PDF Flash Sale

Because of new EU VAT Regulations (boy, am I tired of typing that, and so fed up with the situation), I will have to stop selling PDF Patterns through Etsy as of Midnight on December 31st 2014. This may seem to be a knee jerk reaction to the whole Vat Mess situation however; millions of small businesses are being effected by the (ridiculous, unfair and plain stupid) change- over 3.3 million in the UK alone- and this is a precautionary step to protect myself until we can figure out what the next step it… because all sources of help within HMRC are giving conflicting, incorrect or confusing advice and no-one seems to understand how we can comply, why indeed as a Small Business/Micro Business we should comply or what the next step might be.

Just to give you an overview, from 1st January 2015 if I sell a Digital File to another EU Country I have to pay VAT there. However there are 28 countries in the EU with 75 different VAT rates… so I have to register to pay VAT in every EU Country… and often I don’t know where my Customer is. I’m going to leave it there as I tend to start angry typing and become incoherent if I add more!!

I will still be offering Patterns as a hard copy however; the new regulations will include all products by the end of the year. The best explanation of the new regulations I have found is here, please read it if you are a small business as I was convinced the 80k threshold would protect me and it doesn’t. More interesting articles can be found here and here loosely explaining the situation and a very helpful Facebook Group has been set up here.

So, why not just sell to the US? As 80% of my business is with you guys- thanks by the way!- this is a viable solution. But wait… there’s a little piece of law which says I shouldn’t discriminate against selling to a certain Country without cause. I think this is cause not to sell to the EU, expecially when historically I don’t much however; there’s another really, huge, big issue with this. I sell on Etsy, who aren’t going to help me to distinguish between Countries so I can’t do this and keep this side of my business afloat. Great.

So, we’re left with several options… just sell Hard Copy Patterns with a complimentary PDF, just sell Hard Copy, or find another platform to sell on so I can distinguish between Countries so I can only sell outside of the EU which looks like it might be a more permanent solution for the size of my business.


Any hoo, because of this ”VAT Mess” I’m having a Flash Sale on all PDF Patterns…

Mini Top Hat PDF Sewing Pattern Victorian Edwardian Steampunk DIY Craft Kit Eventide Corset PDF Sewing Pattern Victorian Edwardian Steampunk DIY Craft Kit

Mini Top Hat PDF (above, left) £3.25      Eventide Corset PDF (above, right) £4.25

Dusken Spats PDF Sewing Pattern Victorian Edwardian Steampunk DIY Craft Kit

**NEW** Dusken Spats PDF (above) £4.25

Costume Sewing Patterns Selection Pack inc. Victorian Corset, Steampunk Burlesque Mini Top Hat and Steampunk Spats

All three PDF Patterns (above) £10

How’s about that then? They’ll only be available for the next two days… eek!! Click the images to buy 🙂

Happy stitching

Week III: Reproducing Historical Corsets

So, I have designed The Eventide Corset to be a ‘gate-way’ Corset Pattern, to introduce easily the magnificent world of Corsetry! If you have not made a Corset before, or want a challenging Sewing project then the Eventide is a wonderful choice however; I am sure you- like me!- have been lusting after the glorious Historical Corsets I have been sharing on my Wordless Wednesday posts.

It is more than possible to use the Eventide to start your journey in creating wonderful Historical and Historically inspired Corsets, indeed The Eventide is actually taken from an 1880s Corset but has been adapted both for the modern figure and ease of use. A great many of the processes don’t change all that much… the finishing does a lot though!


A small selection of Corset Books from my collection. Click on the image to read more/buy. 

You will need to have, or gain, a good grasp of basic Pattern Cutting principles, and the first book I would suggest you invest in is Corsets and Crinolines, by Norah Waugh.

It has an amazing selection of Historical Corset Patterns, taken from extant examples from the beginning of the 16th Century right up to the 20s. I have made many of the Corset Patterns up and they do need to be adjusted for today’s figure, wasp-waisted almost doesn’t cover it!

The Victorian Corsets in particular have the most amazing seaming, as well as details like Cording and Flossing. Extant examples of similar Corsets can be found in many Museums, as well as online using resources from Museums like the V&A and The Met.


Images from Corsets and Crinolines, by Norah Waugh.

As you can see, there are a few Corset Pattern and Construction Books out there. I have all of the above (and more, I’m addicted!) in my collection and these are the ones I would recommend. Waisted Efforts contains a lot of construction details and techniques whilst The Little Corset Book contains very simple to make Patterns, with a little construction advice, and was the inspiration behind The Little Book of Corset Tips. Jill Salen’s Corsets has Vintage and extant Corset Patterns with details on their original construction and The Basics of Corset Building is a How To Guide.

Almost all of these books will require you to Grade or Scale up the Patterns yourself. They all inform you on how to do this, and more information on this subject can be found here.

I shall be illustrating different methods of making Boning Channels in future posts however; one of the best on-line resources for Corsetry Construction is Foundations Revealed. I highly recommend them if you would like to research or read further in this area.

Whilst many of the techniques of Construction may be familiar, many too will be new. One of these will be Flossing- the decorative stitching at the top and bottom of a Boning Channel. By no means limited to Historical Corsets as it is an excellent way to reinforce and protect the fabric from the Steel Bone rubbing through and creating a hole.

Corset embroidery detail, 1895, Symington Collection, Leicestershire County Council. Black flossing on scarlet longline corset. Victorian Corset Detail by Verdaera.deviantart.com on @deviantART

Some examples of Corset Flossing from Pinterest, click the images for more details. 

As you can see, it can become incredibly decorative!

Cording, which you can see in the above right image, can be used to flexibly support areas of the Corset Boning may not be able to. It’s a simple technique however; I wouldn’t advise it without an exceptionally good domestic Sewing Machine or an Industrial Machine as it is a lot for the machine to sew over. Cording will give support whilst still allowing the wearer to bend and move, which is why is was used historically in predominantly in lower class Corsets.

A lot of this information can be found on-line in the pages of Farthingales, Foundations Revealed, and more. This article on alternative Boning was also a great read.

Well, I’m off to take some pictures of all my wonderful Boning Channels for you luck peeps- there’s so many ways to make a Boning Channel!- and to brush up on my Flossing skills.

Have a lovely afternoon and happy stitching!

Midnight Makes on a rainy Monday.

Well, hasn’t the weather changed here in Blighty? Heaven’s to Betsy, but the rain is a welcome sight!!

This week has been very work filled, from playing Shop at Flo-Jo Boutique, teaching, to having meetings about exciting future projects so I haven’t really been able to squeeze many hours of sewing in. When I have managed to sit at my Sewing Machine I have been working on a couple of lovely commissions, one of which is a Wedding Dress which is going to be stunning! Unfortunately I can’t show pictures yet for obvious reasons however; I’m really excited about it because it’s a little Steampunk inspired and incorporates Silk overlaid with Lace. Yum!

I have been concentrating on putting together the illustrations and copy for three more Zines which are to be about Zips, Buttons and Button Holes and Sleeves. The Zines have continued to receive a great response, and have proved enormously helpful when teaching. I have tentatively started a much larger volume based around some Vintage inspired projects such as a Tie Dyed Maxi Skirt, Victorian Lace and Tap Pants. I’d really like to create a DIY book full of projects which are useful, and that I would really like to make myself so it wont be specifically targeted at the beginner. This all is in response to my Etsy and Christmas Market plans. Talk about organized!!

I have also listed all four of the Zines I have developed thus far on Etsy, so you may buy a copy for yourself!

Pic 6Seams: the Simple Stitches and Techniques needed to Sew, available now on Etsy for just £2.50 + P&P

Pic 9Books We Like, available now on Etsy for just 75p + P&P

new6Darts, Tucks, Pleats and Gathers: How to Elegantly Consider and Place Shaping, available now on Etsy for just £2.50 + P&P

Pic 3Understanding Vintage and Modern Patterns, available now on Etsy for just £2.50 + P&P

I have been stitching for fun a little bit too! I am half way through creating a cheerful Hexagon Quilt for my future Nephew, which is coming along nicely…


I have sewn about half of it together however; I’m not going to post too many pictures as I still want it to be a surprise! The Hexagons are almost 20cm across, and look really cheerful made up! It’s not at all my usual colour scheme but I am enjoying making it. My favourite fabric is the little houses. I can’t wait to see it finished, I’m going to incorporate Red Zig-Zag’s along the sides so it should be nice and bright!!

Today I am drafting a 1920s Tap Pants pattern, for Sewing Club tonight. Can’t wait to make a pair up, and see what fabrics Sewing Club make up their Taop Pants in!!

Happy stitching!

Some interesting things to peruse. . .

Some of the following blogs I have only recently discovered, others I have been following for years. All of them do what they do incredibly well & I have come to use them as reliable resources when designing for film & theatre over the past few years.

Bridges on the Body

Bridges on the Body

This is a wonderful blog full or humour and insight. Challenged to make every pattern in Norah Waughs Corsets &  Crinolines, & no stranger to these patterns myself having made most in the book,  I’d say she is doing a good job so far. There are construction notes, cleaning notes, tutorials from a range of sources & some very good close up images of these corsets being put together.Well worth a look if you are attempting any of these patterns yourself as the book itself gives little or no guidance in to construction techniques.

 The Ornamented Being

A great resource for all things fashion history in the world. Using museum, personal, film & book resources Ornamented Being posts relentlessly about fashion, fabric, jewellery & her passion leaps from the screen. If I am seeking inspiration, this is where I head! Find her also at The Mended Soul her ‘virtual atelier’.

Past A La Mode: A Historical Fashion Site

A recent discovery in my never ending hunt for good fashion plates, this blog has many. Past A La Mode posts on any period in history with an emphasis on Victorian to 1940s & there really are some gorgeous illustrations and fashion plates/photographic plates included.


Maeder Made

Documenting an exhibition from Edward Maeder in residence as a ‘pop up phenomenon’ in Mt. Airy, USA. I would encourage a look as most of his work re-creating historical costumes, is constructed from paper using his vast knowledge as museum curator, artist and ‘needleman’.

Please click on the pictures, or site names, for links to the original sites. I think you will agree they are a treasure trove of delights!

Happy stitching!

1920s Collar

I follow a blog called We Sew Retro & one of the contributors was recently gifted the below 1920’s collars.

The collars have been in her family for over 90 years & I just had to share them because I adore their shape! I think they are stunning to look at, the intricate lace & teeny tiny rose embroidery is exquisite however; it is the shape that has captured my eye.

collar 1 Front

collar 2



Please click the photographs for the original post.

I cannot stop thinking about using the shape to add in to a beautiful bias cut top, or simple cotton vest top. I think it would look incredible! I imagine that because they hang over the shoulders slightly they would act as small cap sleeves, & that the trailing edges would frame the top most flatteringly.

Happy stitching!