Friday, January 31, 2014

Skeleton Corset: Jan/Feb Update

We have finally gotten some snow here in my area, unusual for us that it has come so late. The children are wanting to go out and play, but we have so little time between school and household chores that we haven't managed that yet.Hopefully they will get their chance this weekend, I have been instructed that I will be staying inside with my tea trying to get over this cold I have.

I have been making progress on the Skeleton Corset, though I have little to show for it yet, most of it has been in my head and written down, no sewing yet. I still haven't found the right fabric.

 In my last post I mentioned that I was procuring photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am sorry to say that I am not getting photos. They didn't have any and new photos were not a possibility. To say that I was disappointed upon hearing that, is an understatement, the chocolate stash was decimated!

But the upside of this is that I am not spending several hundred dollars on photos and thus the pattern, when it comes out, will be more affordable.It also means that I am not waiting on photos for several weeks, pushing my work late.

 I have also been going over sizing of the corset pattern.

You see, just increasing the size of the zone waist and bust/hip bands will not produce a good fitting corset, the spacing between the verticals gets too great.

So I have come up with several size ranges, each with a different number of verticals. The size ranges overlap a bit so that some wearers may chose between 2 size ranges (having an odd or even number of verticals.) To determine this I thought long and hard about how close/far apart the verticals should be and then worked out in even increments how the size ranges should be.
I am working on the smallest size range first (the one that *I* am on the larger end of!) and will work my way up to the larger sizes.

My goal is to have this be a very customizable pattern where you choose the pattern based on your measurements to get the best possible fit. This is going to take some time, but I promise it will be worth it!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Skeleton Corset Pattern: January Progress Report

Slowly I am making progress on the Skeleton Corset Pattern.
Unlike original designs, such as my craft patterns, Historical Costume Patterns have many more steps in them, most fall under the category of research.

For this project I have spent several hours reading modern books, Antique books, Patents, Museum Descriptions, etc...

Historical Patterns can also be more expensive than an original design, especially if based of an antique garment or original antique pattern. You may be lucky enough to have been gifted it, but if you are serious, chances are high that you would have purchased it.

You need to handle the garments carefully to take patterns off them, and old paper is easily damaged too. Storing those items safely is also an investment, but one worth doing.

Along your path of research you will likely run into a roadblock and call out to your fellow enthusiasts. Sometimes they will have something right at hand, other times  they will remember something months later and inform you about it. Networking with others is valuable and I can honestly say without the help of a few key costumers I wouldn't be doing this now.

I purchased the first Skeleton Corset over 4 years ago. FOUR YEARS! Since then I have purchased the second, received help and research from others (I live on the wrong coast!) and waited with baited breath for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to get more photos up.

I believe this pattern will be my most expensive to produce. Not only have I purchased 2 antique corsets for a few hundred dollars each, I am also procuring photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for my research. I wouldn't be surprised if the final cost of items purchased to produce this pattern goes past $1,000! I STILL have to source a good fabric to make reproductions out of as my 2 Skeletons are not made of herringbone coutil, the commonly recommended fabric for professional corsets today.

So on top of the normal pattern making, grading, photography and instruction writing, there is a lot more work put into a historic pattern, which is likely WHY they are some of the more expensive patterns out there! I will try to keep my pattern prices low and competitive, so it may not be including all the possible variations.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Custom Plush Pattern Making

Do you have an idea or even a drawing, and you want to turn it into plush?

Do you know how to sew, but can't seem to wrap your brain around how to make that 2D drawing into a pattern for a 3D plush?

I am gifted with a brain that translates 2D to 3D well, especially after years of studying dolls, plush and patterns.

I will create for you a PATTERN for you to create your creation in fabric

 Pricing STARTS at $50 on Etsy, some additional charges may apply, read the full requirements HERE

Here is an OLD example from 2004. My young cousin filled a couple of pages with drawings of aliens. I took those pages home and created this Alien and his spaceship for my cousin. I wonder if he still has it?

The spaceship's vinyl top buttoned on in case it needed to go into the wash. It is supported by cable ties in the solid sections, helping it to keep it's shape. Two zippers on one section allow access to the cockpit.


The pilot's chair swivels on a doll joint and has elastic straps to hold the pilot in place.

Once again you can start the process of having your design become a hugable plush animal or doll by checking out this listing on Etsy

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Facing Challenges

Early last year I asked what pattern people would be interested in seeing released.
The Skeleton Corset pattern won, which didn't surprise me.

But what did I do next?


Oh I thought a lot, read some, and blogged about various market research topics. I made very little progress on any of those patterns that were in the poll.

I went through a dark spot, then came summer, school was out and I find it very hard to do anything really work-like while the children are around and underfoot.

I eventually found a group of soft toy designers and interacting with them light a fire under me. I released 2 patterns last year, neither of them were planed more than a month before their release. I didn't see them coming.

But I put myself and my work out there, I have learned from those two craft patterns how to make a better pattern, how to format it, test it, market it, and more.

I was again reminded by someone in my "cheer squad" that the Skeleton Corset is wanted as a pattern, and so I again turned my focus on that. I took stock of what I had, what I needed to do, I made a list, I shared it for accountability. More time spent thinking in private followed.

I have been wanting to produce the Skeleton corset pattern for almost 4 years now, why did I keep avoiding it, it seemed so large of a project, I would work some, then get stuck, bored, distracted, and it would still be there.

Then one day, I was on Pinterest (you can follow Corsetra Designs here) and I saw a skeleton corset that I hadn't seen before.

Low and Behold, the Met has more of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection up online.
First I went through a state of happiness and excitability, yes I had more research, I love research.
Then as the hours past I started to have, what I can only describe as a mild panic attack. I decided to put the computer to sleep and went out for a walk to burn up energy.

That evening I realized why I had that reaction.

I had been HIDING from this project, hiding behind some little roadblocks, of which these photos were one.

Now that the children are back in school, I am buckling down at working on the pattern, slowly but steadily, i have so far come to a few conclusions:
  • There are several variations, I have narrowed them down into their similarities and differences, I hope to offer all of them, but am focusing on the most common version first. (which is NOT the 1869 in my collection)
  • I am thinking of offering up the main pattern, then add-on variations, and also the whole collection in one big group. The releases may be at the same time or staggered.
  • I will be making up a few for myself and those nearby to test the pattern before I have others test it.
  • I WILL be testing this pattern, so keep an eye out for a testing call.
  • I hope to get this in testing before June, since I now know from last year that summer is a slow time for me.
So I will be working on the Skeleton Corset pattern this year, but don't be surprised if a craft pattern comes out before the corset, they tend to be a bit quicker to finish!