's Locks

Hair Extensions Forum

Monday, 30 March 2009


My hat for the Sunday Promenade is going to be art deco inspired, so I shall be using abstract shapes rather than the traditional feathers and flowers.

It's going to be a round, fairly flat hat, which will perch on my head at an angle, I shall probably use strips of sinamay, tubular crin, curled quills arrow quills, maybe porcupine quills and, as a nod to the Orientalism of the time, some kanzashi which I feel are stylised enough for the look.

I may add some veiling or guaze depending on the exact placement on my head.

Like the dress it'll be white with black accents.

Saturday, 28 March 2009


Well I had a look round United Textiles today, and no sign of any toile de Jouy, or any suitable flower prints. Instead I am quite tempted by a white fabric with narrow black stripes.
If I chose this I shall make the godet at the back from a black fabric with white dots, just for fun.

I have seen the black lace I want in Asim's and I already have some black velvet.

The only things I haven't sourced are a ready ruffled trim and hooks and eyes.

I also found a fabric that I might use for the Gorey skirt, grey with woven stripes, however there was another fabric which was grey with white flowers woven in that also looked nice, but was a bit heavier, also the stripes wouldn't go so well with the pintucks in the pattern i want to use.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Sunday Promenade patterns

Simplicity 864o is almost a perfect copy of the 'flying gown' but it is almost impossible to get hold of, so I am going to mash together an outfit from the top half of View C of Simplicity 3723
and a simple skirt that I will draft by hand.

In terms of authenticity it's more a facsimile than a replica, but the overall look is recognisable as 1910s.

Vintage Vixen has a article on the key points of 1910s fashion and I have a few of them covered

I don't think my fabric print is very authentic, I don't if toile has ever been in fashion for clothing.

The overall silhouette should be fairly 1910s, although the waist will be lower than was fashionable as I'm short and have bosoms so it'll make me look dumpy. A lower waistline will acutally look more authentic as the proportions will be closer.

The elbow length sleeves and square neckline of the Simplicity pattern are correct, but the body shape less so I will have a cummerbund-like sash probably made from velvet to give more horizontal layers.

The skirt will also have a layer of black lace on it in a similar shape to the flying dress, I might try the lampshade shape, I'll experiment.

Shape wise my skirt will be quite narrow, I'll probably put kick pleats or just slits at the bottom so I can actually walk. might show some shocking ankle though ;)

I won't be wearing a corset, but might purchase a waist nipper just for some structure.

The full information from Vintage Vixen is here

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Moodboard - Gorey's Girl

For this outfit I have been inspired by the Victorian engraving style of Edward Gorey and the morbid cuteness of Gothic Lolita.

This fits in with the neo-victorian side of proceedings, as Victorians pretty much invented the concept of childhood and of course they were fascinated with death and the macabre.

My outfit will be in tones of black and white to reflect the monochrome style of Edward Gorey.

I will wear a black shirt that I already own and I shall make a Gothic Lolita style skirt using narrow black and white striped or grey fabric, I shall trim it with black lace and self ruffles.

I shall wear knee high socks in either black or grey and low round toed shoes.

I would like a cameo brooch to wear at my throat, but I am undecided.

I will have to wear my black crochet gloves to detract from the henna on my hands.

I shall wear slightly more make-up than usual as it's an evening, but I won't be doing full Goth makeup. I shall probably have lots of mascara, a little eyeliner and a light lip colour to emphasise my eyes.

I also haven't decided whether to have my hair up in high bunches or in a more edwardian style (as often seen on the younger members of the Russian royal family) with a fat bow.

Moodboard - Explorer

For the main part of the Festival I shall wear an outfit that has the feel of a Victorian adventurer and naturalist.

I have been inspired by vintage pictures of women hunters, Annie Oakley, adventurers such as Isabella Bird and naturalists such as Charles Darwin and Beatrix Potter.

Depending on the weather I shall wear a tilley hat with goggles perched on it, or just the goggles perched on my forehead. The goggles represent travel either in a new fangled motorcar or a open airship, or maybe even on a Camel in the desert.

I shall probably wear my hair in a messy bun, which gives a bluestocking feel. I might have a pair of glasses, but I will have a magnifying glass and a hand lens.

I will not be wearing much make-up, just the usual mascara, and maybe a little brow and lip colour. I will however have hennaed hands which shows that I have picked up interesting foreign habits while travelling.

My top with probably be an off white blouse, and I shall wear a large amber coloured necklace that a friend made for me.

I would like to have a short corset or waist cincher in a brown colour as a nod to feminine propriety.

My skirt will either be a green one I already own, or a pair of green denim trousers I have taken apart. If it's the green denim I will probably add tweed godets to make the skirt fuller and as a nod to the tough and tweedy women of England.

On my feet I would like to wear a pair of sensible shoes in brown, either brogues or old style walking boots, I will be scouring ebay and the charity shops for these) if I can't find any I will wear my LARP shoes.

Depending on the weather I will wear either knee high woolly socks or leg warmers that I can take off if I get hot.

I will be carrying a canvas bag with a field notebook, field guides and other essentials.

Moodboard - Sunday Promenade

This outfit is the least steampunk, it's pretty much going to be a modern recreation of a vintage style.

I have been inspired by the dresses in Titanic, especially the White and purple boarding suit, and hte shape of the Navy velvet dress.

I liked the striking black and white look of the ascot dress in the film My Fair Lady, but also the art deco inspired shapes of the late edwardian era, which were utilised by designers such as Erte and Poiret.

I am going to use a black and white toile pattern with an overskirt of black lace, and a black velvet sash.

I shall accessorise with a black lace choker, white gloves (as my hands will be hennaed for the previous day's costumes) and a round perching hat.

My hair will be up with a few tendrils down, period styles were still as complicated as the previous decade.

Wearing bright make up would not be authentic, but I shall wear a bright lipstick and eyemakeup so my face is not lost under the hat. Also it needs to be as dressy as the rest of me.

I shall wear seamed stockings and black high heeled oxfords, I may carry a parasol depending on the weather.

Venusian Princess

As outlined below I shall be wearing a hand embroidered abaya and a green headdress.

The headdress will be a light material and I shall probably wire the front so that it frames my face aand that it doesn't fall out of shape if I dance. I will probably wear the goggles on top of it as a nod to both the Thelma and Louise style and as a hint of crossing the desert and protecting ones eyes from the sand and dust.

I have talked about the embroidery below.

I shall probably wear high heels under the abaya as it'll make dancing easier.

Because of the rich nature of the costume I shall have dramatic make up with kohled eyes and dark lips. I shall probably have a bright metallic eyeshadow on and henna on my hands. I may also paint my nails.

Scandinavian Style Chart

This is from CrossStitcher magazine's free set of Christmas card charts for 2008.

This wasn't so quick to sew, but I really like the style, it's not super chrismassy so I might do others in black or purple, or maybe gold on black.

Joyous Greetings Chart

This is from CrossStitcher magazine's free set of Christmas card charts for 2008.

I like this style and will probably do more, maybe in red or green.

WIP Christmas Pomegranate Chart

This is from CrossStitcher magazine's free set of Christmas card charts for 2008.

I found working with the gold thread and doing the leaves in backstitch fiddly so it's on the back burner.

WIP Marbella Stars

I found this pattern in a photograph taken by Sir Cam on Flickr and converted it to back stitch.

From Briar Rose
It's actually a window screen in the Spanish resort of Marbella, so either its a sign of the Moorish influence on Spain or this shop is Middle Eastern.

I have worked it in blue and gold toned DMC cotton. There is a mistake in it, but I corrected it by making the same mistake again so its still symmetrical.

WIP Butterflies and Blossoms

I don't often do cross stitch, I find most of the patterns kitsch and it's slower to work than blackwork. But once in a while I come across something that I like and this time it was a kit from the front of UK magazine CrossStitcher.

It's nearly finished (I'm not doing the butterfly) but i used 2 strands for the outlike instead of one so I need to buy more thread and haven't got round to it yet.

This kit is an example of a pattern designed by a Bangladeshi group called Swajan for Traidcraft.

Darwin Sampler

As this year is Darwin's 200th birthday and 150 years since the Origin of Species was published, I decided I would celebrate with a sampler.
I have chosen blackwork as not only does it have the stark simplicity of a scientific engraving it has tradionally been used to depict flowers and and other natural objects, plus blackwork is my favourite embroidery medium :D

I am going to use 'The Tree of Life' as a centrepiece and I will surround it with bands make up of stylised versions of the plants and animals he worked with while forming his theory.

I have chosen barnacles, finches, passion flowers, orchids and domestic pigeons to use in the bands and I will be designing all of them myself.


last night I had a quick go at some filling for the eight pointed stars (see post) and here is what I did.

I've use green 14 count Aida and two strands of copper toned cotton over two holes.

Top left is chips of copper purl round a sequin. As you can see I found this stuff difficult to work with. The left hand side looks ok though. I'm also not happy with the colour, i might use this pale copper to practice with and then buy some brighter off ebay.

Top right is just stitching, a flowerlike fill that i possibly invented. it shows me i need to be careful when doing blackwork with two strands, as some of its got a bit rucked up.

In the middle is a square shisha mirror. I stitched it on fairly roughly, but i think I'll try and keep the stitching symmetrical, and the mirror centered.

Bottom left
a sequin, need to decided a better way to sew it on, but apart from that its fine.

Bottom Right
plastic gemstone. I stitched it correctly, but I might put some decorative stitching behind it.

next challenge, how to attach the copper sequin trim.

Close up of the chips

Venusian Princess

Currently I am working on a 'Venusian Princess' outfit for a Steampunk ball which is inspired by both Middle Eastern and Indian traditions, as well as the pulp SF of the early 20th Century. I imagine a Venusian Princess as a woman who is sensual yet adventurous, who is proud of her country and traditions, and these are reflected in her richly embroidered clothing which incorporates symbols and elements of Venusian Pride.

I am basing the dress on an Abaya, the long black cloak that is popular in the UAE and Oman. These tend to have richly embroidered yokes and sleeves so I am working on an embroidery that i can use on the abaya I bought.
I have chosen Copper and green as the colour theme to give it a steampunk feel, to add to this I have tried to incorporate metal into the embroidery design.

So far I have decided on a copper toned floss over a green aida (14ct) background. This will be stitched with 2 threads over two holes to give a chunkier feel, and so the pattern does't get swamped. I shall do an eight pointed star pattern, and fill the stars with embroidery, sequins, fake gems, shisha mirrors and chips of copper purl.

I have been quite inspired by a wall hanging (see left) we have in our house which incorporates many different styles of embroidery.

The pictures in this post are some of the panels.

The Headress will be more abstract, but I do know it'll have a copper band and green fabric.