Archive for the ‘clothing’ Category

Events Update, and New Pictures!

Thursday, 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!


My Dearest Celia…

Thursday, 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.


Friday, 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.

Design to Execution

Wednesday, 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!

Corset and Artwork

Wednesday, 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!

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!


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!


Monday, August 6th, 2012

I’ve decided I need to adopt a new MO for this site. In the past, what I’ve done is had an idea, chosen a size, and made the product in that size. While this is straightforward, it does mean an awful lot of people see a size 10 item when they want a size 12, or a size 8 when they want a size 10. Couple this with the fact that dress sizes are fairly arbitrary anyway, and what you have is a mess.

So from now on, I’m going to start making a range of things and listing them on Etsy, to be made up in the sizes supplied to me by the customer. This way I won’t end up with stock sitting around because it’s the wrong size, and more people can get the size they need. I’ll still do custom orders, and I’ll still do one offs from time to time, but mostly I’ll be offering a made to measure service. The other advantage of this is that I can justifiably make stuff for myself, which is great, because I never get cool clothes!

The first item I list, when I take some better pictures of them, will probably be these trousers:

You know you want them.


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.