Enchantment Under the Sea: 1950s Prom

If you’ve been reading my blog before you might know that I’ve been the chair of the social committee where I work for the past two years(and before that I sat on the committee as well). Last year we planned a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to celebrate the ‘holiday season’ (aka Christmas for a very politically-correct, multi-cultural, multi-faith organization). I ended up getting sick at the last minute and couldn’t attend. The year before our theme was a Masquerade party, and my costume was an Anubis-inspired costume with a hand-made mask. (Previously we also did a time-travel party and I did a steampunk costume.)

In July I stepped down from the committee (partially I’m running out of time, and partially I’m concerned about the amount of work the committee is starting to require) but I’m still really excited about the party theme we’ve chosen for the 2014 holiday party. Since we started a great deal of the party planning before I stepped down, it also means I have an inside look into how the party will come together, and I think it’s going to be great!

I’ll be collecting all of my ideas under the tag “Enchantment Under the Sea” for the time being… so if it’s after the party – click for all of the related posts – if not – stay tuned!

Continue reading

Viking beads – Vikings in BC

Viking age beads from the Vikings in BC display

Viking age beads from the Vikings in BC display

In my previous post I showed a Norse style festoon I made largely from museum replica Viking Age beads. In this post I’d like to share with you some of the photos I took at the Vikings in BC exhibit this past summer.

The beads above are largely rock crystal faceted beads, with other glass and stone beads. Continue reading

Another Viking Age Festoon

You might remember that I made a Viking Age Festoon (half-necklace) a while back for my Viking Age costume. Then I bought some museum replica beads while in Iceland, along with some charms/pendants to make a treasure necklace!

First Festoon


Top of the blue apron dress with my festoon and broaches

Top of the blue apron dress with my festoon and broaches

Above is the first (two) festoons I made. I actually attached them together so I’m calling it a single… You might remember this from the Viking Age Festoon post or from the post where I showed off my blue linen apron dress.

Auditioning the new festoon

So I strung up the beads and charms along with some other beads I had/bought – and shared the photo with a Viking costuming group on Facebook. I was most looking for some feedback on what others might think of the beads and stringing.

Auditioning a new viking festoon

Auditioning a new viking festoon

Below are some of the close ups of the charms I used: Continue reading

Beads & things from the Iceland National Museum

I bought a few beads and some pendants at the Iceland National Museum

I bought a few beads and some pendants at the Iceland National Museum

When I was in Iceland I bought a few beads and pendants at the National Museum of Iceland.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you what I made with these beads – so stay tuned!

National Museum of Iceland
Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 530 2200

Raymond’s Quiet Press – Norse costume accessories


Silver plated Viking bling

Silver plated Viking bling

You might have noticed from my recent post about my new black linen apron dress, that I got some new Viking Bling! After wearing my home-made Turtle Brooches for a while, and looking to find recommendations, I decided to order from Raymond’s Quiet Press. I also opted to add the silver-plating option to my entire order, which included two large turtle brooches, two round brooches (for a possible future Finnish costume), a Viking Age key, and a tri-lobed/trifoil brooch for my coat.

BUT… when they came – they were SO bright. I know that they would probably darken with age, but since they’re just costume pieces, I wanted to darken and “age” them a bit. Continue reading

Lucet cord

Lucet cord using linen yarn

Lucet cord using linen yarn

After trying my hand at making four-strand braid (aka Whipcord) I thought it would be interesting to try my hand at another cord-making technique.

Lucet cord is often attributed “as far back as the Viking age” – however in the bit of research I did online, it appears that there’s some disagreement if lucet cord was actually used in the Viking age. Unlike a lot of other braiding or cord-making techniques, it doesn’t require bobbins or pre-cut lengths of yarn – which means you can make a cord as long as you want – or rather, as long as your yarn is. (And as long as your patience runs too… LOL) Continue reading

Waist-training & corsetry in the news

A corset of mine with the round nylon cord for back lacing.  (Shown on a dressform, so it doesn't fit properly...

A corset of mine with the round nylon cord for back lacing. (Shown on a dressform, so it doesn’t fit properly…

Not all of my readers know this, but when I started this blog, one of the things I was really trying to work on was my series of posts with the category “Dawn’s Corset Class” – a series of posts where I intended to teach a little bit about corsetry to those who were interested, leading into a chance to work-along in making your own corset….

Well, time got away from me, and other projects took precedence, but corsetry is still a big love of mine, even if it’s been a while since I made myself a new corset (for a costume, of course!). (I also don’t wear them as much as I used to, though I did a few nights ago at a memorial gathering.) When I see corsetry in the news, it sparks my interest in reading the article, even when they’re often salacious rather than very news-worthy….

Here’s a good one though, in the Metro Calgary online paper from November 17, 2014. “Waist training: 19th-century corset on a comeback” – Izabela Szydlo

The article talks about modern waist trainers as a “modernized version of the corset” with latex and hooks in the back. My guess; they’re really talking about a boned supportive garment, and not a corset at all – certainly not the kind that corseting aficionados would call a waist trainer. (First rule of thumb with corsetry – no stretch!)

I have a lot of (admittedly biased against) opinions about waist-training, and the article addresses some of them – the health concerns, the concept of ‘instant gratification’ and the unrealistic expectations wearers may have. The article also states that there is no current medical research supporting waist training for weight-loss, but interviews an Ontario resident who uses the garment this way nonetheless and is happy with it.

So what do you think?

After reading the article, what do you think about waist-training using corsets? Do you think that the modern stretchy versions should be considered corsets; are they mis-labled or do you think it’s an evolution of the style?

Want information on:

Cleaning your corset?

Storing your corset?

My ongoing corset class?

My thoughts

I think that garment styles evolved… the conical stays from the 1600s are similar but different from the Rococo stays of a later period, but people from the Elizabethan era might have looked at Victorian-era corsets as a completely different garment all together. Likewise, the Victorians might have wondered “what’s the point?” if seeing a corset from the Regency era; it’s only after all those years that we’ve looked back and lumped all of those different shapes and designs and goals into one rather tight puddle called “corset”.  (Want more information on corset styles? Read “Don’t pop a busk: selecting a corset style“) I generally see corsets as something that serve a couple of goals – changing a body shape or supporting it, incorporating lacing and boning for shape and structure, and not being stretchy. They should be self-supporting and not require straps to remain “up” (though they can certainly have them for a decorative effect or another function), and they’re underwear (even if worn as outerwear…). I don’t see anything that is “3 sizes available” as a real corset, nor do I see anything with stretch to it as a corset – but that’s entirely based on the history of the garment we now call ‘corset’.

I might wear one.  For fashion though, not for waist-training!