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First Garment (mostly) done, and onto the next! Also, Fashion Info at bottom

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Busy busy busy.  I have either been at work, at class, or in the sewing labs.  The only time I’ve managed to spend in my room is for sleeping, and grabbing a few things for the next class this past week.  The good news is, I’ve gotten quite far on my collection.  As of yesterday, I have the base tunic and pants to a finished point.  (I’m just waiting on some potential embroidery designs from Sarah to put on the tunic, and I have to try the pants on her to double check fit, and hem).

I am also incredibly happy that my GoFundMe is working out pretty well.  It fills me with warmth and gladness that my family and friends are in such support of me traveling abroad.  Other then a short-lived dream to teach English as a Second Language in Japan my freshman year of high school, I never thought I’d actually ever get the chance to study abroad, and especially after coming to Mount Mary.  I all but gave up that hope.  That changed, however, in October when we had a lady from SAI talk to us.  It gave me renewed energy to try and pursue this, and I figured Italy would be easier to convince my mother to let me go to, compared to Japan.  Eeeeee!  I am so incredibly excited!  I also just finished an application to the SAI scholarships.  I’m thinking I have a pretty good chance, but I will have to wait until about March 31st before I’ll know whether or not I receive any.  Fingers crossed 🙂

Okay!  Progress shot time!

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(Left to right; top to bottom)

1.) Peasant Top all cut out and put together (minus bottom sleeve).

2.) Top + pants (I’m debating on whether or not to just make me have jodhpurs like Cassie and Sarah, or keep the shorts.  If I keep the shorts, I have to make a little wider band, and I might have to flare out the pants a bit more so I can have some more pooooof).

3.) Hanging sleeve pattern

4.) Hanging sleeve constructed with elastic

5.) Harness vest…thing…pattern majig.

6.) Harness vest cut out and put on me (mostly pinned except for back princess seam).  Had to let it out and drop the armhole, but I’m surprised I didn’t have to take it out more.  I based it off of my princess-torso block I made last year Spring which was made to be a base-layer garment and not something that went over the top XD  (I think it helps I’m wearing my corset).  I have to refit the pants, though, because I completely forgot I was making this to fit my corseted figure so I have to take it in more in the pants.  I went through a great inner debate on whether or not to pattern this for my corseted, or uncorseted figure.  I came to the conclusion that I am, more often then not, going to be wearing this ensemble with a corset on underneath.  Even if I can’t wear my corset to the fashion show, I can always find other people to wear my outfit.  It isn’t like las tyear where I ended up hating the garments and I was never going to wear them.  I’m making these garments to wear for future endeavors.

 

For those interested in the Mount Mary Fashion Show:

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If you’re in the Milwaukee area (or are willing to drive once a week in April, and for the show), and you would like some runway modeling experience, please consider trying out for our show!  We need models of all sizes (whether you’re a size 2, or a size 20, etc).

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I think that’s enough for now.  I will post more progress next week 🙂

OHOHOH.  I FORGOT.  Next week is also the start of my spring break.  I am so excited to have a few days for myself ;____;

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Progress

If you can dream it, you can do it.
-Walt Disney
No pictures for said progress, but I will get some soon, I promise (tomorrow perhaps?)  I’ve got to say, I think there is some sort of difference between my two corsets, even though I’ve given them the same amount of time during the break-in period.  It seems corset number 1 fits fine and can be tightened more without too much hassle compared to corset 2.  Corset number 2 seems to pinch my sciatic nerve, or whatever nerve runs dead center of my left thigh, because if I tighten it just about the same amount as corset 1, that area goes cold and it becomes uncomfortable.  I don’t know.  Perhaps it just needs a bit more lovin’? Haha.  Either way, I’m pleased to say that corset 1 can be closed comfortably with about a 2~3 inch gap evenly.  I had to loosen it after an hour of work, though, because apparently my hips and lower back are not appreciative of the corset when I have to stand for long periods of time and do some sort of work on my feet like I do at JoAnns.
I have, however, been able to wear the corset for nearly half the day.  Yesterday I managed 9 hours, and today I managed 11 hours.  I’m getting there~!  Just trying to figure out how I will switch between the corsets when I get to more of a 23/7 routine.  Right now I switch them out each day.
Outside the corsetry, I’ve at least gotten the torso blocks that I needed done.  Cassie’s is pinned together, minus the sleeve, and Sarah’s is as least stay-stitched in the necessary areas.  I’ll pin hers tomorrow at some point.  Eventually I will draft the pants block I will use to modify, but I may do those next week while I’m at school so I have access to better paper.  Unfortunately the kind of paper I have at home rips easily so it’s hard to use a mechanical pencil….I’ve noticed that some of my notches aren’t lining up like they should and I feel that may be part of it (or the fabric stretched weirdly….either way).
On another note, I can’t believe I’m starting my Spring semester, already, in about 4 days.  I leave for school Monday and then I start classes Tuesday.  It’s going to be a bit surreal, I think.  This is (hopefully), the last full semester I will have to take before I graduate.  Just need to get another credit check, get some info on summer graduation/December walk ceremony thing, and make sure that I don’t have to take another full semester.  It also looks like I will be able to go forward with applying to the Study Abroad Italy (SAI) program to Florence.  I’m excited!
OH! TOTALLY UNRELATED TO CORSET AND SCHOOL! I have to tell the most amusing thing today.  So at work, there was this kid that was buying a rolo, and because I love rolos, I tell him that’s an awesome choice (because come on…chocolate and caramel? DELICIOUS).  Not sure why, but this kid goes and mutters “Yeah, rolo’s are like DS’s…they’re both getting thinner”.  To kind of engage in conversation (because I was ringing out his mom’s purchases and I like to make small talk), I asked if he meant a Nintendo DS.  He looked at me with the most surprised and excited expression and asked “You know what a DS is??”  Me: “Yeah!  I own a 2nd gen one…or whatever a DS lite is.  Wish I could get a 3ds one day so I can play Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds”  This kid got even happier when I mentioned “Zelda” and pretty much exclaimed “OH MY GOD YOU LIKE LEGEND OF ZELDA?”  His sister also chimed in that it was because of the newest game her brother let her play that she started getting into the series too.  She mentioned she started playing some of the older games.  Me: “Yeah, I was practically raised on Legend of Zelda, for the NES.  WITH the gold cartridge (because….it was gold and shiny and I liked it).”  Seriously.  This boy was incredibly excited that I knew about this and I was incredibly excited that he was incredibly excited BECAUSE LEGEND OF ZELDA.
So, this kid had to be at least 10 years old, maybe younger.  In the most serious voice a 10 year old can make, he asks me before they leave “I have to ask.  Mario or Luigi.”  Me, not honestly having an opinion to other one said “Well…Mario, unless I play with my brothers, then I have to be Luigi.”  He seemed satisfied enough with the answer and left with his mom and sister super excited.  His mom was laughing and said “I don’t even know what just happened here”  I basically said “We just had a nerd moment over video games.  That’s all that matters”
I had a nerd moment with a 10 year old.  And he made me feel old, but in a good way.  It was so awesome.
In any case, I think that’s enough for one night.  As soon as school starts, the posts may dwindle, but I’ll start to be able to include more pictures with progress of my collection 🙂
 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

An obstacle is often a stepping stone.

-Prescott

Saturday and Sunday went pretty well.  I have learned a couple of things, though.  Doing more than one 8 (ish) hour shifts in a row is not probably a good idea at the moment.  Saturday went fine, just the small pressure at the base of the back, but I was moving most of the day and putting out stuff.  Sunday, however, was very uncomfortable.  Also, I’ve learned that if you bend backward pretty far, be careful: the corset has a possibility of undoing one of the hooks on the busk….and then you’re finding yourself at the register with 3 out of the 4 undone because you tried fixing it on your way up to the registers….

Good news is, after the guest I rang out, I was able to successfully fix the busk.  I had a short reprieve from the pain on my left hip, but it didn’t last long.  It was really weird.  For some reason, even though I didn’t manage as tight with the corset on Sunday as I did Saturday, I must have pinched a nerve of some sort because my left hip was aching and at one point my left leg felt weird.  When there were no customers, I ended up loosing the corset to reduce the tightness and hope that it would fix the problem.  It did.

Today, however, was a lazy day.  The boyfriend spent the night and I we both didn’t have work today so I (mis)used the opportunity to relax and watch The Dark Crystal and all the special features.  The movie has a very special place in my heart.  I used to watch it so much as a child that I’m pretty sure I wore out a VHS tape.  Such pretty music, costumes, characters, scenery…just everything!  [The reason why this was a misused opportunity is because I still have patterns to make, cut out of muslin, sew, then fit to two people before I get back to school.  May end up drafting the pants blocks during class next week if I can’t get to it today.  I’ll be home where I can try them on Cassie and Sarah.  Also, I need to finish up my internship stuff…which I’ve had all break to do…and haven’t….Oi. @__@ Start panic mode!)

 

Anywho.  I resume waist training tomorrow.  And all the fretting for all the work I still need to do.  Why do I do this to myself all the time?

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside
When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.
-Carol Burnett
The past couple of days have been interesting.  I’ve managed to wear my corset around 5~7 hours each day.  Thursday was amusing, though.  Because my brother has to walk a lot, in the cold he usually goes to the mall not too far from here and makes laps.  Every once and awhile, I go with him.  We made about 6 laps (which was close to 10k steps), and I did it all in the corset.  Let’s just say my hips and back were in protest.  It was an interesting experience, though, because my back was forced to be straight and that’s probably better for you whilst walking.  I didn’t get to take the corset off until after an event we went to at the Art Garage.  A few people I knew where having an Artist Reception for their Steampunk themed gallery showing that’ll run for the rest of the month.  The reception was pretty nice. Got to talk with some people, see how they utilized the space to show their art, and just observe people.
Yesterday (January 10th) was the longest that I’ve worn the corset yet.  Again, some small pressure at the base of my spine at some parts (mostly when mom and I went to JoAnns and we were standing in one spot for awhile).  I don’t think my spine appreciates being forced into a straighter position haha.
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Going to see how long I can last today with the corset at work.  It’s a 7 hour shift, and I’ll be moving around so…it might work.  If it doesn’t, I can always take it off during a break.
 
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Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Corset Break in Day One: Pants are not friends

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
―     C.G. Jung

So, today is the day!  While awaiting most anxiously for my lovelies to arrive, I began working on some pattern blocks necessary for the spring semester.  We have to create three complete looks for a collection so I’m doing mine for The Airship Nemesis Crew.  I will be completing Cassie’s, Sarah’s and my outfit for this collection.  Woot!

Before I start with the picture progress today of the corsets, I’d like to give you a bit more of some backstory.  There are several reasons for why I am finally waist training.  The most prominent one is that I am very self critical of my body and the way I look.  All growing up and through high school, I was on the larger size, and never felt pretty.  I was 175+ pounds, wore size 16 jeans, and I looked with envious eyes toward my skinnier classmates.  (Although, I must say, freshman year was the year I felt awesome because I was like 140 lbs after a growth spurt so my stomach fat hadn’t caught up to me yet lol).

My friend Sig (left) and I (right) just before heading off to Freshman homecoming dance.

2008, Junior Year of high school. This was a progress picture for the prom dress I designed. I was probably about 175+ lbs in this picture.

I will admit, I am getting better about coming to accept myself for who I am.  Since graduating high school, I’ve lost a good 15 lbs or so.  (Summer of 2012 I was down to 144, but due to stress this last year of college and the assault in November, I’ve managed to put a lot of weight back on.  The scale this morning read 157 x__x; Not proud of this and it eats at me but…I will just have to deal).  I think what has helped is in my senior year of high school, I was lucky enough to find a man who loved me for me and didn’t care that I was larger.  This man is now my boyfriend of just over 5 years (we celebrated our 5th on November 13th).  What is a plus is that he is also just as fascinated with Victorian era as I am.  He gets to be my guinea pig for men’s clothing muwahahaha.

But, back to the subject at hand.  Picture time!  I ordered my corset from www.orchardcorset.com.  Style 411 in cotton. http://www.orchardcorset.com/corsets/steel-boned-underbust-corset-in-cotton-cs-411/

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Right out of the package.
Style 411 from Orchard Corset

Me, today, without the corset

Me, today, without the corset

Corset tightened only slightly, just snug enough to not fall down.  This is why that it doesn't look like it's not fitting properly.  I'm letting everything get accustomed.

Corset tightened only slightly, just snug enough to not fall down. This is why that it doesn’t look like it’s not fitting properly. I’m letting everything get accustomed.

Corset tightened more after the first hour

Corset tightened more after the first hour

Things I have learned today:

  • If you’re going to wear pants, make sure they either are very stretchy, or a size UP from what you normally wear. (because it’s hard to twist yourself in a way to get the damn things on under the corset once tied).
  • If you don’t have a size pants that are larger than normal, then I suggest putting said pair of pants on BEFORE the corset….and hope you can get them on and off easy after that (or just don’t use the restroom much but…that’s not a good idea either >>; )
  • It is very handy to have stretchy tights for comfort around the house when you don’t have to go outside.
  • Why did I have to start this on one of the coldest fricken days? D:
  • I need wool skirts for the cold so I can avoid the jean problem
  • I need pantalettes, or very low rise panties.
Or, unless you have someone willing to help you.
Anywho.  The corset is surprisingly comfortable.  I’m glad I went with the cotton one 😀  It’ll be much easier to take care of.  Tomorrow will be spent doing the same thing I did today, except starting the break in process for the second corset.  I bought two so I could switch off between them.
 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Beginning

Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.
-George Bernard Shaw
It’s been said that every good tale starts with a beginning, of a sorts.  To you, my dear reader, I present my beginning.  My end.  My everything-in-between.  My hopes with this blog is to have a common place to catalogue my experiences with my corset waist training, my ups and downs with creating my own business, and whatever may come to mind in the week that I publish a post.  Eventually, I would like to be able to be a resource for other people interested in waist training, entrepreneurship, or what-have-you.
My waist training adventures will not be starting until tomorrow, when USPS delivers my new corsets to me, so I will start today with a little back-story – a biography, if you will.
The short of it is, I am currently a student at Mount Mary University, pursuing a degree in fashion design.  What I hope to accomplish with this, is create my own business revolving around costuming (for theatre, cosplay, etc.), alternative bridal, and starting up my own Steampunk and Victorian inspired brand.  How I’ve gotten to this point is quite interesting – I wasn’t always interested in fashion as a degree…but looking back, it makes sense that I’ve almost always liked fashion.  It’s hard to explain simply, so I will expound.
When I was a young girl, my mother had her own home business of sewing bridal gowns professionally.  Something I find really cool is that, by word of mouth, my mother had customers coming from as far south as Chicago, and all over.  Why this is cool is back in the early 90s, there was no internet like we have today to broadcast or advertise your services.
Since my mother’s business was out of the home, she really didn’t need a babysitter for me, so when she had to go to the fabric store, I usually got to go with if I was home.  Sometimes I even got to pick out fabrics for mom to make me one or two dresses with.  With how often mother had to go to the store, a lot of the ladies at Jo-Anns got to know me quite well haha.
To be honest, while growing up, I never dreamed of doing anything with fashion.  I wanted to be a teacher, from pretty much kindergarten all the way up until my freshman year of college. I think it was in 5th grade, however, when any seeds were planted.  Fifth grade was when I had learned of wonderful things such as “Anime” and “Manga,” starting off with my first series called Sailor Moon.  I was enthralled.  I can remember wanting to hurry home from school in order to catch the episode on the old Toonami.  After several years of collecting manga, and watching anime, I learned about things such as “Anime Conventions” in 2006.  It was too late to try and ask mother if I could go because it was a month away and that wasn’t enough time to save up.  I made plans with some of my friends for us to go the next year.
2007 not only marked my first anime convention (Anime Central in Rosemont, IL), but it also was my first cosplay.  And like most people’s firsts, it was quite terrible.  I did a crossplay (meaning cosplaying as the opposite gender) of Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, specifically the Advent Children version.  It wasn’t too terrible. I had a really cool sword that my grandfather made for me 😀  The costume was bought, though, because it had been some time, at this point, since my mother stopped her bridal business and she wasn’t able to help me.
After this first taste of cosplay and anime conventions, I wanted to keep doing them.  It was fun – there were a lot of people who liked the same things I did and didn’t judge me too much for it.
Instead of buying cosplays, I wanted to make them.  This was quite problematic.  Most of the cosplays I wanted to do involved a lot of searching for patterns even remotely close to what I needed and then trying to modify them.  I was able to settle for Road Kamelot in ’09 (I think?), and the following year Rip Van Winkle.  Mom helped me modify the patterns and sew them when I couldn’t.
Also, complete side note here.  I would like to let it be known that in first grade, my mother promised me two dresses in my life: prom and wedding.  She *almost* got out of doing my prom dress.  I pretty much forced her into it haha.  This was the first time I ever designed something and had it come to life.
Dem sleeves.
So, college life begins.  I start at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, pursuing a degree in Humanistic Studies, Emphasis Teaching English as a Second Language.  I wanted to teach in Japan.  Unfortunately, a lot of my friends at the time did as well so it…sort of killed it for me.  I was also becoming more serious with my boyfriend and didn’t want to really leave the country for an extended period of time.  I then changed my major to Theatre, Technical Design (already starting to form my future business in mind.  Also started dabbling with Business courses because I was thinking about a business minor).  In my Japanese class, there was a fellow classmate of mine that had told me about Mount Mary College in Milwaukee then had a fashion design degree.  Immediately I was interested because the only other college I knew had a fashion program was UW-Stout.
My journey is then directed at applying, and soon attending Mount Mary College.  During my time here, I have met many wonderful friends and several memorable experiences.  In October of 2013, I was able to go with the fashion department on a trip to New York.  Not that I’d ever live there, but I would definitely like to go back.  Such an inspiring and busy city!  Five days was not nearly enough to explore everything.  I could spend 5 days alone in just the area around Mood, scouring through the fabrics of all the stores!
It’s around this trip to New York that I asked mother if I could travel abroad to Italy.  After the spring semester, I would only need 3 credits in my concentration to graduate and I thought that a trip to Italy would be amazing.  We have family that lives in Costacciaro, Italy so if I could study abroad in Florence, I would be about 3 hours away and could visit them!
November 15th was a momentary stop in these plans.  After work, at about 10PM, I was assaulted by my vehicle.  The short version of this tale is I was hit 6 times in the head with something metal (either a pipe or crowbar).  I started to fight back after hit 5, but he hit me a last time and fled.  Luckily, no fractures, cracks, or scratches in my eye.
But, now that it’s January, things have settled down a bit.  I got a book for Christmas titled “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself” by Sarah A. Chrisman.  For the past couple of years (probably since 2009, maybe earlier?), I’ve been interested in the Steampunk Subculture.  First it was Lolita, but it morphed to Steampunk when I figured out I felt more in tune with the freedom and awesomeness that was Steampunk.  This book gave me the final push to just suck it up and buy some waist training corsets.  So I did.  And they’re coming tomorrow.  I am incredibly excited for them.  Tomorrow I will post again.
I think this is a good place to end this entry.  Thank you for reading this far.  I’ve most likely forgotten a lot of things to say, but I’m sure they’ll come up as other stories along this adventure.
~Alizarin.
 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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