Victorianesque Underbust Corset

    

Not a true Victorian corset with its short length on the body but the seams follow a classic Victorian shape which allows for a greater cinch at the waist. It is made using a layer of Herringbone cotton canvas lined in calico. The bones are spiral steel which I haven’t used before. I was amazed with how flexible and strong it is so I am hoping to be able to see it perform in a wedding dress soon.

     

The pattern was drafted by wrapping my lovely fit model in cling film and duct tape. Lots of pinching let me determine where we could get the best reduction. My next version will need double the amount of eyelets down the back, edged with flat steel but on the whole I am really happy with how this turned out.

Midnight Bride

Black is a colour being embraced more and more at weddings. Living in Australia we are naturally drawn towards the sun so as a contrast to that I have been searching for the pieces to put together a wedding fit for midnight.

A bride likes to stand out on her day and white is certianly a great way to do that. To stand out in a black or coloured dress is also possible, the dress just has to be a showstopper.

Above Tara Latour, Vera wang, Vintage charles james, Dior, Dior, Zac Posen, Dior, Marchesca.

midnight 1  midnight 10 midnight 5 midnight 6 midnight 2midnight 9 Marchesca night sky dress

To go with the dark and moody dress some dark and moody flowers

Begonia leaves, Autumn leaves and artichokes, Black berries and purple roses, eucalyptus and ferns painted black.

midnight 8 midnight 11 Dark bouquet dark bouquet

channel Queen Victoria with a mourning tiara.

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Save the money you would spend on a venue with a view and use it for wine and chocolate. Any venue filled with candles is going to be wonderful. Choose winter so the sun sets early, or better yet if you think your guests will not whinge too much set the ceremony time for midnight.

 

Feather obsessions

Feathers are amazing structures and its no wonder they have been used in fashion since as long as people have been adorning themselves. There are a large number of feather types commonly used in fashion and even more ways to use them. In this post I am going to look at Ostrich. A versatile feather as it can be used as a whole feather or pulled apart.

feather and lace gold dress

This dress is probably the most simple way to use feathers, a light scattering of ostrich wisps applied to lace.  When feathers are added to light fabrics they are usually stitched which can be time consuming so to keep the numbers down can save time and effort. These feathers have been dyed to match the dress colour. Dying feathers is actually quite easy.

jummy choo feather wedding shoes

Shoes by Jimmy Choo, well outside of my budget but I wonder if some glue and feathers could make a more simple pair of heels this incredible?

feather ball gown

I am sure this couture feather skirt by Giambattista Valli was hand sewn individual tufts of feathers. It is possible to cheat a little as feathers are available already strung like a fringe. These fringes would then be applied to the skirt. 

Vintage feather cape.

Vintage feather cape.

This vintage cape is using Ostrich feathers in their natural untreated colour. These feathers are likely applied by splitting the main quill and sewing down each half.

Here are some feathers looking lovely for your enjoyment.

Feather ideas for wedding

feather ideas for wedding dress

 

 

Petals

Two of the icons of post war Haute Couture have to be the Venus and Junon gowns by Christian Dior. Both gowns are held at the Met museum (Venus. Junon) where they belong so they can be marvelled at into the future. I am staggered that there once was a time when women (undoubtedly wealthy women) would have somewhere to go that required a gown like this.

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The sequins are applied to a mesh which would have been stretched onto a frame and the petals marked. The petals would only have been cut out after the embroidery was complete.

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Here are some rare photos of these dresses on models.

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Foundation techniques – Crinoline hem

To create a wonderful curl at the hem of a skirt a woven trim can be used, Sometimes called Crinoline braid or horse hair braid. Originally woven from horse hair this trim has been used as a stiffener throughout victorian fashion. Developed in Synthetic materials it was used for hats in the 20’s and kept the skirts wide in the 50’s. The flexibility comes from the way it is woven in a strip so is technically on the bias, this allows it to be shaped through curls and circle skirts.

The width and weight can be selected depending on the application. Here is an example from the house of adorn.

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Below shows the braid used to emphasise the curl in a ruffle.

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Here and the top image show a heavier version holding the shape in an amazing gown. Zac Posen uses this technique a lot.

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A more subtle example where the braid is used just to add some extra stiffness to a straighter hem. You can see a little line where the top edge of the braid is tacked inside the skirt. Without it this skirt would be falling closer to the legs and the fish tail would not be so exaggerated as it is.

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Here it is left visible as a contrast at the hem. Dior Haute Couture.

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A fine strip of crinoline can be used to give the same curl to the edge of a veil.

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Ulyana

I don’t usually fawn over celebs. I would rather meet the ladies who made the dress in the atelier than the ones who wore it down the runway. In saying all of this I am quite smitten with Ulyana Serngeenko, Russian designer and style icon.

Lets not waste any more time talking….photos say it all.

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Every now and then I get it into my head that I am going to wear skirts all the time but it never happens. I sometimes sit at my sewing machine in my target jeans and feel like the fairy godmother in a cinderella movie of my childhood who couldn’t use her magic on herself.

Spots

The ladies of the 50’s really did have style skills that have been almost lost to us now. One of these was their ability to wear polka dots. That perhaps isn’t entierly true as there are below some lovely modern brides re-interpreting the spot.

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Large and small dots together. They look great in black and white but I wonder what colour they were?

50c70ef0845184617b1988fad982efdcA fine spot in a chiffon fishtail dress.

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Another cascade of spots in chiffon. A little contrast added through a fine black lace trim on the hem. I would love to see the front, Is the strip around her shoulders a shawl or large collar?

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A wonderful way to wear spots, A maxi skirt with a contrast top to break up the pattern.

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 I love this spotty tulle over the contrast lining.

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Incredibly stylish spots from Valentino. Perfectly matched shoes as well.

 

Foundation techniques – waist tape

The internal structure is critical to getting the fit right for a dress. The more formal and complex the outside the same will be true for the inside.

There is a vintage technique I commonly use for formal and wedding dresses and that is adding a waist tape.

the waist tape is a strip of rigid ribbon placed inside the gown at the narrowest point. I love using it for a few reasons. If the dress is tight it will be closed before the zip making it easier to pull the zip (or buttons) up. keeps the dress sitting well and not riding up. It can be raised to around the ribs giving more support for a strapless dress or larger bust.

I have added some images showing the inside of vintage gowns where a waist tape is visible. Before the 1900’s it was used to keep the bodice in place over a corset, gowns were usually made of a top and skirt and the gap between should never be visible. Later it was used to keep the waist of the dress close to the tiny wasp waist in fashion in the 40’s and 50’s.

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