torsdag den 18. juli 2013

An old dress in an old garden

My very first victorian dress from back in 2006 got to come out and have a little fun in the spring. The botanical garden in Copenhagen had allowed a group of photographers to come and use the beautiful garden as a background for their photoshoot. I had the pleasure of working with Nik Skjøth from Infinitive studios.

The dress got a minor makeover some years ago, when I covered the majority of the bodice in black lace and added a black veil (also used for other photoshoots). I tried to use my new bustle for it, but alas, it was to big. A 1880 bustle is not meant to go under a 1870 dress, -it is simply not the right shape. So for the major part of this photoshoot I used an Ikea pillow, and ended up cutting myself on the safetypins that held the pillow. -So I really need a new bustle soon. Oh well, one more project to the wish-list.

fredag den 12. juli 2013

Taking the NYE dress for a spin

I showed you my new years eve dress earlier this year, but alas, only as snapshots from the party itself. Photographer Zafar Iqbal ( was up for a photoshoot, so the dress came out again and we had loads of fun. 


søndag den 2. juni 2013

The black victorian underwear

Durring winter I managed to finally make my long wanted black victorian underwear. It consist of a black corset with white details, a white chemise with black details and a pair of long black stockings.

All pictures by  Henrik Jensen:

The corset is a modified version of the Truly Victorian corset that I have used for so long. I have long since started to use a selfdrafted pattern for modern corsets, but for historical wear I still use Truly Victorians pattern.
For materials I used a single layer of black coutil, with handmade castings for the spiral steels, attached on the outside of the corset. For a visual effect I used a thick white tread for the bonecastings and flossing, and along the top of the corset I used a white bobbinlace that was left fron the chemise.

The chemise is made from cotton satin bedsheets from Jysk (a Danish store), as they are very soft and the price is no bigger than for regular plain cotton cloth. I used a simple bobbinlace for the neckline and sleveholes, but a appr. 4 cm wide bobbinlace for the bottom edge. All lace was decorated with black satinband, woven into the lace. The band at the neckline can be used to adjust the height of the neckline.

All in all this is a set I am very happy with, and I look forward to using it underneath all my victorian clothing.

søndag den 17. marts 2013

The chequered house dress

In the spring 2012 I started on a housedress for American civil war reenactment. I finished the dress in December, but have not have time to show you the pictures of the finished dress. As this is the first UK post on the dress, let us take a brief look back on the process:

My concept drawing and numbers in my costume drawingbook:

The  bodice is an unaltered TV440 Pagoda bodice from Truly Victorian, flatlined with a dove-blue cotton. The sleeves are linned with the same cloth, but this time the chequered cloth and the lining was joined at the hem first, and then treated like one layer. It contains no boning, as it sits nicely on the body without.

 The buttons are self-fabric buttons, and the hem of the bodice is finished with self-fabric too, hand stitched to the inside.

The crinoline for the dress was a pain to make: I started out making the crinoline the shape I wanted the dress in. But with a good petticoat beneath, it of course became much to big in the top, where most of the petticoat volume is. Thus, I ended up reducing the crinoline two times, in order to get a more suitable silhouette.

To finish the dress I added a white collar with lace, and a pair of loose undersleeves.

the collar pattern without and with lace:

The sleeves were attached to the outer-sleeves with two stitches to the lining.

 The finished dress was with me on two different fotoshoots: One with Rene Bang in December, where we were outside in the freezing cold and one with Henrik Jensen indoor in a studio. Unfortunately you look like shit, when you are freezing your butt off, so only a few pictures were useful from the shoot with Rene Bang (very much not the photographers fault).

Picture taken by Rene Bang:
 (all the outfits were made by me, you might recognize the others.)

Pictures taken by Henrik Jensen:

mandag den 4. februar 2013

New year, New rules!

So, 2013 is upon us, and for this blog, it means a lot of changes.
First and foremost, you may have noticed the change in language. While blogging in Danish comes slightly more natural than in English, the number of people who actually care about sewing techniques AND read Danish are fairly low. Having the blog in english just makes things easier.

In order to draw a little attention to the blog, I have also entered into Foundations Revealeds sewing competition this year. For those of you who do not know Foundations Revealed, it is a subscription only homepage, full of high quality articles teaching you how to make corsets and other historic underwear. The page has two twin-sisters in Your wardrobe Unlock'd and History Unstitched, and I have been so lucky to write an article for YWU on how to weave fringes for trim.

In order to change the language on the blog, all new posts will be in english, and as times go, hopefully I will have time to translate some of the more popular posts.

So, that was one new thing. What was the other?
In 2013 I have decided not to buy new cloth. A common declaration among online seamstresses, this is actually rather healthy and sometimes quite needed. My stash of cloth for hobby projects have exceeded 100 m, and thus are becoming a slight nuisance. As I am bad at planning my projects from what I already have, this will be a good exercise.

January contained such a project, as I needed a costume for Copenhagen Grotesque Burlesques Persian Decadence & Subconscious Uprising party. Here I only needed to buy a white wig, two blue feathers and a bit of satin band. The rest was found in the stash, and in my opinion, it all went rather well... :)

Picture taken by Pao-Lung Tsai at Copenhagen Grotesque Burlesques Persian Decadence & Subconscious Uprising party.

søndag den 3. februar 2013

Entry for Foundations Revealeds competition: The peacock corset

This is the UK dress diary for my entry for Foundations Revealeds competition 2013: Ornamentation. The corset was produced in december 2010, but as it fits the ornamentation category so well, i decided to give it a go.

The technical specifications:
  • single layer coutil
  • 7 mm spiral steel boning at all seams
  • 7 mm spring steel at center back closure.
  • Thais silk fashion layer
  • 151 peacock feathers
  • 26 metal eyelets
  • satin band

I used an old self-drafted pattern, with a discrete overbust shape, and no reduction at the waist, as it was to be used for new year eve dinner, and I'd like some comfort while wearing it. Using the pattern as a guide, I planned the position of the peacockfeathers. The feathers were placed, so the eyes of each feather was shown to its best advantage.

 The pattern used for the corset.

Each feather was then cut, so the eye and a little rim of brow flowy featherparts were kept. Each feather was then sewn on to the olivegreen thai silk, -a leftover from my wedding gown. In order to keep and overview of the project, each feathers position was marked with a pin. Each feather was then sewn on with approximately 5-7 stitches around the stem of the feather.

A feather sewn on to the silk. discrete stitches have been used around the stem to secure the feather.
After having sewn on most of the feathers I realised, that the placement pattern was not good. All though all feathers were displayed as well as possible, it never created a whole. It was a corset, with peacock feathers on, not a peacock corset.

 The original placement of the feathers did not work as a whole.

So I removed all exept the lowest line of feathers, and fiddled with the next layer, until I had a design I liked. After that, it was a simple question of stitching feather on. I used different sizes of feathers depending on the diameter of the corset where I was working. The big and medium feathers were used on the hip and chest, while the small feathers were used at the waist.

 The two lowest lines of feathers, with an overlap that shows of the feathers, while still creating a whole.

As the stomach and back area was getting done, I had to decide on the placement of the feathers on the chest, as they had to line up in a nice way, in order to expose as few ugly stems as possible. In order to keep an overview, I regularly mounted the silk/featherlayer on mu dress form, to assess how everything was working together.
I decided on changing the directions of the feathers gradually, so they pointed away from the center of the chest. Thus, the last stems wound be covered with only three well placed feathers.

The almost covered fashionlayer. The feather eyes are almost covered by the brown fluffy part of the surrounding feathers. 
After the feathers were all sewn on the fashion layer, it was time to finish the structural layer. All seams were ironed open, and covered with a tube for the 7 mm spiral boning.  At the back metal eyelets were placed with more eyelets towards the waist.


Finally the fashionlayer were sewn together with the structural layer, all done by hand. At the back the fashionlayer overlaps the eyelets, so the satin band is kept away from the feathers, and stress them as little as possible.
After assembling everything I trimmed the feathers lightly, in order to make the corset less fluffy and show off the eyes of the feathers.I tried to trim the feathers as discretely as possible.

And the peacock corset was done! 

tirsdag den 1. januar 2013

New Years Eve Dress 2012/2013

This is the new years eve dress for 2012/2013! Finish a whole 24 hours before it is to be used...
This year the dress consists of a black corset decorated with lace and rhinestones, together with a chiffon skirt. As a new feature for me, the back is covered with a modesty panel.

The corset consists of a single layer of black coutil, with a 2 cm band functions as a waistband, and self-fabric bands for the wires. The wires themself are made from 7 mm spiral steel boning and simple 7 mm spring steel boning. The edges are finished with a simple black cotton biastape. The coutil was cut back when I made the green underbust, but have been packed away while we moved in 2012.

In order to decorate the corset, I used two different types of lace; a burgundy lace, and burgundy and gold lace, found in City Sycenter at Valby, that had loads of stuff on reduced prices, as they were closing. Normally the golden/burgundy lace is 900 dkk (160 $) pr meter, but I found a bucket full of leftovers, for 50 dkk (9 $) a piece. And yes, I did almost empty said bucket.
As a final touch, I gued on 175 preciosa rhinestones i two golden colors. Most people know swarowski, but apparently preciosa should be just as good. I found my rhinestones on

In order to create a whole outfit, I made a simple skirt using 4 meters of 140 cm wide black chiffon. It was cut into four pieces, and sewn together forming a large tube. It was then attached to a 3 cm wide black elastic, and the edges finished with a rolled hem.

Finally I tried something new, that I have wanted to try for some time now: A modesty panel.
When closing a corset, the skin is pushed towards the back, and often forms an unsightly meatfold. As this is a rather unflattering sight, it is often covered with a modesty panel. In its simplest form a modesty panel is a piece of fabric covering the back, but it can be made more sofisticated:
On Electra corsetrys homepage I say a version, that does not wrinkle or fold in any direction. The panel was held in shape with wires both vertical and horisontical. The panel was futhermore held in place, by a band, where the lacing goes through. I have always avoided modestypanels because the twist and turn, but this design was so good I had to try it out for myself. As it happens, they are quite easy to sew.

The decoration is heavily influenced by Sparklewren bespoke corsetry. Her use of lace and rhinestones are extremely elegant, and the quality of her corsets very high. Lucky for me, she is a writer at Foundations Revealed, and she have covered most of the basic techniques for this corset.
The new years eve dress is thus very much a product of my main inspirations from 2012, and required all the skills I learned this year. Very fitting for a NYE dress, don't you think?