Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Say You Want a Revolution

I was going to save this for my next magazine, but I literally COULD NOT wait to show this go you guys. This will be a really cool blog, because I'm actually going to show you how the laborious pattern-making process goes, AND I get to show you the final product, from start to finish.
Above, you can see my sketch. It's a Burlesque-Marie-Antoinette-Steampunk-Saloon-Girl-Punk-Rocker look.

Granted, these pictures are out of order, but they do show the patterning process well. What they DON'T show is the part where I threw down my scissors and sharpie marker, screamed, "I SUCK as a designer!" and storm upstairs where I lie down in my bed and read "A Prairie Courtship". These dang pictures make it look like an easy and calm process, and it wasn't.

This is where I'm trying on the part-way finished product. The issue is that I have to make a pattern that works on mannequins AND real human bodies. The mannequin and I are...um....not the same size, thus I usually end up making two patterns.

This is Irish Patterning Paper, and it behaves vaguely like cloth, so it's great for cutting and designing new patterns. What the pictures DON'T show is the part where it took me about 5 yards of this stupid stuff to get the mock-up pattern right, which STILL wasn't perfect. I would cut the pattern, sew it, put it onto the mannequin, realize it was a disgrace, and then draw marker lines where it needed to be changed.

Here's the initial mock-up of the jacket. It's still not QUITE perfect here, and I do make some changes in the patterns I end up wearing below.

Simply said....don't judge me because I possibly perhaps might eat frosting from a can while I'm screaming profanities at my mannequin, my patterns, and my sewing machine. There IS a good reason I'm not a size 0.

So, the "inspiration" for this new design is fairly unabashed. I LOVE the dresses from the French Revolution. I mean, HOLY SMOKES, everything here is just bursting with sensuality. Every time I watch the Scarlet Pimpernel, I just bask in the warm glow of luxurious bosomy bodices and tight breeches. And to look like Jane Seymour in this movie!

So, here would be a much more Damselified version, obviously not remotely period and a bit more hourglassy.

I'm wearing it with a pair of our bloomettes and one of the our new overskirts with the flouncy sides!

This fabric was SOOO splendid to work with. It's a faux embroidered silk, and I thought it had just the right blend of historical coloring and texture mixed with the beauty of the abilities possessed by modern machinery.

By the way, wouldn't you just beat someone up for this CHAIR??

There, you can see the bloomers. Keep in mind, I NEVER bare this much of my legs in the everyday world. If you ever meet me in person, whether I'm costumed or not, you'll most likely not see anything above my knees. Speaking of which, I LOVE how knobby and blotchy red my knees look under the tights. You can tell I liked to play outside as a kid.

Alternate Color Version! Woot! This one looks more like my original concept drawing above.

I do apologize that you guys have to see this much of me, but I've made peace with it by telling myself that I'm sort of like a SUPER nerdy, not as-talented-OR-evil-Martha Stewart. I have lots of lovely friends that I use as models, but it's SERIOUS work to get people over, put on layers and layers of hooker makeup and cinch them in. That basically explains why you see WAY too much of me. Anyhow, we'll be listing these jacket and corset sets on artfire later this week. Oh, by the way, the "jacket" is called the "Revolution Jacket".


  1. GOOD GLORY! I forgot to mention where the totally AMAZING feather mohawk is from! It got this at www.bubblesandfrown.etsy.com

  2. That jacket is beautiful. I simply Love the fabric. Once again I am in awe of you.

  3. I love that you make these for real people to wear and not just to dress up, take rockin' pictures, and make real people jealous. There aren't enough designers out there who say "Here, play dress up WITH me!" This makes you a gem. I've been wanting to bring steam to the eighteenth century forever, and this is fantastic!

  4. So much hard work.. but such beautiful results!!! Also... yummm frosting! I thought I was the only one who could eat just the frosting out of the container. Forget cake.. LET THEM EAT FROSTING!

    Gosh ~~ If I lived closer I would happily be your model slave forever. :'(

    That French-y outfit is just so stunning~~~Ahh I wannnnt one. TT_TT

  5. Love love love! And frosting on toast is something wonderful I learned from Girl Scout camp. :)

  6. OMG I love love it. Your work is so amazing I can't wait to show off my corset to my friends in LA.

  7. Another Amazing piece. I love it. And we love seeing you. It's nice to see the designer modeling her own work. It shows that you don't have to be size 0 to look absolutely fabulous.

  8. Just to play devils advocate....you are absolutely gorgeous....blotchy knees included..:)....I do love this design, it is fantastic!

  9. Michelle~
    Your prototype is LOVELY! I'm very excited to see this in its final form... meaning BUYABLE!! Tee! I'm really liking the form fit around the neckline, but what appears to be a more loose fit under the bust, letting the corset underneath do the work..

    Very nice lines too!!! *WIN* (for us the customers, really...) ;)

  10. My family makes fun of me for eating icing straight up. I'm glad I'm not alone! It is also amazing with graham crackers and pretzels.

    I'm also glad you canceled the corset design contest because my design was based on the 1700s gowns. Freaky!

  11. I am gobsmacked. Totally speechless. I WANT.

  12. Its fantastic! <3 it. The process is awesome to see from start to finish, and yes.... I absolutely love the chair. LOL

  13. Utterly spectacular. And none of your corsets would be very much fun on a size 0 - they look so wonderful on real women. :)

  14. Michelle,

    I love this! I too love the Scarlet Pimpernel and all the pretty dresses those women got to wear. Very cool!

  15. I love it. I need one depending on color options available. Just divine.

  16. WOW!!! Wow wow wow wow wow!!!!

  17. Were you not married I would propose to you, because you have the most fantastically shapely legs I've ever seen.

    I really like that head piece you've created to go with this ensemble. It would look really good with your feathered jackets.

    Although now this is making me wonder what the French Revolution would have been like with steampunk.

  18. Hahaha! Dear Michelle,
    I love you. You remind me of me, only way more awesome and talented. :P

  19. Is there no end to your awesomeness? Oh Mt gosh! So beautiful!

  20. Pffft, don't worry about being the model so often and showing your legs! You look gorgeous! :D
    That being said, I love, love, love the new design! If only it was in my size. Siiiigh.

  21. Michelle,

    Let me update your website for you!!!! You need to have these pictures displayed across your site, so that people can show up, drool, fall over themselves in envy, and then spend oodles and oodles of dollars on these outfits! They're splendiferous!

    I'm going to go sit in the corner and weep over the amazingness of these pieces! :)

  22. LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (is that too many exclamation marks)

    ps. The Scarlet Pimpernel is my favs!

  23. This is my favorite, the first coloration I addoorrreee. I need to be rich and just..buy everything. LOL. :) Great job on the designing!

  24. To steal your own phrase, HOLY LOVE!!!! That is amazing. I may be ordering one soon. We have decided to host a masquerade at our house. How perfect!!!

    HUGS, Love.


  25. I love that jacket!!!! Another thing to add to my wishlist.

  26. Oh wow... I have got to find friends that throw better costume parties!I want those so badly! Also, being a size 0 is over rated, not that I eat frosting... okay it's nuttella.

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  28. Woweeee! Put me in that line! Gorgeous work, as always - I'll SEND you the frosting if that's how you produce your splendiferous designs! [Although after I discovered the yumminess of brown sugar on hot buttered toast, frosting doesn't do it for me so much anymore...]
    And *sternly* you'd smack any of us [lovingly, of course] if we talked about our bodies like you talk about yours! Them are great legs, and don' you forget it! I'm with Sheri, I like to see you modeling your work - it SHOWS us that you are a real woman and you are designing for all of us, just like you tell us you are.
    Oh, and I really like the good guys' costumes in The Scarlet Pimpernel, too. Everybody got to be gorgeously detailed!
    THANKS for another fabulous piece to drool over!! Saving my dimes and thinking about fabric choices...