Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Then & Now ~ White Gown With Black Lace Overlay


Then

Afternoon Dress  1867  The Museum at FIT

Now

2013 D&G

Matched Merch



Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Then & Now ~ Turquoise Pattern

Then

1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

 Now

Kate Spade via nymag.com

Matched Merch

Did I kill that character? Author

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Old Corsets and a New Rack ~ Steampunk, Modification, Rack Reduction


So, Fashionable Reader, those who know me well know I am a huge fan of Dark Garden's corsets. Those who know me really well know I worked retail for them at the Dickens Fair for years (many years ago, now) and I was paid in corsetry. 

Thus I have a pretty extensive collection of custom corsets. Half of dozen of which are over the bust, which means, after my Rack Reduction, they no longer fit.

All of these are fully custom. That is, they were done to my exact measurements with special fabrics and added straps and fancy things like that. So they really are art investment pieces worth well over a thousand dollars each.

Corsets on the move in my special waterproof tote bag. Liliput investigating.
 So I took them in for a consult with Autumn (the proprietress of Dark Garden, and a dear friend) about which ones could be modified and how, which ones would be worth salvaging, and so forth.  

Here's what happened...


The White Sweetheart


Sweetheart Victorian in white silk duchess (my main foundation garment for the past few years) originally commissioned for a She-Ra cosplay that I never did. 
Conclusion: The sweetheart is the most cup modified of Autumn's corset designs, like a full bra you are supposed to sit down and be totally encased by cups. Thus this would be very hard to downsize. Plus I've worn it so much it would also need a tune up. So I have put it in the Dark Garden Annual Rummage sale July 17, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Dark Garden

I've ordered an Adelaide to replace it as my main foundation garment for events. I chose a pale peach flowered brocade that's very close to my skin tone as this will be mainly an undergarment. Mine will be strapless and have a slight vintage conical shape to the bra. It will take several months to make and several fittings but I promise to show you when it's done. You may even get a photo of me in it!

The Cream Classic

Classic victorian straight across in a champagne brocade, the second corset I ever ordered custom with extra boning, intended for a tight lace foundation garment for historical reenactments.
Conclusion: This one was too small in the waist (tight lacing is no longer my intent) as well as too big in the bust, but it is modifiable. Autumn is going to put in a second busk set with a different fabric (plain cream satin) so that there is a new 2 inch panel at the front. Hard to describe. I'll let you know more as I do.

The Fancy

Alycia scoop neck with princess straps in custom iridescent fabric with raspberry edging (AKA The Fancy). I had this one designed as a bodice, which is to say not overly tight so it fits great, except for the bust.
Conclusion: Autumn thinks she can take both this one and the Cyber (see below, same design) in at the sides to fit better at the bust. The raspberry straps and neck line will get replaced and there will be a raspberry stripe down the side with new boning casings to hide the place where the corset gets adjusted.

The Class 5

Baroque style (Discontinued) red brocade with black leather and red leather applique from Oberon Design with wide cross back straps (AKA the Class 5). This is the first custom corset I had made and at the time I was working for both Oberon and Dark Garden so I wanted a corset that was a show stopper representing both artists. The Class 5 was the result. 
Conclusion: Thank heavens, no modifications needed! It was made to really push up the Rack (so I haven't worn it to any Steampunk events, as it's a bit risque for public) and as a result the top was small on the old me, so it STILL FITS. Actually now I think it may fit better, because the Rack is a little less on display, shall we say. You'll likely see me in this puppy at the Gaslight Gathering this year.

The Mina

Sweetheart Victorian with batty modification points on the top and bottom, burgundy satin with black lace overlay (AKA the Mina)

Conclusion: I just haven't worn this corset very much, and being a Sweetheart it's pretty impossible to change the bust, so it also has gone into the Dark Garden Annual Rummage sale July 17, 2016. If you happen to be AT ALL my old size (large bust say around a 30H small ribs and waist, say around a size 4-6) this is a steal. It's practically new and quite lovely.

 The Cyber

Sorry, crap photo, but the only one I have.

Another Alycia scoop neck (my favorite style) with contrasting panels of soft grey wool and black satin.

Conclusion: Autumn thinks she can take both this one and the Fancy (see above, same design) in at the sides to fit better at the bust. This one will be easier because it has boning casings and no straps.

Final Tally!

  • Two corsets into the Rumage sale, bye bye babies. 
  • Three corsets in for modification, two adjusted side seams to tightened over the bust, one adjusted and modified a the front to add width. 
  • Two new corsets on order (one custom foundation Adelaide) and one Ready-To-Wear Cupid for my up-coming book tour.

Result: I have blown my clothing budget for the rest of the year... but what a way to go.

A Note on Corset Modification


Dark Garden will only modify their own corsets (frankly it would be quite rude to ask them to fiddle someone else's workmanship, like asking me to edit someone else's book ~ shudder). Re-sizing any high-end corset is a complicated tiresome process, so you will pay a fair price for the artist's time. Even so, as you see above, not all corsets can be modified (up or down).

But wait there's more!


The Dark Garden shop itself is pretty amazing and well worth a visit (321 Linden St. San Francisco, CA 94102 ~ 415.431.7684). Here are some pretties I photographed while wandering about.

Stunning white ready-to-wear sweetheart victorian with blue embroidery.

Selection of ready made corsets on the rack and on display.
A men's corset

Fans for Sophronia
A hat for Alexia
A hat for Ivy

And a hat for Gail!

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Evolution of the Slip (Petticoat, Undershirt, Underskirt, Chemise, Shift)


I'm sort of a fan of the slip, Fashionable Reader. I'll often wear them under my vintage items and they serve double duty on the road as night gowns. Here is a bit of a retrospective on the lowly slip...

Chemise  1876  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Early on, very early, a full coverage long shirt like this could be called a petticoat (yes, see the source of the word? petti _coat_ ?), underskirt (even if it had a top part over torso), undershirt, chemise or shift. Although as language progressed the chemise meant a finer fabric with lace or embroidery, usually worn under a corset, while shift mean simpler without decoration favored by young girls and peasants.

Slip  1900-1908  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Petticoat  1909-1911  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Underskirt  1910s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chemise  1920s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chemise  1925  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Half Slip  1930-1935  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Slip  1940-1959  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail's Favorite 1950s Slip

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Then & Now ~ Black & White Pattern Dress


Then


Odette Christian Dior, 1953  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Now


2014  S/S Reem Acra

Matched Merch


I'd Rather Be Drinking Tea T-shirt

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Then & Now ~ Muslin Wedding Dress


Then

1877  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Now

2014 Luisa Beccaria


Matched Merch


Ellipses Are Forever

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Acquisitions ~ Replacements


I've been pretty good about not buying anything major new since my surgery but I did need a few replacements for stuff.

My much beloved black knee-high flat boots finally died the good death. I've had them for ages and I pretty much live in them all winter - so it's no shock. I found these at Nordstrom Rack to take their place.

About $200

They have a steampunk sort of look plus they work for everyday.


I got this little jersey black mini dress with pockets - mine has short sleeves. It packs well and can be thrown on over anything. Picked it up for under $20 to replace two other dresses that no longer fit well since my surgery.

Gold Shrug $20

This gold shrug fills a niche in the wardrobe. I feel like shrugs are OK now that I have smaller breasts, not so emphasizing.




Found these scarves on Amazon. They are 24" head scarves for $7 each, a little small but come in the colors I wanted, so I have replaced my existing ones with these.

Lastly, I invested in a vintage 1950's bra. A little small for me at 30DD (I'm mostly wearing 32DDD these days) but good enough. And it is super pointy, the first one I have ever found that even slightly fits.

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Then & Now ~ White with Black Trim


Then

Costume designed by Piero Tosi for Mia Fothergill in Sparrow (Storia di una Capinera) (1993)  From Tirelli Costumi

 Now

2014 Peter-Pilotto

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Zazzle Shirts On The Rack! How Do They Fit? Gail Carriger Merch!


So my dears, I’ve started puttering about with merchandise! This post being on Retro Rack it's going to be all about Zazzle's shirts in particular. How do they fit, and what do they look like on a Retro Rack.


T-Shirts for Ladies, Gentlemen, and Infant Inconveniences

So the thing to know about Zazzle is you can take any of the designs you like and put them on 146 other styles of tops ~ men's, babies, hoodies, tanks, polo, jersey, etc. Although I tend to have designed for the shirt displayed in my store.

The print quality is REALLY HIGH. Frankly, I'm super impressed with everything Zazzle produces that I've seen so far. So pretty. So clear.

So what do they look like on The Rack?


A quick reminder: I wear about a size 6. My Bra size these days is about 32DDD or 30E/G. In the photos below I am wearing a vintage minimizing bra.

Maker: Bella


The cotton tends to be thinner than American Apparel. However, American Apparel has its own issues (see further below).

CIRCLE TOP


 Here is the Women's Bella Flowy Circle Top in a SMALL.


Sorry I didn't get one of the front, but it looks very like the stock picture. I like the drape a lot. The material is light and stretchy, comfortable, this is a great travel shirt.

RINGER T


Here is the Women's Bella Melange Ringer T-Shirt in a MEDIUM.



These are soft cotton, I like the length and style of the sleeves in particular, I only wish there were more color options (right now there is this tan, a blue, and a pink). 

Maker: Zazzle's Home Brand


FOOTBALL T


Women's Football T-Shirt (Team Soap and Team Felix) in a Ladies size MEDIUM.

This is likely my favorite shirt. It's the right style for my body type, the medium is fantastic great fit, excellent neckline, and that perfect thickness of cotton to be comfortable, not too warm, but still drape nicely. Highly recommended.



BASIC T-SHIRTS


 I haven't tried one of these yet. Next on my list. I'll report in, I promise.

Maker: Hanes


LONG SLEEVE T


Women's Hanes Nano Long Sleeve T-Shirt size MEDIUM. Isn't it amazing how different the various makers are? I like this shirt well enough, but it's a little big. I might get the SMALL if I ordered again.


Maker: American Apparel


T-SHIRTS

WARNING

The American Apparel line (while the highest quality and thickest cotton) runs SMALL. 
Gail Tested: I normally wear between and small and a medium, I'm basically a size 6. But I ordered the American Apparel in M and it was at least a size too small. So I, a size 6, am wearing a LARGE. However, the cut is pretty boxy too, so it doesn't seem much different from the men's in the end. In fact, I suggest ordering a men's instead. I would get a men's SMALL.

Finishing School Shirts
Vintage fan and name of book and author on front pocket, quote on back:
All the Best Geniuses Are Evil; Who Doesn't Want a Wicker Chicken?

Women's American Apparel Fine Jersey T-Shirt size LARGE.


How did they wash?


Well the three that fit me (most of the American Apparel ones have gone into the future contests/give away pile, for tiny people who read my newsletter) I washed before the photo shoot. So you can see what they look like after. (I always wash on cold, inside out, gentle cycle, and line dry.)

They seem pretty good. I've washed the Bella circle shirt about a half dozen times now and it still looks good. Pretty chuffed actually.

Any questions, do leave a comment below and I will try to answer them.

If you want to know about why I chose Zazzle and what else is available I've a post on my Author Blog. 

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.