The Victoria and Albert Museum is the epitome of British refinement and decorum. Here, they present a free online educational seminar in corsetry, complete with photographs of corsets, bustles, and crinolines from their collection.
“No other garment in Western history has assumed such political, social, and sexual significance. What is it about the corset? A mere undergarment, designed to enhance the female figure, has become an icon of all that fascinates about the ambiguous sexual codes of the Victorian era. Was wearing corsets primarily about sexual empowerment or restrictive chastisement? Could the corset explain common female maladies of the Victorian era, from fainting fits to miscarriage? How great was the suffering, for how small a waist? Lucy Johnston, curator at the Fashion Department of The Victoria and Albert Museum, takes us through the history of the corset, from the ascension of Queen Victoria through the first decade of the twentieth century. Most of us are not aware of the many different phases, shapes and fabrics of the corset, as well as the technological innovation involved. Suzanne Lussier, also of the (V & A Museum ) Fashion Department, sees the corset through to contemporary fashion, to reveal how our obsession with the corset has persisted and evolved to incorporate modern sexual and aesthetic tastes.”
The gals on Britex’s’ 3rd floor created this jeweled belly dancing (or “danse du ventre”) costume with a few trims and items from their floor, and a couple of snippets of wafting chiffon from the remnant floor. The fitted top is constructed using a beaded lace overlay top, with metallic coin fringe providing jingling interest. The collar is made of a pair of gemstone encrusted appliqués in shades of amber and coffee, the belt is of a length of swishing beaded trim, and the skirt is made of several panels of chiffon. Please come into our store, or call Darlene at 415-392-2910 if you are interested in buying any of these glittery and delightful trims or jewels! (Fitted top $19.85, gemstone appliqués $27.95/pair, bugle bead trim $13.95/yard, coin trim $21.95/yard)
Power Sewing Toolbox: this workshop by Sanda Betzina is on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 between 7 pm and 9 pm. The cost is $60 per student. Call Britex Fabrics at (415) 392-2910, or visit us at 146 Geary Street in San Francisco to sign-up. Our hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Enrollment space in this class is very limited, so reserve your spot early! This two hour class is full of tips and techniques the patterns don’t tell you, but essential to a quality looking finished product. No longer will you be intimidated by mitered bindings, fringe detailing, classy seam embellishments, welt pockets and buttonholes, neckline bindings for round and V necklines, and truly invisible zippers. In addition, you will learn techniques for lining knit pants, T-shirts in stretch mesh and zippers hidden in pockets. Feel your sewing savvy soar from a C to an A+ as you learn new tricks of the sewing trade.
After all the quickly sewn holiday gewgaws that I’ve been making, I feel the need for continuity…for a long project that will fill my nights and whose beauty will unfold slowly. Lilian discovered these vintage cross-stitch patterns in her aunt’s attic, and then digitized, archived, and published the collection online at Gancedo.eu. Here is Winter from the Four Seasons collection; two thoughtful birds perched together on a wire, wings tight against their chilly chests and trees barren of leaves. I’m also fond of the Months of the Year collection, with the playful couple ice skating, planting their garden, flower plucking, grape stomping and more. These are perfect projects to while away the remainder of the winter and the spring! Aida cloth is available on Britex Fabrics’ 4th floor, and needles and floss is available on our 3rd floor.
We are overjoyed with our new shipment of corset construction materials, and wanted to get you an idea of our selection. All corset making notions are available in Britex Fabric’s 3rd floor across from the Bridal Lace, and Coutil is available on our 2nd floor. Please contact us at 415-392-2910 if you want to buy corset-making supplies, and you will be guided to the correct department.
1/4” white steel. 4” to 17” in 1” increments
1/2” white steel. 4” to 17” in 1” increments
1/4” spiral steel. 4” to 17” in 1” increments
1/2” spiral steel. 4” to 17” in 1” increments
Silver knobs or closures. 8”, 9”, 10”, 11”, 12”, 13”, and 14”
Gold knobs or closures. 12”
Antique Brass knobs or closures. 12”
Black knobs or closures. 12”
Black (2nd floor)
Our new favorite cross-stitch toy is MyPhotoStitch, a magical free online cross-stitch conversion tool. Just in time to prepare for February 14th, we have converted a vintage Valentine ’s Day card of three angelic cupids carrying giant pots of heart-shaped flowers into a cross-stitch pattern PDF. The possibilities are endless…..cross-stitch zombies for Halloween, your favorite tot for mother’s day, or create your own personalized family crest with a mélange of symbols (because every family is special!)
Craft Bar with Etsy Labs is back at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, 51 Yerba Buena Lane in SF! Join us on Thursday, January 6th from 6-9pm for an evening of crafting and socializing with three local artists. This month at Craft Bar you can learn to spiff up your wardrobe with a jewelry-themed evening, featuring a range of projects. Make a gorgeous felt bib necklace with local jewelry artist Katherine Coleman from KJC Designs or create your own coil wrapped wire ring with Kelly Ball from Realia. Also, local artist Nicole Royer will be teaching a workshop on how to upcycle old jeans into beautiful necklaces. Have enough gems in your jewelry box? Stop by for the perennial favorite, stitch and bitch area, with drop-in instruction in knitting and crocheting. Enjoy mouth watering cupcakes, and tasty spreads and jams from Stephanie Bushnell of Sweets La Petite. Trumer Pils provides refreshments, Britex Fabrics provides materials, and other local food and musicians often contribute to create an event overflowing with food, drink, and socializing. Don’t forget to take inspiration from the gallery and shop while you explore the creative process. Craft Bar is free with $5 admission to the Museum.
Anytime is top hat time, and here are instructions from the über talented Jenn at Instructables on how to make a leather top hat and from Katie at BurdaStyle on how to make a fabric one (part I & part II). Everyone looks more glamorously mysterious in a top hat; like someone who eats caviar and blini for lunch, cavorts in Trevi Fountain at midnight, and breaks into tap dance moves….well, at the drop of a hat! Britex carries many hat-making materials on the 3rd and 4th floors including buckram, hat pin findings, millinery wire, veiling and silk flowers.
“I just got an invitation through the mails:
“Your presence requested this evening, it’s formal
A top hat, a white tie and tails”
Nothing now could take the wind out of my sails
Because I’m invited to step out this evening
With top hat, white tie and tails
I’m puttin’ on my top hat
Tyin’ up my white tie
Brushin’ off my tails”
(By I. Berlin)
Stefan, costumière extraordinaire has documented making his progress making a corset for a friend. His instructions span several months of process of corset creation, and include extremely clear written instructions and photographs. The busk insertion section is amazingly clarifying. He uses professional corset-making supplies including busks, coutil, and spiral boning….all items that Britex now carries on the 3rd and 2nd floors! Please email M. Du Jour at Britex Fabrics if you want to buy corset-making supplies, and you will be guided to the correct department.
We couldn’t wait to post this teaser of Natalie from Britex’s 3rd floor, and her husband, Chris en route to the Dickens Christmas Fair. Natalie made her beautifully simple ruffled mauve dress and Chris’s gentlemanly plaid vest herself, and has promised to give us details. We think the two of them look charmingly suave and fabulous!