Corset Class – Busking for change

Back-laced corset in purple hand-dyed dupioni silk

Back-laced corset in purple hand-dyed dupioni silk

If you are planning to make your own corset (or shopping somewhere with lots of options) one of your considerations should be your front opening. (Assuming your corset laces in the back.)

With no front opening:

  • You’ll have an opportunity for embroidery, painting, beadwork, or other embellishment.
  • You can place fabric with a large motif uncut on your centre front
  • No front-opening is a style common to historical corsets
  • In order to get into your garment you’ll likely need to undo most or all of your lacing. This will almost always need an assistant to get dressed.

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CoBloWriMo – August 18 – Favourite Tool

CoBloWriMo - Costume Blog Writing Month

CoBloWriMo – Costume Blog Writing Month

I’ve skipped a few CoBloWriMo prompts because a) I’ve been running tight on time and b) I wasn’t feeling very inspired.

I realize that only a few days notice to start a new month-long project was just too short notice, and it’s making me more unhappy than happy… to basically only post about things I’ve done in the past, while I have so many projects I actually want to work on.

That being said… I DID feel inspired to talk today about the prompt…

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Grandmother’s fabric sale – Saskatoon

Direct link from Grandmother's website

Direct link from Grandmother’s website

I don’t know if I have any readers in Saskatoon, but if you are (or if you can get there easily) you really should consider going to the Grandmother’s Fabric Sale on October 15th. (And drop-off your donations on the 13th!)

I go to this sale annually in Calgary, and it’s a great deal – basically people donate fabric, notions, yarn, and sewing equipment, and then the organization sells it off for pretty much dirt-cheap. All of the funds go to the non-profit organization, to support African grandmothers raising their grandchildren,when their own children are unable to care for them due to HIV/AIDS.

When I say dirt-cheap… I mean it… most fabric is approximately $1.00/meter, and they have quilting fabrics, fashion fabrics, knits, upholstery, home decorating, fleece, wool suiting, and fancy fabrics like brocades, velvets, and silks… It all depends on what was donated. I have had some amazing finds there… and I get a LOT of cool fabric for costumes there.

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To see my posts from previous sales in Calgary (and Red Deer once too!) click the “Grandmother’s” tag!


In the past the sale was in Regina at the end of October… I don’t see anything about it on their website at the time of writing, but if you’re in Regina, check out their website to see if they’re hosting one this year too!


Coming up soon is the Lethbridge sale as well, on October 29!

Blingi Beads

While in Turku, Finland there were a number of shops near our hotel selling beads, yarn, and sewing notions.  One was right outside our hotel courtyard, and was Blingi, a tiny little bead store with a lovely selection of ready-made beaded fashion jewelry and loose beads.  The shop also had a very large (considering the size of the shop) of findings.

Blingi Beads

Blingi Beads – yes, the prices were both in Euro and kpl, which I can only assume is the neighboring Swedish krona.

Unfortunately, nothing really leaped out at me saying “buy me! buy me! I’m small and easily packable!”. Instead, a lot of the beads that I really liked were similar to ones I had already purchased, and after making SO many blingy necklaces lately, I had to restrain myself from picking up more of the same things I had loved before (and still love).

The beads seemed reasonably priced, and very nicely displayed – many in easy-to-shop trays as shown above, but also in the window in the pretty martini and cocktail glasses like in the photo below.

Blingi Beads

Blingi Beads

Helmikauppa Blingi
Yliopistonkatu 12 A
20100 Turku, Finland
+358 44 2142008‎ (Only in Finnish)

…and a yarn shop

Additionally, I popped into a knitting yarn shop (Käsityö-Elisa Ky) around the corner from where we were staying – they had a lovely selection of pretty yarns, and I kept fingering a gorgeous silk blend yarn that I really loved… If only my knitting skills were keen enough for me to justify picking up a few balls with the plan of a simple tank top or something.. but as I’m still working on mastering “scarves” within a reasonable time frame, (and by reasonable, I mean that I still have six balls of yarn on my coffee table waiting to be worked up… not to mention the balls I have stashed in other places around the house) I figured even the prettiest silk balls of yarn should remain on their shelves.

Käsityö-Elisa Ky
Brahegatan 5
20100 Turku, Finland
+358 2 2318327 (website only in Finnish, though they mention that customer service is available in English.)

… and ribbons

A little further away was a cute shop that I had thought would be a ribbon and buttons shop, but it was much more ribbons and a few sewing notions along with a few (not terribly inspiring) buttons which didn’t really set off my inspiration, and so again my wallet went unopened and the Euros remained in my purse.

Muoti-Nappi Oy
Eriksgatan 8, 20100 Åbo, Finland ‎
+358 2 2316074 ‎

… and crafts!

On our way to the train station to head from Turku to Helsinki we also popped into a small craft store (Presento), but I didn’t spend long in there – I was looking for Finland-themed scrapbook paper but they didn’t have anything that was distinctly Finnish, although they had a fair amount of selection.  The store was two-stories tall, though I only visited the main floor because we were in a hurry to get to the train station.

Askartelupuoti Presento
Kauppiaskatu 13
20100 Turku, Finland
+358 10 3201720 (only in Finnish)

We also popped into a dollar-store kind of store which had a small craft selection (including some tempting wool for felting) but again, my wallet stayed closed, as we were really just looking for scrapbook paper!

Viking beads in Turku Castle

In the Turku Castle gift shop there was a neat display of beads for sale in the style of viking beads.  I have a number of similar beads (largely trade beads) so I didn’t feel too tempted to pick any up for my upcoming viking costume. (check out posts from the Garb from a Thousand Lakes category for more information on that)

Viking-style beads in the Turku Castle gift shop

Viking-style beads in the Turku Castle gift shop

Although I didn’t get any, I thought it was neat to photograph and share. I’ll have a few other photos from the castle in future posts, but if you’re interested in seeing more of the castle itself, check out my other blogs. I’m blogging about music and travel on Throwing Horns Abroad and about the culinary experiences on Happy Sushi Belly.

Turku Castle
Linnankatu 80
P.O. Box 286, 20101 Turku
Tel. +358 2 262 0300

Aboa Vetus’ ancient beads

Finally on the bead front, I thought I’d share these glass, bone, and amber beads from the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum in Turku.  This is one part museum, and one part contemporary art museum/gallery.  On the gallery side I wasn’t personally overly impressed – there were a few interesting pieces, but there was a lot of video work as well which didn’t appeal to me very much.  Still, the building was amazing; a former home owned by a cigarette and shipping business owner, and very grand.

The museum side instead was pretty amazing – it was the unearthed remains of an ancient town, long buried, near the Aura River right below the site.

From their website: “Aboa Vetus is an underground area of ruins, where the genuine constructions tell the history of the oldest city in Finland.”

Beads in the Turku museum

Beads in the Turku museum

The photo above is from one of the display cabinets around the ruins, showing beads from 1200-1600 AD that were unearthed from the area.

Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
Östra Strandgatan 4-6
20700 Turku, Finland
+358 20 7181640

If you’re interested in seeing any of my other Finland experiences, check out the Finland tag link, where I still have a few things to share!

Shopping: Tubular crin

Not too long ago I posted about a source locally for tubular crin, which I know a lot of people use for dreadfall accents (or dreadfalls all by themselves!).  Well, when I was recently in Vancouver, I saw the small (not micro) crin in a variety of colours.

Tubular crin in Dressew, Vancouver

I was tempted to get some, particularly in the copper colour which I thought would work really well with hair falls, but I was being especially careful of how much I purchased as my trip was going to involve a bit of traveling, and I was only using a carry-on suitcase.

Tubular crin in Dressew, Vancouver

The tubular crin was in Dressew (in the basement) and was selling for 99 cents/meter – way cheaper than a lot of places – and so many colour options! Orange, copper, black, hot pink, baby pink, mint green, baby blue, silver metallic, gold metallic, pale yellow, pale lilac, bright blue, purple, mauve….

Tubular crin in Dressew, Vancouver

So, if you are in Vancouver (or have a friend who is – this stuff is super light and could ship cheaply) and are looking for tubular crin, you should check it out!  Keep in mind, they are calling it “mohair tubing” so if you are sending someone to shop for you, let them know that too!

337 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6B 1H6
(604) 682-6196