All posts tagged: 1903

A 1903 corset for Emily

I realised I can’t call my 1903 straight fronted corset to go with Emily’s dress ‘Emily’s corset’, as I already did another corset for a different (far more fabulous) Emily. So, I need to have another name for it.  And I think I have an idea, inspired by the fabrics I’m using. The outer fabric is an oyster coloured silk shantung.  It’s a gorgeous fabric: almost no slub (the usual shantung problem, which makes it of dubious historical value), and it glows like a pearl. The story of how I got the fabric is adorable.  My mother in law gave it to me, on my birthday, but she stressed that it wasn’t my present (she also gave me something else, all gorgeously wrapped), it was just something she had lying around that she wasn’t using.  Why wasn’t it a present?  Because that would be like giving me work for my birthday. Awwww.  Hehe.  I still haven’t managed to convince my darling MIL that really, I would love getting fabric for every birthday. The lining fabric …

A corset for Emily: draping the pattern

I haven’t blogged much about Emily’s dress lately because I have been focused on my 17th and 18th century sewing, but I have been plugging away on it. Obviously the thing that I really need to make a the dress fit right is a 1903ish straight fronted corset. Based on period advertising, the most common straight fronted corset imported and sold in New Zealand in the first five years of the 20th century was the famous W.B. Erect Form Corset. For my 1903 corset, I used images of the WB erect form, and Norah Waugh’s ca. 1901 straight fronted corset pattern. The patterning on these things is insane.  The panels are ridiculously curved, and the seaming has no relation to the bone placement. I’m draping my pattern on Isabelle.  I’m not sure if this will really work.  The 1903 silhouette is so extreme that it’s really hard to fit and figure out from anything that remotely matches a normal body shape.  I’m just going to try my best, and hope!  

Tutorial: how to dye fabric shoes

Having shoes that perfectly match the dress was the ultimate touch of luxury for the fashionable Victorian (and Edwardian, and quite a few other eras!), so of course I needed a pair of Emily pink shoes to go with Emily’s pink dress. This is how you dye fabric shoes. Start with your plain, undyed dyeable fabric shoes: (yes, they really do need to be undyed, and uncoloured – shoes that are already coloured/dyed have almost certainly been treated with a surface finish which will make it very hard for them to absorb a new dye, plus the colour that they already are will affect the colour you want to achieve.) I’m using a pair of 90s bridal shoes that I paid a whopping $8 for. Try to determine if your shoes are silk, or synthetic (or, less likely, cotton or linen).  If your shoes are a natural fibre like silk, linen, or cotton, use a natural fibre dye.  If your shoes are a synthetic like polyester, you will need a synthetic dye.  Remember that satin is …