Tuesday, 21 September 2010

the final pieces... the wings!

Oh I had such a lovely weekend in lincoln, wonderful company and a beautiful setting... the video of us running round and round the pool in victorian bathing costumes really does have to be seen to be believed.... I'll pop it up on my Emilly Ladybird facebook page for you all to snicker at soon...

But I know the things you've all been longing to see are the wings! To be honest no picture can really do such pretty moving light up things justice but here are a few pics from the ball and beyond!

The box looks rather black in these pics, but it actually has a lovely drybrushed antique gold subtle distressing in real life wich shows all the rivets and things beautifully.

I have put the outfit up on my etsy site- for similar comissions and am already getting a lot of interest in the wings! Though obviously as a beautifully made custom item they are fairly pricey. Do contact me if you'd like to know more.

Thanks to Richard Elen and Lyssa Ryan for the pics taken at the ball, I'm sure there are loads more - but we were having far to much of a good time to remember to take any ourselves!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Absinthe fairie is finished at last!

So here it is, the finished frock! It's going to stay on the mannequin for a few days, and I'll still probably add a few finishing touches of bling and flowers and what not oh and change the back lace to a green ribbon - the blacks a bit harsh..

My lovely friend Denise covered me in glitter and took some pictures of me in the whole outfit.. (though not the huge frilly knickers cos i'm still sewing ribbon on those... and obviously not the wings because I get those next week when I see Herr Doktor at the asylum!)

Hopefully there will be some cool photos of the completed outfit being worn at the ball, so you'll be able to see the wings then.

Overall I'm really pleased, I did have a moment when I thought Oh No it's all got a bit pantomime fairy tinkerbell, but then I got over it.

Fairies SHOULD be pantomime tinkerbell, and it's best I get it out of my system before I hit 40 I feel.

The wings will add the steampunk element to the outfit and all the pieces work together great as seperates, so I can wear just the undies or leave off the crinoline and fluffy under gown to get different styles.

I still want to create some little green boots or spats with cut out leather pieces and loads of buckles, very victorian - but that will have to wait a while... A good winter project to make with assistance from my medieval Knight friend leslie, she's got some super green leather for us to play with.

So what do you think? I hope you've enjoyed following along with it's progress, any suggestions or comments gratefully recieved... and if you have any specific construction questions do ask! mmmm absinthe!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The absinthe skirt continues

Now it's beginning to look like a proper fairy outfit! The net pieces are similar to those on my sisters gorgeous D and G wedding gown, I loved the effect so much I knew I'd have to use it at some point....

I'm not particularly looking forward to hand sewing them all down however....

I've backed all the swag pieces with net now to give them more body, I thought I was going to have to, wish I'd done it at the start and saved myself some unpicking, ho hum...

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Starting on the absinthe skirt...

Well, I know it looks a bit of a dogs dinner at the moment, but I'm just draping the fabrics around at the moment to see what should go where,

I've made a basque section from the bottom of the corset pattern and am pinning the upper swag ideas to it, just to get an overall effect...

I also made a lace underskirt base, it's not very nice lace, some cheap stuff I had kicking about the studio, however not much of it will show... I want to show saucy glimpses of the crinoline frame through the lace.

I'm also going to add net pieces under the swags, both to give the skirt a better fairytale shape and to give a shimmering fairy leaf type feel. Lyssa suggested making the bodice and skirt completely separate so I can make a swag and saucy short bustle skirt in the future for less formal occasions... Seeing how huge this crinoline is getting I think that's a very good idea!

It's getting there isn't it?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Absinthe fairy bodice half way!

So, although I've been busy making frocks for pixies (yes I'm looking at you Fuschia:)) I've still continued work on the fairy outfit....

As you can see the main structure of the bodice is complete, it has light plastic boning in taped channels on the cotton lining to give it form. As it's going over a steel boned corset I felt didn't need to over do it!

There is millinery wire stitched into the lining along the top edge of the bodice to keep the shape nicely, but I haven't set in the eyelets yet for the front lacing section.

The sleeves are now attached, although they will probably be further embellished, as will the Bodice front. I like to create my gowns like an artist, choosing trims and fabrics as I go along, I do like the freedom to add to a piece as I go along rather than sticking rigidly to a drawn plan.

Obviously that's something I can only do on my own show pieces, customers always need (and want) to see exactly what their finished garments going to look like!

So, what do you think? Any suggestions for making great steampunk trims to give it that industrial edge? Should I add cogs? Swarovski?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Absinthe bodice!

So, now I've created a toile for the bodice, I decided to let the corset and chemise show a bit too... It gives an illusion of being much saucier than it actually is :) it looks fairly chunky cos all the seams are on the outside for easy fitting....

I've made the front panel in a different colour so I can really see the shape of the piece, like a big heart don't you think?

Sooooo, anyone got any good cocktail absinthe recipes? I love the green stuff!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Absinthe fairy costume day 5...

I had to create other loveliness last week, rather than working on this outfit, including a corset for our favourite pixie, fuschia begonia...

But I did handset all the crinoline hoops in place over the weekend, which is why a good crinoline costs sooo much. Even If you can even convince someone to make it for you in the first place!

But I drew up the bodice pattern too and now have a toile ready to fit over the corset when the lovely Lyssa pops by on Thursday, it's simply impossible to fit a toile on yourself.

Herr doktor has added a uv LED to the wings so they are going to really glow round the edges with proper unearthly absinthe loveliness, I'm so excited!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Elliptical fairy crinoline

Absinthe fairy crinoline cage

Well, Herr Doktor is hard at work on the wings, he assures me they will "flap all day" ! And I've been creating the crinoline cage...
I used the "truly Victorian" 1865 elliptical cage crinoline. Usually I create my own patterns for everything but I wanted to test this out before recommending it to fellow costumers and I have to say it has come out very well with a minimum of puzzlement...

Perhaps not a beginner project but the instructions are fairly straightforward. It does take a lot of bones and tape though so it's quite an expensive thing to make. I've not done the hand sewing of all the tapes yet, saving it for the weekend...

Friday, 30 July 2010

Absinthe corset day 4

Ok, it didn't really take 4 days to make this corset, I was doing a lot of other things as well...

You can now see the curvy shape properly. There's a 22" difference between waist and hip measurement and a 14" difference between bust and waist. I am very curvy to start with I hasten to add, my natural waist is still 16 inches smaller than my hips... So it's really only a 6" reduction...

The chest is not squeezed at all so there's no pressure on my ribs or breathing!

This pic was just taken quickly on my phone I'll upload some better ones soon... But you can see the flossing detail on the bone ends and the huge amount of lace - I hand dyed the green cotton net lace to match there's also some real Victorian lace and some Nottingham lace layered up in it too. I haven't quite finished hand sewing on the lace... One side still needs it's ribbon inserted layer...

Overall though I'm really excited about the shape and fit!
Next task- make the crinoline cage....

Friday, 23 July 2010

Absinthe corset day 3

Today I decided to add a 1 inch band to the top of the bust, mainly because after trying it on I thought I might not want to wear a chemise with it so it ought to be a little higher.

I added two extra spiral steels going the full length of the corset to support the additional piece, that'll teach me not to make a toile!

The extra part will be hidden by lace anyway, which I shall be dyeing green tonight, I have some lovely vintage cotton lace which will look lovely with the green flossing!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Day 2

I collected the laser cut uv wings today! Cut to my design by a great local company.

They look awesome, I'm sending them down to Herr doktor later so he can assemble them into the mechanism and do a cool paint job to blend them into the main body.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Absinthe faerie costume Day 1

For the big UK steampunk convention, weekend at the asylum I'm going to make a proper fantasy steampunk outfit....

I'm taking the absinthe green fairy as my inspiration and thought you might like to follow it's progress!

The corset is the first part of the outfit, on which everything else will depend.

I'm using a pattern from a vintage corset altered to fit my shape and measurements. It's a Charles Bayer corset from around 1897/98 and I wrote a detailed how to tutorial on it's construction for Your Wardrobe Unlocked earlier this year.

I've already created a couple of corsets from this pattern so I felt happy with the fit and cut it out without creating a toile.

You can see how curvy it is already, shown on the wrong sized stand and without any boning! It's just a single layer of fabric, I've used corset weight black satin and a lovely vintage striped black and green silk that's very tightly woven.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hendricks Carriage of Curiosities

Some of my more eccentric friends found their perfect job this summer, aboard the Hendricks carriage of curiosities.

Hendricks Gin has a fun promotional railway carriage and drinks kiosk where you can see all sorts of unusual objects, be told outrageous (and probably untrue) facts by the curators whilst enjoying a complimetary gin and tonic.

They have been in Buxton for the fringe festival this week and are going to the Secret Garden Party and Bestival too (if you happen to be one of those cool hip and trendy folk who go to festivals)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Stunning Steampunk Style Wedding

At last I can share the beautiful gown I created last year for Emily's wedding. Her initial brief was for something along the lines of a magical but dark fairytale crinoline, along the lines of film maker Tim Burton's designs. I love the work of his costume designer so I looked carefully at the original gowns she uses as inspiration and continued some of the motifs.

The triangle shapes on the front of the bodice are similar to some I admired on a black and white original Victorian gown in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. and I used jet black Swarovski crystal buttons to fasten them at the points.

The skirt and boned corset style bodice were made separately and worn over a small crinoline caged petticoat with a chemise. The chemise incorporated lots of original Victorian lace, which was fine as cobweb, so beautiful.

The edge of the tulle apron front was also edged in lace. I like to include real vintage trims and fabrics in my work whenever I can at Bridal-Originals, though I would never take garments apart just to get at the trim! There is fortunately still one wonderful company left in Nottingham's lace market who create fine lace, so if I need something a bit more sturdy I always go to them. They supplied the lace for Princess Diana's wedding gown too!

Emily initially considered a scarlet gown, but after seeing the sumptuous purple and turquoise shot silk I had in the studio we decided to go with that instead. I played with the colours in photo shop after the gown was finished just to see what it might have looked like in red.

As you can see there was quite a steampunk theme going on throughout the day! and top hats were much in evidence, I created the brides to match the chemise, with a velvet flocked rococo swirl in black on black. She also had a darling lace choker from vintage lace and velvet ribbon.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Gorgeous steampunk buttons

Aren't these buttons fabulous? Arrived today as samples for me to use for projects in the new book. They are from button drawer.com and one cog can even spin! Amazing, can't wait to use them.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Harry potter

GeoTagged, [N52.99613, E1.47648

Harry was not named after Harry Potter of course, but after the magician, and my hero Harry Houdini, however.....when his little White face streak can be easily ruffled to resemble lightning and you just happen to have a teeny pair of teddy spectacles lying round- who could resist!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Steampunk cogomascope

I do like to get a bit of steampunk in my craft projects, so my article offering this month for Craft Stamper is a Cogomascope.

Whats that? I hear you cry, well it's a twirling whirling, actually working cog card - all easily made with foamboard and craft knife.

You can read how to do it in the April 2010 issue of the magazine. The cool Tim Holtz cogs and Vintaj brass embellishments all came from The Altered Element, which has got some new exciting steampunk style things coming to the shop soon ;) can't wait!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Steampunk Jewellery Workshop

Hurah, it's here at last, a one off extravaganza of fabulous neo-victorian steampunk jewelry making.

It's going to be a great weekend, 22nd/23rd May 2010 - starting with some polymer clay techniques (including how to make your own millfiori cog cane!) and then continuing onto working with filligree and vintage items, distressing and aging, cleaning and shining! resin, shrinkplastic, stamping, riveting, and so much more!!!

Each participant will recieve a fabulous steampunk starter pack created specially for us by The Altered Element, and is encouraged to bring additional vintage and broken jewellery and watch/clock pieces to re-create into gorgeous things.

Places are very, very limited so do be sure and book soon.
To book your place you need to contact Joan Gordon (editor of Making Jewellery magazine) on 07549 5225753 or by email jg.makingjewellery@googlemail.com
hope to see you there...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

You can tell I've been busy!!!

I've been so busy since Christmas I've had no time to blog! How shocking. I shall now try to remedy that with one huge post, jam pack full of the exciting things I've been doing...

First up on the Jewellery front...I've now had 3 front covers for Making Jewellery Magazine ;) Two more since Christmas, including the current issue, March which showcases my Polymer Clay Tulip Tiles. These are really, really sweet, and bound to make you feel like spring is on the way...

I've also got a full on steampunk article in Aprils issue of Craft Stamper coming up, with details of how to make a working cogamascope, using the stunning new stamps from Ink and the Dog

Talking of spring I was hoping to get to Spring CHS international today and say Hi to Tim Holtz and other fab crafty people, but when I woke up there was snow everywhere - at least a foot deep! Hopefully it'll clear by tomorrow or tuesday and I can pop down then instead...

I'm also halfway through my new book "Steampunk Jewelry" (or Steampunk Jewellery for those
in England...) which I'm writing for North light books. It's going to be fantastic - I'm very excited...

I also went down to Oxford history of Science Museum to the Steampunk Exibition at last. We had a great day out in full costume with all the other "mannequins" who had volunteered to be Steampunk statues for the day.

It was lots of fun and the science museum is absolutely incredible...full of beautiful artefacts like orrories. The Steampunk exhibition was certainly perfectly suited to the museum, although it's overall portrayal of the Steampunk genre was a very narrow one, I felt.

I finished the gorgeous Tudor wedding gown I'd been working on over Christmas too... It looked absolutely stunning, and the bride was thrilled. It is entirely silk, with the most exquisite silk brocade front panel and petticoat opening. I hand embroidered the top edge with Elizabethan goldwork, including real pearls and garnets too.

It's very much "The Tudors" rather than historically acurate Tudor. The sleeves are completely separate, the strapless bodice is fully boned and comes over the hip, the skirt is held in correct sillhoutte by a farthingale and petticoat.

I've also been very busy on the teaching and workshop front - I've been creating replicas of my exquisite original late victorian corsets for "Foundations Revealed" including patterns and step by step instructions on how to re-create them yourself.

Although they are both from roughly the same date they are so different, the first (in gold) is just one fabric layer, with exquisite shaping and godets - it's a factory made Charles Bayer corset. The second is a gorgeous corded corset, very similar to Symingtons "pretty housemaid" I had lots of fun working out how they were originally made as you can see on the site...

I taught workshops all through January and February too, including one for some wonderful Swiss girls who came over to Nottingham to learn corsetry, I also had visitors from Ireland and Wales in the studio in January, and what a fun, well travelled group of students they were...

I will soon be announcing details of a super exclusive special Steampunk Jewellery Workshop - so watch this space ;0