Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Empire Strikes Back

I typed in "steampunk clothing" in a google search the other day because I wanted to see what other crazy things people were coming up with, plus..let's face it-I wanted to check out my competition. I call it "market research" although to some (mainly my husband who is upstairs trying to contain the pure enthusiasm that emanates from a 3-year-old and a 4-year old) it may look like I'm just wasting away in front of the cold glow from our pitiful little monitor. As I was perusing, I came across this belly dance troupe that had done a simply splendid job of collaborating a lot of various pieces into their steampunk belly dance outfits. The somewhat rusty gears in my head started churning along, and I had this heavenly inspiration to introduce a whole entire line of MIND BLOWING empire waisted corsets. Visions of sultry little spiky bra like pieces, chopped off business vests, and "come hither" underbusts danced in my head. I went immediately to my whiteboard where I make the cutting lists for Tyler, and started listing, describing, and drawing all of these styles for him to cut out.

It's a really good thing that Tyler cuts all of the corsets that you ladies wear. He's not only exceptionally talented at laying out and cutting patterns (yes, there IS an art to it. Any of you who have ever had to cut out your own pattern should know!) but he's also extremely precise and HE is the reason that the designs on the seams in the back and front line up with such flawless symmetry. He does, however, have one single fault in this field....he can't B.S. cut. See, when I cut patterns, ESPECIALLY different and new designs, I completely free-hand and use my brilliant intuition to make those 2-D shapes that will turn into exquisite 3-D shapes when they're all sewn up. I have practice, and I'm simply skilled at it. Tyler cuts exactly what the pattern tells him, and cuts it ONLY how he has been told to cut it, which is why all of my sewing ends up being so easy..because all the pieces just FIT together.

So, when Tyler woke up and forced himself down into our freezing cold dungeon of a sewing shop and found a cutting list with all of my "inspiration" he probably wasn't too happy. I sat and drank my peppermint herbal tea and exclaimed that I was going to have a wonderful feature in my etsy shop called "The Empire Strikes Back" in which there would be an array of absolute eye candy empire corsets! I still had a faint glimmer of the vision that I had had the night before!

However, that glimmer flickered, shot out a few sparks, and died. I started sewing the dang little half-corsets and they took LONGER than the full length corsets! Plus, all of my ideas that I had ended up being a little bit more challenging to do in real life than they were in my head. I got more and more depressed, the more I forced myself to push the renegade fabric through my unwilling sewing machine. "Well, this is complete crap!" I thought. "I can't sell these for the same price as my full length corsets, because they're only half the length! People will be expecting the price tag to follow suit!" If any of you think that the primary reason I'm sewing corsets for a living is because I'm passionate about historic costumes....think again. I want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I want to make money while I'm being this stubborn. In the end, it's all about the money, and if I'm not making the money, I'm not paying for the $2000 I just dropped on really swanky fabric the other day....and thus starts the vicious cycle...no money, no fabric, no corsets....no money, no fabric, no corsets. So, needless to say, the empire DID, in fact, strike back. It struck me right at my weak spot....the love of money. Alas, you won't be seeing a beguiling collection of new empire corsets on my etsy shop this week. You might see a trickle of a few neat little corsets, but it won't be a thing like my original vision....unless you guys are positive that there's a slough of girls gripping their keyboards in sweaty anticipation of the chance at purchasing 20 empire waisted corsets for over $100 a pop.


  1. It is unfortunate you didn't end up liking your new creation. It's hard to say whether I think people would be interested in them or not #1 because I haven't seen one, and 2# because you never really know what people are going to like in the end.

    I guess the only thing to say is... do a few, put them up on etsy, and see what happens! You might be surprised after all.

    Myself, I think it would be wonderful to have some more funky options to pick through in your store, but I am also not sure I would be willing to pay extra for one. I guess I'll know when they become available!

    But don't give up hope just yet!

  2. Hi this is Heather, Tagg's wife. I tried to find your email on here but I don't see one. Kenny has Todd for Christmas and I was just wondering if you had any suggestions for us? my email is heddomarie at hotmail dot com. Thanks!

  3. I'm actually in the market for an empire to layer with my underbust, so while I may not be gripping my keyboard with sweaty-handed anticipation, I'm certainly more curious than your average customer ;)
    Always excited to see what you come up with ^.^

  4. Michelle: My email is mandysfriends@hotmail.com

    Tanion likes Star Wars (which is funny because of the the title of this post), action figures, he likes to dress up (costumes / capes, that sort of thing), swords, guns, etc. He's a boy, thru and thru! :)

  5. I personally LOVE your current steampunk jackets and handed out some of your buisiness cards at the Yule Ball in December. I'll be at more steampunk events this spring and summer and will be more than happy to spread the word on my FB steampunk groups! :D

    I agree with the other comment--try a few and see if they sell. I for one am willing to wager I would buy one since there are a lot of Steampunk / Neo Victorian Pubcrawls that go on in Minneapolis, MN that are fun to go to.

  6. https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8860539656121595525&postID=6723830822914913237&page=1&token=1293086416507_AIe9_BE7PSrDMziPUZAuagZIn4VmUmxbLgvHEIOUdygABB2Dg-AXpwHEqVLpQti-Uxr1FI2HcZVXdH7ZR1Rc_BbRK6G44WZU9knK8BxLXuEbe8yJWYhE6E90t6dd7YXTs1gb-hzkry7zXxm73mRUKPIngY3VRTEnZIaorMeXxGRJ8SMx9xZPkW--LQndJ5jzRL_toT3dUdeapKRBTbPhjoKHmtS9UbzzmORWvmmNtFGMBXGjvT5fTbn7wNcM8Eu4KZIx7PSX2ClQPZQ47aveGq20O0KdW4X7iby_er058W_nrIkBYt1CKsZf3hqo6u0lMyiKIQuEQNYsEFJsEw62t2KnR5OfTLaYIQhwGJUvLQgDiQz2Snu7Y7coz4W_tZSWKYI-9aKYhVq6tUZQPuHA2qWTlK0x-YdZYTY4nfePAflAmT06fVTR1kogdyBx_A-cvPCqqpyYbTjmUjT8Y2UMfj4IoMClRRDGwx2SgcntOG04RkcjV8bBo8DSDaEe1B9F5xGJCqL3AWHWH59jKa2ZodhUd2XPGKjQHserQHFcrty0oDcmvBWYocDYgufyaiMS8qJ9nP28pSSLteDyxajA6i7FR7Qsizy7zro9tZEVU5qngUhhKjTA1S3taBtSfjMSE1Z7lAnJjKSOqZVbdLkkY7CffWSAkUHTeA