About the Writers
Kat Anderson is a Dressmaker and Theater Costumer living in Madison, Wisconsin. She has specialties in traditional Garment construction and handicrafts, stitching (hand and machine), altering/fitting, knitting, crochet, tatting, quilting and patchwork, embroidery (crewelwork and petite point), basic bobbin lace, and basic corsetry. Kat is currently serving as the wardrobe supervisor for Madison Area Technical College.
Manon’s first costuming love was 1560 – 1620, my second 1790 – 1810, but that changed when she discovered the Victorian Era. She has always had a passion for history and especially art, poetry, monarchies, emancipation and the female economy.
Manon started her business in 2005 selling costumes, and it grew into a combination of selling dress- and corset-making supplies. Nowadays she also do costume design, and has recently started renting out dresses for professional use. You can find Manon online at www.prudencemaepatterns.com.
Lisa has worked in theatre throughout the UK and abroad and supplied historical sites such as Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. Since training in design and couture dressmaking at the London College of Fashion, she has enjoyed over 10 years in the costume industry. More of Lisa’s work can be found on her website.
Joanne finds the hidden structure in garments more interesting than the outer shell. Investigating the architecture required to create a desired silhouette, along with an obsessive attention to detail, naturally led to an interest in corsets. She is in the process of constructing all the Corsets in Norah Waugh’s book, Corsets and Crinolines, and is blogging about every step at Bridges on the Body.
Joanne had worked in the fashion industry for years as a stylist, but began sewing just five years ago after she won a grant to produce garments promoting a lecture by the curator of the Smithsonian Costume Collection. She has since earned a BFA from California Design College and is on her way to earning an MFA in Textiles at Kent State University.
Polly’s passion for antique clothing came from her Mum, who spent the 60s wearing gent’s smoking caps and cutting up Victorian frocks to make mini dresses. By the age of 11, a lifelong passion had begun and Polly was saving up her pocket money to buy 1920s flapper dresses.
As these old threads disintegrated with wear and vintage clothing became more expensive, Polly’s only option was to teach herself to sew. Starting 17th century re-enactment inspired her to expand her skill base, and 23 years later, she’s made everything from Vermeer-inspired bodices to 1805 naval uniforms.
Polly’s vintage and antique clothing collection now fills her loft. Her costume books, fabric stash and vintage pattern collection fill the guest room. She shares the rest of her cottage in England with two small daughters, her parents, five chickens, two cats and a giant African snail.
Ashleigh-Ellan is a MSc student in Fashion Management, and an active member of the UK Steampunk community. Her work is rooted in contemporary and explorative techniques, since her background in engineering leads her to approach fashion design and manufacture from a different angle. Her final collection for her undergraduate degree included many references to historical fashion and science fiction. As of May 2018, she started taking on freelance work and is excited to show her first professional independent collection in August 2019.
Gina Barrett has provided reconstructions of narrow wares, passementerie and costume accessories for theatre, film, museums, costumiers and private individuals for over 10 years. She has also provided modern trimmings using traditional techniques for designers and artists (both clothing and interior). Her portfolio can be seen by visiting her website, www.gina-b.co.uk.
She is the contributor for the Passementerie entry in the Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450 (Brill, 2011). Her most recent book, Tak V Bowes Departed: A 15th Century Braiding Manual Examined (co-written with Elizabeth Benns), studies an extant 15th century manuscript which contains a text on braiding, and gives full modern instructions for how to make each of the braids included. She has also co-written 6 booklets on medieval narrow wares, as well as producing how-to articles, papers and essays on other forms of passementerie. She is currently working on a series of how-to guides covering all aspects of passementerie making, available on dvd.
Julia Barrett first became acquainted with historical costumes though the re-enactments at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk. She went on to train as a professional costume maker at the London College of Fashion under the watchful eye of Jean Hunnisett and Janet Arnold and has been making for over thirty years. Combining this with a lifelong passion for social history and costumed interpretation, she now specialises in the research into the wardrobe of ordinary sixteenth and seventeenth century women. Using her extensive historical and costuming making knowledge, Julia delves into both the women themselves, plus the fabrics, clothes and construction techniques in order to re-construct clothes that these women may well have worn. Her website is Clothing the Rose.
Breanna Bayba is a student at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California, finishing her BFA in Costume. She grew up in Berkeley, California in a family of people who create things with their hands. Her mother taught her to hand sew when she was about five years old and she took off on her own from there, with access to her late grandmother’s extensive sewing supplies. Breanna is constantly interested in learning more in her medium and pushing out of her comfort zone.
Since her early childhood Maja was fascinated with the corseted gowns she saw in fairy tale picture books. That is why she choose her vocation – Fashion Design and Textile Engineering on a Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb and graduated with honor as one of the best students in her class. Her focus is on unique, custom made garments with an accent on the visual appearance and design and her unique style can be recognized in her own brand Contessa Gothique. She likes to experiment with a new patterns, fabrics and techniques and always strive to improve her skills to the next level.
Alexis has been making corsets since her mid teens, putting her experience at almost twenty years. She was a pioneer of online custom corsetry when she started out on Ebay in 1998, and continues to maintain an international clientele by doing most fittings remotely, over the internet, using measurements and photos.
Alexis attended FIDM for fashion design for two years where she learned the basics of pattern drafting, but otherwise has taught herself the specifics of corsetry through her own research and experimentation. Alexis lives and works in Houston, Texas, USA, where she has been making corsets full time since 2004. Working under the name Electra Designs, Alexis has built a worldwide reputation for excellence.
A rural oil and farming town in central Alberta Canada is an unlikely place to find a young woman with a love for all things historical and opulent, yet this is where writer Michelle Bossert has found herself. Her love of costuming began at 14 and has since grown to carry on the 7th generation of seamstresses and tailors in her own family history. With specialties in bridal, corsetry, and hand embellishment, 6 years of pouring into a hobby has become a mostly full time job with a new bridal line and studio space on the near horizon.
Heather “Ginger” Breo has been costuming professionally for close to twelve years. One of her first memories is of a Halloween when she was five, but it was ten years before Ginger took her first real sewing class and got her first sewing machine, and the rest, as they say, is history! Ginger is self-taught for theatrical, re-enactment, and purely recreational purposes. Along with acting and singing, the art of clothing is her
Jess is a costume and bridalwear maker, trained as a costumer at Huddersfield University in the UK. When she’s not stitching away backstage at assorted UK theatres, she loves to create fabulous cakes for press nights and parties. A self-confessed Harry Potter geek, Jess also delights in Slytherin cosplay.
Sunny Buchler grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is a bit of a mecca for historical costuming, and moved to Cleveland, Ohio a couple years ago. Her undergraduate degree was in costume design, after which did some graduate work at the Motley School of Design in London. She did theatre costuming semi-professionally while in college, but today costumes as a hobby, rather then a profession. Sunny has been involved in historical costuming and the SCA for the last 15 years, since before she started college.
Anthony learned to sew at a young age from his mother, who made historical fashions. She shied away from corsetry, so Anthony decided to have a try and discovered that he had a natural talent for it! Since that time, he has begun to specialize in Bespoke historically inspired fashion & corsetry. Never one to shy away from color or patterns, he has also worked within the Drag industry making award winning packages for National Entertainer of the Year Bianca Nicole (2009) & NEOY Vanessa Demornay 2010.
Anthony Canney’s first film credit will appear in Robert Redford’s Historical Drama The Conspirator due out this Winter; for being the personal designer for Mary Lincoln Todd. He is both tailor and corsetiere at The House of Canney. Please read our case study on Anthony to learn more.
Katherine is the epitome of the obsessed amateur costumer. A teacher by trade, she spends an inordinate amount of her free time collecting and recreating historical costumes for her own amusement. Despite her taxing profession, she seems to retain boundless energy for her sewing and now boasts a historic wardrobe of dizzying proportions, most of which you can see for yourself at her website, www.koshka-the-cat.com.
Katherine is a frequent participant in the Costumer’s Guild West’s annual “Costume College” and lives and works in Nevada, USA.
Kelly Cercone is a celebrated full-time freelance costumer based in Los Angeles. Sewing and pattern drafting for TV, film, music tours and local fashion companies, Kelly has worked on a wide breadth of commercial projects. She also maintains her own clothing label Anachronism in Action. Highly specialized in ladies period costume, millinery and vintage inspired corsetry, her pieces have been featured in Vogue Italia, Auxiliary Magazine, and on the cover of Fixation Magazine. In addition to her original and bespoke custom pieces, Kelly offers expertly crafted standard sized, affordable, ready-to-wear corsets for sale on Etsy.
Kelly attended California College of the Arts and has taken pattern-drafting intensives at the San Francisco based Apparel Arts. In Los Angeles, Kelly studied Fashion Design and Theater Costume Design at FIDM, graduating with honors.
For the latest info on Kelly’s recent projects, check her out on Facebook.
Bess Chilver is an entirely self-taught amateur historical costumer, who has been familiar with needle, thread and fabric since she was old enough to hold a needle, but caught the “costuming bug” in 1993 when she had to make her gown for her first year at Kentwell Hall’s Recreations of Tudor Life in Suffolk, England. 16th century costume has been Bess’ first love and specialism ever since. She and her husband have frequently been costumed extras in historical documentaries such as the Channel 4’s “Royal Deaths and Diseases” series and BBC2’s “Days that Shook the World”.
In the last few years, Bess’ costuming interests have broadened from Tudor and Elizabethan to include Regency, 1840s, “Natural Form” Victorian, 1910s “Titanic”, Edwardian periods and WWII Women’s Auxiliary Airforce. Some of her costuming work is shown on her website. Bess lives in the Suffolk countryside in a 14th/15th century timber framed house along with her husband Edmund.
C Claridge sewed from an early age, and quickly discovered that historical costumes were much more interesting than modern clothes. She is fascinated by all the textile arts, including knitting, spinning, weaving, quilting and embroidery, as well as sewing. However, she has recently found the limit of her skills when she started to learn bobbin lace. She can be found on Ravelry.com and Livejournal as Evelyn123.
Suzi Clarke was born and brought up in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon in England, attending theatre productions from the age of four. She began at the Royal Shakespeare Company by learning how to work with costumes already made. She then went to London and worked in the West End on various productions, ranging from Winnie the Pooh through Gypsy, Hedda Gabler and Three Sisters to a nude revue with 147 costumes.
Following marriage and the birth of a son Suzi returned to college, where her tutors were Jean Hunnisett and Janet Arnold. She briefly returned to the RSC as a costume maker, then went freelance. She has been making costumes ever since, including some film, theatre and TV work, and is currently attempting (unsuccessfully) to retire. Suzi lives in London with her husband. You can see her work at her website, Suzi Clarke – Costumier.
Vicky Clarke is a writer, housewife, bellydancer, and general creative rebel who’s wrestling with the beginnings of the green revolution. Living sustainably isn’t easy, so she’s been getting back in touch with her inner hippy and learning lots about recycling, reusing and economising. That’s where the sewing machine came in. Her “holy grail” is not a single garment; it’s to bring back out of history patterns and styles that flatter women with curves, and make them practical and wearable for today. She want to unite the best of today’s techniques and fabrics with the best of history’s wisdom to make clothes that are practical, stylish and compatible with modern life.
Vicky lives in Cambridge, UK, along with her partner and a quite ridiculous collection of craft materials.
Luca works as a designer and costume cutter for theatre productions and films all around Europe. He recently worked in Hungary as a cutter on the Showtime costume drama The Borgias, creating all the costumes for the role of Lucrezia Borgia, designed by Oscar winner Gabriella Pescucci. For nine years he was the Head of Wardrobe for the Spoleto Opera Festival in Italy, and he was a member of the wardrobe team at Shakepseare’s Globe Theatre from 1999-2005, cutting and hand-making clothes for award winning productions.
He teaches accurate historical cutting and sewing techniques at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome along with world famous costume designer Piero Tosi.
His knowledge on historical tailoring and dressmaking techniques have led him to collaborate with museums with important dress collections such as The Bowes Museum in the UK, where he completed the reconstruction of a Worth ball gown worn by Josephine Bowes in 1861. A video showing him dressing a model in all the layers of clothing worn by a lady in 1870 is on show in the textile gallery.
Luca was also the historical sewing expert on recent BBC programmes such as Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm.
In 2011 he completed a project with the National Trust for whom he has recreated an 1884 gown that belonged to Princess Alexandra.
Luca is a co-author of Seventeenth Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book One & Book Two for V&A publications.
Danine Cozzens fell in love with costume history while studying English literature at UC Berkeley. For the past 25 years she’s used historic costume as a window into the past, on the premise that knowing what people wore helps a modern person to understand an earlier era. Starting as a singer at Renaissance and Dickens Fairs, she moved on to create historically-inspired events. She has served on planning boards for the Bay Area English Regency Society, the Greater Bay Area Costumers’ Guild and the Art Deco Society of California.
Carmène started to sew in 2009 when she and her friends created the “Ministere des Modes” Association in France to attend events in remarkable places. She first focused on 18th century costumes but now just wants to discover new area from Renaissance to 1940’s and find that Corsetry and Undergarments are the funniest parts of costuming.
She has a very large library on costuming – always on the lookout for a new book – but aims to use them instead of to look at them every day, she would like to learn techniques on patterning, etc…and she hopes to come to Costume College one day! Carmène lives near Paris, in France and in everyday life is an Accountant Manager.
Loren Dearborn is a costumer and a history buff whose main interest is 18th and 19th century costumes and historic movie costumes. She is a member of the Costume Society of America and the Victorian Society of Falls Church and a frequent attendee at Costume Con and Costume College. She has a particular passion for period hats and shoes. She spends her free time going to costume events, sewing with friends, reading Victorian sensation fiction, watching costume flicks, having tea, collecting fabric and reading biographies – usually of 18th or 19th century personalities. You can read about her costumes on her livejournal.
A California native, Loren lives with her husband, two sons and assorted barn cats in a 1750/1990 house in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA.
Rosie is a fan of all things vintage, pin-up and glam, and this is very much entangled with her love of fairytales and the fantastical. Her work nods its head to both of these. Having recently graduated with a (BAHons) First Class Degree in Fashion with Design for Performance and having just won ‘Young Designer to Watch 2013’ she is excited about her future. She has spent her time interning with corsetry companies and dabbling in theatre all over the UK, and throws what she considers to be cracking dinner parties.
Never seen without red hair, red nails and red lips, it takes little imagination as to why she has adopted the name ‘Rosie Red’. She is very partial to a well made gin and tonic, and even partial to a badly made one, if truth be told. Rosie can be found online on facebook.
Carolyn’s sewing and historical costume interests first came together during a BFA in Visual Art – she took all of the costuming courses available through the Theatre Department. At first she thought she wanted to be a costume designer, but it didn’t take long to realize that her true passion lay in actual historical garments and their construction.
Her most recent project, completed as part of her Master’s degree, consisted of the accurate reproduction of middle class Englishwomen’s garments from the time period c.1750-70. In addition to reproducing a complete wardrobe of garments using accurate materials and techniques, she also replicated certain aspects ofan early modern seamstress’s working experience, dressing in clothing of the time, working only by natural light or candlelight and sitting onan uncushioned woodenkitchen chair. She kept a blog of the specifics of the project along with thoughts, impressions, and questions that arose from the experience at Rockin’ the Rococo.
Serena is Assistant Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Previously, she has worked with the dress and textile collections at Leeds Museums and Galleries, the Snowshill Collection, and on the West Yorkshire Textile Heritage Project. She is also working on a PhD in History from the University of Warwick, entitled Fitting Fashion: Clothing the Eighteenth-Century Body. She has been recreating historical dress since she was in school, eventually starting her company, Dressing History http://www.dressing-history.co.uk in 2008. She approaches garment reproduction as a form of experimental scholarship, focussing her research on authentic construction techniques, and the experience of making and wearing clothes.
Lindsey Eastman is a customer service representative by day and passionate historical costumer by night. She began teaching herself to make historical costumes in 2003 and rounded out her education with her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Design and Production from Illinois State University. During her college studies, Lindsey costumed everything from Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore (her personal favorite) to modern dance pieces.
Through her work in theatre Lindsey has dabbled in many periods, but her true love is the mid to late 16th Century in England and various regions of Italy. These periods fit well with her unusual love for making gowns from curtains. Lindsey lives in Central Illinois with her stacks of fabric and carpet full of pins. Her work can be seen at www.changeablethreads.net.
Elisa Edgren lives in Stockholm, Sweden and have been interested in fashion history since childhood. She spent ten years making costumes for amateur theatre and operas, but wanted to make beautiful clothes for herself and became a member of the 18th century society Gustafs SKål in 2001. Though the 18th century holds a special place in her heart she is also interested in other time periods, especially the 17th century. Apart from sewing she is also passionately interested in the history of cosmetics and has for the past ten years held regular lectures on 18th century makeup.
Lucy was introduced to the world of corsetry when she was twelve, and has been hooked ever since. She loves to use traditional techniques in corsetry to create new and innovative looking corsets, and is willing to take months completing one piece if it means it is how she envisaged it.
She collects vintage dressmaking books and has over 100, with a few Victorian ones, but mostly books from the 1940s-50s. Her favourite period for corsets (and clothing) is the natural form era, and she collects women’s clothes from this period.
Jeremy Erwin is a programmer and hobbyist from Northern Virginia. He collects old tailoring and dressmaking books, and occasionally fires up his Bernina. He has recently found the professional dressmaking magazine collection at the library of congress, and is eagerly perusing old issues of Revue de la mode and the French Dressmaker, in an effort to learn about techniques of the 1890s.
Elizabeth Estervig is a third year M.F.A. candidate in costume technology and design at Ohio University. She has been designing and pattern making professionally since 2004, and working on costumes for theatre since 2000. She was an undergraduate at University of Minnesota Twin Cities and worked with several theaters in the area. Tailoring, speed draping, and writing are some of her favorite pass times.
Marianne Faulkner is the proprietress of San Francisco-based Pop Antique, which specializes in innovative corsets and sustainable design. Her interest in corsetry was first sparked as a teenager, when she surrounded herself with fantasy novels and theater buffs. In 2005, she transferred to the American Intercontinental University Los Angeles for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. There she tutored her fellow students in illustration, pattern drafting, and construction.
In December 2011, 24-year old Marianne completed her Master of Fine Arts in the same field at San Francisco’s renowned Academy of Art University, devoting her thesis to the development of Pop Antique. Marianne plans to go into teaching as well as expanding her line, which is now Underpinned™ by Dark Garden Unique Corsetry. Pop Antique has focused on a highly comfortable and curvaceous ready-to-wear line and is perhaps best known for pioneering the “knit corset” concept. Marianne also writes a monthly column at top lingerie blog, The Lingerie Addict.
Chantal Filson has been a costumer for film, television and theater for the past 14 years. A lifelong interest in historical fashion evolved into re-enacting and teaching in recent years with a focus on women’s apparel. An avid collector of both antique and reproduction clothing, she is also a member of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, the Costumers Guild West and taught several seminars at Costume College 2011 and 2012.
The garment sewing and movie costume bug bit Michelle Fitzgerald in high school. Learning by trial and error got her a sewing job with Denver Dressmakers, where she learned to tailor, sew a wider variety of fabrics, and make the patterns. Michelle now has her own custom corsetry Etsy shop. She learned so much from Foundations and Wardrobe in the early days, and feels blessed to be able to give back knowledge now. Also a theater pianist, Michelle resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband and new son. If she is not to be found sewing at home, she is probably walking in the mountains.
Mark started sewing in his early teens. His early sewing consisted of doing repairs and modifications to existing clothing, then making garments for friends and family from commercially bought patterns. As time went on he taught him self how to pattern draft/cut. In the early 1990’s he was going to see a stage production of the Rocky Horror Show and needed an outfit to wear, so he made a corset for himself, and thus began a passion.
In researching how to make a corset, Mark became fascinated with the history and technical side of corsetry, plus other forms of shapewear: all-in-ones, shaping slips, control pants, basques and bras. He now specialize in intimate apparel and corsets. As well as making lace up corsets, Mark is working on a range of shape wear with a retro look. One day he would like to set up myhis own garment factory, instead of just designing and making one off garments, or to work in the Intimate Apparel industry full time.
Lara Greene is a costume and wardrobe person from New York City and a member of the Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local #764, I.A.T.S.E. She has been obsessed with and sewing historic costume since childhood. Despite her parents’ claim that “no-one makes any money playing with costumes”, she has been “playing” professionally with costumes for over 14 years now. Most of her work has focused around film and TV lately but she also works with theatre, opera and print media as well.
Lara has been kind enough to provide some of the photographs of her antique corset collection for use on this site.
Diana Habra Rotheneder
Diana has been a costumer since 1992. Since that time, she has been involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and various Victorian and themed dance balls. She has created costumes from the 11th to the 19th centuries and had had fun doing them all, but her speciality is fabrics.
Diana’s website Renaissance Fabrics is a source run for costumers by costumers. It specializes in wool, silk, linen, and cotton fabrics for historical costumers, but also carries brocade fabrics for that very special fancy gown or doublet as well as historical trim, lace, patterns, buttons, and books.
Rachel hadn’t sewn anything until it was forced upon her in junior high school… and then realized that if she loved doing something, it didn’t matter if previously she thought that gender-based hobbies were the work of the dark lord…
After high school in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, she attended the Fashion Production program at Olds College in Alberta to learn more about design and pattern drafting. Life, marriage and babies filled up a few years, until a friend convinced her to make a corset for an event, and she has never looked back!
Rachel lives, loves and designs in High River, Alberta with her husband, two boys, three cats, and a dog. You can find more of her work at Ivy Rose Custom.
Rossanne grew up with the songs of Rocky Horror instead of nursery rhymes. When she was deemed old enough to watch it, she instantly fell in love with corsets. Since then, she has had an avid interest in cabaret and burlesque. This is why, when she inherited her grandmothers’ vintage sewing machine, she decided to teach herself corsetry.
She currently lives in a little flat in Bristol with her fiancé and cat. Her cat shares Rossanne’s love of strewing sewing tools and materials all over the floor during a project, as it makes the sitting room so much more interesting. Her fiancé however is less enthusiastic about this, but remains very patient.
Self-taught corsetiere Jenni created Sparklewren in 2009 as she is happiest producing dreamy, labour-intensive, droplets of sparkling corset loveliness.
She works from her home-studio in Birmingham, UK, spending dozens of hours hand-decorating and finishing each exceptionally sleek corset.
Jenni is a strong advocate for study, effort, research and sheer hard work. She also believes in testing the received wisdom, constantly trying out new techniques and refining old ones.
Emmalia Harrington’s gateway drug into historical clothing was the American Girl dolls, but it wasn’t until she got a sewing machine and joined the SCA that the habit became consistent. Once she resumed collecting dolls, her home acquired an ever growing mountain range of fabric. She likes too many eras to have a favorite, but has a soft spot for the Renaissance, Rococo, Regency and Victorian periods. When she isn’t making Occidental clothing, she is cosplaying or making Japanese style outfits.
Aside from sewing, Emmalia enjoys knitting, dyeing, academia and especially writing. Her Master’s thesis combined several of her loves, explaining the political context of women’s clothing in the early United States. Her blogs can be found at bjdcouture and Studio Zanobia.
Cathy Hay is the creator and publisher of both Foundations Revealed and the award-winning Your Wardrobe Unlock’d, which were borne out of a grand wish to help other corsetmakers and seamstresses to stay inspired and positive, maximise their skills and realise their sewing dreams. She is a member of both the Costume Society in the UK and the Costumer’s Guild West in the USA, and teaches at Costume College. Her website can be found at The Peacock Dress and Other Stories.
Jema Hewitt has over twenty years’ experience in the film, bridal, television, museum and theatre costuming business. A published author and regular contributor to crafts and bridal magazines, she lectures at universities around the UK and runs workshops on corsetmaking and other subjects from her studio in Nottingham, England.
Jema can also be found on her website, Kindred Spirits.
Welsh designer Alycia is passionate about bespoke bridal, corsetry and couture. Having always been enthralled by creating opulent and highly detailed garments, she graduated with first class Honours in Design for Performance at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Whilst attending university she worked with many wonderful craftspeople such as Sparklewren to help develop her love of couture corsetry, improve her artistry, and create a beautiful base to build upon. Using these skills, she now crafts beautifully bespoke garments, with subtle glimmers, hidden personal details and exquisite textures to make her clients both look and feel luxurious. Her Weeping Hydra corset has been featured in an exhibition by the Underpinnings Museum.
Joy’s Victorian Needle started in 2003 after a trip to Tombstone, Arizona, USA on which she was inspired by the Victorian gowns that the women were wearing in town. She has educated herself through classes, self-study and examination of extant garments to learn draping, pattern making, period sewing techniques and design.
Joy creates gowns from the 1910s-1950s, and all their accoutrements, as well as the Victorian gowns and undergarments that her business name suggests. She has made period clothing for individuals and also for a National Historic Park. She also restores, repairs and recovers antique parasols, and last year was able to work with Kris Peck from Silver Bullet Productions to make the parasols for the movie The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp.
Alyxx Iannetta is the daughter of a professional craft seamstress and doll-maker who taught her to sew as a child. She was bitten by the costume bug at age eleven when she started doing craft and Renaissance faires and has never recovered. Her whole family fell victim to her passion and it was years before they started to look reasonable.
Alyxx lives in Los Angeles, California where she has costumed both fully staged operas and individual clients, frequently focusing on the 16th century for the SoCal Renaissance Faire. You can see more of Alyxx’s work at her website.
Bobbie Kalben lives in Seattle, Washington, USA and works as a pension actuary. She loves to research time periods from 1300 to 1950 for costume details and constructs outfits using techniques and materials available in the time period whenever possible. She shares what she learns with fellow Somewhere in Time, Unlimited (SITU) members in classes and workshops. She attends SITU-sponsored events, such as Titanic, Great Gatsby, New Orleans 1803, etc. and participates in historical recreations and community celebrations. She attends classes at the annual Costume College in the greater Los Angeles area and at local community colleges, as well as studying at museums and libraries.
Bobbie invites you to visit the SITU website at http://www.costuminginseattle.com/.
Alison Kannon is a freelance seamstress and a rabid historical fashion enthusiast. While she enjoys studying a wide variety of historical eras, her primary focus is Elizabethan England and the Early Modern English period.
Alison has been sewing and researching historical garments for the past 13 years. She is involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism and Gardiner’s Company as well as the North Carolina Costuming Society. When not studying historical fashion she is a cardiovascular researcher at UNC Chapel Hill.
Learn more about Alison’s projects and research at Elizabethan Mafia.
Anya started sewing when she was six, trying to make booties for her grandmother’s poodle. Twenty years later she has developed her sewing and DIY skills through many recreational projects and now works in the South African film industry in wardrobe and prop fabrication.
Living in Cape Town, South Africa, far away from the corsetry centres of the world, Anya trawled the internet for scraps of information on corsetry for years before she stumbled across Foundations Revealed in 2013, and started taking corset commissions later that year trading as The Velvet Letter.
You can find Antje on the web on her blog, atailortobecome.
Antje is a trained fashion designer with an additional degree in dressmaking. she lives in east Germany and is currently running the costume shop of one of the largest independent theater companies in Germany. She always had a “thing” for historical costumes, although she only started sewing when she went to fashion school.
Antje got in contact with the gothic scene and after being laced into a corset for the first time in 2004, and was instantly hooked and had to make one herself! With the help of information from the internet and books about corsetry, she learned corsetmaking on her own. she loves to explore different patterns and how small changes in a pattern can affect the silhouette, look and fit of corsets and garments in general.
You can find Antje on the web on her blog, atailortobecome.
Sannie has been sewing for 12 years, and in 2006 she started Skeletons in the Closet, where she is both owner and corsetiere. The victorian era is her main inspiration source, as she loves the crinoline, early and late bustle periods, but is also very interested in the edwardian and regency styles.
Sannie lives toghether with her husband, cat and dog in Buitenpost, the Netherlands and can also be found on Facebook.
Hallie is a historical costumer and owner of the 18th Century Sutlery “At the Sign of the Golden Scissors” and also blogging at 18th century Stays. Her work is based on personal observation and study of original 18th century artifacts.
Hallie lives in Swansea, Massachusestts, USA and is currently serving as the President, Costume Society of America, Northeastern Region (I), and President of Southcoast Historical Associates 501C(3). She is also a founding member of the Ladies of Refined Taste, a group of dedicated re-enactors who sponsor the “Hive”, an ongoing series of workshops and lectures at the Minuteman National Park, Lexington, Massachusetts.
Amanda Lerum Faulkner
Amanda Lerum Faulkner inherited a love of historical clothing from her mother, who also taught her to sew. She enjoys researching and patterning of historical and fantastical garments as well as making and wearing them. Favorite areas of research include Ventilated Corsets and Historical clothing for expectant and nursing mothers, as well as for children, as she needs to costume the whole family for events.
Amanda hopes to start her small pattern company soon, until then, you can find her posting on her blog about costuming and crafting projects.
Elizabeth’s very first sewing project was an 18th-century robe à l’anglaise for a sixth-grade history report. It took her so long to get dressed that the principal thought she’d pulled a runner, and called the cops.
Elizabeth first cosplayed in 1997 in a truly awful Ranma 1/2 costume at the Chicago Comic Con. She’s dressed up as a variety of characters over the years, and her personal philosophy is, “Go big, or go home.” Style icons include Dolly Parton and Charo. Elizabeth spent several years working in costume shops around the country and has made costumes for everyone from good-hearted Oscar-winners to raving divas nobody has ever heard of. She collects vintage clothes and loves sewing more than anything in the world except baby cows.
She has a Master’s in Japanese history from Stanford and currently works as a writer in Heidelberg, Germany. Her long-term career goal is to become either a drag queen or a parade float.
More of her work can be seen at www.ambiencechaser.com.
Corsetry is a magnificent obsession for Laura Loft. She sews from so early in the morning until so late at night that her doctor wishes she would slow down for a moment.
London’s best-kept secret, Laura has a prestigious client list that doesn’t need a website. But as well as plying her art, she is committed to furthering corsetmaking as an art form and demystifying it for newcomers.
When she’s not working, Laura can usually be found in a well-known high street retailer giving customers better bra fitting advice than the shop’s employees.
Lyssa Lopez Wain
Lyssa is a largely self-taught corset and costume maker with over 20 years’ experience. Fascinated by Gothic and Steampunk aesthetics since before they had names, Lyssa has made couture custom corsets, bridal wear and modern clothing, as well as film and theatre costumes and historical clothing from the dark ages to 1940s. Her creations are inspired by 18th century and Victorian clothing, and Chinese and Japanese traditional garments, combining historical, fantastical and futuristic elements.
Sarah Lorraine is an accomplished costumer and former Fashion Design Instructor at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Sacramento, California. Sarah started costuming around the age of 12, but considers a gown made at age 23 to be her first “real” garment. The products of the intervening years are locked in a secure location where no one is allowed to go.
Sarah believes that good sewing is all in the amount of dedication you want to invest in it. “As with anything, it takes practice to get good at making an outfit that looks and feels like clothing, not just a costume,” she says. “Expect to rip out lots of seams. Expect to cuss like a trucker. Expect to throw some tantrums. But in the end, if you stick with it, it becomes easier and easier.”
Sarah maintains a website of her work at www.modehistorique.com.
Constance MacKenzie has enjoyed a love of history, costume and dressing up from childhood, and it has become her professional career. The historical costuming really started when her family took part in re-enacting at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk, UK. As well as making for re-enactment, she has made costumes for various historic houses and museums interpretation teams.
She went on to study Costume Interpretation at Wimbledon School of Art, and vowed to never work in the theatre. However, this has not worked out, since she is currently working in the ladies’ costume department at Glyndebourne Opera House as well as having worked as an in-house costumer for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and The Mercury Theatre. Her main love is still hand sewn authentic costume.
Jason started sewing thirteen years ago as a side hobby, fueling his thirst for living history. Having grown up in historically rich areas such as the Highlands of Scotland and South Oxfordshire/ Berkshire Downs in England, Jason has always been facinated by history, culminating in attending University for Archaeology. At nineteen, Jason left for America and was soon drawn into American living history. He bought a sewing machine and never looked back.
The articles he wrote for us gave Jason the confidence and motivation to publish his first book, The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring.
Sarah maintains a website of her work at www.modehistorique.com.
Anna mostly taught herself to sew and make patterns after becoming interested in Gothic fashions at 13 and realising that there was nowhere in New Zealand she could buy any. She is currently attending New Zealand Fashion Tech so that she can learn to sew and make patterns at industrial quality and speed. Anna watched a lot of TV shows and movies from the 1930’s and 1950’s through her childhood and it was only in her early teens when she realised how interested she was in the vintage aesthetic. She started creating 50’s inspired garments and it soon spiralled into a deep obsession with styles of the 1900’s-1960’s. She discovered Dita Von Teese and soon became interested in corsetry which lead to her learning how to make them. Dita also shone a bright light on lingerie for Anna and she confesses to owning, designing and making far too much of it for her own good.
Anna also has a small Etsy store where she sells one-off and made-to-measure garments.
Lynn has sewn almost all her life but her output has changed over the years. From everyday clothes, home decor and crafts she graduated to dressing porcelain dolls in period clothes, marketing and selling the patterns. She has made educational puppets and costumes for such places as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Reyes National Sea Shore and Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens.
She loves embroidery, elaborate trims, real pearls and making hats; but above all making hats. This love of hats has lead to a line of hat patterns and the teaching of many millinery related workshops. More of her work can be seen at www.lynnmcmasters.com.
Lynn lives and works on California’s Central Coast.
Marion loves teaching others draft their own patterns and explore new ideas. She’s best known for her research and recreation of the clothing, hats and material culture of Early Modern Germany which she publishes on her blog, and on her website, but she has a serious weakness for the clothing of the 1800’s and the 1950’s.
Marion loves teaching others to draft their own patterns and explore new ideas. She has a serious weakness for the straight front corsets and beautiful flossing designs of the late Victorian age.
Marion lives with her very patient husband and son in the Pacific North West.
Cecile Magnier started sewing corsets in 2008 when she needed foundation garments for a dress. The dress was never made, as she quickly became obsessed with making corsets, this time as outer garments.
Her passion for corsetry brought her to the other side of the Channel from her native France to attend classes with both Jenni “Sparklewren” Hampshire in England and with Jill Salen at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. Besides classes, she has learnt a lot through her own experimentation. She is always interested in trying new patterns, tools and techniques to improve her work.
More of Cecile’s work can be found on her Facebook page.
Alisha began life training in forensics and human anatomy, focusing specifically on the skeletal system. Fascinated with textiles and museum artifacts from a young age thanks to a bohemian upbringing spent in the museums of Europe, Alisha found herself gravitating to jobs in museums. She has studied extant museum garments for years to gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of historic construction techniques. By focusing on not only the desired shape, but the body’s structure, she focuses on the maximum comfort as well as reduction.
She lives in Kentucky with her husband, and is constantly scandalizing the neighbors with talk of women’s lacy underthings. You can see her work online at The Bad Button Corsets.
Isabelle is a the French corsetmaker behind the name “Eikhell Corsets”. She has been making corsets full time since 2005. Through some friends she discovered the gothic aesthethic of the corset and its beauty and soon came to realise that it was inspired by many historical precedents, cultures and references. The corset soon became a cult object, and understanding its secrets became an obsession.
Isabelle is also the proud co-founder of the n°1 french sewing talking board: “Les fées tisseuses” (translate as “the weaving faeries” ), famous for its corsetry tips and advice and its friendly atmosphere. She lives in a big house in Toulouse, south of France with her dog, two cats, her boyfriend and two more roommates (hence the big house) and has now what deserves the name of “workshop” to work properly and continue making beautiful things.
Chloe is a jewellery designer and teacher based in Hampshire, UK. She was previously Editor of Bead & Jewellery magazine and online TV channel Bead.TV. She is a Starman Trendsetter alumni and continues to contribute to bead and craft magazines regularly. Chloe teaches her colourful designs at craft shops and arts venues up and down the UK. For more beading patterns, kits and workshop dates, visit Chloe’s website or Instagram.
Kate Newton is a high school technical services and reference librarian, but secretly dreams of being a 16th century Spanish noblewoman. She is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (aka Doña Beatriz Aluares de la Oya), and has lived all over the Known World in her 24 years of participation. Her website is dedicated to the clothing and material culture of post-Reconquista Spain, and she is seriously dedicated to spreading “Spanishy goodness” to all corners of the world.
Kate lives in Northern Virginia, USA with her husband and four cats, all of whom like to “help” with her projects. In addition to all things Spanish, Kate has a love of 1930s fashion, knitting, garment sewing, and cooking things from strange early modern cookbooks.
Lowana is the passionate and creative force behind Vanyanís. Her label specializes in exquisite corsetry, bridal couture and perfectly tailored garments made with the most luxurious of materials. Lowana began sewing when it proved nearly impossible to find the corsets (and clothes) she wanted with a fit that flattered. Taking matters into her own hands, her skills have been hard won through over a decade of self-learning. She is known for her attention-to-detail and love of subtle (but extravagant) details in her work. She works out of her home studio (assisted by her cat, Nomi) and offers a growing range of sewing and corsetry classes for those in/near Melbourne, Australia.
Andrea Painter attended the University of British Columbia, learning in the theatre costume shop while examining and coveting the gorgeous vintage costumes, especially the corsets, bloomers and petticoats! She started creating corsets for herself in 2005, and is continually inspired by the beauty of multicultural textiles found around her in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Andrea shares her expertise with other sewers, offering workshops in and around Vancouver and Seattle, teaching corset and bloomer construction.
When not sewing, Andrea also hoops with fire, gets hit with swords and sticks, dispenses keys, re-enacts ancient Greek mysteries, and implements security policies. She can be reached through her website, Luscious Pearl Designs, and through her etsy shop.
Barbara is a costume designer and corsetiere, based in Vienna/Austria. Before she founded her own Couture and Corsetry Label “Royal Black” in 2010, she worked as costume maker at theatres and worked for some other couture labels in and around Vienna.
With a degree in graphic design and a master craftsman’s diploma as ladies tailor she soon found her passion in corset-making and after gathering some experience in the industry, decided to make her hobby a profession. Ever since then Barbara has created bespoke corsets and couture for her clients, always trying to develope her skills, discover new techniques and pushing the boundaries of tailoring and corset making.
More of Barbara’s work can be found on her website, Royal Black.
Izabela Zebrowska Pitcher
Corsets have been Marta’s passion for almost ten years, resulting in her own company, SnowBlackCorsets. “In the beginning,” she says encouragingly, “sewing was a struggle, but with time I started to develop techniques and tricks that helped me improve.” She is mostly interested in sewing leather, but loves other materials as well. Each corset is made with care so that Marta can be sure that she’s created something to be proud of.
April is the owner and corset maker at Tighter Corsets in Duvall, Washington, USA. She’s a self-taught (and still-learning) seamstress. She started making corsets in 2012, but she is no stranger to the world of sewing. April taught herself to pattern and sew in order to make elaborate, risqué, and sometimes strange costumes for the underground rave parties of the 90s. She even once made a pair of transparent pants out of her vinyl shower curtain. It proved a rather impractical design for all-night dancing.
April loves corsetry for its niche place in the fashion market and its historical significance and controversy. April constantly strives to better her work through study, hard work, perseverance and experimentation. She prides herself on her knack for marketing and innovation. Her most recent accomplishment has been the successful launch of her line of Tighter Trainers, a four-tiered system of corsets aimed at the waist-training demographic.
Charlotte Raine is a third generation seamstress who has been sewing since she was a little girl. Now her designs are sold internationally to brides, theatres, museums, burlesque dancers, re-enactors, and women everywhere who want to feel special. Her father has always taught her to put love & care into all she does and her mother has always taught her to make the inside as good as the outside. “I’m sure she didn’t just mean sewing,” Charlotte muses.
Stephanie Richards is a freelance writer with a special interest in costume and fashion, published in the UK and Australia. Her output includes reviews, short stories, features, articles and historical serials. She is the costume curator for a local museum, a role that includes organising exhibitions from idea to opening, plus giving talks and facilitating museum visits. “I like research. I like costume. And most of all I like writing,” she says.
Nicole Rudolph began sewing at an early age, quickly becoming enraptured with the world of costuming. She attended Ball State University, where she focused on costume design. Soon after graduation she moved to Williamsburg, Virginia and began working in Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Design Center as a tailor. Two years later, taking the knowledge and experienced gained from that position, she ventured to open up a historical sewing business. She continues to seek out research and knowledge through original texts and images, extant garments, and workshops.
Nicole can be found at her website, Golden Hind Millinery.
Kim Ryser is also known by her steampunk alter ego of Baroness Violet von Mickelsburg. Her love of Victorian costume led her to the steampunk community, where she contracted the incurable Disease of Steam. A self-taught seamstress and corset maker, the Baroness embraces the steampunk ethos of sharing knowledge and teaching others what she’s learned. She runs a steampunk costuming and corsetry blog, Steam Ingenious, and teaches introductory corset making at conventions and workshops. She sells a line of sewing patterns for steampunk accessories as well.
Kim lives in the middle of the woods in Central Texas with her husband and a literal colony of cats. In addition to all her steampunk crafts, she enjoys knitting and playing video games, often doing both at the same time. Follow her adventures at steamingenious.com.
Jill Salen is a lecturer in costume, and has been producing patterns of corsets from private and museum collections for many years. She is widely employed in the theatrical costume industry and the author of Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques.
Jill has been a lecturer in costume at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) for 14 years. Between 1975 and 1982 she was the ladies’ cutter at the Welsh National Opera (WNO), where she worked on 54 operas for designers such as Maria Bjornson and Tim Goodchild.
From 1982 she combined being a mother with the role of freelance costume maker, specialising in ladies’ period costumes. She now combines her freelance career with teaching. Always interested in fashion and costume, Jill is pleased to be a member of various costume societies, particularly the Costume Society, of which she is the secretary and archivist.
Astrida Schaeffer has been making reproduction historical clothing since 1986 and museum mannequins since 1998. She managed collections at the Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire for ten years and learned the craft of carving mannequins at the Textile Conservation Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. Her background in researching and making historical reproductions gives her a deeper understanding of what each garment needs in its mannequin in order to look its best. In addition to working with museums and historical societies in New England and beyond, she has curated a number of costume exhibitions, most recently Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail; an award-winning book of the same name was published in 2013. Her website is Schaeffer Arts.
Cynthia (or Cindy, as her friends know her) has had a passion for sewing, historical fashion, film, and theater costumes since her early teens. She opened Redthreaded in 2009 as a way to offer her costuming skills to a global retail client base, and soon expanded the scope of the business to theatrical contracts as well. Her professional theatrical costume portfolio and technical resume can be seen at cynthiasettje.com.
Raquelle & Heather Sheen
Heather and Raquelle Sheen are sisters from Taylors, SC, USA. For many years they have enjoyed doing things together! They both have degrees in history. They enjoy reproducing historical garments, studying their favorite historical eras, reenacting, and learning and teaching historical dancing. They have planned a number of history-related events and are on the planning committee for the Olde South Ball in Greenville, SC and the Southern Victorian Soiree in Newberry, SC.
Trained as a textile conservator in the Netherlands, Joni Steinmann has worked with the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Zuiderzee Museum Enkhuizen. But with a passion for alternative fashion and lifestyle, Joni also turned her creativity into the small corsetry business Rainbow Curve Corsetry in 2015. Her aesthetic is colourful, inspired by Art Nouveau, Victorian & Edwardian fashion, nature and fantasy, with a touch of otherworldly magic.
Holly Stockley lives and practices veterinary medicine in Western Michigan. Here in the heart of Dutch Country and the land of the Tulip Festival, she indulges a love of Dutch costume from the 16th through the 20th century. This includes the study of smocking from it’s first appearances in the 14th century all the way up to it’s more modern incarnations. An unfortunately short attention span means that one never knows which era will be the next to fall under her needle. A vintage girl at heart, she collects antique textiles, trims, patterns, and other sewing paraphernalia. Sometimes these treasures find their way into her creations and sometimes they just take up permanent residence in the sewing room as inspiration.
Her work in early modern Dutch costume, as well as various other flights of fancy, can be found at: www.insaneaboutgarb.com/friesianfrockgirl.
Natasha was gifted her first sewing machine in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2007 that she really discovered her love of sewing and historical costuming. Originally concentrating on Italian Renaissance costumes, she now focuses primarily on mid-Victorian sewing. At her best when working on large, ambitious projects, she is currently working towards making at least 25% of her own clothing and is recreating a 1906 evening gown for her wedding in late 2013.
Natasha lives in Rodeo, CA with her fiancé and two cats, Boris and Winnie, and can be found at Brass and Lace.
Anna moderates the long-running Corsetmakers LiveJournal community. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her bicycle and her grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. She has been in love with historical costuming since her very first Renaissance Faire.
Sandra has been sewing ever since she was old enough to be (responsibly) allowed to play with scissors, pins and needles. Largely self-taught, through a hilarious series of trials and errors, she may even be allergic to formal instruction.
Her love of corsets sprang from a penchant for dark Victorian-gothic style. Although her eyeliner is less dramatic these days, her passion for corsetry has never waned. She is currently working away at the near-impossible task of creating a corset based on each of the teacups in her extensive collection. Recently, she quit her job to start her own home-based sewing business. She is fueled by endless pots of strong black tea.
Sandra lives in a tiny crooked house, right next to the Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia, Canada.
An avid Live Roleplayer, Nikki had never picked up a sewing machine until 9 years before she first wrote for Foundations Revealed. As she couldn’t afford to have her kit made, she had a go herself, and her very first creation was the corset foundation for a full Victorian costume! Since then she hasn’t stopped and has continued to upgrade her skills, earning a Distinction in the UK City and Guilds certificate in Corsetry in 2013 and attending the first Oxford Conference of Corsetry. She is now working to get her brand, Narrowed Visions, into the public domain with new and unique designs.
Laurie was thrust into the costuming world when asked to not only play Mary, Queen of Scots but also to design and construct a gown fit for such a queen. Having dabbled in sewing her whole life, she found her passion in historical garments. As news of her skills spread through the historical re-enactment community, more and more commissions and awards came her way. With a reputation for unrivalled attention to detail and uncompromising standards, she started a website, took commissions, and now maintains a waiting list for gowns, accessories, and corsets, her fondest specialty.
Outside the sewing studio, Laurie SCUBA dives in Monterey and worldwide, fences frequently in the classical Italian style and dances almost every night of the week. She lives in Northern California with her husband Jeremy and young son.
Jennifer has a masters degree in studio art, specializing in drawing, printmaking, and painting, but she has a true passion for creating historical clothing. She is an entirely self-taught and rarely uses patterns. Costuming is a hobby for her as she dones’t want to screw up the fun by turning it into a job.
Jennifer currently lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas with her son. She is an officer in the The Dallas/Ft. Worth Costuming Guild and also volunteers at the living history days at Chestnut Square in McKinney. She can be found on the internet at Festive Attyre.
Kat Anderson is a Dressmaker and Theater Costumer living in Madison, Wisconsin. She has specialties in traditional Garment construction and handicrafts, stitching (hand and machine), altering/fitting, knitting, crochet, tatting, quilting and patchwork, embroidery (crewelwork and petite point), basic bobbin lace, and basic corsetry. Kat is currently serving as the wardrobe supervisor for Madison Area Technical College.
Benjamin Thapa is a UK based Costume and Set Designer. Born to a mixed Nepalese and British heritage, Benjamin has been exposed to a diverse spectrum of cultural history from a young age. Investigating narrative through in-depth research and social understanding continues to be Benjamin’s driving focus.
Having trained in graphic design and visual communication before working professionally across theatre, film, fashion and advertising, Benjamin has developed a multidisciplinary approach to creative thinking and storytelling. His design expertise includes costume and set design, concept design and illustration, textile print design, and creative direction. Projects to date include collaborations with brands and establishments such as The Crucible Theatre, Christian Dior, Prada, Vogue and Yohji Yamamoto.
Kendra Van Cleave
Kendra Van Cleave has been sewing since she was a wee lass, when her mother taught her sew on her Singer machine. She studied European history as an undergrad, then received a master’s in history focusing on American social history (along with one in library science). She now works as a librarian at a university, and pursues scholarly research in the history of fashion. She has published two scholarly articles, both on fashion among students at Smith College (a Northeastern US women’s college) in the 1920s. She’s now working on a research project on the 18th century robe à la polonaise (with Brooke Welborn), and another on the robes à la turque and circassienne.
Kendra has taught numerous workshops on the history and how-to of fashion and costume, primarily for the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild and Costume College. Kendra can be found at demodecouture.com.
Lisha Vidler discovered the joy of sewing doll clothes at a young age. She didn’t even own a sewing machine — until she found a number of online costume diaries and became jealous of all these people accomplishing great things. Envy propelled her to start sewing her own historic costumes.
Writing is her other obsession in life. Once she began drafting articles for Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and Foundations Revealed, she uncovered a passion for teaching others about sewing. In addition to becoming a sewing instructor, she launched a website to help others learn the tips and tricks of dressmaking: Yesterday’s Thimble, which features articles, tutorials, sewing diaries, and regular blog posts.
When it was time for Katarina to chose a high school, she decided that she wanted to learn to make clothing so that she could make clothing for herself that she couldn’t buy in stores in Croatia. She was in love with Lolita Fashion but when she started my education as a Clothing Technician she discovered Lolita’s grandmother… Victorian Fashion. Katarina was (and still is) so fascinated with the bustle dresses that shelearned how to make them for herself and weasr them almost every day.
Katarina enjoys drafting patterns, making and wearing corsets and dresses, and hopes to open her own corsetmaking firm to share her love with the world.
Ruth has loved sewing for as long as she can remember, ever since her mum convinced her that the sewing machine worked by magic (she didn’t know about the foot pedal she was secretly pressing). On the Theatre Design course at Nottingham Trent University in the UK she specialised in costume and was accepted for a work placement at The Custom Costume Company, where she became an apprentice costume maker for over 2 years. Since then she has worked as a freelancer for museums, numerous theatres and with individual clients. More at Ruth’s website.
Carly Weggeland has been sewing and interested in historic fashion for at least 10 years but didn’t start puttingit all together until 3 years ago when she taught herself how to sew. She became interested in corsetry when finally venturing into the historic costuming world, and while still learning, enjoys the challenge of figuring out problems and construction as well as sharing that knowledge with others.
Originally from Alaska, she now lives in Boston where she works for Harvard as a Rare Book Conservator. Historic costuming and sewing is a hobby she does in her free time and she calls herself a “selfish sewer”. She also enjoys reading, listening to music, eating chocolate, and learning about “old things”. You can follow her sewing progress on her blog bellamissella, or on livejournal as bellamissella.
Katy Werlin is a professional fashion and textile historian and self-taught historic costumer. She received her MA in Visual Culture: Costume Studies from New York University and has worked in several museum collections including the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Chicago History Museum. Her writing has been published in history magazines and academic journals, and she contributed several articles to a new encyclopedia of American fashion history. Her research interests lean towards the theoretical side and focus on 18th century French and English dress and textiles, the history of ballet costumes, and the interplay of politics, philosophy, and design in the long 18th century.
Her costuming work has mostly focused on the 18th and early 19th centuries, although she has recently branched out into the rest of the 19th century and the early 20th century. She blogs about fashion history at The Fashion Historian and her historic costuming at The Time Travelling Redhead.
Mette Wikkelsø is a self-taught hobby-seamstress, who uses the creativity of sewing to balance of the strict discipline of her daytime job as a pharmacist. Having no preferences for periods, she happily spans from viking-age to victorian and all the way to starwars, always seeking new peculiarities and challenges.
Following the fashion-advice of ‘more is more’, Mette blogs about her sewing adventures on ‘Larger than life –is just the right size’.
Wendy has sewn most of her clothing from a young age, and learning new techniques is a passion for her. She loves shoes enough to study and get formal qualifications in custom shoe making, and in footwear design + pattern making. She then studied fashion production to fill in the gaps in her garment pattern and construction knowledge. Despite early self taught hobbies of embroidery and needlepoint she really hates hand sewing, and avoids it if at all possible. Convinced that sewing for other people as a job would take the joy out of sewing for her, she’s happy to let her day job to fund her creative life.
Wendy now lives in Sydney, Australia and wishes she had more luck keeping goldfish alive. She decided it was in the fish’s best interests if she stopped buying them as pets. More of her work can be seen at Costumes from a Shoebox.
Since graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Costume Design and Making in 2015, Emilie has taken a hiatus to try to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.
Having still drawn no conclusions, she is currently enjoying working as a bra fitter and advisor by day and exploring the world of lingerie by night. You can read about her triumphs and fails so far on Instagram or her blog.
Diane Yoshitomi has felt at home with a needle and thread in hand since age 9, when her grandmother taught her to embroider. In her twenties and thirties she made nearly all of her clothes and, when she entered fashion design school in the 1970s, she designed them as well. It was not until the 1990s, as a docent at a Victorian historic house museum, that she stumbled into another dream world for the fashion conscious, that of historical costuming.
In addition to making costumes, though she prefers to call hers “period dress,” she loves to dance in them, and now focuses more attention on 19th century ballgowns and early 20th century dance frocks than to daytime attire, though the prospect of a very special tea can always redirect that attention.