A week in the life of a Costume Maker!

The last week has been incredibly hectic, with not one but three huge Costumes being made in the Studio. The first was another for Celebrity Cruises who wanted the Evil Enchantress Costume I made up earlier this year in Blue…

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The Collar was again constructed by hand using layers of Crin, Net, Calico and Blue Lycra (the base fabric of the Costume) with the addition of those fab Laser Cut Butterflies.

Each Butterfly is individually sewn on, which as you can imagine take quite a while. Indeed, I had someone just on Butterfly duty!

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Front, side and back of the final Costume. The Skirt is separate for ease and a Quick Change. I’m not sure, but I think I like the version better than the Black one!

In total this Costume took about 100 hours and three people to create however; we only had three days so you can imagine how quick we were stitching!

The second order was two Georgian Dresses for a Media Ball. Again, a little bit of a rush job but with myself and my trusty seamstress assistants we just about managed it.

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One was a delicate and flouncy affair, with Silk Ribbons, gorgeous Linen Toile du Juoy Underskirt, delicate silken Pinked and Scalloped Ruffle and Satin Bows.

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The second was a darkly Gothic creation made from lovely, heavy striped Velvet with a dark Purple line which inspired the dark Purple Silken Pinked and Pleated Ruffle with Black Satin Bows and Black Lace detailing across the Bodice and Front of the Skirt.

With over 10 meters of Boning in each Bodice, over 20 meters of trim in each and taking about 80 hours to create these were managed in a 2 and a half day period as a last minute order. We stitched until the last possible moment, but these fair ladies made it to the Ball!

After a few days off to look after my Husband who has just had an operation I shall be back at the Sewing Machine on my next order… but also at the drawing board for a huge Costume Design Commission I will be building in the new year, eek!

Happy stitching!

Advance Preview… and some exciting news!

Well Ladies and Gents (and I’m looking at you Gents!), here is a little sneaky peeky of what’s to come next Spring from The Midnight Atelier! And what treats there are!!

Firstly, we are on the move! Hooray!! B9 no more… I shall soon be found at A5 Pithay Studios which is a much larger room- and once was a Film Studio which I thought was very apt!- tucked away in a corner between a Gym and a Band! I have a month to do some serious maintenance, decorating and I shall re-open on 26th January. I can’t wait!!

I can fit in more sewing machines, a dedicated computer area for designing Patterns and Sewing Kits, and even an arm chair! I think the Courses already reflect my renewed passion for teaching, which has ebbed slightly because of the space and noise restrictions in my current studio, and I am definitely viewing it as an opportunity to re-launch and re-publicize what I am doing. I am SO excited to get started!!

And so, here it is, the new Class Schedule for The Midnight Atelier… booking will start on Friday where for 48 hours if you book a course you get 10% off of the Course Price! Woop!!

As ever, email me for any information at laura@lauraaftermidnight.com. If you are popping along to The Bristol Sewing Club Christmas Party you will be able to advance book any of the Courses with the above offer. I must love you guys (I do!).

I am very excited to introduce Crochet Club which starts on the 10th January, the proceeds on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month for FREE. Join me as I fumble my way through learning to master this dark art… other will be on hand to impart wisdom and advice and as it is held in the Pithay’s own Phoenix Cafe I can also promise nice cups of Tea and Coffee as well as a treat or two!

We’re off to a grand start aren’t we? Next up the first of my ‘Project Days’. Aimed at Beginner Sewers, or those who want to master a specific technique or just stitch up a simpler project in  a day, I am rather excited about them! They’re scattered across Saturdays, cheap as chips, often include Patterns and Fabric and should be excellent fun…

Vintage Bag Project Day

17th January 10-4pm £35 6 places

Re-Create a Vintage Bag in a day! Pattern provided, simply bring along fabric of your choice! All levels of sewing experience welcome however; some Sewing experience would be an advantage.

T-Shirt Project Day

31st January 12-4pm £25 6 places

Learn to sew stretch fabrics and make a T-Shirt in a day! Includes guidance sewing with Twin Needles and working with Stretch Fabrics. You will need to bring 1.5  meters of fabric, pattern included. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

The first of my Courses is here by popular demand, and there will be two patterns to choose from including this one from Sewaholic… I have tried to keep the Courses cost effective and included Patterns where possible.

Trench Coat Course

28th January 5 Weeks £75 inc. Pattern 6 places

Choose from two Patterns to make a beautiful Trench Coat for Spring. This course would suit adventurous Beginners or Intermediate Sewers, and will cover several different types of Seaming, Top Stitching and aspects of sewing up a more technical Coat. This course includes the Pattern, please email me if you have any questions regarding fabric selection or amounts.

Sew Over It’s Tea Dress Sewing Course

3rd February 5 Weeks £78 inc Pattern only 5 places left already!!

In January I shall be leading a cheerful, banish this Winter Blues Tea Dress Class! Using Sew Over It’s lovely 1940s Tea Dress Pattern– which is included in the price of the Course so you have reference material, and can make it again if you wish!- this Course will cover Cutting Out, making adjustments to the Pattern (if needed), sewing up and fitting as well as stitchery details like inserting invisible zips and hand finishing to make this lovely Vintage inspired Dress. You’ll need to bring your fabric but all other materials will be supplied, as well as a much deserved cup of tea and a biscuit or two. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Perfect Jeans/Trousers Course

5th February 5 Weeks £70 inc. Pattern 6 places

Skinny, Retro, Hipster or Classic, on this course you will make the perfect pair of Jeans for you. From Adapting the Pattern, to inserting a Fly Front, Top Stitching everything and Learning to Fit Trousers, this course is not for the faint of heart, but will be so much fun! Previous experience sewing would be an advantage and this course would suit adventurous Beginners or Intermediate Sewers best. Bring your own Pattern to make the perfect pair of Jeans or Trousers, along with Fabric, Zip and Contrast Top Stitch Thread. Why not bring along a favoured pair of Jeans to gain inspiration from as well? Please email me if you are struggling to choose a pattern, or would like help with fabrics etc.

Machine Embroidery Project Day

14th February 1-5pm £25 6 places

Learn this super simple and incredibly addictive technique in a day. Includes guidance sewing with different types of thread (inc. metallic etc), free motion machine embroidery and embroidery techniques. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Up-Cycling Project Day

7th March 10-4pm £35 6 places

Pop along to this raucous event and Up-Cycle a  to be photographed, popped on the Bristol Sewing Club Facebook Group and get voted on,a la The Great British Sewing Bee!! Best Up-Cycle will win big! Includes basic guidance on reinventing clothing, patterning, changing and altering clothing.  All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Shirt Course- Menswear or Womenswear

10th March 5 Weeks £85 inc. Pattern 6 places

Learn to make a beautiful Men’s Shirt; Ladies fitted Shirt or Shirt Dress on this Course which would suit adventurous Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Sewers alike, and Men are very much welcome! There’s nothing better than a crisp, handmade Shirt! Guidance will be given on fit, cutting out, plackets and collars and several different types of seaming. Pattern included, all you need to bring is fabric. Please email me at laura@lauraaftermidnight.com for information regarding fabric choices and quantities.

Vintage Pattern Course

12th March 4 Weeks £65 6 places

Bring that steal of a pattern you bought but don’t know how to make, or is the wrong size, along and create the garment you have been dreaming of! Includes guidance on Vintage Sewing techniques and terminology, as well as construction and altering  Patterns to fit. This course suits all levels of Sewers however; it could be a wonderful opportunity for intermediate Sewers to really make something unusual!

Leggings Project Day

14th March 1-5pm £25 6 places

Whip up a dangerously quick pair of leggings in this one day course and learn to work with stretch fabric, insert an elasticated waistband and hem with a double needle whilst sipping tea! Pattern included, simply bring 2 meters of brilliant v4-way stretch jersey! All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Mens Sewing Project Day

28th March 1-5pm £35 6 places

Learn to make a Tie, Bow Tie or classy Cravat in this afternoon of introductory Sewing for Men! Not for the faint of heart, as we stitch up a stylish creation which will be the envy of all. Pattern and fabric included however; feel free to bring fabric if you are looking for something particular. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you think I should be teaching something I’m not. For those of you begging me to do it, Pattern Making will probably run in April, and Patchwork towards the end of the Summer.

Don’t forget you can pop along to Bristol Sewing Club most Mondays and Wednesdays but remember to Book In here to avoid disappointment!!

Booking for the Courses goes live Friday, and you will be able to save 10% if you book a place in the first 48 hours!!

Happy stitching!

18th Century gorgeous-ness.

So, a few years ago when I was about half way through my Costume Degree I decided to take a trip across the UK and visit as many Costume Collections as I could. Some eluded me because of refurbishments and opening times mainly however; it took about a month but I saw some amazing things, met some wonderful people and thought I would slowly start to share some of the amazing pictures I collected along the way with you.

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1700-20 Waistcoat – Fine linen top and coarse linen underneath, quilted all over with cream 20 ply silk in back stitch. Design of small feathers and ‘rose window’ marguerites threaded with twisted sheep’s wool. Ground of small lozenges. Fronts curve away – slashed at sides and centre back. Sleeveless. 9 eyelets over sewn for front  [Stomacher is missing] lacing.

The first is this simply stunning Waistcoat, still my favourite piece from any collection I have seen (and I’ve seen many around the World!) however; I hadn’t noticed its awe inspiring beauty until the Curator, Althea Mackenzie, lifted the piece and the cold blue light of the mid-morning sun illuminated the expert craftsmanship.

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We had been gazing at Quilted Petticoats from the late 1700’s at the Wade Collection for some hours, and this piece was just one in many but it still resonates with me. I have long been a fan of Quilting as a decorative form- having been taught to sew through Patchwork and Quilting- and this is the finest example of that I have ever had the pleasure to be in the presence of. A Ladies waistcoat, dated 1710, with subtle flaring and two slits at the back to allow for the fullness of the skirt, this is just longer than hip length and the curve at the front would have also slightly flared out over the skirts. Gorgeous.

Similar to a Gentlemans waistcoat I have cut of the same period, I long to re-create it for myself! It is exquisitely quilted, with hand worked eyelets and genuinely has to be one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen in my life. They really could make fabric do things I think we have now forgotten- the neckline would have gently but oh so slightly turned back on itself when wearing, as would have the bottom hem line under the lacing. The combination of Quilting and Backstitch also interests me, and I think contributes to the Embroidered feel. Lovely. There are more Quilted Waistcoats out there, Killerton holds a particularly stunning one which has a slight contrast colour in the stitching.

I have a storage box stuffed full of similar images, and I shall start to sift through them and share the unusual (burnt and blackened Corsets found in a Chimney and Thatch, which was a slight trend amongst the Victorians’!), the beautiful (some hand painted silk with the stencil still showing) and more. I shan’t follow a time line, but pick and choose as I please!

I do hope you find this as lovely as I do… any collections suggestions? I shall be travelling across Europe later this year and would love suggestions any where!

Happy stitching!