May 9, 2010

Random update

Hopefully, I'll get around to doing a proper post later today, however, I kind of feel like sharing assorted experiences from last week with you.

First of all, thank you so much for all your nice comments on my twist dress! Of course I'll keep you informed of other developments at that front.

Secondly, sewing for other people... Hmm, how can this be so rewarding and so so frustrating at the same time. Miss V came and went yesterday. She has managed to loose quite a bit of weight and circumference recently, forcing me to alter the dress and corset I made for her. So, both are back on the to-do pile. Argh. However, she loved the look of both, actually sort of appologized for changing shape so much and is really looking forward to these pieces...
And it's not just her, I'm also finally going to make a real start (as in, with the real fabric) on miss R's suit. I will just keep my fingers crossed and hope she will stay at her current size. Which is very good, by the way.

And then, I was helping out at M's this week and we decided we needed another dress for a fashion show for sustainable brands which is coming up this week. She pulled out an old pattern. It was a dress with a one piece body. Not one pattern piece, cut out twice, but really just one piece and sleeves. Of course, it was a free form kind of garment, but a rather interesting one. Two tucks, a center back seam and some gathering... I'm sorry I can't show you a picture, but I don't have any and it doesn't seem right to show you the fruit of someone else's creativity and hard work without her knowing it and approving.
Let's just say this is why I love to hang around there. Still so much to learn. So many other ways to look at design and pattern making. So much experience and flair...

And lastly, for now, how about some more books? Did I ever point out my love for my local library? I should. Most 'nice to look at all those pictures' kind of books and even quite a lot of pattern making ones, I don't buy, I borrow. Some of them again and again. This pile is in my house right now.

It includes biographies of Chanel and Dior, a big book of fashion prints from the 17th till late 19th century, a book on fashion theory, David Page Coffin's trouser making book, another pattern making book and this beauty: Waisted efforts by Robert Doyle.

This is nothing less than a guide to recreating period corsetry (although not the corset in the picture on the cover. that's an S-curve one and although the book mentions those, it doesn't give any information on making the pattern. this might be for health reasons, those things are supposed to bend your back in a very bad way) to size. It is intended for use by costume makers and it is utterly brillant. Just look at some pictures inside:

The book starts by having you create a 'French block', then introduces different corset shapes in chronological order and explains how to create those from the block. It also contains a lot of background information and scale reproductions of 19th century corset patterns.
I haven't made anything from it yet. I just keep borrowing it to read and stare at it all. There are always so many other, more practical things I 'need' to make... Which is also why I haven't yet been able to justify the expense of buying this book, but believe me, I want to. If you are more into corset-making than I am, and you would love to learn more about its history and draft patterns to size (although, to be honest, a majority of the instructions are, like the one above, for Renaissance-style corsets), this book is not to be missed!


  1. This is such a good reminder to check out my local library's sewing books more often.

  2. Oh my gosh your library has a good stash! I managed to get a pattern drafting book at mine on Friday, but nothing like those. I'll have to try ordering some...corsets in chronological order?? Excellent!

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  4. I have this book! It is very good however, i don't think it's worth the price to be honest. You'd be better off getting a proper pattern cutting book for Lingerie and the book by Norah Waugh, Corsets and Crinolines. I spent an AGE trying to understand one of the patterns in the Waisted book, before realising that the same pattern is in the C&C book .. in other words, all the patterns in the waisted book are taken from the waugh book ... so all the Waisted book is really good for, is historical knowledge and block making ... It is a lovely book don't get me wrong, but ... with hindsight (and more books!!), I wouldn't buy it again unless I really had nothing else to spend my money on.

    (I bet you've got it now since this post!!).