Elizabeth Siddal and Fanny Cornforth

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Fanny Cornforth and Elizabeth Siddal's Pre-Raphaelite "Posing" Gown - Personae

2012 was the first year I attended Dickens Fair as Fanny Cornforth. I've been using a spectacular strawberry blond wig with a lace front and wearing my hair down. I am still using Lizzie's green tafetta gown, but it seems to work for Fanny, as well. I've enjoyed attending the new Pre Raphaelite Salons at the Adventurer's Club; where one can sketch a posed tableau based on actual paintings of the genre. I have many friends there and they always make me feel welcome, even though I no longer work for the fair.

2004 was the second year that I played the role of Elizabeth Siddal at the Great Dicken's Xmas Fair. Initially, I used a mix of thrift store items and bits of other costumes (sound farmiliar?) for my clothing for the first two years I played the role. Lizzie had been crying out for her own wardrobe all that time, so I made a simple Pre-Raphaelite "Posing" Gown. This was loosely based on some of the gowns seen in paintings and photographs of the Pre-Raphaelites relaxing at home.

The idea was to use a conventional Victorian sillhouette and make a "fancy dress" costume which might have been recycled for use as a "posing" dress for artist's to put their models in. I'm hoping it looks enough like Lizzie's odd creations (she made her own clothes and they were very unconventional) that I'll be able to wear it more often than not. More later. I made it up in green taffeta, with plans for a similar one in blue; based on Jane Morris' "blue silk" dress.

In Progress:

Apollonie Sebastienne de Mornay, Comtesse d'Hivernage

This is an 18th century character I'm using in a LARP. I'm currently remodelling a Robe A l'Englaise which was made by my dear friend; Jennifer Erlichman www.rubyraven.com. Her costume work is extraordinary. Check out her web site for some truly wonderful Gothic products. Her custom corsetry is of incredible quality, comparable to Dark Garden, but with her own flair and style. I'm also remaking an old costume to use as a ballgown. It's not an historically accurate piece, but it will be a wonderful fantasy 18th c. gown.

Also in the works are some additions to my Elizabethan corset - a middle back laced panel and tied on sleeves, as well as a sacque back robe a la Francaise. I will probably work from Janet Arnold, Jean Hunnisett, etc. I'm also very pleased with the book; "Dangerous Liasons" from the exhibit of the same title at the New York Met. It is a very large, colour book filled with images and extremely interesting text.

Gibson Era Remake Project and the 21st Century Suffragettes League (currently on extended hold.)

I'de been working on transforming some thriftstore items into a Gibson Era costume. It consisted of a silk taffetta blouse which was already extremely similar to period blouses, a vest, plastron (made from scratch,) taffetta skirt, and a straw hat.

To the vest I'd added darts in the front, changed the shoulder seam, added the curved back seam and hidden the original shoulder seam under a lace motif. Another motif hides a bust dart. I'll be putting boning in at the darts, center back, side seams, etc.

Each lace motif will have purple silk velvet glued under it. They are then applied to the vest using glue.(Fabri-tac) This is just to position them for stitching. Once they are stiched down they flatten and become an integral part of the garment.

The plastron is draped into position and will be layed over a foundation. There will be a neckpiece similarly draped in folds. This will be basted in part to the plastron and everything will attach to the vest with hooks and eyes. I may stitch it to one side of the vest, or leave it seperate in order to use the vest with other pieces. I will probably put one bone in the center front of the plastron, from the bottom to the underbust, in order to keep the shape. I may add a waist tape (twill tape) to each of these pieces.

The blouse will have an organdy and organza insert inside the shoulder to pouf out the sleeve. I am still considering whether I will add the chantilly lace and the lace motifs to the outside of the blouse.

The skirt is pretty much done, though I may have to add some material if it is too small for me. I may put in a contrasting materiaI matching part of the top, possibly creating a more "trumpet" shape to the skirt. I'll probably remove the zipper and replace it with hooks and eyes, and I will probably replace the button. I am planning on making a velvet or lace appliqued velvet waist belt. I'm still deciding on a design.

The hat is sitting on top of the dressform, so you can't see the whole effect as well, but you get an idea of the colors together and the entire "look."

I've put a wire at the edge of the hat in order to shape it. I'm attempting a psuedo tricorne with some wavy effects in the back. The feathers have been curled, both the fronds and the stems. Then two or three are stitched together to make a full, rich feather. I've added the orange to startle the eye with a bit of unexpected colour. The pansies will have embroidery thread instead of plastic centers when I'm done.


This is the first Remake Project where I have tried to use a mixture of colour and fabric. I'm very excited about expanding the Remake Restyle technique to create quality thrift store transformations. These will be costumes that will pass muster at the snootiest events!

The "League of Extraordinary Suffragettes"

I was planning on using this peice as my turn of the century garment for the "21st Century Suffragettes League." This project was to be the focus of the Movie Lover's Sewing Circle in 2005. We hoped to create a "League of Extraordinary Suffragettes" who will create period authentic flyers and leaflets, banners and sashes to use for some small, low key events in 2005; celebrating Womens winning the right to Vote. We hoped to get together at Costume Con 23, Baycon and possibly Silicon and maybe have a small tea. This project was never completed, but remains on the back burner.

Where are the images?

I was taking pictures as I went along and I will be posting them eventually on another page of this web site. This page doesn't support  pictures, so I'm severely limited, but I'm working on it.

New Project for Bella Donna - A Venetian Widow of the 1580's

I'd also started a new Venetian Project; a Magdelena; a Venetian Widow with Dany Slone (www.lara-goth.com.)  It came out beautifully. Dany did the major part of the work. We documented as we went along. Dany Slone in 2005 on the Bella Donna website at www.belladonna.50megs.com.