Events Update, and New Pictures!

March 28th, 2013

I last posted about the two events I have in may. That’s now increased to 4!  Let me break it down for you:

 

May: First Weekend: Make Believe Market, London (Sunday the 5th)

This whole weekend is going to be a lot of fun, and I am going to all of the events, culminating in the market on the Sunday. I should be trading alongside some friends (more on that later!) so you should come down and check it out.

 

May: Second Weekend: Saturday: SinS, Looe (Saturday the 11th)

Who knew that there’d be a steampunk festival one town down the coast from me in Cornwall? Well, I didn’t. But there is! It’s call SinS, and I should really know what that stands for!

 

May: Second Weekend: Sunday: London Fetish Fair, London (Sunday the 12th)

I’ll be catching the bus at some ungodly hour in the morning, having only just got back from SinS, up to London, to trade at the London Fetish Fair. A little edgier than the others? Maybe so, but it’s lots of fun, and there’s nowhere better to see incredible outfits!

 

May: Third Weekend: Saturday: Steampunk Extravaganza, Frome (Saturday the 18th)

This looks like it’s going to be a good one! People are coming from far and wide for the inaugural event, and we wouldn’t miss it! Check it out here.

 

The day after that, I have an olympic distance Triathlon. It’s going to be a fun month!

 

Now, new pictures! Generations ago, I made the Airshipman’s Jeans. The original ones weren’t very good, and nor were the photos I had of them. So I’ve reinvented them, changed the design somewhat, and finally got some nice pictures! I think they look pretty sweet, and mine are getting a lot of wear- I used polycotton rather than pure cotton in an attempt to make them more hardwearing and more washable, and it’s worked well. These should last for years!

This photo was taken underneath Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge in Saltash. It doesn't get more steamy than that!

 

Events!

March 4th, 2013

You may have noticed that I’ve been making a bunch of steampunk stuff lately. If you haven’t noticed, go and notice! I’ll wait.

The reason for the slightly soft focus on this shot is that Tom shot it on a 1947 Kodak Box Brownie. The man is dedicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Done? Good.  Steampunk as a subculture is on the rise at the moment, and there are events springing up all over the place! In the merry month of may, I have two events. Allow me to give you the details (or “deets”, as I believe the kids are saying).

The first, on May 11th, is called SinS, and is deliciously local to me- it’s just down the coast near Looe. There’s an event on Facebook HERE and a website HERE and also you can click HERE to get free cookies. I’m just kidding. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Anyway, I’m really excited about this event! Partly because it’s so close to me, and partly because it’s so close to the sea, and I love the sea. Good old sea. Also, by May it’s going to be gloriously sunny every day!

The second event is the weekend after, on May 18th. It’s the Market of Curiosities at the Frome Steampunk Extravaganza! I’ll be honest- I’d never heard of Frome before I heard of this event. Now I have, and my life is the richer! It looks like it’s going to be quite something!

So to sum up, that’s SinS one weekend, then Frome, then the next day I have a triathlon. Good times!

 

How To Make a Badge

February 20th, 2013

Here’s a little how to for you! My dad was clearing out his wardrobe recently, and he came across a jersey from his days in the Aberystwyth Coastguard. It’s got a really nice embroidered logo on the front, but unfortunately the jersey itself is rather motheaten and past it. He wanted the logo made into a badge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first step was to cut roughly around the badge, leaving plenty of room on all sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing is to work out what size you want it to be, and cut the edges neatly. On a non woven fabric like this one, the easiest way to do that is with a rotary cutter and a steel rule. If you don’t have these, give some thought to getting them- they make cutting waaaaay easier and faster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should now have something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, because this is a knitted fabric, it’ll stretch, and we don’t want that. The next stage is to cut yourself a piece of backing for it. I used some polycotton drill that I had lying about. Any reasonably heat resistant fabric that doesn’t stretch will work. Make sure you can’t see it through the main fabric, though- choose a matching colour for a loose weave, or knit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, take either some fusible interfacing or some hemming web (which are basically the same thing), and carefully line up the badge with the backing, with the fusing in between. Then iron, from the back- don’t iron the face, you run the risk of scorch marks, and of shrinking the embroidery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you have a pretty nice looking badge, and all that remains is to finish the edges. There are several ways you could do this; I used some matching thread on my overlocker- you could achieve a similar effect with a short stitch length on a zigzag sewing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternative methods of finishing would be binding the edges, or really any other method of hemming.

I hope that was helpful! My dad was very pleased with the way it turned out, and it’s a nice keepsake, without having to keep the whole garment. Levae a comment or get in touch if you have any questions!

My Dearest Celia…

February 7th, 2013

As I hope you know by now, my new collection, entitled, for reasons that will be made clear, “My Dearest Celia…” was launched a week or so ago.  This is the first time I’ve done this- in the past I’ve always posted pictures of every garment as I made it, as it came together, then took a picture of it to use as a product picture and showed that. It didn’t generate much excitement for two reasons- one, everyone had already seen it several times before it was finished, and two, the photos that I took were never good. This time, therefore, I decided to keep my cards a little closer to my chest during most of the design and construction, and also to bring in my friend Tom in to take some pictures that were actually good.

This is also the first time I’ve actively put together a “collection” as a single entity. With my harlequin stuff, I put a few bits together, photographed them as they came, and posted them, but this was the first time I’d done the whole thing as one to be shot together. As a result, I totally got delusions of grandeur, and decided that the photographs all needed a unifying narrative, to make them more than just pictures of clothes.

The story went like this; “My Dearest Celia…” is the start of a letter written by a lovelorn soldier of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, nicknamed The Tigers, to a woman with whom he is besotted.

I wrote this, and then felt super guilty for making up a character and being so mean to him. I have a weird conscience.

Unfortunately, Celia is all too aware of this, and, without reciprocating his feelings, takes advantage of them to get him to do stuff. Bad stuff. Stuff that gets him in trouble with bad people, and results in him being tied to some railway tracks (the location scouting part of this was super fun!).

Will she release him? Why should she, when she can get more promises? She's super mean.

After finally cutting him loose, they walk a little. Probably he’s apologising for inconveniencing her or something. Jesus, unnamed male character, sort your life out!

In this scene, our hero tries to endear himself to Celia. In reality, what you see here is Real Life Celia being mad that my outfit involves a fleece lined jacket, and hers is just a fairly thin top and trousers over a white blouse, and it's freezing cold.

Then we talk things out, and sit on a sluice because it’s a nice day:

The reason for the slightly soft focus on this shot is that Tom shot it on a 1947 Kodak Box Brownie. The man is dedicated. Also, Instagram can suck it.

I guess we make up in the end, because when we got to the final location, which was a very cool former tram bridge, I was intending to shoot me dangling off it by my finger tips with Celia standing on my fingers, but what had been  a fairly easygoing, shallow river when I scouted it, had become a pretty solid torrent, and I didn’t fancy drowning. I realise this shows a profound lack of commitment to the role, but what do you want? I’m a dressmaker, not a model.

Here we stare off into our future; me, happy to me with the woman with whom I am obsessed, her, apparently planning more ways to take advantage of those feelings.

If you read all that, thanks! This was a lot of fun to put together, and it showed me a few things I need to get better at. Most importantly I’ve learned that while it’s fine to work yourself super hard on construction, and work long days putting it all together, you can’t (or at least, I can’t) rush the design process. If inspiration hits, it hits, and if it doesn’t, a deadline isn’t going to make it. Next time I won’t set a date for shooting until I have all of the designs dialled in.

This also marks our first proper shoot with our new offical model Celia Grey, who puts up with a lot, and totally followed my direction here- I said “Ice Queen”, and she nailed it! That said, it was super cold, so maybe ice queen wasn’t too far from the mark.

You can find the collection for sale here.

My Dearest Celia…

January 31st, 2013

This is my new collection. A sad tale of unrequited love spoiled by my inability to stop grinning when someone points a camera at me.

The pictures can be found on my facebook page, and while you’re there, could you hit that Like button? Thanks!

Anyway, I’m going to do a big update about all of it soon, but for now, enjoy this picture of my wonderful photographer friend Tom. When I told him it was a steampunk shoot, he showed up with two dSLRs,  a bunch of lenses, lights, and a Box Brownie from 1947. Ladies and gentlemen:

You can find the clothes in the steampunk section of my shop. There’s a link to Tom’s website here.

MDC

December 21st, 2012

I am working on a new collection! In the past, I’ve put up sketches and designs and progress pictures of pretty much everything, but this time, I’m going to wait until it’s all completely finished. That said, I, along with my official model Celia Grey, will be dropping little hints and teasers over the coming month. Be sure to Like our Facebook pages, and follow us on twitter (me) (her) to find out more! Your first clue is the title of this blogpost.

Christmas!

November 30th, 2012

Just a quick one here! Christmas is fast approaching, and I made a stocking from some leftover felt. I think it’s super cute, and it’ll last forever. You should buy it now! Click on the picture to see it on Etsy.

Design to Execution

November 28th, 2012

I design almost everything I make, but I don’t consider myself a designer. I am a maker. I design things, yes, but that’s not where it’s at for me. I like making things.

I think this is a good way to work. A mediocre design can be made very palatable by good technical skill, but there’s no design so great that it wouldn’t be ruined by being poorly executed.

Anyway, with all that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to post my initial sketch of an item (which is usually the entirety of the design), and then see how the final item differed.

Here’s a picture of the initial sketch. I turned up the contrast to make it seem gritty and noir-esque.

 

The first thing I realised was that I had drawn 6 straps, and NO ONE IS THAT TALL.  That got cut down to three.

The second thing that changed, which isn’t really obvious from the sketch, is that the buckles were originally going to be stitched onto the facing, but I decided to try and put them in the dart, instead, to avoid having a raw edge. It would also help support the weight of the buckles. I’m really pleased with how this worked- I think it looks really neat. As a result of that, the straps were extended so that they started in the other dart, rather than being attached to the edge of the right hand facing.

Oh my. I have literally just this minute realised that there was a lapel in the drawing. I did NOT see that. I guess that’s number 3!

The moving of the straps to the dart meant that I had to redesign the buttons- to be honest, even when I was drawing them, I had no intention of putting that many buttons on. Maybe six or seven, but twelve? Nope.

At this point I decided to slightly change the line of the left front piece, so that the buttons could be equally spaced between and above the straps. I don’t know if this counts, because that was a fairly arbitrary line to start with.

The lines under the buckles that fasten the straps coming down from the shoulders were going to be just embroidered. I took those out because I thought they’d spoil the line. Not because I forgot to put them in before I’d stitched the lining in… Not that at all.

I also changed the strap fastening from buckles to buttons for a number of reasons; I have a lot of brass buttons, and far fewer buckles; Buckles are heavy, and in that position, would have sagged; it’s easier and neater to put buttonholes in tape than it is to put in eyelets, especially when you’re out of eyelets; that’s quite enough semicolons.

I’ve also not added the second strap, but I might yet- it was designed to loop around the first, and I can still put more buttons on. I gave myself rather more space in the drawing than I had in actuality, though, so I might leave it as it is.

Anyway, after all that, here’s a picture of the result!

Ta dah!

I’m pretty pleased with it! Workshopping names just now, and I’ll get some nice pictures of it tomorrow, at which point it will be listed! I’ve already sold one, too, so that’s nice!

New Corsets, New Waistcoats, Knitting, Babies, and so on!

November 22nd, 2012

In between blogposts, I tend to write down any little ideas I have to go toward the next one; maybe things I’m working on, maybe thoughts I’ve had that I can’t fit onto Twitter. Here are a few gems that I’d forgotten about:

You know that scene in the Matrix where Neo flips through his hollowed out book to find a particular illegal computer program? That’s how I feel when I flip through the box I keep my machine needles in.

 

Gem number two: I was watching Up All Night the other day, and there was a baby in it, and I thought “Babies sure are cute. I wish some of my friends would have a baby so I could knit them something” and then I thought “One of your friends had a baby TWO DAYS AGO. You have had NINE MONTHS to prepare. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” Since then, I have been knitting a cute baby jersey, which there’s not much to see of at the moment, but I’ll post some pictures when it’s done. I can’t take credit for the pattern, though.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will know that I’ve recently been collaborating with Jackie Wills on a corset. We’re going to do a proper photoshoot soon with a model friend of mine- Celia Grey. In the meantime, here’s a picture of Esmerelda wearing it:

We’ll be making these made to measure, for around £200 each. When the photoshoot’s been done, I’ll list them on my Etsy store, but in the meantime, if you’d like more information, head over to the contact page on the left there.

I’ve just finished up a waistcoat for a friend of mine. You can take a look at his blog- it’s mostly about gaming and modelling, but he’s also an architect and a handy graphic designer. He’s redesigning my site and graphics in exchange for clothing. He asked for a waistcoat, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to launch a new design- he can have a nice new waistcoat, and model it for me, and I can have a new website, and some pictures!

Modelling the waistcoat in this picture is Esmerelda, my female model, because Dagmar, my male model, is bigger than my friend. I’ll put up some pictures as soon as I see it on him, though! I’m very happy with the design- it’s a super clean line, which would look incredible with the right tie. I’ll be listing it made-to-measure on Etsy when I get some good pictures of it- in the meantime, if you have to have it, drop me a line!

Corset and Artwork

October 10th, 2012

Just a short one this time!

Firstly, I loved that last corset so much, that I made another one, this time with a matching skirt! It’s a custom order, and I can’t wait to see it being worn! I think it’ll look amazing!

It’s a shot polyester taffeta, and the shot aspect means that it looks different depending on what angle its at. With that in mind, I cut the alternating panels perpendicular to each other, which is what gives it the stripey look particularly evident in the right hand image. I’ve also invented a new way of making single layer corsets: You’ll notice the lack of visible stitching, and yet it’s a fully lined and reinforced corset, which is quicker and easier to make than normal! This is due to magic.

To go with it, I’ve also been working on a mask, which I’m pretty happy with. I’ll post some pictures when it’s all finished!

I also thought I’d give you a taste of how the site redesign is going to look, when that goes ahead! Here is a picture!

This is being made by a friend of mine, who’s blog you can find just over here, although it’s more about model making and less about graphic design.

That’s about it for now! I’ve got a bunch of orders on the go, so I’m super busy!