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The Ghost of the Singing Tower by Sophia Khan      The Ghost of the Singing Tower by Sophia Khan


The Ghost of the Singing Tower by Sophia Khan      The Ghost of the Singing Tower by Sophia Khan


The Ghost of the Singing Tower by Sophia Khan      The Ghost of the Singing Tower by Sophia Khan   



The Ghost of the Singing Tower

Sophia Khan, Florida, USA

Blog: Romancing the Sewn
IG: @sophia___khan

Photography: Christa Newman



The Design

The intriguing mix of Neo-Gothic Art Deco at architect Milton B. Medary's Singing Tower inspired the creation of a tea gown with matching undergown and overbust corset. Bok Tower Gardens was the dream of Edward W. Bok, the editor of Ladies' Home Journal from 1889-1919. The sprawling grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the son of the renowned designer of the Great Colombian Exhibition in Chicago.

I took inspiration from the repeated arches and strong graphic lines of the Tower. The pink Etowah marble and gray Creole marble inspired my choice of textile. The main silhouette was taken from Edwardian home wear, since Bok is credited with the invention of the idea of the modern living room. The tea gown was an informal garment worn when entertaining in the home. The corset would never show of course, but I was going for historically inspired, not historically accurate.


The Construction

My main fabrics are hot rolled rayon/cotton moiré. The corset pieces are fused to washed cotton coutil using Wonder Under. To pattern the corset I used a basic corset block that fit me well and cut all the pieces out of stiff brown paper with no seam allowance. I carefully taped the pieces together to create the corset shape. I then sketched out my lines to mimic the arched forms on the Singing Tower. Once the pieces were cut out I traced them on the fresh paper and trued my curves, adding 1/4" seam allowance. The corset was then sewn together on my trusty Singer Featherweight 221.

The tricky part was making a corset with no visible boning. The lining has 16 bones placed inbetween the layers. I then flatted the lining to the self fabric after setting in my busk placket and clean finishing my center back. Once the two layer were secured I stitched in the ditch in all my seams, starting and stopping after each bone. There are still some wrinkles, but the smooth effect was worth it. There is one visible stitch line behind the grommets that was a necessary concession.

The tea gown was made using a heavily altered Truly Victorian pattern. I drafted the sleeves, belt, and the collar and cuffs to match the Watteau pleats. The matching underdress was made from two layers of French seamed chiffon, and has interior elastic to keep it snug to the body but not visibly fitted.


What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

It was great! I really pushed myself out of my historical bubble and tried new techniques. I would recommend entering as a challenge for yourself, not to compete against others.


This is really gorgeous, and that pattern is a work of art on its own - beautiful work.
Thank you Lucy!
I really enjoy the warm colors of this design, and how the moire fabric mimics the organic swirls in the marble... I had never thought of that, but it works so well! Great job!
This is stunning, I love the colour pallet especially.
kitty mortensen
It is amazing- it looks like something straight out of Star-Wars (big compliment coming from me). Stunning - well done
I was already impressed by the first sneak peeks you showed of the hip construction and the finished piece lives up to the teaser for sure! The beautiful combination of colours and materials suits you really well and you have done a great job with the pattern cutting and execution.
The watered silk and the pattern shapes are so perfect for the tower! I just love the colours, the concept and the final shoot too! Well done for experimenting and going out of your comfort zone, you've created a stunning piece of work x
Beautifully done! I love the colours and the creative panelling.
The corset is lovely; I adore all that piecing work! But I also must say that the first picture against that opulent gold door is just absolutely stunning; it makes the colors and shapes of your gown look just radiant!
The lines on the hips are very beautiful, and the toned down color combo is amazing. Great work !
The invisible bones are very clever and not having any stitch lines means all your panels glisten without interruption. You look as though you've just walked off a movie set.
What an insane pattern-work you did, amazing! And this is one beautiful and elegant outfit. I love every piece of it and it suits you so well. The color and fabric combinations are so beautiful and fitting for the outfit and the inspiration... But I am still totally struck with awe about you corset pattern... <3
The corset patterning and construction are beautifully done and the whole design has such elegance.
The colors are so incredible together! So much work and so beautifully done!
This entire ensemble is just exquisite!
marloes dadswell
I love how you have played with the colours and therefore making the design of the corset stand out even more. Gorgeous work!
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