Thursday, January 28, 2016


I have been craving some American Duchess shoes. Particularly, a pair of button boots. I've had a special fondness for the Tavistock, the taller version. But at $230 for a pair, I couldn't rationalize spending that much for costuming shoes. Then one night, I couldn't sleep, so I had a cup of tea and read blogs. I stumbled over to the American Duchess website, and found out there was a MASSIVE SALE.

I've been planning an evening costume, so I was immediately pulled to the Tissot, the simple Victorian pumps. Dyeable white satin, and only $55, instead of the usually $125. And the beautiful white Tavistock, only $99. I'd have preferred black, but for that price I'd deal with white.

In the morning, I measured my feet to figure out my size. I'm a 9. There were still 9's in Tissot, but only 8.5's for the Tavistock. They were wide calf, which is good for me. I figured for that deal I could put up with pinched toes, and I can sometimes fit an 8.5 anyways so it might not be that bad. So I ordered both.

And today they arrived.

First, the shoes. They are gorgeous. Lovely stitching, soft leather, smooth sateen. The Tissots came with replacement heels and a little card made of the sateen and leather of the shoes. The Tavistocks came with two replacement buttons and a buttonhook in a little blue velveteen bag. Both shoes also came with lollipops, which is awesome!

Second, the fit. Both shoes fit perfectly . . . which shouldn't be. I don't know if the Tissots run small or if the Tavistocks run big. The Tavistocks are loose through the ankles, which I need to do something about for personal perferrence. I'll probably move the buttons there over slightly, to give me more support. The soles offer great support, even though I normally have problems with heels.

Final verdict: I love them. LOVE them. I haven't taken the Tavistocks off since they arrived. They are comfortable, and lovely. I may dye the Tavistocks, but I think I'll leave the Tissots white. I am so excited to have such wonderful period shoes. I also bought white silk stockings in order to qualify for free shipping, but I haven't tried them on yet.

*This is not an endorsed review, just my own opinions given freely.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Keeping the Blog Posts Rolling

I made hip pads for my Edwardian corset today, which I am dubbing the Mermaid Corset, due to the colors. I had planned to get better pictures today, but it was overcast and sprinkling, so all I have are crappy bathroom shots. I did move the toilet paper off the counter, though, so that's no longer blocking the shots.
With hip pad in place
Without hip pad, from yesterday
The back of the corset now curves gently back over my butt, instead of bending weirdly. The lace at the bottom hides the fact that the corset is padded.
Interior picture of padding
The pads were too firmly stuffed at first, so I slit them open, removed stuffing, and seamed it shut again. I made the seam in the center so the pad will curve naturally and fit my hips better. I also realized from my few try-ons that some of the boning seams were breaking where bones rubbed against each other, so I started some flossing for protection.
You can see that the thread where the diagonal bones meet the straight bones is loose, due to the rub breaking stitches. The flossing for these bones is pretty intense, to prevent further wear. The little diamonds are more bones (the channels are internal) that haven't started to show wear, but should be flossed too just in case. There will be a good deal more flossing, but to be honest I don't expect this corset to last. The thin lacing bones are uncomfortable, and the twill tape I used as boning channels began to fray at any point where the bone didn't insert easily. At least one point it the binding seam is tearing because a bone is too long, and the waist is too small and causes uneven lacing (even on an empty stomach). This corset will probably only be worn as part of a Steampunk costume, so I've already started thinking about how to remake it.

Now, I am not a fan of pink. I used to have a deep hatred, and now I'm more accepting of pink in certain applications. Recently, a bunch of scrapbooking ephemera went to clearance, and I have a weakness for clearance. There are these lovely working metal clasps:
 Which will be used as cloak clasps either with the gem-topped tassel removed or the pink stone painted or replaced. And these so-called "album swags":
Now to me, these pink rosettes with copper sliders and matching ribbon look like perfect garters with a little elasticized pink ribbon and a clip added. And a soft pink Edwardian corset could be nice. Or buff with pink stripes? Either way, I think I will remake this corset in pink to match these rosettes. Maybe I'll pick up one more, so I can have a rosette on the corset itself. And that way I can remake this corset to be more fitting.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wow, it's been how many months?

So life caught up to me. Work and projects got me bogged down, and I simply failed to post anything I made. So, catch up.

My Halloween costume turned out wonderfully, and in good time.

I didn't bone the bodice, but I did manage to make an excellent hat from a thrift store find. I'll try to get better pictures later, but I can at least give you this. (The black cord hanging down the front is my radio. This was taken at work.) I wore this costume all day, through a full shift, then a trip to Burbank for a book talk, and then a long drive home in which I got lost. All told, maybe 15 hours? It held up well, and was comfortable considering.

Next up was the wedding dress I made for a friend.
The entire thing was patterned around a corset I made her previously. It has it's own corset inner structure, attached slip, side closure, and billowing sleeves attached at the wrist to bracelets (a la the X-men character Storm). There's some things I wish I'd done differently, but she was pleased.

And of course after the fanatic sewing of the costume and the dress, I suddenly got the itch for the Edwardian corset I've been craving for over a year. I used the Edwardian corset pattern from Corsets and Crinolines by Janet Arnold
My husband picked out the purple fabric, and I added the green for contrast.
It has black satin binding, and green lace along the bottom.
Normal Posture
Accentuating the S-bend
Large lacing gap, due to delicious Japanese dinner
I cut it too short in the back, and it's a little loose towards the bottom, which I plan to correct with a small pad stitched to the underside to add a little more oomph to my backside. I also need some bust pads to prevent my boobs from slipping down. This corset is meant to be showy enough to be worn as an outer garment, but also an accurate Edwardian corset to wear under proper attire. I do plan to add the garter clips, but I'm going to make them detachable. One thing I don't like about the pattern is that it called for 1/4 in bones next to the lacing. The inner shifts too much and bends too easier. It doesn't feel stable enough. I plan to stick with 1/2 in bones along the lacing for my future corsets. I'll get better pictures of it tomorrow, when I have daylight (and an empty stomach).