Sample Sale

Yes, the rumours were true! I’m selling a couple of Costume pieces off, as well as all of the Samples I have made for Laura After Midnight for products that I wont be repeating again…

A gorgeous Victorian Jacket made from Purple Silk and Black Lace, pictured with and without Bustle. Just £28 + P&P. Click here to buy.

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A small Victorian Bustle, which ties on at the front allowing for multiple Sizes. The pattern for this was taken from a Late Victorian extant Pattern, and it is fully Steel Boned and a delight to wear. Just £25 + P&P. Click here to buy.

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A more Steampunk inspired Victorian Jacket with Zip front and teeny tiny Skull details. this is also Fan Laced and ties in a bow at the front which is super fun!  Shown with a Bustle however; it can be worn without. Just £28 + P&P. Click here to buy.

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I am also selling these gorgeous Waist Coat Samples. I no longer can find the Dark Grey and Light Grey Pinstripe Fabric so these wont be repeated like this again. I am however; re-printing the ‘Rudey Nudey’ Victorian pornographic Fabric, but more on that later… Each is about half price at £30+ P&P and I have to say they really are quite beautifully made. Click here for the Light Grey and here for the Dark Grey.

Grey Pinstripe Fitted Victorian Steampunk Waistcoat IMG_9944

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Finally, a little bit of an oddment I designed and made up a couple years ago… the Whipped Cream Silk Corset Topper. Designed to be worn over the top of a Corset, this Corset Topper will still show the wearers décolletage, but create a flight of pleated and circle cut silk about the wearers shoulders. A perfect statement piece! Just £30 +P&P. Click here to buy!

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I’ve also listed a couple new products too!

Happy stitching x

Sample Sale and New Products

At the end of the week I shall be releasing my much anticipated Corset Covers. At the same time I shall be running a Sample Sale of all of the pieces I have made for Laura After Midnight either as a way to figure out the Pattern, as an example to Photograph or pieces I have made for films.

  

Samples included a few Waistcoats- one of which has an amazing lining which legend has it was printed for the Rolling Stones in the 70s’!- a Steel Boned Victorian Bustle, a fantastic Fan Laced Victorian inspired Jacket (both from the below left Costume), a beautiful White Cotton Lawn Shirt and Petticoat and more. I’d love for them all to find homes!

costume waistcoat

Sizes are varied- some pieces will be able to be re-sized for an extra fee- some are a little rough and ready and others are gorgeous. I’m hoping to sell as much ex-stock as possible to make way for my new line of Vintage inspired Dresses, Corsets and other new designs.

I have an ulterior motive… money raised from this Sample Sale will go towards developing more Patterns. I have so many ideas! I want to release more Corset Patterns, as well as more underwear Patterns like Bustles and Corset Covers, and even start developing my own designs influenced by the Victorian era and my love of Costuming.

I will also be releasing new Spats Designs and the Spats Pattern and Kit in a few weeks time, Corsets, a new range of Vintage Party Dresses will première this Sunday and I shall be starting to print my own Fabric, so September promises to be a great month!

Throughout this time you can use Discount Code STEAMPUNK15 for 15% off of your order.

Happy stitching!

Strictly (Victorian) Ballroom!

I have just finished the Victorian Ball Gown commission, in a flurry of last minute details as always! We changed a few things from the original illustration, mainly due to time constraints however; I love the final garment!

The skirt, the pattern for which was from Truly Victorian– which my client had already purchased otherwise I would have been drafting one from The Cut of Women’s Clothes by Norah Waugh- went together like a dream! It took about two hours to cut out because it has about six meters of fabric in it which I would caution anyone making something like this about… you need space! It sewed up in only a couple of hours though which is amazing to me as I am used to taking a lot longer to not only figure out what the pattern is asking me to do (historical & ‘hand made’ patterns not always having the clearest of instructions), but also to maneuver that amount of fabric through my sewing machine! Thank the stars for industrial machines!!


The corset was drafted from a pattern I already had made up from Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh. This book was a revelation to me, & I use it constantly for both reference & drafting corsets of all styles. If you haven’t come across it already here is the blurb from the jacket:

Corsets & Crinolines is a study of the changing shapes of women’s dress & how these were produced, how simple laced bodices became corsets of cane, whale-bone & steel, while padding at shoulders & hips gave way to the structures of farthingales, hoops & bustles. Added are contemporary tailors & dressmakers accounts, illustrations, index, a glossary of terms & materials, appendices on the repair & manufacture of corsets and crinolines.

Obviously some changes have to be made when drafting from the book to fit both the modern body & different body shapes & sizes however; once done nothing compares to the 1880’s corset I use from this book. The pattern is below, & I simplify it slightly for the modern form making the curves a little less severe, straightening the front top line out & shortening it slightly so as not to dig in to the wearers hips. My client didn’t want a busk, which was the biggest change from the original  & makes the curves less obvious. The fit was perfect, & the graceful curves of the corset really accentuated her curves.

We layered the fabrics for the corset, to create an interesting texture & look. Using Coutil, of course, for the base fabric, a modern crinkle Taffeta overlayed with an interesting ‘watered’ look Net. Obviously this made the sewing up more difficult but I am more than happy with the results.

Some hints when making a multi-layered corset: baste the layers together by hand once they are cut out, & write the piece name in white fabric pencil on the back at the top of each piece- I do this with every corset because the pieces are incredibly easy to confuse & I hate, just hate, to unpick things!

Probably most of the work was done in decoration & finishing details. We added lace sections to the bottom edge of the corset, for a more decorate flossing detail, a net ruffle to the top & strings of beads. To the skirt we added a bias cut band of black velvet & meters of lace trim, instead of the original, more complicated design along the hem. I think this look is simply stunning, & I shall definitely be using it again!!

It really was a truly satisfying commission, & I now have a few more booked for the following months which is a dream. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Happy stitching!

A bold new Bolero.

As I am sure I have mentioned my Midnight Sewers Class, meeting every Monday evening, is tackling Bustle Skirts. I have purchased a pattern (which is most unlike me, as I normally like to cut my own patterns), because I thought we could fell two birds & take in a bit of pattern reading too.

We chose Simplicity 1819, which houses a wonderfully useful collection of patterns & whilst I am going to chart our progress in future posts for now I’d like to show you my new project.

Amongst the various patterns, including two bustle skirt styles, a stretch vest & a corset, are two styles of Bolero jacket & it is to these I am finding myself drawn. I’ve noticed over the last few months that I have been discovering more & more pictures of Bolero’s both extant & modern, & I find them just delightful. I had been meaning to draft my own pattern but for now I am going to use this one as it really looks quite delightful.

It is towards the decoration of the extant Boleros’ I am consistently drawn to, & I love the simplicity of this pattern because it is really going to form a platform for my decoration.

I have chosen a stunning Gunmetal Grey Velvet to make the Bolero in, with a pale pink cotton lining printed with white doves, matched with pale pink lining for the rest. I will be decorating the outer with black binding and hopefully lace using the following pictures as inspiration.

I want to have it display a modern twist, as well as firmly be recognisable as a Victorian inspired piece. Hepefully the two tone lining will help! I am looking forward to starting.

Happy Stitching!

New poster!

I’m going to paint the town red with them!

About a week ago I had to brush up on my long dormant Photoshop skills. Truth be told, I hadn’t used Photoshop in about a decade… was it even Photoshop back then?! & I just fell in love with it. So much so that I have finally gotten around to designing myself some, if I say so myself, awesome fliers, a poster & business card.

They all feature my delightfully naive illustration style (naive, not rushed… it’s all in the marketing!), & in designing these I had to set myself the task of working with Black & white only as I do not yet have the resources to print colour fliers however; I think they sum up Laura After Midnight really rather well. I’m still tweaking the wording but I’m really happy with them.

I’m going to start placing them tomorrow, wish me luck!

Happy stitching!

Draping a Victorian Bustle

As my Midnight Sewers’ Group wants to make Bustle Skirts next I have been digging around online & I’ve just stumbled across a wonderful illustration from Peterson’s Ladies National Magazine deconstructing how a bustle would have been draped.

As a Costume Designer & Maker, I find I can figure out fairly accurately from the illustrations, paintings & photographs of the period how to piece together a costume however; the Victorians really went to town with their drapery and it’s lovely to find an illustration which completely demystifies a little bit of this!

From http://pintuckstyle.blogspot.co.uk/ who also adds:

What you aren’t seeing here is that most successful bustles where draped on the bias, so that those front corner ‘points’ are probably right angles where the selvage & cross grain meet. The bustle pleating was similar to bunting, ruching up the fabric to create the necessary drapery.

Happy stitching!

Worth and Mainbocher online exhibition.

In 1860, Englishman Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) founded a Parisian atelier that defined the luxurious standards of the haute couture and set high fashions stylistic course for the balance of the 19th century…

Well worth a quick peek, this is from an online exhibition bringing you works from Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) & Mainbocher (Main Rousseau Bocher 1891-1976), the ‘masters of Haute Couture’. Exploring the ‘garments’ histories, details &  construction from the inside out’ this is a fabulous resource in to someone like Worth whose work I have seen very little of over the years. It seems to be cloistered away for fear of damage when possibly the real damage is the hiding away of such pieces of art work. My favorite is the above, a Wedding Dress from December 1878. They have provided background on the piece, as well as construction and fabric details:

The Victorian formula for the virginal white wedding gown—orange blossoms and tulle—is challenged here by the rich cherry clusters of the dress made for Annie Schermerhorn. The silk tape fringe and elaborate pearl embroidery underscore an elegance closely aligned with the house’s ball gowns. Although wedding protocol closely delineated the rare exceptions under which one could re-wear a wedding gown—foremost being presentation at the Court of Saint James—the opulent beauty of this design must have presented countless temptations for a repeat wearing. 

There are  several detailed close ups of each piece, with further information attached. It’s quite the treasure trove & I haven’t even touched on Mainbocher!

http://collections.mcny.org/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MNYO28_2

Take a look.

Happy stitching!

Bustle Illustrations and a good read.

I just came across these rather nice illustrations of bustles from a pretty cool vintage book I snatched from under an old ladies nose in a thrift store a couple years ago. . .

  

                                        

Gloriously entitled ‘Taste & Fashion’ by the indomitable James Laver it is a splendidly out of date read, & gives a massive insight into how it used to be ‘done’! With chapters such as ‘The Theory of Decolletage’ & ‘The Two Bustles & the Aesthetic Movement’ how could I not squeal in delight & proceed with ill disguised glee to the till?

I am sure that now I have made my re-acquaintance with this priceless find I shall be quoting all over the place however; here is one to keep you going. From the ‘Lingerie’ chapter comes a glimpse of thigh. . .

“It is curious to note that the suspender, once invented, took a definite place not only in the history of fashion, but in the history of eroticism, largely owing to the cancan dancers in Paris in the middle nineties. . . In the course of her dance she lifted her skirts and displayed bare thighs traversed by suspenders, which kept the stockings in place. This thigh-eroticism was very prevalent in the nineties, and then suffered a long eclipse until the success of Marlene Dietrich in the Blue Angel brought it back once more into vogue.”

Steamy stuff, eh? A corker of a find, & actually very useful too, I recommend it if you need to know anything at all about the history of fashion or costume as it is very readable, with lovely illustrations throughout.

Happy stitching!

Bustle

I’ve just been linked to this, & I have to say it’s really rather ingenious!

The clever instructions take you through all the different steps to make a simple but incredibly effective Bustle Skirt. I have never thought of using Bulldog Clips to arrange the pleats, & really wish I had! The small detail I would change is to continue that beautiful trim around the skirt hem in its entirity.

Also, I adore her fabric! Follow the link. . .

http://blog.fabric.com/2010/10/the_costume_trunk_the_incredib.html

Happy Stitching!