Sunday, 11 May 2014

Bobbinet and dress foundations

I've been researching the fabric known as Bobbinet as i've started to stock it in the shop.  It's a fascinating fabric, not just any old tulle but special tulle which is woven in a particular way to make it strong enough for corsetted dress foundations whilst remaining beautifully light and bulk free.

Read all about it here:  

Monday, 9 December 2013

Making bags for better corset making

Feeling quite accomplished today having written a blog post over at Sew Curvy and thought it a good idea to flag these posts up over here so that you don't miss them!

Here's a blog post on how making bags improved not only my sewing skills but my corset making skills no end.
 Click HERE.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


I've started a blog over at my website which is more relevant to my current work.

I'll still pop in here now and again, and ofcourse you will still be able to access my most popular posts which are all linked from this page, either through the 'most popular posts' bar on the left, or through the tabbed headings below the main header at the top.

I do hope you enjoy my blogging adventures over at Sew Curvy.

Click HERE to go THERE

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Corset making classes

I've already done several corset making classes this year including corset making for beginners, intermediate corset making, and how to make a corset pattern from scratch.  Most of my girls this year have been two or three times which is lovely because instead of a bunch of lessons, it feels like a nice sewing circle/social!

Erica, Emily, Tamina and Michele learning how to flat pattern a corset from scratch

One of the girls who came along, lets call her "Erica, Queen of Sewing Gadgets" had the most superb sewing machine, which I had been lusting over for a while before Erica brought hers to class. Upon seeing it's performance, I was immediately smitten, and I decided I had to have one!  I wrote to the nice people at Janome, and they sent me one on loan for a year in exchange for me saying nice things about her.  Well that isn't hard because she is utterly Fabulous!

She's ARRIVED!!! Glee!
And.. here she is:

My new Janome 1600P - she is fast.... very very fast
I immediately set to work on the wedding dress commission I have to finish by the end of this week, while my friend Izabela who had joined me for the day, worked on a very complicated corset drafted from an 1884 patent.

Scaling the pattern

Working out the stitching methods ..

et Voila!  An 1884 pregnancy corset (no she isnt!) come to life, with 'steam punk' customisation in process

The lining of my wedding skirt

Completely ironic really when you consider that Izabela's main occupation is making big flouncy dresses for her brands Prior Attire and Prior Engagement, and my main occupation is making fancy corsets!  

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Classes are all go!

Just coming up for air again, it's been non-stop as usual here at Sew Curvy / Marmalade Towers.

Teaching season began in March and since then I've had a few lovely ladies coming through the doors to fall in love with corsets, and a number of those very ladies have re-booked for further courses.    This weekend coming I have not one, not two, but THREE repeat students coming so it will be extra fun I'm sure!

Here are some pictures from Izabela Pitcher's Prior Attire courses which covered all manner of Victorian Underwear ...

Here is Helen making a semi hooped petticoat with broderie pleated trim.
This was to be worn under a dress for a masked ball!

This is Jane who has been on two corsetry courses with me and who is
making a Steampunk costume

Does my bum look big in this?

Here is Suzy making with her petticoat that goes over the hooped bustle petticoat

With and without the cage underneath

Does my bum look big in this #2 - I'm trying on EVERYTHING at the same time!

You can read more about Izabela's costuming exploits at her blog: A Damsel in this Dress.  Izabela's skills are amazing!  If you want to book a course with her, get in touch via her blog, and when enough people are gathered, the workshops take place at Sew Curvy!  Great fun!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A new blog on the block

Back in the summer I taught a lovely dress making class for Darn it and Stitch, the only sewing shop in Oxford who have their own sewing school called Pinworks.

I had 5 lovely students all from different parts of the world, as is typically 'Oxford'.  There was Liere from Spain (hope I spelled that right), Veronica from Mexico, Maria from Italy, Nicola from Germany, and Claire from Oxford.

Only Claire had sewing experience, the others had none but had seen their grandmothers and mothers sewing while they were growing up, paid no attention (as teenagers are prone to do) but then as grown women, realised that sewing is not only fun, but a valuable skill, and they wanted to learn.  We made a simple dress, and by the end of the 7 week course, I had 5 sewing junkies on my hands.  A proud moment of indeed - for all of us!  Unfortunately, this event is completely un-documented with the camera which is extremely unusual for me.

The girls have kept in touch with me and eachother, and have gone onto bigger and better projects and Claire has now joined 'the dark side' by becoming a sewing blogger!  She's done some fantastic work.  She's made several bits of clothing AND a quilt!  This is something I haven't attempted yet.  It would be great if you could support Claire and cheer her along.  Her blog is called "I want to be a Turtle" -

Now Claire has set herself an enormous challenge.  She wants to make 12 outfits between now and December. That's 2 per month.  These are they:

Friday, 8 March 2013

Corset making classes commence!

It's already March which means it's nearly a year since I moved into my beautiful woodland cottage studio in Oxfordshire.  The reason I took on the studio wasn't just because my husband wanted to reclaim our house and make it free from 'work' (not to mention corset parts), but also because within the cottage was a lovely large workroom from where I could envision teaching lots of lovely corset making classes.

The first class of this year was Sparklewren's creative corsetry patterning masterclass a couple of weeks ago, but March, April and May are  very busy with  a corset pattern drafting course followed by a begginners corset construction course, followed by an intermediate corset construction course and then another beginners corsetry course which is already nearly full.  I am scheduling more classes soon!

The best part about teaching is that I learn as much as my students.  Each class is a feast of revelation for all!  Classes are much better than private tuition because of all the interaction between students - someone may ask a question that nobody else thought of, and you get 4 bodies worth of experience in one go.  This is invaluable and can't be learned from a book.   The courses are quite intense and everybody leaves as good friends -  my studio always feels rather empty on a Monday morning - a bit like the morning after the party with just the debris of a good time to clear up.

My egg mayo sandwiches have become pretty legendary!  We have vintage teas every day on each course, and these feature on the menu frequently.  The eggs come from my own chickens!  There is also plenty of cake and tea involved - all served up on beautiful vintage crockery and from about April onwards, the weather is usually good enough to eat on the picnick bench outside.

Many of my corsetry students have been back to me several times and this makes me very happy because I know it means that they had a good time in the Sew Curvy Cottage Studio, sewing, learning, chatting and lacing!

For more info on my corset making classes, click here:  Corset Making Classes