Archive for the ‘circus swing’ Category

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

Thursday, 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!

Corsets, Waistcoats, etc!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Here is your thought for the week period until I make another blogpost:

Being a self employed dressmaker is cool and bohemian, but it palls in comparison to being a professional musician because I don’t get to carry an instrument case around.



I finished the corset! Yes I did. Corsetcorsetcorset. It took a long time. It fought back. I had to redo one particular seam SIX TIMES. To be honest, it’s pretty far from perfect, but it’s DONE.

To qualify the above, I’m not terribly experienced with corsets anyway, and that, coupled with the fact that this was the first iteration of a new design, made for some… fraught moments. In addition, about half way through the first half, I worked out a WAY better way of doing things, but I couldn’t really undo everything I’d done, so I had to keep making the rest in the old way. Rest assured that when I make these to order, I’ll be using the new way. Because New Is Always Better.

Here is a picture. A few things still need adjusting about it, and next time I’ll cut the fly at the front differently. I’ll get it up on Etsy for made to measure sales as soon as I work out a price and get some decent pictures of it.

One of the reasons I was delayed in making the corset was that on Monday evening, I got an enquiry on Etsy about the Harlequin Waistcoat. Due to a wardrobe emergency, could I make one up (my made to measure stuff is made completely from scratch- I draft the pattern from your measurements, cut the fabric accordingly, and put the whole lot together) to be delivered on Thursday? Given that I was at a friend’s on Monday evening, that meant two days to draft, make, and ship it. I do like a challenge! Anyway, I put everything on hold, starting tuesday morning, and got it in the post, next day guaranteed delivery, on Wednesday lunchtime. Mission: Success! So if you’re ever thinking, “Hmmm, I like it, but I doubt he could make it in time…”, I probably CAN make it in time, so try me! Unless I have a vast amount on, I won’t charge extra for a rush order.

I’ll add a little note here on the end: I don’t tend to update this blog that often, but you can keep up with what’s going on by hitting that LIKE button on my facebook page:

OR you can follow me on twitter:

I post new designs and progress on orders and ideas in those places, so keep an eye on them!


The Harlequin Outfit, Corset Week, and Triathlons (also Oxford commas)

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Welcome! It’s that time of the week again! You know, the time of the week when I think “Ack, I’ve not updated the blog since last week!”. That time.

So first things, in a nod to traditional logic, first:

The Harlequin Outfit is complete!

This is not news. Not to you hardcore abpg fans who refresh this blog constantly for updates (If that sounds like you, follow me on Twitter instead. It refreshes automatically!), no, YOU know that the outfit was finished last week! What is actually finished are some nice pictures of me WEARING the outfit (although those aren’t technically finished either- some are still being edited), but if you want to BUY the outfit, or its component PARTS, NOW you CAN! Head on over to Etsy, and check out the Waistcoat and the Trousers, all ready to be made up for you! And in the meantime, enjoy this picture:



Now that’s out of the way, it’s corset week. Well, to be honest, if a book were to be written about this week, it would be entitled “Corset Week and Other Projects”, but still. My MIND will be on corsets, and as the picture above shows, that’s probably the only part of me you need to worry about. I’ll be aiming to get two corsets finished; one fairly conventional in its cut, and the other a little more original. The conventional one is going to be black and white, with STARS. Also BUTTONS! I can’t draw it easily, so I’ll just wait to let you see it until it’s in a state resembling readiness.

The other is a ribbon corset. Ribbon corsets be fiddly, yo.

Fiddly but pretty.

I had a bunch of velvet ribbon lying about from a project that didn’t work out, and ages ago I started trying to make it into a corset, but I wasn’t very focused on it. I also didn’t have any busks, so when I had to order some corset bits for the other corset, I figured I’d try and push on with this project, and it’s going pretty well. I’ve only got enough ribbon to do half of it at the mo, so I’ll get that done, and if it looks ok, I’ll buy some more ribbon and get the other half done. I’ll keep you posted- they’ll become a regular item if it works out.

Now, on an entirely seperate note, triathlons. I’ve decided that they sound like fun, so there may be updates as, in my efforts to complete one on a very cheap budget, I attempt to make running suits and so on. Be prepared for lots of lycra!

If you enjoyed this post, head over to and click the Like button. You’ll get all the news and pictures right to your feed, and I’ll feel like I’m popular!



Monday, August 27th, 2012

I consider myself a harlequin. To be clear from the start, we’re talking Commedia del Arte here, not Batman. Though Harley Quinn is pretty hot.

When one harlequinizes as much as I do, one needs a killer outfit in which to do it. Traditionally, these outfits have looked like this:

Needless to say, I am not a fan. If you want to get any harlequinizing done, you need to look SHARP.

This goal has, in part, been the inspiration behind my newest outfit. There were two other influences too:

Listen to this song. Now. I'll wait.

These fabulous tights, worn by the fabulous Gabby Young in the fabulous “Ask You a Question” video which is fabulous.

And the wonderful Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I loved this book so much! This isn’t a literary review blog, and I don’t know how to review things anyway, but suffice it to say:


So the inspiration was in place, and rather unusually, it stayed with me right through the making process of the trousers, and then the rest of the outfit, even when I was delayed while waiting for fabric. That’s some solid inspiration, folks.

Now, as previously discussed, the traditional harlequin wears a silly baggy suit which would sometimes even have bells on. Bells! How are you supposed to get any harlequinizing done if people can hear you coming?

What was needed was a smart, modern, yet classical outfit for today’s harlequin on the go. This is what I made:

I am SO happy with how it turned out. The photo doesn’t do it justice, since it’s my little camera on self timer in my living room, but I’ll get some proper photos taken soon!

UPDATE: You can see the nicer photos here!

Deadlines, patchwork, swimming, site redesign, and corsets

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

What ho! Today, a catchup on what I’ve been doing. My aim now is to update my Facebook and Twitter several times each day with pictures and updates about what I’m working on, and then once or twice a week to have a longer post here pulling everything together.

First things first! As the title suggests, I’d like to talk about deadlines.

I love deadlines.

That may sound odd, but I am sure a lot of you can relate to my position. If someone asks me to make something, and sets me a deadline, that thing will be made by that deadline. No questions. Last Sunday, I was at a market in London, when a friendly fellow asked me to make him a pair of trousers. BUT, he added, he needed them to wear to a party on the next Saturday. That’s six days, including shipping them to London (for those of you outside the UK, it’s small, but it’s not THAT small, and I live about 6 hours away from London by road). No problem! I measured him, drafted them on Tuesday, cut them, and made the fly on Wednesday, leaving myself just the waistband and the hems to do on Thursday, which I did before shipping them special delivery just after lunchtime. They arrived Friday morning, and he had a great, bespoke outfit in under a week.

So when I am set a deadline, I meet that deadline. Questions? No? Good.

The other side of the coin is when people say “Oh, no rush”.

Goddamnit, people! I NEED the rush! If there’s no rush, if it’s a run of the mill product, it’ll take anywhere from a month to in excess of six (SO sorry, customer (you know who you are)). If it’s something I’m excited to make, I’ll get the basics of it done super quick, but then all those little finishing bits will drag on and on and on. So please, if you’re ordering something from me, tell me when you want it by! It can a week’s time, or a year, but let me know!


Now, item number two in the list is Patchwork! I do love me some patchwork, and I think it really brightens up some relatively normal designs.


Me, in cotton Harlequin trousers

These trousers, for example, are a pretty standard cut. A little higher in the waist, perhaps, and they have only one pocket, but still. Add some patchwork to one leg, and you get nothing but compliments!

Several of my recent designs were inspired by that very black and white diamond patchwork fabric. Those of you who know me well will know that I have a thing for harlequins, and when I saw this fabric, I had to have it. However, it’s quite expensive on the roll, and the shop that I got it from has only the one roll and cannot get any more. Not wanting to rely on no one else buying any, and that already slim roll somehow lasting forever, I decided to figure out how to make it myself, quickly and easily.

To cut a long story short; I did! Mainly thanks to my overlocker. I love my overlocker.


NOT SHOWN: Lipstick marks.

If anyone’s interested, I’ll post a tutorial on how to do it. It’s a very quick method that does not involve cutting out hundreds of tiny diamonds which then fray and get lost before you have a chance to painstakingly join them by hand.


Logic would tell us that now is the time to talk about swimming, but it’s not! That comes later! I’m going to talk about the upcoming redesign of this site.

When I first got this site, it didn’t have much direction. I made stuff that I thought was cute, and it was! Oh my, was it ever. But now, I have a lot more direction. Recently, it’s been Circus Swing, and further back, Steampunk. So I’m going to have parts of the site redesigned to better reflect this! I’m also going to get rid of the portfolio section, replacing it with some kind of garment retrospective, and I’m going to get rid of the “Home” page, because what on earth do you put there that doesn’t go in another section? The site will work just the same, it’ll just look different. Better, I hope!

Now, by way of an apology for the last paragraph’s dramatic departure into chaos, corsets! I am working on some corset designs. There’s not a whole lot to say here, except that I’ve only ever dabbled with corsetry, and I’m excited to be getting properly into it! Keep an eye on my twitter for excited tweets as it all comes together/despairing, angry tweets as it all falls apart.


Finally, swimming. The event I was training for, the 2.2 mile Breakwater Swim (swimming from Plymouth’s Breakwater to the shore) was last Sunday. You can read a bit about it here (that’s me on the right, refraining from doing what the photographer suggested and putting my hand on Pauline’s shoulder, because she was covered in Vaseline). This was before the swim, when we were all excitedly nervous. Anyway, it went off without a hitch, once I was in the water (although I came off my bike on the way there and did the whole thing with cuts all down my right side and a swollen elbow on one side and shoulder on the other). I took longer than I wanted, but 12 weeks ago I couldn’t swim 25m crawl, so I’m still pretty happy. Now it’s time to work on my technique and my speed. I set the bar nice and low for next year!


Thanks for sticking with me through all that, folks! That was long. Reward yourselves now! Perhaps a cup of tea, or something from the store?


Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I’ve been working on a waistcoat to go with the circus trousers!

This is a rough design (pictures taken with my phone, so they aren’t the best). I started work the other day, paying particular attention to that pocket- I’ve only done a handful of slashed pockets, and this is the first I’ve done at an angle AND over a dart. It was actually quite painless, though, and it looks great!

I was quite careful with the dart positioning on the harlequin side, too, so that it didn’t throw the pattern off too much. I considered using a pleat instead of a dart, since the whole thing will be underlined with a heavier fabric, but I want it to be quite fitted when it’s done; I’m not a fan of the traditional baggy harlequin suit one sees- this outfit is for the hardworking harlequin on the go.

I’ve been delayed because I  need plain black and white cottons to make the back panels, and to line the whole thing with; in the past, I would have just used whatever polycotton I had lying around, but I’ve decided it’s time to reach for a higher quality. I should be able to get hold of some today, and then get the whole thing finished early next week.

UPDATE: It’s finished now! Take a look at the bottom of this post to see it on me!


On a different note

While I’ve been much better at updating this blog lately, the real action is on my twitter account, so head over there and follow me to keep up to date!


Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Just a quick one today! Remember that drawing I posted in my last post? Of the trousers? Well, in what may be the quickest turnaround from me sketching something to me making that thing, well. Check it!

Yes, I realise that I look terrible. LOOK AT THE TROUSERS

I got so into making these that I forgot to have lunch! I am really hungry now. Nevermind, because I have NEW TROUSERS! This circus swing thing is fun! Also, the circus is coming to town next week and I AM GOING TO IT! This is like church for me.

Circus Swing and Twitter

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Firstly, and contrary to the order suggested by the title, I am on Twitter now! If you follow me, I’ll love you, and while I can’t promise you it’ll be forever, I can promise several decades. If that’s not enough, like my page on Facebook too. That’ll lock you in for the longterm.

Now, the important part!

I have, possibly, a new favourite band. Which is nice, because for ages, when people ask who my favourite band is, I’ve said “Errrrm. Maybe the Cure? Probably. I’m not sure”.

Anyway, my new favourite band is the astonishingly magnificent Gabby Young and Other Animals. They invented the genre of Circus Swing, which anyone who knows me will realise is the reason the downstairs neighbours were banging on the ceiling last night because I was jumping for joy TOO MUCH. Eat it, downstairs neighbours! Ain’t no such thing as too much joy.

I ran out and bought their new album, The Band Called Out For More, and ran back, realised that the friend I was staying with didn’t have a CD player, and spent the rest of the evening listening to the few of their videos I could get to load on my phone whilst sketching circus swing designs. Here are some pictures!


























The imaginatively named Circus Trousers! Will these get made? Yes they will! Next week, I think. Will they get made in my size? Yes, if I don’t have anyone in mind, it’s easy to check the fit if I make them to fit me. Will they make it as far as my etsy store without me deciding I want to keep them? No comment.




























The Ringmistress Tailcoat! Will it get made? Damn right! I have the fabric right here. Does it look more like a morning coat than a tailcoat? Why yes, yes it does. Is that because I forgot what a tailcoat looked like and got confused? No comment.